Ayis overcome discriminatory shuttle bus rules
Updated: 2006-05-28 09:04 A luxury apartment complex is
allowing ayis to sit anywhere they want on its shuttle buses, ending a
controversy that bloggers have dubbed Shanghai's "Rosa Parks" incident.
Shanghai Racquet Club and Apartments apologized yesterday for requiring
housemaids to sit at the back of its shuttles and to give up their seats to
residents if the vehicles are full. The company said it didn't intend to
discriminate against anyone.
An upgrade residential
community in Shanghai has barred domestic helpers from sitting in the
front of the shuttle bus. [thebeijingnews]
Though the buses, which link the complex in outlying Minhang District with
various locations downtown, were originally meant for residents, maids now have
full rights to a ride, and more buses have been added to ease overcrowding, the
residential complex said.
The controversy began on May 10 when the rules making ayis second-class
riders were imposed.
Expat blogger Jeremy Goldkorn, who grew up during the apartheid years in
South Africa, heard about the bus rules from a friend and launched an attack
He compared the report with the 1955 arrest of Rosa Parks, a black American
who refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. It was an event that
galvanized the US civil rights movement.
Goldkorn posted a picture of Parks on his blog with the caption, "Now in
The posting was picked up by many other Chinese blogs and triggered
widespread discussion online.
Less than a week after the trouble began, the ayi restrictions were
In an interview early this week with Beijing News, Russell Finney, the
development's chief operating officer, said the original rules were meant to
ensure better service for apartment owners.
"Just like taking an airplane, some people are in first class and others in
economy class," he was quoted as saying.
"The club owns only three shuttle buses, but sometimes many privately
employed workers took the seats and club members were not able to get on the