Offbeat Video

By David Aspinall


This bizarre video appears to show a telephone repairman’s ladder hovering off the ground as he works above.

Outside the French Concession in Shanghai, China, two workers diligently work to fix some cables dangling over a road.

With one man at the top of the ladder attending the wires, it looks like his colleague on the ground is holding the wooden frame in place.

Only when the American ex-pat who runs Shanghai Observed zooms in on the scene does it become clear the ladder is ‘floating’ several inches off the road.

He said: “I was only stopped for a few seconds on my scooter so didn’t think it was strange at first.

“Only when I spotted the bottom of the ladder was not touching the ground was I shocked.

“I’ve been living in Shanghai for more than two years now and I see crazy things every day, but this was a first for me.

“There are hooks at the top of the ladder to latch on to the cables so I’m sure this is all pretty routine for the workers.”

For the ex-pat, it isn’t a surprise to see Chinese employees finding unique solutions to everyday problems.

He said: “There is a saying in Chinese ‘chàbuduō’ which translates to ‘almost’ or ‘good enough’.

“Stuff breaks down a lot so they do the bare minimum to fix the problem and they don’t mind having to fix stuff constantly.

“I once had an air conditioner repair man climb out of my 11th storey apartment on to a tiny ledge using nothing but me as a safety harness.”