Embarrassed Man Would Rather Die Than Ask For Help
May 29, 2010 | by MDeeDubroff

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?




M Dee Dubroff is the penname of this freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A writer of ghostly and horror fiction, she has branched out into the world of humorous non fiction writing and maintains eight web sites covering a wide variety of topics. She also writes feature articles for several local newspapers. Her book entitled: A Taste of Funny, and her website, Eat, Drink And Really Be Merry (http://www.ingestandimbibe.com) feature many well researched and humorous articles on the subject of food and drink.
  • I'd like to think that if his need to save face was a cultural one, the fisherman would never have called rescue operators. If dying is a more desirable fate than asking for help, it would be to the fishermen's dishonor that rescue be called. Therefore, one must conclude that this guy is just…stupid.

    • Not true. It is common for Chinese to make decision/speak for others when necessary even tho it is against their will. In fact, people often equal "what I think you need" to "what you need", "what I think you are thinking" to "what you are thinking" and "what I think is true" to "what it is true". They will feel hurt if their effort of good will is not appreciated or explain that " It is for your own good, (you might as well accept it)"

      • Being too embarrassed to ask for help is common in school as well. Teachers have the ethical/professional responsibility to notice symptoms of personal problem and send the student to counseling service. If tragedy occur, the society will put pressure/blame on the school ,which then transfer to the class teacher, for not being able take care of the children well enough. I'm talking about high school, not little kids. So yeah, its a shy and passive culture in which people on average have lower self esteem in the eyes of a foreigner.

  • I wouldn’t have gott him out till he said he needed help.

  • I can see where he’s coming from, I myself would rather fail than ask for help, in regards to mundane matters anyway.

    My life, however, is irreplaceable so I’d like to think I could forgo my pride and ask for help then. After all you’ll have the rest of your life to regain or rebuild your pride, should you think it was necessary.

    @Tatiana; The article doesn’t say he called for help. It said he was spotted by others and they called for help. He just sat there.

  • Twisted_Colour

    Even for a Chinese guy his dedication to preserving his 面子 is rather extreme.

    @Klaus: Learn how to read properly then go back and reread Tatiana’s comment.

    • Hmm… it seems an hour before your jab at my reading comprehension, I admitted that I was wrong and apologized.

      So… thank you for telling me to do what I already did? Redundancy is always clever.

  • One life to a Billion~ eh.

    To each their own and perhaps if the dude crooked, a better understanding of commitment could be reached by all~ Though I think a lost opportunity was obviously made of comedy shows not making great humor over that morons' "dilemma"!

    Again- What A Flipping Retard

  • google "enumclaw death" – (or "Mr Hands" ) – another man died because he didn't want to go to the hospital and explain his injuries. Although, given the cause in Mr Hand's case, I can understand why he might rather die of embarrassment.

  • Funny how the guys rescuing him aren't wearing any pants.

  • Lol. Been wondering why the rescuers also removed their pants. I think its one way to ‘inspire’ him.

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