Jun 6, 2007

Media Against the Chinatown Express

A Chinatown bus flips, injuring 34 people on September 5, 2006. An article on the safety of the Chinatown bus lines is subsequently published later that month in the Washington Post. On May 20 of this year, an NYC bound bus crashed, killing two people and injuring 32.

The Washington Post talks about the language barrier. Are drivers competent, the article asks, do they speak English well enough to read signs and help out in an emergency.

Let's imagine a scenario:
A Fung-Wah bus driver tips over a bus. He is relatively unhurt—he is able to call for help, knowing that he may have injured people on his bus. But let's assume that he doesn't know much English, that he speaks Cantonese everyday. Does a person who doesn't know English in the US stand by his bus and wait for people who "understand" to make all the phone calls, the attempts for help? Is he devoid of awareness--there has been an accident, people are hurt--is he devoid of compassion?

The article seems to fall on the side of saying that the man with no understanding of English is incompetent and also does not have the ability--the humanity?--to seek out help.