By CHUN GE
Spring Festival Correspondent
HARBIN (China Daily Show) – A Dongbei man has defended his decision to spend roughly half his family’s annual income on fireworks, amid criticism that the country’s orgy of New Year fireworks is growing ever-more pointless and environmentally dangerous.
Ji Guang, a 47-year-old food vendor and father of three, admitted he’d dropped nearly 2,000 yuan on a box of 25 Deng’s Delight Catherine wheels.
Ji told media he also spent 1,500 yuan on Roman candles, plus a hundredweight of Thunder King firecrackers – described by manufacturers as “guaranteed to delight neighbour, shock the Grandma and terrify dogs and small children.”
But Ji denied spending a further 3,000 kuai on a variety pack of luxury artillery shells, arguing the true figure was “more like 2,800.”
Ji said that his proposed Spring Festival show – which experts estimate will last between three to four minutes at best, not including a week of maddening, post-Chunjie firecracker displays – will provide vital memories for his children’s future.
Nutritionists point out that, without proper daily doses of vitamins and protein, his children may not have much of a future.
“Fireworks are a vital part of Chinese culture, which it has fallen upon me to protect,” said Ji. “The children will be fine – the suppliers threw in a box of traditional instant noodles completely free, as I’d spent well over 5,000 yuan by that time.”
And Ji added that his bulk purchase also qualified the family for a corporate gift: a specially commissioned, limited-edition, natural chrysanthemum stone that he received at no extra charge, other than postage, packaging and a reasonable handling fee.
“This is now a precious family heirloom. In the long run, financially, it’s bound to be worth skimping on pork, vegetables and water for a few months when you consider the stone,” said Ji as he cradled the misshapen item. “Just feel its weight: the equity on this beauty must be, literally, priceless.”
According to his neighbours, however, this isn’t the first time Ji has made an extravagant gesture around Chinese New Year. Last year, he ploughed much of his parents’ savings into a doomed caviar-dumpling enterprise, convinced the rural Heilongjiang market was ready for luxury Chunjie catering.
Most of his sturgeon failed to spawn, however.
And a crate of General Wu Rebel Rockets (4,800 yuan/12) Ji provided for his village’s Year of the Rabbit celebrations proved something of a damp squib, with many failing even to ignite. As one eyewitness recalled, “We were promised a fireworks orgy – it was more like watching a bunch of eunuchs.”