So with the earthquake, subsequent tsunami and nuclear crisis, Japan just took the crown of most unfortunate country of 2011, which has seen many contenders for the title already. A couple of days ago, I received a text, as did all of my friends but from different sources, that read something like – “BBC News. Nuclear plant in Japan has suffered huge meltdown. Radiation spreading across Asia. Will reach Philippines by 4pm. Stay indoors. Radiation attacks thyroid first. Cover necks and spread with betaine.” I was understandably a little worried so I phoned a few friends to see if they’d got the same warning. One friend had heard it was a hoax. I double checked with others and as it turned out it was exactly that; an hilarious hoax. I have to say the text seemed a little strange – the part about radiation attacking the thyroid first, like it was some sort of poisonous snake, the fact that the radiation was somehow blowing round a corner to the Philippines first – but I still fell for it. Despite my best efforts I’m totally susceptible to fear. I’m a big fan of practical jokes but that one just wasn’t funny.
I got the text while I was teaching my new private student (a natty little job on the side I’ve acquired). He’s a rich banker who works on the Bund, he buys me a coffee, we talk about anything he wants (the pyramids, evolution, rich people on yachts) for a couple of hours and then he pays me handsomely. As it was my first lesson and I was desperate for money, I decided not to tell him about the nuclear scare until he’d paid me. I’m saving up for a holiday after all!
Oh and that picture at the top is of a toilet door in rural Fujian. It made me laugh for so long I nearly missed the train.