The Chinese Logistical Sublime and Its Wasted Remains

The Disorder Of Things

Sent from Taipei, the last post in a container ship ethnography. The entire series can be viewed here.


“We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
Or of an ocean not littered with wastage”
– T. S. Eliot, “The Dry Salvages”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA An APL vessel heads out of the port of Hong Kong

On our thirteenth day at sea, after having been battered by 6 meter waves and snow, gale-force winds and storm, having watched the ship’s skeleton snake and bend with the force of rough seas from within the depths of its passageways, I woke up on a calm, quiet morning to a sea that had turned a lighter shade of blue. From my porthole, delighted, I watched as seagulls weaved in an out of the wind currents above the containers, seaweed merrily skimmed the surface of the ocean, and fishing vessels began dotting the horizon. Land was near. Less…

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