Via NPR's Goats and Soda blog: A Smog-Inspired Poem Goes Viral In China: Lung Cancer Is The Narrator. Excerpt:
A poem written by a Chinese surgeon lamenting the medical effects of smog, called "I Long to Be King," is going viral on Chinese social media. Told from the perspective of lung cancer, the poem takes an apocalyptic note:
Happiness after sorrow, rainbow after rain.
I faced surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy,
But continued to chase my dream,
Some would have given up, but I will be the king.
An English version of the poem (for full text, see below) ran in the October issue of CHEST Journal, a publication of the American College of Chest Physicians. Published in Chinese this month, the poem is now striking a chord on Chinese social media.
"I hope the government can look at this problem more and then immediately resolve it, otherwise everyone will move. Or we will die of cancer. Is this the final outcome we face?" asked one commenter on Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform.
"I'm infuriated... For the sake of GDP, can we simply ignore the health of our country's people?" wrote another.
Not all commenters appreciated the poem though. "Europe and the U.S. always most enjoy when Chinese people write about their own underside. The more coarse, the more backward, the higher the chance it wins attention," complained one.
The author of "I Long to Be King" is Dr. Zhao Xiaogang, deputy chief of thoracic surgery at Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital of Tongji University. Since the poem has taken off, he has been outspoken in the detrimental health effects of air pollution.
"The intense rise in lung cancer ... is intimately related to smog," Dr. Zhao told state media.