other: February 2009 Archives

ultimate warrior
The world is feeling the effects of the financial crash, or meltdown, or whatever term you want to use. Just make sure it sounds like a phenomenon or the work of a few bad eggs and not the system itself. And, in that same vein, it's time to break out the slyly humorous articles about the end of the world as we know it. I was just reading a very funny one by Tanya Gold at the Guardian.

Never mind that it equates a breakdown in the current political and financial models with the end of life as we know it. There are other ways. I say, have no fear. If you've been following the sheer magnitude of extinctions, environmental degradation and unsustainable development then you know that a huge crash is on the way regardless! Tanya says that in movies people usually pick over the ruins of civilization and fight over scraps until it all goes horribly wrong. In real life, she says, she would go to Devon and live off the land. 

So here's the news: In Shanghai, in the case of a mass breakdown, you will not be living off the land in lush and fertile Devon. You will be living the post-apocalypse movie dream - and you'd better know Kung Fu. 

Following along from Tanya's points, the first thing to go in a breakdown would be the national power grid followed by running water. You need that pesky clean drinking water to live more than three days. Question: where in the greater Shanghai region can you find a natural source of clean water that could be drunk after a basic purification routine? Answer: Nowhere. Quick fact: eighty percent of water sources in the country are unfit for human consumption! That's right. You're going to be fighting for remaining stocks of bottled water and the contents of storage tanks in buildings. The same goes for food. 

Now I've seen a lot of post-apocalypse type movies, my favorite is The Ultimate Warrior, and I know that all smart people in these situations are aware of the limited time they have in the urban survival situation. They all have a plan that involves getting out and away to a safe place where you could grow food and survive for the long haul. Tanya Gold adds a bit of spice to this time limit with an often overlooked fact of modern life. Yes. Nuclear power stations. Quick fact: with no running water for cooling or human attention they will eventually overheat and explode. What's that, you say? We have built huge radioactive time bombs that will render entire countries uninhabitable simply by just leaving them alone? Yes! Bonus! Your plan will have to include a boat to New Zealand. 

Now we are getting ahead of ourselves. Back to Shanghai. You are going to have to know Kung Fu. The city has broken down. Most people have tried to flee and died who-knows-where from dehydration. Others have been killed in the riots and fighting. The old, infant and sick are gone or going. You have wisely held your ground and formed a group around a compound of supplies. The city streets are eerily quiet. It's time to go out and get more supplies while you form the grand escape plan. At first you will loot shops and malls, competing with random looters and small teams. Eventually, however, you will have to raid other compounds, the ones based around the Nongfu bottled water depot. Don't forget the more organized groups are going to raid you too. You need to know kung fu. 

Now, I don't mean any martial art either, I mean real kung fu. Not the one focused around competitions where you wear down your opponent then wrestle them into submissions. Not the ones where you score points either. I mean the ones where you learn quick and lethal self defense techniques while fighting in groups on the run. Where falling to the ground means being left behind. You need to train weapons too. Like staffs and swords. Yes, swords. I also don't mean the light floppy ones or wooden ones. No twirling them around while you do the splits either. You need to be in the class that makes you hold a full weight weapon where the forms are made up of solid stances and techniques that resemble stabbing, slashing and hacking. Your teacher needs to be making you do squats and finger push ups, not slow motion bends and yoga stretches. And another thing, you'd better be doing those two man applications that leave bruises on your limbs, not debating Qi power for half an hour then nodding your appreciation. 

You need to know the kung fu that lets you bound effortlessly over beaten up abandoned cars while burying your knife hilt deep into the chest of the baseball bat wielding crazy. You need the kung fu that allows you to destroy six would be unarmed attackers with your fighting staff. You need the kung fu that helps you kick that scavenger senseless while your arms are tied up holding your sack of stolen tinned foods. You need the kung fu that helps you lead your team of scientists and farmers out of the city through the abandoned tunnels and to the promised land. You need the kind of kung fu that helps you escape the clutches of the psychotic ex-soldiers and their fortified country mansion. 

Unfortunately for you, this kind of kung fu is now as scarce in this country as the natural drinking water. I'm not going to help you find it either. It's you against me. I do have some advice. Watch those movies. See you out there.

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This page is a archive of entries in the other category from February 2009.

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