dimarts, 15 de setembre de 2015

Maridatge xinès

Quan sóc a Xina, m'encanta aixecar-me aviat per poder tenir temps de llegir la premsa oficial mentre esmorzo amb tranquil·litat. La mescla entre la sopa picant i les notícies manipulades pel govern resulten un perfecte maridatge. Es tracta d'una combinació tan equilibrada com la que fan la cervesa amb el futbol o el vi amb la literatura. Els fideus no tindrien el mateix sabor sense les notícies falces. I viceversa.


dilluns, 3 d’agost de 2015

La tirania del Gin-Tònic


Una nova opressió, aquest cop interclassista, està esclafant les voluntats de les persones, privant-los de la llibertat d'elecció, avocant-los vers un pensament i una acció única, homogènia i hegemònica.
Una ideologia, en el sentit més marxista del terme, que per tant no és percebuda com a tal pels oprimits, que viuen com a natural el que no ho és, que fins i tot, il·lusos, es creuen amos i senyors dels seus actes quan demanen una copa.
Com l'esclau que es percep com a lliure al escollir el color de les seves cadenes, cents, milers d'homes i dones escolliran entre diferents ginebres i unes quantes tòniques. Tots demanaran Gin-Tònic, deixant la resta de d'esperits i combinats fora del seu univers de possibilitats. Com hem arribat fins aquí? Qui ha dictat els nostres destins i ens ha imposat, inculcat i convençut d'aquesta doctrina?
Bevedors, obriu els ulls, aixequeu el cap i mireu més enllà de la barra, demaneu altres licors, abans no sigui massa tard i tot el prestatge estigui monopolitzat per variants lleugerament diferents de l'aiguardent que els mariners britànics més pobres bevien, quan no tenien accés a licors més nobles. 


dimarts, 21 d’octubre de 2014

Mercader d'orient

La nit no és mai tan fosca
pels carrers de Hong Kong.
Nines xines porten joies
que brillen dins el seu món.

Homes solvents, amb orgull, les miren.
Hereus d'un son roig, gaudint del control.
Desperts, desvetllats, amb set i sense ira,
demanen més vi, i se'l veuen d'un glop.

L'ego buit de poesia d'un mercader d'orient
s'omple dels luxes i objectes, que desitja l'altra gent.
Riqueses palpables, pobresa d'esperit:
un cotxe, un rellotje, una nina xina,
que tu no tens i jo aquí tinc.






dissabte, 18 d’octubre de 2014

Cadència d'una vaca a Delhi

La cadència d'una vaca enmig de l'efervescent ciutat actua com a temporitzador còsmic. Cada pas de la vaca fa recordar la pulsació real de la terra. En realitat, tota l'activitat frenètica no és res més que una acceleració que parteix del caminar d'una vaca; acceleració de la qual ella no s'ha contagiat. Ha aconseguit mantenir el ritme original mentre camina impertorbable i busca menjar entre un munt d'escombraries.

dimarts, 10 d’abril de 2012

Privilegiats

A l’ institut, a l'assignatura d'història, sovint m'imaginava els esdeveniments extraordinaris que havien succeït al llarg dels temps. Afigurava com devia ser la vida en altres èpoques. Devia ser fascinant, pensava. Veia els homes i dones contemporanis de moments convulsos com a protagonistes de la Història. I en certa manera tenia enveja dels que van viure la Revolució Francesa, el Crack del 29 o la Guerra Civil. Perquè no m'ha tocat cap episodi interessant a mi, pensava?

Recordo com el llibre de text acabava amb un capítol feixuc i gens emocionant. Explicava la creació i desenvolupament de la Unió Europea: un capítol avorrit comparat amb els esdeveniments excitants que havien tingut lloc anteriorment. Quina pena, pensava, amb la quantitat de moments vibrants que hi ha hagut al llarg de la història i m'ha tocat viure aquest, en el que no passa res. Fixa't quin moment més mediocre si el més important que passa és que uns buròcrates signen tractats a Maastricht i fan unions aranzelàries.

Ara, en canvi, es evident que tornem estar immersos en temps d'acció. Potser vivim temps difícils, però no podem negar que estem presenciant una transformació desbocada del nostre món. Ho vivim en directe i en primera persona. 11S, Afganistan, Iraq, Síria. Crisi econòmica, crisi del deute, crisi social. El procés. Auge de Xina, jihadisme internacional, xarxes socials. I més.

Em reconforta pensar que algun nen del futur, en una futura època de plàcida prosperitat, llegeixi com el món embogia a principis del segle XXI i senti certa enveja.
En aquest sentit, ves per on, som uns privilegiats.

dissabte, 22 d’octubre de 2011

Guns and phones

Watching the news, I saw that Libya’s victorious rebels have killed colonel Gaddafi. Thanks to technology everybody have witnessed the last minutes of the dictator, given that most of the “freedom fighters” were armed not only with submachine guns but also with modern cell phones. Yet their cameras have captured a badly wounded Gaddafi, half naked and covered in blood.
The next image on the news was the colonel’s body, lying on the floor in the cold store of a slaughterhouse. Where beef and lamb meat peaces used to hang there is now a dead dictator.
But what impressed me the most were the comments of the journalist. He explained that the “freedom heroes” are considering the possibility of burying the corpse very soon as its stink is becoming increasingly unbearable. But why is it smelling that much if it is in a cold store? Because the door is always open.
Everybody wants to see the dead enemy. Some even take pictures with their foot on Gaddafi’s head. The images show entire families visiting the slaughterhouse, which has almost became a tourist attraction. Smiling kids come out from the room. I can imagine a father saying to his son: Come on, dress up! This afternoon we are going to see a dead dictator!
Again, cell phones and submachine guns everywhere. While proud soldiers shoot in the air kids take photos of the defeated villain. This is certainly a historic moment for Libya. However, I am not sure if this bloodbath is a good start for a new and democratic regime. What I am sure of is that the combination of guns and cell phones will provide us with a great array of unforgettable moments in the future.

dijous, 29 de setembre de 2011

Chinese platitudes

After a rather quick but certainly intense trip through China, I am in a position to certify what everybody knows: something huge is happening there. Not very original, but I had to say it.

I grew up in the Spain of the massive construction boom (and subsequent burst). Just let me show you a figure to illustrate the magnitude of it. In 2007, the last one of the happy boom years, one fifth of the whole European construction workforce was concentrated in Spain. We were building massively, at an unsustainable pace, and now we are paying it.

However, even I am used to landscapes of crane forests, what I have seen in China surpasses all my memories. Whole neighbourhoods of housing blocks emerge rapidly in the suburbs and new roads, bridges and railways are built everywhere. No matter where you look, there is something on construction. Nevertheless, the comparison with Spain’s bubble is not fair, as China is not only constructing but also manufacturing at a huge scale and Spain didn’t. And the scale is much larger. The richest person on earth, according to Forbes is already a Chinese who owns a construction firm.

In coastal prosperous regions, the Chinese jolly middle class fill the brand new shopping malls, art districts, restaurants and karaoke bars. They are living their heyday. However, observing their behaviour I was amazed by two things: first, by the fact that quite often they order plenty of dishes and leave them untouched on the table and second, by how horribly they sing. The former might be related to the (still) cheap prices for middle and high income households. For the latter I am unable to provide any rational explanation.

Someone told me that “The Chinese taken one by one are lovely people. In groups they are rather noisy, and in large amounts they are barely more than a horde of queue-jumpers.” I don’t know if I agree with this statement. I found Chinese people extraordinary friendly and charming but I also share the view of a quote I saw on a toilet wall in a Yangshuo youth hostel. It stated (in French): “Beaucoup de chinoise en Chine”. Yet obvious, it cannot be truer.

You are never alone in China. Buses are crowded, so are trains and even streets, roads and supermarkets. Yet the 1.3 billion people living in china are not evenly benefiting from Chinese economic boom. With inequality reaching USA levels, but with a much lower income per capita and in an undemocratic formally communist country, social tensions are likely to explode in the near future.

To simplify a much more complex debate, China’s rulers have traditionally debated between Taoist wúwei (non-action) and Confucian top-down harmonious order. To me, wúwei concept bears a significant resemblance to Adam Smith’s invisible hand, while order imposed from above legitimate state action for the sake of the interest of the common. 

Even the Chinese government frequently talks about “harmonious growth” and undoubtedly is (and have been) controlling, monitoring and holding an authoritarian rule, I felt that things are not as straightforward. My traveller first impression is that this vast and populated empire, due to its size and diversity, is practically ungovernable in a top-down way. Even having the political will things might take their own pace.

I saw a girl, shredding chickens at the river bank and washing the knife in a barrel. She probably had no water supply in her house. She looked at me. She didn’t say anything. But what I understood from her eyes was something like: do I look like China’s boom is affecting me at all? Please, laowai, leave me alone.