Senseless tragedy in Yangmei

As some of you may know, I work as a volunteer crossing guard and have been doing so for the last 5 years. Every afternoon, I head down to my daughter’s school, direct kids, parking and traffic. Usually takes about 30 minutes a day…I enjoy putting in my time, and have taken pride in the knowledge that I’ve done my part to make some sort of contribution and increase driver awareness/safety.

I keep things pretty well organized when doing this, (making scooters, cars and kindy buses park in designated areas) and it runs well. I had assumed that the morning volunteers, after years of watching me do it would follow suit.

I was wrong.

Wednesday at 11:30 I showed up and got ready for the onslaught of kids and cars (busiest day of the week). As soon as I arrived, the wreckage of a scooter could be seen right in front of the gate with two huge pools of semi-cleaned bloodstains in front of it. Evidently a couple of hours before, a woman in a hurry decided to ignore the rules and pulled up directly in front of the gate, dropped of her kid and pulled a U turn without looking. You know where this is going right?

The scooter was coming down the road after dropping her child off at the front entrance and slammed into the U-turning car at about 40kph. The passenger, another one of her kids, went up, over and landed straight on her head, suffering massive head trauma and a broken neck. She wasn’t wearing a helmet…

At around noon yesterday, she died.

This accident has so many idiotic elements…The crossing guards who allowed her to park there to begin with, the parent who couldn’t be bothered to park 50 feet up the street, the scooter mom carrying children with no helmets…In short, all of the things that made me volunteer to begin with. :fume: :fume: :fume: :fume: :fume:

As I performed my usual duties, it was hard not to notice the blood sticking to the bottom of my shoes… :frowning:

This is a bit of a rant, but I’m really upset. I felt for years that I was setting an example that could be followed, and that the parents would appreciate the difference between the previous chaos and all of the safeguards I put into place to protect their children.

It’s obvious now that the second I take off my vest and put away my camera the system returns to it’s usual insanity and that everthing I did made absolutely no difference the second I left.

It meant nothing, and I was a fool to ever believe differently.

A child was taken for nothing more than 10 seconds of convenience…I want to f@#$#g scream :fume:

Dude, this is just terrible.

And this kind of thing IS exactly why you volunteered, right? You know as well as I do, that Taiwanese are a reactive society, not a proactive one.

Is there any kind of real organization behind the crossing guards? If so, why not use this a real opportunity to set down some procedures…to REALLY explain the situation.

Remember, common sense is NOT an innate societal ability. It must be taught.

What a fucking shame and waste. :frowning:

That’s horrible, very sad. :frowning:

I admire your efforts.

Why not call a meeting with the principal, the wardens, and related teachers. Explain the reasons why road rules should be designed well and adhered to, the ways to run it properly, and use this terrible situation to push for more change and awareness among the authorities and also the kids/parents.

Keep it up. :bravo: :notworthy:

Keep it up. :bravo: :notworthy: [/quote]

yes. ditto.

:notworthy: :bravo:

Too too sad, but too too predictable.

MJB, I know you are fuming but like Kea and JD, I think your efforts are now more needed than ever. Maybe this sensless tragedy can be used to educate a few of the locals what responsible parenting involves. This may sound a tad sweeping but I live opposite a school and see the same sort of iddiotic behaviour day in day out.

I have recently been thinking about trying to put together a postcard / leaflet with pictures of children who have been involved in scooter crashes whilst not wearing a helmet. A few choice words such as ‘If you don’t protect them then it is your fault’ might help. I’d love to have them handed out at going home time. Not sure where to get the pictures though.

I also know that the mother in this case would be in a whole lot of legal trouble in the UK. I doubt she will be here which is a real shame.

Too sad.

That’s terrible. I hope they put both these bimbos in jail. Agree with the other posters that you may really be able to push your standards on the other staff and volunteers now. You may also take comfort in the knowledge that you have probably already prevented similar accidents from occuring.

I’d bet that half the road fatalities in Taiwan are for the sake of 10 seconds of ‘convenience’. :fume:

That just sucks. :frowning: How’s the community taking it? I don’t suppose they have counsellors to talk to the students about stuff like this - the parents would probably nix it for being bad luck. Were any charges laid?

I’m not sure a helmet would have saved her in this case - even the best helmets can’t protect against broken necks… :frowning:

Don’t be too hard on yourself or your efforts. You’ve made more of a difference then you know. Who knows how many fender benders, scooter smash-ups, and even fatalities you have already prevented?

My sweet lord. There are no words for that. I mean for Christ’s sake… I will never understand how people can collectively be so stupid. And unfortunately this sort of thing is far from unique to Taiwan…

But I agree with everyone else - don’t pack it in! Just think - if this sort of thing can happen when guards aren’t paying attention and doing their jobs, imagine how many lives you yourself may well have saved simply by doing that job properly. I do think there needs to be some stern talk to various people too.

This may be a bit off topic, but this kind of situation is why I appreciate small town newspapers back in NY.

This little girl’s death will go relatively unnoticed and therefore, little or no change will be allowed to occur in the community it occurred in.

[quote=“Maoman”]That just sucks. :frowning: How’s the community taking it? Were any charges laid?

The mood at the gate was pretty somber this afternoon, and the parents were unusually polite to me. At least two asked me why I didn’t work in the morning…That made me feel like shit for the rest of the day.

Don’t be too hard on yourself or your efforts. You’ve made more of a difference then you know. Who knows how many fender benders, scooter smash-ups, and even fatalities you have already prevented?[/quote]

Obviously I prevented all but one… :frowning: It’s small consolation that there has never been an incident of any kind in the 5 years I’ve been working there. If even a bumper sticker touches yellow, their plate goes to the cops and I don’t make exceptions. It makes it doubly frustrating to realize that had they simply followed my “no exception rule” this would not have happened. Many of the crossing guards are afraid of student’s parents and don’t get a lot of respect for what they do.

Fear makes them sloppy, and sloppy was what got this kid killed.

Guys I appreciate all the support, I really do. For me it’s times like these that make forumosans shine, but my daughter is graduating in a month and will be moving on to a Private Jr. High in our community. They’ve asked me to stay on, but a recent career change will make this unlikely.

There are 2 other forumosans whose children attend the same school. I think it’s time for someone else to take the helm…

Before I leave though, I plan to make some Major changes to the way that they operate…No, there is no training and I’d like to change that. The no parking areas will be extended even further (I’ve had this done twice already and had speed bumps installed) and hopefull will have the school send all of the volunteers to work with me before I go.

Neither party was arrested, and of course now it’s down to a “financial” settlement. :frowning: :loco:

I still have to stand over the last place this kid was alive 5 days a week for the next month straight. I don’t think this is going to brighten my outlook much…

This is already a very, very sad story. But it would be far sadder if you gave up your efforts and duties because of it, MJB.



I have felt for a decade or so that life does have a purpose, but it’s always changing and very elusive.

You have been doing this crossguard thing for 5 years, you say.

Purpose sometimes comes at the end of the line. Now you know why. Now it is real. Now you know it was worth it all those hot days, rainy days, hungover days…whatever.

One kid. 5 Years.

You deserve a fuckin’ medal brother. In this place, you volunteered, and what you have done for the protection of your kid and anonymous others’ is commendable.

And the whiskey is moving me, but it isn’t doing the talking.

Bravo. Seriously… Bravo.

If I see you Sunday, beer’s on me.


I once found a statistic of 5000 motorcycle (= moped) deaths per year
in Taiwan. Cannot find the reference. Anyone know where to find statistics?
This is all I could find:

MJB: Maybe you already saved 10 lives on the days you were on duty.

I’m sorry to hear that, MJB. Absolutely senseless. You probably prevented many more tragedies from happening by your volunteer work.

You make Forumosa proud. Keep up the good work!

A “financial settlement”? What in the name of screaming buggery? A financial settlement over the death of a child?! Moments like this make me wonder what the hell is wrong with this country…

What is the price of a child’s life?

MJB it’s guys like you doing the little things in life that are necessary that are never heralded.

 We've all got the responsibilty to protect that little fabric of the universe we all vacate.

I hate the fact that they will probally tack this tragedy up to not praying to the proper gods at the local temple.

is there any way to get a story like this into a (chinese) newspaper or on tv? after all, there are how many thousands of other schools that may have the same kind of incidents every day …

once they are trained, maybe one of them could see about this, and perhaps get the message out, and the horrible consequences won’t be repeated somewhere else.

my time here has shown me that people here tend to react more to seeing the results ot something like this than hearing a warning about what could happen. they really need to accept the fact that it could be their family tragedy next.

sorry MJB.

Now is the most important time to think of how many lives you have most certainly saved.

Grieve for the lost life and stay proud at the same time of what a great service you have given the community through your efforts. :bravo:

Totally irresponsible and disgusting behaviour for anybody to try to divert blame to you for not being on duty. Ignore that stupidity.

I am sad to have read this post.

I read a book recently that offered a theory I feel is very relevant to driving behaviour in Taiwan. It is named broken windows. In a nutshell the theory suggests for example, a teenager is more likely to break another window if the laneway is full of broken windows. However, if he or she can only see new windows, the urge to smash one is less likely to overcome his or her decisions.

Driving in Taiwan is the same. It’s all too easy to see the chaos and forget that the road is a dangerous place. Someone who wouldn’t ordinarily run red lights may just see 14 people do it and think, ‘everyone else is, right?’.

Start with the little things.

Goddamn it! Of all places, I’ve travelled, I’ve never seen as many road fatalities as I have in Taiwan.

How many accidents does it take to realise covenience is not worth the life of a loving mother, or the future of a beautiful young girl.

So sad.

How traumatic for you after so much effort. All the best MJB and keep up the good work.