James Fallows explains the significance of this seemingly mundane picture, which was taken by a Chinese engineer visiting Florida on a business trip:
To the Chinese engineer, what was fascinating and significant about the picture was its orderliness. The yellow school bus stopped, turned on its “do not pass” flashers, and extended its Stop signs. And — the amazing part — all surrounding traffic actually obeyed. Even those who are fans of the excitement and passion of Chinese life will agree that such a scene is hard to imagine in a Chinese city. You’d have motorbikes cutting past on the sidewalk, cars veering into the opposite-direction lane to get around the obstacle, a cacophony of horns complaining about any vehicle that did slow down, and in general the creative-chaos that extends from many other parts of Chinese life to its roadways. (Where it can seem festive, but also dangerous: China’s traffic-death rate per active motorist and per mile driven is several times higher than in North America or Europe.)
To local authorities in Florida, what was notable about the situation was:
- a foreigner
- stopping to take pictures
- of a bus
- containing children.
If you see something, say something. So they detained the man for questioning.
Our world powers in a nutshell. (Via The Atlantic)