Maybe we’ll be back when you’ve cleaned up the mess

The Japanese earthquake is just another painful reminder of how the curse of sin has affected our world. Nothing a few thousand God & Suffering Witnessing Packs won’t solve. (Apparently, it’s all the fault of Adam and Eve.)

Beijing orders the evacuation of some of its people in Japan, “In accordance with a highly responsible attitude towards the personal safety of Chinese citizens,” the South China Morning Post quotes the PRC Tokyo embassy as saying. No word yet on demands for special treatment for any Mainland parents who lost an only child in the disaster. If it is necessary, however, the Central People’s Government could always argue that it gave special treatment to the thousands of families who lost only sons and daughters when schools built by corrupt officials collapsed in the Szechuan earthquake three years ago. I suppose cash and a warning of jail if they didn’t shut up can be called ‘special’.

Meanwhile, expatriates are fleeing Japan for Hong Kong to flood into our Starbucks and strip them dry. Where is a SARS outbreak when we need one to divert them all somewhere else? As with that 2003 exodus from the Big Lychee, it seems to be a particular sort of people escaping from the Land of the Rising Sun: multinational, often financial, companies’ high-fliers’ spouses and kids who are too precious to be exposed to the same conditions millions of other folk are taking in their stride. Do offspring of white-skinned bankers have exceptionally sensitive thyroids that absorb radioactivity especially fast? Or do these people, desperately eyeing their pink milkshakes and carpets, loathe their temporary foreign posting so much that they can’t resist an excuse to get out?

Presumably it is simple panic, perhaps compounded by a degree of uncertainty, or maybe ignorance – or at least a feeling of apart-ness in an alien environment (plus the husband would love to get the brood out of the way). But if Geiger counters detected self-centeredness, it is easy to imagine the devices clicking away just a little bit more when pointed in these people’s direction.

Similar examples… A few weeks ago I met someone who happened to be making an official complaint about wireless telephone transmission base stations – aerials – that had been erected on the roof of a building across the street from her home. She was worried that she would catch leukemia. “These things have been all over Hong Kong for years,” I said. “If you’re so concerned about them, why didn’t you take action before?”  A few years ago I used to have to sit next to a particular individual at occasional banquets. Whenever seafood was served, he would refuse the course on the grounds that it might be dangerous, and sit and watch everyone else chewing away. “There are over a hundred people in this room all eating this steamed garoupa,” I would say. “If you know something we don’t about a health hazard, shouldn’t you warn everyone else?” The correct but unspoken answer to both my questions was, of course: “I don’t give a damn about other people; only I matter.”

There must be a name for this syndrome. All I know is that it’s not to be confused with the Cathay Pacific cabin crew union leader who was given what seemed like hours on RTHK Radio 3 this morning to insist that the airline – which has hundreds of her colleagues, let alone customers, living permanently in Japan – somehow fly all her members back to Hong Kong every night. That’s dim-witted tiresomeness, and no doubt the reason the Almighty gave us God and Suffering Witnessing Packs.

Click to hear Jefferson Starship’s ‘Let’s Go Together’!


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10 Responses to Maybe we’ll be back when you’ve cleaned up the mess

  1. Sir Crispin says:

    I was just pondering yesterday to a business acquaintance who works in the nuclear industry, how long it would take until brain-dead evangelicals like Pat Robertson would blame this disaster on some imagined Japanese slight against their invisible bogeyman. Seems sh#t-for-brains Kenny boy at AiG got there first. Perhaps this is punishment for Japanese schools teaching things like math and science and not the Flintstones.

  2. Sir Crispin says:

    “It was impolite to wonder why our parents had sent us all to college, and why generations of immigrants had sweated and bled so that their children could be educated, if not so that one day we would feel confident enough to look at a museum full of dinosaurs rigged to run six furlongs at Aqueduct and make not one unreasonable point that it was batshit crazy, and that anyone who believed this righteous hooey should be kept away from sharp objects and their own money.”

  3. Maugrim says:

    Some good points made and true. For the expats, they leave because they ‘can’. What I mean by that is for most people, leaving is not an option, thus their only recourse is to calm down and deal with whatever is happening in a (more) rational way. One employee rang her parents to get the kids immediately outfitted with some sort of space suits (presumably found in Mongkok I spose).

    The ‘me’ factor is everywhere. I had staff asking yesterday, seriously, ‘will work be suspended so that we can get leave due to possible radiation affecting HK?’ Of course this was expected to be on full pay. Neither rational nor realistic. Others are worried about cancelled visits to Japan, but for many, their most pressing concern is “now where will I get my sushi fix?”

  4. Maugrim says:

    Hemmers, I can’t believe you missed this expat tale of woe. Oh the inhumanity, having to slum it at the Ritz Carlton and things being so bad her hair stylist hugged her.

  5. Shanghai Bling says:

    To evacuate or not to evacuate. That is the Q. I am feeling a tad bloated. I think it is time for a quick anal flush.

  6. Harry's Hong Kong says:

    So now we finally get to see Godzilla !

  7. gunlaw says:

    Asahi Shimbum Englsih Language edition:

    High levels of radiation at stricken reactor

    Editor’s note: We will update our earthquake news as frequently as possible on AJW’s Facebook page: Please check the latest developments in this disaster. (March 17) [more]

    * Radiation exposure can be dealt with(03/17)
    * Japan’s nuclear power policy at a crossroads写真付き記事(03/17)
    * JAPANESE HOME COOKING: “Gomoku chirashi”写真付き記事(03/17)

  8. Plod says:

    The Japs seem to be taking everything in their stride. Great credit to them.

    Can you imagine the panic here? All the petty complaining when an MTR train breaks down and people are 20 mins late to work.

  9. Danny says:

    When the ship (country) sinks, follow the rats (bankers)

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