15 July, 2013

China's Rich "Suckers" !!

(Pic courtesy : scmp.com via Facebook)

Babies all over Mainland China are planning a protest.  How they are going to do this is something no one has figured out yet but they seem hell bent on voicing their protests.  Not that it is going to make any difference in a country like China which pretty much lives by its own rules or bends them to suit the convenience of the rich and the mighty there.  Right now, this is turning out to be the veritable battle between David and Goliath. 

It has all the elements of a mutiny here, except for the fact that the mutineers in this case would be crawling across the roads of China, with bibs around their necks.  Rightly so, I say.  Why are they doing this ?  Because they are being deprived of their source of nourishment.  The Goliaths in the country are taking away what rightfully belongs to the babies in the country.  Yes, the rich and the powerful in China claim to have discovered the latest magic potion, the wonder tonic and they are coming out in droves to get their share of this magic potion. 

Breast milk !!  That’s what rich adult men in China are raving about now. 

Reminded me of a scene from the movie Mangal Pandey.  During those days, it was quite normal for the rich ladies in society to hire ladies from the poorer sections of the society to nurse their babies.  They used to be called wet nurses.  Quite apparently, men, adult men in China have decided to take a page out of the very same book.  That, it seems, is the latest fad among the rich and the powerful in Mainland China.  Yes,  adult men in Mainland China are now hiring wet nurses to ensure that they have a steady supply of breast milk to consume.

While at first glance, the initial reaction is one of outrage, what stands out here is the ever increasing divide between the rich and the poor in China.  You have the rich section of the society with its whims and fancies, the latest being consuming breast milk, and you have the not-so-rich section of the society that caters to these whims for a price.  Who loses out in the process ?  The future generations of the country.  While the number of babies being fed infant formula increase on the one hand, one sees “wet nurses”  being hired out to service and cater to rich men.

One of the managers of Xinxinyu, the agency which was hiring out wet nurses to adult clients, is reported to have said that clients can choose to consume breastmilk directly through breastfeeding but they could always drink it from a breast pump in case they feel uncomfortable drinking it from the source.  He is also reported to have said that “better looking” wet nurses are paid better. 

What sort of a world do we live in ?  A world that looks down upon a woman if she chooses to breastfeed her hungry baby in public, yet, is this not the same world that is looking on, fingers on lips, as China turns breastmilk and breastfeeding into a business to cater to the perversions of a rich few ? 

What is even more glaring is the fact that according to UNICEF, China is one of the countries with a very low percentage of breast feeding mothers.  This has mainly to do with the fact that there are huge constraints on maternity leave and the fact that baby milk formula is marketed quite aggressively through the country.  Yet, in a country where the incidence of babies being breastfed is so low, there are enough wet nurses to cater to the whims of the rich adult male population.  Sadly, all this does is points out yet again to the ever growing divide between the rich and the poor in the country.   This seems all the more perverse in a country which has seen infants die of tainted formula feed. 

If one were to look at wider ramifications, this also comes at a time when the world is increasingly aware of the fact that even today, women are looked upon as commodities.  

What next, China ?  Bottled breast milk ??  In that case, the ever enterprising China could start catering to that section of their population which does not fall into the category of “rich, perverse and spoilt”.  The average middle class could be catered to through bottled breast milk on supermarket shelves while the rich and the mighty could choose to tap into the source, eh ??   Babies, I guess, get to choose between the many different boxes of formula feed available in the markets.  Way to go !! 

If this is how one defines progress in humanity, I, for one, would rather go looking for a cave !!

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