Wednesday, April 30, 2008

maybe we should stop buying things from china

Chinese slave children 'sold like cabbages'
By Richard Spencer in Beijing
Last Updated: 2:07AM BST 30/04/2008

Thousands of children are being sold "like cabbages" to China's booming factories as virtual slave labour.

Young people – some aged under 10 – are said to have been discovered being bought and sold at a street market in Sichuan, one of rural China's most overpopulated provinces.

According to investigative reporters, the children stood in line as they were assessed like cattle, before being driven on trucks to factories in the Pearl River Delta, China's manufacturing heartland.

Southern Metropolis Daily, a newspaper based in the delta, suggests that abuses remain rampant in factories despite efforts by campaigners within China and abroad.

The abuses might have become worse as wages have finally begun to rise in recent years, prompting businesses to seek new ways to cut costs.

The newspaper was tipped off by residents living close to the street market. One local man, Mr Shao, said he had watched children being "sold like cabbages".

A reporter, posing as a clothing factory manager, was allowed to inspect would-be "employees" by patting their arms and stomachs. He agreed to pay them 3.5 yuan an hour – about 25p.

Many had fake papers saying they were over 18; but, when asked, most were between 13 and 15. One was just seven, another nine.

The newspaper said that many came from the same area of Sichuan – Liangshan county – where 76 children have been reported as missing since the Chinese new year in February.

One of the most disturbing findings was that local officials seemed to be complicit. A foreman, who produced officially stamped documents concerning the children, said: "We have the complete right to manage them, by any means. You only need to sign a work agreement with us."

The newspaper was told stories of hundreds of children being sent to electronics and toy factories across southern China.

Southern Metropolis Daily is part of the most adventurous newspaper group in China. Although run by the local government, it is encouraged to make money and breaks genuine stories to do so. Its staff have paid the price in the past, with a number being jailed on dubious bribery charges.

On this occasion, some of the allegations have been confirmed by the Xinhua news agency, the government's central mouthpiece.

In a similar case last year, hundreds of young men were found to be working as slave labour in a string of brick kilns across northern China. Lured with promises of high wages, they were locked up and, in some cases, beaten to death.

According to reports from Sichuan, some of the foremen in the latest case have now been arrested and efforts are being made to return children to their parents.

Friday, April 25, 2008

thoughts running through my head

1. Gas prices are freaking me out. To fill up each of our cars we are spending $30 - $35 more per week than we were in the fall. Per. Week. That's roughly an extra $120 - $140 per month. That extra money could be going to savings, buying clothes, eating out, but now the retailers aren't getting as much money and the waiter isn't getting as many tips. I don't want to be doom and gloom, but how could this not throw our economy into a recession?
2. Thank you Al Gore. And all you other global-warming alarmists for pushing biofuels. Now corn prices are rising dramatically. And global warming is not even man-made, nor have the Earth's temperatures risen in the past 10 years.,25197,23411799-7583,00.html
3. And food in the grocery store is way expensive, too. G was born 3 1/2 years ago and in his baby book I have that milk was $1.53 per gallon. This morning I paid $3.98. Ridiculous.
4. At least the tax-stimulus package is coming a week early. But I refuse to use that money on anything that I would already be purchasing, i.e. gasoline or corn or milk. We are only spending the money on wasteful and fun things which we would otherwise not be able to buy. Hubby and I are looking to make a patio in our backyard and landscape our frontyard. Probably throw in a Pixar movie and sandbox for the kids.
5. Stash Licorice Tea is the yummiest drink ever invented. I had three cups the other day, none yesterday, and only one so far today. I'm aware of my addiction and trying to slow it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

my parents are traitors

When I was a sophomore in college our K-State football team went to the Big 12 Championship. So my sister and I flew to St. Louis, stayed with some friends of my parents, ate out a lot and went downtown to watch the big game. All the excitement, all the Purple prowling around, we KNEW we were going to win. Really, this was just a quick stop on our way to the National Game.

Then, in overtime, we lost. We were crushed.

So my sister and I, along with the friends of my parents (who were our friends, too, really) morosely rode down the escalator with Aggies all around us, crowding us, sucking the very air we were trying to breathe, all the while making their annoying "Whoop" sound. I don't know how to replicate that sound, but apparently it's taught to them before they're officially enrolled, they all know how to do it, and in a huge stadium that has suddenly become very small with all those Aggies crowding around you, that "Whoop" will just about send you over the edge.

I'm over it. And no, a few years after that event I did not tell an Aggie who went to my church in Wichita, Kansas, that that was one of the worst nights of my life. Especially not right before he told me he was at that very game and it was one of the best nights of his life.

Fast forward to 2008. My parents live in Texas, outside of Austin, in a quiet neighborhood at the end of a cul-de-sac. And who are the only neighbors with whom they share a yard? The quarterback from the Aggies! The quarterback who crushed my team's dream of going to the National Championship! If they merely shared a fence with this quarterback and his wife I would think "Well, what can you do. You can't always choose your neighbors." But my parents love these two. They go to dinner with these two. Let me say that again: They go to dinner with these two. They sit around, at The Oasis, and chat over dinner.


(Mom and Dad? I'm only joking. Well, sort of. =) ).

Friday, April 11, 2008

a little bit of happiness

I will tell you about our trip to Austin (we survived!) but I don't have time again today. So I thought instead that I would leave you a little bit of happiness from The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.

...The Bible isn't a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It's an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It's a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne - everything - to rescue the one he loves. It's like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

You see, the best thing about this Story is - it's true.

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

Happy weekend!


Thursday, April 3, 2008

up, up and away

Hey, friends! This probably will be my last post for a while because my sister and I are taking my kids to Austin! Woohoo!

And, oh no.

G and I flew to Dallas when I was 7 months pregnant with Little Missy and he did so well. We ran around and played in the airport and then on the plane he sat on my lap and slept. So this time around I'm not too worried about him. Little Missy, on the other hand. . .the girl is crazy. She refuses to sit still for any length of time so my sis and I will definitely have our hands full with her. Tonight after Hubby gets home I will be running into Wichita and buying toys, toys and more toys from the $1 Spot at Target to keep the kids occupied on the plane (thanks for the suggestion, Jessica!), and I will be buying lots of those pre-portioned snacks to take on the plane as well. And we'll have our double DVD players that Nana bought the kids for Christmas so that we'd come visit her. It worked, Nana! Here we come! I'm bringing all this stuff to keep the kids occupied, along with the double stroller (I found one! And it is a beauty), along with our luggage containing clothes for four days, and my sister's luggage, so now I'm worried that we'll be able to get everything in my car. I am under a lot of stress right now.

But once we get there we will have so much fun! I am excited to see Nana and Grandpa (and apparently, so is Little Missy. Last night at dinner she was knocking on her highchair: 'Hello? Nana! Come in!'), and I am excited to shop and eat and generally just be in Austin. Also, Brad and Angelina were in Austin last week, per, so I'll definitely keep my eyes open for them.

Talk to you later, friends! And, hook 'em Horns!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

little pieces of happy

Today we played at our friend Tommy's house (or rather, Tommy is G's friend and his mom, Angie, is my friend), and Tommy had butterfly nets that G loved to play with. So after leaving Tommy's we promptly went to Target to buy $1 butterfly nets for ourselves. When I picked Little Missy up out of the car she hugged me: a big, spontaneous hug, complete with her cheeks pressed against mine. After our hug was finished I was walked to G's seat when she gave me another hug. Another big one. So I get G out of the car and he says "I want to give you a hug because I know you love hugs." So I knelt down and he gave me a hug. Then Little Missy gave me a hug. Then all three of us hugged. Then Little Missy wrapped her arms around G's waist and they gave eachother a big hug. Then G got itchy: "I'm done. Let's go inside Target now." And the three of us walked into Target, hand in hand in hand.

Once inside, we found the nets and G helped me pick out Little Missy's. When they both had one they swirled and danced and giggled with their new toys. In the car on the way home they laughed - big belly laughs - because they had their nets over their heads, and this was the best way to use the nets in the confined space.

Now we're home. Little Missy is sitting on Daddy's lap with G beside them, all three watching "Monsters, Inc." and eating popcorn. Days like this make me so happy to have my precious little family.