China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

Dear Old Chinese People Who Cheat the System

Dear Old Chinese People Who Cheat the System,

Good for you. It’s about time the elderly started sticking up for themselves. So often your age group is portrayed as helpless and dependent. But I suppose you’ve had plenty of experience to teach you how futile it is to just wait around for the System to help you.

When we saw one of you – a crumpled old woman no taller than my waist – dart with surprising nimbleness through the flood of exiting bus passengers and dodge the treacherous slamming back door, thereby avoiding the compulsory toll of one kuai per ride, we were duly impressed.

Not that we condone breaking the law. Far from it. But skirting the rules – that’s different. After all, if rules aren’t strong enough to force obedience, they deserve to be broken. As laws supervene upon culture, they can never be expected to fully eradicate what has long been standard practice – especially not the customs of dodging lines and scrimping. And after a lifetime of dishing up for every little fee, I too would probably start to feel like I’d paid enough.

But that old woman had another reason to sneak onto that bus. Another elderly woman made it clear when she engaged in a verbal dispute with some nearby passengers – her gripe was something along these lines: “I’m eighty years old and I can’t even sit down on the god damn bus!” (english equivalent). Granted, it seemed that no one was actually sitting down on that particular bus – but my perception was limited. All I could see was the black tops of the people whose elbows were burrowing into my ribs as I held to a swinging handle to stay upright. The bus was a good 300% beyond its load limit, and, needless to say, seats were not easy to secure. As an old person, having paid your dues, why throw away your pocket change every time you want to head downtown, knowing that all the seating will be occupied by young punks who have never known life without public transport?

Keep it up, old people. The bus system is but one piece of the big System, and each aims to take something from you. Long gone are toilet tickets, but you can be sure that new methods will be conceived for taxing your every action. The subway may be a little more difficult, but the way that one old woman moved, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see her limboing under a turnstile when the guards aren’t looking.

With admiration,

This Ridiculous World

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