I Just Hope I Haven’t Won the Lottery in Beijing Or Been Named a Beneficiary of a Long Lost Irish Ancestor Who Struck It Rich in Shanghai

I am now getting spam in Chinese. At least, I believe it to be Chinese. Here is the subject line from the latest e-mail: 最大的2006年全球建材展.

Now, if that turns out to be scatalogic or instructions on how to do something illegal, please don’t notify Dr. Dobson or the FBI. To my eternal regret, I don’t read a single character of Chinese, if such that be. So I don’t have the foggiest idea what it says.

Of course, I’m not sure that my new Chinese spam-sending compadres’ English language skills are up to par, either. “Dudley Lynch” doesn’t exactly suggest that I have a Chinese heritage or the capacity to read these unsolicited epistles. So I’m not sure how I became a Chinese spam target. But the Chinese spam just keeps coming.

But then, the Chinese have a reputation for keeping on coming that is second to none. They aren’t likely to be superseded in this department any time soon.

In yesterday’s New York Times, there was a mesmerizing article about Shanghai’s changing skyline. The city already has almost twice the number of skyscrapers for living and working that New York City has—about 4,000. Another 4.7 billion square feet’s worth is scheduled to be completed this year. Never mind that prices for a luxury apartment are at New York levels, too.

The Times quotes Richard Burdett, professor of architecture and urbanism at the London School of Economics: “There’s no doubt what is happening in parts of China is on a scale we’ve never seen before.”

That Times article interested me intensely. Another article in the paper worries me. It isn’t just new buildings where the Chinese are off the numbers charts. It is also new birds. Poultry. The 1.3 billion Chinese also own a quarter of the world’s chickens, two-thirds of the world’s domesticated ducks and almost nine-tenths of the world’s domesticated geese.

And the Chinese are also the world’s leading imitators of the ostrich when it comes to cooperating with the rest of the world on the possibility of a global epidemic of bird flu. They are refusing to share virus samples from infected wild birds, and they have been testy toward researchers who think they might have a disease problem.

So I’m not the only one having a problem not being able to read the Chinese.

The whole China scene is larger-than-life and utterly fascinating. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be fatal for a lot of people, too.

Bookmark and Share