Wednesday, August 29, 2012
THEY EAT DOGS!!****...and other stereo-types, THE HORROR EDITION
"They eat dogs!!!" The hyper vigilant foreigner said, protecting other foreigners from the fido filleting, mutt munching nation...of CHINA. Okay. I will say it right off the bat, Beijingers don't eat dogs. Not, that I am aware of...I don't think. Maybe, probably, mostly not...ish...I think, sort of, mostly not. Actually they spoil them, dress them up in clothes, carry them around like children, talk to them like they understand what you are saying. This I know to be true, dogs do understand what you say. But for the most part, Beijingers who have dogs, and most are of the yappy variety, treat them like little royalty. So the idea that anyone would eat a dog is far far far from the truth....or is it? (cue creepy music) So. There is no real myth to living in China, its not the straw hat wearing, rice paddy wading, snow sculpted mountain towering place I have seen depicted in the scroll paintings on like every Chinese restaurant wall in America. I think people take long train rides to visit those places. There are some more traditional looking tableaux in the local tapestry, such as the rickshaw drivers and the Hutong dwellers, but for the most part Beijing is a thriving metropolis chuck full of swanky Chinese and spattered with foreigners speaking every language on the globe. Its a fun place. :) really. This is what China is NOT!!!!! This is more of what China really is.... HOWEVER...there's a little old school in there. I pretty much see this everyday....vomit my insides, really. The thing missing from this pic are the flies buzzing on and about the meat....yummers. All was relatively well in our veggie world, we knew where the bastions of dead meat evil lay and we avoided them, apathy in play, ignorance/innocence maintained. Then me and the divas visited the rooftop outdoor balcony during spring and again in summer and we watched the baby ducks and chicks grow and disappear, we try not to think anything of it...but um...well...yeah, lets not think anything of it shall we. There is also the live food market downstairs that sells fresh fish that swim around for now, as large indoor aquariums are definitely not their destiny. My little family of vegetarians has learned to plug our noses and dash, while the fish vendor yells, in English Hello, Fish, Hello, Hi, FISH!!! He loves the girls and is always saying how cute they are...but sorry sir, we want none of your fish...or frogs, or turtles or SNAKES. :( I have come to deal with the live fish vendor guy, I have taken off my militant animal rights hat and stepped aside only to let a culture continue to be a culture without my influence. I can't change them, but I can abstain from it and blog about it and reflect the cruelty of it in my writing work, outside of that...I must choose my battles. I will leave the championing of live fish markets to Diva Dad and possibly Aria..when she gets older. So...these are known horrors, to us. To some they are yummy dinner, fresh duck, chicken and fish. To me it is a life destroyed by an animistic lust for flesh. Sorry...the title is Momma Dramma for a reason...shall we continue. The live market looks like this.... And it smells like the ocean polluted with dirt, decay and death. Yum...who brought rice. Well today a man comes up to Indya while we are trying to load ourselves onto the SUV bike. We still don't have a photo of us, but we get some. He has a bag full of dark black objects. He quickly approaches her and my brain scrambles...nothing more, it just scrambles. I am at the alert though ready to grab my baby back. However, his smile, while rather toothless, is also harmless as he takes a robust looking puppy out of the plastic shopping bag (of the grocery variety). At first my heart melts, then the "I want one" gene sets in and yet is tamed by the thought that I have one in America who I miss and can't see...cue heart breaking. So I back off from, the "we'll take two" mentality and focus on my daughter having a good moment/memory with a puppy. He drops the bag with the rest of the puppies on the ground, to let the puppy in his hand sprawl. My first kick to the heart happens. WHY DROP THE BAG OF PUPPIES...and then I watch the fat, blind little puppy wriggle and my heart dies a little. Questions fly across my mind...why the plastic grocery bag, where's the puppy's mom? Why are they being so roughly handled, they are too young for adoption. Words are flying around in Chinese and I catch like ONE....and then its over, he gathers up the puppy, plops it back into the bag and I load Indya onto the bike, thinking NO THOUGHTS (because I am in shock) and drive off as a word stream slowly seeps into my brain. Those puppies are too young to leave their mother..... They were in a plastic bag.... He dropped them... My friend told me a story about her Grandma's mom cooking her pet puppy.... The ducks and the chickens on the roof dissappear.... OH HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY EAT PUPPIES!!!!!! So here's the thing about living in a foreign land, it is FOREIGN, you don't understand the language or the culture fully, you live outside of it in a haze, like a partially materialized ghost. People can see you but can't talk to you and you can't talk to them. If I have been able to talk to them, I would have asked about the puppies and had I found out that they were gonna be dinner I would have rendered this man infertile, with one swift kick to the groin, then all those puppies would be mine. But rather, I lilted and dazed in a fog of mysterious unknowing making horrendous assumptions. And there they stand....horrendous and sh!tty as I am probably wrong. I try to remain culturally accepting and aware. I am not one toss out a blanket of stereotypes, we have been so well cared for by the Chinese people and I have found this to be a sophisticated city full of thoughtful, educated people...and yet some are still old school and thus the question remains....do they really eat dogs? I am not sure still. Probably not, this man was probably bringing the pups to their mother, maybe they were given to him to nurse to more mature puppy hood....maybe right? So I will not think the unthinkable...and then again are we (in America) any better really? We eat fish and chicken and duck. We don't eat puppies but we do kill them, hundreds a day in shelters. We kill puppies every time we drop them off at shelters, yes the odd one may survive and find a family, but really most are killed. We "drop them off" we buy things prepackaged we don't see the HORROR. I commend China for at least being real enough to live it all. And for the most part, like anyone who lives on a farm, they care relatively well for these animals before their slaughter. At least the rooftop chickens and ducks are doing pretty well, I can't say the same for the poor fish. :( But again...we are really no better. So we may not eat puppies (and this man probably didn't either, I just have an over active imagination) but we do kill them, by the thousands, we just do it discretely by purchasing pedigree animals with winning bloodlines verses adopting the little whatahoosiz at the shelter, we let our amazing pedigree pets get it on with the neighborhood and turn our eyes away from the little minions that they create...so we don't eat puppies, but their fates are absolutely no more sacred in America that they are in China.