Are we true blue Chinese? Ever since I became a father of three boys, I began to question their ancestry. I was absolutely certain about mine, I felt. Pa’s roots were from Shaoxing, not far from Ningbo where Ma’s clan struggled to survive. I did not think further than that. It wasn’t important for me then – my basic understanding of Biology only told me my genes determined my physical attributes such as height, colour of eyes and hair. I blamed everything on my genes. The whole gamut of physical imperfections in fact. Skinny? Slant beady eyes, definitely due to my genes. Puny arm genes, buck teeth genes, flabby tummy, sparrow leg genes too. But The Mrs’ DNA? Where did they come from? Hakka people were travellers, that is why they are called guests, 客家話, khek lang or khejiaren. Believed to have fled northern China due to war and famine around 300 AD, they eventually settled in the south of the vast country. Did the Hakka for instance interbreed with non Han people? My sons all have a pronounced hooked nose – could it be a physical trait from tribes in Central Asia, I wondered. A colleague of one of them asked if he has Turkish blood. Hakka architecture is unique and totally different from the Chinese. The circular dwellings called tulou reminded me of ancient spaceships, more alien than Han. The Mrs rationalised that the Hakkas were constantly attacked by rival villagers. They were farmers, and had no military skills and weaponry to ward off attackers. Their walled round buildings housed a whole clan and kept the invaders away. “Then, why did they flee?” I asked her. Silence.
Last Christmas, I bought my eldest son an Ancestry DNA kit to crack the mystery once and for all. One kit would suffice since all three sons are of the same progeny. I gave myself a little praise for not buying three kits – the little Biology I learned in school saved me $129 x 2. Amazing technology, spit into a tube and they will tell him everything he does not know about himself. They can trace both his paternal and maternal lineages and even uncover the geographical and ethnic origins of his ancestors. My son got his results last week. Surprise, surprise. He is 100% Chinese. The $129 I spent did not explain why my sons have their hooked nose. They have neither Turkish nor Mongolian blood. Pure Han. Which does not explain why The Mrs has deep set eyes, high cheekbones, a hooked nose and big feet. But, the results were able to accurately describe my son’s physical attributes – that he is tall and muscular, possesses strength rather than speed, and prone to back injuries, to name a few. For a few hundred dollars more, he can find out what diseases would likely befallen him, what illnesses he will likely succumb to. And then the alarm bells started to ring loudly in my head!
If their ever-growing database has such incredible information, how easy would it be nowadays for AI or brilliant scientists to determine what pathogens can be manufactured to target and attack specific genes? Forget about viruses such as SARS and the current coronavirus that is grabbing global headlines and causing a media frenzy. How long would it be before a rogue nation with a rogue leader wakes up and orders their scientific community to produce a virus that would specifically target a race? Wipe out a whole race without firepower, without a missile being fired. Without destruction of roads and railways. Every building untouched. Without retaliation. The enemy would not even know it is being attacked. For instance, an enemy of China producing a virus that kills only people with genes specific to Chinese only? The attacker’s own blue-eyed and green-eyed populace will have no fear of the virus. And when the whole Chinese population is decimated, what is to stop the attacking nation from invading China and take over its infrastructure and financial systems that remain in working order? Bioweapons that kill only the enemy race. That is coming soon! Urghhlings. Meanwhile, the media frenzy continues about Novel Coronavirus 2019 n-Cov. The deadly virus. The deadly virus. The deadly virus. These three words are repeated constantly in all news channels. I get the feeling they are creating hysteria and panic before the pandemic is even a remote reality. First the trade war declaration by Trump. That did not defeat China. The cynics see this virus as another US attack against China. Another attempt to cripple the Chinese economy and slow their advancement to modernise their military. Wuhan is a near ideal city to start a war using biological warfare. A city of close to 11 million people centrally located near the important industrial and financial centres of the country. There were persistent rumours that SARS was a bioengineered virus that infected Hong Kong. It has not taken long for conspiracy theorists to accuse the Anglo-American axis of bioengineering this latest coronavirus. Fifty million people under lockdown today, American media reporting “skyrocketing” infections. Why are we seeing this mass hysteria? Globally, 80 dead out of 2,700 cases so far. Let me put this in perspective. In 2019, there were 430 deaths from 217,000 reported cases of the winter flu just in Australia alone. Undoubtedly, the health authorities are right to put systems in place to curtail the spread of this threat. But, let us not fear the end of the world is near. Far from it, urghhlings will not be so easy to get rid of from this world.
P.S. The H1N1/09 virus was first recognised in Veracruz, Mexico but quickly spread from the US. They did little to contain it. Yet, we now hear rumblings from The West criticising China for failing to contain the Wuhan virus or the Chinese Flu as some are calling it. From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated there were “60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalisations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States alone due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.” Estimated 105,000 to 395,000 deaths worldwide, according to The Lancet. That is roughly 0.03% fatality, but no accurate count was taken as the WHO and CDC stopped counting cases once they declared it a pandemic. Imagine the uproar if China were to simply follow their example. According to the WHO Review Committee in 2011, it could have been as high as 200 million infected. No one called it the American flu, although very appropriately it is also known as the swine flu.