Chengdu residents are known for their love of majiang—and a recent video shows just how far this passion extends.
Click here to watch the video.
In the video, an elderly man has just fallen to the ground, and while onlookers crowd around and call emergency personnel to the scene, at the next table over, a group of majiang players are devotedly playing their game, not once looking up at the commotion around them.
A citizen posted the video under the name "Tai Yi Ling." The accompanying text explained that the video showed a man around the age of 70 playing majiang at the Fengyage Teahouse at 23 Xingui Xiang in the Jinjiang District, behind the Chaoyang Mingzhai neighborhood.
Just before the filming started, the man, also playing majiang, had turned to his friends and said he was dizzy. Then he collapsed to the ground.
According to the nurse who appears in the video, when emergency personnel from the nearby People's No. 7 Hospital arrived on the scene, they found that the victim's pupils were dilated, and the cardiograph showed a straight line. The man was pronounced dead.
Then the police arrived to register the body and prepare to take it to the coroner's office.
Still, the table of majiang players did not so much as turn around to see what was going on less than a meter away from them.
Later in the video, a woman of around 30 years of age appears at the side of the body and begins crying and yelling "Dad!" The crowd that has formed is abuzz with suggestions of what to do and how to help, yet the table of majiang players are still entirely absorbed in their game.
After the video was released online, a reporter visited the teahouse. Customers confirmed the incident, but the owner of the teahouse claimed to know nothing about it.
The nurse who appears in the video recalls that the people at the next table continued playing majiang the entire time. "It was as if nothing happened. They just kept playing," she said.
After the video appeared online, a number of netizens denounced the behavior of the majiang players for their lack of compassion.
For more on the power of majiang, see our interview with Chengdu urban historian and author of "The teahouse: Small business, everyday culture, and public politics in Chengdu, 1900-1950 Wang Di in the current issue of CHENGDOO citylife Magazine, "Chengdu's Mad Tea Party," out now, or available as a PDF download here.
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