Friday, August 12, 2005

Building the Great Wall of China to Hide the Sun

The Great Wall of China was built in the early BCE, to become one of the medieval wonders of the world. It was designed as a defence against the marauding hordes of the Central steppes.

A Chinese legend has it that an Emperor sent a search party to find a magic bloom whose nectar (or whatever) would turn the woman taking it into the world’s most beautiful and desirable woman. He had wanted that flower for his wife. But Fate played a game of Greek tragedy with the poor bloke – instead his mother was given the flower by the successful search party. She partook of the nectar and voila, the poor Chinese Oedipus wannabe fell madly in love with gorgeous mum, and wanted to make her his wife.

Chinese take incest rather seriously and what the Emperor suggested was absolutely taboo, but how did one hold off such a powerful Romeo. Mum told son that she would marry him if he could build a wall to block out the sun so that the shame could be hidden from the eyes of the world. Thus was born the legend that the Great Wall of China was initiated to achieve that Oedipus wannabe’s dream.

But today this great icon of the Chinese is ravaged by party animals. Drunken, drug-taking yobs holding wild parties and orgies on the Wall are damaging and vandalising the structure. Young Westerners studying in China hold outdoor parties and barbecues there, in complete disregard for the special significance of the Wall in Chinese culture and history.

The parties leave behind empty bottles, party litter, stench of urine, vomit and excrement. One young Westerner who was obviously glutted with beer was caught have a pee right on the Wall.

Maybe they ought to quickly build the Wall to hide the sun from the modern day shame.