Vietnamese people seem willing to spend hours on watching anything unusually happening on the street, but refuse to wait for only 20 seconds at the red light, a reader said in a piece sent to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Nghi Son wrote to Tuoi Tre after witnessing a tragicomedy in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday, which is a strong argument to back his statement on the weird time management of some Vietnamese.
Waiting hours for a nonsense thing
On Thursday afternoon, I got stuck in the traffic when a mob of hundreds blocked a long section of Ngo Tat To Street in Binh Thanh District, waiting to see police work on a dubious sack that smelled of dead flesh.
I was about 700 meters away from Phu An Bridge when I could not move any further, as the street was filled with long lines of people. Hundreds of motorbikes and cars tried to inch forward, not knowing what had caused such a heavy jam.
It took me nearly 30 minutes to get through the chaotic traffic to reach Phu An Bridge.
There, I saw a number of people, standing wherever they could, all eyes on the entrance of the nearby Hien Linh Parish, where a big crowd of mobs and some police officers were gathering.
Noticing that some were trying to cover their nose, I asked a woman standing next to me what happened.
She said “someone was killed and stored in a sack,” pointing to a blue sack in front of the parish.
Finally knowing what caused the traffic jam, I continued trying to escape from the crowds to go home.
After dinner, I checked the news and laughed after reading an article saying that a dead dog was found inside that very sack, not a ‘body-in-bag murder case’ as the woman claimed.
So hundreds of people had waited for hours only to see the police discover a dog carcass.
What at tragicomedy!
But not 20 seconds at red light
The following morning I was heading to the city’s downtown on Hanoi Highway from Thu Duc District.
At the Thu Duc Intersection, the traffic light turned red. While I and other people immediately stopped at the line, a motorbike, with a man and a woman in blue worker suits, tried to run past all of us and ignored the red light.
The couple had almost reached the other side of the street when we heard a loud noise of a vehicle taking a sudden brake: a bus had managed to stop just a few meters before crashing into the red light-running bike.
The couple of workers may have been able to cheat death that time. But who knows they can be that lucky forever, if they keep running red lights?
Then I found it amusing that people are willing to spare two to three hours to watch police work on a dead dog, but 20 or 30 seconds at the red light seems something they cannot wait.
Yes no one prohibits you from being curious on the street. But following traffic lights is mandated by the law.
And yet people just do not want to do what they are supposed to do.
There are people who do not want to lose a second at the red light, but are willing to cause a traffic jam, affecting hundreds of other people, just because of their nonsensical curiosity.