Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why do Dutch fear?

This is a question we can't understand very well. In such an affluent country with very low crime rate, why do people fear?

Proofs of fear:

1. When we were about to buy a bike, we first thought about buying a good one, maybe around 600 euro. Everyone we talked to said no. Your bike will get stolen if it is so good. Never buy a good bike. Mr. Awaara's colleague spends one euro per night for bike parking in a secured garage, that is more than 300 euro per year, can buy a pretty good bike.

2. Our land lady couple went to Suriname for three weeks' vacation and asked a friend to come to check her apartment once in a while. Once we saw the light downstairs were on, so we went to turned it off. Later we found out, that was what that friend did. She turned the light on, and later came back to turned them off. It created the feeling that there were people living and they were at home.

3. We once lost one set of our home key, and we called the police in the meantime asking for suggestions on possible reasons. The police suggested that we should get our lock changed, since you never know whether some person were trying to be evil. This made us extremely cautious in the following week, fearing someone would follow us home and find out where we live. The end of that week when there was not much hope of getting the lost key back, we finally changed the lock.

4. Maybe because of all these fears rendered, I also got frustrated sometimes. Mr. Awaara had an office trip and told me that would end after dinner around 8:00pm. I started getting panic around 10:30pm after I couldn't connect to his cellphone. The call just ended after several rings, and a sentence of unknown dutch. (He was very wrong in not trying to call me, he agreed.) For the first time in my life, I called the police number 112. The police told me that I could go to the police station to file a missing person report if I like... ... Thank God, he came back after the midnight.

Counter proof:

1. The first day here when I was lost with the taxi driver in the town and Mr. Awaara was looking for me around the train station, he met a policeman on bike. He comforted him, if the driver couldn't find the place, he should come back here. It is a small town.

2. When we forgot our key and knocked our neighbor's door, asking whether they would let us get in from their balcony, they were very helpful.

Little evidence:

Most people have lost bikes experiences. Our housing rental agent said he lost five during the time he was here. He is around late 20s. I asked how. He explained that he sometimes forgot where he parked his bike, and when he remembered and went to look for, it was gone. ... well, not very much convincing evidence that worth fearing if you are a little more careful.

Maybe my proof were not that valid, but I really don't like people behave like that. Or maybe we should say, that was not fear, that was just pre-cautious. That makes me feel better.

Ps. The painting on the top right is by Norwegian expressionist painter Edvard Munch 'the screaming', a famous painting about fear.

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