A late night dip in the Changjiang River in Chongqing, China resulted in a harrowing experience for painter/decorator, Xiao Chen, aged 25, who was too embarrassed to cry out for help after he became stuck in river silt.
Trapped for eleven hours, he did not call for help even though he had a working mobile phone. He was rescued only after two fishermen spotted him struggling in the river and notified authorities who launched rescue operations.
His fear of losing face almost cost him his life.
“I saw a patch of grass, which was actually duckweed on the surface of the water, stepped onto it and got stuck there,” said Chen.
The two fishermen found him after he had been trapped for about four hours in the river, but it took firefighters another seven to actually pull him out. Why? Again, it was the issue of saving face. Chen was simply too embarrassed to remove his trousers.
“The silt had got into his pants, and stuck to his legs. We suggested he take off his long pants, then we could pull him out easily, but he refused. If he had not been so interested in saving face, and cooperated with us by removing his pants, he could have been out in one or two hours,” says firefighter Zhou Xin.
It would seem rescue was accomplished in spite of Chen.
With all respect to cultural and philosophical differences of thought, it remains difficult to comprehend how one could make the choice to avoid embarrassment and die over the option to live and feel a little bit stupid for a little while.
After all, we all make mistakes.
If the two fishermen hadn’t found Chen, he might well have perished in the river’s quicksand-like silt, despite being armed with the lifeline of a working cell phone.
What do YOU think about this?