‘There is always a need for intoxication: China has opium, Islam has hashish, the West has woman.’ – Andre Malraux
Nightclub owners contentedly patted their money-filled pockets, waves of opium smoke filtered from the doorways of night-time establishments out onto the streets carrying out a silent nocturnal choking of the darkness while nightclub frequenters lay paralysed in a soundless sofa-bound ecstasy- 150 years ago China was a nation crippled by addiction. In an effort to gain the upper hand in the world of trade against the majestic oriental land of silk and with an underhand but ingenious military ploy, the British had brought over opium, leaving China strategically handicapped and defeated. Soldiers unwilling to fight, chefs unwilling to cook, teachers unwilling to teach- the Chinese had not only lost Hong Kong, they had lost themselves.
150 years on, China has succumbed to the bittersweet taste of quite another intoxicating…
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