Pitied parasite returns from Zhuhai

The fog on Victoria Harbour early on Saturday was a singular sight. To add to the eeriness of being surrounded by towering skyscrapers looming from the mist, the Star Ferry came to a halt on several occasions as it crossed from Central to Tsimshatsui, leaving the handful of passengers bobbing up and down in the gloom, the silence broken only by unseen ships’ horns. I had a boat to catch from China Hong Kong City, but I had allowed a fair bit of time, so I was happy to savour the view and take some photos.

What didn’t occur to me was that, if the fog was blanketing downtown Hong Kong, it was probably going to be delaying sea crossings across the rest of the Pearl River Delta as well. So it was that my sailing to Zhuhai left half an hour late, and the journey took another half-hour longer than it should have. One thing led to another, and I have been running late ever since. However, I can report that Zhuhai remains the sleepy, small-scale and cheap cousin of Shenzhen that it has long been, complete with a sprawling choice of the completely worthless junk that China seems to specialize in manufacturing. And lamb! And Kim Il-sung’s 100th birthday celebration on TV.

Returning to the Big Lychee, I am dismayed to find that New Yorker magazine has revealed an embarrassing truth that some of us would prefer to keep under wraps.

Traditional thinking has it that people who live alone are pitiful – victims of “social abandonment … consigned to suffer in their solitude.” The article unfortunately spills the beans.

…the solo life tends to be a path for moving ahead, for taking control of one’s circumstances. And … aloneness may come at a cost to the community. The single life is inherently self-interested: it calls for vigilance on matters of self-preservation … and, in many cases, it frees the solitary from the sorts of daily interaction that help craft a sense of shared responsibility.

For one person, that may be a good deal. But, multiplied across a population, it becomes problematic.

I would like to think this won’t get around. It’s nice being a parasite everyone feels sorry for.

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4 Responses to Pitied parasite returns from Zhuhai

  1. Monbiot says:

    It’s not fog. It’s smog. More precisely, it’s dissolved bits of mercury, asbestos, coal tar and silicon.

    Glad you took your glove. And a refreshing enema after all that toxin-laden seafood. Quite right.

  2. maugrim says:

    Another interesting New Yorker article about a guy who went on a tour comprised of mainlanders, to Europe:


  3. Walter De Havilland says:

    The observations about living alone remind me of the Les Dawson line ” The wife ran away with the bloke next door … I do miss him!”

  4. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Maugrim

    Many thanks for this lead to the New Yorker article. I finally finished it today and I truly found it both delightful and very revealing ( in a positive sense) . The guy who wrote it has a very empathetic and observant nature – besides a high tolerance level for group tours, which I personally abhor.

    We tend to mock the Chinese tour groups who “do” Europe in a week ( and , as someone who does know some parts of Europe very well, it’s easy to mock)

    But I wonder at how Chinese think when they overhear a western couple discussing their China trip :

    ” Well we managed to squeeze the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs AND the Forbidden City into one long day, with a quick sandwich and a latte at Starbucks at lunchtime. Then we flew to Xian and did the terracotta army on day 2, and that just left enough time to stop by Guilin for quick river trip on day 3 and a good real steak dinner afterwards at a new western place . We did the Bund on the way back to Pudong airport , but not much to see in Shanghai except tall buildings and we have lots of those in NY. We kept to the hotel restaurants to be safe except for the BJ duck thing , but it was pretty tasteless – just dried skin and pancakes. …. Good trip and nice to see the REAL China ( not what you read i the tourist books) . But now I’ve seen China I’d prefer to do Thailand next time , like Phuket and Pattaya”

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