My daughter and I stayed inside last weekend watching the movie “The Lorax”, adapted from the Dr. Seuss book. During the movie, complaint after complaint came on my WeChat about the high pollution readings. I could not stop but wonder, are we all living in Thneed-Ville? Beijing is very similar to the town in the Lorax movie.
The Lorax is a mystical creature that comes and protects the trees. Beijing is full of mystical creatures that are protecting one or the other. People of Thneed-Ville move around in very peculiar ways: strange bikes, and even weirder cars. In Beijing anything goes, as long as it has wheels you can get anywhere. The different means of transportation amaze me every day.
Everything is made out of plastic in Tneed-ville, even the trees have batteries. Plastic is used quite similarly in Beijing. The air in Theed-ville is horrible; they don’t have real trees so there is no clean air at all, ever. The residents need special machines to be able to breathe. And the machines look very similar to the ones we have here in our homes in Beijing.
The family in the movie eats funny food such as a dinner made out jelly. We get surprised on a daily basis when we eat out in Beijing. Will the food be salty, sweet, soft, firm? Then there is the Once-ler, he mistreats the animals in the forest and feeds them marshmallows. Sadly, we have seen lots of animal cruelty here in Beijing.
The fashion in Theed-ville is similar to how I look when I go shopping on taobao.com. Clothes are usually too small, sometimes too big, and very often not the colors that I ordered. In fact I never look like anything in the picture. And yet I can’t stop myself from trying to find the perfect Beijing outfit. I met this inspirational lady on the bus, and we had a heart to heart about fashion.
There is a thing for impulse buying in the movie that nobody knew they needed “The Thneed”. I find this happens to me in Beijing, I find things I never knew existed and feel like we need it. “The more smog in the sky the more people will buy.” I’m pretty sure online buys soar when the pollution hits the sky.
I wish we could be a bit like the people in Theed-ville. They have 99 problems but are still happy. A child in Theed-ville is glowing after taking a swim in a pond, and the parents are still singing! The next time a pollution bomb hits the sky, and your family is stuck inside, count your blessings. I have not seen glowing children, and we still have real trees in Beijing. We are quite lucky actually!
Pauline van Hasselt has just started working for Beijing Kids. Born in Wassenaar, The Netherlands, she moved with her husband and her 3 year-old daughter to Beijing in June of this year. Prior she lived in the Netherlands, Belgium, Paraguay, Texas, and London, studying and working as a chef. Pauline enjoys biking around Beijing, finding markets and new restaurants, reading crime and fantasy books in bed, and most importantly, turning her house into a home for her family.