Monday, October 08, 2007

Accident (extended from earlier)

I was just informed that yesterday, one of the workers in our factory (not our workshop, but the one next door operated by our partner) was decapitated when the hook arm of a dumpster-lifting truck came crashing down while he was leaning into the truck to inspect it. The man was 37 years old.

I've never met this worker before, but for some reason this really struck a nerve with me. I don't know if it was the fact that it actually happened, or the relative lack of emotion the other staff here seem to be showing over it.

Chinese culture often discourages strong emotions in order to maintain group dynamic; perhaps this extends to grief/shock as well?

Extended from earlier:

I had dinner tonight with a guy from my factory. He said that in China, when an accident like this occurs, the police aren't called at all. There is no investigation for negligence, foul play, etc. He also told me that the poor man had a wife and kid... the most they get out of this whole thing is 15,000 RMB (approximately $2,000). Everyone at the table agreed that while you cannot put a price on a human life, the sum of money offered to the family was drastically too small. The really screwed up thing is... I was in the factory the day that is happened, approximately 1 hour afterwards. I had not idea anything had occurred, and the entire factory was running like normal. What did they do to appease the factory workers for the loss of their friend, and apparent failure of safety procedures? They sent everyone in the workshop to a free session at the local bathhouse!! Yeah, like a steam-room and a back rub are going to erase the fact that your friend whom you've been working with for the past 10 years just got his head smashed like a pumpkin.

Going to have nightmares about this one.