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Fire in Shanghai

20 November 2010

From afternoon until late night on November 16, 2010, this little dog watched the high rise apartment building go up in flames in great distress. From time to time it would wander around the site with its eyes staring at the scene, until it exhausted itself and had to rest on the ground for a break.

Guessing the dog must belong to someone trapped in a burning flat, residents living nearby brought it steamed rice, bread and water, however the doggy showed no interest in the food but kept dropping tears and shivering. Whenever someone tried to lead it away from the scene to a temporary shelter, it would bare its teeth angrily. And whenever it regained a bit physical strength, it would start to survey the site again until it had to take another break.

Next morning, the dog disappeared but its story and image appeared on forum Pet’s Home (宠物之家论坛). The story circulated around quickly and eventually emerged on Broadband Hill (宽带山论坛) and The Fence (篱笆网), the forums mainly used by native Shanghainese. It didn't take long for a man to identify the dog as the one kept by his aunt, and a woman to report that the pet was looked after by his husband’s colleagues - the fire fighters.

Fortunately, the man’s aunt survived the disaster and reunited with the dog under the help of China’s extremely upbeat and proactive cyber dwellers.

If only more people can be as concerned of other human beings’ welfare as this dog, then Japanese might not massacre their Asian neighbours, Nazis might not massacre European Jews, US troops might not travel across continent to torture and kill Iraqis and Afghanis, Shi-min Fang might not trick Chinese into taking GM poisons, Liu Xiaobo might not trade entire China for a Norwegian prize, corrupted government officials and economic experts and property developers might not compromise the interest of their fellow citizens for quick profits.

If only …

One of the flats ravaged by the fire

The blaze that engulfed the entire 28-floor building and destroyed all 500 flats is said to be caused by a few sparks of fire generated by a few welder torches operated by a few unlicensed welders working on scaffolding.

Really? China's high-rises are really so vulnerable? Then try to picture what invasion armies (such as those sent by Washington and Tokyo) with the help of their local collaborators (such as Liu Xiaobo and Shi-min Fang) might be able to do when they decided to conquer this land, colonise this country, eliminate this people and destroy this civilisation by force.

No wonder even that little dog would keep shivering in face of this cold reality involving this utterly absurd disaster.

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White flowers laid at the entrance to the apartment block destroyed in the fire

White flowers, offerings and incenses presented before the photos of a pair of retired teachers and their grand child perished in the fire.

A local comes to mourn the victims. So far 58 people have been confirmed dead, with dozens more still uncountable.

A pair of Russians studying in Shanghai come to mourn the victims

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