Topic: "Copy Cat Chinese" (5)
Frodo first started to pay attention in classrooms when the topic du jour was some place where Frodo had never been. This might explain why mathematics ranked somewhere below getting stuffed into a locker by fifth-graders. Had Frodo known, for example, that some of the greatest mathematicians emanated from faraway places, with strange-sounding names, he might have actually had some interest in the topic. Unfortunately, Mrs. Kessler did not share Frodo's theories on educational achievement, and the rote memorization of fractions continued to plague the Hobbit.
One of the earliest lessons today recalled by Frodo, was that the Japanese made things faster, and cheaper, than Americans. Mr. Wissler explained that Orientals were great at copying things, and that once given the design of a mighty Detroit automobile, they could make a copy and ship a much cheaper, and smaller, model to America. Since the Japanese were smaller, probably because they only ate rice and fish-heads, they would alter the design to fit their needs, and sell the rest of their inventory to other Orientals. Frodo was thus acclimated to the theory that Americans were smarter, but that the Japanese were hungrier. Their products were also "Japanese," meaning that they were likely to fall into pieces before the product was fully unwrapped.
Of late, there has been a lot of talk about how America is being changed into "socialism." Obviously, the economic crunch has brought about a number of actions designed to bring cash assets into a cash-starved system both quickly, and thoroughly. The involvement of government in the private sector has given fodder to the loyal opposition who go to great lengths to argue against this particular course of action. It goes without saying that, absent any plan of their own, the "Party of No" has become the mantel which they must bear.
China announced plans on Wednesday to build thousands of new hospitals and to put a new clinic into every village within the next three years. It will cost a whole lot of money. It seems that this is the first step taken by the Communist Government in order to implement universal health care in that country. The plan has been in preparation for more than a decade it seems, and is in response to this, the largest area of public complaint in the People's Republic, the high cost and the poor availability of health services. Frodo was struck not only in the timing, but in the substance of the plan. America, it appears, is not alone in recognizing a big problem, and Americans have many of the same concerns as the Chinese.
So are the Chinese becoming more "capitalistic," or are they merely, once again, copying the Americans. To Frodo, the argument of "socialism" in the American government carries even less credibility today than it did yesterday. It may also indicate that people are much the same, no matter what they eat for lunch. Mr. Wissler, were he still around, would have been man enough to change his lesson plans. Mrs. Kessler, on the other hand, would have sent Frodo to the Principal's Office, again.