rofanity-filled shouting matches about seats are a regular part of traveling on public transportation in China, but one clash on the Beijing Metro has received more attention than usual recently for being carried out in English.
In footage from a crowded Line 10 train, an elderly man is seen berating a fellow commuter as other passengers stand around and watch the fireworks. “Where are you from?” the man asks in English. “Look at your face.”
The commuter gets up from his seat while saying in Chinese that he doesn’t need to get into an argument. However, this seems to only encourage the old man.
“Get out of here! Fuck out of here! Okay?” he shouts. “Talk to my English. Come on.”
“Sorry but you’re making grammatical errors,” the commuter shoots back in Chinese.
“Listen,” the elderly man picks back up. “Learn something, okay. This is Beijing, the capital of China…”
“I’m from the US,” the commuter interjects.
“I’m from the US too, okay,” the elderly man responds. “Just you from the United States? Get the fuck out of here!”
After the strange video went viral, a pregnant woman who was apparently at the center of the incident wrote a post on Weibo explaining what had happened. According to her, the dispute began because the elderly man felt his fellow metro-riders weren’t quick enough to offer up their seats to her. However, when he gallantly did so, she refused, explaining that she’d prefer to stand.