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The End of the World (as we know it) and other Natural Disasters  

If an ׾ yzhu zhungj (cosmic collision) were to occur with an asteroid the size of 1997XF, the resulting devastation would be approximately 500 million times worse than the ی懯 Dyujn (Great Leap Forward).

For 5,000 long, dark years, Chinese people believed that ׌ Zrn Zihi (natural disasters) occur because heaven is displeased with humanity. Finally, in 1949, the Communist Party put an end to all that superstitious nonsense. Official Party Line soberly asserts that the occurrence of natural disasters is in no way related to bad governing, and is purely coincidental.

But many Chinese lobixng (common folk) still harbor the backward belief that the Hngshu (floods) of 1998 were caused by ՞ hilngwng (the Dragon-God of the Ocean), angered by the imminent ecological consquences of the chngjing snxi gngchng (Three Gorges Project).

The Comrade doesn't speculate either ߪ kxuhu (scientifically) mxnhu (superstitiously) or Ҫ shnhu (religiously)-on the causes of natural disasters. His concern instead is that his fat foreign friends be prepared for the unique linguistic challenges posed when a natural disaster strikes.

If there were ever a phrase that could save your life in China-besides "І" w bnng hji (I dont drink)-it has got to be 滈! jimnga! (lit. save my life! help!). While you should only shout 滈! jimng! in the event of an actual jzhn (emergency), women are entitled to scream it out when they feel that they are being physically ߻ soro (harassed) by a man.

Shout ! huzi! in the event of a fire, then Գ bi ykuq (hold your breath) and reach for the nearest mihuq (fire extinguisher). Be sure that you have an emergency supply of marshmallows to roast just in case its ۊ dshns hair or house that's on fire.

Just like beggars always follow foreigners, fires and hixio (tidal waves) always follow dzhn (earthquakes). According to the National Earthquake Information Center in the USA, at least five out of twenty of the deadliest earthquakes on record have occurred in China (see box below):

Besides the devastating Tangshan Earthquake, several other µ yu lsh yyi de shjin (historically significant events) also occurred in 1976. 1976 was the year of the deaths of the great military theorist ۏ Mo Zdng, the great political diplomat Џ Zhu Enli, the great theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg and Keith Relf, the rock star who was a member of Renaissance and The Yardbirds (they did "Shapes Of Things" and "Evil Hearted You"). Relf electrocuted himself playing his electric guitar in the bathtub.

1976 was also the year in which Comet West came around the Earth-an event which last occurred in about 550,000 BC. The 1976 appearance of Comet West was about the 6th time it had returned since the beginning of our current Ice Age about 3,000,000 years ago, and about the 120th time it had returned since the great comet collision with the Earth that resulted in the miju (extinction) of the knglng (dinosaurs) about 65,000,000 years ago, and about the 500th time it had returned since the end of the preceding Ice Age about 250,000,000 years ago, the time of the Permian-Triassic extinction in which the number of species of marine life on Earth was reduced by over 90%, and about the 8,000th time it had returned since the Earth was formed about 4.4 billion years ago and bombarded by a swarm of comets.

So what did the 1976 arrival of Comet West portend for our generation, who are about to witness the prophetic turn of the century? Some religious fanatics and other paranoiac zealots seems to think theres another huxng (comet) due to smack into Earth right around now, give or take a year or two. But don't worry, scientists estimate the actual odds of a "Deep Impact" in this century to be around 100,000 to 1. That's about the same as the chances of a Chinese Ҽ mngng (migrant worker) getting an immigrant visa to the USA!

On Tuesday, March 10 1998, Brian Marsden, Director of the International Astronomical Union's central telegram bureau in Massachusetts, USA, announced that celestial object 1997XF, a 1-2 mile wide xngxng (asteroid), could pass within 30,000 miles of Earth in October of the year 2028. One day later, comrade scientists from NASA's Jet propulsion Laboratory announced that the asteroid would instead miss Earth by 500,000 to 600,000 miles, and that the chance of it impacting the Earth was ...so unlikely as not to worry about.

If an ׾ yzhu zhungj (cosmic collision) were to occur with an asteroid the size of 1997XF, the resulting devastation would be approximately 500 million times worse than the ی懯 Dyujn (Great Leap Forward).

Much greater than the possibility of an earth-ending comet is the likelihood of perishing in a hngshu (flood). The worst floods in 44 years raged across China last summer. Floods along the Nnjing River and the ײ Chngjing (Yangtze River) lead to tremendous economic loss. Luckily China was able to get monetary relief from the International Red Cross to compensate.

And now here are some survival tips with Chinese characteristics that will help you prepare for a natural disaster:
Keep a razor or other sharp object near your bed in case you need to tear your mattress open to get to your cash
Give your bicycle regular tune-ups and keep your tires full of air in case you have to pedal over kilometers of debris
Keep your mobile phone battery fully charged at all times
Prepare an emergency survival kit containing the following items:
yuygn (dried octopus tentacles)
nirugn (beef jerky)
ײ guzr (melon seeds)
biji (moonshine)
xingyn (cigarettes)
pkpi (a deck of cards)


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