Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Watermelon Cannonballs and Ballet Danseurs

Food safety in China is an issue again.  This time, before consumption.

It is widely reported that China farmers face 'exploding' watermelon problem, and overdose of certain growth chemical might contributed to the cause. BBC reported thus:

According to the Xinhua news agency, 20 farmers in a village in Jiangsu province planted imported seeds from Japan, with 10 households saying their watermelons began exploding last month.

Farmer Liu Mingsuo told Xinhua that more than two-thirds of his crop had blown up.
He said he had used chemicals to boost their growth on 6 May, and the following day more than 180 melons exploded. Mr Liu was reported to be the only farmer from the 10 households who used chemicals.

Wang Dehong, who has been farming watermelons for 20 years, couldn't understand why his fruit also exploded as he had not used any chemicals.

Agricultural experts investigating the incident were unable to offer an explanation.
China has approved the usage of the growth chemical under certain quotas. So far, tests show the chemical is safe, Xinhua reported.

However, as the public is increasingly concerned about food safety, experts say a quality tracking system should be introduced, detailing every stage along the food chain, to inform the public fully, and ensure food safety.

This story reminded me a funny puppet movie I saw on TV when I just started my elementary school - Watermelon Canons.  The story took place in the end of imperial time in China, when some kids in the secretive rebel group fought off the governmental armies with canons made of exploding watermelons.  The story was definitely one of those "educational" pieces but it was fanciful and laughter inducing to impressionable young boys like me.  The term "watermelon canons" made an very strong impression on my young mind.

At the same time, I watched on TV, again, for the first time of a western ballet, courtesy of my local troupe, Liaoning (Province) Ballet, Swan Lake.  Beautiful music, scenery and costumes and all that, plus amazing acrobatic steps and leaps.  I was deeply impressed.  However, none more so than the supernaturally rounded and prominent rumps of the danseurs.  The very similar size and shape of the rumps and the watermelon canons naturally earned the nickname of "Watermelon Canon" in my family for ballet in general, danseurs or their royal rumps in particular in my family, for the duration of quite a few years before I became rather embarrassed by my cleverness.

Considering it was the time when Chinese people, men or women, all hid their curves, and the polices, militias and old women from residential committees wield scissors to snip fancy hair and cut open tight or flared pants, the strong impression those magnificently curved buttocks made on me was quite understandable.


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