Thursday, March 12, 2009

Social responsibility of Dutch elderlies

A good citizen should be a responsible citizen, with responsibility to act. Being foreigners not yet able to master the Dutch language, two small stories happened recently did annoy us from the beginning. While thinking back now, we have to appreciate the proactive roles these Dutch people practice in their daily life. Since both cases happened with Dutch elders, I am careful in making even bigger generalizations here.

Story 1:
Mr. Awaraa is very careful with his stuff. He like to carefully watch his belongings, finding any trace of abnormalities and fix them in time. His stuff can be as big as a car, and as small as his cellphone.

Living here, we have several bikes. One weekend we decided to walk to the town center market around the lunch time. On the way out, I was going to throw a bag of trash, so he was waiting for me outside on the street side. My bike brake those days made some strange sounds, so he started checking out my bike which was parked not far away from the door. He was carefully looking at the front and back brakes.

Within two minutes I returned from throwing the trash and saw he was talking with someone who sit on his bike in front of our parked bike, on the street. He should be at least 60+ years old. He spoke in Dutch. I saw Mr. Aawaraa went forward saying, sorry we do not speak Dutch. He didn't speak English either. He pointed to our parked bike, again said something. Neither of us understood. We got the word "fiet", which means bike in Dutch. Then he put his hand in his ear, posing like calling, and we caught up a word again, "Polite". It means "police"!

My goodness, he is going to call police! What? THIS IS MY BIKE! I later thought that actually I could have said that also in Dutch: Dit is mijn fiet! Anyway, i guess the MY in English is so close to MIJN in Dutch. Ht just got on his bike and left. I guess he must have understood what we meant. He left both of there, for the rest of the day self-criticizing ourselves: do we really look like bike thefts?

Story 2:
One day I didn't park my bike in the station so I was walking back home from the train station. Mr. Aawaraa was a little behind for he had to get his bike. I walked on the pedestrian path on one of the one way street, and noticed he was coming, and biked also onto the pedestrian path.

This part was what I later heard from him: An old man with a bike was opening his door and ready to push his bike inside. He saw Mr. Awaraa coming biking, so he decided to back up his bike and blocked his way. Mr. Awaraa was forced to get out his bike. And then, lessons: (at the beginning in Dutch, and then turned to English when Awaraa said he didn't understand Dutch) Do you know kids are playing on this street? if you hit them, you will have to pay a lot.

Well, he is right. Mr. Awaraa tried to explain, making excuses of his wife. But later we both felt, that old man was right.

PS: The picture is an award winning cartoon from International Cartoon Exhibition - "21st Century- Humanity in Nature", and the link is here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Finally got the chance to see your blog again. Keep it up! And amazing, this time it is not blocked from China.