Dawei looked across his vast oaken table, where a gutted civil blueprint of the Bird’s Nest laid like an etherised patient. Now in his forties, Dawei was a man so fat he appeared engulfed by his own affluence, a man of little morals but great fiscal wealth. He had grown obese through an unsightly process, an expansion of his younger and more slender self, bloated from years of over compensation and reckless indulgence; now a slug of loose skin. He was a man that had become addicted to supremacy, assertions and success.
He looked outwards through his panoramic window to the hive like city of Beijing before him, men and women alike scuttling among a grey catacomb of concrete and reflective glass. The once ultramarine sky, now marred by elusive and intangible clouds of great heights that covered the sky like paint strokes on oil work. His gaze fixated, upon a region that broke the consistency, a small block of buildings far shorter than its adjacent and made out of a crumby red brick. It held the ground that would be the home of the Athlete’s village, China’s presumptuous flaunt to western world. It was to be a small enclosed area of European inspired houses, built with a style that showed the conformity and supremacy of the communist nation. Lead into and out of by the same road, totally in control. The Hutongs (refers to residents of historic buildings) who had been there for a millennium. They saw the downfall of dynasties, they saw the blood of revolutions, they saw China rise from the ashes.
And they looked so damn out of place, like an island of poverty in a sea of prosperity
He closed his eyes …
His eyes shut, his world dark, his thoughts flooded with his earliest memories. It was the eighties, a poorly clothed bare footed yellow boy tethered to his mother’s garments amid a flurry of tears and dust, stone and rubble. He stood amongst a crowd of bewildered people. Amongst his family and amongst his neighbours as the scene unfolded. Labourers like ants donned hard hats and diesel stained shirts, marching a line of bricks and mortar, dismantling their home like a broken jigsaw, following their king’s accented tongue. But even the morality of his father and his working class ethics built no house of bricks and were blown down as easily as straw and sticks.
Dawei met eyes with the largest official of the trio present; the pork fed Chenggaun known to Dawei and his family as The Official. The beef fed man towered above the two Chinese bureaucrats he stood adjacent to and inhaled one last puff on his western cigarette before a slow pat down of his fine foreign suit. His family surrounded him, a herd of cattle muttering begs; their spirits had been chiselled and hammered by the relentless assault and invasive tactics of the government. Dawei shot his tear filled eyes to the heavens, a rich blue sky covered by a spiral of dust that ascended around him and from that traumatic moment, Dawei knew he had to be on their side, like a parasitic tick that lived off the prosperity of its host. He would rather be a slavering worker in oppressive hierarchy of corruption rather than a princely drone striking out on his own.
Years went by as he pulled bribes in return for the security and favour of others, allowing him to embed into the flesh of society. The evidence of his crime eaten away by his cocoon of loyal allies, which kept him safe from the watch dogs and his patrons. He had thrown away the Confucian tradition of his father and embraced the capitalism of modern day communism
Like hungry arachnids the array of machinery poised were for destruction perched on webbings of yellow and red tape surrounding the construction zone. Dawei sat at the centre of an intimidating display and observed his hard hatted soldiers march the colony of Hutong dwellers from their illegal dwellings. Herds of people scuttle before him, separated by a thin line of five policemen carrying batons, he was invincible. Almost in harmony, they began to assault his ears. Dawei had heard it all before, they needed greater compensation, their children needed their education, they had lived here for so many generations, this place was rich with historical information but above all, this was their home. Yet the Bird’s Nest needed room, and like a hungry and relentless beast, it would gobble the homes of these insects like fodder. They struggled under its oppressive grasp, but they would learn to give in; to follow; to conform. Dawei had gone through a selective and systematic process taken away everything they were tethered to, it was organised, it was effective and he had control.
His eyes landed on the impossibly thin, wretched frame of a child staring at him with wide eyed terror. What was he seeing? A pork fed giant, most likely. In a moment Dawei realised he could no longer hear their cries, it had become less than static, a loud silence. He waved for the assault to begin, in succession the machines started their attack on Chinese heritage. Dawei watched as his forces menaced the menial citizens beyond the red taped fence. He felt so secure in that moment; the bird’s nest a literal shelter that provided him with his bureaucratic haven. Never again would he be that small insignificant worm of a child. Never again would he be powerless. Never again will he be a victim of oppression. He’s with the system now, a part of the hive; a soldier who had scaled the ladder of the hierarchy through duty and contribution.
As he walked away from the fading drone of the machinery and immaterial cries of the Hutong, he felt invulnerable, cloistered by his untouchable rank and communist dominance, puffing on his western cigarette
Unique narrative, great use of techniques, consistency in use of imagery, with political influence from 2008 eviction of 2 million residents from central Beijing during the Olympics.