The China Syndrome
In fact, the head of one of the offending toy companies just killed himself over the fact that Beijing shut him down, both he and the government thereby showing some small smidgen of honor. (How ironic that Japan used to be the cheap shoddy manufacturing Asian nation of record..."MADE IN JAPAN" was the guarantee of fall-apart crap...and now Japan-made items are superior, sleek and pricey.)
And we have no one to blame but the big corporate greedheads right here at home. They want huge profits and minimal production costs, and they don’t care how they get it, so manufacturing has all been sent overseas, to China, Thailand and India in particular. And we consumers are the ones who suffer. But usually only AFTER they've been caught pushing dangerous products. Then all the companies and governments profess outrage and indignation, when they're the ones who tried to get away with it for as long and as profitably as they could.
(And in a related issue: The next time I have to talk to an absolutely unintelligible Hewlett-Packard tech who sounds like Peter Sellers, I'm going to toss my printer out the window. There are millions of Indians who speak English as well and as clearly as I do, if not better. Why then do I have to suffer through talking to Mowgli the Jungle Boy instead of Mahatma Gandhi? I know it's outsourcing, but I prefer to call it customer service. FIX IT.)
And also I blame China. As someone put it on a blog: “such incredible naivete matched with an almost palpable contempt for Western society and culture. They want all the toys we’ve got but seem utterly dismissive of the Western experience. Look at China’s history...plenty of in-fighting, a xenophobic worldview and an astonishing arrogance. Face it, the last time they were a world power they were being run by someone else, namely the Mongols. This wildly diverse (even though it’s so often viewed as ‘homogeneous’) nation should enjoy its time, because history doesn’t seem to be on its side. Besides, what they’ve done (and are doing) to Tibet is beyond barbaric.”
I totally agree. Still, what happens when they HAVE all those toys, and as big an appetite for depleting the world's resources as we do only multiplied by a factor of thousands? And judging on present performance, they're a lot less careful about such petty concerns as pollution and child labor and safe hygiene than we are...and we're not all that great except by comparison.
Not to mention female aborticide, which is astoundingly stupid and short-sighted, to say the least. Yeah, yeah, all Chinese families want only boys. Well, if I may be so bold as to ask, who are all those boys now growing up going to marry? Who are they going to blame for the fact that they can’t? I can see a war with China’s neighbors on all sides: nubile young women and girls being carried off by their hair just like the old days.
Or it could be a blessing in disguise: de facto birth control! Hey, China, you're sending yourselves if not to extinction then at least to severely curtailed population levels. And you're doing it all yourselves!
Otherwise, I can see a revolution/civil war in which half the Chinese population is felled so that land, resources and women are freed up for the survivors, who can then perpetuate their ancient policies of racism and xenophobia. The Coms aren’t all that different from the Ching after all.
Oh, and while I feel like China breaking [/Jefferson Airplane]...I hold no truck with the currently popular Pinyin orthography foisted on us by pretentious linguistic droids who obviously never bothered to wonder how sound and spelling go hand in hand. (I blame the New York Times for starting this, as I blame it for so much else...)
People! Have you noticed how Chinese doesn’t use Western letters? Therefore it makes no freakin’ difference HOW our letters relate to their characters, and so Chinese words and names should be spelled in English in the way that makes them easiest to pronounce. I don’t know about you, but when I see Qing I say Kwing, not Ching; and likewise for all the other problematically spelled Pinhead, er, Pinyin offerings. If the Chinese want us to pronounce their words correctly, they can damn well spell them so we can.
You may argue that French doesn’t follow English spelling/pronunciation rules: voir = vwahr, not voyr. And that is very true, but the deciding factor is that French uses Western letters; when it comes to spelling, English doesn't have a leg to stand on (George Bernard Shaw, in his quest for simplified spelling, which I utterly reject for many reasons, famously spelled "fish" as "ghoti", citing spelling weirdness as his justification: "gh" as in "laugh", "o" as in "women", "ti" as in "nation"); and educated people should know how to pronounce French words anyway.
Besides, you don’t see the Russians pushing Pinyinovski on us, do you? No. Moscow, which when spelled Cyrillically looks like Mockba, is still Moscow (Mos-coe, btw, no cows here). They haven’t even tried to make us say Moskva. And we sure don’t say (or spell it) Paree.
But, getting back to China, yes, a billion people CAN be wrong. Still, I won’t stop eating dim sum anytime soon.
(I generally protest policies I don't like by refusing to consume/visit: Iceland and Japan are on my boycott list and have been for years, for their policy of whale-killing in the name of "research". Hypocrites. So I deny myself Reykjavik and teriyaki, in protest. It's a matter of honor...quixotic, but mine own.)