Domestic Affairs

Guess what to eat next?

By Zuo Likun (
Updated: 2010-07-21 08:53
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Guess what to eat next?
Cartoon courtesy of

The buzzword today is not housing, since whatever absurd headlines it may produce, they would never outdo the brazenness with which statistics officials said, wildly at odds with all market predictions, that housing prices edged up only 1.5 percent last year. (Another ministry report later said the increase was a quarter.)

Thanks to market speculators, the catchword of the moment goes to the homely garlic and the slightly more presentable mung beans, the food market's latest dark horse that hijacked Chinese households and thus the national attention.

Don't weep over the what-if-I-bought-earlier; we have in vain rehearsed that to death with housing. Instead, thank heaven we live on rice, rather than the roller-coaster garlic. And hurrah, long live the eat-all-winged-but-plane-and-all-legged-but-desk Chinese, who never fail to revive their guerrilla talents in food sampling and changing, only against market speculators this time.

However, our acumen in food picking seems oblivious and forgetful. To feed our darling children, we are childish enough believe the bygones be by-gones, only to find tragedy returning, since thrift is a time-honored gift cherished by some immoral dairy producers who allegedly reused tainted formula confiscated years ago.

Guess what? Without first questioning their porous enforcements and tackling the industrial evil deal head on, health officials are creative enough to tinker up a quality rule to lower -- yes, you have it correctly, to lower -- the dairy protein levels. Alas, poor babies, if your parents couldn't afford a milch cow, sing Hallelujah for breastfeeding, at least until health watchdogs' enforcements are no longer an X-factor.

And need I mention the stomach-churning swill-recycled oil? Forget about the endless toothless crackdowns. Let's just choke those dirty restaurants; Chinese consumers can prove to be more frugal than the country's economy could bear.

Never before has the nation resembled a theater so full of suspense, twists and wonders, that your casual decision to do or not do whatsoever today may prove to be dearly unwise tomorrow, and the only sure thing seems to be its unpredictability. 

Sounds pessimistic? No worries, we got Paul, the oracle octopus. Eat with it, or just eat it.