I found this in my Google Reader feed this morning, a post from a British blogger named Charlie living in Beijing. Three weeks after it was reported that the Chinese government convinced the World Bank to suppress a report that over 700,000 Chinese citizens die every year of pollution-related ailments, due to the fact that it may lead to
revolution social unrest among the populace, Charlie’s post reads like a bittersweet valentine to the city he’s lived in for four years:
I woke up this morning and ate some baozi. They were disgusting! I’m sure I they were made of cardboard.
To get rid of the strange taste I brushed my teeth. Unfortunately the toothpaste contained diethylene glycol, which can cause nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, urinary problems, kidney failure, breathing problems, lethargy, convulsions, coma and even death, so I spat it out and rinsed with clean water from my water cooler.
Unfortunately I had read in the Beijing Times that water in water coolers is probably just ordinary tap water. Officials say tap water is now clean, but the problem is that the pipes carrying it are old and dirty, making the final product risky.
I therefore skipped the water and had some fruit juice. What bad luck I was having! It just so happened that the fruit juice I had purchased was in the small 20% group of fruit juice products that are substandard.
Bored with beverages I had a light snack to take my mind off things. I ate a sweet but it was horrendously sweet, so I then had a prawn. Unfortunately the prawn was clearly contaminated with antibiotic residues and carcinogens so I had to throw it away.
My dog was looking hungry as I discarded foodstuff after foodstuff, and I realized it must be his dinner time. He tucked into his pet food, but I was shocked when he suddenly keeled over and died.
I felt very sad at the death of my dog so I decided to take a walk in the fresh air. Unfortunately it wasn’t a blue sky day, so the air was heavy with suspended particulates, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide. Better give that a miss, I thought, and instead I resolved to drown my sorrows in booze.
It was at this juncture that my run of terrible luck changed.
It just so happened that the beer I had purchased was from the 5% of Chinese beers that don’t contain cancer-causing formaldehyde.
I’ll drink to that!