Yesterday I took my wife and kid to the train station. They are going to go a couple days early to her hometown to celebrate the coming of the Year of the Rat. Tickets were so sold out that we had to settle for slow sleeper train tickets instead of high-speed train tickets. In Chinese, these trains are called green-skin trains (绿皮车 lvpiche). Their trip will take about 3 times as long.
The greenskins are old school af. In the “posh” sleeper section, the bunk beds are three tiers high. That’s a lot more luxury than the “hard seat” section, where prices are a lot cheaper. But people spit on the floor, throw their food waste on the floor, and is in general a pretty miserable experience that harkens back to pre-capitalist China.
Every year, more and more Chinese join the World’s Largest Human Migration. I wouldn’t be surprised if 1 billion people are on the move this year. The Washington Post even claims that 3 billion trips will be made this year.
When combined with the recent outbreak of the Wuhan Flu, this year’s Chinese New Year Festival has a whole new aura. At the train station yesterday (pictured here), I’d say 75% of the people there were wearing some kind of facial mask to try to protect themselves.
Such precautions are a good thing. But with so many people going to so many different places (including abroad), it makes it inevitable that this “new SARS” will spread further before it can be adequately contained. With that near-certainty, it brings up a lot of issues.
Climate change. 🔥🌪💨
Chinese eating culture. 🦇🐍🐀🥢🥡
Economic development. 🚆🏢🏦
I’m sure there are others. But to me, the bigest issue that is reinforced more than anything else is the role of family.
Life is short. You never know when it is gonna end, which makes it paramount that we cherish every second that we get to spend with our loved ones.
That’s the message I’d like to spread today. Love and understanding.
Happy New Year, everyone. Let the Year of the Rat bring you prosperity and joy, but most of all time with your kids and significant other(s).🤱🏻👩❤️👨👨👩👧👦
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