Last filler post before I get back to something with a little more substance.
Concluded our visit to Guilin with a visit to a tiger zoo, and maybe it's because I was in such a foul mood at the time, but I thought it was the just about the most miserable, depressing place I've ever been. I don't know what it says about us as a species that we take delight in caging such raw power for our entertainment. The animal act was the worst -- watching them being whipped and yelled at to literally jump through hoops for me is not something I can derive a lot of enjoyment from.
Watching the act, it's almost absurd to see two or three unassuming men so easily cowing a cage full of tigers. It would be so easy -- it would be the simplest thing in the world -- for the animals to overcome them, and yet they don't.
I read a book a while ago that claimed the Chinese have something worse than whips -- they have whips in the soul, an ingrained compulsion to cringe before authority. This idea disgusts me enough that I found myself longing for a fit of Jurassic-Park-like rage, in which the animals would burst free from their captivity and messily devour us, except I know that the government would draw exactly the wrong conclusion from this and start discussing how to build better cages.
After all, isn't that exactly what politics are all about? Building better cages?