In case of robbery, I don’t want to be too stingy, so I added another $40 to my wallet.
When I opened my wallet, I faced a problem that Taiwanese people couldn’t imagine. Inside, there was $217 in cash, three credit cards, an MRT card, a bank card, a health insurance card, and my driver’s license. I had a thought to just not bring my wallet. I don’t care about the money, but losing my identification would be a real hassle.
I was going to attend an event and only asked about the location after I agreed to go. When I found out it was in Oakland, I immediately regretted agreeing to go. I haven’t been there in years, and Silicon Valley Chinese people know that crime there has become so rampant that people are afraid to go. Just a few weeks ago, a Chinese dentist was robbed and killed as soon as he got out of his car to go to work. And a few weeks before that, an armed robbery happened to a Chinese Uber Eats delivery driver who was still in his car waiting to pick up food from a restaurant. The nearby surveillance camera captured the moment the robber opened the car door and the first thing he did was shoot. In both cases, they shot the victim first and then looked for something to steal. Both incidents happened in broad daylight on the street.
All of this happened within the past month or two.
Shooting and killing a hardworking delivery driver with three shots, just to steal a few dollars, is beyond comprehension. Even if human life is worth nothing, a bullet still costs a few dollars. Even if we don’t consider the value of human life, the return on investment versus the risk is not worth it. I don’t know what these people are thinking besides being brutal and ignorant.
Our ancestors have always warned us not to resist in case of robbery. The truth is, these robbers never expected any resistance from Chinese people. They target us because they assume we always carry cash and jewelry. Okay, so we don’t resist, but they still want more. However, this formula doesn’t work anymore because not resisting could also lead to being killed.
So the best solution is to just not go.
If people don’t want to go to a place or are afraid to go, it’s not surprising. Those who still go should reflect on themselves because there are too many things to consider.
This is a picture of an armed security guard at the entrance of a luxury store in Union Square, San Francisco. This is another strange sight in a different world, but that’s another story.
But this time, it’s my turn. I have to go to the event I agreed to attend. Driving isn’t safe either, and the nearest parking lot is even farther away. Driving also means facing one of the most unique risks in the world: “highway shootings.” I don’t know of any other country where people have to worry about being shot and killed on the highway. Don’t talk to me about probability; even one occurrence is too many. Human life is not just a statistic.
In the San Francisco Bay Area in 2021, there were a total of 178 highway shooting incidents. In the Oakland area alone, I know of at least four people who were shot and killed, including a two-year-old Chinese child, a football coach, an Asian police academy student, and a mother who was going to San Francisco for a job interview. All of them were shot and killed while driving on the highway.
If you think probabilities and statistics are just numbers, take a look at this real-life scene of an Asian unmarried couple being shot on a highway three months ago.
In the end, I decided to take the subway.
Before leaving, I struggled with whether or not to bring my wallet. My thoughts were complicated. Losing my credit cards would be a hassle. Keeping only a subway card in my pocket is the simplest option.
Don’t be too stingy even when being robbed
I was almost ready to leave the house, but I was worried that if I only let him take my metro card, would it anger him? So, I grabbed some loose change, including some one-dollar and ten-dollar bills, totaling $17, and put it in my pocket. I was also worried about my safety if I didn’t let him take my wallet. He must have thought I hid my wallet somewhere. So, I brought an empty wallet with only my metro card and $17 cash inside. Before leaving the house, I started to worry again if $17 was too little. So, I went back and grabbed two $20 bills and put them in my wallet. Even when being robbed, don’t be too stingy.
Going out has become so complicated. I wonder if only the United States has such concerns.
When I got off the train, I almost stepped in a puddle on the platform. It’s easy to slip on the wet cobblestone ground, so I quickly jumped away. I wanted to turn around and warn the person behind me to be careful, but there was no one around in this big station. Upon closer inspection, the puddle was yellow… I don’t think it was beer.
There are probably many people who dare not or do not want to come to the Oakland Financial District on a Saturday afternoon.
I had to walk four more blocks after leaving the subway station. I was worried that Chinese people might look too kind, so I had to look a little bad. To look bad, I first had to wear sunglasses and a black shirt with rolled-up sleeves. At this point, I regretted not having a tattoo on my arm. Bad guys walk slowly – walking too fast makes people think you’re nervous and valuable. You have to walk with a swagger, with your feet slightly turned out, and lift your heels slightly with each step. Your head, shoulders, and body should sway in the opposite direction, and it should be rhythmic. Your chin and eyes should be slightly raised, as if you’re not afraid of anything.
I know this trick. I saw Chicago pimps walking like this in movies. Practice a few times, and you’ll get it.
Of course, I didn’t bring a backpack. That would be the dumbest outfit – which reminds me of another piece of advice: when going to Starbucks in some Silicon Valley cities, just drink coffee and don’t take out your laptop. A Chinese engineer lost his laptop at Starbucks and even lost his life. Of course, you can’t bring a laptop on the subway, and you definitely can’t sit near the door with a laptop. Unless you’re crazy.
Many normal things that Taipei people do are considered crazy here.