Chinese instructions on staying safe and sound

A few weeks ago, our company had the ‘honor’ to receive a lecture from the local official organ about fire hazards and safety. My anarchistic side always resurfaces during these kinds of occasions. Nonetheless I happily complied to listen, if only to reach the necessary number of attendants.

My fire safety knowledge is limited to knowing you should not put oil out with water and a thick woolen blanket should provide some protection if wet enough. Encountering my neighbors burning something in the hallway during the Tombe Festival, I reckon their notion of safety is even lower.

So during these kinds of lectures, the beginning is always with big accidents that ideally happened in your own neighborhood, relatively recently. Of course that’s awful, but the human mind is a funny thing. I’d say the main thought that remains in our heads after watching or hearing these things is: “Well it will not happen to me though.”

And of course the lecture continued with showing very graphic depictions of burned bodies (slightly disrespectful to the victims I would add), for which I gladly let my glasses slide down so as not to see it. Most colleagues, especially those who have spouses, were on the edge of their chair. I can understand it of course, but let us face the hard truth: nothing is going to change.

Sure, the Chinese government reminds us constantly of everything, whenever they can. There is posters downstairs in my building depicting fires that happened recently and how to prevent it. Whenever you go watch a movie, there is a safety video on fire hazards played to ensure everyone is up to date.

It is the same as taking the plane and seeing those safety videos. Unless they make it fun, no one will pay attention. And incorporating that kind of fun in their messages is not something the Chinese government takes seriously.

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