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Mangoes Along the Circular Road in Xiamen

Popularity 3Viewed 956 times 2016-1-29 14:54 |Personal category:Travelling|System category:Life

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that when one travels, he always wants to bring home some local specialty as gifts for family, friends and himself. Be it embroidered handkerchief and blue calico in the Yangtze River Delta, handmade cappa in Southwest China, or food from the time-honored brands, these little pieces have added great pleasure to the journey itself and are often kept as reminder of the memorable experiences on the way.

So you could imagine how excited we were when we spotted rows of stalls selling fresh green mangoes, carambola, and other tropical fruits at a reasonable price along the Circular Road in Xiamen during the New Year holiday of 2015, as they were either extraordinarily expensive or rarely seen in some remote areas of the Northern province of Shandong. To our surprise, the vendors even offered free-courier service in order that our packages could be directly delivered to our family and friends, and thus reduced our inconvenience of dragging an over-weight suitcases to the airport. Totally satisfied with all this, we began to pick the fruits, put them into the boxes, filled in the courier forms, bargained a little bit and paid for them. Though my friend took a few photos of the stall in case that we couldn’t receive the packages, all the time the vendor couple were nice and patient and told us a lot about the local flavor, which assured us that it would be fine.

A few days later, my aunt received my package and though the fruits were fresh to them, they didn’t quite enjoy the taste. But my friend was not that lucky. She received only eight green mangoes, while what she initially ordered and paid for was twelve, and the ones she did get were all a couple of sizes smaller. This was unacceptable to both of us and I began to think about submitting complaints to local authority. So I searched information on the Internet, and it turned out the mango vendors along the Circular Road in Xiamen were indeed quite notorious and had triggered quantity of grudges among tourists and local residents for a long time. Some local people, regarding what the few people had done as jeopardizing the image and reputation of the city and residents, even urged the regulatory authority to set up loudspeakers repeatedly broadcasting “don’t buy the mangoes” in the downtown area and along the Circular Road. However, so many years passed, the mango vendors, instead of becoming well-behaved and serving as one of the unique landscapes, are turning increasingly shrewd and calculating, while the regulatory authority stays passive in the name of “lacking in resources” and so forth. 

This disappointing experience gradually faded away, and except for writing the whole incident on one travelling website and constantly informing my friends who went to Xiamen, I did nothing more. But last month I met a new colleague who studied in Xiamen for three years and began to chat about it.

“I once travelled to Xiamen.”

“Oh, did you like it?”

“It was OK except for being crowded and untidy in some places. But do you hear about the mangoes along the Circular Road?”

“Sure, but don’t you tell me you bought some yourself?”

“I didn’t. But my friend did and she only got part of the mangoes she paid for and they were small and stale.”

“Of course they were. The vendors were just ripping off the tourists. We all knew that. You two hadn’t done enough homework.”

“But isn’t it the responsibility of the local authority to do something about it, like informing the tourists?”

“How could they possibly do that?” she yelled with a sort of surprise, giving me an impression that “it was me instead of the local authority that should be blamed for, as it was none of their business and it was totally my fault that I hadn’t prepared well”.

I was speechless and even felt a little sad. So there existed and still exists a prevalent mentality among many well-educated young people that when you meet with an unfair and unjust situation, instead of pondering about the underlying causes and having your voice heard, you only have yourself to be accused of, because “nothing would help, and everyone else is accepting it”. If you got ripped off, it was your fault you hadn’t done much homework; if you lost your wallet or cellphone at the train station, it was your fault you were not careful enough; if you got harassed on the bus, it was again your fault you wore too little. Not the ones who had done wrong, but you yourself to be blamed all the time. Hence most people would choose to remain silent and accept it, whenever this kind of disturbing incident happened to them. Hence the increasing mistrust in our society, which has been deteriorating the incredibility system each passing day.

So it’s high time that the regulatory authority looked into this matter and the alike, and took effective measures to prevent them from happening again. Given the areas and people it involves, it wouldn’t be easy and it would take quite a long time, but nothing truly benefiting the people and the society is easy and it is worth the joint efforts of everyone. Only when we start from now, can we gradually regain our losing faith in the incredibility system, and only if we carry it out step by step, will our posterity be living in and benefiting from a society of fairness, justice and honesty.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report guml 2016-3-14 11:33
I live in Xiamen which is a beautiful coastal city draw many tourists attention .

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