Ah, baijiu. Dust of the attic, wine of the gutter. Here are two stories that remind me exactly why I stopped casually drinking it. Subtitle: DEATH AND PAIN.
In Guangzhou, a four-year-old drank a half-bottle of baijiu on August 30, not even in a game to prove he’s a badass or anything — just because he saw it under his parents’ pillow and didn’t know better. According to The Nanfang:
The family have already spent 23,000 RMB on medical treatment and doctors say that if he pulls through he may be paralysed or in a vegetative state for the rest of his life, Southern Metropolis Daily reports.
The boy’s father, Lao Lin, is a migrant worker from Sichuan and the family lives in rented accommodation near Wanggang in Baiyun District. Lao Lin, his wife and his mother all habitually drink baijiu. At around 10 a.m. on Aug. 30, when the toddler Xiao Long’s grandmother was supervising him, she took two sips of a bottle of baijiu in her bedroom and left the bottle under her bed.
The grandmother left the boy unsupervised for 10 minutes, which was enough time for the boy to chug away. About eight hours later, when the boy had not woken, the grandmother finally called the boy’s mother, who got home from work an hour later and took him to the hospital. Sadly — as sad as these sort of stories get — “even though the family will struggle to pay his medical fees, having been hit hard by the Wenchuan earthquake of 2008, Lao Lin says he will do everything he can for his son no matter what,” says The Nanfang.
Meanwhile, in Harbin, a bottle of baijiu came with a surprising bite — literally. This from That’s Beijing:
Dbw.cn, a Heilongjiang-based news portal, reported that a short-tailed mamushi that Ms Liu had infused in several litres of baijiu came to life unexpectedly as she was topping up the tipple. While stirring the snake with chopsticks, the reptile shocked her by making a dash for freedom while giving her a nip on the right hand for good measure.
The snake reportedly survived in a jar with the baijiu for three months. As incredible as that seems, it’s not impossible.
According to “experts” quoted by Dbtw, if kept in a non-airtight vessel with enough oxygen, snakes may enter a condition similar to hibernation and thus stay alive for long periods of time.
And as That’s Beijing tells us, this sort of thing has happened before:
In 2001, a farmer from Guangxi was reportedly bitten on the neck by a cobra he had left preserved in a jar of rice wine for over a year. Unfortunately, he died the following day.
The things that can kill you. We already knew about the dangers of this toxic brew, of course, but reminders are never bad. Just stick with the whiskey and coke, party-people.
p.s. Baijiu will be somewhat prominent at the Literary Death Match at the Bookworm on Wednesday.
4-year-old in intensive care in Guangzhou after drinking baijiu (The Nanfang)
Snake in the glass: pickled reptile attacks baijiu aficionado (That’s Beijing)