Seething since 2000*
When it rains non-stop for twenty four hours, that’s Buddha. Both the rain and the end of the rain, after which the freshness is Buddha, too. When two Chinese girls dressed in white stare at you for a while and then ask to have their photo taken with you, that’s Buddha. When you try to catch a train from a railway station that hasn’t even been fully-constructed yet, that’s Buddha. When you find a bus outside the station that’s leaving for Hangzhou in five minutes, that’s Buddha too. When you walk beside the lake, Buddha is in the water, disguised as a golden cow. Both the gold and the camera you use to take a picture of the cow are Buddha. It begins to feel as if everything is Buddha. That’s also Buddha. When the old woman at the convenience store laughs at the amount of alcohol you are drinking, that’s probably Buddha. The mischievous smile of a drunken Buddha, anyway. When you buy a small jar of clear spirits, Buddha exists in your shaking hand. When the Russian girls dance in their special cages at the nightclub, tossing their hair and showing the Chinese boys their arses, that’s Buddha. When the cooks at the dumpling restaurant laugh at the way you eat your food, that’s Buddha. When the girl leading the marching band twists her hand and the band turns on a yuan, that’s Buddha. When a group of school children passes you at the Summer Palace and starts singing out “Hello! Welcome to China!” that’s Buddha saying hello. When an animated Monkey and Piggsy demonstrate the efficacy of security and politeness on a videowall in the Shanghai subway, that’s kind of like Buddha. The Buddha whose likeness changes from moment to moment, at least. When you discover how to circumvent internet censorship, that’s the spirit of Buddha trying to get out. When graffiti walls disappear overnight, to be replaced by acres of crumbling bricks, that’s Buddha. When you ask yourself what your purpose in life might be, only Buddha can provide silence as an answer. That’s the kind of person Buddha would be, were Buddha not a siren, or a car horn blaring non-stop for twenty four hours in the rain. That’s the silence of Buddha – it blares. When Crowded House makes you feel frisky, that’s not Buddha. That’s drunkenness, which in a roundabout way is also Buddha, I suppose. When you dance, Buddha is your DJ. Buddha makes snow fall from the ceiling. Buddha adds depth to the sweeping searchlights of the midnight laser beams. There she is, there’s Buddha! When you smile, Buddha pushes at the sides of your face. When you kiss, it’s Buddha’s tongue inside your mouth. When you fall in love, you will find Buddha sitting on a small cushion inside your heart, eating KFC. Are you ready?