Mass late-work conspiracy attack
by Irreleva Wu
PR consultant Kim Gil-dong found himself the victim of an apparent conspiracy late last month as the entire population of Beijing attempted to make him late for work. Friends, colleagues and nosey bystanders were intially skeptical towards his outlandish claim, but the evidence seems to be stacking up on his side.
"It began when I went to the underground station (ditie zhan)," explained Kim. "The streets en route from my flat were relatively empty, so no problem there. But when the train arrived, everyone tried to board the train even though there was not yet any room because no one had got off. Why would any one do that? The only reason I could think of was in order to slow down the train's progress, and I started to become suspicious."
Mr Kim's suspicions were only increased when it came time to switch from the metro to the bus. To get to his stop, Mr Kim had to walk along with many crowds of Beijingers. People were all walking "bizarrely slowly" said Kim, and furthermore many exhibited a tendency to gradually traverse the pavement at an oblique diagonal angle. "What possible motivation could there be for this? All I can think of is to get in the way of people behind you who are walking at normal speed," said Kim, raising one eyebrow for emphasis.
Worse was to come when Kim boarded his bus. "At every junction was chaos," explained Kim. "Now, I can see that one or two people might be sufficiently lacking in foresight to just jam up the junction by trying to bend the rules, but everyone? That's just ridiculous. This was what really confirmed my suspicions that it was deliberate." The other possibility, he said, that the city's population of nearly 15 million people possess virtually no common sense, is "too terrifying to contemplate".
That was the How, but what about the Why? What reason would Beijingers have for wanting to make Mr Kim late for work. He didn't know, but when badgered by this reporter hazarded "they may have mistakenly thought me to be Japanese".