Originally Posted: 2006-09-20 14:01

Little Old Chinese Ladies (Richmond)

OK, I know what I'm talking about? I mean, I've played rugby for years, I've coached it for years, too. I know good tackling technique and good body position when I see it.

And so I stand in awe of some of the Chinese little ancient women who muscle their way into and out of crowded buses. Not only is their timing impeccable, they show all the brutality and ruthlessness you'd hope for in a test-match prop. They may be diminutive, they may not possess the sheer bulk of an international rugby player - but they could teach the All Black forwards a thing or two about body position when entering a ruck. They can get you right under the ribs, from the most unexpected angles, sending you reeling, wondering what hit you. They can headbutt you in the elbow, elbow you in the knees. They can slip from behind you, through the door and away in the time it takes you to lift a foot to step through the door. They move with such speed, skill and deadly aggression that it's a wonder the CIA hasn't recruited all of them to be covert assassins. Perhaps they have.

And it's not just on buses. In a throng of people visiting a night market this summer, who were bumping off the citizenry right and left? You guessed it - Chinese little ancient women (CLAW's). Impassively, with only the slightest wrinkling of the brow to belie the concentration needed to inflict the most accidental injury, they would - "bulldoze" is too large and clumsy a word - incise their way like little scalpels through the crowd. And with their lethally hard shoes, no toes were safe.

Even when visiting a museum exhibition, with lots of people milling around the main exhibits, I was agog as the throng of CLAW’s elbowed me aside and kicked my heels and calves. It was amazing. With great aplomb, and completely ignoring the existence of anyone else, the CLAW’s went blithely along, colliding with one another with the regularity and lack of emotion of fairground dodgems. It was like human pinball, ancient bodies careening off each other in all directions. Of course, this substantially increased the likelihood of being battered.

The difference, in this instance, from being ribbed by a CLAW stepping off a bus, was that there were dozens of them, all moving in different directions. Walking the length of a single museum room was like doing Niagara in a barrel - but without the protection of the barrel. A nudge here, a knee there, a cranium to the funny bone. NO matter how much I dodged and hopped, sidestepped and swerved, I couldn't avoid continual impact. I reached the far end of the room, bruised and disoriented, thinking seriously of abandoning the whole exhibition and going to find an emergency ward somewhere.

What's my point? Well, I figure, with Canada's Chinese population aging, (I read recently that 25 percent of the immigrant populace will be over 65 in a few years' time), that such talent should be harnessed in some way. I challenge anyone out there in readerland to come up with a scheme in which such completely disinterested violence can be put to good use.

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