Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hillary Clinton and Feminist Diplomacy

This article appeared in the Taipei Times today, fed from The Guardian: Hillary Clinton Is Proving That a Feminist Foreign Policy Is Possible - And Works

I enjoyed reading it, and strongly support the publication of similar articles on women in foreign policy. For those interested in reading further on women and diplomacy, I recommend a book I was given a decade or so ago entitled
"All Her Paths Are Peace", and strongly recommend ordering books from abroad from The Book Depository. Free worldwide shipping, none of this $26 bullcrap from Amazon. **** you, Amazon.

Someday soon I am intending to write a review with my thoughts on the book above, but will save that for another post and link it back here.

I also, of course, support a feminist foreign policy, simply because feminist = equal. It doesn't mean "women above men" or "women given priority over men" or "the advancement of a feminazi agenda". It simply means a foreign policy that tips the scales from their previous unevenness - that of a preference for issues of importance to men - to something more balanced and therefore fairer and more whole: giving new, equal weight to issues primarily affecting women.

To that end, Bunting is absolutely correct in stating:

Indeed, it became a credibility requirement for any women with a senior foreign or defence brief to give a wide berth to anything with a whiff of being a woman's issue. Women had to work extra hard to look tough on the world stage. Meanwhile, women's issues were parked in the softer brief of international development.


For a security agenda traditionally dominated by weaponry and military expertise, this is radical stuff. It draws on a powerful consensus built up behind the overwhelming evidence that women are vital to a range of key global concerns.

I do find the following passage rather interesting, and it hits close to home (as in geographically, not regarding my life in particular):

Even in that most delicate and crucial relationship with China – on which the world's attention will be fixed this week for the Chinese president's visit to the US – Clinton has gone out of her way to press feminist issues. In China's case, she has highlighted the country's growing gender imbalance caused by the high abortion rate of female foetuses.

A raging, and fascinating, debate brewed in the comments over that one: a culture that condones the abortion of fetuses
simply based on the fact that they are female, coupled with a law that is intended to reduce population but has the oft-ignored side effect of encouraging this tragic practice, is inherently anti-female and worthy of a good feminist fight. On the other hand, so is the right of mothers to choose. Which one gets more traction here? Can we take away (or encourage the taking away of) the right of Chinese mothers to choose whether to carry their babies to term, because the choice they may make is based on a cultural directive that we find repugnant?

Is it any more 'moral', 'equal' or 'good' for doctors to refuse to divulge the sex of a fetus in China or India, where the chances of that fetus being aborted if female is high...but perfectly OK to divulge gender information in countries where abortion-as-gender-preference is unlikely? I can't say "unheard-of": there are plenty of immigrant communities in the developed world that may well take advantage of abortion rights in their new home for the purposes of a very Old World belief.

...and would we feel the same way if the 'information' regarded the health of the baby or the mother?

This part fascinated me, as well:

Many of her statements can be routed back to the idealistic internationalism of 70s feminism. Astonishingly, she has managed to bring the feminism for which she was loathed in the early 90s (as the first lady who didn't stay home and bake cookies) into the heart of the state department and foreign policy, and is still clocking high opinion poll ratings.

I attribute this to a slow and I hope permanent change in public feelings and discourse, thanks in no small part to Clinton herself. Compared to the lives of our mothers, the '90s was a haven of equality during my formative and teen years. Yet, even a whiff of female empowerment in government institutions, from political wives no less, was received with vitriol and spite. Contrary to what you may see in idiotic Internet comments, things are changing.

I want to add here that I admire Clinton for her feminism and strength. Do I agree with her every move, or many of her other policy goals and motives as a US Senator and now Secretary of State? No. That is a different debate. I have, however, noticed a weird rip tide in the sea changes of American civil rights: slavery ended, and many of the women at the Seneca Falls Convention hoped that women's rights would soon follow. It took another 60 years for that seminal right, the right to vote, to be granted to women. Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights crusade of the 1960s, and while women did have a similar wave of feminist outcry, it wasn't until the 1970s and '80s that it gained more common acceptance...and we still haven't managed to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

So, we elect and mostly accept Obama, and yet the idea of a female president still sparks rage in many. Of course, the idea of a black president also sparks rage in some racist individuals, but society compels them to mostly keep it silent or try to frame it in other ways (not that this makes it any more acceptable: my point is that racism in its pure form is now unacceptable culturally). It is still relatively accepted to attack a female politician from a sexist perspective, and to do so openly, with no veiled words or alt-framed arguments.

More related to this article, a public official is commended for moving forward the cause of civil rights, but advocating for women's rights, globally or locally, is still "risky". It's still something that even female representatives and cabinet members have to approach with care. I applaud Clinton for taking that old paradigm and smashing it to bits.

But I digress.

Finally, I found this interesting:

But for all the enthusiasm, it's clear there are major constraints on this agenda. It gets nowhere in the Middle East, while Afghanistan presents a big challenge – Clinton has insisted peace cannot come at the cost of women's rights. But the signs aren't good that she can hold this line. Meanwhile, there are critics who worry that her advocacy could backfire and antagonise conservative societies, and even prove inimical to US interests.

This is true, and I could see it creating a problem in the future in China - although Clinton is getting away with it now. China has always been touchy about our saber-rattling on their human rights record, and the recent Nobel award to Liu Xiaobo will mean that they are particularly sensitive. It is not inconceivable that when Hu reaches the USA, or at some point in the future, he'll group our pressing of women's issues and human rights together into one messy package of "stay out of our business, you are hurting the feelings of the Chinese people".

I do love how the CCP believes that "this hurts the feelings of the Chinese people" is an acceptable foreign policy, by the way.

This is where Third Wave feminism could prove crucial to a feminist foreign policy globally: in some countries, pressing women's issues gets you somewhere (it's making inroads in India, slightly slower ones in China due to their One Child Policy, for example). In others, it creates pushback that the US can't afford. A feminist perspective more in line with "do what you can, but respect the culture you're dealing with, and trust the women of that culture to make decisions that are right for them, even if they are not right for you" would probably earn more traction for Clinton in the Middle East and other Asian and African countries where women's rights are lagging.

It is true that in many of these places, women can't make the best decisions for them, because they simply aren't allowed to. Although I hate to admit that progress may come with compromises here, I'd say pushing a women's rights agenda that encourages women to do what they can within the framework they're allowed, and hoping that such steps lead the way to eradicating the oppressive framework in the future is the best - possibly the only - way forward.

The example of the cooking stoves in the article is a good one. Clinton not going to suddenly overturn the sexist culture of the Congo by telling their leaders that it should happen. You're not going to get women out of the kitchen (and men in the kitchen) just by saying it ought to be so. By raising awareness and funding to buy new stoves for women to reduce deaths by smoke inhalation and reduce sexual violence while collecting firewood, however, you've taken a step. One can only hope that that step will lead to others.

Shao Shao Ke (勺勺客)

Shao Shao Ke (勺勺客)
#15 Lane 41 Ren Ai Road Sec. 2

We ate at this Shaanxi restaurant with delicious food on Saturday. I was so looking forward to it that despite my headache and tingling tongue from mouthfuls of crystallized ibuprofen, I made myself venture out anyway. I wasn't disappointed!

As I don't have any photos from the restaurant, I thought I'd share some of my pictures from Xi'an, which I visited in 2002 during my year in China. The one where I got pneumonia. Twice. And three of my teeth rotted from acidic water. The quality is not great, because the originals were scanned at a low resolution and have been transferred from computer to computer to facebook to computer several times.

I like how the poor evening light with my circa-2000 film (not digital) camera makes this photo look far older than it is.

You might know Shaanxi as the province of China that boasts Xi'an (or Chang'an), an old Chinese capital and one of the few large Chinese cities worth visiting*.

The food at Shao Shao Ke is from a range of regions, which makes sense as Xi'an was the end of the Silk Road through Western China, and as a large metropolis and capital it would have a lot of dealings with other parts of the region that is now unified China (unified against the will of many people, but unified nonetheless). Delicious spiced lamb kebabs and fried lamb and pork with cumin are a highlight - the Muslims out west may not have eaten pork, but I am all in favor of food syncretism. The non-Muslim Chinese eat a lot of pork, so taking the spice recipe from their trading partners out west and applying it to their most common meat is fine by me.

Even the terracotta warriors were cold on that snowy day.

The vinegary crunchy potato with chilis was also delicious, as was the "shao mo" - a lamb soup where you tear up two rounds of bread on your own, and they fill the bowl of it again and again with soup. Other dishes were similarly tasty - apologies for not having a clear memory, as I was dealing with a headache at the time - and the fried bread dessert was delicious. My students recommend trying the fried cheese dessert next time (I believe it's called "Fried Mozarell" on the menu). We also had northern Chinese style sesame buns with pork. Delicious, but this is one case in which I believe Do It True (都一廚) does a better job. Generally I was a bit disappointed in Do It True, but their fatty pork in sesame buns was delish. In all fairness, the food at Do It True was not bad at all; it's just that it is so over-hyped that when I got there and realized it's rather standard...well, I fell from the cliff of high expectations.

I am pretty sure you can also find this sign at the edge of the Cliff of High Expectations.

Dishes are not expensive, and sizes are small - you're not going to get a huge steaming platter of food meant to feed 20 with each one. I like this: generally, smaller plates of food means better food, cooked with more attention and care.

Don't believe the final paragraph of the review linked above: there are, in fact, dishes that you need to order in advance: the fried stuffed eggplant and fried stuffed egg, for example.

I think this is a geniunely lovely photo and the next time I am near my original film prints I'll scan a higher resolution copy.

Atmosphere was great: spacious enough to move around, but small enough to not feel like a sterile banquet hall (sorry, Celestial Restaurant, your food is great but your giant banquet table atmosphere is lacking). It's got an intentional cave-like feel, but with white walls so it doesn't feel claustrophobic. You can write on the walls, by the way. Strings of dried garlic decorate the stairway ledge. Call ahead for large groups; it's a large restaurant but by no means massive.

Whatever you do, make sure you try it. It goes on my list of "Best of Mainland Food" from this day forward**.

This, I suppose, is what little kids in Xi'an do for fun. There's nothin' more exciting than dragging broken plastic lamps around by their power cords!

*Not to totally denigrate China: when you can see past the roving clouds of smog, the Chinese countryside is lovely and the people who inhabit that countryside can be quite hospitable. Chinese cities, however, are another thing entirely. To put it mildly, I can't stand them. All the white tile and blue glass and gray skies, the rude people, spitting and exhaust fumes and acres of cement. Taipei has trees and parks. Most Chinese cities have paved esplanades and grayish stumps that cry, "I was once a tree". How sad.

Xi'an has some of this, but it's worth a visit regardless: it's the end of the Silk Road, so you'll see a lot of Central Asian influence, the city walls and bell tower, as well as a few pagodas and temples, are still intact, and of course there are the terra cotta warriors, often grouped in a tour with the bathhouse of Yang Guifeng (which is nice, but not a must-see) and the tomb of the First Emperor, which is fun to climb but also not a must-see. I climbed it in the snow.

** My "Best of Mainland Food" List:

Ningxia: Hui Guan

Beijing: Celestial (though I'm hoping to find someplace better) - see above

Shaanxi: Shao Shao Ke

Guangzhou/Hong Kong: haven't found anyplace exceptional yet

Shanghai: Shanghai Dumpling (need to make sure it's still there) - yes, it's just as good as Dintaifung. YES IT IS. And cheaper, too.

Harbin: Harbin Dumpling King (though the owner admits there's no real "Harbin" food, and he cooks classic, delicious food from across China)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh, Mother.

I just wanted to point out two links to Taiwan blogger musings on this piece on "Chinese parenting" (I hesitate to call it that, though) that are worth a read:

Taiwan-Born American

If I'm going to maintain a basic thematic structure on this blog relating to women's / expat women's issues in Asia, then I feel this is an important item to share.

I have things I could add, but honestly I think these two posts sum it up, and anything I would add was already put in a comment on Catherine's post.

I'm still feeling under the weather (not my fault! The weather is atrocious!) and had a headache for most of the weekend, but things are finally looking up and I'm looking forward to blogging more regularly again!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Roasting Bones

A few months ago, a letter to my favorite advice columnist came in from a woman who was in the midst of paying off some massive debts. She had a payment plan and a four-year timeline; her question revolved around how to keep herself happy in that time, when all of her money was going to debt payment and she had none whatsoever left over to do anything "fun".

The letter itself wasn't as memorable as something in the comments: the columnist advised her to continue to eat healthily, among other things. A lively debate ensued about how one could 'eat healthy' on such a tight budget. For the record, I came down on the side of "you can, but it's hard: most supermarket food and vitually all 'cheap' food is either bad for you or not actively good for you, and it's uniformly tasteless" - which I still believe is true: most "inexpensive" produce in American supermarkets is trucked in from across the continent or even the world, and as it is so often GM food that was harvested before it was truly ripe, it tends to lack flavor and has a lower nutritional value than fresher, more local produce.

One person made this comment, that has stuck with me: "it's relatively inexpensive to go to a butcher's and buy some mid-range meat cuts still on the bone. Freeze the meat in single-serve portions and use as you need it. Roast the bones and use it to make soup stock, and freeze that."

It is true that a well-made stock from fats, spices, vegetables and roasted animal bones is miles tastier than a few cubes of concentrated chemical flavor dumped from a box into boiling water. The taste of a real stock has depth and character. In many ways, it's transcendental, creating something beautiful from otherwise functional, flavorless parts.


I have a lot of free time. I really do. In that regard, I am deeply grateful for my good fortune, even knowing that eventually it will end and I'll be just as busy as the rest of the world. However, even with all my copious hours of free time, I don't have the time to roast the bones of a butcher's cut of meat to make stock. I can't imagine that anyone working a more demanding job would have such time. Does anyone actually do this? Does anyone actually have the time to do this?

What got me thinking wasn't the actual act of roasting bones, but the sort of personality who does, in fact, do so. You know who I mean: that person who always has it together, who always gets everything done and "oh, I had time to spare so I trained for a marathon!", who has the time to read up on and put to active use all the tidbits of advice we're bombarded with online - the one who knows all sorts of weird grammar rules, who knows about nutrition and actually follows it, who works out without any drama four times a week, who never touches caffeine and who has read all those books you wish you had time to read.

A lot of people think I already am that person: I am writing this today to assure you that I am not. Back in August we were in Japan on transit to the USA. We all woke up, had coffee and breakfast, and one of our hosts (they're an engaged couple) said he was heading out - he wanted to get there with enough time to grab another coffee at Doutor and clear his head before work. The other woman and I looked at each other and laughed: we are both the sorts who rush out with no time to spare, probably running five minutes late, grabbing things willy-nilly and most likely forgetting something. We never have time to "have a coffee and clear our head" before class. Our partners, however, do. Brendan consistently (not always, but often enough) leaves a half hour or more before he actually has to and gets a coffee at Dante or Ikari near the office where he'll be teaching. I run out 55 minutes before class when it takes 60 to get there, pray I grab the train I need and barrel into class without that time cushion. I might relax a bit afterwards, but never, ever beforehand.

And that's just it: I want to be the woman who roasts bones to make meat stock because it's healthier, more environmentally sound, more honest (if I'm going to eat an animal that somebody killed, shouldn't I consume as much of it as possible rather than wasting something that was once a living thing?) and tastes better. I want to be the woman who arrives in the right neighborhood a half hour early and can get coffee and a scone.

Unfortunately, I am Normal People. Knowing I should do something doesn't mean I actually do it. There are still little silver-wrapped cubes of bullion in my kitchen.

Forcing yourself to be That Person requires more than knowing you should go to the butcher's to buy fresh meat and bones. It requires changing ingrown habits so that you wouldn't consider not going to the butcher's.

In order to be the person who roasts bones, you have to roast your own bones.

That''s what I'd like to start doing this year. Perhaps not literally making my own meat stock, but changing hard-clinging habits that aren't doing me any good. Of course, to actually do that I need some clear-cut goals, like Brendan's goal of reading 40 full-length books in one year, or Craig, the photographer and photoblogger who committed to writing a photo tip every day for a year.

What are those goals going to be? Well I'm a little late to the New Year's Bandwagon, and I'll have to think some more about that (see, the procrastination is already setting in). Some things on my preliminary list are:

- Cook healthier, more local and more "complete" food...more often
- Commit to getting some sort of real exercise at least four times a week
- Take another Chinese course (but not at Shi-da) and make some concrete improvements
- Become a better photographer (taking a class is not realistic this year)
- Read at least one weighty book per month
- Plan and successfully execute a trip to Turkey to trace my Armenian roots (many of you don't know this but on my mother's side I am Armenian from Mousa Dagh and my family settled in America after the genocide)...and write about it
- Finally obtain a real, recognized teaching certificate
- Make concrete steps towards entering a Master's degree program in 2012 (this one worries me, because I can't actually afford graduate school and don't want to live like a student in terms of income again, but if this is going to be my career, I will need it)
- Blog more consistently - perhaps enter NaBloPoMo to get into the habit?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sick Puppies

As I mentioned on here recently, I was quite sick last week, to the point of taking Friday off and basically sleeping through it. On Sunday, after taking the copious medication given to me by the eccentric old Indonesian doctor at Jingmei Hospital, I was starting to feel better, so we set a small goal for the day: take a quick stroll through the Taipei Pet Fair (an annual event).

Catherine also has a post with funny pictures about the fair.

This fuzzy creature cracks me up.

I've volunteered at this event for Animals Taiwan, stumbled upon it by accident and come just to enjoy the adowwable cats, dogs, rabbits, fur creatures, flying squirrels and whatever else people bring along.

See? Some people bring rabbits.

I also have students who work for a veterinary medicine company who often host a booth here, so I'll sometimes go to see if anyone I know is representing their company.

This little guy reminds me of John Yossarian from Catch-22. Somewhat insane but not really, in the army, floppy hair.

We never bring along our cat; to do so would only invite disaster. He's sociable but that would have simply not ended well. He hates being in his carrier and squirms too much when you try to hold him against his will. You know, as cats do. In fact, I am not sure how the people who brought cats managed to control them. I've never had a cat as placid as the ones I see at the pet fairs.

Seriously, how is this calico so calm?

Two adorable rat things - or as Brendan says, "more mosquito than dog"!

Another reason I like to come here is to donate to the animal rescue organizations. My volunteering has fallen off since we adopted Stupidface (sorry - Zhao Cai), but I do like to help where I can, and I suggest that if you want to do something of immediate benefit in Taiwan, do donate to Animals Taiwan or one of the other rescue/CNR/pet ownership education organizations (there are a few). You may even want to consider adopting a rescued animal; sure, it won't be a purebreed (though some are, as most strays rescued and placed for adoption were abandoned by families who bought them in pet stores) but it'll be an animal who truly needs a loving home.

You know you want to.

We didn't adopt Zhao Cai from an organization; my sister basically found him begging for food outside the Zhengda girls' dormitory. He was healthy, friendly and house-trained, if bone-thin (we call him Stupidface because he seems to be mentally incapable of hunting). It'll be hard moving around the world with him, but never a day goes by when we're not happy we have him.

Even if his food, left out, did attract mice.

That he can't, or won't, kill.

Meaning we're the first people in the world for whom getting a cat attracts the cat's natural prey.

Now you see why we call him Stupidface?

"I don't kill my natural prey, but I do whine a lot and cuddle in your microfiber blankets."

I bet this colorful fuzzball could kill a mouse. Or maybe not. He(?) might just play with it to death.

Hee hee, double decker dog stroller for the win!

I'll leave you with this happy fellow. Doesn't he just look so pleased at the world?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Son's A Son

After reading this lengthy piece in The Atlantic (and watching the more easily digestible TED talk talk that author Hanna Rosin gave on the same topic), I couldn't help but apply Rosin's thoughts to my experience in Taiwan. Let's begin with where it discusses the traditional preference across much of the world (for our purposes, Asia) for a son. Rosin says:

And the global economy is evolving in a way that is eroding the historical preference for male children, worldwide. Over several centuries, South Korea, for instance, constructed one of the most rigid patriarchal societies in the world. Many wives who failed to produce male heirs were abused and treated as domestic servants; some families prayed to spirits to kill off girl children.

Then, in the 1970s and ’80s, the government embraced an industrial revolution and encouraged women to enter the labor force. Women moved to the city and went to college. They advanced rapidly, from industrial jobs to clerical jobs to professional work. The traditional order began to crumble soon after. In 1990, the country’s laws were revised so that women could keep custody of their children after a divorce and inherit property. In 2005, the court ruled that women could register children under their own names. As recently as 1985, about half of all women in a national survey said they “must have a son.” That percentage fell slowly until 1991 and then plummeted to just over 15 percent by 2003. Male preference in South Korea “is over,” says Monica Das Gupta, a demographer and Asia expert at the World Bank. “It happened so fast. It’s hard to believe it, but it is.” The same shift is now beginning in other rapidly industrializing countries such as India and China.

I'm not sure I buy this. First of all, the survey doesn't seem to cover the nuances of male-baby preference in Asia. It asks women if they "must" have a son, and notes that rates of women who feel they must have male issue have plunged.

That's great - I do hope for a world in which parents in all countries welcome children of both genders equally and give them equal opportunities and treatment (though I realize that day is far off) - but the "must" is misleading.

Go back and ask those women if they want a son more than a daughter, or if they would prefer a son. Ask them which gender they'd choose if they could - a conditional statement that's becoming more of a real option to families. I bet you'd get a far higher number. I imagine from my own observation that the results would look something like:

45% (or thereabouts) would actively prefer a son including about 15% who feel they "must" have one

20% (or thereabouts) would actively prefer a daughter, including maybe 2% who feel they "must" have a daughter, if that

35% (or whatever's left) don't mind either way

Of course these numbers are so unscientific it's not funny; do you, however, disagree? (If so, I'd love to hear it in the comments). Does your own observation vary greatly?

So what you still get - according to my guesstimates - is a strong preference for sons, including the small percentage who feel they "must" have a boy plus all the parents who don't feel they "must" have a boy but would still prefer one. The dramatic drop in mothers who don't feel they "must" have sons would be caught mostly in the "prefer" category, or moved to the "don't care" category. Almost none would move from "needing" a son to preferring a daughter.

Who still wins? The sons, as always.

As for those who would actively prefer a daughter, well, one thing definitely is changing. Anyone who lives in Asia knows about the cultural custom where the oldest son, specifically, is charged with caring for his parents when they are elderly. I'm going to argue below that this is slowly changing, and that Western ideas about caregiving are becoming more prevalent.

You still see this in India, for instance: notice how the eldest son of many families rarely moves abroad and, fairly often, stays near the family home - or his parents, at retirement age, move to wherever he has settled and built a career. The son who moves abroad or travels widely is usually the younger brother.

In Taiwan, you'll note how many offspring, as they establish themselves, buy real estate for not only themselves but their parents. I once made the mistake of assuming my forty-ish, single male student, an R&D engineer, lived with his parents when he said that he, well, lives with his parents (you can see how I was confused). Not true at all: his parents live with him; he owns the property. Another student of mine, another elder son: he bought a new apartment for his young family, and moved his parents in with them. His mother didn't really like the apartment and wanted to move back into their old apartment...with her son and his family. So they did. Because Mom said so. He currently rents out his nicer, newer property.

However, most of you also know that in the West, we have a saying: "a son's a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter's a daughter all her life". I don't actually agree with this at all. I personally feel that my relationship with my parents and my husband's relationship with his parents are roughly equal, and neither of us is 'more' or 'less' still a child of our parents than the other...but it is a widely-held notion. (I am curious as to what the actual statistics are of daughters vs. sons as caregivers to aging parents in the USA. My bet would be more daughters than sons take this role, but I'm not sure).

It is becoming so in Taiwan, as well. Again and again, I've had friends and students tell me that they, as daughters, expect to be the primary caregivers or from parents who now feel that their studious, family-oriented daughters will better provide for them in their old age.

Back to the made-up numbers I postulated. I have a few reasons for these estimates in Taiwan, keeping in mind that the survey reflects results from South Korea, not Taiwan. It's sadly clear that there is still a trend of aborting female fetuses in Taiwanese abortion clinics, for starters. If I am remembering correctly, there are still more men than women in the population in Taiwan, and until recently (as in, within the last generation) unwanted daughters were openly adopted out. I have several students who talk about "aunts" who are genetically aunts, but were given to other families as children to be raised. My neighbor, Old Fang, spent thirty minutes telling me in a combination of Chinese and Hakka (which I don't speak) that her parents "didn't want her" and "threw her away" to another family so they could "spend money on her brother". Old Fang is, as you have surely guessed, quite old - my guess is 90 - but she's evidence that this was commonplace even in living memory.

I know another woman who is currently on leave from work because she got married recently and now "really wants" a son: her traditional in-laws expect a grandchild soon, and they expect male issue. Another student, in a toast during a group dinner not long before my own wedding, said "A toast with my best wishes to Jenna...I hope she has a happy wedding party and makes many sons!"

So, Hanna, don't tell me that sons are no longer preferred in Asia. You're skewing the surveys in the way the question was worded.

Friday, January 7, 2011

sick sick sick

Has it really been a week since I've posted anything?

Wow. Sorry guys. I've been sick: at home today with something that's worse than a cold but not quite the flu, with just enough energy to go see a substanceless movie that I don't have to pay a lot of attention to (Morning Glory). I'd totally go see Season of the Witch, but that's clearly a 4-beer movie...not any four beers, but four Belgians. We're talking Chimay Blue here.

Back on my regular blogging here-and-there soon, once I feel better!