Squeezing “the white guy”

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SM reader Laks Raghupathi sends us a link to an article in the May 30th European edition of Newsweek Magazine, titled The Big Squeeze. In it we see a yellow man, ostensibly representing a Chinaman, and a brown guy with a small red dot on his forehead. The brown guy appears to be squeezing the balls of the poor white guy (a.k.a. white-collared worker), as if all Americans and Europeans losing jobs are white. The white guy also appears to be wearing a bow-tie (what IS it with bow-ties?).

15 years after U.S. and European multinationals started shipping large numbers of manufacturing jobs overseas, experts are saying that the “second wave” of offshoring is at hand—and it promises to be bigger and more disruptive to the U.S. and European job markets than the first. In the years ahead, sizable numbers of skilled, reasonably well-educated middle-income workers in service-sector jobs long considered safe from foreign trade—accounting, law, financial and risk management, health care and information technology, to name a few—could be facing layoffs or serious wage pressure as developing nations perform increasingly sophisticated offshore work. The shift portends a dramatic realignment of wealth over the next couple of generations—valued by the U.S. consultancy McKinsey Co. at “hundreds of billions of dollars.”

I went over to Joel Elrod’s website to see his other work (which is quite good) and couldn’t find anything with this sort of xenophobic tone, which leads me to believe that Newsweek must have specifically commissioned this type of thing from him. Continue reading

Posted in Art

Sunil Dutt, 1929-2005

Dutt as Birju Bollywood legend Sunil Dutt died earlier today of a heart attack in Bombay. On June 6, he would have been 76.

A concise bio:

Balraj Dutt was born in Khurd, Jhelum District (now Pakistan) in 1929. He worked as an announcer on Radio Ceylon before launching his film career. Success came quickly with Mother India in which he played the outlaw hero son of Nargis, who later became his wife. He also played a series of clean- cut modern youths in the late 50′s and was a talented comedian. He made his directorial debut in 1964 with Yaadein, an experimental one-man show, and was responsible for launching his son’s career in 1981 when he directed him in Rocky. Like his wife he entered politics, becoming an MP representing Congress (I) in North Bombay in 1979.

My earliest memory of a Bollywood film involved “Dutt Sahib” as Birju in 1957′s seminal Mother India; I will never forget the look on his face or the sound of his voice in the scene involving his long-suffering Mother’s (Nargis) bracelets. I remember my father telling me the following anecdote, much to my delight:

It is a well-known story that while shooting for the film, Nargis was trapped amidst lit haystacks. As the flames got higher and higher, Sunil Dutt playing her rebellious son, Birju, in the film ran through the fire and rescued her. He proposed to her and Nargis married Sunil Dutt and quit films after marriage.

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Policing South of the Border…

A series of Pakistan updates from StrategyPage includes a minor bombshell about US troops / CIA operating inside Pakistan -

May 25, 2005: Pakistani officials say that recent arrests of al Qaeda members has led to a breakthrough in finding out how Islamic terrorists are organized, and operate, in Pakistan. This had led to many more arrests, and paralysis of the terrorist organization inside Pakistan… May 23, 2005: The Pakistani government has admitted what has been widely known for several years: American troops and intelligence agencies have been allowed to operate, discretely, inside Pakistan. Recently, a terrorist leader was killed by a Hellfire missile, fired by a Predator UAV flying in Pakistani air space. American agents have been interrogating terrorism suspects held in Pakistani jails. This cooperation has been kept “secret” because so many Pakistanis find it distasteful. But Islamic terrorists have made themselves so unpopular in Pakistan, that admitting the cooperation has done less damage than expected.

Taste? The issue is actually far more than that… The classic, international test of sovereignty is a monopoly on legal force within your territory. The US isn’t allowed, for ex., to chase a fugitive into Canada – it’s instead supposed to inform & trust Canadian authorities and secure extradition instead.

Allowing US troops/CIA to conduct combat operations within your country is a major, uh, relaxation of the doctrine of force monopoly. In fact, under normal circumstances, such territorial violation – even if targetting someone else entirely – is tantamount to war. For example, this report of a border skirmish gives you an idea of the type of response such an incursion is supposed to receive -

Pakistan cooperates in operations to corner al-Qaida fugitives hiding along the 1,400-mile border but vehemently rejects suggestions that American troops should be allowed to cross into its territory. Pakistani troops opened fire on a joint US-Afghan patrol that strayed across the border on January 30, killing one Afghan soldier, Gen Hussain said. “We warned them ‘You are in Pakistan, please go back’ through a loudhailer, and fired warning shots in the air. They kept going. Thereafter we opened up on them,” he said.

My bet? This feisty story was part of the Pakistani govt’s PR game to preserve this important international norm. Clue #1? Just like Ensign Smith, the perenniel new, 5th guy on a Star Trek away team, it’s the unnamed Afghan who gets killed by the proud Pakistani Border Patrol. Then again, the hunt for Al Qaeda and, for that matter, Pakistan’s infamous Western territories are far from normal circumstances. Continue reading

Penis reattached to owner

This one should be a no-brainer — don’t ever bring your prostitute home to meet your wife:

Doctors in Uttar Pradesh, India, have reattached a man’s penis after it was cut off by his wife. His wife said she was fed up with his womanising. Things came to a head when he brought a prostitute home. [Medical News Today]

Sure, the concept of a detachable penis sounds great in theory, but once you get one, you can’t wait to get it reattached:

His penis was reattached by a team of doctors, led by Dr. A Singh. According to doctor Singh, we will have to wait and see whether the man will ever be able to have sex again. [Medical News Today]

Mentioned briefly in an earlier post.

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Chitravina making comeback

NPR’s “All Things Considered” has an audio report about the modern-day usage of the Chitravina (Real and Windows Media, 7 mins.):

The slide guitar is a beloved voice in blues, country and rock music. In India, slide musicians favor an ancient instrument called the Chitravina. N. Ravikiran, one of the country’s best-known players, hopes to expand the instrument’s popularity and push its musical frontiers. [NPR]

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Dastaar

Dot from over at Ishbadiddle informs us of a new documentary titled, “Dastar: Defining Sikh Identity.” The Panthic Weekly reports:

Kevin LeeÂ’s documentary shows the struggle of the American-Sikh community to overcome the hatred, fear and intolerance it faces from fellow Americans due to its wearing of the essential symbol of the Sikh faith — the “dastaar” (turban), a press release by the Sikh Coalition stated.

The film also explores how media imagery fuels association of the turban with terrorism, leading to widespread discrimination against Sikhs. This documentary has already been screened in Chicago at the 2005 Asian American Showcase event and at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. It is scheduled to be screened in July at the AAIFF before being part of its national tour.

Dot points out that “the film features interviews with several people mentioned previously on SM, including Kevin Harrington the MTA subway operator, and footage of the guy who was sentenced to do community service at three Sikh temples after attacking a Sikh.”

You can view the entire film online by clicking one of the links below. If you live in NYC however I suggest instead that you view it at the 28th Annual Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) :

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L.A. Mag: Barneys’ Delhi men

How two brothers from Delhi went from serving H-addled clubgoers to serving coke-addled agents:

The L.A. segment of their story began when the newly arrived Sean G, now a fit, head-shaven 34-year-old, was working as a parking attendant at Tower Video on Sunset. A regular customer often chatted with him. Sean G enjoyed the talks but was curious why this young man always drew a crowd. He soon realized he’d been talking to Johnny Depp, who got him a job in the cashier’s booth at the Viper Room, which Depp owned at the time. The idea of Sean G greeting habitues of the Viper Room has a certain Candide-like charm. He is hardly the image of perdition. He runs upwards of ten miles a day, has never been late for a job or called in sick. Even the way he came to work at Barney Greengrass is based on the desire for self-improvement that night workers occasionally flirt with. “I should do something with my days,” Sean G remembers thinking. “I should learn something.” A Viper Room barman brought him to the deli and showed him the ropes. “I never ate this food,” Sean G says. “I didn’t know what a bagel was, or nova, or cream cheese.” He got his brother a job there, too. [Los Angeles Magazine]

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%$#&?@ Vestern influences

no pants here.JPG Professional Indian women are trading one type of pleated garment for a far less attractive substitute (unless they’re choosing “flat-fronts”, that is):

A survey of Indian women’s preferred daily clothing has shown that more female professionals are choosing trousers over the traditional sari. The study results show that sales of women’s trousers have surged by almost 10% over the last two years.

Why all the drama?

“Let’s face it, the sari is not an easy garment to deal with. Women find it difficult to work in it with all the pleats and it does tend to be cumbersome,” fashion writer Hindol Sengupta told the BBC.

Worry not, traditionalists. Regular old Indian clothes still account “for three-quarters of the women’s apparel market”. Huzzah. Continue reading

Putting down the megaphone

Two bloggers psychoanalyze a Sikh religious body which lobbied against Jo Bole So Nihaal. But their analysis also applies to the rise of virtually all lobbying groups. Mass outrage focused through the lens of a group wields power like a typhoon. Eventually the middlemen siphon off funding for themselves, and the groups self-perpetuate with or without legitimate grievances.

Arnab Ray says:

This is not the first time that religious loons have objected to titles and sequences of movies. The song “Mustafa Mustafa” from “Aatish” which had Raveena and Karishma cavorting in revealing attire had to be changed to “Dilruba Dilruba” following protests from Muslims. Mani Ratnam had a bomb thrown at him for having a Bal Thackeray-lookalike in Bombay.

Usually these things are solved by the producer/director going to one of the self-styled defenders of morality and making some discreet payoffs euphemistically called “seeking blessings/clearing misunderstandings”. The morality police get their dues, the producers get the free publicity and everyone is happy…

… money had exchanged hands, sins had been expiated, everything was right with the world. And yet people wind up dead. What the hell happened?

Amardeep says:

… Until yesterday, the invocation of “blasphemy” seemed pretty laughable… The SGPC seems increasingly like an organization desperate for direction, now that their established enemies — the Congress Party, the Nehru family, the Indian Army’s counter-terrorist measures in Punjab — have either dwindled or transformed. In an era when the Prime Minister is himself a practicing, if secular, Sikh, Sikh organizations in India can no longer claim exclusion or discrimination. They have as a result chosen to mimic the world-wide rhetoric of religious outrage, exemplified in India by the RSS and by conservative Muslim groups. The rhetoric of outrage is, it seems, the primary way in which religious leaders — around the world, and in every major religious community — attempt to make themselves relevant to modernity.
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