丈夫眼中的老婆

日劇「人妻的遊戲」中,那些丈夫不是把妻子當成裝飾品(decoration),就是家事及性事機器人(robots for housekeeping and sex)。我感到很生氣。

而且,老婆把錢花去哪裡,花了多少錢,都必須跟丈夫報告。甚至,老婆跟誰見面,都必須經過丈夫同意。我感到很生氣。

若不是這些老婆被要求放棄工作,在家幫男人打掃洗衣,省去男人的麻煩,這些男人有辦法專心工作、分心花天酒地、分心養小老婆嗎? !! 我很生氣。

而這些男人要求老婆放棄工作、在家當黃臉婆,自己就覺得在外面賺錢是很了不起的事情,嫌棄老婆沒知識,罵老婆是笨蛋,卻沒有想過:他們的老婆是為了誰而犧牲?這些老婆在結婚前,哪一個不是知識份子?

我對家庭裡,丈夫、爸爸,這種覺得「自己最辛苦」、「只有自己為了家而付出」的「自以為是」(self-righteous)的想法,很生氣。

Intellectuals 知識份子

"知識份子是已存在的威權文化的信徒,並致力於該文化的推廣。"
"Intellectuals are students of the established culture, are devoted to the culture and its continued promulgation."
from: Revolution or Reform? Thoughts on the Character, Strategy and Destiny of Sudbury Valley School. Daniel Greenberg, 1971

因此我們不能依賴知識份子帶領我們走出我們所身處的混沌。
Which means, we can't count on intellectuals to lead us out of this mess we're in.

Stacy都說明:
威權文化從古至今沒有改變過。我們總是敬畏長者、害怕我們的主管,畏懼本身就是威權文化的產物。
知識份子在這樣的體制之下,無形中也接收了這樣的文化,同是進一步不斷地傳遞下去,最後在毫無感覺的情況下也成為威權文化體制下的一員。
Stacy explains further:
Authoritarian culture has not changed since ancient times. We always revere the elderly, and fear our bosses﹣fear itself is the product of an authoritarian culture.
Intellectuals, under such a system, invisibly receive this culture, and further continue to pass it along, and in the end without really realizing it also become members of the authoritarian culture system.

Additional information for 12/21 meeting

你們好, 這是美幸or Miyuki. 我選擇主題的時候沒有想太多,所以我選擇的youtube video 對不會英文的成員來說不太方便。因此我要給一個簡單的解釋。
I guess you'll do 的意思就是-我不覺得你很特別,但是你夠。 翻譯到中文聽起來怪怪的。。。在video裡面,她說一些美國人所想到的“理想的人生”。。譬如說,找到一個另一半,跟他們談戀愛,1-2年後跟他們結婚,再來1-2年後買個房子,再來1-2後生一個女兒,一個兒子。。。等等。。。在這個過程中,她很有幽默地說“即使你不特別,但是沒關係,因為我們的人生是誰都過的,誰都認為是理想的生活。最後,她說 “你(她的老公)會先過失,然後由於人生太無聊我也等一下會死亡。
我想到的問題就是,對我門來說理想的生活如何?過很普通的生活有沒有問題?如果我們像video裡面的女生放棄,怎麼辦?放棄跟對現在的情況已經滿足了有甚麼不同?除了這些問題以外下面也有其他的疑問。如果你看不懂的話,請你留message然後我可以翻譯 :) 不好意思我的中文真的很差!!

First, I recommend that everyone watch the video before reading the following and write down a few questions or reactions in response to the video.
There are a lot of things that we can talk about after watching this video but here are a few thoughts that came to my mind as I was watching the video.

1) What are we doing to achieve our goals? Are we simply letting society construct our futures?
2) What happens when we say "I guess you'll do." In other words, we settle for something mediocre. Are we giving up or are we happy with what we have? What's the difference?
3) What should we do if we're bored? What makes us feel bored or engaged?
4) Most people in the U.S. at least dream of having the life depicted in the video. If they have this kind of life, they're considered "happy." Is it good to have a population of people that are happy with mediocrity, pattern, ignorance and zero motivation? On the same note, should there only be a small group of privileged folks who live fulfilling and creative lives, unique and intellectual? How did this happen?
I hope we can have as engaging a discussion next Monday as we did at the last.
-美幸

I guess you'll do!

下次討論會:12/21(一) 7:30. Miyuki 是節目主持人.

非常挖苦的video!

Deracialization 按減少種族方式處理?

下星期一 (12/07 7:30pm) 我們就討論我曾經噗過的文章:

"Stuff White People Do: Get inside the heads of non-white people"

Stacy is the moderator.

Stacy說:這是一個有關種族歧視的議題。大家可以讀該文章並看網頁下方的video,只要看前十五分鐘就可以讓你有很多的感觸。

我想種族歧視只是眾多歧視之一,從這個問題出發,我們會看更多人與人之間的不平等。想想,在台灣這塊土地上的種族問題。過去我們將原住民俗稱為山地人或者蕃仔,是不是就是一種歧視?

除了平地人與原住民外,我們生活中的歧視事件俯拾即是。大家可以分享出來。另外,我好奇的問題是,歧視最初是如何產生出來的?人和人之間有沒有可能公平的對待,不再有上下、高低的區分?

所謂的'真實的'語言 'Factual' Language

本文給了很好的例子解釋 所謂的'真實的'語言對於事實會呈現不同的意義.
特別是給了例子解釋報紙新聞標題如何模糊了男人對於性暴力所應擔負的責任, 讓性侵與家暴變成女人的責任. 我們要讓男人自我省察,不要成為加害者

This article gives excellent examples of how 'factual' language can present the apparent meaning of facts very differently.
It especially gives good examples of how men are disappeared from headlines about rape, giving rise to the idea that women are somehow responsible for their own rapes, rather than saying that men had better stop raping.
I Want a Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape

This is a difficult article. Difficult in that it is the transcript of a long speech. And difficult because Andrea Dworkin speaks the unvarnished truth. No prettiness, no vagueness. So it is powerful, and also hard to hear. I've read it twice in the past ten years, and only reading it this third time do I finally realize how clearly and exactly she lays out the situation. It was I who had to clean out my ears: she was speaking as clearly the whole time.

Edited to add: Stacy feels this article (in Chinese) is related to the above. I haven't read it yet, but will, before we meet.
Edited to add: I've read it now, and there is a new post about it here.

女性不要結婚?

情大家都相來參加這個禮拜一的聚會,在11/9, 7:30pm.題目是:為什麼這麼多女性不結婚?

Welcome to our next discussion, on monday Nov 9, at 7:30pm. The topic is: why do so many women not marry? Moderator is Maggie.

討論活動換到星期一.Meetings changed to Mondays.

因為交通的關係,周五7:30的一系列討論活動換到星期一.下次會在10/26,在Rethinking Ourselves中心的空間. 下次相約見面哦!

本討論會,10/26,將討論為什麼高學歷與高失業率有關?

New Discussion Series on Friday Nights, Starting 10/16!

我們現在開始了一系列的週五晚上的討論,每星期在7:30。他們將舉行新的空間,和平東路1段177號4樓之10。每次會議的公告將在這個空間和Plurk(後續three_circles)。

本週10/16,我們將討論是否奧巴馬有權授予諾貝爾和平獎。

討論將在中文。此外,如果每個人可以作出貢獻50-100NT,以幫助支付蛋糕,咖啡,將是很棒。

We’re now starting up a series of Friday night discussions, each week at 7:30. They’ll be held at our new space on Hoping E. Rd, Sec 1, No. 177, 4F-10. Announcements of each meeting will be made at this space and on Plurk (follow three_circles).

This week 10/16, we’ll discuss whether it was right to award Obama the Nobel Peace prize.

All are welcome! Discussions will be held in Chinese. Participants in the discussion are asked to contribute 50-100NT to help defray the cost of refreshments and air conditioning.

Law is the guardian of property, not people.

This post is for Julie, in case you actually drop by. We were talking about law, you said you were uncomfortable on some level with the study of it. When I read this quote from “Beyond Power” by Marilyn French, I thought it might be of use to you:

“Simple cultures have unwritten customs which bind the community through general consent. This is true even in societies we would not call ‘primitive’: J.M. Synge decribed how twentieth century Aran fishermen, if they had done wrong, would take the boat over to Galway alone and put themselves in jail. Simple communities ‘cannot be said to have “law,” because there is no way to distinguish . . . legal . . from other social rules.’ Law emerges with centralization, stratification, and the ownership of private property. Most early codes of law are concerned with property rights. Even the very early Mosaic code warns against coveting the property—wives and animals—of others. Although most of us think abut laws as guardians of life and limb, modern law is overwhelmingly concerned with property. And no profession is more bound up with the expansion of control, and the gradual shift towards totalitarianism, than law.”

Trust

Our next meeting is in our new space!! Yay!!
Rethinkingourselves finally has its own clubhouse!
The new space is called "Three Circles", and the address is
和平東路一段177號4F之10 (Hoping East Road, Sec. 1, No. 177, 4F-10).
Our next meeting is this Sunday, 10/11 at 3pm. The moderator is Angela.

The article this week is from Shakesville. It's very long, so if you don't have time, just read the words in boldface. (I've also simplified it a bit from the original.) Oh, and hey, here's an excellent translator for individual words, and here's a good one for short phrases. Cut, paste, and understand! :) They're awesome, I use them all the time for reading and writing chinese.


I am not a man-hater.



If I played by misogynists' rules, specifically the one that dictates it only takes one woman doing one Mean or Duplicitous or Disrespectful or Unlawful or otherwise Bad Thing to justify hatred of all women, I would have plenty of justification for hating men, if I wanted to.

Next meeting is NEXT WEEK, 9/13!

It's a rethinkingourselves bonus meeting! Our next meeting is next sunday, September 13, at Catmints Cafe.
Angela is the moderator.

Actually, the reason we're doing the next meeting so soon is because it's a follow-up topic. We talked about privilege this week, and how not recognizing the privilege of being the race in power makes it difficult for white people to make the world a better place. We also talked about how not recognizing their own privilege makes it difficult for men to make the world a better place.

PLURK!!!

You can now follow our discussions and meeting announcements on Plurk!

I'm very excited about this, because I imagine that the conversations we begin in person can be continued online in the Plurk format, and we can keep chatting about new ideas that occur to us in the middle of the week.

Plurk is a social networking site. The rethinkingourselves discussion groups are registered under the name:
three_circles
You have to create your own account, but once you're signed in you can be a friend or a fan of 'three_circles' and follow our discussions in real time. See you there!

Privilege: Do you own some?

Our next class will be held in Catmints Cafe,on Sunday Sep 6, 3:00pm.
Address: Catmints Cafe Roosevelt Road, Sec. 2, Lane 101, No. 9 (02)8369-1271 MRT Kuting Station, exit 3..?

The moderator will be Stacy.

The following are the questions we are going to discuss in our next meeting. There are some quotes from the article. You can find the article from the links after the quotes. You don't need to read the whole article if you don't have time or if you don't want to.

1. Here is a test to see if you enjoy privilege.

2. What privilege do you think you have from belonging to a certain group in society?

How does culture make us who we are?

I've been doing some reading on privilege and racism, and what the cultural markers of being white are. I think that these articles could form the basis for an interesting discussion on how culture works to form individuals in society. It would be interesting to translate these ideas from an American context to a Taiwanese context.

Links below:


White Supremacy Culture
This is a list of characteristics of white supremacy culture that show up in our organizations. Culture is powerful precisely because it is so present and at the same time so very difficult to name or identify. The characteristics listed below are damaging because they are used as norms and standards without being pro-actively named or chosen by the group. They are damaging because they promote white supremacy thinking. Because we all live in a white supremacy culture, these characteristics show up in the attitudes and behaviors of all of us -- people of color and white people. Therefore, these attitudes and behaviors can show up in any group or organization, whether it is white-led or predominantly white or people of color-led or predominantly people of color.

Social class quiz
Do you have privilege? Several quizzes to help you understand your social class.

www.antiracistparent.com
Raising children to be aware of their white privilege is more than making them aware that there are other races in the world. It requires being a different kind of white person.

Typhoon Morakot / Pictures

The typoon Morakot has just posed massive damage on Taiwan.
Here's some pictures breaking my heart:
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/08/typhoon_morakot.html



I felt sorry and sad when I saw these pictures.
Only were we involved in the impaired area,
we could imagine how cruel the natural will be.

何謂女姓主義? What is Feminism?

女性主義者的革命尚未發生,可是我們的世界需要這種大思考改革。 不人道的父權制度被全世界拒絕是時間早晚的問題。所謂的女性主義者應該叫做人道主義。父權制度上所指的「人」其實是男人,女人不包括在內。因此,父權制度所謂的「人道主義」不包括對待女性。 所以女性主義只能叫做女性主義,不能叫做人道主義。
大體上說,在父權制度上,女人被對待的方式相當於動物被對待的方式。換句話說,控制女人的觀點是從控制動物的觀點而來的。在歷史上,當男生控制起動物的生殖來,動物就成了他們的資產。在我們的文化上,到現在孩子還算是一種資產,這樣一來男生為了維持他們的資產,所以控制起女人的生育。因此,男性必須把女性與孩子們當成資產一樣,他們不可讓女人與孩子們成為有自由意志的「人」。
我們換一個方面來說,很多人說女性主義者的工作是讓男女平等。事實上並非如此。女性主義者不但不是要把機會平均分給男性與女性,這麼大規模的工作反而不是女性主義者的範圍。
女性主義者只是要所有人接受與承認「女人就是人」這個簡單的概念。所謂的人就是有自由意志、有完整身份、有真實存在的情況,而在自己的命運舞台上當演員。所謂的「女性主義者」就是「承認女人就是人」的主義。

This essay is one of my first ever composed in Chinese. (Yay to rockin’ that two-month intensive Chinese course this summer!) Here’s a sentence by sentence translation:


The feminist revolution has not yet happened, but the world badly needs a radical change in thinking. It’s really only a matter of time before the world rejects the inhumane system of patriarchy.
What’s called ‘feminism’ should actually be called ‘humanism’. In our patriarchal culture, what is called ‘human’ actually means ‘man’. Women aren’t really included in this term. So when we in this patriarchy talk about ‘humanism’ it doesn’t really include women. And so feminism can only be called ‘feminism’ and not ‘humanism’.
In general, under the patriarchy, women are considered to be in the same category as animals. It’s like this: the idea of controlling women comes from the original concept of controlling animals. When men first began controlling animals’ reproduction, animals became property. In our culture, even now children are still considered to be a kind of propery, and so in this way, men control women’s reproduction in order to protect their property. In doing so men turn women and children into a form of property, preventing them having the social status of free willed volitional humans.
Let’s look at this in a different way. A lot of people say that the aim of feminism is equality between men and women. Actually this is not the case. The work of feminism is not to give women and men equal opportunities, such a large scale work is outside feminism’s scope. Feminism just wants people to accept and simply recognize that women are human beings: human beings possessing free will and intelligent volition, who have complete identities, who live their own realities, and who are actors on the stage of their own destiny.
When we say ‘feminism’, what we mean is ‘recognizing that women are human beings.’

8/2 article: The Bechdel Test

Hello! Our next meeting is at Catmints Cafe, on Sunday August 2, 3:00pm

Address: Catmints Cafe Roosevelt Road, Sec. 2, Lane 101, No. 9 (02)8369-1271 MRT Kuting Station, exit 3..?

Article: See below the jump. For more information on these themes, you can follow the links.

From comments thread on IBTP: All Old Moves Suck

no fun   June 29, 2009 at 10:57 pm:
You know what I hate about movies? The fact that a friend gave me this challenge almost a decade ago, and I don’t think I’ve seen a single movie since then that fit the bill.


Name a movie where the protagonist is an adult woman, and she ends up
:
1. Alive and healthy
2. Happy

3. Not in love


Dauphine June 29, 2009 at 11:15 pm:
What’s even more amazing (in a “what the fuck?” way) is how few movies pass the Bechdel Test:

1. There must be more than one female character
2. They must talk to each other
3. They must talk about something other than a man.


July 5 Article: Facing the truth

Here is the information of our rethinking ourselves meeting in July:

1. Date and time: July 5 (Sun), 3:00 pm

2. Place: Goethe Gourmet Gasthaus/ 哥德德式創意美食/羅斯福路三段283巷11號 Tel:02 2362 0060

3. Name of the article: Facing the truth

4. Article: http://www.economist.com/sciencetechnology/displayStory.cfm?story_id=11959198

Oh HELL no!!




Don't you find it very disturbing that Mainland China's "Public Peace" police will be allowed to patrol in Taiwan and arrest whomever they like? Why is Taiwan compromising its sovereignity? And why did only one news channel report about this?

More information in English:
Taipei Times Editorial
Earlier Taipei Times Article
The View from Taiwan
F.Varga

And for a side note:
Why Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) is really cool.
A similar story in English here.



From the Taipei Times editorial on May 12:
The problem, however, is that the level of trust necessary for this measure to be undertaken is lacking and crime-fighting in the Taiwan Strait does not threaten security to the extent that it would make this move imperative — not to mention the odious symbolism of the presence of Chinese police on Taiwanese soil.

Another factor that, in other scenarios, makes officer exchanges possible is mutual recognition of sovereignty among all participants and the limits on extraterritoriality that this implies.

When it comes to China, however, the fact that it does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state and claims it as its own poses additional problems. Among these are the specters of the application of Chinese law on Taiwanese territory and the reinterpretation of Taiwanese laws that could stretch the definition of crime to include “splittism” and speech on topics that are illegal in China.


Article For 6/14-- When a 'Chosen' Tibetan Lama Says No Thanks

Article will be discussed on Sunday June 14, at 3pm, at Goethe Cafe. Willy is the moderator.

Goethe Cafe
Address: Roosevelt Road, Sec 3, Lane 283, No. 11
Tel: 02 2362 0060
Subway exit: Taipower Building Station exit 2


Article

When a 'Chosen' Tibetan Lama Says No Thanks
By David Van Biema



"For the last time, I'm not your messiah," groans the title character in the 1979 comedy The Life of Brian. (They crucify him, anyway.) There's an echo of Brian's panicked renunciation in a shakeup currently underway in Tibetan Buddhism — in this case, nobody's laughing, although the ending will, no doubt, be happier.


Late last month, two Spanish media outlets confirmed that 24-year-old Tenzin Osel Rinpoche, one of the most renowned Buddhist "golden children" — toddlers determined through dreams, oracular riddles and their own "memories" to be tulkus, or reincarnations of high Tibetan Buddhist lamas — has abandoned his foretold identity. Instead of a Lama, he wants to be a filmmaker, and has reverted to his original Spanish name, Osel Hita Torres. (See pictures of the Dalai Lama at home)

The abdication of the anointed tulku is a significant embarrassment to the group he was supposed to head, the powerhouse Foundation for the Preservation of the Monastic Tradition (FPMT), the foremost Tibetan teaching organization in the West. It also challenges Westerners who have adopted Buddhism to find more sophisticated ways of understanding its magical side.

In 1989, with the approval of his Spanish convert parents, four-year-old Hita was tapped by FPMT monks as the reincarnation of the group's co-founder Thubten Yeshe. Their methods will be familiar to anyone who has seen Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha or the current documentary Unmistaken Child: The monks reportedly heeded some dreams; the Dalai Lama consulted an oracle; and the capper was that young Hita "recalled" the color of the dead lama's car.
Last month, however, the magazine Babylon confirmed that the shaggy-haired Hita had long-ago dropped out of his Tibetan University, and that he no longer even considers himself a Buddhist. He was quoted more pointedly in the newspaper El Mundo as saying, "I was taken away from my family and put in a medieval situation in which I suffered a lot. It was like living a lie."

Britain's Guardian then added the delicious factoid that at one point the only people Hita saw were Buddhist monks and Richard Gere. Last Monday, a statement attributed to Hita appeared on the FPMT website calling the press reports "sensationalized," and insisting "there is no separation between myself and FPMT." Still, his confirmation of his career change in the same posting in fact suggests a major rift.

Josh Baran, a New York Buddhist who has facilitated the Western trips of several high lamas, suggests that Hita's defection shouldn't cause adherents to lower their prayer flags. The West, he says, "has a romantic ideal that these lamas have some kind of super-vision and can look at a child and say, he's the one." While signs and portents may play a role in monastic successions, he explains, so do more worldly considerations. Tulkus often inherit considerable wealth and influence, and powerful monks will jockey to place their own candidates. The political needs of their lineage also figure. And sometimes the consensus-based system doesn't yield a clear winner: Tibetan history crackles with bloody battles between rival claimants or their camps.

None of this is unfamiliar to Western religious traditions. Roman Catholic Popes are supposedly chosen by the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit upon a conclave of cardinals — yet many have proven less than holy, and wars have been fought over successions. A bit like Catholics through the ages, says Baran, Tibetan Buddhists "assess a tulku's wisdom not by his title, but by his piety and learning." The monks try to pick the bright and promising children, he says; but Tibetans also assume the weeding-out function of the extensive tulku education: "no matter who they pick, the best and the brightest will surface in the course of the process."

By that logic, Hita simply weeded himself out. Robert Thurman, a Buddhist scholar, former monk and friend of the Dalai Lama, recounts that when told years ago that Hita was to receive a traditional Buddhist education in India he expressed concern. Thurman's argument: "If he wanted Tibetan traditional [education] he could have reincarnated in a Tibetan family in exile." The result of the misplacement, he says, is that Hita "has broken away in a full-blown identity crisis." Thurman thinks that after some time in our "busy postmodern world," Hita may see the value of the Tibetan tradition, "which he will then be able to approach or not, of his own free choice." And, he adds, "More power to him!"



Article For 5/23 -- The Price Is Not Right

The W-a club will be held on Saturday May 23, at 7 pm, at Imbiss. Fanny is the moderator.

Imbiss
Address: Xinhai Road, Sec 1, Alley 34, No. 3
Tel: 02-2362 0611

Article:
The Price Is Not Right, by Thomas Friedman, NY Time, March 31, 2009
(The article connects environment issues to financial crisis issues.)



Think About It:
In addition to toxic assets in banks and those pollutants damaging our environments, what else in our life or societies are mispriced? What can we do to make these be correctly priced?

You May Be Interested In:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/12/opinion/12friedman.html
(A story shows how the Costa Rica has strike a balance between economy growth and environment preservation.)

More About Sup-prime Crisis And Those Banks:
http://www.ft.com/indepth/subprime


Article

I don’t expect much from the G-20 meeting this week, but if I had my wish, the leaders of the world’s 20 top economies would commit themselves to a new standard of accounting — call it “Market to Mother Nature” accounting. Why? Because it’s now obvious that the reason we’re experiencing a simultaneous meltdown in the financial system and the climate system is because we have been mispricing risk in both arenas — producing a huge excess of both toxic assets and toxic air that now threatens the stability of the whole planet.

Just as A.I.G. sold insurance derivatives at prices that did not reflect the real costs and the real risks of massive defaults (for which we the taxpayers ended up paying the difference), oil companies, coal companies and electric utilities today are selling energy products at prices that do not reflect the real costs to the environment and real risks of disruptive climate change (so future taxpayers will end up paying the difference).

Whenever products are mispriced and do not reflect the real costs and risks associated with their usage, people go to excess. And that is exactly what happened in the financial marketplace and in the energy/environmental marketplace during the credit bubble.

Our biggest financial-services companies, some of which came to be seen as too big to fail, engaged in complex financial trading schemes that did not adequately price in the costs and risks of a market reversal. A.I.G., for instance, was selling insurance for all kinds of financial instruments and did not have anywhere near adequate reserves to cover claims if things went badly wrong, as they did. And our biggest energy companies, utilities and auto companies became dependent on cheap hydrocarbons that spin off climate-changing greenhouse gases, and we clearly have not forced them, through a carbon tax, to price in the true risks and costs to society from these climate-changing fuels.

“When the balance sheet of a company does not capture the true costs and risks of its business activities,” and when that company is too big to fail, “you end up with them privatizing their gains and socializing their losses,” Nandan Nilekani, the co-chairman of the Indian technology company Infosys, remarked to me. That is, everyone gets to rack up their private profits today and pay them out in current bonuses and dividends. But any catastrophic losses — if the company is too big to fail — “get socialized and paid off by taxpayers.”

This is why we need new banking regulation that reins in the leverage and speculative trading that big banks and insurance companies can undertake so they never again become simultaneously too reckless to regulate but too big fail and taxpayers are forced to pay off the toxic assets they accumulate. And this is also why we need a tax on carbon — so we and our power utilities don’t become permanently addicted to cheap coal that makes for lower electricity prices today but spits out toxic greenhouse gases that have to be paid for by future generations tomorrow.

That’s what “Market to Mother Nature” accounting is all about. It begins with the premise that the distinction between the G-20 and the Copenhagen climate change negotiations is totally artificial. They are just flip sides of the same global problem — how we as a world keep raising standards of living for more and more people in ways that will not, as a byproduct, have both the Market and Mother Nature producing huge amounts of toxic assets.

The old system, which has reached its financial and environmental limits, worked like this: We built more and more stores in America to sell more and more stuff, which was made in more and more Chinese factories powered by more and more coal that earned more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills that got recycled back to America in the form of cheap credit to build more and more stores and more and more houses that gave rise to more and more Chinese factories.

This system was a powerful engine of wealth creation and lifted millions out of poverty, but it relied upon the risks to the Market and to Mother Nature being underpriced and to profits being privatized in good times and losses socialized in bad times. This capitalist engine doesn’t need to be discarded; it needs some fixes. For starters, we need to get back to basics — accountable lending, prudent saving, reasonable leverage and, most important, more engineering of goods than just financial products.

Some of our biggest financial firms got away from their original purpose — to fund innovation and to finance the process of “creative destruction,” whereby new technologies that improve people’s lives replace old ones, said the Columbia University economist Jagdish Bhagwati, in an interview in The American Interest. Instead, he added, too many banks got involved in exotic and incomprehensible financial innovations — to simply make money out of money — which ended up as “destructive creation.”

“Destructive creation” has wounded both the Market and Mother Nature. Smart regulation and carbon taxation can heal both.


Discussion Transcript: A daughter’s disease, a mother’s hope

Participants: Maggie, Erica, Angela, Peko, Rachel, Fanny

I’m very interested in this kind of issue about how to treat disorder people. So when I read this story, I also, I’m a woman, so I can feel the mother’s feeling. And I just wonder if I were a mother with a child, like this one, can I keep calm and become so strong to assist her child? I just wonder. So maybe, I also think that our social system in Taiwan, can our system to support this kind of family? Somehow our medicine system, we can discuss this kind of system.

I also think this article is interesting in this topic, “A daughter’s disease, a mother’s hope.” The theme is not in the article, but I think when the daughter have some special disease, and no hope to cure, it’s very hard for a mother, maybe we have so many things to discuss.

Erica, what do you think?

I think to be a mother is hard enough. And to be a single mother is even harder, and to have a sick child is even harder. So just like Fanny said, to put me in her shoes, I think I won’t know how to deal with such a case. Because I don’t have a stable job, and don’t have enough money, and no social support or gvt support. I think I would feel desperate. But the mom is so strong. I admire her. And I think what she did is not just to help her daughter, but she wants to help people who have the same situation, I think she is very brave.

I once saw a movie, the name is Lorenzo’s Oil. I think that mother is braver than this mother—

I think because the character in the movie has more money, and has more knowledge. But this mother is blue collar, and her job is to care for other people’s child. Sorry to interrupt.

—but I think the LO mother is also brave in the same situation.

After I reading this article, I think my interesting part is to show that she is a single mother living in public housing, it means she is poor, she has a daughter with a rare disease. She try her best to live and take care the daughter. But their real problem is the gvt problem. Because the mother cannot get enough social support to get stable work and enough salary to take care of her daughter. So the problem is not enough money and resources to study on this disease, so the mother cannot do anything for this daughter, and especially for the disease. And this is probably a society problem.

Angela, I think in the US, they would take care of this problem, from the—

You really misunderstand the US. In the US, being a single mother is a social crime. Being poor is a crime. No one will help you, least of all the gvt. Because if you dare to be a single mother, it means you’re definitely a Bad Mother. And that is a crime. Because you failed to keep a man, and you’re selfish to keep the child.
There’s this case, a woman, she has two sons, one is 13 and one is 15. The 15 year old got in trouble with the law. So she’s a Bad Mother. She can’t pay the fees for the kid’s jailing, so they put her in jail too. So how’s that going to help her? Then, they let her out of jail to collect her paycheck from her part-time job, which she can’t keep because she’s in jail, but she got the check from the previous month, well they took that, to pay for HER jail costs! So she still can’t pay her son’s jail costs, so they put her back in jail? What the hell? She’s in jail for being poor! Being poor is now a crime! So she’s a Bad Mother, and why? Because her son is in jail, and she’s in jail so she can’t take care of her other son, and because she’s too poor to take care of her children. I tell you, whose fault is this? It’s not the woman’s fault. It’s the fault of the gvt.
In the US, it’s a social crime to be a single mother, because everyone knows it’s the woman’s fault if the kids turn out bad. It’s not the father’s fault for leaving, that’s for sure!

I think in Asia, single women’s situation not so bad.

I think in the world, there’s no place to achieve a really equal position between men and women. It’s hard to reach an equal world, I think.

Do you think in our society people will have more sympathy or support for single mothers, do we have it or not?

I think not.

[everyone shakes head in agreement.]

From the working environment, not—

I think she can get support from friends, but from working environment, or gvt, no.

But what kind of support single mother need from our society? I think we should figure this out.

If you have a baby child, and you have to go out for work, you need someone to help you take care.

But even for working woman, our society doesn’t provide enough child-care system.

It’s expensive.

But recently I hear from my neighbour, she’s a two children, and we discussed this problem for working women. She said there’s some problem for our rules. I ask her why her corporation didn’t build a place for children caring, and she answered that, once their boss wanted to build a place, however, our rules for building the place, it can’t be underground. So no, for a corporation, they have a building, but they only have room for the day-care underground. It’s hard for them to search another place just for children caring. So they decided to do it underground, so our rules don’t allow it.

Your friend must work for a good company.

Yes, Chunghua Dien Shin.

But my question is, why could they only find a place underground for it? You say, they have to take care of costs, and everyone will agree with this, because we all live in a capatilist system, we think capitalist. But did you ever think about that this system, how it is that there are rich people and there are poor people? The poor people donate their labor and time to the rich people. That sounds silly to you, but think about it. Why does someone in Vietnam only work for enough money to pay their bread? If they had a choice? They give their labor and time, and they only get, say a dollar. Because the system makes it hard for them to get paid more. So the money the company saves means they can sell us cheaper things. So when we buy cheaper thing, we are receiving the donation of the laborers. What are they donating? The cost of their housing, the fact that they are sleeping in a dormitory and not a more expensive apartment, the cost of their cheaper food, they are donating their time so we can have cheap plastic things. Of course we also donate our time to more rich people, we are all in the system. It’s just harder to see it clearly in Taiwan right now because we get a lot, too. But we are donating our time.
So, the day care. If the women in the company had a choice, they’d go to a place they could have their children close by, right? But there isn’at anyone. So they donate their own cost of daycare to the company because they have no choice. So you think it’s reasonable that they say, “Well, we tried, but it’s too hard to comkply with the law.” You think, yeah, daycare is not a cost of doing business, so they’re right not to go to the extra expense. But they’re just outsourcing this cost to their employees, who pay it because they have no choice?

I think, our law doesn’t ask our company to build a day care for their employees. So if Chunghua Dien Shin wanted to, then it’s a good thing.

So are they really a good company, just because they ‘tried’?

Yes, it’s true, but they still participate in the system, of poor people subsidising the rich.

Yes, I never though that we subsidise the rich people with our time, and our time with our children. But I never thought they should take care of our children, because we exchange our time for them.

But under capitalist system—

No, but it’s a cost!

But we are just tools, we exchange fairly—

So we are undervalued.

So it’s that actually we’re third class or fourth class, depending on the level in the company. So they don’t exchange fair value. Take it or leave it. I can find someone else. So they won’t complain, and just take it. Some companies, yes.

I can’t agree with you more.

You are the moderator!

But I can’t agree more. So, what do you think?

I think the daughter is not at fault, and there’s many cases in Taiwan like this. I think become a mother will make a woman stronger.

Or weaker.

What do you mean?

She has to spend her time on her child, so she can’t change her situation. She spends all her time taking care of her dependent, so she has no time to make the situation better for herself and others. It’s easier to change things when you have no burden of dependence.

That’s what I want to discuss. She feels guilty because it’s a genetic disease.

So she feels responsible! But most mothers will feel guilty.

Because it’s genetic.

Of course it’s not her fault, but she’s still think it is.

Like autism. The mother will feel really guilty I know that this kind of disease not to related with gene problem. But most mothers will think it’s their fault. So as a mother they discover their children is their responsible for—

It’s women’s nature!

Nature or nurture?

You’re so cynical.

Please believe me that when I ask this kind of question, I am not being cynical. I am really being sincere, I am sincerely asking this question.
Because I think when you say ‘nature’ it’s cynical. You’re saying we can’t change. You’re saying we’re fucked. I say ‘really, there’s nothing to change about this? We’re stuck with this?’ So when I ask, ‘nature or nurture?’, I’m asking you, “Really? We really can’t change this?”

But the women are more responsible than the men.

It’s because we let the men off the hook.

So we women here are all responsible, since we’re the ones all in society.

There are some men in class, when we talk issues like this, they’re—

Uncomfortable?

Not, it’s that women are more than the men.

More what?

No, there are more women than men.

Yes. In traditional thinking, the men be told to earn the money, and they don’t have to clean the room or do some, I don’t know—housework.

So even in the in the western society, really?

But the movies!

Movies are dreams!

Yes, don’t fucking believe the movies!

Right, when you see men and women together in western movie, when I was a child I used to believe this is true.

[general laughter]

So actually I think this article has many place like things are interesting, because we talk about women, men, and so many things, like Chunghua Dien Shin. I never thought we’d talk about Chunghua Dien Shin because of this article.


That’s why I love this class.

But I want to know from you guys, you are so familiar with some kinds of medical science, from your aspect, how do you think about this situation?

Well, the major is, social welfare policy. So I can say the modern situation, what’s problem. I think it’s not her problem. So I think this is our society situation have to change, and we hope to create a more fair system, and gather people together to think about long-term care system. I know the gvt is planning to—

Our gvt?

—yes, our gvt and some NGO people discuss our system, the social insurance system, they hope to use this model to care for the disabled people, like elderly with disability, the children with disability. They hope to combine the medical and social system, but—

—I knew there would be a ‘but’ soon—

—but I think the social system cannot do everything well. If they cannot touch the real people’s needs—

They just use their thinking without real knowledge.

—they just use the productive method.

Productive?

Efficient. They want to take care more people with limited resource.

Get more people.

Yes, but they don’t think to expand the resource on the social care system. So their thinking have to change.

I think I am trained to not trust our gvt. Because I am middle age person, so I will think about my own retirement plan. The gvt said we can give the salary first, then I’ll have the money later, but I don’t think so.

Like in the US, Social Security is a pyramid scheme.

I have to pay 6% of my salary. For my future. But maybe I will die at 50!

So I have to take care of myself in my own way. I have to take care of my mother you know, I won’t trust the gvt.

They will know how to get our taxes, very efficiently. May is the tax season. They know how to collect it very efficiently, even though I just accidentally skipped one item, and just 2000 NT dollars, they called me, after one year!

They called you!

They called and said I skipped one item, and I should pay on time.

Because they have no money.

But it’s so efficiently! Rachel just said that we need to make the social system efficient. The tax system is so efficient!

They collect it efficiently, but they spend it sloppily.

But the home care worker, they are assigned to the elderly, they will count how many hours the elderly people need. If you, so they pay, the service payment for the hours…

You mean…

They only give you 16 hours per person per month. Once you use that up, you have to pay for the worker’s time yourself. So if there’s someone needs 24 hour care, they have to use private contractors. So they are separate from the home care system, because that are only part time care.

I have a question. Does the criteria for 24 hour care, and home care the same?

The doctor will decide, depending on the level of care.

So even if you don’t have time for it, if they decide you don’t have enough need, you have to find a way to get the carer for yourself.

Taipei city’s requirements for a home carer is?

They have to take classes and get certification.

But if the gvt hasn’t got enough personnel, they contract it out to private companies, who then charge the patient directly.

I think if we get old, without enough money, then it’s really terrible!

Yeah, my girlfriend says that if she gets sick when she gets old, she’d rather commit suicide then have to depend on someone else. To which I say, I can care for you! But she says she doesn’t want to depend on anyone, and I just think, but I want to keep her around!

Wow, I want to find someone like you.

Ha, well, I’m taken.

Well—

Besides, you need a boy, and for boys it’s harder to find good ones.

Yes, that made me think an example.

Example for this, or for find person take care of you!

No, but I think if you could find a person that wherever you go, they will go with you, that’s really lucky. I have a friend, she just go to abroad, and her husband go with her.

And give up his job?

Not give up, but—

A leave of absence, or sabbatical?

Not very clear, but I think he’s really nice, I think my friend is very lucky, and they are married.

We often hear that’s someone’s girlfriend go abroad for boyfriend, but we seldom hear the reverse case. Usually the boy asks the girl not to go, to stay, because the centre of the case is the boyfriend.

So why do they have all of the power and none of the responsibility?

It’s a kind of weird tradition, or a weird value. It’s very common in my family, or our society. It’s a habit.

I think it’s a culture.

Culture means we get used to something.

And make it formal.

Yes. Recently I look at the interaction between my father and mother. Sometimes my mother is right, but she says, “But your father thinks so, so let’s go with your father’s idea.” I just wonder why she doesn’t feel confident, and why doesn’t she make him follow her? Because she is right. But because once when they were young, she didn’t follow him, and he got angry. Just one time. And since then she follow him.

She has to ‘try to make the relationship work’. [cutting stomach gesture]
That’s the woman’s responsibility you know, not the man’s [/sarcasm]

They don’t want to break up the family, so they sacrifice themselves. In my family, the men don’t do any housework. I even have to wash my brother’s shoes!

Wow.

Good lord.

But me, I object, I say I am not my brother's mother.

But my mom said I was disobedient, I don’t behave the way the women should behave. So I became the black sheep. So my mother said it’s a pity I wasn’t born a man.

Yeah, I think so too, because men have a better deal!

Because it doesn’t matter they are more foolish or smart, they just have more power than women.

It’s a worldwide culture.

I had the wrong idea, I thought that the western culture—

That’s the advertising. You fell for the advertising.

You know, if you have a flush toilet, you’re rich. If you have your own money, your own house, and no dependents, you’re doing better than 80% of the women in the world. You have a flush toilet and a college education, and no dependents, you’re one of the free-est women in the world.

Article for 4/12 : A daughter's disease, a mother's hope

Article 4/12 will be discussed on Sunday April 12, at 3pm, at Goethe Cafe. Maggie is the moderator.

Goethe Cafe
Address: Roosevelt Road, Sec 3, Lane 283, No. 11
Tel: 02 2362 0060
Subway exit: Taipower Building Station exit 2

Article:
North Side mom searches for answers to the puzzle of her daughter's rare disorder
By Deborah L. Shelton Tribune reporter March 25, 2009


In her former job as a school bus attendant, LaSonya Thomas helped care for other people's disabled children. Now her life is consumed by the around-the-clock needs of her own severely ill daughter.

Thomas became a full-time caregiver last year for Maureeka Wilson, 15, when she was diagnosed with a rare disorder. Maureeka can no longer talk, walk, swallow or use the bathroom on her own.

Thomas escorts the 71-pound teenager to countless medical appointments. At home, she handles her daughter's tube feedings, administers medications every three hours and even tucks Maureeka into bed with her most nights, fearful the frail teen will choke to death without quick intervention.

All this leaves Thomas, a single mother living in a public housing development on Chicago's North Side, often feeling utterly alone in a search for treatment, despite being in a sprawling metropolis full of medical providers and top specialists.

That's because of the rareness of the disease with which Maureeka has been tentatively diagnosed—sepiapterin reductase deficiency, a pediatric neurotransmitter problem. Fewer than two dozen cases have been identified worldwide, and most diagnoses have been made around the Mediterranean region, said Dr. Jennifer Friedman, a neurologist at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego who is considered an expert on pediatric neurotransmitter diseases.

The deficiency is one of an estimated 6,000 rare diseases that afflict about 25 million to 30 million Americans. Each is considered an orphan disease because so few people have it and little or no research is being done. A disease is considered rare if it affects fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S.

"I pray a lot," said Thomas, who talks regularly to a silent, largely unresponsive Maureeka. "I ask God to direct me, give me strength, help me to take it one day at a time."

Seeking answers to the puzzle of her daughter's disorder, Thomas has been searching for other families dealing with the deficiency. So far, she has located only one, in New Mexico. She has called organizations around the country looking for help.

It appears Maureeka has no idea of her mother's devotion. She stares blankly at the world with wide, dark eyes. Her disease has robbed her of an awareness of what goes on around her. On a recent day, she sat stiffly in a wheelchair across from a TV screen filled with static."

It's hard, it's real hard," said Thomas, sitting on a sofa in her sparsely furnished living room, her eyes fixed on her only daughter. "But I love my daughter, and it's not her fault."

Maureeka never walked or talked normally as a youngster, but she attended school and lived a relatively normal life. She was misdiagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 1. When she was 13, she started having seizures and her condition suddenly worsened, prompting her doctors to rethink their diagnosis.

A special test was done on her spinal fluid to measure levels of neurotransmitters. Doctors determined that she had been born with a genetic defect that affected her body's ability to make neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that relay signals between neurons in the brain.

"We don't have the ability to reverse the genetic problem or to do gene therapy," said Dr. Sarah Elizabeth Zauber, Maureeka's physician and a neurologist at Rush University Medical Center who specializes in movement disorders. "Perhaps down the road as we learn about these diseases, that might be possible."

For now, those diagnosed with the disorder are treated with medication to try to restore their levels of neurotransmitters.But for Maureeka, the medication appears to have triggered periodic body movements that resemble seizures.

Unlike many parents who have sick children with more common and better understood disorders, Thomas has no idea what the future might hold. That adds to the stress.

"Nobody can give her the answer if [her daughter] is going to get better, get worse or stay like this," Zauber said. "Hopefully, with more testing we will know more."For now, Thomas would like to set up a support group and spur research.

"I do understand and accept that there is no cure for Maureeka's disease," Thomas said in her calm, quiet voice. "But I would like to find something that will make her life better."

rethinkingourselves 2.0

Hello, and welcome to the new discussion series!

The discussions will now be held once a month, in Taipei. Each month will be hosted by a different member of the group, who will choose the article and moderate the discussion. The article may be in English or Chinese. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join, no prior notification necessary!

Our next discussion will be held on Sunday April 12, at 3pm, at Goethe Cafe. Maggie is the moderator.

Goethe Cafe
Address: Roosevelt Road, Sec 3, Lane 283, No. 11
Tel: 02 2362 0060
Subway exit: Taipower Building Station exit 2