The child returns

What would you do if you were caught in a riot? I mean, obviously, you would try to get out. But what if impolite people tired to stop you?

It’s a nightmare scenario, and partly why (if I were years younger and fitter) I would want parkour to be a part of my repertoire. As it is… Heh. Would martial arts training be of any use at all, do you think? I like to think that perhaps it would help me to get out….

A little paranoid, I know, but I saw something a bit worrying when I checked the headlines this morning: El Niño is back, and it’s going to be ugly. There were big, big worries globally in 2007 when food stocks dropped, prices rose, and unrest increased around the world. This time, it’s coming on the back of the global economic crisis, when millions have already lost jobs, homes, savings… Even at my most Panglossian, I can’t see this going well.

I don’t know how much it will affect China; hopefully not too hard, as things are already tough enough for a lot of people here. For example, here’s a recent video from China, Shishou, which got hardly any coverage in the West, being overshadowed by events in China’s northwest that were going on around the same time:

Could it happen near you? Of course it could. If you’re reading this from Singapore, you just need to think of Jakarta 1998… In the UK? Poll Tax riots… well, lots of riots happened in the 80s, and let’s not forget that UK unemployment is already approaching 80s levels….

And so on, and so forth. Never mind, it may not happen.


  1. I heard that during the racial riots in Singapore, the hospitals were so full, the beds had to be placed along the corridors. The injured were not segregated by race because there was no space. Most of the injured actually told each other (while lying within an armslength of each other) they had no idea why they were attacked.

    In such chaos, presence of mind would surely help. But that’s easier said then done.


  2. There are some pictures here that show scenes from Urumqi.

    Ethnic Han nationalism does seem to be growing all over China. It’s one of those things where it’s difficult to identify anything specific, but since the Olympics I just seem to feel it more on the street, in little comments and facial expressions. Let’s hope nothing happens to stoke up anti-foreigner feeling in Beijing…

    Pictures 13, 21 and 28 are the ones that haunt me from the series linked to above.


  3. Hi Emlyn,

    Hmmm it’s not as if we can choose our race (and I was made acutely aware that I am Asian on one occasion overseas) and sometimes a little something like that can trigger major events. On the flipside, hopefully…. little acts of kindness from everyone can tilt that balance :). Stay safe.


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