That's nothing. My neighbours keep a shopping trolley, several old doors, countless boxes, six bicycles, furniture, rubbish, a ping pong table, office supplies and more in our fire escape route. You would need to be Sir Edmund Hilary if you believed you stood a change of surmounting the shit heap which prevents any of us escaping during a fire.
That's if anyone can even be bothered to try. Nobody knows when there is a fire, or isn't a fire any more. Whoever is in charge of fire-bell maintenance can never be bothered to let the residents know when the alarm system will be tested. This results in bells going off on average once every two to three weeks. Each time you run, trip and fall downstairs, resulting in another trip to the medicine cabinet for the first aid kit, only to find out its another test. They never bother to tell you when there is another test scheduled, and the bells just go off at random times.
The only time I ever actually bothered leaving because of this stupid random, uninformed testing, and after the third false alarm was when I actually smelled smoke along with the bells.
The people that run my building are fools. Idiots at best!
I'll take your unclosed fire-doors, and I'll swap you my situation any day!
Unfortunately, both of our situations fall under the category Idiotic, "cultural bog-stump". I coin this category myself as I think it best describes the situation where you can use all the logic in the world to describe the precise nature of the danger or socially unacceptable nature of the enquiry, yet nobody within the local culture will openly agree with you for fear of upsetting some other tunnel minded, luddites, who will then look down on them too as some kind of "trouble maker". I have suffered the scorn of countless Taiwanese when pointing out the blatantly obvious in regards to dangerous situations and/or unacceptable behaviour, including my own wife, who would prefer I keep 'my issues' to myself, as my opinions regarding the health and safety of people such as my family and fellow residents are to be treated with utter contempt and scorn upon even mentioning them.
I prefer the term "cultural bog-stump" as I think it fittingly describes this situation where simply because nobody believes you have the right to question their own short-sightedness, because you are obviously a "foreigner" and only a guest to their culture, then you are faced with the all too well known and documented, depressing, no win situation.
The more you struggle to make your point in even a calm and logical manner, the deeper you sink and the more perplexed you become about the simple situation at hand. This carries on of course until you have become completely exhausted, bogged down in a stew of sense versus nonsensical blather and finally "stumped".
My advice is to develop your own plans given the situation at hand. Clear a path when no one is looking, and then force yourself to suffer no sympathetic feelings towards people whenever you see another story where an entire building was destroyed, only because there was no clear exit route and the fire services couldn't clear a way for all the illegally parked motor vehicles outside.
Unfortunately Taiwan culture is only "reactionary" in nature, and not "pro-active". It isn't going to change any time soon, so I suggest you get to grips with it in your head and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Think of yourself as blessed that you received an education which allows you to think for yourself, and pity those that weren't so fortunate. Help when its asked for, and don't bother the rest of the time, unless you enjoy being shunned for your good intentions.
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