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Gareth is an Australian who has lived in JiangSu, SuZhou (Heaven on Earth) for a few years - he is a keen observer of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and the changes that are occurring in China at break-neck speed. He can often be found on his a nightly 'perch' in front of his bar in the famous Bar Street in Suzhou, talking to the locals in his bad Mandarin, teaching the 'flower-selling girls' English, eating street food and smiling at the local chengguan (neighbourhood police). Gareth also has several other businesses in China around Business and English training. His experiences have been varied and interesting and his years in China have taught him to be wary of promises but excited about prospects, not a bad situation to be in!
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Perils Of China: Dumb Dogma    

By Garreth Humphris
2752 Views | 10 Comments | 1/7/2014 5:22:47 AM

Ok, so most of you have heard about the pollution in China! You haven't, well, I'll just let you in on a little secret! That TV you watch, the computer you use every day, your shoes, probably your clothes down to your underclothes and probably about 90 percent of everything else you will look at in the next 10 years was manufactured in China!



And so all that fume from the plastic parts and the paints, the electricity to make the stuff and all the solvents, adhesives and other harmful stuff used to make it have ended up in the atmosphere where I am living...thanks for that!



But you know, this isn't a bad thing at all - according to the local Chinese Central Television station, all this airborne pollution has had some pretty amazingly great effects on the population!



A few weeks ago (December 8th) a reporter published an article that says the smog makes Chinese people more united, more equal, more clear-headed, more humorous, and more knowledgeable. They need a bit of explaining but you will get the meaning of this soon!



More United! United against the smog and bad pollution, no less. Apparently city dwellers and farmers, academics and street cleaners, monks and brothel owners now have a common topic to discuss - the pollution!



More Equal! The smog breaks for no man! There is no fresh air for anyone! The rich man in his speeding motorcar and the 'ant-tribe' bicycle rider (ant tribe is the name give to the young workers living on the edge of the big cities trying to make a living on low wages) have the same problem. Even the gimmick of fresh air in a spray can has failed to take hold!



More Clear Headed! This actually means 'aware' of the situation! Well given it is difficult to see more than a few feet in front of you, you can't really miss it!  



More Humorous! Yep, everyone I know can't stop the tears of laughter running down their faces, leaving Emo tear tracks on their face! And you know a country that laughs together must be a good thing!



More Knowledgable! This is true as well, Chinese people have all just discovered the pollution recently, so they have a new-found knowledge of it! They also discovered earthquakes and floods recently too! So when they discover respiratory disease, heart problems and lung cancer, I am sure they will all be happy too!



As you can imagine, when I have been discussing this issue with my local students in English Corners, there were some pretty interesting comments about this! One student suggested that the smog issue was indeed 'very dirty - very yellow!' (A comment from a 'pornography on the internet expose on CCTV' a few years ago that had a fake interview with a 'victim of pornography' that was a colleague of the presenter).



A quick brainstorm came up with a few more 'benefits' of pollution... The reporter just forgot them..



- Safety in a Nuclear Attack - it would be difficult to target things you cannot see! It is actually an air-defense shield! See photos taken from space if you don't believe!



- Reserve of food - the air could be packaged and compressed to allow the 2.5micron particles to form dirt, and then this dirt could be used to grow food.



- could be strip-mined for carbon and other trace elements



- could be moved over the waterways to act as a blanket for the Fleet to come and go as it pleased.



- makes a great guard from prying neighbours, allowing you to walk around your home in your underwear without detection



- probably contains enough content for a quick snack - if you are feeling peckish on your way home from work!



So, some practical ideas on avoiding the smog! There aren't any! The key point is that the conditions appear worse in winter...because of fog and the energy demands increasing the burning of fossil fuels. If you are susceptible to poorer air conditions and travelling to China, consider extra precautions such as high quality face masks (particulates less than 2.5 micron) and extra medications if you need them, and to restricting strenuous activities outside in the high risk days too!



Hint: No point climbing mountains on smoggy days - you can't see the view!. The most important thing to do is remember the important advice from the National Broadcaster - instead of complaining about it, look for the special values it bring you!



China - Stay Calm and Carry On!



 


Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
Comments
(Showing 1 to 10 of 10) 1
#2014-01-07 05:38:08 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

First, we had a minor screw-up yesterday while making some small changes to the Magazine and Blogs back-end. During that process somehow Garreth's earlier blog content was duplicated and published in this blog. We do not know how that happened and thank a diligent member who reported ir early on. We also apologize to Garreth and the members for the confusion.

Second I like this post, and I think we readers should all try to contribute to the list of positives regarding pollution in China that Garreth's students have started. Here's mine:

- there is no longer any need to have that conversation opener in China about the weather and how does one like it. It appears to be a universally dull gray everywhere, so what's to discuss?

#2014-01-07 05:45:26 by bgies @bgies

Yeah.. it's pretty bad. About a year ago, my plane was landing in Beijing at almost exactly noon. The sky was so dark, it looked like night. All cars had their headlights on, and streetlights were also on. Seriously, the sky was absolutely black and you could not see anything without lights. Thankfully, I only had to wait 2 hours for my connecting flight, and I was out of there.

Unfortunately, it's not only Beijing anymore.

I highly recommend this website http://aqicn.org and they have mobile apps for your cell phone.

#2014-01-07 10:08:15 by BalancedLife @BalancedLife

@aussieghump

So that explains the low rate of skin cancer in China. No UV light gets through to the surface.

Great...I guess I'll be getting my first "taste" of China when I leave the air-filtered airport terminal.

You've actually got me scared here. Filtered masks might not be enough for my pampered lungs. I'll be bringing a full scuba suit (drysuit, diving gloves/fins/hood/mask, dual tanks w/regulator, and a backup compressor)

At least I won't need to buy sunblock. Yeehaw.

#2014-01-07 13:33:49 by anonymous8646 @anonymous8646

Just be thankful you don't live near Fukushima or the US west coast!

#2014-01-07 13:49:11 by panda2009 @panda2009

There is only one heroism in the world: to see the world as it is and to love it.

#2014-01-07 17:55:13 by Barry1 @Barry1

@aussieghump

"when I have been discussing this issue with my local students in English Corners"

Thanks for this rather tongue-in-cheek article on the serious pollution situation in China, Gareth.

One thing though, what exactly is an "English Corner"?

In my two trips to China (including a week spent in your home city, Suzhou), I failed to see such a place.

By the way, you mentioned you no longer had a bar. If it's not a silly question, why did you get rid of it and what do you do there now (sorry, that's two questions)?



@panda2009

"There is only one heroism in the world: to see the world as it is and to love it."

This nice, motherly feel good statement can be countered by the following, Panda:

"It's only by the inaction of good people that evil (or bad things generally, such as pollution), can reign unfettered and free".


@paulfox1

"Most of the girls I have met have asked me if I would consider moving to China - and Yes, I would consider it (for the right girl), but only one or two have expressed interest in perhaps living in my country"

Discussion of the deteriorating pollution issue in China makes Paul's comment above (written eslsewhere) all the more interesting. I wonder why most of the ladies Paul speaks to would prefer to remain there, breathing in the particulates and monoxides, thus potentially shortening their lives?


@JohnAbbot

"we readers should all try to contribute to the list of positives regarding pollution in China that Gareth's students have started."

My contribution to the list of reasons why pollution is not so bad after all, is that it makes it easy for budding artists to draw landscapes. Rather than having to wrestle with all the fine details of trees, streams, buildings or other interesting architecture, all they need do on the canvas is a few broad brush strokes of pale brown and voila! There you have a nice urban landscape picture.

#2014-01-08 16:36:07 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

@john abbot
Haha, I saw the same thing with Gareths blog - every time I tried to read it I kept getting the previous one - I just put it down to the wonderful old Chinese internet (or hotel internet - not sure which is worse lol) - I never thought for one second that it might have been at your end - haha

@aussiehump
Interesting article as usual - especially right now as I look out of my hotel window across the Shanghai skyline - Oh, what skyline ? - I am also interested in knowing the answers to Barry's questions

@Barry1
I dont think you need a brush mate - just a piece of light brown paper in a frame and you could sell it as "Modern Art" - China on a Sunny Day - lol

#2014-01-08 23:27:31 by aussieghump @aussieghump

@Barry1
Bar business is long hours and fairly hard work with drunk people - I had a lot of fun and met many people, but when a good offer came along for the business, it was time.

My business now is helping Chinese Young people (university graduates) to learn international business expectations and requirements so that they can further their careers and create prosperity for their families - I create training materials, online programs and seminars

#2014-01-13 10:50:27 by trix @trix

This may seem off topic but it's just a remark - if you have the chance watch the brand new movie 'HER" - it was maybe half way down the movie when I realized it was taped in SH. And this happened only because all the shots were so smoggy that you couldn't see clearly the skyscrapers. I've never been to Beijing but the pollution I've seen in other big cities is already too much.

#2014-01-20 14:17:07 by aussieghump @aussieghump

'Her' movie 'future city views' are definitely filmed in Shanghai...lots of scenes around NanJing Road, subway etc.... Didn't know there were so many 'hipsters' in Shanghai though...must have imported a few of them!

Yep, and the pollution in the picture was pretty good for Shanghai!

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