Sign In


A CNY Parable Written in Fire

Heatwolves brings us a CNY cautionary tale about... Oh, who are we kidding? He just wanted an excuse to blow shit up with fireworks...
Last updated: 2015-11-09
We all can easily make life-changing missteps in China, from unprotected sex to driving the scooter home after a night of drinking “FREE ALCOHOL @ MY TABLE [!!].” But some of the worst misadventures come around Chinese New Year, in the form of fireworks injuries. Or even death.

This is a cautionary tale. A parable, if you will. It's a Chinese New Year story about going to a foreign land, doing whatever the fuck you want, and learning hard lessons. The victims were a Dutch architect (the duck), an American finance bro (pseudo-intellectual bear), and a Japanese nature consultant (Totoro).

They met at a happy hour somewhere on Yongkang Lu, pounding gin & tonics and trading tales of sin in "The Orient" (yes, they actually used the word "orient"). They quickly realized that they shared some of the same females and many of the same ignorant misconceptions about China, and soon the topic came to Chinese New Year.

“Dude they fucking lovvvvvvvve fireworks over here in tha’ Hai!” yelled American Finance Bro.

“That’s because fireworks are fun. The Chinese know how to party,” the Dutchman explained while smacking on chips and mayonnaise.

“Fireworks are not allowed in my country because they disrupt the balance and harmony of nature.” The others paused at Totoro’s remark.

“Hey Totoro, how ‘bout you stop being a bitch and take this shot.”
Not wanting to seem impolite, Totoro took the shot of Bacardi 151. Then another, and another, until happy hour ended and American Finance Bro got an idea.

“Hey guys, let’s show Shangers that you don’t need to be Chinese to have a fucking killer time with fireworks! My hash dealer is about to meet me down here and he’s gonna throw in some free fireworks since I’m a top customer. I know the perfect spot down by the river to blow some shit up - we bout to get cray cray up in dis’ bitch. Yolo!”

The Dutchman and Totoro did not understand the meaning of “cray cray,” but with 20rmb gin & tonics coursing through their veins, they all piled onto one electric scooter and headed south, swerving through the crisp January air and narrowly avoiding taxis and aunties. They finally reached their destination, a perfectly flat stretch of concrete with a panoramic view of the city’s futuristic buildings. The Huangpu River flowed beneath their feet as they lit spliff after spliff after spliff, and the Dutchman produced a bottle of baijiu he stole from his company’s New Year party.

Little did this trio know that they were drinking at their own funeral. American Finance Bro removed the bag of fireworks from his Gucci backpack and aimed his iPhone lens at the sketchy pile of explosives...

"Dude we gotta Instagram this shit first!” Click. Then the hashtags: #Shangers #GettinHighInThaHai #iFuxWitChineseNewYear #YOLO #ExpatLife #WorstBehavior #InternationalCrayCray #ZhongNanHighAsFuck

But it was the last photo they would ever post on social media. These guys learned the tragic way that Chinese fireworks bang hard like Afghan artillery, and that mixing them with alcohol and drugs is more dangerous than going raw with the sisters of Yongfu Lu. Sometimes Shanghai can feel like a video game, but shit can get very real if you’re not careful. These pictures are graphic – hopefully graphic enough to scare you about the dangers of Chinese New Year.

PS: If you think we’re joking, just search for “Fireworks Injuries” on Google Images. Some of the fireworks you can buy on the street in Shanghai, even at licensed shops, could easily maim or blind you…or start a fire…or really scare your pets…or harsh your mellow in countless other ways. Not to mention they contribute to the air pollution you all post about in your WeChat moments while smoking cigs and drinking who-knows-what at Perry’s. Be safe this year.