Smack the dragon

Great things are happening in China. The people there are hustling around making money in new and inventive ways. A gym instructor from the northern city of Shenyang is renting himself out as a human punch-bag for enraged women.

“I have to make them promise not to use their shoes,” he explained.

I would have thought their teeth are more dangerous. They’re the first weapon a female gorilla would use, and lady primates are cut from the same cloth in the rendition of sadistic violence. I hope he hires an experienced fight medic like Ferdie Pacheco to oversee proceedings. As well as patching him up between bouts, the great doctor would throw a towel over the woman’s head if she went totally berserk and reached for his testicles. In my experience, the Queensbury rules are never observed in mixed-gender mêlées.

His business idea is ingenious, but he’s not thinking big enough. A woman will only pay so much for the pleasure of thrashing a man soundly. To rake in the big bucks he’s got to stage these events in a stadium full of paying spectators. For all their entrepreneurial flair, the Chinese still have much to learn from Jerry Springer and the other giants of Western capitalism.

When I mentioned this story at the safari camp, the guests were surprised that Chinese women were capable of such pent-up rage. Were they not demure little wallflowers who tip-toed around pagodas bringing tourists green tea? A verbose Welshman argued that the source of their frustration was the inability of their menfolk to satisfy them in bed.

“Your typical Chinaman behaves like a panda when obtaining gratification from a lady,” he declared. “He eats, shoots and leaves – it’s the ancient Confucian tradition.”

I suspect he was projecting. The Golden Lotus and other erotic classics of Chinese literature suggest they are a nation well versed in the sensual arts. My favourite of the canon is The Tender Beansprout, in which the cunning adventurer Ho-Dong brings the virginal Princess Ping-Na to ecstasy by the subtle use of his fingertips. With such a rich cultural heritage, there is no excuse for the men of China to poke about like pandas.

Now the booming dragon economy isn’t to everyone’s liking. Last summer, I saw a martial arts display by a team of Shaolin monks on a world tour. They performed amazing stunts, such as snapping bricks in half with their bald heads. After the show, I had a chat with the chief bonze.

“Master Woo,” I said, “your bodily feats are truly wondrous. But shouldn’t you be living a quiet monastic life, speaking in profound riddles and calling your disciples ‘grasshopper’?”

“Times have changed, my dear Gorilla,” he replied. “Our students will leave if we make them rest on wooden planks and feed them tofu and cabbage. Today, we must provide posturepedic mattresses and stir-fried squid in black bean sauce. All of which costs money.”

“In that case, Master Woo, you should hire a troupe of baboons to demonstrate the infallible techniques of your ancient order. They are easy to train and don’t understand the value of money. You could pay them in nuts and ginseng.”

Master Woo smiled inscrutably and bowed, obviously impressed by my astute suggestion. A free-market economy is truly a marvellous thing if someone else is doing all the work.

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