On my first full day in Beijing, I came face to face with "Essence of Kangaroo." It was a smallish silver box, much like a Rogaine box, and with a dapper Western man with a full set of luxurious hair smiling on the front, again much like a Rogaine box. The major difference was the kangaroo standing just to the man's left, behind the sign that said "Essence of Kangaroo." I had never seen anything this absurd, so naturally my first inclination was to take a picture of it.
But just as I was about to snap the photo, a store clerk came over and put her hand in front of the box, saying I couldn't take a picture of it. It wasn't until a second store clerk came over to tell me the same thing that I realized she was serious. And it wasn't until I was walking out of the grocery store, dejected and photo-less, that I realized there might actually be bits and pieces of kangaroo inside that box.
At first I chalked up their insistence against photos to the kangaroo bits, since we Westerners eat chickens and fish and their babies and cows and turkeys and ducks and deer and lobsters and crabs and lamb, but we don't eat kangaroo testes, so naturally have the right to judge those who do. Maybe kangaroo testes is a touchy subject across cultures. But then I kept seeing "No Photography" signs in stores selling things as innocuous as Adidas shoes. Instead, then, maybe stores selling legitimate goods are just trying to prevent people from taking photos of them, and using those photos to make their own knock-offs?
At any rate, in a fit of instant karma as strong and full of vitality as the kangaroo, my camera was stolen from my pocket while aboard a crowded Beijing subway, just two days after the incident in the grocery store. That was the first time I'd been pick-pocketed in my life, which was no fun. But lo and behold, all the Adidas stores and grocery clerks in the world can't stop me from finding the exact image I want on Google. Why take your own pictures, when you can just take somebody else's from the internet? Who needs a camera anyway? P.S. did you know that the research has found that male Kangaroo produces twice as much semen as a bull? Thanks, Google!