No you can’t fool the children of pollution.
Over the last few days Chengdu’s pollution levels have been extreme no difference really from the last 5 years just the same as usual. In the last couple of years I have started to wear a pollution mask on these danger days. So yesterday (NYE) I popped on my mask and headed off to the metro station on the way I walked past a young father and his very young son as soon as the father saw me he started to laugh. I was so angry I just muttered through my mask “wanker”. I was thinking how dare you laugh at me you’re the one bringing your child out into this shit. I must note the local government sends out messages that children should not go outside. I usually feel a bit weird in Chengdu as you usually don’t see many people wearing masks and being a Lowai (foreigner) makes me extra pointing fodder. “Oh look at the Lowai with the pollution mask” laugh, laugh, chuckle, snort and cough.
Finally I arrived at my metro station downtown as soon as I stepped out of the station I was overwhelmed. The amount of young Chengdu locals with pollution masks was astonishing. As I walked down the street to work I was getting nods of recognition from other mask wearers this had never happened before usually when another mask wearers saw each other they would just hang their head in shame, but not today folks! What’s changed? Maybe it was the documentary earlier in the year called Under The Dome, which is now banned in China. Maybe it’s because young people in China have finally had enough of being bombarded with commercialism and has come to the realisation that some things in life are more important.
Is this a pollution revolution?
Happy New Year