Monthly Archives: December 2009

>The Great Fish Massacre

>Out at the supermarket down from my apartment a couple weeks ago, I was going over to the dairy aisle. Down by the dairy aisle are numerous fish aquariums, and as I approached on that day, a man and four female workers stood around with fish. They were chatting in that harsh, rough dialect you find in this area of China.

And wrapping the fish for the customer.

One woman held up a fish. She dropped it. It floundered on the floor. She lifted the fish again. Dropped it again. And lifted it again.

Another was clubbing it soundly against the floor. Her mouth open in a grunt, the fish’s in a mute expression of pain.

A third had taken a more passive approach. She let the fish flounder around on the floor, tapping it lightly with her feet. It managed to flounder beneath a local display, but when it got to the other side, the woman was there to intercept and kick it back to the killing zone.

The killing zone of blood. Scales. A deep red stained tiles, their cracks overflowing with the blood of the slaughtered.

Even the customer got in on the action. He grabbed a fish, whacked it once and when it floundered still he said “to hell with it” and pinned it down and began to peel its scales off.

The first woman was still dropping, the second still clubbing, witnesses to this scene laughing.

The customer tossed his live fish in the basket. It bounced out. He tried again. It bounced out again and over and a bystander kicked it back over. Someone else placed a fish in, and it too bounced right out.

We left.

>Mantou! Lao mian mantou! 馒头·! 老面 馒头!

>While waiting outside tonight, here’s what I heard for four straight minutes:

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

Mantou!
Lao mian mantou!

(sound of a recording ending)

I don’t know about the rest of China, but in the two Hubei towns I’ve been to (Wuhan and Tianmen), you’ll encounter a bicycle or a motorbike with an attached cart and a megaphone tied to the handlebar, this recording playing. Over and over again.