Parklife

We returned to the water park, which was pretty much empty this time around. The wave pool didn’t look like China-man soup this time, it looked like a wave pool. There were no queues whatsoever so we could whoosh down slides and run back to the top for another go. I was pretty much in heaven. Today, in Luxun park I watched the locals enjoy their own version of aqua bliss, as a number of blokes braved the filthy man-made lake to swim laps. When you’re in China and there’s a load of signs saying you shouldn’t go in the water, it’s probably a good idea not to go in the water. Yet there these heroes were, weaving in between pedalos and floating packets of instant noodles (among other things). We decided to play it safe and chuck a ball around on the grass. I took my flip-flops off and promptly stood in dog crap. That’s two species of poo I’ve stood in this week. Really bad.

On a more sophisticated note (difficult) I got talking to my banker student about democracy. He reckoned China was a long way off democratic elections although he was very keen on the idea. The problems he argued, are that people in the countryside don’t care who’s in charge, just as long as their standard of living keeps improving (fair enough). Also, China has a long history of corruption and this would explode as soon as a chance of power was offered to the masses. He said that right now the average Chinese person doesn’t have a choice in life. They work, the eat, they die. They need more choices in their everyday existence before a choice in who governs them is up for grabs. I listened to him intently (it’s often a sin that he pays me at the end of these lessons as I’m pretty sure I’m learning more than he is), and in most regards I had to agree. The country in it’s current form is basically thirty years old. The Cultural Revolution pretty much hit the reset button on the whole nation as knowledge was replaced with ignorance and indeed the old Chinese culture was largely eradicated from the national psyche. To expect a western appreciation of democracy to suddenly spring forth is ridiculous, especially as for the first time in centuries the Chinese are experiencing a rapid improvement in their lives. Of course there are problems, but so there were with the United States in it’s infancy, or indeed any European power. China may be in a rush to the top, but it needs time to iron out it’s creases. (Some of which are admittedly fairly massive).

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