In mid October, the headline “foreign beauty rescues West Lake suicidal Chinese woman” appeared on almost every news paper in Hangzhou City and many online press. The rescuer left soon without leaving name or contact, Chinese folks and netizens then named her “West Lake heroine”. Her identity remains mysterious until a recent interview where she talked about her opinion about saving life.
She was first mistaken as American until later on a Uruguay news website “El Pais” did a report on that story and pointed out that she is actually a Uruguayan named Maria Fernanda who currently lives in Shanghai. Reporter then contacted Uruguay embassy in Shanghai and got an interview with Maria. Turns out, Maria was a little bit pissed by how the dozen of on-looking people focused on taking photo of her saving people instead of paying attention to the suicidal woman.
Here is the transcript of her interview:
It was a rainy day, we were walking by the lake. And suddenly in a corner of the lake, (people) from outside were watching her. We didn’t think she was in trouble, you know, it was normal, we think ok she’s fishing. But suddenly she was in the water here, and somebody has to do something. I don’t know Chinese, I couldn’t scream or something…When I was coming out from the lake with her, I saw 7 or 8 cameras taking pictures. I started yelling, in English, like “what are you doing” “she is dying and you are only thinking taking pictures”… I don’t know, I was angry, we were hurried in the water. “Please go away” It is not a show, it is not a fashion show. I felt really sad and angry. Now I am thinking there was one photographer because he was with a big camera. He was coming to comfort the woman, talking to her, he’s the only one. Everybody else was just curious about “what’s in it”. That’s it.
You know as a foreigner, jumping into the lake, and it’s like “why foreigner has to do this and not Chinese?” I understand that you as a society has questions, I can understand. But I think it is not the question, I think it is not Chinese or foreigner, I think it is a human.
Maria didn’t have a regular job in Shanghai at the moment, she lives in her friend’s. She has been living in Shanghai for almost a year before because she likes Chinese culture. Now she comes to China again hoping to get to know the country better and work in China.