Just this morning, I happened to look out my living room window. In the small amphitheater between the buildings of Seasons Park, our apartment complex, was a huge blue sign: Air Defence and Disaster Prevention, Civil Defence For The People.” Also on the sign were pictures of firetrucks shooting water at a high rise building, men in uniforms on bikes, and hard hat men standing around.
Speakers were set up, Chinese music started playing, and clusters of older folks started standing around gazing at the scene, the way retired people do anywhere in the world.
This could be interesting, I thought, and I have a bird’s eye view of the scene. So I waited to see what would happen.
What a letdown. I thought maybe there would be fire escape drills or even a lecture against public spitting (you know, the “air defence” part on the sign). Instead, there were speeches, bystanders were given colorful goody bags, little children dressed in police uniforms did some strange gestures with their arms in unison, and people started drifting away with their bags.
The last thing I saw was a volunteer from the audience who got to have a cotton scarf wrapped around his arm, I guess in case he was bleeding profusely or something.
I expected more of China.