It’s fairly common to hear the derogatory refrain “Ugly American” when it comes to US tourists abroad, but the strange and offensive antics of a Chinese group in London may warrant a new designation of ugly…
Chinese Group Gets Into Kerfuffle At St. Pancras Station In London Over A Non-Existent Right To Privacy
There’s a talented musician named Brendan Kavanagh who is a fixture of London’s St. Pancras station. You can find him playing boogie woogie tunes on a piano and live-streaming it on his YouTube page.
A woman from what appeared to be a Chinese tourist group approached Kavanagh and asked him whether the group was in the view of his camera, noting that placing them on video “wasn’t allowed.”
Kavanagh patiently explained that they were in a public place and he had a right to film.
A back-and-forth ensued for several minutes before the situation turned downright odd. Kavanagh pointed to the Chinese flag the girl was holding in an effort to explain they were not in communist China.
A male in the group began screaming like a maniac, excoriating Kavanagh for touching the woman when he did no such thing:
“Why are you touching her? Stop touching her. Don’t touch her. You are not the same age, do not touch her!”
This is why Kavanagh was quite reasonable in refusing to turn the camera off.
A cop was called over and also demanded that Kavanagh shut off his camera.
Nope. Same response to her.
I love how he handled this. Love it. And it’s all here:
To the tourists who did not want to be filmed: you’re free to leave. You have no reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place, but more importantly, you can just walk away…and goodness gracious, look up! I’ve never seen more CCTV cameras anywhere in the world, even in Beijing, than I see in London.
The group suggested they just wanted to celebrate the new year without being on camera, suggesting they were fearful of who might see them.
I want to be careful here.
The point here is not to denigrate any Chinese person or the Chinese system…we can save that for another day.
But can you imagine me strolling into Shanghai and demanding a right to exercise free speech because I was from the United States? I’d be laughed at. Called a fool. Mocked. Labeled an Ugly American…and rightfully so.
When in Rome…
A Chinese group walking through St. Pancras stopped to listen and admire a Brit playing piano, only to demand he delete his livestream when it became clear they were on his video.
I feel like there is more to the story, but I was so fascinated by this I watched most of the 37 minutes (not the boogie woogie piano music, which is not my style…) and there really does not appear to be anything missing.
It’s pretty rich when a group from a country in which there is no right to privacy insists on such a right in a public place of a free(er) nation.
Travel tip: when you are a guest in a country, you should not act like you own the place…
Life tip: no matter your citizenship, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the UK.
image: Brendan Kavanagh/YouTube