Mid-week quickfire round

29Jul09
  • Now while child labour is certainly no laughing matter, I liked this headline: Children over 10 to provide labor information more details here – if only for the image of some poor shoe shine urchin struggling to fill in his tax documents at the end of the fiscal year.
  • Who’d want to work on The Hanoi Landmark Tower project? Work stopped after four labourers were killed on site last week and three more were injured as work resumed on Monday.  One day it will look like this…

  • Perhaps only a crazy old gurner could get away with this, but still, meet China’s traffic vigilante: A 74-year old retired literature teacher from Qilihe district in Lanzhou, who has personally “declared war” against unsafe drivers who drive through red lights or through zebra crossings. Thus far, he has vandalised 30 cars using a brick.

“Within a two hour period on the evening of 9 July, Lanzhou septuagenarian Yan Zheng-ping used a brick to vandalize 14 vehicles that drove through the red lights on a pedestrian crossing close to his residence, attracting widespread public attention and discussion.”

“Some people have praised his conduct, believing that drivers who cross red lights are playing games with people’s lives and should be taught a lesson. Other people oppose his excessive conduct, believing that smashing cars is illegal behaviour, and should not be encouraged.”

“Yan Zheng-ping admits that smashing cars is illegal behaviour, but he makes the counter-question ‘are there any other methods available to me?’”

“This retired literature teacher is usually scholarly and refined in his bearing, and is fond of literature and photography. His smashing of cars on that evening has led people to refer to him as either an ‘elderly hero’, or someone who ‘blindly causes disturbance.’”

  • Last but not least, the Guardian Weekly out on July 31st will have a brief Letter from Hanoi by myself that’s conveniently short enough for you to read while standing at the news stand for less than two minutes. Of course, feel free to buy the thing, if only for the crossword. It will probably appear online sometime over the weekend, if you live in a country that thus far eludes the Guardian’s grasp.
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