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Archive for January, 2008

Oh the news reports that are coming in about the chaos happening in Guangzhou. People fighting to get onto buses and trains, hundreds of thousands of people camping outside the stations, the helplessness of the police, the anger of the people… oh I wish I was there.

This is what I love about China. The chaos, the unpredictability, the surge and ebb of emotions that is has a multiplier effect equal to the number of people in the same situation. That’s why it’s so easy for little things to quickly get out of hand. The death of Hu Yaobang in 1989 led to massive protests against corruption, inequality, and autocracy. The removal of memorial wreaths for Zhou Enlai by the police in 1976 prompted the masses to rise up in a state that was still supposedly totalitarian. The official approval of the Hundred Flowers Movement by Mao in 1956 suddenly unleashed complaints and attacks on the government from the complacent and silent intellectuals. A tiny catalyst, a single person that takes initiative, followed by 1.3 billion others following in line? Now that kind of chaos, that kind of power! Oh if only one can harness that emotional energy…  China won’t have to rely on coal for power anymore.

Of course, as usual, these kinds of surges in emotions are almost always isolated, or at least does not impact the entire country. I mean here I am sitting in Beijng with the heater at full blast, my computer running, and nice florescent lighting shining like the Reddest Red Sun of China while the company kitchen is stocked full of yogurt, drinks, and fresh fruit. People on the buses talk a little bit about the problem down south, shake their hands and say it’s a pity before smiling and talking about the new purse they got on sale. Some people have trouble getting back home, but the train station in Beijing is no more chaotic than usual. The news constantly shows hard working soldiers clearing the snow and distribution of free necessities to the stranded migrants with happy faces. With the combination of geographical isolation from the problem, political control, and general lack of empathy due to the evolutionary process of social selection, most people here in Beijing seem to feel nothing.

Which doesn’t do me any good, really. I mean I’m bored out of my mind sitting around in Beijing.  If only I stayed another year in Guangdong instead of taking this job in Beijing… it would be nice to join in on some social unrest.

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There has been a little snow falling in China for the past couple weeks, mostly hitting the provinces of Hubei and Hunan. Beijing, meanwhile, is nice and clear and windy and cold with no snow in sight. And here I was thinking that once I got out of Guangzhou, I would be building snowmen in the middle of roads to cause havoc in Beijing’s already chaotic transportation system.

So all the migrant workers in Guangzhou, and there are a lot of them since I think half of the city is made up of migrants, would not be able to go home for Christmas. Oh, I mean the Spring Festival. You know how there’s all those Christmas movies about people rushing home to make it back in time for Christmas? I remember there was this one I watched with Jonathan Taylor Thomas… but yeah, I think it would be awesome if they made a movie about migrants in Guangdong trying to make it back home for the Spring Festival.

Now, picture this. A poor construction worker from Anhui province carrying all his belongings in giant rice bags strapped onto a wooden pole waits outside the Guangzhou railway station along with 200,000 other people. The camera slowly zooms on him from the distance until all you see is his face, dark, dirty, and depressed, chewing on a cigarette butt. Then it goes over to his poor family in Anhui. His wife is there preparing the house with whatever decorations she can scrap together while her husband’s parents sit on the patched up sofa in silence as they wait to die a unremarkable death.

Then it goes back to the migrant in Guangzhou. He’s still there. Day and night, day and night. In the distance, he sees some good will policemen giving water and instant noodles to the people waiting for the trains. He wants to get up and get some for himself, but he doesn’t want to leave his processions unguarded. In a compromise, he grabs his bags and drags all his stuff towards the promise of food, comically knocking around the masses of people around him as he goes. By the time he gets there, the police have disappeared, along with the reporters and video cameras, so the migrant sits back down and waits.

Back and forth, back and forth between the migrant and his family back home. Unlike Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ movie, there is no heroic attempt to hitchhike, walk, or bike his way back home. He has no money, he has no connections, he has no power. He can do nothing. Finally, there is an announcement from the Guangzhou government. He jumps to his feet, thinking that the trains are finally moving.

Instead, it is an announcement that they should all give up hope on going home. The camera zooms out. Movie ends.

And who would play the migrant worker? I’m thinking Wen Jiabao. I think he has that down to earth, ordinary man face and demeanor that, with a little bit of a tan and dirt, can make him perfect for this role.

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Stupid Pig

蠢猪: Chun3 Zhu1 – 1. Stupid pig. 这只猪真的是只~!This pig really is a stupid pig!  A derogatory name used to demean or otherwise belittle a stupid pig.  2. Stupid pig.  你是个~。You are a stupid pig.  A derogatory name used to demean or otherwise belittle a person or thing that lacks sophisticated metal capabilities who may or may not actually physically resemble a pig.  3. Stupid pig.  喂,~!学好你的中文啊!Hey, stupid pig! Study Chinese!  A derogatory name used to demean or otherwise belittle a person who may or may not lack sophisticated mental capabilities who may or may not actually physically resemble a pig.  4. My father’s substitution for my actual given name.  你好~!Hello, <insert my name here>!

Hello reader, my name is Stupid Pig. This is my blog. Hence, the name Blog of the Stupid Pig. Genius.

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