Political Satire: The Old Man of the Mountain (15)

Jun 2013
Narrator: After a while, the priest arrived at a village near a beach. He found a large crowd hurling mirrors at a huge rock. The priest asked one of the onlookers about the commotion.

Priest: What's happening here, my friend?

Onlooker: Today is the first day of the "Breaking Mirrors Campaign" in this village.

Priest: Please tell me more about it.

Onlooker: About two months ago, my village chief's granddaughter heard a very sharp explosive sound during her bathroom singing. Looking up at the mirror, she found that it was cracked. After that, other female members of the family claimed that they saw a mysterious eye popping out of every mirror whenever they changed their clothes.

My village chief went to seek the advice of a warlock and was told that his mirrors were haunted by evil spirits. According to the warlock, the evil spirits send whatever information they see to the chief of another village several thousand metres away. Using some magic chants, that village chief could see whatever he wishes to see in his magic mirror. Not very long after, many other villagers also claimed seeing a mysterious eye in their mirrors. My village chief declared that the haunted mirrors were a security threat to the whole village and ordered them to be destroyed.

Priest: To have full control over the evil spirits, that village chief must have made all those haunted mirrors himself.

Onlooker: No, those mirrors are produced in a small factory in that village. The factory owner has no relationship with that village chief. As to how that village chief haunts all the mirrors with evil spirits, it is a mystery.

Priest: Where will the villagers buy their mirrors after destroying all the haunted mirrors?

Onlooker: There is a mirror factory in this village but its products are much more expensive. Now the villagers have no choice but to buy the local products.

Priest: After destroying all the haunted mirrors, the "trade war" should be over now.

Onlooker: Not yet. I heard that my village chief is going to ban the export of sand to that factory. Unfortunately for that factory, it has to import 70 per cent of sand for the production of glass. Banning the export of sand would effectively strangle that company or kill its business in the whole region.

Priest: A very nasty move indeed. If I am not wrong, this village will emerge as the winner in the "trade war".

Onlooker: Not at all. A trade war is a double-edged sword. First of all, the villagers will pay more for their “clean” mirrors. Secondly, many workers in the local sand-exporting industry will lose their jobs.

Priest: Have you dumped away your haunted mirrors?

Onlooker: Why should I? I am over 70 years old now. There is nothing interesting for the evil spirits to see in my bathroom or bedroom. Furthermore, I am going to keep all my haunted mirrors. Who knows? They may fetch my great-grandchildren good fortune one day if my haunted mirrors are the only ones left in this region.

Narrator: Long after the priest left the village, he could still hear the shattering of glass in the distance as more and more villagers destroyed their supposedly haunted mirrors on the rock.