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Kai’s Diary, Jan 12, 2022: To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

I spent a day off at Shibati (new) old street in Jiefangbei, walking around and enjoying the architecture and atmosphere. It was crowded but not unpleasantly so, and later, I got to reminiscence at Tim Horton’s with an Ice Cap, a classic Canadian drink. One day, I’ll be back to visit, Canada, I know it.

Xiaolin at Tim Horton's in Shibati Old Street, Chongqing
Xiaolin at Tim Horton’s in Shibati Old Street, Chongqing

A bit of a deep thought, in the face of the Matrix’s resurgence, comes from Jim Carey after his role as Andy Kaufman, when he experienced no-self/emptiness: “I realized that I could lose myself in a character. I could live in a character. I was a choice. A d when I finished with that, I took a month to remember who I was.” What do I believe? W at are my politics? W at do I like and dislike” It took me a while, and I was depressed going back into my concerns and my politics? But there was a shift that had already happened. And the shift was,” Wait a second. I can put Jim Carrey aside for four months; who is Jim Carrey? W o the hell is that… I know now he does not really exist. He’s ideas. … Jim Carrey was an idea my parents gave me. I ish-Scottish-French was an idea I was given. Canadian was an idea that I was given. I had a hockey team and a religion and all of these things that cobble together into this kind of Frankenstein monster, this representation. It’s like an avatar. These are all the things I am. You are not an actor or a lawyer. No one is a lawyer. There are lawyers, law is practiced, but no one is a lawyer. There is no one, in fact, there.” — Jim Carrey. I like to think about these things on cold winter days, as I wonder where my life is going, and I try to tick off the boxes on my daily, weekly, and monthly goals.

“…Not getting COVID in January is the new squid games. Experts say most of the world will get it and get over it by Valentine’s Day. Some new models predict that by March or April most of the exponential spread will be in deep decline and this might be the last pandemic winter. Hang on, my friends, hang on.”

I’ve heard it said that not getting COVID in January is the new squid games. Experts say most of the world will get it and get over it by Valentine’s Day. Some new models predict that by March or April most of the exponential spread will be in deep decline and this might be the last pandemic winter. Hang on, my friends, hang on.

I got a call and got interviewed by the Beijing Review on my thoughts of the 5I diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. Xiaolin told me – this is sensitive for both Canada and China, so speak carefully, and I tried to take her advice to heart, but I spoke the truth and gave them my opinion. I think a healthier, more positive thing for Canada to say would have been, “In respect for the Beijing Olympics we are only sending a small delegation of athletes and support staff for pandemic prevention purposes and the safety of our global athletes,” that would have been a lot classier than trying to play into an American – largely unsubstantiated – smear campaign. A funny comment I heard was that when Canadian politicians expressed concern for the safety of Canadian athletes going to Beijing to compete when in reality, I think Beijing might be the safest place they’ll be all year. They should be more concerned about them not wanting to come back. 

“Canadian politicians expressed concern for the safety of Canadian athletes going to Beijing to compete when in reality, I think Beijing might be the safest place they’ll be all year. They should be more concerned about them not wanting to come back.”

“My dad thinks Boris Johnson is acting like a ‘dictator’ because of the pandemic restrictions he’s put in place. He’ll still vote for him at the next election though!” says CQ ex-pat Thomas E., on citizen fatigue with new pandemic restrictions. But A pandemic is a viral war, since I’ve said from the beginning, an invisible war, and had the countries just declared wartime measures from the beginning and said yes, this is what’s required to protect you, we could have probably done what needed to be done without worrying about complainers, entitled ‘AmerKarens’ who compare putting a piece of cloth over your face as part of your civic duty to living in Nazi Germany.

Toronto is reporting that there are 0 medics and ambulances available to respond to emergency calls, a combination of Omicron sidelining front-line workers, and funding cuts that leave little resources for this latest wave. Meanwhile, in the Atlantic is this killer line, “This is the cost of two years prematurely pushing for a return to normal (and) the lack of a normal to return to,” by the Atlantic on the collapse of Western hospital systems under heavy strain and decades of underfunding. COVID has been a magnifier for all the little cracks that a thousand conservative cuts have made. With the Olympics coming, China is getting serious about kicking COVID- even as the first few cases of Omicron are announced in Anyang, home to 5.5 million people, prompting lockdowns and massive testing, we’ll finally see the most dedicated epidemic fighters versus the most contagious variant, and it might be the epidemiological Olympics of the winter, and I watch it with bated breath, I’ll be ready for 2020 style sweeping lockdowns and a Spring festival travel ban if that’s what it takes to control it.

“…as the first few cases of Omicron are announced in Anyang, home to 5.5 million people, prompting lockdowns and massive testing, we’ll finally see the most dedicated epidemic fighters versus the most contagious variant, and it might be the epidemiological Olympics of the winter,”

After years of leaks and bumps, we got a new fridge, a gift from the school. It’ gorgeous and everything a new fridge should be, full of magnets from all over the world and a reminder of what’s waiting after the pandemic. I’ve heard it said, as we cautiously hope, that Omicron, being so contagious and relatively mild, maybe the last significant variant of concern and beat out anything that comes after* caveat about France pending* and that by 2023 we’ll be cleaning up the mess and back to travel and adventure soon. I really hope so.

Our new fridge - a little treat from the school, full of memories of travel and adventure we'd love to get back to after the pandemic.
Our new fridge – a little treat from the school, full of memories of travel and adventure we’d love to get back to after the pandemic.

Soon we’ll have the Year of the Water Tiger to look forward to. What will it take for our Star Trek future? It may sound like a longshot, but I’m betting on the fall of capitalism and the polyphonic rise of the world bodies under a Chinese 5G and belt and road banner of equanimity – but understand if that sounds idealistic or far-fetched to those locked in the throat of a wild and beleaguered late-stage capitalism.

Outrageous policies of airlines around the world contributing to massive C02 emissions even as passenger demand has dropped.
Outrageous policies of airlines around the world contribute to massive C02 emissions even as passenger demand has dropped.

A new story has emerged that despite a drop in demand, Brussels Airlines and thousands of airlines are flying ghost planes o keep their landing status. Thousands of empty planes guzzling gas and superheating the atmosphere, without even the reason of transporting passengers. All this time, we aren’t traveling; that could have been a break for the climate wasted because of a lack of imagination. What a tragedy and profound lack of imagination that an agreement that wasn’t so colossally wasteful couldn’t have been thought of.

Netflix’s biggest movie ever, Leo and Jenn’s Don’t Look Up, is making people talk about how capitalism corrupts science and our best efforts to handle a crisis: the media, which for most of the movie was the butt of many of the jokes don’t seem to like being the butt of the jokes, but overall it’s a pretty good conversation to be having.

Time for my booster shot! I’m excited to get it out of the way and get my immunity up.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, the new face of American ignorance, has her Twitter account banned for good over COVID misinformation, joining the ranks of Trump as liars who promise to create new social media platforms where they can spread propaganda dangerously, but as it turns out, ingenuity requires creativity and intelligence.

I’m watching Cobra Kai and loved the hockey episode and the idea of ‘Myagi-Do: no be there,’ similar to Bruce Lee’s ‘the art of fighting without fighting,’ perhaps in a world where I can’t make jokes online, I’ll just write books and blogs and enjoy my life.

Little PSA: Children and babies are at high risk of Covid before getting vaccinated. If you’re pregnant, make sure you’re vaccinated, so your baby gets your immunity! It ould save your family’s life!

‘Every houseguest brings you happiness-some when they arrive, and some when they are leaving,’ – Confucius. As I read about a prosecutor who opposed COVID-19 mandates who died after contracting COVID (Orange County, California), I think it’s sad, but also, that’s Karma.

Please get your Vitamin D intake this winter and keep wearing masks. Get your vaccines. Try to stay in shape and eat and sleep well. It’s still vital to your good health. 

Here’s my caveat – I would be remiss not to mention that France detects new COVID-19 variant”IH”, more infectious than Omicron. The discovery of the variant, dubbed B.1.640.2, was announced in a paper posted on medRxiv. Researchers say that it contains 46 mutations — even more than Omicron — making it more resistant to vaccines and infectious. Twelve cases have been spotted so far near Marseille – a place Xiaolin, and I hold close to our heart – with the first linked to travel to the African country Cameroon. Tests show the strain carries the N501Y mutation — first seen on the Alpha variant — that experts believe can make it more transmissible. According to the scientists, it also carries the E484K mutation, which could mean that the IHU variant will be more resistant to vaccines. It s yet to be spotted in other countries or labeled a variant under investigation by the World Health Organization. Experts say don’t worry.

The South African government said Thursday that data from its health department suggested that the country had passed its Omicron peak without a major spike in deaths, offering cautious hope to other countries grappling with the variant.”

“Clinging to borrowed goods is a recipe for pain,” – Epictetus.

A lot of the grief we face is a reluctance to face change and adapt: perhaps the strength to endure comes not from without; but from within. “Clinging to borrowed goods is a recipe for pain,” – Epictetus, stoic. The best way to have your best 2022 life is to be in control of your mind, your desires, and your perceptions. Stoic philosophy is a way to take back control of your life, purpose, and happiness.  

Be Like Water, says Bruce Lee. How can we? We ask.

The water in your body is just visiting. It was a thunderstorm a week ago. It will be the ocean soon enough. Most of your cells come and go like morning dew. We’re more weather pattern than stone monument. Sunlight on mist. Summer lightning. Your choices outweigh your substance.

Lab-grown chicken nuggets make cruelty-free meat possible: Grown from animal cells, the nuggets taste like chicken because they are made from real chicken – a fantastic new idea. Facebook sent me a notification to tell me that clueless AI operators flagged this news as spam: Brought to you advertisers that sell live animals and would lose billions if this technology caught on.

CNN reports: People who are overweight or obese are at a much higher risk of more severe disease and even death from COVID-19, and one new study suggests that losing weight can reduce that risk. Um. .well, we know two years ago that having a BMI of over 30% body fat was a huge comorbidity- along with smoking – that would lead to serious covid and death. It’s great that after millions of deaths around the globe, the PC police around CNN informed them to make what I’ve been saying since the beginning…. a suggestion that healthy bodies and healthy lifestyles can help to fight the pandemic and keep you breathing. I don’t know why my advice, just things I’ve seen and read and heard on the ground in China, have been basically ignored and denied by the smartest people in the west for months and years, only to be finally recognized as accurate after millions have died. If I had to guess, I would say that the west suffers from hubris, that they don’t like bowing to the experience of Asians and Africans, and the middle class isn’t used to real catastrophes that can’t be solved by just shoving working-class people under the bus. Somethings are actually emergencies, Karen. The age of your convenience might be ending, and the age of wake-up-and-save-the-planet is upon us.

That might sound a bit harsh, but after two years of reporting news and data only to be laughed at, and then the hard way, the west comes around to the same idea months after China, or in the case of Omicron, South Africa, reports it, is problematic.

So, with just a few days until my winter break, and the clouds on the horizon looking like another stay cation is upon as, it’s time in China to batten the hatches again, stock up on dry goods and beans and seeds and water and be prepared to be safe and stay home. Instead of traveling, I have a novel to finish, and instead of the gym, we’ve got Zumba and Just Dance on the projector screen. I’m making banana bread again, and it smells good. Tomorrow I’m going to dust off my old hummus recipe.

Before I go, a poem.

You start dying slowly ;

if you do not travel,

if you do not read,

If you do not listen to the sounds of life,

If you do not appreciate yourself.

You start dying slowly :

When you kill your self-esteem,

When you do not let others help you.

You start dying slowly ;

If you become a slave of your habits,

Walking every day on the same paths…

If you do not change your routine,

If you do not wear different colors

Or you do not speak to that you don’t know.

You start dying slowly :

If you avoid to feel passion

And their turbulent emotions;

Those which make your eyes glisten

And your heartbeat fast.

You start dying slowly :

If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain

If you do not go after a dream

If you do not allow yourself

At least once in your lifetime

To run away from sensible advice, don’t let yourself die slowly

Do not forget to be happy!

~ Pablo Neruda♡

  (A Chilean poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971)

Happy New Year, more to come.

Kai

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