I got an email from a friend in the U.S. a while ago. He said that he’s been reading a lot about China in the news and is suddenly interested in what is happening over here. Now this is a friend whose prior exposure to anything international was limited to brief forays to Taco Bell, a collection of “foreign” coins consisting of Canadian nickels of varying mint years, and an odd (and somewhat creepy) fascination with Abba. “Dude, you are living in the middle of history,” he wrote, butchering both the English language and the time-space continuum. “Tell me… what is going to happen in China?”
For a self-proclaimed know-it-all such as moi, that question is like asking Michael Moore what he’d like to eat from Bubba’s Big Burger Buffet. The real issue is where to start? Thirty years ago, there is no way that I could have described the China of today. Had I even tried, I would have been labeled a lunatic or a counter-revolutionary (not that the two are mutually exclusive).
Today, however, I’m ready to go out on limb: I am going to predict China’s future. How long will it take you to read this blog post ... about four minutes? (those of you who have experience in the current Trump administration get more time to wrestle with the multi-syllable words… words like “multi-syllable.”). OK, I will tell you exactly what will happen in China in the next four minutes. This isn’t some stupid party trick or a reality show script treatment (at least not yet). This is for real.
So here we go… “The Future of China’s Next Four Minutes”:
At least 23 million people will be cut off when speaking on their mobile phones but will continue to holler “Wei!?” for the entire four minutes. At least 2/3 of those people will be driving.
A guy named Wang will look into the mirror and think “Why are there 200,000,000 people in China who share my surname?”
In the Shanghai area alone, 172 drivers will miss their exit on the elevated highway and, instead of driving on to the next exit, will come to a dead stop and slowly back up against the traffic flow. Less than 10 per cent of the oncoming drivers will find this annoying and honk their horns. The other 90 per cent will make a mental note of this highly-effective maneuver and use it the next time they miss their exit.
For the first time in their lives, three Shanghainese will look up at the Pearl Tower (right) and realize that the architect was compensating for an inferior something or other. These three persons will be male. Every female who looks at the Pearl Tower has already figured this out.
Among the untold millions of people walking the sidewalks of cities in China, at least 4,300,026 of its members will suddenly stop in their tracks, causing a massive human pile up. Of those who cease motion, one-third of them will answer a ringing phone, another third will stop to adjust a personal item (bag, purse, sneaky underwear), while the remaining third will stop for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Meanwhile, one person will have stepped out of the way to allow others to pass. This person was born in Minnesota where folks are taught to be considerate and not to cause a ruckus.
Another 32 million pedestrians nationwide will be injured when they leave the sidewalks to walk in the streets. This number will be precisely matched by the 32 million pedestrians who will be injured by motorized vehicles driving on the sidewalks.
While shopping in a hypermarket, 73 people will have their hearing damaged when competing loudspeaker systems pushing the latest gadget catch the shoppers in a whirling vortex of sound. Nevertheless, 39 of these people will quickly recover from their temporary deafness to purchase at least one of the products being advertised.
In the four cities in China where the sun is actually able to penetrate the smog, 179 women will blind their fellow citizens by opening their umbrellas to shield themselves from UV rays and poking passersby in the eye. In the same four cities, 23 Americans will skip work to sit outside with their shirts off to “catch some rays” and get started on their Early Onset Melanoma. Both groups will think that their methods of improving their looks is worth the risk.
Finally, 123 foreigners, all self-proclaimed China Experts, will arrogantly predict what China is going to look like in the future. Two will appear on a TV news program and three will publish their predictions in book form, the rest will just mouth off in bars. But four minutes later, no one will care. Their forecasts will be ancient history.