I know it’s late days, but my disquiet over those replicants in pale blue tracksuits has reached critical mass.
Currently, these cyborgs are in Nepal organising the Olympic flame’s ascent of Mt. Qomolangma [aka Mt Everest]. There has been a veil of secrecy over the mountain these last few days, but I saw their arrival on TV - those bland-faced torch attendants milling maternally around their symbolic object, as if it contained something materially valuable, like, let's say... the mummified brain of Confucius.
I could only wonder – was mountain-climbing also a part of their obviously exhaustive training?
Of course, they probably won’t serve as the actual mountaineers, but it’s hard to imagine them happily relinquishing their object. In recent weeks we have seen their preparedness to do almost anything in defense of it – bullying both protestors and police alike, barking commands, forcibly raising the weary arm of a Blue Peter presenter during her stretch. Their focus on the object - an elongated aluminium cone comparable to a cigarette lighter in functionality – is intense. You can see it in their eyes when they gaze upon it. There is no doubt in my mind that they would kill to protect it.
These semiotically-charged blue streaks are elite members of the People’s Armed Police. Zhao Si, leader of this special ‘Sacred Flame Protection Unit’ describes his men as ‘tall [none under 6ft 3in] and large and ... eminently talented and powerful. Their outstanding physical quality is not in the slightest inferior to that of specialised athletes.”
Clearly someone has put thought into how they will appear to the world – best evidence: the choice of apparel. But it must have been done in a void – as soon as these torch attendants hit the world at large, it was clear something was out of kilter. The cool blues of their tracksuits only made their behaviour seem more monstrous
These kind of operatives should be invisible, instead they have become iconic. Their methods should be subtle and effective, instead it would not surprise me if the blue goons were featuring in children’s nightmares. They currently are as much a symbol as the torch itself.
The torch attendants, it seems, have provided a window on the heart of a myopic, paranoid, totalitarian regime. As such, they feed our incipient concern over our giant inscrutable neighbour, which we just thought we were beginning to understand. A public relations disaster if ever there was.
And then there were the reactions of the Chinese students to the Tibetan protestors. A friend of mine from Deakin Uni in Burwood said the campus was cleared of Chinese students the day the torch came to Canberra. They happily filed into their buses and were ported to the pro-Chinese demonstrations. Someone was organising it. The Embassy denied responsibility, claiming the reaction was spontaneous, but Zhang Rongan, “a Chinese Australian student organising pro-Beijing demonstrations, told the press that Chinese diplomats were assisting with the organization of buses, meals and accommodation for pro-Beijing demonstrators, and helping them organise a ‘peaceful show of strength.’" “The Chinese Students and Scholars Association for Chinese Australian told students to ‘go defend our sacred torch’ against ‘ethnic degenerate scum and anti-China separatists’”
I would guess that the majority of pro-Chinese demonstrators had little idea what they were doing or why. This was evidenced by my friend who actually questioned one. A few organisers were all that was necessary. These are the products of totalitarian rule. They are conditioned to obey authority without question. When the gang leader says get on the bus, they get on the bus. At least that’s how it seems to me.
What resulted was something very disturbing. China, with very little effort, mobilised massive support within the borders of a free democratic country. Students, who seemed thoroughly inculcated with the dogma of their motherland, were willing to exploit the freedom we enjoy by riotously showing support for a country that would grind them to mince under tank treads if they were to try the same kind of thing at home.
The point of this diplomatically-sanctioned pro-Chinese mobilisation? If it was to snuff out the poor Tibetans, it was overkill. I agree with Zhang Rongan – it was a show of strength.
The torch relay began as the brainchild of the Nazi propaganda machine. But of course you know that - it’s been mentioned rather a lot recently.
Alert: New developments (Posted September 2008)
Around the time of the Beijing Olympics, I was interested to read an article describing the rise of a new sex symbol in China. His name: Second Brother On the Right, and who should he be but one of the mysterious agents discussed above. The sensitivity of his work makes his name a state secret, though an almost sultry photograph attended the article.
If I was this man - and twenty years younger - I would detonate. I would demand my just desserts - the 'homage, gifts and would-be wives' - even if it meant time in a re-education camp. It is hard to imagine a more frustrating situation for a young man ... sexual obstruction, not merely personal, but on an almost planetary scale ... all that steamy erotic energy rising from the cities of China like car exhaust, seeking out a target forever denied ...
Denied an outlet, this tremendous power will form deadly Vortexes of Exasperation and vicious Maelstroms of Impedance ... Expect an epidemic of poltergeist activity as the sexual auras of adolescent girls react against curtailment ... Expect epidemics of psycho-somatic and auto-immune disease ... Expect vast manifestations of Kundalini - suddenly granted physical form - to writhe and thresh beneath the Gobi desert, besieging the land of China with a plague of Earthquakes
Perhaps Second Brother On The Right should join the uncelebrated inventor of The World Bag in commiseration. Two magnificent anti-heroes condemned to obscurity ...