Aiyo, it's been a long day.
The last couple of hours have been spent polishing a barely comprehensible item for our 'Life in China' slot about the Tibetan chronometer, which seems to be a crazy old mumbo jumbo device for triggering your yak's next ovarian cycle or something. And polishing! ha! Could be either one of the dictionary.com definitions below, really.
Of or relating to Poland, the Poles, their language, or their culture
To make smooth and shiny by rubbing or chemical action.
To remove the outer layers from (grains of rice) by rotation in drums.
To free from coarseness; refine: polish one's manners.
To remove flaws from; perfect or complete: polish one's piano technique; polish up the lyrics.
Anyway. Last night was spent in a local watering hole talking to pissed up Swedes straight off a 48 hour train journey from Vietnam. Entertainment for the night was helpfully provided by an extremely drunk easyfm dj dicing with death on a suspended rope net floor, to the disgust of the assembled bar staff. Bloody foreigners. Appearing bored with the standard patter of newcomers to China (rant! rant! communism is awful! people should have as many children as they like! executions! argh!) DJ Liu Kwai (Trevor: Imagine calling yourself 'six bucks', man) scaled the barrier next to us and, throwing caution to the wind, almost plunged to his death. And to the almost certain inconvenience to thirty or so mid week revellers on the floor below.
I had a weird experience with the ranting swedish though - a strange moment when I found myself defending everything about China. Not just because I like an argument, you understand. More because I think it is naive and imperialistic to expect to be able to impose entirely western templates for society on a nation and culture which resolutely refuses to fit the model it's expected to. For a start, a population of 1.2 billion is unrivalled by any other nation in the world. In a sense that's enough on it's own. A country so big needs new models. And ranting about how the one child policy is an infringement of human rights is all very well, but what do you suggest, oh angry swede? You have limited resources and your population is out of control. WHAT DO YOU DO? I found myself explaining that ethnic minorities could in fact have as many children as they liked, and sets of parents who themselves are both siblingless can also have more than one child, and realised I was in fact defending something I found totally abhorrent less than a year ago. Odd to find yourself in a position like that, and it happens pretty infrequently if you think about it. China makes me re-evaluate lots of things I previously held to be irrefutable.