Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I haven't eaten rice in 25 days

No, I am not on some crazy diet. The title is the last sentence of an article that discusses the welfare system in Japan. (Warning, not easy reading.) To sum up, a man died of starvation after his welfare benefits had been cut off. He kept a diary of how hungry he was and how much weight he was losing. He wasn't the first to die of starvation, just the first to write it all down in black and white.

Japan prides itself on making it extremely difficult to get welfare and on how many people they can get off the welfare roll each year. This is shameful. Japan is one of the richest countries in the world. They hold the #1 spot in the list of best economies in the G7. How are their citizens dying of starvation?

There is so much money in the world and people die of starvation and cold and mosquito bites and diseases we have vaccinations for and and and.....

This story might appear to be worse because the man lived in a rich country but, in reality, men die of starvation in every country. There is no difference between a man dying of starvation in Japan or a man dying of starvation in Angola. It just shouldn't happen, period.

SunnyShine

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RainyBow note: I hate you for reminding me of this story since it will probably keep me up tonight. (Hey, if I'm developing sleep issues, I need to find someone else to blame!)

I've heard estimates that about 30 million people die of starvation in the world every year. The sad part of this is that so much of it can be attributed not to food shortages but to politics. I'm currently reading Surrender or Starve, in which the author puts forward the famines in Ethiopia as an illustration of this argument.

I highly recommend the book, if you can get past the fact that the author and editor believe that the plural of "bucketful" is "bucketfuls."

8 comments:

Emory said...

I read this story a day or two ago, and was shocked. To die for want of a rice ball, shows unrefined brutality.

The other compelling aspect was the apparent loneliness in which these people died. Perhaps one of the most populated countries in the world, and living within a city, these people died cruelly and alone.

Not everyone is has Scarlett O'Hara in them, so for love of God, give the man a @#$% rice ball already! or at least a Lil' Kitty seaweed wrap.

Anonymous said...

According to Merriam-Webster, both "bucketfuls" and "bucketsful" are acceptable.

complain away said...

It makes me sad that the dictionaries are deeming incorrect usages as acceptable simply because they're common. I'll bet money that the Académie française would never let that happen to French. Why are we OK with it in English?

And what's next, that "sister-in-laws" is acceptable along with "sisters-in-law?" No, wait, don't tell me. I don't want to know.

Anonymous said...

If this makes you sad, then the news that the Oxford English Dictionary has dropped hyphens from 16,000 words will likely make you depressed. I read the article on globeandmail.com, but can't send the link because they've locked it up now....

I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing that the English language evolves. But as always, some change is for the better, and some for the worse....

complain away said...

Yes, the whole hyphens thing is a bit puzzling. I heard a whole radio show on it, the tone of which was more than a little doomsday (I was driving when it came on and pulled over, thinking that it might be too upsetting). When I looked into what constructions had become unhyphenated, they were all examples like "ice cream."

I consider myself quite grammatically aware, but I've not seen "ice cream" written as "ice-cream" more than a handful of times. I need more examples.

And I do love the grammar discussions. Why are you anonymous, crappy you?

Anonymous / Fellow Grammerian said...

I'm only anonymous because I don't have my own blog! Don't think I deserve the "crappy" tag, though (LOL)! After all, you've shrouded yourself in anonymity too.

I am also enjoying the grammar discussions with you -- we do seem to share quite a few sensibilities, and I'm very glad I stumbled across your blog. If you ever decide to hold a "Friends of Rainybow and Sunnyshine" event, I'll be the first in line!

complain away said...

What, you couldn't find us in the phone book? :)

Glad you like the blog, but please don't be too quick to joke about the friends & family event. We've been kicking around a few ideas, and you may have just unwittingly volunteered yourself for something "fun." Quotations marks are intended.

Fellow grammarian said...

Can't wait!