Thursday, July 31, 2008

~ dragons, pandas and shipping containers

On the front page of The Age today there are some indistinct pirated images of rehearsals for the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. One of them appears to show an enormous stack of rectangular white boxes.

Could it be that the hyper-sensitive, deeply paranoid nation of China has shrugged its profound humorlessness?

Do these boxes represent shipping containers?

The universal instruments of trade which would so accurately typify China’s relationship with the rest of the world.

A vista of anonymous oblongs, reaching to the horizon …

Bursting open, theatrically, before a global audience, to reveal cheaply manufactured goods of almost infinite variety …

The irresistible current of plastic gew-gaws and gaw-gews which serves to make our lives in the Western World so comfortable, so cheap, so unsustainable …

What could be more appropriate at this ceremony? What better to symbolise China’s victorious exploitation of our greed?

Indeed, the likeness of a shipping container would not be out of place on the Chinese national flag. Forget dragon dancers, peonies and giant pandas, in this modern age the shipping container trumps them all.

The image above immediately brings to mind a dockland scene. Every large port in the world has stacks of shipping containers which look like this. Mind you, these ones, though of the correct proportions, are standing on their heads, but there could be a million explanations for that… [to make them look less like shipping containers, perhaps?]

If these boxes are indeed containers - and, sadly, I doubt they are - wouldn’t it be a great leap forward for this somewhat retarded global citizen - stressed by gigantism, delusions of grandeur, issues of trust, behaviour and perceived inferiority – to portray itself to the world with some genuine wit?

PS: I’ve recently finished reading William Gibson’s 'Spook Country', so it could be I’ve got shipping containers on the mind.

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Ann O'Dyne said...

Excellently observed and I agree with you completely, but never mind the shipping containers - the good ship Sam has Sailed Back Into Port!

love from Tugboat Annie

princey said...

Hi Sam, great to hear from you again, I was starting to worry somethiing bad happened to you or worse still, that you gave up writing!!

Could that pic be thousands of boxes of fireworks they've spent millions and billions of dollars on, waiting to explode at the UHlympics?

Looking forward to reading your brilliant blogs again Sam!

Love Amanda

David said...

Good to have you back Sam. I wondered what on earth these were meant to be, too. Shipping containers seems most logical.

lily was here said...

Ah, almost as mysterious as the disappearance of sam's blog. It looks a little bit like a Siberian camp site! To be truthful Im tired of hearing about the Olympics already and it hasnt even started yet.

Its so good to see you writing here again Sam. I've missed ya!


ross b said...

very astute observation Sam!

...we shan't have to worry, a few years time mass production of cheap plastic disposables and their mass-shipping to global, westernised ports of call will well and truly be the past.

but at the mo part of this boy wants to enjoy the party while it lasts, shipping containers and all!

Sam Sejavka said...

Thanks for not forgetting me. Basically,asides from digging a deep hole for myself in the cold cold ground, I'd been spending a little too much time on the blog and my other writing was suffering. I'm deep into the writing of a fantasy novel ... though I shouldn't really be doing that before my play is finished. It's just that I'm so slow and such a perfectionist. What I really need is someone with a whip in their hand telling me what to do each day.