Saturday, August 23, 2014

News of the Weird

Every chance I get, I pick up a free copy of China Daily. It’s not something you really want to spend money on, but it’s easy to find at overpriced expat-focused restaurants like Element Fresh where a basic salad goes for 98 RMB ($16). (And yes, I know I will have to get used to those kinds of prices back in the U.S., but this is China.)

Anyway, one of my favorite sections of the paper is its “Around China” section, which gathers brief news items from around the country. (In contrast, the front page the other day was less than compelling. The lead story, “Vital deals signed on Xi’s trip to Mongolia,” was illustrated by a grip and grimace between Xi Jinping and his “Mongolian counterpart,” Tsakhiaglin Elbegdorj. Thrilling stuff.)

But the briefs really grab my attention. For instance, “Woman kicked off bus has her baby on road” details the story of a heartless bus driver: “A pregnant woman gave birth at the side of an expressway on Monday after she was forced to leave a bus when she went into labor,” the report goes. “The 43-year-old severed the umbilical cord with her teeth and walked 6 kilometers carrying the baby girl, Guangzhou Daily reported.” Yep. Turns out the driver did not want her to have the baby on the bus. Baby girl is in “stable condition,” the newspaper reports.

And in news from Hainan, there’s “Doctor attacked as he treats injured patient.” Apparently, “a doctor in Sanya continued to treat a seriously injured woman after a friend of the patient started to beat him, Beijing news reported.” We learn that the doctor “was giving the woman emergency treatment,” although it’s not clear what that entailed. “The assailant accused him of giving the woman too much medication.” She’s also in stable condition.

From Guangxi we get, “Jealousy blamed as 3 are stabbed to death.” “A man who killed three elderly people with a knife out of envy was sentenced to death on Wednesday, Nanguo Morning News reported." The man “saw the three victims chatting as they lay in hammocks…and killed them because he felt their lives were better than his,” the newspaper reported.

My other favorite part of China Daily is the horoscopes section. There’s always this sense of chastisement. Take, for instance, the Aquarius horoscope for Aug. 22: “Don’t be so glum,” it begins. “Get out and do something you enjoy. Joining a group that appeals to you will keep your mind occupied and increase your chances of meeting interesting people.”

I’d rather keep my mind occupied with sordid stories of old people stabbed in their hammocks and a woman cutting her umbilical cord with her teeth.

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