Saturday, 1 September 2007

Chinese Massage in Beijng Hotels

I was having a goodbye meeting today with a SCT supporter, who is a Post PHD biologist from Oxford. He is finally leaving Oxford, after fifteen years there, to start a teaching job overseas. Nobby is Japanese, and what an exceptional one he is! He is of course fluent in English from fifteen years of living in Oxford, and apart from biology, he is well versed in history and many other subjects, as well as has very thoughtful analysis on many issues concerning current affair. He is one of those people whose intellect and down-to-earth attitude I highly respect.

We do not meet very often, but when we do meet, we manage to touch on many subjects, besides cats and conservation. He is also my sounding board for some of the scientific issues we face at SCT. Although China and Japan still have past grievances against one another, I feel an incredible closeness to Nobby. Although he is somewhat western, he is still very Japanese in that he has all the virtues that I do admire in the Japanese culture-modest, hard working, polite, etc- plus many much more.

One of the recurring subjects is also of course the future of the planet and where hope lies. We both have very “politically incorrect” solutions. We both believe the only future for a better environment is to have proper family planning around the world to control the growth of the population. Very few humans want to sacrifice the comfort, status symbols and conveniences that come with getting rich, which are inevitably aggravating environmental problems that are already getting worse everyday. The solutions would be to have fewer children in order for the increasingly more and more wealthier people to use more resources. I have none and I told my readers I made that decision long time ago. Nobby is single in his forties and not married. My only sibling also has no offspring. I am glad China has a one-child policy. Even with the population at its current level, the pollution it has created with modernization, industrialization, progress and development is not only affecting the Chinese, but its neighbours such as Korea and Japan, and even as far as California!

Whenever in a conversation that someone attacks China’s one child policy, I always ask: “Would your own country accept half of China’s population of 1.4 billion people”? That is when I normally get surprised looks and when I get accused: “You are a fascist”. Actually, I am probably one of those people who truly care about the future of planet earth. In these situations I often reply: I do not want to be politically correct since I care about the truth. Today I learned that Nobby’s reply to being accused of political incorrectness is: “I am a scientist.” Therefore one plus one equals two!

Nobby told me an “strange” tail, related to him by a colleague of his from Oxford -Mr. A, who recently returned from a conference in China. I did not find it amusing though. I was worried, since this is not the first time that I was told such “strange tails” by my foreign friends.

"A" was staying in a hotel organized by the conference’s host, at a respectable hotel in Beijing. He heard Chinese massage therapy was fabulous (and indeed they are! In fact, I need the Tuina regularly to adjust my constant sore muscles and bones). He wanted to experience a proper Chinese massage while in China to sooth his sore muscles. He called the hotel service during his last night in Beijing. A few moments later, a very pretty girl knocked on his door and came in. She opened up a piece of paper which read: “US$ 200”. Mr. A was of course taken by surprise, to say the least. He could only gesture with his hands: “No, No, No”. The girl then made a gesture with her hand as if giving oral sex. "A" at his point had to push her out of his room door.

Before he could get over this episode, there was another knock at the door. This time a girl not as pretty as the last one came in. "A" thought now he could get a proper massage. This girl however displayed the same piece of paper, with the US$200 crossed out, and US$100 written below that. Now Mr. A had to give up the idea of a massage all together for his last night in Beijing and went to sleep fearing there might be yet another knock on the door with $50.

"A" and Nobby asked, rightly, what kind of image does China want to present herself to the world in 2008? Is money everything?

This is exactly the kind of questions I have been asking my fellow countrymen.

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