I have borrowed the title for this post from a book I read as a schoolboy. I have only hazy recollections of the book , but the Rice-Rubber pact with China surely featured prominently.
It is rather hard to imagine today that the world's second largest economy would enter into the most cumbersome and primitive form of trade: barter, with a tiny country like Ceylon but post-revolutionary China was a poor, chaotic, almost anarchic state. Some news reports from the time, though partial, are amusing to read.
Today things are rather different. China, a rising power seeking to dominate trade and wield its influence in the world. Sri Lanka is one of the countries that seems to be locked into the Chinese embrace, no longer an equal partner as in 1952 but a minnow, in a position familiar to many an African nation. And it is the African experience that is interesting, how the Chinese first welcome so eagerly now seem to inspire suspicion, fear and anger. The Economist has an analysis that is well worth reading.
I do apologise for the frequent links to The Economist in my recent writings. It is just that they have many interesting ideas and I am one who is stimulated by ideas. An attractive idea is absorbed, then bounced around like a rubber ball, ricocheting around the mind, stimulating thought in distant areas, reappearing in different forms and repeating the whole process all over again leaving the mind a-whirl in heady intoxication.