Monday, June 29, 2009
The door of the airplane opened. Four masked men strode in. The one in front raised his gun, pointed it at the forehead of the air steward nearest him, and pulled the trigger. The steward survived. His temperature was deemed okay. Swine ‘flu and the associated paranoia from 2002’s SARS epidemic had driven authorities in China to new levels of extreme fear mongering. As each and every international plane touches down on PRC soil a team of four, clad in white forensic overalls, surgical masks and best of all ski masks (!!) enter each plane before anyone can leave. It’s like a scene from a low grade Hollywood disaster movie. The temperature guns are pointed at everyone’s forehead. Anyone slightly suspicious gets a second actual thermometer check. Then we are allowed to proceed. Leaving the plane, we’ve filled in a form saying we have no life-threatening lurgy, which another masked official takes ahead of passports. Pig paranoia preeminates.