The Harmonious Societers!

Last week we were introduced to Uncurious George: The new cartoon character with socialist characteristics. This week I’m developing the concept even further by “doing a Marvel” and expanding the Uncurious George universe by sticking him in an ensemble team…

There are a lot of good things about China. TGI Friday’s have opened up a few more branches in Beijing, and the ratio of state-owned hospitals to stunt artists is only second to the United States of America. Yet for all the T-Bone Steaks in Jack Daniels Sauce that Evil Knievel can eat in the emergency ward, let’s not forget there are a lot of bad things about China too. And probably the worst thing about China is that it has a huge shortage of superheroes. Spiderman would probably have contracted cancer if he had been bit by a radioactive spider over here, and Batman’s Batmobile would be useless during rush hour on Beijing’s third ring road.

It is time for superheroes with Chinese Characteristics (TM).

Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to meet…

The Harmonious Societers!

The Cast:

Guanxi Gary: In normal life, Yang Wei is just another mid-level protocol officer in a city government office. But when Yang Wei puts on his black-rimmed glasses, he beomes Guanxi Gary: The Corrupt Superhero! Able at any time to call forth the formidable power of guanxi, Guanxi Gary can have a foreigner’s residence permit revoked faster than a speeding bullet. Our leader of the Harmonious Societers also carries the legendary Manbag of Han: a manbag that has been passed down through generations since the times before Christ, and contains all sorts of awe-inspiring weapons, including the dreaded Chunghwa Gun.

Position: Leader and Party Secretary of the Harmonious Societers Work Unit.

Suzy Wrong: Suzy was just another schoolgirl at the Nongzhou Number 47 Middle School, until a freak accident resulted in her being trapped overnight in a classroom with nothing to read except political textbooks from circa 1979. When she emerged from the classroom the following day, she had become Suzy Wrong: a girl possessed with the incredible power of bullshit and bollocks. Her marvellous abilities allow her to believe propaganda that normal human beings could not possibly believe, and to confuse her enemies with false statistics and half-baked truths. Suzy is completely immune to any potential sexual advances from predators, although it is prophesied in the Book of Changes that she will one day succumb to a marriage proposal from a spotty-faced IT technician from Dalian.

Position: Token woman and tea-pourer.

Chairman Mao: Not actually the Chairman Mao, but a man called Mao who can change into a chair at will. Mao developed this amazing talent thanks to his years as a Beijing taxi driver, where a particularly nasty traffic jam caused him to finally become one with his seat. As well as the fantastically useful power to transform into a chair, Chairman Mao is also the driver of the Harmonious Societer’s awesome assault vehicle: The Audi!

Position: Driver and spare chair when visitors come round.

Uncurious George: Recently ousted from his position as CCTV’s number one children’s entertainer by his one-time friend Comrade Worker Mouse, the dead bonobo monkey who is dragged around by a piece of string has found his true call as a member of the Harmonious Societers Work Unit. Aided by a mysterious voiceover, Uncurious George helps the Harmonious Societers by controlling crowds and defeating enemies with his power to instil uncuriousity and acceptance of the status quo in all around him. In tight situations, he can also be picked up by his fellow team-mates and used to batter dissidents around the head. Uncurious George is rumoured to be diseased.

Position: Comic Relief, a bit like Snarf out of the Thundercats, but more Socialist.

Now grab hold of your seats, as it is time for the first instalment of (deep breath)…

THE HARMONIOUS SOCIETERS!

(In Supermariovision)

Episode One: WTO-A-Go-Go!

(It is a peaceful day in the Huaishi City Government Office. Yang Wei, our hero, is in the middle of some very important affairs.)

Yang Wei: I’ve told you before, I require a minimum of seven cups of tea and two packets of cigarettes per hour. Don’t let me catch you slacking again, there are plenty of people out on the street willing to pour me tea for one yuan an hour, you know.

Work Han: This is very bad meaning Mr. Yang, please don’t take my job away from me. I need that one yuan an hour to pay for my monthly abortions.

Yang Wei: We Chinese have a saying, it goes: “And mind you never bring me Marlboro lights again”. I only smoke Zhongnanhai, Little Panda or Chunghwa, and don’t you forget it.

(The phone rings)

Yang Wei: What’s this? The Xi-Line is ringing! Looks like trouble is afoot! (Answers the phone) Yes, yes… trouble at mill, you say? No problem sir, this looks like a job for… Guanxi Gary!

(Yang Wei takes out a pair of black-rimmed glasses and puts them on. There is an almighty flash and Guanxi Gary appears where Yang Wei previously stood; looking exactly the same apart from a pair of glasses)

Guanxi Gary: Behold the awesome power of Guanxi! A power for which no foreign equivalent word exists, except, possibly, relationships. Or connections. I must summon my fellow Harmonious Societers immediately!

(Our four heroes are gathered in the prestigious and modern Harmonious Societer Work Unit. It has an unnecessary marble column, a woman stood by to open the door, and a thirteen year old Lenovo computer displaying a half finished game of Solitaire.)

Guanxi Gary: Fellow Harmonious Ones, it would appear that our glorious Motherland is again in mortal danger.

Suzy Wrong: Are the youth demanding their rights?

Chairman Mao: Are once formerly decent Communists celebrating Christmas?

Guanxi Gary: No, my friends. It would appear that our arch-nemesis has returned to cause more evil and destruction in our fair land. I’m talking about… WTO Man!

Suzy Wrong: The WTO is a corrupt and decadent organisation that only seeks to enslave the oppressed masses of China to foreign and Japanese imperialism. He must be stopped!

Chairman Mao: Nice lie, Suzy.

Suzy Wrong: Thanks, I used that one to pass my middle school exams.

Guanxi Gary: WTO Man has been spotted in Beijing attempting to deprive children of their Party-given right to produce counterfeit Lego. If he succeeds, I don’t need to remind you all what consequences we might face. Without child labour…

(He pauses for dramatic effect)

Guanxi Gary: …I’m afraid there will be no fireworks for Spring Festival.

All: No!

Chairman Mao: Wait a minute, I want to hear what Uncurious George has to say on the situation.

Uncurious George: (A mysterious voiceover emits somewhere from behind the dead monkey) I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY.

Guanxi Gary: Excellent choice of words Uncurious George. Now, without further delay… To the Audi!

(They all race to the front door. Unfortunately, the door-opening woman appears to have disappeared for her lunch break.)

Chairman Mao: Curses! Without anybody to open the door for us, it looks like we’re going to be delayed. Does anybody have a pack of cards?

(Three hours later, and the Harmonious Societers’ Assault Audi brakes to a halt in the middle of Tiananmen Square. WTO Man is stood in the middle of the square surrounded by young children.)

Chairman Mao: Bloody traffic, thought we would never get off that third ring road.

Suzy Wrong: Beijing has a modern and developed traffic infrastructure; it is perfectly capable of staging a modern and harmonious Olympic Games and hosting the Asia Pacific regional headquarters of many multinational companies.

Guanxi Gary: That’s right Suzy. Look! It’s WTO Man!

WTO Man: Hahahaha! You’re too late Harmonious Societers! In two minutes I’m going to ask these children to polish my shoes, and then I will pay each of them ten yuan for doing so! The whole world will soon see how child labour is rife in this country! Hahahaha!

Suzy Wrong: You’ll never get away with this. You do not enjoy that right under the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China.

WTO Man: Wrong again, Suzy Wrong. And just to make sure that you don’t spoil my handiwork, I’ve arranged a little surprise for you all!

(A huge rumbling starts, and Tiananmen Square begins to shake.)

Guanxi Gary: By the wart of Mao! Tanks! And they’re heading right for us!

Uncurious George: I SEE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. THERE IS NOTHING TO SEE.

IS THIS THE END FOR OUR INTREPID SOCIETERS? IS HARMONY DOOMED TO BE SQUASHED BENEATH THE WHEEL OF A TANK? WHERE WILL FAKE LEGO COME FROM IF WTO MAN ACHIEVES HIS WICKED GOALS? AND HAS SUZY WRONG EVER MASTURBATED? FIND OUT IN THE NEXT EXCITING EPISODE OF…

THE HARMONIOUS SOCIETERS!

(Brought to you by Omo: the washing powder of choice for all proletariat dictatorships.)

To be continued…

***

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy my book Party Members – a dark comic fantasy that exposes the corrupt underbelly of modern China.

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