The phone rang suddenly last Thursday at about two in the morning. An old friend of mine, a Latin American girl, was crying to me on the line: “Old Xu my friend, I can’t not call you…I had to call…you know, there, it’s hell, it’s like hell there…”
The girl just returned from interviewing at a mine accident in Shanxi with a European TV station. She called me as soon as she got home, in the middle of the night. I don’t know what she saw out there, nor did I know what to tell her. I simply said, you’ve been living in China for so long now, how are you still surprised? She said, you don’t know, a few days ago, we just interviewed a jazz master, invited for an exorbitant fee from the US especially for the Olympics. With all the extravagance in Beijing, China has slowly become a huge consumer of luxury goods, it has the most developed industries, the most modern living, but in Shanxi there exists the most primitive, barbarous and cruel social relations and lifestyles. Such a reality has shocked her greatly, she cannot find her place anymore, and this psychological plummet has caused her to be in a despairing trance, as if traumatized. Therefore, she called me, full of tears, halfway through the night.
I admit, it is because I have seen too much, heard too much, that I am a little numb.
But for her, she is not numb, that’s good, be a little more alert on our behalf. Many thanks!