BURB MAGAZINE


BURB is a political and urban lifestyle magazine from the year 2020. The magazine is inserted in the back of the book Chinese Dream as the last chapter that describes the events of the mega-metropolis The Cunning City, a city totally and solely built on market-driven forces. This issue celebrates the ten year anniversary of the city and looks back at what has happened between the year 2010 and 2020.

AS FULL PDF AVAILABLE ONLINE



~ editorial ~

Cunning City 10 YEARS

須彌城十周年纪念

CC, March 14, 2020

Mayor He Xin Cheng ( 何新城 ) opening statement at the Cunning City’s ( 須彌城 ) tenth anniversary celebrations:
Welcome citizens! Welcome visitors!
Ten years ago this land under my feet was farm land.
Ten years ago the sky was gray with dust and soot.
Our hands blistered from the splintered spades and rusty shovels.
Today we are here to look around us at what we have created.
We have created a dream. A dream of glass and concrete,
of parks and avenues, schools and office towers.

In this our beautiful city has excelled where so many have failed.
Far from the glare of Shanghai, the prowess of Guangzhou and the splendor of Beijing we have blossomed.
Without hesitation we have developed beyond a mere production center
to become a powerful trade hub, an educational center, a tourist destination,
a shopper’s paradise, a city of the masses.
Today this city is a metropolis, one of the most competitive on the globe.

To get here we have walked new and uncertain roads.
We have built this experiment with blind courage and persistence.
We have abandoned the existing and relinquished tradition.
We have denied the permanent and embraced the dynamic,
to evolved even beyond ourselves.

Today this city is all cities.
Every morning it reveals itself in unseen ways.
It’s like a forest, its roots digging deep in the hard soil,
its branches our dense roads and bridges,
its canopy green like our terraced estates.

Today the Cunning City no longer is a city.
It is a world. Our world where we live, produce and consume.
You will all agree when I say; this brave new world we have built together.
Its structures so extravagant they make other cities redundant.
Its artificial landscapes so subtle they can rival with Mother Nature herself.

Who can resist such glorious temptations, when it nurtures us,
serves our desires and pleasures?
And the Cunning City always knows what we want.
It’s a friend with a mind of its own,
and a big body that works for us day and night.
Just see its throbbing arteries glow up in the dark.

Today for the first time we look back to take pride in our achievements.
Onlookers, local and foreign were curious, critical sometimes.
Policy makers have often tried to deprive us of our fortunes.
But the Cunning City was strong from its conception;
Not an instant city, but an urban nucleus able to enfold fast to it current stage.
The formula of its success is widely copied.
And the Cunning City has unleashed a social revolution.
Too many cities were just thrown up by well-connected businessmen and over-zealous officials.
Their life force dwindled with the first cracks in the paint.
Their concrete shells now empty, scattered around the landscape.
We have invested together, avoiding opportunism and state squander.
Many of you gathered here today left the fields or abandoned the factories
and middle-class construction sites to build your own home, your own city.
Now we all benefit from the prosperity of the Cunning City Corporation.

Those days the world around us was in turmoil,
occupied by greed and religious extremism.
All we believed in was progress!
Our exodus: mass-migration to a better existence in the city.
Our genesis: an entirely new way of city life.
Our prophecy: progress performance and prosperity.

With this belief, you, the citizens have designed a city in your image.
You have packed the congested center to its full commercial potential
and molded its suburbs to flawlessly fit our comfortable consumer lifestyle.
Who needs walls and gates, when you can shop till you drop?
Who wants to wait, when you can just sit back and wiz away?
So today we can add two more P’s – of perfection and play.

What’s left for us is to enjoy the ride…

~ This presentation was brought to you by Omnigroup; your friendly affiliate! ~


BURB.TV 須彌城

- ROMANCE -

MARRIAGE FOR A MOMENT

V.D.U. Prometheus meets Lolita in Heels at the …

Okay so you’re a total SCREENIE, but you’re always stuck in front of the WRONG screen. You’re always either pushing DATA or stuffing FILES or bent over STATS about OTHER PEOPLE. They’re out there SPENDING MONEY and HAVING A GOOD TIME, while you’re stuck in an office like an OX under a YOKE, or a BEAR in a TRAP, or maybe like the thing you resemble most, which is a SHRIMP IN FRONT OF A COM-PUTER SCREEN!!!!! And every week your boss comes in and piles on MORE PRESSURE and TIGHTENS DEADLINES, which means you WORK LATER and EAT MORE. What’s left of your day in terms of TIME FOR YOURSELF is a SMOKE beneath a GLASS SKYSCRAPER as you shuffle back to catch the D-rail home. And maybe, you think to yourself, MAYBE, I’ll catch a few ZZZs on the train, somewhere in between SPONGEMALL and the OMNICOM MONUMENT. You’ll need them, coz you’re not going to bed — OH NO — you’re not even going home …

Okay so you’re YOUNG, you’re CUTE, you’re out of SCHOOL but some-times you still wear the UNIFORM just coz it makes you feel DIRTY. You don’t WORK coz it’s BORING and you don’t WORK OUT coz you’re still skinny as a KID and twice as BAD. And anyway you don’t EAT ANYTHING you just DRINK CLEAR COCKTAILS and suck the SUGAR off of the rim of the glass. OKAY, so SOMEtimes you eat SOMEthing — like a REFRIED PANCAKE with SOY SAUCE and HONEY and a pair of PIG’S EARS on top — YUH-HU-HUMM!!!! Or maybe, you think to yourself, MAYBE, some RICH GUY is gonna take me out tonight to some FANCY RESTAURANT and buy me a BEAR PAW, coz I’m THAT SEXY …

Okay, so you’re not even gonna get any sleep on the D-rail, coz the SCREEN is in there too, and you can’t not CHECK the STOCK, and what about that VMAIL you were waiting on? and while you’re here you might as well take a look at what there’re playing on U-TV (DAMN Cindy is looking HOT! HOT! HOT! these days). You know you can’t just be doing ONE thing at ONE time — it has to be MULTIPLE things ALL THE TIME. If every cell in your body isn’t feeling SQUEEZED then you’re not MAXIMIZING, and if you’re not doing that …. So you figure, OKOKOKOK, I’ll let ONE side of my brain go to sleep while I keep up with the SCREEN with the other. Then after 2 minutes I’ll SWAP OVER and rest the other side for 2 minutes and work with the … and then I’ll SWAP BACK … and so on like that until I get home maybe 36% REFRESHED! The truth is you’re one of those guys who’s always half SLUMPED and half FRENETIC — SCRABBLING for SOMETHING in the middle of a half EMPTY car, with a bit of old MAGAZINE blowing about your shoe. And that’s when you feel it: that STRESS to CONFESS — maybe it’s SOMEONE you’re looking for — SOMEBODY — only you don’t know WHERE TO GO. You’re always in the RIGHT place but at the WRONG time, or in the WRONG place at the …

Okay, so you’re SEXY, but you know you’re a total SCREENIE too. You go to the RESTAURANT, but only if they’ve got U-TV on the TABLETOP. You go to the SPONGEMALL, but you spend the whole day driving SOFTPODS through POSTREALITY, or sunbathing under a 3.8 YOTTAPIXEL SUN. You uploaded your V-LIFE profile into U-WORLD, and now you’re hooked on the personalized TURKISH SOAP OPERAS they’re churning out about you — about your ROMANCE in the CALDERA with a fictional HOTELIER. It follows you EVERYWHERE. It’s playing on the MIRROR in the HAIRDRESSER’s, and on the ADVERTISCREENS in the SHOPS you go in. It comes with you as you ride the D-RAIL and wander in the PARK, passing from SCREEN to SCREEN to SCREEN as you walk. You COLLECT OBSESSIVELY to have the SAME THINGS as her — as you. You haven’t seen your OWN FACE for months; only the DIM REFLECTION of it behind the IMAGE you are watching. You’ve been TAKEN OVER. You’ve become an expression of DATASTREAMS. In this CITY, you have NOTHING YOU HAVE TO DO and yet your LIFE IS SO PRECIOUS. You’re FLOATING. You’re like a FRAGRANT DREAM. The only thing that remembers where you’ve been is the TRAIL OF COMMERCE — the OMNICOM slips which SOMEBODY ELSE is picking up …

Okay so the 2 of you FIND EACH OTHER because YOU ARE BOTH LOST. You are STRAY PARTICLES in the city, but there is an URBAN GRAVITY which sucks you TOGETHER. It happens in the SKYWALKS or the somewhere along the CONTINUOUS COMMERCIAL CORRIDOR. Maybe in the ICE-CREAM PARLOUR, where SCREEN-FACADES have turned the building inside-out. You see EACH OTHER, and the CONFLUENCE OF UNMET DESIRES turns into MOMENT IN SPACE, and an ACT OF CONSUMPTION. The environment has MEDIATED LACK by SUPPLYING TOUCH. One of you NEEDS the KISS of AIR and FREEDOM. The other NEEDS a PRESENCE in THE REAL WORLD. It is an opportunity to BUY THINGS TOGETHER, and maybe RENT A ROOM. It is a MARRIAGE FOR MOMENT — a FLEETING THING, as TOTAL as it is EPHEMERAL. For an hour, or even perhaps a little less, neither of you are looking at screens, or even conscious of them. YOU CAN GO BACK NOW. BACK TO WORK — TO PLAY. GAME OVER. INSERT COIN.

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~ front page article ~

Hot from the Dragon’s Mouth

边界冲突提升消费者信心

by Louis Coulomb Beijing July 11, 2020

Fragmented reports have been circulating this week that US military forces made an incursion into Xinjiang province in North Western China. According to one source, this is part of a larger operation christened Uyghur Thrust aimed at ‘backing Muslim separatists in their struggles against repression and intimidation at the hands of the Chinese military.’ At an international press conference Chinese officials vociferously denied any attack, while at the same time condemning the idea as ‘unlawful aggression.’ The suggestion of humanitarian concerns was deemed a ‘human rights smokescreen [being used] to influence developments in the great Yugsar basin.’ The area has been thrust onto the international stage ever since deep NMR mapping revealed a 400 billion barrel oil field beneath its dusty plains. Satellite images suggest Russia has begun to mobilise troops on its Kazakstan and Mongolian borders, signalling an intention to respond if the putative conflict threatens to spill-over into its territory.

Since global oil production peaked in 2013 the US has focussed all of its military might on securing energy supplies and maintaining transportation routes. This has been the source of significant tension between the US and China. It now looks as though ten years of economic tit-for-tat between these two countries may have finally come to a head. The zero-sum interdependencies of the Wal-Mart era are a quaint memory of a gentle early millennium. China has shifted from being the US’s discount overseas factory to a vertically integrated and highly efficient economic powerhouse, with a thriving internal market, and strong economic ties with populous Brazil and India. What’s more, until recently, China’s foreign reserves were bulging with US dollars and treasury bills even while China no longer depended nearly as much on exports to grow.

Economists seem to agree on only one thing these days: when the oil price broke the mythical $300 a barrel in 2017, the global economy suffered a deadly blow. Since then, the lights have virtually gone out in Africa, and much of South America is down to a flicker. The smaller, less resilient – mostly European – companies have either collapsed or been taken-over by larger ones, further consolidating global corporate structures. Mergers and acquisitions have brought together the most unlikely of couples. Last week saw the hostile take-over of Ballistika, Russia’s largest military hardware manufacturer, by the mammoth Exxon-GE-Pfizer Group (EGPG). Most of Ballistika’s dozen or so plants are situated in North Eastern China — plants which have for the last 6 years been China’s foremost supplier of advanced missile technology. But with the suggestion of US troops trickling into Xinjiang province, some things may be about to change.

As many commentators have pointed out, the most important developments in recent years all seem to be hinged on whether or not adequate supplies of energy can be secured. There isn’t a major multinational in the world that doesn’t have a stake in the oil and gas supply chain, be it upstream or downstream; be it in shipment or commercialization. Many alliances have been built around political objectives. One of these has been to squeeze China out. Facing chronic widespread power outages and oil price spikes, China has been forced to step up coal production dramatically over the last few years. Calls by Beijing to reopen at once hundreds of derelict and ill-equipped coal mines grimly echoes the Great Leap ventures that brought so much hardship and environmental degradation. About one third of the coal is currently being converted to liquid, synthetic fuel to make-up the two million barrels a day shortfall from conventional oil. The rest is either burned on site or transported to power plants around the country.

The amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by China has doubled in the last five years. Perversely, some might claim this is an indication of how well things are going. After all, the true scale of global warming continues to be hotly debated. The quintupling of freak hurricanes since the beginning of the century is suggestive, but climatologists from the Hadley Centre predicted a waterlogged Benelux by 2020, and this appears not to be the case. And so, until it is, to some there is no global warming. This seems to be the mindset predominating in boardrooms, and up and down the global strip mall.

Here in the Cunning City, the man on the street is little concerned with the world’s conflicts and upheavals. He’s worked hard to be able to consume hard, and no border skirmish is likely to upset that.




(BURB article 1 - lifestyle)

The Rise of the Phoenix Panda

饲养熊猫计划

: as reported by Erich W. Schienke

In the Summer of 2006, the mountainous regions of most of Sichuan and Sha’anxi Prov-inces simultaneously experience a massive flowering of the arrow and umbrella bamboo in the upper elevations. This is an event which usually only happens approximately every 25-50 years, and usually not in the same regions. Scientists and nature reserve managers at the time were quite concerned, and rightly so, as the blossoming caused a massive die-off of the two bamboo types most consumed by the extinct, or rather formerly extinct, giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). This natural process of bamboo die-off (occurring over a ten year period) had a severe impact on the wild panda population, which resulted in the high death rates of the already low panda populations in the wild. Over this time, only the pandas within the Wolong Breeding Center, and a few very small clusters throughout Si-chuan were still able to sustain the remaining populations. The breeding center was able to import bamboo from other parts of the world and feed them panda "powerbars", while pandas in the wild survived mainly by turning to other food sources, such as garbage piles. One sad case of a wild panda death was observed when a panda was found bloated and dead amidst a garbage pile of chicken bones and old cabbage. Scientists later learned that the widespread flowering of bamboo was due to a shift in climate, when warmer tempera-tures for multiple seasons triggered the synchronized flowering.

In the Spring 2007, in response to the massive die-off of the giant pandas and despite all major efforts to gather and bring the remaining pandas into captivity, scientists stepped-up efforts to map the genome of every remaining panda individual; around 93 in all. The final count of remaining giant pandas by the end of 2008 is around 75 total. Geneticists deter-mine that this is probably too small a genetic pool to insure the overall diversity of the species, particularly since many of the pandas were already in captivity and share a similar genetic profile. For the next 3 years, many pandas born in captivity were showing the recessive trait of brownish fur, not the usual black and white, which is an indication that recessive traits were beginning to show strongly across the remaining population. By 2011, scientists had finished sequencing the last of the pandas and were able to produce a com-prehensive map of their genetic profile. To encourage reproduction among the remaining pandas, the breeding center decided to continuously play videotapes of pandas reproducing in the wild, i.e. panda porn. There were also occasional reports coming in from the countryside about panda sightings, but many of these turned out to be sightings of people running around in giant panda suits. A strange but interesting fallout of the "panda-demic" was the rise of a localized, but intense, giant panda cult; where the panda suited individuals were some of the more devout members. Later it was determined most of these were individuals from the WWF, when they decided to take measures into their own hands since the main symbol which drew in donations was in severe danger of being wiped out.

By 2012, after further detailed study of the genetic profile data, scientists determined that genetic diversity was still too low to insure the long-term health and robustness of the species, so they decided to turn to cloning. However, harvesting stem cells from the remaining pandas was to much of a threat to the unusual gestation process of a panda and a threat to any fetus in gestation. Scientists turned to a new genetic assembly device for possible solutions; now commonly known as the Clonotron. This device, as our readers probably know, allowed for a genetic map to be imprinted, or rather re-programmed, onto stem cell clusters, allowing for the genetic profile of one panda could be imprinted onto the stem cells of another. With the lack of embryonic panda stem cells, however, scientists were in a bind. The next step, now commonly known as the "phoenix panda hack", was a risky one. The scientists decided to try use the stem cells from the American raccoon, a closely related species to the giant panda. Though the giant pandas are slightly more related to bears than raccoons, it was the raccoon stem cells that finally proved successful in this process. This process, at that time often unpredictable, resulted in the species we commonly know and love today as the "phoenix panda", or fenghuang xiongmao(凤凰熊猫).

In the Autumn of 2014, there were only 53 pandas left in captivity. Newborns had been too week and were experiencing too many genetic problems due to inbreeding to survive much beyond gestation. However, by this time, scientists were able to stabilize the genetic profile of the phoenix panda and were able to begin producing them in large quantities based on the near limitless supply of raccoon stem cells. By the Spring of 2015, due to the first public appearance of this new creature on the runway of the Fall Paris fashion show in the prêt-à-porter collection of Chinese fashion designer Yang Blingbling, these lovable creatures quickly became the new rage for the homes of the urban elite. These creatures have all the characteristics we knew and loved in their genetic forebears, the giant panda, with a few minor cosmetic, anatomical, and behavioral variances. Primarily, the phoenix panda had slightly striped features like the raccoon, they only grew to about 1/3 the size of the giant panda, and they could eat common house food without problems. Breeding these phoenix pandas, however, was strongly advised against, as the offspring were rarely successful, and when it was, the offspring usually closely resembled a common raccoon. As our readers may recall, there was a great deal of bio-ethical controversy over this new creature, though most argued it was not much different than the mule, a cross between a male donkey and a female horse. In the end, their utter cuteness won out in the arena of public opinion, and of course the Chinese chuckled quietly at such concerns, though they still extended the courtesy of the death penalty to anyone mean enough to kill one of these lovely creatures.

By autumn of 2019, the breeding program of the phoenix panda had become so success-ful that China had offered, as a sign of friendship in exploration, to send one of these lovable creatures on the first terra-forming mission to Mars. Unfortunately, it was unclear how to determine whether or not the phoenix pandas could withstand living in zero gravity for 16 months. The plan was scrapped for a later launch, perhaps sometime by 2025. (Much of this has been rooted in the psychologists' argument that humans need pets when traveling such long distances.) As we know now, however, the success of the breeding program brought the price down on the phoenix panda to only $250,000 (USD 2020), which made them much more accessible to the urban middle class. Being quite good around children and other pets, the phoenix panda has become the choice for ideal housepets. (Some statistics are even showing, though we do not rely on their accuracy, that households with phoenix pandas experience a 15% lower divorce rate.) Though we must say, they are not very good on marble tiles and are still notoriously difficult to housetrain, at least until the age of 2.5 years. We also suggest that you take care in choosing houseplants, as they might sometimes attempt to eat a species that could cause them harm. If you are looking for a proper breeding facility in which to purchase, or rather adopt, one of these most filial creatures, might we suggest the Phoenix Center in Chengdu, the Braxton-Whitehall breeding center in Newton, Massachusetts, or the Pêt-à-Porter breeding center in Paris. For further details, visit www.phoenix-panda.cn.



BURB GADGETS

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(bURB article 2 - economy)

GAS IN THE BELLY OF THE CHINESE DRAGON?

企业改组计划实施中

By Kathy Basheva DDC News website business reporter in Hebei Province, China.

There’s trouble in Hebei Province, along the core of China’s industrial tract, where a growing distrust between private investors and labor groups is the source of uncomfortable political rumblings.

The concern relates to the power of certain individuals who, operating independently or through hedge-funds, are amassing sufficient proportions of company equity to largely dictate direction. The problem, as Weigh Jo, representative of the labor group Mei Metall sees it, is the potential lack of sympathy between investment and the company itself.

‘The current rules are inviting the locusts,’ Mr Weigh complains. ‘They come in with the sole aim of asset-stripping, and if you try to talk to them about job security or company identity, they just beat their wings.’

Mr Weigh echoes the feelings of many working in the industrial sector, which in the last two decades has gone from the hands of total state protection to being at the mercy of financial speculators.

Brand Town Controversy

Tensions were raised to feverish heights over an incident involving Jia Li — a brand town in the Jing Hu megalopolis. Jia Li was founded by Jia Li Technology in 2014. Its population of 90,000 is focused mostly on the manufacture of kitchen and bathroom fittings, with a minority tertiary support economy. Earlier this year the balance of power within Jia Li Technology swung to the interests of two private equity firms: SPPG (South Pacific Premier Group) and FBT (First Business Tigers).

‘The company planned to cut 50,000 jobs, based on a proposal by the consultants Bian Bi,’ says Mr Weigh. ‘They wanted to ship the whole kit and caboodle off to Indonesia, minus the inhabitants of their own town.’

SPPG and FBT had called in the notoriously hardline consultants to reassess profitability across the company’s ownings. But the recommendations sparked a savage response, not only from Jia Li inhabitants, but from industry workers across the board.

‘This thing has become a kind of symbol,’ remarked Fang Huang, a major holder in FBT. ‘But that doesn’t mean some of us can’t read the writing on the wall. Industry follows labor markets: it’s as simple as that.’

However Mei Metall, under Mr Weigh’s leadership, commissioned a second consultancy firm to look into alternatives. It was felt that Bian Bi had undervalued existing know-how in Jia Li, had been over-optimistic about relocation costs, and had under-estimated the potential trademark damage associated with losing the Made in China tag. Efficiency improvements within existing plants were put forward, and a compromised staff cut of 15,000 workers laid out. There were also strategies to reduce current labor costs by paying staff only when products were properly made, and paying workers as teams of two or three who would then split pay-packets, thus enhancing performance through peer pressure.

Wary of bad publicity, and recognizing the opportunity for simpler ways to improve productivity, Jia Li Technology elected to take on board a number of the Mei Metall proposals. The matter is now being settled internally.

‘It’s difficult to call it a victory when you lose 15,000 jobs, but compared with plan A, boy was it a victory,’ insists Mr Weigh.

Two Hands One Beast

The political spin to give the incident is not so easy for treasury ministers, who have to mollify wounded unions on one side, while calming investors’ fears of market interference on the other. It is a singularly tricky line.

But Jia Li Technology’s director of labor affairs Ming Ue is keen to downplay the significance of the Bian Bi report, and the stir it has created. For one, he insists the firm never intended to go along with all of its recommendations. At the same time he stresses a belief in private equity from the point of view of the company, which he insists can benefit from the level of ‘re-engineering’ possible with motivated individuals.

‘Otherwise we are stuck with the short-term demands of the stock market,’ Mr Ming states. ‘These groups want to sell the company five years down the line. They don’t take any dividends during that time, and we get the opportunity to change the company in a private atmosphere.’
However, on the merits of Mei Metall he was more reticent.
‘Those people are clever,’ acknowledges Mr Ming, ‘but they have too much power.’



(bURB article 3 - society)

Migrant Migraine

欧洲人偷渡中国越演越烈

by Beatrice Ferrari

Last month another dilapidated European freighter, ironically dubbed the MS Bright Future, ran aground coming into China — this time quite literally under the nose of Pudong’s celebrated Golden Mao. It’s hard to imagine what the father of the CCP would have had to say, but it seems unlikely he would have felt much sympathy for the 286 illegal European immigrants on board. As individuals they may have been dirty, malnourished, and sick, but as part of a growing trend, they represent further administrative headaches and international embarrassment.

This is the last in a string of such incidents, including illicit migrant vessels caught docking near Shenzen, Qingdao, and on Chongming Dao island, as well as European stowaways found in numerous freight containers up and down the coast. No estimates have been released for how many may have slipped through the net.

The risks associated with EU-China people trafficking are considerable. The smugglers themselves are notoriously brutal, and to avoid suspicion, will devise complicated and lengthy travel routes. It is suggested that illegal migrants are often subject to abuse en route, and held for many years in debt-bondage upon arrival.

This form of migration is however no more than a dark tributary to the much wider flow. An increasing number of Europeans are arriving in China through regular channels, and showing every indication that they intend to stay.

Traditionally EU migration to China has come from Turkey and the Balkan areas, but a gathering wave is now observable from regions further north. This is largely attributable to the “melted brain” syndrome, where burnt out creative sectors and bad loans have led to economic instability and rising unemployment.

But the migration is not all job-orientated. Learning-migration also has a significant role to play, with a substantial growth in the number of students traveling to China. Figures from 2019 show a 36% increase on the previous year, making Europeans by far the largest single group in the class of foreign students enrolled in institutions of higher learning in China.

Early indicators show that having completed their studies Europeans do not return home. According to the OECD, the return rate over the period was only 14.1%.

While this is all indicative of continuing Chinese economic strength, questions hang over the issue of urban integration. European communities tend to be segregated within the city, and internal violence between different ethnic factions worries the PSB, who increasingly are being forced to view the influx as a threat to urban security.

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(BURB SPORTS)

Shanghai scores Rudolfo

上海申花以18亿人民币与罗德尔夫签约

By Jeremy Mercer

Three million jerseys emblazoned with the number 10 sold in the first week alone. A guaranteed full house for every game at the newly-expanded Honhkou Stadium months before the Jia A season kicks off. The football demigods in Madrid, Manchester, and Milan weeping bitter tears of frustration.

Thus far, Shanghai Shenhua’s 1.8 billion RMB gamble on the magical touch of Rudolfo is paying off.

The reigning Chinese champions stunned the football world by signing the most coveted prospect in history to the richest contract in history. Rudolfo, a fleet striker with an assassin’s touch around the net, scored an aneurysm-inducing 47 goals for Corinthians last season, leading the Brazilian club to victory in both their domestic championship and the Copa America.

Rudolfo was the target of a dozen top European sides, including Real Madrid who had offered a record transfer fee of 200 million euros to lure him to San Bernabeu. But Shanghai’s director of player operations, Sun Qi, flew to Parque Sao Jorge to negotiate directly with the player and the club, and won the bidding by tripling Madrid’s offer.

‘Our goal is to become the best club in the world,’ Sun said at Rudolfo’s introduction ceremony. ‘This is simply the first step.’

Last season, Shanghai proved the strength of the Chinese football league by advancing to the finals of the FIFA Club World Championship, thrashing European stalwarts Bayern Munich and Chelsea along the way. With Shanghai’s signing of Rudolfo, as well as recent high profile acquisitions such as Mark van Broken by Hyundai Beijing and Omario Hernandez by Shenzen Jianlibao, some experts are predicting this to be the beginning of an era of Chinese football dominance.

‘It’s true that Chinese clubs may not have the tradition of great European clubs like Juventus or Olympique de Marseille,’ said CCTV football commentator Xie Donghug. ‘But at the moment, the Chinese clubs have the wealth and willingness to pay the top salaries. In this sport that’s what will make the difference.’



(BURB tourism)

Bombardier Transportation To Unveil “Speed of Light Train”

光速火车顺利开通

Bombardier Transportation revolutionized China’s rail system in the early 2000’s. The company developed a high speed rail system that made travel between Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai in the Pearl River Delta a major factor in China’s economic growth. The rail system the Chinese are accustomed to today was only a dream back then. However, in the year 2020, Bombardier seems to have out done itself.
On Monday Bombardier unveiled its, “Speed of light” train that will thrust passengers from china to anywhere in the world in about 45 seconds or less including loading and unloading time.
The United States and China recently revealed plans to build, “The China Express” tunnel right along side the Queens Midtown Tunnel in Manhattan. The “speed of light” train will take you from Beijing, China to Chinatown New York in no time. “You can go to the Hamptons or Beijing. Beijing might be faster!” One resident said.


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FREEZE: DREAM SOLUTION OR COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY NIGHTMARE?

Advocates call it the ‘a Noah’s Ark of ideas’ and ‘a city for an evolved humanity’. A city they feel will offer the non-political necessary at a time of increased global tension, apparent diminishing democracy and intensified censorship. But how free are the FREEZE vessels? And can they, amidst increasing pressure to divide international territorial waters, stay afloat? Pioneer and principle spokesman Hou Xiu reveals all…

Interview with an earthling

“I was born in 2008. Right after China and America had gloriously captured all but one of the Olympic medals. Only the gold medal for archery passed them by… It was won by my father; a monk from a small island in the south of Japan. After that any international competition seemed fruitless. For my father it was a clear demonstration of the two superpowers dominating the world. Even the success of boom countries like India, Brazil and Russia didn’t obstruct the total cultural and political dominance of the PRC and the USA.

With nowhere to hide the time was ripe for drastic measure. He designed the first of the Xu Ni Shan; the mother ship of a fleet of a thousands H20-vessels (Humans to Oceans) that now roam world’s seas. Ever since the launch we have been maneuvering between the force fields of these two insular, one party continents.

I was born here; on the mother ship. Together with my peers I am the first generation of a new breed of floating population. We are a strain of humanity evolved within a neutral environment. Surrounded by the endless horizon of the sea our vision is unobstructed. Protected by the impenetrable walls of the glass architecture our bodies are uncontaminated. As the ice caps continue to melt and the water levels rise we remain calm and afloat.
We are a people encapsulated by freedom; living in bubbles void of politics or ambition, promises and disillusions. Our thoughts flow freely, new ideas and inventions emerge and evolve unhindered. Born and raised in a state of suspension; constantly in motion; adrift, we remain undetermined and undeterred.
Cities are no longer defined by the roads that lead there. Our global migration and modern technologies have collapsed geographical space, and remapped what was once a hierarchy of capitals and mega-cities. All that is left is a floating plane of lines, across which points move in all directions, all at once … and no two points are either closer together or more distant from each other than from any others.
The confluences and intensities of these lines ignore existing territories, and indeed perform acts of deterritorialization. We proclaim today it has become inevitable to disown place, and instead imagine flows. Our mountains are the result of just such an act of imagining. To be floating is to be neither rising from anywhere, nor falling toward anything. Our hollow floes neither adhere to nor transcend anything.
We offer no ideology, and we have no roots. We are not leaving, nor staying. We are decentered, and we decenter everything around us. Civilization up to now has focused on the to and from, on destination and departure, the here and there. Constantly in motion we live in the now; in the middle where things cross and change.

Today our people represent all corners of the world. The fleet has become an un-discriminatory refuge; a hideout for hackers and anarchists, a safe-haven for scientist and artists, for secret lovers and freedom fighters alike; a borderless nation confined to the international waters.

Personally I have never touched the shore. I am however like anyone here perfectly in touch with the world, and the reality of the main land. As I understand it’s a material world; money driven and power hungry, dangerous and lonesome. But this might not be evident to the rest of the global population. Unlike the 6 billion souls left behind, we have unlimited access to real information. The world’s 12.000 TV stations paint a picture of contradictions and fabrications. Our satellites receive uninterrupted and uncensored data from across the globe. Our hackers offer unfiltered web access.

The network of H20-vessels is today the central super-node of the world wide web, a new HUB disrupting the stale arrangement of mega-servers and mega-cities and the lopsided access to information they represent. We offer a plateau of limitless connectivity. Now information is the true continuum of intensities. We have reconfigured the axes of the global topology, of capital, creative sectors, ideas, identity, influence. The physical localities of power are forced to come to terms with our virtual space. And indeed in the past the world has been confronted with this new reality, when the makers of the infamous V-virus brought the global economy to a standstill in a virtual pan-epidemic. But this did not only affect the economy; it temporarily curbed pollution levels and silenced lingering wars. It was a moment of inspiration for many; its inventors are living anonymously amidst our people.

Within this environment paradigm solutions for global problems have emerged that we are trying to implement on the mainland. We govern ourselves through simple open-source democracy; we have developed the formulas for a global currency. We breathe the pure air that we produce. We cultivate our own food in hanging gardens of fruit and vegetables and farm our proteins in cubicles of countless insects. Nuclear energy propels us forever forwards and incidentally protects us from aggressors – it would simply be too destructive for any terrorist state to attack and sink us.

But let me be clear. I am speaking to you here today not as a representative of any kind, but as a proud individual and a common human being that has the luxury of living a common life. As this message reaches you, enjoy a short moment to let your mind go blank. Your life, your home, your city, your religion, your society are not predetermined. There exists a state void of local concerns; a clear mental space that will allow you to flourish. A non-political space that can absorb the lives and ideas of any spirited human being. Admittedly this will sound hard to comprehend at a time of increased global tension, false democracy and fake freedoms. But a modern Noah’s Ark of pure thought is roaming freely in your area. Take a moment to envisage freedom ... we still have room for you.”

Special contributors to this article: Neville Mars, Hou Xiu, Adrian Hornsby, Li Xin Lu


GHOST IN THE SPONGE

By Neville Mars, Adrian Hornsby

Ever since our story last month about how clairvoyant Minnie See felt a presence in the new Spongemall, our inbox has been literally bursting with your responses. Thousands of bURB readers have visited the mall with their spook-sensors pricked up, and come back to us with sightings and strange tales. Who the ghost is or quite what they want is yet to become clear, but one thing’s for certain: it loves retail!

“The Spongemall’s a great place to hang out,” explains Minnie, “and so we shouldn’t be so surprised if someone from the spirit world thinks so too.” But whether it’s the thousands of great bargains, the fantastic range of food, or just the lively atmosphere that draws the ghost there is anyone’s guess.

“We believe spirits have divested themselves of their earthly shell, and so they actually can’t eat normal food. I don’t think this presence has anything to do with Yumsy Noodletopia,” Minnie insists. “It’s about something deeper, which perhaps we can’t even perceive.”

But we spoke to Lin Kao, 44, of Yumsy Noodletopia, who couldn’t disagree more. “Personally I’m not all that superstitious,” says Kao, “but I know our noodles are superlicious. I don’t see why the ghost wouldn’t make Noodletopia his top spot in the Spongemall. After all, he’s still got a nose — I mean ghosts can still smell, right? Smell that! Mm mm mhmm!”

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One thing the Sponge-Specter may appreciate about his favorite haunt is how easily you can glide in and out of the space, and with all those curving atria, it’s always full of light. What’s more, because the mall is a co-op, owned collectively by representatives from the hundreds of different stores within, there’s no sense you are intruding on a corporate sphere. “This is very important,” Minnie tells us, “because ghosts don’t like places where they feel they have no right to be.”

A number of readers have felt the soft transitions of the Spongemall may have something to do with it. “It’s funny, you know,” laughs Wang Mi, 19, a student who likes to spend lunchtimes in the Spongemall. “When you go there you don’t really feel like you’re going into a building, and then before you know it you’re right in the middle. One time — I was wearing this cute little tartan skirt — I was deep in when I felt a wind on the backs of my knees. I knew immediately the presence had come in with me, probably accidentally, and had only just realized it himself! Then I turned round and there was this old man blowing bubbles at me. The whole thing was incredibly exciting.”

But not everyone has such a great experience. Career girls Wen Wa, 24, and Fun Li, 22, were traveling up to the wax clinic on level 4 to get Brazilians when they encountered the phantom. “We were on the escalator,” Wa starts to explain. “It’s a double helix so you spin round as you go up and there’s always plenty to look at. But then somewhere around two and a half there was this awful eggy-cabbagey smell.” Li goes on: “We were stuck behind these two businessmen so we couldn’t start walking to get up out of it any quicker. The men were both really fat, and I think they’d just been drinking at some business lunch or other. They seemed a bit wobbly. We just had to stand there and watch their backs, and wait for the smell to go away.”

“It was a bit gross at the time, but I’m glad at least to have met the ghost,” Wa reflects.

The mischief doesn’t stop there. People have not only felt and smelt the wraith, but some have heard it too. Sun Hong, 32, was sitting minding his own business on the public square on top of the Spongemall when he had a ff-ff-fvairy strange encounter.

“I was just sitting on a bench,” Hong says. “It was all pretty normal. There were some oldsters playing mah-jong, and a few kids roller-skating. Perched on a wall were these two girls with big knockers — and I mean BIG! — and they were wearing these Haier + Haier t-shirts. You know the logo? So they had that, with the two little mop-tops pulled over tight. I was just staring at them. And then there was this like deep voice in my head saying, ‘Go downstairs and buy a bottle of Haier shampoo.’ Well I wasn’t going to mess around with a poltergeist or whatever this thing is, so I did what he said right there and then. Thank god he’s left me alone ever since. That trip was scary.”

Of course, the man who has seen the most macabre mall moments of all is Zhi Yu, the chief security guard. “I don’t think there’s a single part of this Mall that that ghost hasn’t been,” Yu informs us. “And I’ve been watching. He’s on all the levels and the split-levels, in the light as it comes through the spongy airbags of these walls, and I felt him in the museum near that giant razor and he skulks around the Hotel Without Operator — peeping through keyholes I’ll bet!”

The retail program of the Spongemall is interspersed with hotel floors, offering people rooms for as short or longer period as they like (you just swipe a smartcard at the door). It’s filled with tourists, exhausted shoppers, schoolgirls doing a spot of homework between class and volleyball practice, cute couples stealing a moment, and people just taking a break. But there’s creepy company in there too these days it seems. A number of guests have described incidents of mysteriously losing small items, hearing “sounds”, seeing “things”, and experiencing odd or even “out of this world” sensations while staying there.

“There was even a crazy incident in the cinema-elevator, on the other side of the building,” Zhi Yu shares with us. “This guy spent almost a whole day just riding up and down, watching the trailers for the new Shell & Motorola movie. He didn’t leave the lift at the top as he should. It was like he was possessed.”

HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED THE SPONGEMALL-SPECTER? TELL US ABOUT IT, AND MAKE A QUICK 10,000 RMB!

Send us your real life story and if we print it, we’ll send you up to 10,000 RMB. Don’t forget the gory details, and any pictures you might have snapped! Contact us through www.bURB.tv with your name, age, address and mobile number.

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FROM MING TO BLING!

== 重建长城计划 ==

By Wei Wei Gluckman

Sick of pics of the drab old wall in decline? “No more!” says Guo Pu, the construction magnate who has taken on the task of bringing it up to date.

‘I’m not just talking about a wall face-lift here,’ says Mr. Guo. ‘I’m talking about the whole thing: implants, bigger lips, smaller nose, cheekbones, ass — the works! That wall is old, but we’re going to make it sizzle!’

You can’t doubt the man’s enthusiasm, and, with the whopping 800 billion RMB he’s bringing to the project, his power to make things happen. The proposals include:

•replacement of damaged stones with neon-pink kevlar bricks
•full end-to-end coating of wall with high gloss teflon
•an automated anti-vandal taser protection system
•speakers every 50m playing mood music and nature sounds
Much of the original wall was built during the Ming dynasty in the 14th and 15th centuries. Now at last it looks like Ming’s gonna get his bling on!


This week in THE CUNNING CITY

Carving out new neighborhoods

Do you feel your street has become too compact, your neighborhood too full and you don’t see the sun enough? Do not despair. The City’s planners have not abandoned you. A new solution engineered to revitalize the most dense districts of Our Metropolis has been successfully implemented in two overdeveloped quarters.

Head of design of the Light for Life project Jun Wu explains: “The easiest to understand the urban operation we have developed is if you think of it as carving out the heart of an apple. With this procedure we literally carve out neighborhoods from the urban tissue and return daylight. At all strategic crossings vast atriums will be cut out from the existing building-mass to allow a stream of sun to penetrate the inner parts of the City. Light will trickle down, as the test areas have demonstrated, dispersed in the scattering facets of the glass domes that cover the shafts. Finally the intricate spaces of the Cunning City can be experienced in their entire splendor. The smooth tube-shaped walls we have created will take over the role of the exterior facade. Turned inside out they will convey the different areas in which the voids are nestled. In retail areas they will carry the aesthetic coating of minimalist architecture, in others the commercial messages of Chinese neon-signs. Inside, for those in possession of the valid passes of course, easy access to one’s neighborhood is granted and a system of closed-circuit cameras will ensure your safety.”

The homes of nearly 3 million people will be affected by the urban renewal of the Light for Life project. Concerns have been raised by home-owner groups about possible evictions related to the project.

“The demolition of residential space has been a serious concern during the design process. We wanted to avoid forced evictions at all cost and I personally can assure the residents the current relocation is only temporary. We have solved this problem by creating a much more efficient layout of the apartments around the atriums and a slightly smaller surface area per dwelling. In return you can enjoy the luxury of a glass elevator that takes you right from the planes of the underground parking through the atrium straight to your apartment or even to the rooftop. These two minutes should be a great, dazzling experience. From the top of the atrium the daunting scale and bustling activity of the City can be fully appreciated. You will see crowds of people plummet down in the elevators around you and soar by on the escalators crisscrossing the space. It is my belief in the predominantly interior world we live in, some public space bestowed with authentic daylight will be the strategic supplement that will ensure a bright future for the Cunning City.”

FAT CAT TRAMPLED IN CASH-CRAZED STAMPEDE

‘I just don’t know why it had to happen to Cindy,’ sobs Lu Qian. We are standing in the CBD, right in the very spot where less than a week ago Lu Qian’s precious pet met her fate. It was in this foreboding Beijing canyon, between sheet walls of reflective glass, that Cindy — a Ginger Tabby weighing in at a massive 15lbs — was trampled to death.

‘I’d been telling her she had to lose some of that catty fat, and we really had to get out more,’ Qian tells me. ‘Now I only wish we’d stayed at home.’

The proud office towers of the business district overlooking our Cunning City, often seem completely disconnected from the common people, but one day a year we celebrate the temporary interaction with those occupying the managerial strongholds.

Since its official inception back in 2016, arguments around “equality day” have been raging. There are those who say it’s an admirable form of charity, and why shouldn’t the givers have a little fun? Others insist that “fat-cat” executives tossing great wads of RMB from the exclusive heights of their skyscrapers is just another sick expression of the wealth gap.

It all started with two CEOs bragging in a skywalk about how their bonuses had gotten so big they could throw half out the window and not even notice. After a dash of daring, and with a lick of that competitive spirit, the pair of them were stuffing all the cash they could find through an air vent to the outside world. What neither of them had expected was how elated this would make them feel. Word got out among the board rooms, and pretty soon top floors across the CBD were crammed with businessmen with serious cash. The bills were fluttering down from the top offices. Reactions in the streets below were wild.

Regulations ensued, with the product we all know today as “equality day” — an annual moment of madness in the city, when rich executives throw money out the window, and flash crowds follow the wind to push and grab at whatever they can get. The terrible tragedy for Lu Qian and her cat Cindy is that when the wind changed suddenly, their innocent walk was overrun by a cash-crazed stampede.

‘I managed to jump back and squeeze behind here,’ Qian explains, as she shows me a marble pillar at the foot of the Jing Hu Bank tower. ‘But Cindy wasn’t so fast — how could she be?’ At over twice her recommended weight, and living off a diet of king prawns and KFC, it’s hardly surprising Cindy didn’t make it. But who could have anticipated the bitter irony: that the generosity of her fat cat compatriots up in the office towers would have brought about her untimely death?

‘Those people were scary,’ Qian tells me, as she describes the crowd she watched rush past that day. ‘I saw hunger in their eyes.’

Opponents of Equality Day argue money should be channeled to the less fortunate through the designated institutions. The fact remains only a fraction of E-Day money is spend annually on similar charities. The City’s largest spectacle is likely to thrive, even at the cost of a precious pet’s life.

WHAT A POD QUESTION!

C.C.ers have been wondering for months what the deal can be with the crop of odd pods turning up on the tops of our skyscrapers. A bURB exclusive reveals that these these are being used as luxury look-out posts by EX-CELEBS, who sit watching the millions that once gazed up at them.

CREEPY

Fame, money, and glamour certainly do bring happiness, but can also be a dangerously addictive mix. Once hooked, stars let their cravings race out of control, and cold turkey leaves them looking creepy and acting weird.

‘It’s just like any other lethal emoti-drug cocktail,’ says bURB celeb expert Hu Sin. ‘You see the same patterns with people who load up on sexcess, compulsive partying, or massive noshnanza food binges. It’s all “hello handsome” while you can keep up supply, and “so long sanity” as soon as it starts to dry up.’

‘Some of these celebs have become so dependent on media attention that when they feel the limelight fading, their whole lives go from swell to hell,’ Sin remarks. ‘They’ll hang out at tourist hot spots just to get into other people’s holiday snaps. Some will even expose themselves to CCTV cameras in the hope that there’s a security guard somewhere watching.’

PUZZLED

But this new pod development marks a buck in the trend. Former attention seekers seem to be turning a telescope of their own back on the world, and this has sent both experts and relatives spinning.

‘I don’t know what she does up there all day,’ says Lynn Spears, mother of former teen idol Britney. ‘She used to be so outgoing. Now she tells me she’s surveying the city — well what does that mean?’ Britney Spears, 38, declined to comment, but sources have led us to believe that her pod is situated atop the Omnigroup tower in downtown C.C.

The pods themselves are relatively cheap and flexible, you can set one up on just about any rooftop, but they require the right connections. It seems that Spears, along with a host of others, is cashing in old favors in exchange for a top spot to drop a pod, and sit and city watch.

No-one knows how far this trend will run, nor how many more pods are likely to appear in the near future. But Hu Sin is certain of one thing: ‘As the Cunning City raises up and spits out celebs faster and faster year on year, the pool of potential city watchers out there is going to keep on growing. The kinds of favors you’ll need to have in hand for a really good pod location are going to get bigger, and more extreme. What sorts of things? Well that’s a matter for the starlets, and the guys with really big towers.’

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High Art for the faint at heart

Art is on the rise. This weekend the Mayor of the Cunnig City will take center stage at the grand opening ceremony of the largest museum to date: The Modern Art Center for Brilliant Urban Experiences or MACBUX. The opening will take the Mayor and her entourage on an audio tour across 9 different urban districts at a comfortable 12 miles an hour. Along the entire two hour ride the museum will feature a rich mix of contemporary art producers from all corners of the globe. But MACBUX is more than a large modern museum; most prominently it features the greatest cultural achievement of this century: The Cunning City. This makes for an unprecedented urban experience.

As a result of the impressive scale of contemporary art-installations and sculptures (on average works have quadrupled in size over the last two decades) art more and more operates solely at the level of The City. The increasingly dense networks of The City have been effectively spun together by a single building that offers its audience a provocative, efficient and intensely dynamic experience of mega-art with Our City as its natural urban backdrop.

It is a fact tourists have always been drawn to the most precious, white and minimalist environments in town: Museums. Here their long journey is rewarded with the global culture of internationally renowned artists contained by a structure of internationally renowned architect. The radically abstract shape of the MACBUX perfectly distances itself from The City it displays. The main volume seems carefully draped like a giant handkerchief or glove, hovering amidst the patchwork of our infrastructural master pieces, housing estates and brain parks.

The innovative architecture of the 36 kilometer long tubular structure waves through the most diverse areas The City has to offer. The dilapidated and chaotic areas, such as the upcoming Chinatowns, can be observed up close by citizens and tourists alike. On a travelator one glides through the smooth glass tube that will take you from the cities cultural centre right down to its historic ruins. Surrounded and protected by a safe and controlled environment the tour incorporates disregarded districts and will bring you face-to-face with the generally forgotten population of substance abusers and prostitutes in the deserted back streets and alleys. This makes the MACBUX a truly remarkable urban experience. A strong tingling sense of a long lost urban reality took hold of this reporter entering this last stretch of the ride. It invigorates the art on display with a layer of social sensibility not seen since art was still made by artists. Moreover it confirms even the darkest corners of our Great City can and should be perceived as breathtakingly beautiful.

Open every Tuesday to Sunday. Tickets available at all entry points of your local D-rail or on-line at www.macbux.gov.cn



personals

YOKO WHERE ARE YOU?

I've searched for you day and night, wandering without sleeping.
I checked all your favorite spots; the Shinjuku Shrine,
the little French patisserie, the onsen that drains out into the
industrial canal where I first gazed at your reflection
fogged by the steam of the system runoff.
I flew over the cities you like, over every sandbox,
even visited the old capsule hotel,
the owner hadn’t seen you in months.

I arrived to the coordinates as quickly as I could.
You know the teleport system has been hacked, its not my fault.
I must have missed you only by an hour when I received your last message.
What did you mean; "SecondTokyo is getting scary"?

I know it was foolish of me to log into the game as you,
it was a desperate move, but I was crazy for your avatar touch
I had to feel your skin, to skin myself in your skin

those hackers you hired to trick me back,
did they double trick you? triple trick you?
maybe they stole you away somewhere off the map
stored you in a zero-x coordinate
Or have you been swapped and someone is now
walking around in your sophisticated curves.

you told me you had Second Thoughts…
you want to live in the real world again. why?,
I thought you were happy in the bubble I built for you,
so many polystyrene pearls to play with
your childhood to live over again,
the game of counting each one, one by one...
I remember every detail, in drug, in world, off world

floating around with you our bodies entwined
it’s the only thing that makes me forget my rusty cubicle
I thought it would be for ever.

If you read this it means you have left your Styrofoam blue,
Please give me a sign, send the usual text
or just drop your body in the secret place.
I will take care of her till you are back.

love, Jeff



BARRIERS / 障碍

Urban Orchard

‘I simply couldn’t believe what had happened. I thought my life was about to come full circle and my dreams would at last come true. But instead this was turning into the worst day of my life …’

---FULL STORY---

Ying Jun better know as the King of Feet, is turning the grey spaghetti of roads around the Cunning City into fields of hope. His story, one of remarkable dedication and love for his City and his family, started at a very early age.

I grew up in the village. To me the Cunning City was always the jewel on the horizon — a shimmering world of riches and brilliance, but with a cold center. I was always drawn to the city, but still there was something holding me back. It was like a voice in my boyhood head.

As I grew older, the voice became real. It was my little brother talking to me. Hui was 6 years my junior, but by the time he was 5 he had read more books than me, and spoke like a wise man. “Do not spend days on just eating,” he would say to me, quoting the ancients.

But Hui was also a very natural boy. He loved to watch for Spring blossom on the apple trees, and divine for underground water sources. He could be perfectly content with his books, a well, and a little land for rice and bee-keeping.

Desire

But I didn’t have Hui’s pure soul. I felt the allure of the city even on my skin. At the age of 14 I was almost mad with desire. One evening I stood on the veranda of our little house gazing at the Cunning City, growing brighter in the distance as night fell. “What should I do,” I asked Hui. There were tears in my eyes.

“How can a sparrow know the will of a swan?” he answered.

The next day Hui fell ill. He was shivering, and had a very high fever. Anything he ate or drank just ran right through him. Three days later he was dead. I knew that somehow the Cunning City had sucked up his life to draw me in. We buried Hui in the garden beneath the apple tree, and that night I set out.

As I walked I made a promise: ‘Hui, I’ll never forget you. I’m going to make it big in the Cunning City, and then once I’m rich I’ll come back here and plant a whole orchard of apple trees. And in the middle of the orchard I’ll build a mausoleum, with a statue of you 10m high, all plated in zinc and gold, with mermaids and dolphins and horses.’ Our family was poor, and could only afford a very humble grave.

Success

When I arrived in the Cunning City I got a job giving women foot massage in an enormous mall. I have always harbored a curious fascination for women’s feet, and the work was something I both enjoyed and was good at. Clients liked the way I made them feel, and would ask specially for me.

When moving walkways were introduced around the city, women suddenly found they had extra freetime when they went to do their shopping. I saw an opportunity, and started my own foot massage company, with “pit-stop” booths offering foot services to women as they got on and off the travelators. It was a great success. Soon I had booths at all of the major transport nodes. But I didn’t stop there.

I opened a line in luxury foot experiences for women. It reimagined KTV, sauna, bathing, and exclusive food and drink within an environment dedicated to the pleasures of the foot. Next we started to offer callipodian cosmetic surgery. Now there are tens of thousands of women with arch lifts and toe implants, and hundreds of different clinics. We were the first to bring the wonders of plastic surgery exclusively to feet.

The Homecoming

At the end of the fiscal year last March I went through my entire estate. It’s true I wasn’t in the C.C. top 100, but those guys are unbelievably rich. I still had ten times the money I needed for what I said I’d do, and a lot more beyond. It was time to go back home, and find Hui’s grave.

The morning I left I was so excited I nearly peed myself. But I managed to hold it in somehow, and got into the car to start driving west. It had been ten years. I thought my life was about to come full circle, and at last I would realise my most precious dream.

But traveling outwards the city seemed to be coming with me. Areas I remembered as little migrant villages were all built up. Fields had been taken over by vast entertainment complexes, and enormous residential blocks followed one after another for what seemed like forever. The feeder roads were all vast but the traffic was still bad. At various points subway lines burst into the open and disrupted the roads. I got spun around several times, and as I didn’t recognize anywhere anymore, I was soon horribly lost.

It took me almost all day to find where my home used to be. Now it was nothing more than a knot of tarmac and concrete. The Cunning City had been expanding ever since I left, and swallowing up anything in its way. Giant infrastructure had been run right over my parents’ home, and over Hui’s grave too. I looked at the roads all jammed with busses and cars. It was one of the worst feelings in my life.

I could no longer build the mausoleum. But I could not let go my dream of Hui. I’m a real C.C.er. I make things happen even if it seems impossible.

I’ve met many people living out there, near my parents’ old home, in between the roads. There’s a lot of big infrastructure, but also a lot of space beneath the flyovers. Still entire families live there. They have put up makeshift homes in the gaps, and run little workshops. You’ll be surprised what you can find out there. Many things we take for granted in our high-tech city are produced by these people.

The first thing I did was to hire a team to plant apple trees in the fields between the roads. No one has done this before me because these areas are locked away, but there are countless patches still useful. It’s like the thousands of roads connecting our centers have created this vast periphery of plots and patches completely cut off. They called in infra-sprawl in the day. Now with the help of the people living here and I have been able to build orchards here, accessed by foot and nurtured by hand. It’s a tribute to my brother and a good business.

NATURE / 自然

It seems I have stared a trend. The project has inspired other investors to convert these suburban wastelands into agricultural land. Many other fruit and vegetables will be growing here soon. I am involved also involved in new Urban Farming project that was short-listed for this year’s Innovative Enterprise Award. In the larger plots we are planning to build stacked farms. We call them Cow-tels; really because they are like hotels for cows. Sixty meter tall glass boxes with a filtered air and water will supply cheap, fresh and unpolluted milk. Even the government has shown interest. They have been looking for ways to create much more countryside to grow food and fuel. The first Cow-tel is planned to open in 2023.

Unidentified Youth

CC

In the north-eastern water way of the Tai Yang Gong district of our City the body of a young woman has been found. The body emerged early Saturday morning, floating downstream from the sewage system towards the Haidian student compounds. The woman, estimated 23 years old and from Korean descent, is assumed to have committed suicide. Autopsy on the body has revealed a high concentration of the drug DBD (the hallucinogenic found in mind-mints). The drug however is not likely to be the primary cause of the woman’s death. Casualties of the genetically engineered drug are highly uncommon. This shrouds the death of the woman, who remains unidentified, in mystery. Found facing upward in a pristine white dress, officials described the scene as ‘bizarre’.

Questions have been raised about a possible link to the Spring Suicides of 2017. The seven young girls who committed a ritualized group suicide, were high-ranking followers of the Urban Demons. This religious sect was believed to be dismantled after the arrest of their leader Eric J. (better known as ‘the Architect’). The steadily decreasing speed of the expansion of our City, is speculated to be a cause for so-called Urban Demons to take up their practices. Followers of ‘the Architect’ believe the continuous success, particularly urban expansion, of our Cunning City is the result of their periodic sacrifice of young woman.

Police have reclined to comment, but the theory is substantiated by a tattoo found on the body. The image on the left ankle depicts the letters J and Y intertwined, surrounded by a red heart. The CC metropolitan police have issued a statement urging anyone with information regarding the identity of the woman to come forward.

Owned by neville mars / Added by neville mars / 10.7 years ago / 92607 hits / 5 hours view time

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  • the chinese dream

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