Hugs for Sale

You may be wondering what an odd title like that could possibly be referring to. Hell, I almost don’t believe it myself. However, it really seems to be true. The Shanghai Daily is reporting that a school called Jiangdu District Shangmao Kindergarten in Eastern China is charging parents 80 RMB a month to have their children hugged twice a day. No hug, it would seem, is given for free. While this school is being investigated for unethical conduct, it would seem that making of every aspect of human life a commodity in capitalism just continues. This is also seemingly another example, at least in my opinion of the huge divide in China brought by the resurgence of a brutal capitalist system. For a country that is officially Marxist in ideology, they seem to be working hard to establish an unequal and disgustingly corrupt system of exploitation and downright money grubbing greed. Not surprising then that the members of the Chinese Communist Party are rich as hell, and are raising their children as princes while millions in the country still live on a dollar a day. But before I’m accused of being just Sinophobic, let me say that it’s no different in the US. In the US where you live, how much money you have, and other factors of affluence or poverty really help determine your chances in life. Japan also is one country that has a political and economic elite that lives above and at the expense of the rest of society. The biggest difference I see is that unlike China, Japan and the US don’t have pretenses about being socialist countries. I expect a so called socialist country to live up to better than this. The problem is that China is not socialist. It is socialist in name only, and “socialism with Chinese characteristics” means “capitalism”. That simple. No one should get better treatment for little children at a kindergarten because they can afford to pay extra every month. Every child deserves a good solid education, and if teachers have to be paid extra to give a shit about the emotional and mental well being of their students, maybe they’re in the wrong line of work.



Hashimoto’s Rise

This is a serious post, obviously. I did promise my take on Asian politics, Japan in particular.

The Japanese media has followed closely the rise of the young and charismatic politician from Osaka, Toru Hashimoto. They have documented his political rise, and his political maturation as he recently took his regional Osaka political party to the national level, and is expecting to do well in the upcoming elections that are expected to take place some time in November.  Many articles have been written about his draconian and heavy handed sty; including such problems as attacking city workers for having tattoos. (The horror.) In a way he’s an old school Japanese fascist, with his banal talk of loving country and hating foreigners. On the other hand he seems to be a a new breed. He does not want to restore the Japan of old, with worship of the emperor and kamikaze pilots, but instead wants to ally more closely with the US against a rising China. In addition to this he wants to whittle away at the 9th article of the Japanese constitution, the one that forbids Japan from ever again using war as a right to solve conflict with other nations. He wants Japan to participate in so called “collective” defense, that is ganging up on other countries, probably by the side of the United States. He wishes to further make Japan the lap dog of the US, but only enough for Japan to regain it’s militarism. This man is not stupid, he is quite shrewd I think. I certainly hope that the Japanese people are much more shrewd and reject this mindless militaristic nationalism that threatens the future of peace in the Asia pacific area. With nationalistic rhetoric heating up over territorial disputes, the last thing Japan needs is to pick more fights with its neighbors, or even make them nervous. It just goes to show you that the right wing is destructive and harmful in whatever country you’re in. For the future of peace in Japan and East Asia, reject this nationalistic tripe, and reach for building trust and cooperation in Asia. Otherwise, it will be the Japanese people, not assholes like Hashimoto who will pay the ultimate price for this foolishness. UPHOLD ARTICLE 9!!!!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, please join in the debate!!