[Above image reproduced kind courtesy of my travelling companion on the trip, Liam Turner]
Thursday 27th November
Last week, the Government turned the central heating on.
That’s right, the Government.
In a country that has gone from communism to a model for rampant capitalism in less than Pete Doherty’s lifetime, there is still one thing that is centrally planned: heat.
And every November, billions of homes across China receive their first blasts of heat of the winter.
But only if you live on the right side of the tracks. Or the right side of the river, to be precise.
Because it’s the Yang-Tse that is China’s very own Mason-Dixie line.
If you live to the north of the Yang-Tse, you get heat.
If you live to the south of it…………….that’s right……………..you get nothing.
Is it fair? Well the river does flow broadly west-to-east, so it’s certainly a convenient divider.
But If I lived on the south bank of the river, I’d be eyeing-up the buggers on the other side a bit enviously.
One consequence of this enormous ON-switch being flicked is that the power generators have gone into overdrive, and so have the power stations. Air quality has already noticeably-deteriorated from an already low base.
What is it that they say at the end of the Roman Polanski film? It’s just Chinatown……………..
You know when coppers know that certain criminals have pulled a heist, but they can’t prove it?
They move into mansions and buy flash cars, and buyable-women, but they haven’t been caught in the act?
Well I’m like one of those coppers today.
I’m marking these kids exam papers and I just know some of the little devils have been cheating, but I can’t prove it.
There are little tell-tale signs all over the worked scripts….common spelling errors on the same words, that kind of thing.
Yet I had THREE invigilators in the room, plus me, for only sixty students. They were well-spaced-out. I don’t mean they were on drugs, I mean …well………..you know.
Nobody went to the toilet.
Just how the hell they’ve done this, I really don’t know but I suspect technology is involved.
They are (at best) moderate accountants, but by-God, can they use gadgets.
Paul Daniels would struggle to pull off a stunt like this.
Anyway, we caught nobody, so short of sweating-them-down in an interrogation room, there is sod-all I can do.
And even if I did, all I’m gonna get is “tim-bu-dong, tim-bu-dong” (I don’t understand).
Crafty little buggers. I quite admire them
I never thought I’d say this but I’m really missing Jeremy Paxman.
The Chinese version of “Newsnight” goes like this:
Young Chinese kid interviewer with American Accent (YCKIWAA):
“Hi Bob…………Morgan Stanley are really good aren’t they?”
Chief Executive of Morgan Stanley (CEOMS):
“Hi David…….yes we’re really, really good…………………………..AND we love China”
YCKIWAA: “You love China, Bob? ….can you tell us why that is so?”
CEOMS: “Well basically David it’s because the Shanghai stock market is price-efficient and because the authorities have been very receptive to our corporate mission statement”
YCKIWAA: “Well we are receptive to your corporate mission statement because we love America”
CEOMS: “And Morgan Stanley loves being in China and wants to strengthen our partnership”
YCWIWAA: “Yes its important that we strengthen our cross –Pacific partnership”
CEOMS: “So, David……….…..can I do you up the arse as soon as the cameras stop rolling?”
YCKIWAA: “Any yank is free to do me up the arse, Bob, because in China we love America”
CEOMS: “And we love China”
YCKIWAA ”Thanks, Bob”
CEOMS: “Thanks, David”