Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China



I’ve always hated Sundays. When I was a kid in the wilds of central Scotland, Sundays were utterly miserable, thanks mostly to the puritan, presbyterian dickheads who took it upon themselves to tell everyone else what to do, or more usually what not to do. Negativity was their strong point. A bit like our friends in zhongnanhai.

Everything was closed. All shops, all pubs (not that I went to many pubs as a kid), all parks, all life. All you could do was wait for Monday.

There was television. Black and white, of course. You had to sit through “Songs of Praise” and the like. Sanctimonious idiots talked nonsense while much preferring getting back to sexually abusing choirboys. And the horror of “It’s a Knockout”. The host of that is also doing time for sex crimes.

Then there was Sunday night at the London Palladium. It was usually dull. The latest hit singer alternated with a ventriloquist, a man who could play spoons and a brain-dead announcer who thought he was a lot more funny than the audience did. I mean Jimmy Tarbuck? Funny? A bit like CCTV’s Spring Festival special. A lot like most CCTV output and “performance parties” throughout China.

Well, that was a long time ago.

Now I am ensconced in China and Sundays are much better just as bad. Although shops mostly stay open, I don’t really want to go shopping. I have work to do. On the internet.

But on Sundays, Liuzhou’s internet grinds to a near halt as 99% of the population log in to use the only things the internet is capable of – shopping, playing games, chatting to friends and downloading movies. I understand the last one. Chinese television is clearly designed to destroy brain cells. VCR recorders never took off in China – there is almost nothing anyone in their right minds would want to record.

Most of the specialist forums and information sites etc that I subscribe to also stop because people only use their computers when they should be working. Just yesterday, I was made to wait while a shop assistant finished her QQ chat. Well, I would have waited but I thought it might be better to go to another shop for better service. I’m still looking.

Another thing you can guarantee at this time of year is that Sunday will be devoid of sun. It has been pissing down all day. As usual.

Now, you might think I could take advantage of all this lack of activity by chilling out a bit. Just relaxing and enjoying the peace. You, know, sensible stuff.

Fat chance. 75% of my neighbours are utilising their day of rest by getting out their vibrators power tools and drilling random holes in things. An ancient Chinese custom, the origins of which are lost to time.

Roll on Monday.

Update: Three minutes after I posted this, there was a power blackout. Not unusual in Liuzhou, but unusual where I live. I live next door to Liuzhou Communist Party HQ and its employees’ accommodation. Of course, they rarely suffer the blackouts regularly introduced all over the city and I am fortunately on the same supply as them. I don’t know how long it lasted. I went out. But it shut up the drilling idiots for a while.

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