A photo a day keeps the dragon at bay: #8

Pictures that make me feel something. From the cold, roaring heart of the beast that is China.

DSC_9373
Kaide mall, Shibei, 2020

Our neighbourhood mall, a consumerist temple consisting of eight glitzy levels, has a yellow teddy bear as its totem. Effigies of this cuddly golden idol are displayed in all shapes and sizes in almost every shop window, restaurant, elevator and restroom, from the odorous basement to the tackily terraced roof.
The reason for this is unclear. Perhaps it’s part of some outlandish, ironic voodoo that aims to separate mandatorily masked shoppers, ready for the stick-up, from their hard-earned digital cash. In a land where spiritual famine is soothed by all manners of material excess, it doesn’t take much. Everyone’s always on the lookout for some good ol’ retail therapy to snuggle up to.
All being said, the mall has become like a second home to us. It has the only decent grocery store for miles around, and the dumpling place knows our order by now. Sometimes, when we’re bored, hungover, or both, we just wander around, dizzy from the carbon dioxide accumulating in our muzzles, and giggle like glue-sniffing teens at unwittingly naughty chain store names like Elf Sack, Hotwind and Chlitina. My woman also teaches English to young tots on the third floor who, by the looks of things, will form the new master race of a brave tomorrow. She doesn’t always find this easy, but I like to remind her that it’s good to feel useful.
Imagine my surprise some weeks ago, then, when I discovered yet another buttery bear in front of the building’s slick eastern facade, donned no less in a medieval warrior’s get-up. Against what new devilry was he guarding the proud commie-capitalist citadel so fiercely?
The smug little fucker knew something. And there was no way for me to get it out of him.
Sadly, I have never learnt to speak teddy, and I am yet to master Chinese.
All I have over here is the language of light.
And, these days, there seems little left to do but read between the lines.

© Jac Kritzinger.
For more of my work, please visit http://jackritzinger.co.za/

* The starving artist thing is a romantic myth. If you could help in any way to keep me going, please, be my guest. Thanks so much.

Donate with PayPal

For exclusive work and perks, you can also support me on Patreon.

 

2 thoughts on “A photo a day keeps the dragon at bay: #8

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s