Doomsday Phobia Makes Chinese Build Arks After Watching '2012' [VIDEO]
For some Chinese moviegoers, the sci-fi action flick "2012" was more than an excuse to see everyone's favorite Cusack sibling on the big screen. It was a dire portent of things to come and the cause of a nationwide case of doomsday phobia. A recent 3D screening of Roland Emmerich's disaster epic only made things worse, and doomsday phobia is spreading.
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The doomsday phobia relates, of course, to the Mayan prophecy that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012. And it's causing some people in China to do some outrageous things. The Asia Times Online reported the story of a woman in Nanjing who mortgaged her apartment, drained her bank account and borrowed money off of everyone she could to raise 2 million Yuan ($320,000) in cash so she could give it away to needy children. She wanted to make them happy for their last few days on Earth.
"Since the world will soon come to an end and we'll all be gone, what should we keep our property and money for?" she told the Asia Times.
Doomsday phobia started to get national attention after news of the woman's story spread. She was a well-educated engineer and not someone who would appear to be ruled by superstition. The doomsday phobia isn't causing everyone to act irrational in the name of charity. Many are just indulging in good, old-fashioned selfishness.
A carpenter in Chongqing spent his family savings on fine wine and gourmet food much to the chagrin of his wife, who had just given birth. She left the man and took their new daughter with her.
Two cousins in Zhejiang contracted doomsday phobia after reading Internet rumors about the Mayan prophecy and decided to quit their jobs and spend their remaining days living a life of crime. After a dozen robberies police caught up to the pair who were spending the cash on fine dining.
Another curious aspect of the doomsday phobia in China is the resurgence of the Noah's Ark myth. The Asia Times reported several incidents of people trying to capitalize on the biblical story.
A man in Xinjiang and another in Henan succumbed to doomsday phobia and drained their life savings to construct their own arks. A businessman in Zhejiang has been advertising "modern Noah's arks" that he claims will survive tsunamis, floods, volcanic eruptions and nuclear radiation. He claims to have taken 21 orders for units that range from 1 million to 5 million Yuan a piece ($160,000 to $800,000)
And a Buddhist temple in Tibet has been selling tickets to 'Noah's Ark' despite the fact that the temple is decidedly un-boatlike and run by Buddhists, not Christians.
Analysts are blaming an "ideological vacuum" in China caused by the collapse of traditional Marxism three decades ago. The Chinese have greatly improved their material lives since then, analysts say, but remain spiritually poor and are therefore susceptible to novel ideas like doomsday phobia.
Has no one considered the theory that maybe John Cusack is just that good an actor?
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