Numbered Days: Quarantined Tweets From 21 Jan to 14 March 2020


Day 1 – Day 3

I started self-isolation from 21 Jan, two days before the lockdown in Wuhan. I was aware of the outbreak of an unknown epidemic, so I wore a mask everywhere I went on 19 and 20 Jan. I took public transport multiple times and went to a driver’s test which involved waiting in a crowded room for two hours. After that, I tried to recreate my entire travel history in my mental map and started panicking. For several days, I checked my body temperature every several hours—this self-induced panic caused hallucinatory effects and actual physiological impacts on my body. My body temperature was around 37.2 the whole time during the first week and I was having an unfailing diarrhoea every day for two weeks. The symptoms of whatever it was, or intense anxiety ended a few days later, when I started counting and tweeting daily under threads.

Day 3 (First Day of the City Lockdown)

I am in tears.
[Listening to SMZB’s “the Chinese are coming”]

Day 4

Truly prophetic.
Quote: “Visit Wuhan, the newest cultural epicentre of China” (@visit_wuhan official twitter page’s profile introduction)

Stacked Virology.

Day 5

Living in the epicentre, browsing twitter, seeing a lot of panic online, trying to maintain inner peace. The mental turmoil is getting me…Life is stagnant, yet everything happens so fast “online” – being online and real-time updates is, for the first time, traumatising.

Shanghai is too big to be quarantined tbh. But other cities like Guangzhou and Shenzhen yes. This quarantine is probably going to last until March.

For the people who have not yet contracted the virus and stayed quarantine at home. The anxiety and boredom are gonna drive many insane.

Day 6

We need psychologists. The healthy ones are getting restless and unhinged as an anxiety overwhelms them.

Don’t be Flora. (Flora is an American expat living in Wuhan who went full on panic mode when the news of lockdown first struck).

Day 7

Quote: “Wu-tang Clan – Wu-han Clan”

Day 8

It’s true that last night a lot of local residents, driven by fear, anxiety, and boredom, organized to yell words of encouragement from their windows. They know its grim, but they decide to persevere and build solidarity.

Day 9

Quote: I have a disease. It’s called being human and I have to get treatment. (@dril_gpt2)

If you have friends or family or you are in any major Chinese cities, do not go to hospital unless it is absolutely necessary. It is highly likely you will get infected in the disorder at the hospitals. It is not worth it, especially if you just have a common cold.

I don’t drink at home. There are some supposedly good Moutai, but I don’t drink that filth.

Day 10

Sick Man of Wuhan: Pathologised Nihilism and Politics of Hope.

The logic of certain betterment, sacrificing for the greater good, and delayed redress of previous unjust punishment of those who spoke openly about the plague, just furthers the mental suffering of who those are involuntarily immobilised by angst, anxiety, and boredom.

The so-called Wuhan nihilism should be de-pathologised as a necessary and even healthy response to the Political hope.

It is exactly in these times of unprecedented epidemic, a misanthrope learns hope, not the Political hope of vanity, but the previously dislocated radical nihilism – “values without a world”.

Let us jog, let us swim, let us walk on the empty streets, let fly the drones, let us scream for Life from our windows, let us cry over phone calls, let us realise the burst bubbles of owning a home, let us discard the neurosis of plastic hope.

At a time of extreme emergency, people, no matter how cosmopolitan they claim to be, will be xenophobic. It’s only natural. New racism can be built in a week…We are just the unfortunate ones to witness how this is forged in real time.

Day 11

Day 11 has already sapped by more conspiracy theories, accelerationist viropexis, internet folklores, inconsistent propaganda of hope, and above all medical disorder. Twitter is just cancerous as WeChat.

Time for bed.

The only work I have done today is the above tweet.

One angle that almost media reports are missing is that the locals who are embroiled in this plague do not necessarily want to debate the “truth” – by default there are lies; that’s common sense. Plebs want psychological comfort and hope – plastic or not.

Day 12

It’s already Feb. I dreamt of walking on the beach yesterday with my non-existent daughter.

Day 13

The more plastic Hope you inject into the veins of the ignorant plebs the angrier they will be when their immune systems collapse.

The hot pot is about to boil.

Day 14

I think I am about to reach half of my limit.

But today I have gathered enough mental strength to start reading and writing again.

don’t praise the plebs. don’t tell the plebs what to do. don’t tell the plebs what to feel. don’t write shitty poetry in praise of whatever. stop intellectualising pain.

Day 15

did somebody just propose global warming against coronavirus? wtf…

Day 16

Pssst! Slavoj, wanna switch place with me?
Quote: “Some of us, including myself, would secretly love to be in China’s Wuhan right now, experiencing a real-life, post-apocalyptic movie set. The city’s empty streets provide the image of a non-consumerist world at ease with itself.” (

Quote: “After clashes and arrests in Tin Shui Wai on Tuesday night, a Mandarin-speaking woman went down to berate the police: “Let me tell you, I’m also from Wuhan!” Journalists and police surrounding her all jump back. She later clarified she moved to Hong Kong over a decade ago. (

Day 17

I think desperation is gonna kick in at some point.

Wuhan patient reading Francis Fukuyama on a hospital bed.

In 2011 I stayed inside for more than a month (went outside once or twice to stock up food) to play Skyrim all day. I survived on mostly instant noodles and soft drinks. It was good times and I didn’t regret it…Now I am locked inside with thousands of games to play and hundreds of books to read. I can’t do shit…I just couldn’t allow myself to whine on Twitter.

Day 18

[Dr Li Wen-Liang died]

This day begins early. Let the rage overwhelm the wall.


Quote: We’re all prepared to acknowledge that even if you’re not a poet, self-exposure makes money in the age of the confessional personal essay…As a group, however, we’re not completely settled on whether trauma writing is useful – for the reader or the writer.(

Trying to enjoy a rare find anime after a day of stress…instant regret.
Kōji Morimoto, Memories, 1995.

Day 19

Bad news just kept coming.

When you infantize the masses for so long they actually become infantile.

things I crave: coffee (specifically the exwife blend), chips (specifically vinegar chips), French toast (with massive amount of honey), cheese (specifically feta) on salad, wedges with a pint of whatever cheap beer (specifically Boags), and above all sitting alone in a pub.

Day 20

25 days ago, I was observant of how the nearby hospital was unusually crowded when I went to the coffee place nearby.

20 days ago, some sick dimwit spat towards me on the train. I dodged it and did wear a surgical mask. Just to make sure and also to avoid more instances like this, I began my self-isolation the next day.

19 days ago, I alerted my mum about the potential of an outbreak. I told her not to go outside except for grocery and do not go to the wet market. She insisted going outside for a stroll. I could not stop her.

18 days ago, I warned a friend that the situation was already out of control and maybe other cities could be fucked as well. She called me a coward. I had a mental meltdown when I saw a video (circulated only among local medical workers at the time) of a senior doctor freaked out in front of a patient and allegedly the director of the hospital bailed.

It’s certainly not premonition but it is at least the basic sensitivity that something is very wrong and its heading towards something much worse. But when more information become public and everyone start to freak out, I have come to terms with it.

Day 21

It’s funny that it has been 21 days and I still don’t have a routine yet.

Quote: There’s a guy on my timeline who tweets every day about how he hasn’t left his apartment. He’s up to 21 days now. I am secretly (or not so secretly) insanely jealous of his life. (@zzap)

Day 22

Damn it.

Day 23

That cruise is totally gonna declare independence isn’t it.

Day 24

I hope you guys don’t get used to this count. I am almost at my limit.

How do you fight virus with Eva units…but what’s the hidden message here?
So, we are all gonna become puddles of LCL.
Quote: (Image of the official Weibo of EVA Franchise applauding and supporting the containment efforts of Wuhan)

Day 25

Actually, the best valentine’s day of my life. no plans whatsoever.

Hikkikomori haemorrhoids.

Day 26

Waking up at 8pm isn’t right.

Time is irrelevant.

Day 27

Temporality is probably infected and quarantined as well. Maybe even dead.

It was snowing hard yesterday and today it feels like 15 degree…it’s nice to hear birds singing though. A rare sight of good weather and traces of animals, even from the confine of my window.

Going to celebrate with my last can of diet coke.

Day 28

I managed to open a bottle with a key. So yeah, I am getting drunk tonight.

This is starting to feel like the LIGHTHOUSE.

Day 29

This will probably last another 30 days…

I think I am at my limit. Now I have to repeat another 29 days.

Day 30

It’s just halfway through.

“stay home
Never go outside
Turn on my computer
My cyber lover
Just eating fast noodles
I’m sick
All my life
Download from internet”
(New Pants, Internet Sex Drugs)

It’s actually ok. I can live without sex, drugs but not internet.

Day 31

The really exasperating thing is that there is nothing worth remembering in this hollowing experience, but I remember the stupid details of waking up reading on the bed falling asleep again day drinking on the bed falling asleep again.

Given all the time but all dead time – productivity is true happiness.

Day 32


there is nothing wrong with the virus, it is everything else that is the problem.

Day 33

Essential items to fight the virus according to taobao
Quote: Taobao recommends four items to fight the coronavirus:
84 disinfectant, plastic gloves, dildo, plug adaptor.

Day 34

The virus has become banal.

Day 35

Me at home.
Quote: A pigeon restlessly walking in the snow leaving a convoluted trail of footprints.

Day 36

the medical supply situation is very weird. So, my alcohol wipes are from japan. face masks from Taiwan. They all appear to be donations but I (and my friend) paid for them…so yeah.

Day 37







eventful birthday. didn’t even leave my room. watched Witcher and had instant noodles.

in the jdrama デート 〜恋とはどんなものかしら〜
the male protagonist didn’t leave his mum’s house for years, watching movies and reading books everyday. Enmeshed in literature and arthouse films, he calls himself an “exalted flaneur”. if anything, I am apprenticing based flaneurism.

Day 38

I can’t take it anymore.

Day 39

A video of a black person screaming in Cantonese: “屌呢個閪”.

Day 40

So, quite a few boomer philosophers are convinced that this virus is no more threatening than the common flu and that the fascist state is more of a threat in advancing their agendas in inciting fear and panic.
Quote: “Agamben doesn’t seem to understand the difference between a camp and a bunker.” (Benjamin Bratton)

The plague is not a remedy nor an ingredient of the remedy to a sick society as it only exposes deep-rooted issues. The initial exposé leads to outrage, which is quickly soaked and dissipated by idleness, boredom, and lethargy. The latest wish is simple: return to the Normal.

By probability, which is a calculation of infected demographics and death count, the virus seems to have a criterion; but for an infected patient, the criteria do not exist, and death is an imminent truth.

I would really appreciate an iced latte right now.

Day 41

the basics of mask ideology:
-Europeans wear a mask to protect others from being infected by them. By its logic, only the sick wear masks.
-Chinese wear a mask to protect themselves from being infected by others. By its logic, everyone is supposed to wear masks.

I have been doing that for years, but I would love to have a solitary walk in the park or a botanic garden or sth.
“coronavirus is shaping up to be not so bad for introverts:
– work from home
– avoid public places, social gatherings
– if you have to go out, stay 6 feet away from strangers”

Day 42

I want to work in a café.

Time has been simply suspended, not cyclical nor linear and certainly not spiral. Endless quarantine. Is a “pathetic waiting” possible? if anything, there is no more normal to return to.
Quote: “In the never-ending everyday, the apocalypse does not open any new horizon of experience. It has become entirely immanent to the social collectivity and actually means the impossibility of a social project of any kind, because it has no exterior.” (Thouny, C. (2009). Waiting for the Messiah: The Becoming-Myth of Evangelion and Densha otoko. Mechademia, 4(1), 111–129. )

my only hope is that this count does not go to 100. well if this does, I hope somebody publish these daily threads.

I bought 2 kilos of beans before i left Melbourne for my mum, but her coffee machine broke three days into the lockdown…I haven’t tasted a sip of coffee for 40 days.

I sniff coffee beans like cocaine…

Day 44

What I crave the most is not sociality but space – to be able to eat alone in a restaurant, browse a bookstore alone, drink in a pub alone, read in a cafe alone, watch a movie in my beanbag alone. I mostly talk to people online anyway.

I have a porn folder called flat ontology.

I fucked up my switch and scoured Taobao trying to buy a controller and a replacement fan…no one ships to this hell hole apparently.

Only “essentials” are shipped to the city – we are probably running out of alcohol, cigs, maybe even soft drinks, barely any chips…VeRy expensive grocery shopping. This is probably just a taste of the forthcoming inflation. Right, still gonna enjoy the last stick.


Day 45

The “fight” against the coronavirus is not a “war”, but a suspension of the alteration between war and the “normal life”. We are mobilised to be immobilised to fight the unfathomable agents of structural change: both genetical and socioeconomical.

We are stuck in the waiting room.
Quote: “Agamben was wrong: not the concentration camp but the waiting room is the topoi of modernity” (@iycrtyph)

Ok I managed to buy a Shanzhai pro switch controller with a few bottles of hand sanitisers so it can be shipped.

Day 46

“when the town is bustling with economic activity, time can only be represented as habit, which, like ritual, is a way of mastering history and diminishing the temporal change…The Oranais better notice stasis than they do the action surrounding trade…but the very phenomenon of notice is compelling evidence of temporal consciousness.” (Albert Camus, The Plague)

The only thing some Chinese plants are manufacturing is false data, a @Caixin investigation has found.

““Query: how contrive not to waste one’s time? Answer: by being fully aware of it all the time. Ways in which this can be done: by spending one’s days on an uneasy chair in the dentist’s waiting room…”
By idling 46 days away waiting for an endless lockdown.

To end.

Day 47

So this is weird. The switch controller arrived rather quickly but apparently; they can’t ship hand sanitisers. Wtf is wrong with priority though?

There was a meme of the same template about people in Wuhan a few days before the lockdown.
Quote: a Chinese meme about how people in Los Angeles don’t give a shit about the pandemic and go on about with their regular lives.

Day 48

Bunch of people got infected by someone who returned from the hospital and supposed to have recovered – these people didn’t go outside for more than month and all they did was collecting grocery at the gate. This shit comes back folks. It lurks, probably as long as you live.

If waiting is submission, I am not sure I am submitting to the virus or the state or my fear or really nothing.

Day 49

Let’s just start the day 49 thread early. Maybe I should do sth to celebrate 50 days of not going outside. Suggestions?

Day 50

Hot fuck noodle welcome pasta to the party.

I don’t care if the official number is fabricated or not. It goes down to zero, so everyone pretends everything is back to normal until it isn’t. My guess is the majority of my coffee spots and bookshops has already gone out of business.

Coronachan hates Mulan.

Italy is officially Wuhanized.

Day 51

Believe in future and demolish it.

Day 52

This will be my end of quarantine gift.
Quote: a shirt with Foucault’s Discipline and Punish Print.

so…apparently coronavirus can cause male infertility. coronachan may be the champion of the dispossessed vocels.

I will probably be outside for the first time after exactly 69 days of home quarantine.

Day 53

kinda fucked up to see all the jokes i saw over a month ago circulating on twitter, of course, unrelated and in another context, but coronavirus seems to have united our sense of humour.

Day 54

Once this shit is over, I will probably go to the mountains and continue to quarantine myself there.

Wuhan time.
Quote: People who have been following the Wuhan outbreak from day 0 are basically time travelers at this point, spoiling what people will experience in the next few weeks. (@diaodiao_yang)

If this is time travel this is perhaps the worst kind. Instead of trying to save the “world” after failing to quell the spread initially by restarting, you basically time travel to experience the fucking collapse all over again.

Quote: regardless of if you think Asian others live in the colonial/exotic past or in an alternative/authoritarian/sci-fi future, you’re assuming it’s a world that exists outside of the Western present, which viruses clearly disprove. (@notsaved).

A Prelude to Shitfuturism (2010-2020)

Wangba persists, in the countryside.

Before leaving his county, Jin Lin used to work at an unnamed factory in Shenzhen, assembling motherboards during day shifts. The pay was meagre, but he could survive by staying at the cheap dorm and eating subpar set dinners at the canteen. The factory, and its adjacent complex of massive living quarters-or urban villages in the local colloquial term-are located at the peripheral of the migrant city. He mostly resisted temptation of visiting the city centre on Sundays and buying anything substantial, not even a non-shanzhai smartphone. While other workmates bought branded smartphones, browsed unaffordable goods in shopping centres, allured by prostitutes at massage parlors, his sole entertainment was baoye at a familiar wangba. Baoye means paying for the whole night, usually for 10yuan instead of paying an hourly rate, to stay at the wangba from midnight until early morning. While wallowing in permeating smoke and the scent of cheap cigarettes, he enjoyed browsing Tieba and pixelated images of Shamate girls in exaggerated hairstyles, taking selfies in front of the webcam, uploading them to QQzone, and talking to others in his Shamate clan on QQ. He wrote in QQzone blog with the Martian language input at 3am,


[I am suddenly a bit sad, suddenly a bit hollow, suddenly a bit miss you.]

He was intrigued by melancholy as it seemed fashionable to melancholic. He heard of the “suicide waves” but he was relatively fortunate as his family did not rely on his remittances and he was not in debt. In other words, he was not alienated in the sense that he was rarely bored nor overworked. Simple rituals like baoye kept him withdrawn and away from the whirlpools of urban seductions and mental repercussions of capitalist exploitation.

Five years later Jin Lin found himself back at the county, his birthplace but erringly unfamiliar. He largely evaded the daunting urban growth by staying at the contact zone of the “connecting region between the city and countryside” but he had to confront this very nausea back home. His county town is now upgraded to a city, a fifth-tier city that is. While his cousins boasted their ventures in Shanghai and the older generation of ex-migrant workers complained about re-adapting to a quasi-rural life in the county (the improperly urbanised now) during family dinners, Jin Lin was unbearably bored, perhaps for the first time as he remembered. He never felt nostalgic towards the ordinary urban attractions—high rises, malls and luxuries were irrelevant to him. He is admittedly still attracted to wangba, which are no longer the centre of internet, for which it is the smartphone. Most of the members in his Shamate clans have left the cities and started families and worked in “proper” professions, not manufacturing nor hospitality but real estate. The greatest migration in human history seems to be imploding as migrants flow back. Jin Lin was indifferent as he knew he had zero chance in getting a wife.

The county is littered with heiwangba or “black (illegal) internet bars”, equipped with outdated and dusty hardware, occupied by underage teens playing online games, loitering while skipping school, flirting (both online and offline), smoking, and doing nothing. Just not long ago, a grandma rushed into the wangba with a machete looking for her grandson who had been missing for several days. At another wangba across the county, a primary school kid stabbed another schoolmate because he was told he sucked at League of Legends. Not to mention an unemployed twenty something guy died at another wangba the moment he stood up after sitting in the sofa for 36 hours reading a rather long but banal fantasy novel about a hopeless young guy just like him finding a new life (a fulfilling one at that) after time-travelling to Ming Dynasty. The owner of the wangba vanished after that incident and another owner reopened it under another name. Now the ceiling is leaking water from the rain, Jin Lin is rather annoyed but the guy sitting opposite is undisturbed and continues his killing spree in League of Legends while holding an umbrella with his neck and shoulder.

Jin Lin’s case is a weird mimicry based on a tunnel vision of urbanity and oblivious creation of a New aesthetics, which sometimes appears at the frontline of Chinese contemporary fashion/art/music, but sanitized of course. The excess of incivility and aesthetics of vulgarity engenders a specific production of the rural wangba space—the juxtaposition between an exoticized rustic life (for its supposed simpleness and uncultivated naivety) and the unrelenting and sometimes inexplicably weird adolescent boredom haunting rural life (which is hidden under the surface and much pathologized when exposed).

Diaries of Abstinence

This is the first post of a series of (un)translations of confessions, diaries, anecdotes I collected over the years from an anonymous discussion board. They are not correctly translated in entirety without omission but rather re-stylised, rewritten, fictionalised into this form (or lack of form) of colloquial internet writing. The original posts no longer exist so I cannot claim any integrity of the translator but my own experiments with these intimate tales of prohibition, guilt, and transgression.

People born in A island think having girlfriend is illness
(correction) “People live in A island think being in a relationship is a kind of illness

Rhythm and Masturbation (R>M); Reinvented Classic Positions; ASS♂Drum (Wrong Position, Oops).

-I would like to clarify I don’t like this girl, I swear I don’t, but she looks like a bit like someone I was secretly in love with, or she simply fits into some traits I like, I really really don’t have any lewd thoughts about her. But damn I cannot control myself when I see her, my face turns red and my palm sweats and I act unnatural. I just want to be normal.


-yo please fap and calm the fuck down

Entry#2 5-22-2014 I practiced magic five times yesterday! I felt terrible!
Entry#3 5-24-2014 I practiced magic three times yesterday, I can feel the pulsing pain! But Lotus books are irresistible.
Entry#4 5-26-2014 I practiced again last night, I woke up in the middle of night from a nightmare.
Entry#5 5-27-2014 I failed to practice last night. Sigh~~
Entry #6 6-1-2014 Scattered rains turning Windy.
I fapped today. I planned to quit it after getting a job. I felt terrible every time after I fapped, I despised myself, I need to work tomorrow.
I have accumulated so many dirty socks, I planned to buy new shoes and clothes today, I just got paid salary, but I failed to wake up because of the night shift, then I thought buying clothes is useless anyway, I only stay in the dorm and the factory, new clothes can only be stored in wardrobe. I fell asleep as I thought about these. Another idle and unfulfilling day, I will work hard tomorrow.
Entry #1 11-10-2014 Everyday I tell myself fapping twice a week is healthy. But I feel the impulse to watch porn at some point of the day every single day, then I just fapped, then I felt remorseful, I told myself abstinence, my little brother needs to rest as well.
Entry #2 11-10-2014 10pm, I should go to bed. I just saw a good doujin so I could not resist. Anyway, a fap is a fap. I really should not do it again tomorrow. Gonna shower and sleep.
Entry #3 11-11-2014 I could not sleep last night, so I tried to hypnotize myself by reading boring online fiction, fuck it, those kinds of stallion(alpha) males (genre). Fuck it, a fap is a fap. I need to stop today.
Entry #4 11-11-2014 I was supposed to write a diary of abstinence but anons kept posting names of these doujins in diaries…After I finished lunch, I read two doujins, one is Kusatsu Terunyo’s Pet Life. A black foreign student banging his classmate’s mum, that BBC was irresistible, fuck so slutty, I fapped again. I became this fapping fat loser under the bad influence of anons.
Entry#4 11-11-2014 I just saw a screenshot of my diary on Weibo. I feel like I is on television. I wanted to repost but no courage. If my diary of abstinence got recognised out by any acquaintance, they will laugh at me.

Endure it, resist the temptation.

Entry #5 11-12-2014 I did not practice magic today. It was a good day.
Entry #6 11-13-2014 I don’t even know how many times I did it. The materials were totally random from some nude models online and another doujin. Am I too high in androgen, my sexual desires are insatiable, my beard grows really fast, body hair as well.
Entry #7 11-16 I did some exercises today. Some pull-ups, the row machine.

I went to see Interstellar…I bought two tickets with such confidence and invited a girl I like.
But really, it felt really good to have a seat to put my bag while watching the movie.

-I am almost crying [at this sad tale]
-You can pull up the armrest in the middle and occupy both seats. No one will blame a fat ass like you.

-Anons, I want to experience being pissed on by a traveller/woman.
-Police uncle, this is the unidentifiable object
-no worries, you will feel the same if I piss on you.
-bullshit, traveller’s piss is in milk color.
-I wish to service her after her piss.
-truly perverted
-disgusting pervert, pervert, there is no dignity in you.
-so simple, just ask your mum to piss on your face.
-you only want to be a toilet
-how can you claim you love her if you cannot even drink her piss.
-piss is poisonous.

Entry #1 11-16-2014 First day of abstinence. Daka (punch the card), I deleted everything.
Entry #2 11-16-2014 I probably gonna regret it tonight.
Entry #3 11-17-2014 Second day is a success. I did not some indoor exercise.
Entry #4 11-18-2014 Third day is a success. I started jogging. I want to quit fapping and lose weight.
Entry #5 11-18-2014 Actually, once or twice a week is ok. Must live a positive life, do more exercise, don’t always browse this anon board.
Entry #6 11-19-2014 I am trying to catch up with exercise, but I have decided no more lewd fantasies before finding a girlfriend. Fourth day is a success, muscle training today, sleep la.
Entry #7 Fifth day is a success. I watched interstellar again. Still good.

-Working is so boring
-Schooling is so boring
-your two lines of diaries have summarised ten years of my life.
-Life is so boring.

>be me
>went out for a dinner this evening.
>saw a cutie hot chick having a coffee and a hotdog
>went to ask her cell number
>she slapped me


-I thought I was on 4chan.
-Shut up and stop shit posting.
-gay gun

I have discovered the eternal return of this anon board:

  • having a KFC bucket alone.
  • Shit
  • Fap

We also have mimicry (crossdressing)

Eavesdropping: Blind Masseurs on the Question of Technology


(Picture is from an article entitled “Haptic Dreams of the Blind Masseurs“)

Blind Massage Parlour is an interesting place. It is probably one of few places in China where blindness can be blatantly and especially socially visible. Often all Chinese pedestrians’ lane have tracks for the visually impaired but they don’t seem to be regularly maintained or even properly built. In general, disability is purged from the main streets and of course result in poor chances in the job market. Blind Massage Parlour is, stereotypically, where (predominantly male) blind people work as masseurs. The urban myth is that blind people, since they cannot see, have enhanced haptic senses and strong hands. All that comes from training rather than natural talents of course but myth still persists to make blind people remain in their place.

I have a chronic neck problem but I cannot afford regularly doing massage in Australia. Blind massage parlour is very appealing to me because it is cheap and it does help with my neck pain. The following is a abridged conversation between three masseurs while they were massaging me and my two friends.


Masseur A: What phone are you using?

Masseur B: Just a Xiaomi. Why?

Masseur A: Xiaomi is pretty good these days. Xiaomi Mi Mix even has the full glass bezel-free display, super high resolution and good screen estate. It’s great to watch videos on it. [more detailed discussion on the features of the Xiaomi phone omitted] and most importantly, it is a good bargain given its specs.

Masseur B: What about Huawei?

Masseur A: Huawei phone P2 has amazing camera. Huawei is doing great. The best Chinese brand now. We have a lot of good brands, Vivo, Oppo, and Cuizi etc. [more detailed discussion on the features of each brands omitted]

Masseur B: What about Samsung? Don’t they always have like better specs.

Masseur A: Well it just phased out in China after the incidents of explosion. I think Huawei would not have a chance against Samsung if they didn’t have that disaster. Well, I guess they also did produce good phones. And no, these days almost all smartphones come with similar processors, the only difference is probably the camera and RAM.

Masseur B: What about iPhones? I think iPhone’s quality is shit. I bought my wife a secondhand iPhone recently. It broke down after a few weeks. So I had to go fix it somewhere. Don’t iPhone have like the best cameras?

Masseur A: Did you buy secondhand, without a proper warranty? Of course they are going to scam you. iPhones are usually of good quality but they run of good ideas now. After Jobs died, they failed to innovate and lead the market.

Masseur B: Alright. I will look into it.


Masseur C: Did you hear in the news? US now prohibits their companies from selling their chips to us. What about our phones? They don’t care about the Chinese market no more?

Masseur A: of course, eventually they won’t touch the consumer products. Who does not want to make our cash?


My friend finally could not suppress his urge to question their discussion on smartphones since we were told by the reception that “they are almost blind” and the whole discussion never touches on how any of these brands provides technical assistance to people with disabilities, and asked,

“why are you guys (awkwardly pauses) talking about these again?”

Masseur A: (after a hardly noticeable groan) Why are we talking about these things (specification of phones)? I just spent a lot of time reading and hearing about these information. It’s true that I can hardly see anything. The screen size does not really matter a whole lot to me. Yeah, why am I talking about these? It does not really matter.

I looked into my masseur in the eye after he finished. I felt immensely guilty, not just for doubting his blindness but more importantly how I have been oblivious to their views on technology.