One man's quest to achieve parenting immortality while not going insane in China
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
SPECIAL NEWS FEATURE
Smog down, evil spirits up as New Year kicks off
BEIJING, Feb 21, Huaxin News Agency -
is bracing for an alarming rise in evil spirits after a downturn in the lighting
of firecrackers this Chinese New Year.
up to a 40 per cent hike in the presence of unsavoury bodies from the spirit
world and their accompanying blight – bad luck – in the first quarter of fiscal
comes after Beijingers were asked to make a tough choice this New Year: the
smog or the spirits.
New Year is usually an extremely noisy time when locals set off millions of
fireworks - a tradition begun centuries ago after it was found evil spirits
didn’t like them.
the worst month of pollution in human history in January, city officials
appealed to Beijingers to “tone it down a bit” on firecrackers in the 15-day holiday
period, which ends on Monday.
feared fireworks would add to levels of particulate matter in the air, and statistics
just in from Shanghai show they were probably right. That city’s air quality
index – which Beijingers routinely laugh at for its puniness – rose from double
digits to 523 on the first night of fireworks, February 9.
As a result of the appeal, sales of
firecrackers in Beijing have been down 37 per cent this year on last, with the
city eerily quiet compared with previous New Yearses.
But some officials
are now warning the drop-off will inevitably upset the delicate balance in the
city’s real world/spirit world ecosystem.
can’t have it both ways. If you open a window, some flies will get in. If you
don’t light fireworks, it’ll be bad spirits,” said Wang Ke, secretary of the
Chinese Academy of Evil, located at Beijing’s Foreign Ministry building at
Chaoyangmen, alongside the Department of Computer Hacking.
been proven time and again that fireworks are the most effective deterrent to
evil spirits. They don’t like that ringing noise it makes in their ears.
“But when you
suffer such a breakdown in civic duty as we’ve had, what you typically see is a
sharp upsurge in evil spirits roaming the streets with impunity.”
Beijingers that on particularly heavy spirit days it would be unsafe for
children, the elderly and those with heart conditions to venture outdoors.
think it’s eerie now? Just wait a while. Shit’s about to get real,” he said,
whilst blowing across his hand three times and throwing salt over his shoulder.
very well to say ‘Ooooh - let’s not let off firecrackers because of the smog’.
But I can tell you now – a clean pair of lungs is no defence when you’ve got a
bloody great poltergeist flinging knives round your house. They also won’t stop
you losing all your money gambling or getting sacked from your job, or any
other bad luck that comes your way.”
the Shanghai Stock Exchange dropped 44 points, or 4.4 per cent, in the wake of
Pollution or poltergeist? Wang in
his office yesterday. The stuffed
hen is for luck. The garlic is
Infamous New Year spirit/monster Nian, said to be
'over the moon' at this year's lack of loud bangs.
Fireworks have been proven to eradicate evil
They're not bad at getting rid of the odd
building either, as this photo from
2009's New Year revelry shows.
The most evil spirit there is - the incomparable, the barely believable, the definitely undrinkable sorghum wine the Chinese love, baijiu. You could call it rocket fuel, but the rocket would blow up on the launch pad, killing dozens. If you've ever tasted fermented potato peelings mixed with soil, with a cheeky aftertaste of car tyres, which are on fire, you'll know what we're talking about.
A traditional shaman performs the 'wave the chicken'
dance to ward off nasty spectres on the outskirts of
And an average citizen shoots at live chickens suspended
from an ice wall. This had nothing to do with bad spirits.
It was just part of the fun at the Jilin Ice Festival.