Bus Voiceover, Chengdu


Chinese busses and other public transport tend to be noisy places, not just because of the crowds, but also the hectic array of warnings and recommendations about what you should and shouldn’t be doing on the bus that are blasted out over the crappy bus speakers. Here is a little section of a bus trip I took in Chengdu.

There’s an interesting section where they talk about the 中华民族的传统美德 – the traditional values of the Chinese people: “respecting the old and loving the young are the traditional values of the Chinese people, if there are any old, weak, sick, disabled, pregnant or carrying a child, please actively give up your seat for them.” It’s a good tactic on the local government’s part to invoke traditional values in order to encourage ‘correct’ behavior. If you do that then people feel that part of their identity is doing the right thing, otherwise you must rely on the individual’s personal motivation for doing being ‘good’ at that specific time, which is much more unreliable.

It’s also interesting thinking about the way that only certain sections are translated into English while others aren’t. They do translate the warning about not bringing explosives and the like on the bus, but don’t translate the above section about Chinese values and giving up your seat. Was that a concerted effort to transmit only certain information to English speakers, or have they simply not gotten around to getting all the different parts translated?

Recorded on my trusty olympus ls-10

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