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RECAP11 min read

September 17, 2021 8 min read

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RECAP11 min read

Reading Time: 8 minutes

The Script

Welcome to the Baani and Billi show, where a cat discusses worldly matters with their human companion. 

This episode is presented to you by Owliver’s Post, a news magazine for young readers.

Tang Ping and the Death of Video Games

You hear the sound of video game music and console buttons in the background, Baani gets audibly frustrated. 

Billi: Omg Baani, you won’t believe this

Baani: …. (reacting to her game) yes!!

Billi: What are you so excited about? You haven’t even heard my news yet.

Baani: …. (reacting to her game) what!!! No! get out of my way

Billi: ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING? (sound of a loud thud, and the ‘you lose’ sound from some video game

Baani: BILLI, I will kill you. I had finally reached the last level. Days nay months of practice and you… *screams* GET OFF 

Billi: Fine. Just know this. Our friendship is over – O-V-E-R OVER. (sound of Billi slamming the door)

Opening jingle

Baani: *knocking on door* Look, I am sorry, Billi. Just talk to me. It was in the heat of the moment. Also, I had my reasons.

Billi: … (door creaks open)

Baani: Come on, Billi. This could be the most time i get to spend on video games , and obviously, I love you, and I don’t bear any ill will towards you. The thing is, I could be restrained to just 3 HOURS of video games a week! 3 hourss!! So, I NEED to make the most of all the time I have left.

Billi: (evil laugh)

Baani: why are you laughing? You’ll never understand. I am sorry I behaved badly, but you’ll never understand, NEVER. 

Billi: (evil laugh continues)

Baani: What do you know?

Billi: Two cans of tuna, and I’ll think about talking

Baani: One can, and you WILL talk 

Billi: Fine. Deal. (can opening)

Baani: So…

Billi: First of all, you should know that your behaviour was obnoxious. Second of all, if your primary source of news is online gamers, don’t expect to ever know the truth?

Baani: What truth! Who, if not gamers would know about the rules that pertain to video games??

Billi: The three-hour rule has been put in place in China, not here, you numbskull. I can’t believe you were rude to me over fake news. Although, one could argue that all terrible behaviour does, after all, stem from fake news.

Baani: Are you sure, Billi, because the handle of the player that told me about this was Anand674

Billi: Could be an Indian person in China … Could be random letters that happen to sound like an Indian name… It Could be a Chinese name. The last time that I checked, you were no expert on the titles of Chinese…

Baani: (cutting Billi off) I get your point. What do you know about this rule anyway?

Billi: I know everything. I am …*burps* omnipresent and omniscient

Baani: Omni…What?

Billi: I am smarter than you!

Baani: Can I play video games or not?

Billi: I have good news and bad news, Baani. On the one hand, you can definitely play video games all day, fry your brains and destroy your body. Wait, or is that the bad news? I have bad news and bad news. You also will lose a lot of your online gaming friends. Because Chinese players, at least all the kids, won’t be around anymore.

Baani: I just don’t understand. How and why would the Chinese government do that to its own children? What a harmless, enjoyable activity! You had a bad day? Oh! It’s fine! Because you can always play…

Billi: With your cat? Well, the why of your question is a long story, but the how is pretty simple. Either way, we’ve got to infiltrate the soul of China as we seek our answers. Are you ready for a journey, Baani?

Baani: Uh oh. Not another Billi journey. *Takes deep breath and steels voice* Ok, I’m ready.

Billi: (music starts) So, China is a very different place from India. On the one hand, it’s a far wealthier country. In fact, it’s the second richest country in the world. On the other hand, Chinese people have slightly.. umm.. different ideas of … uh freedom and democracy.

Baani: Different? They have only one political party there! The Communist Party of China, the rest of the parties basically don’t exist. And also, a few years ago, their leader, Xi Jinping, changed the country’s laws so that he could stay in power forever. So yeah, I would say that they have slightly different ideas of freedom and democracy. Can you even call China a democracy?

Billi: They do vote. Chinese citizens vote for their local leaders, who then elect senior leaders who go on and choose the President. 

Baani: Oh, come on! The people on the top are so powerful that the choices of the people at the lower levels of government are almost pre decided. And Xi Jinping is rumoured to have so much control over his party members that they have to elect him and the people he wants around him.

Billi: Yeah, as a communist government, their focus is more on prosperity, law and order, and the equal distribution of wealth than stuff like freedom of speech and expression

Baani: *sounds surprised* Yeah, i.. *coughs* I agree. They lock up and brutally punish anyone who criticises them, and now they are taking their controlling rules to a whole new level…preventing people from playing video games! RIDICULOUS. ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS

Billi: As an all-powerful party, the leaders’ primary goal is to make sure that the people are happy with their leadership. The people of China should be able to see why they gave up their freedoms and how it benefits them.

Baani: How is banning video games worth giving up your freedom of speech. BANNING VIDEO GAMES IS WORTH NOTHING AT ALL. 

Billi: Do you mean video games are worthless

Baani: Huh?

Billi: You just said banning video games is worth nothing at all. I agree. Video games are, in fact, worthless.

Baani: I meant the worth of video games is higher than anything else, obviously. What can anyone gain from giving up video games? I just don’t get it!

Billi: First of all, the rule is three hours of video games a week. One hour between 8 and 9 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So, it’s not really giving up, is it?

Baani: Just my last game of dungeons and dragons lasted 4 whole hours. So, yes, I would say that it is as good as giving up!

Billi: Parents were complaining that playing video games is all their children were doing. In fact, their children were getting anxious, depressed, sometimes violent! A lot of parents actually asked the government to step in.

Baani: What? *pauses* I guess I understand that, but

Billi: But, what? Even the WHO has set guidelines that advise against too much video game playing.

Baani: They could add warnings to the games, maybe even restrict playing to weekends, but monitoring the hours …. and which particular hour. Anyway, you know what people can just enter fake names and ages

Billi: Video games in China will have to make it a requirement for all Chinese players to provide official ID proofs!

Baani: tch tch tch tch tch What are they going to do next? Watch the kids all day? Check what they eat? When they sleep? What they do on the internet? What music they enjoy?

Billi: Yes, Yes, yes and yes. The Chinese government wants to have total control over the way that their society looks. China’s authorities already do all of that. 

Baani: WHATTTT?

Billi: Remember, Operation Empty Plate, the Chinese bid to punish people for wasting food and when they…… banned… Muk.. (tearing) … MUKBANG? Well, they’ve introduced a new series of drastic controls. Celebrities have been removed, entirely removed from the internet…

Baani: Huh! how can you wipe someone off the internet?

Billi: Chinese internet?

Baani: Oh god, Billi, am I trapped in one of your conspiracy theories? 

Billi: No, this is true. China has exceptionally strict internet controls. They don’t have google, youtube, Wikipedia, Netflix…

Baani: THEY DON’T HAVE YOUTUBE AND NETFLIX? 

Billi: Relax, it’s not like they don’t have entertainment. They just have their own entertainment apps, and those are strictly controlled by the government. Everything on the Chinese internet follows the rules set by the Communist party. So, if the party wants someone off the internet. Then, the chances are that they’ll be off the internet. 

Baani: I don’t get it. Why does China want to change everything? In just 70 years, they’ve gone from an impoverished nation to the world’s second or maybe even first most powerful nation? The party has total control over the country… CLEARLY. Why can’t they just let the Chinese people be as they are? 

Billi: On the surface, everything seems great, but beneath that, Chinese society is facing a big problem. See, China grew so fast that it grew unequally. The rich are super-rich while the poor struggle. Chinese culture is so focused on wealth that the competitive, cut-throat nature of society is just getting out of hand. 

Baani: Yeah, I learnt that while playing among us actually! Did you know people are getting so tired of struggling that many young people are just giving up! Did you know that my friend xvc322 was a believer of Tang Ping 

Billi: *surprised* Oh my god! YOU know about the Tang Ping movement? 

Baani: Of course. People used it to protest 996

Billi: 996?

Baani; Working 9 am to 9 pm–6 days a week. And still struggling to live a life with any luxuries.

Billi: Yuck. Long live Tang ping. Just lay flat and do nothing at all, what a great philosophy

Baani: you’re a natural disciple of Tang Ping, Billi. I can hardly remember a time that you weren’t laying flat and doing nothing

Billi: can you name anything better than that? 

Baani: Video Games

Billi: Ughh anyway like Tang Ping the government doesn’t like video games because it makes the youth lazy, and they need people to work. If china has to stay as powerful as it is, they need soldiers and hardworking people building up the community

Baani: Why not just lure workers in with money and rewards, like we do here? 

Billi: Because China is a communist nation, and they want everyone to be somewhat equally rich. 

Baani: Ohhh, I get it. So, they want their citizens to work because they love their country and not so that they can amass enough wealth so they don’t have to work anymore

Billi: Exactly. To be honest, I don’t see that happening. Work is unlikable, it’s unnatural. We were all put on this planet to chill. Tang Ping my friend

Baani: I know people who love their work. You’re just lazy

Billi: *scoffs* It’s my job to be lazy and I love it very much.  

Baani: *silent*

Billi: Umm.. nothing good ever happens when you are quiet. What are you thinking?

Baani: This just doesn’t add up, Billi. My friend told me that they are, in fact, reducing the workload in China. Less homework, no after-school private classes, fewer exams, no stress. More sports and family time. In fact, the government is helping its citizens relax

Billi: Exactly. 

Baani: But they also banned Tang Ping

Billi: There are two facts to note here. First of all, they’re helping children relax but when adults try it, the government shuts down the movement

Baani: (has a realisation) And they’re cutting private classes so that everyone can learn only what the government teaches

Billi: The Xi Jinping school of thought, where everything is done according to the principles of one man

(clipping of Xi Jinping school of thought report)

Baani: *gasps* So everyone learns only to love China and want to work for just the glory of the country,

Billi: Good work, Sherlock.  The Chinese government is making sure that people aren’t too tired of working even before they are adults. 

Baani: I don’t know, Billi. Even if I were to disregard the ban on video games. Don’t you think they should focus more on creative, broad-minded innovative thinking? Soon enough, there will be robots to do all the mindless work. Then, what do you do with a group of people who haven’t thought critically about anything? 

Billi: Well, they’ll still learn science and math and the rest of it, so we’ll just have to wait and see if Xi Jinping’s thoughts are smart enough for an entire country. But I also see your point there Baani, I suppose video games haven’t yet fried your brains entirely

Baani: I am glad we’ve established that it is me who is in fact Omni whatever you called it

Billi: Sure, if you say so. I am about to play the banned Tang Ping song and lie flat and take a nap 

Baani: I am going to listen  to the banned Tang Ping song lying flat and playing a video game. 

Billi: (relaxed sigh) 

(song plays)

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