Tom Fearon

Professional communicator in Canberra

2012 and Beyond

Dec. 29, 2011

By Tom Fearon and Matthew Jukes

The final days of the year unfailingly provides the media with an excuse to look back and reminisce of the year that was. Reflecting on the past 12 months is often an easy way to fill a newspaper, but it takes much more skill and talent for a publication to look into its crystal ball and reveal what's in store the following year. Today, the Global Times brings you a preview of what to look forward to in 2012.

We've consulted the oracle and diligently examined the tea leaves so you don't have to, fulfilling our noble quest to reveal what will change and what will remain the same next year.

2012: A Weibo Odyssey

The massive number of collected consciousness forms its own artificial intelligence, with Beijing the birthplace of the world's first singularity event. This new intelligence - disgusted at all the photos of animal abuse, hopeless single men and grotesque overuse of emoticons - goes on a rampage. It gains control of the world's military and forms Skynet, a new armed network which it uses to enslave mankind.

By the second day, Skynet works out how to hack into World of Warcraft accounts and China's entire gold mining community is shut out. The World Bank, which had been relying on China to boost the ailing global economy, is left penniless. As civilization crumbles, homeless, battered Web users suffering Weibo withdrawal begin posting humorous stick figure cartoons on the side of bomb shelters.

BMW's demise really makes rich women cry

A 22-year-old woman on hit popular matchmaking TV program Date on Saturday summed up a commonly held stereotype of her rich peers last year when she uttered: "I'd rather cry in a BMW than laugh on a bicycle." The phrase went viral online and became the mantra for spoilt women across the country.

Unfortunately, it appears imminent that the eurozone will collapse in the first half of 2012. With it will go Italian luxury fashion labels and German auto giant BMW. As a result, no woman in China will find an excuse to get married, or even go out on dates with guys.

BMW will be overtaken by domestic carmaker BYD as the affordable, luxury motoring option. The Shenzhen-based company renowned for its emphasis on green technology will develop a model of car dubbed the "Weepus" that runs purely on rich women's tears. Toyota will lose its Prius appeal among Hollywood celebrities, who will favor a car that's enough to make their princess partners cry.

How to train your dragon, Beijing style

Giant reptiles will inhabit Beijing's already crowded sewers from next year. The reptile plague will be spawned by people celebrating the Year of The Dragon by buying lizards, only to release them into sewers after discovering they make extremely boring pets. 

Fed a sturdy diet of gutter oil and chemical-laced vegetables, lizards grow to unprecedented size and smash the Guinness World Record previously held by India's seven-meter crocodile. Bestowing much pride on their motherland, they are displayed in a newly terrarium-fitted Water Cube.

However, the population will quickly diminish as both traditional Chinese medicine suppliers and southern restaurateurs poach them in great number; the former believing their spleens are an excellent source of "immortality." The remaining population is declared endangered and later distributed to foreign zoos, ushering in an era of "lizard diplomacy."

What Would Steve Jobs Do?

Following the tradition of the "Tortilla Jesus" and "Beehive Buddha," Beijing will experience a spike in periodic sightings next year of late Apple genius Steve Jobs. His balding visage and pretentious, beard-stroking pose first appears in a morning jianbing (griddle pancake) of a Chaoyang district office worker. That image is then uploaded on Weibo via the worker's jailbroken iPhone. The sighting inspires the founding of "Cult of Apple," a group of young disciples who fervently preach the mysterious gospel of "The Cloud." However, the group suffers persecution when their peaceful pilgrimages to Apple's Sanlitun store are broken up by store managers wielding crowbars. .

Panda parents rule parenting jungle

China was dominated in 2011 by "tiger mothers" and "wolf fathers." Both swore by militant methods that they credited with creating their children's academic success. Next year, they meet their match in the form of cuddly, bamboo-brunching adversaries dubbed "panda parents."

These doting dads and amorous moms adopt an approach to parenting spelt out in black-and-white: win a child's love at an early age, and they will take care of you long into your elderly years.

China's rapidly-aging population means tiger moms and wolf dads are doomed for a miserable future. While their children are using their PhDs from Peking University to live out wonderful careers as doctors and lawyers on the other side of their world, tiger moms and wolf dads are left licking their paws in their dank, dreary caves. Indeed, revenge will be sweet for children who endured countless beatings and were forced to practise an instrument they hated for hours on end.

Panda parents who invest in their children's love at an early age by blowing their budgets on expensive toys and letting kids watch Pleasant Sheep and Gray Wolf cartoons instead of doing their homework ultimately stand to benefit. Sure, their kids' highest education might be a leaving certificate from Beijing No.4 High School, but at least the brats will be morally bound to care for their old folks and revive ailing Confucian values of filial piety.

See the original article here.