Monday, June 08, 2009

Japan's 'herbivorous men'

There is an interesting topic on CNN today.
  • Author and pop culture columnist Maki Fukasawa coins the term 'herbivore men'
  • She says these men are changing the country's ideas about what is masculine
  • These men are less interested in making money, sex
  • Fukasawa says the trend may indeed be a return to the norm for Japanese men

They are young, earn little and spend little, and take a keen interest in fashion and personal appearance -- meet the "herbivore men" of Japan.
Former CNN intern Junichiro Hori is a self-described 'herbivore.'

Former CNN intern Junichiro Hori is a self-described 'herbivore.'

Author and pop culture columnist Maki Fukasawa coined the term in 2006 in a series of articles on marketing to a younger generation of Japanese men. She used it to describe some men who she said were changing the country's ideas about just what is -- and isn't -- masculine.

"In Japan, sex is translated as 'relationship in flesh,'" she said, "so I named those boys 'herbivorous boys' since they are not interested in flesh."

Typically, "herbivore men" are in their 20s and 30s, and believe that friendship without sex can exist between men and women, Fukasawa said.

The term has become a buzzword in Japan. Many people in Tokyo's Harajuku neighborhood were familiar with "herbivore men" -- and had opinions about them.

Shigeyuki Nagayama said such men were not eager to find girlfriends and tend to be clumsy in love, and he admitted he seemed to fit the mold himself.

"My father always asks me if I got a girlfriend. He tells me I'm no good because I can't get a girlfriend."

Midori Saida, a 24-year-old woman sporting oversized aviators and her dyed brown hair in long ringlets, said "herbivore men" were "flaky and weak."

"We like manly men," she said. "We are not interested in those boys -- at all."

Takahito Kaji, 21, said he has been told he is "totally herbivorous."

"Herbivorous boys are fragile, do not have a stocky body -- skinny."

Fukasawa said Japanese men from the baby boomer generation were typically aggressive and proactive when it came to romance and sex. But as a result of growing up during Japan's troubled economy in the 1990s, their children's generation was not as assertive and goal-oriented. Their outlook came, in part, from seeing their fathers' model of masculinity falter even as Japanese women gained more lifestyle options.

Former CNN intern Junichiro Hori, a self-described herbivore, said the idea goes beyond looks and attitudes toward sex.

"Some guys still try to be manly and try to be like strong and stuff, but you know personally I'm not afraid to show my vulnerability because being vulnerable or being sensitive is not a weakness."

Older generations of Japanese men are not happy about the changes. At a bar frequented by businessmen after work, one man said: "You need to be carnivorous when you make decisions in your life. You should be proactive, not passive."

Fukasawa said the group does not care so much about making money -- a quality tied to the fact that there are fewer jobs available during the current global economic recession.

Japan's economy recently saw its largest-ever recorded contraction and has shrunk for four straight quarters. Blue chip companies Sony, Panasonic, Toyota and Nissan all reported losses in May, and most are forecasting the same for the current fiscal year. Though still low by international standards, Japan's reported 5 percent unemployment is the highest since 2003.

Hori agreed economics has played a role. When he finished university, "a lot of my friends were trying to work for a big company that pays well and I wasn't interested in that. I am kind of struggling financially and my father is not very happy about it," he said.

Fukasawa estimated some 20 percent of men are what she would call "herbivorous" and said their attitudes were influencing others. Indeed, she said, it was a return to the norm for Japanese men, rather than a departure.

"It was after World War II and the post-war economic growth that Japanese men gained the reputation as a sex animal through the competition with the West. Looking back beyond that time, older literature talks a lot about men with the kind of character we see in the herbivorous boys."

Will these men simply grow out of this? Fukasawa said it was anyone's guess.

Some of them may, but Japan's image of masculinity is nonetheless changing.

"The men in dark suits are changing, too," she said. "Today's young people in dark suits are different from the baby boomers in dark suits. They are evolving, too."

Indeed in Dubai many expect the next storm to hit at the end of Ramadan, 21 September.

The Saudis are considered too close to the United States and thus indirectly to Israel. Gulf States, especially the UAE, favour a Euro-Asian axis that runs from China to Russia that includes Germany, a relationship best illustrated by Opel’s sale to the Austro-Canadian Magna group, which stands in for the Russian state bank Sberbank.

Signs of a new financial storm for September coming from Dubai and Saudi Arabia

by Maurizio d'Orlando

Dubai calls on the Rothschild bank for help, perhaps out of desperation. In Saudi Arabia a Saad Group company defaults. US, European and Asian banks are struggling. The end of Ramadan in September might mark the start of an economic depression worse than that of the 1930s.

Milan (AsiaNews) – Rothschild’s Dubai office has been retained by Dubai’s Department of Finance for advice on the US$ 10 billion financial support fund (FSF) the emirate raised on the bond markets.

Nakheel, the property development arm of Dubai World, was the first to benefit, but is likely to be the last of its kind because funds will be handed out on the basis of two criteria: urgency and strategic importance.

In fact government-related corporations deemed essential for the long-term development of Dubai’s economy will be eligible for FSFs. They include firms involved in infrastructure, transportation (ex. the Metro and Maktoum airport projects), aviation, ports, shipping and tourism. Banking might be included and the Rothschild guidelines might be flexible with regard to real estate.

This said Rothschild is not getting directly involved but will act through commercial banks in which it has equity or has connections with, like JP Morgan and other ones. Moreover, through the same commercial banks, Rothschild has a say, and a powerful one, over the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY).

By law the latter plays a key role in the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and thus has a crucial role in making key decisions about interest rates and the US money supply.

Through the FRBNY Rothschild is in a privileged position to influence US monetary policy and shaping US monetary supply, crucially important since the US dollar remains the main reserve currency in the world.

Dubai’s choice is also part of a ongoing dispute between the Saudis and the Emirates over the location of the single central bank of the Gulf States and what direction to give it.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), especially Abu Dhabi, has recently put the brakes on the whole thing, and in the short run no solution seems to be in sight.

The Saudis are considered too close to the United States and thus indirectly to Israel. Gulf States, especially the UAE, favour a Euro-Asian axis that runs from China to Russia that includes Germany, a relationship best illustrated by Opel’s sale to the Austro-Canadian Magna group, which stands in for the Russian state bank Sberbank.

The Rothschild family has have been closely associated with the Zionist Movement. The 1917 Balfour Declaration was in fact addressed to Lord Rothschild in which the British government committed itself to the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

By choosing this banking group, Dubai is distancing itself from the other emirates, perhaps out of desperation.

But the Saudis too are facing their own serious problems. The Saad Group, which is linked to The International Banking Corp (TIBC) and the Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co, is in difficulty.

Saudi Arabia’s central bank has frozen all the accounts of Saad chairman, Saudi billionaire Maan al-Sanea, who owns 2.97 per cent of the HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest bank based in London.

Once known by its full name of Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp., HSBC Holdings Plc is also one of Asia’s main banks.

The decision by Saudi Arabia’s central bank comes after an Algosaibi-owned company defaulted on a billion dollar debt.

Maan al-Sanea’s Saad Investment Co. had also received a US$ 2.82 billion loan from a group of 26 European, US, Asian and Arab banks in 2007.

Such troubles might be a sign of more bad things to come for the banks, especially those in Europe and to a lesser extent in Asia.

Conversely, although US banks were hit by the subprime credit crisis in real estate, they are not that involved in emerging markets and eastern Europe.

As in the spring of 2008 when the first signs of the coming September financial storm were visible, today’s signs, albeit not front page news, might herald another major storm this fall.

But this year’s crisis could be worse than last year’s because of the multiple points of origin. In addition to the weak situation of the US Federal Reserve, whose financial commitments in support of the US banking system are equal to the total US GDP, European banks could go in tilt because of their exposure to emerging markets whilst those of Asia (especially Japan’s and China’s) could suffer because of Asian economies’ heavy reliance on now declining exports.

As for Dubai real estate values in the city-emirate have dropped by 50 per cent since before the crisis[i]; insolvencies here and across the Gulf region are rising.

At the same time two contradictory trends appear to be coming together. On the one hand, we see that “creata ex nihilo”[ii] e-money might lead to hyper-inflation; on the other, collapsing prices in real goods could lead to deflation and an economic depression worse than that of the 1930s.

Indeed in Dubai many expect the next storm to hit at the end of Ramadan, 21 September.

Jumlah Ekspatriat di Saudi Arabia sehingga kini

Perkara ini amat menarik kerana aruah ayah saya pernah dibesarkan di Saudi dari usia 9 tahun hingga beliau berusia 25 tahun. Aruah dihantar dari Pekan Pahang ke Makkah menaiki kapal laut yang belayar selama 6 bulan. Banyak cerita menarik dari aruah sepanjang kehidupan beliau di Makkah.

Sebelum pulang beliau sempat berkahwin dengan seorang janda (juga aruah) yang sudah mempunyai 8 orang anak perempuan yang semuanya kini berkeluarga di Makkah dan rakyat Saudi Arabia, dan perkahwinan itu mengurniakan seorang anak lelaki, aruah abang saya yang sulung.

Umumnya, Saudi adalah negara Arab terbesar di Teluk, dari segi keluasan dan jumlah penduduk.

Jumlah ekspatriat di bumi Saudi, seperti juga di UAE dan Qatar terus meningkat. Menurut sumber Kementerian Buruh Saudi, jumlah semasa dalam 9 juta ekspatriat tinggal dan bekerja di Saudi Arabia.

Lebihkurang 10 tahun lepas adalah 6 juta, 20 tahun lalu hanya 3 juta, dan 40 tahun lalu seramai 1 juta.

Dibawah adalah pecahan mengikut tahun 2009, 1999, dan 1989:

WARGANEGARA 2009, 1999, 1989

India 1.5 juta, 1 juta, 300,000

Mesir 1.2 juta, 1 juta, 300,000

Pakistan 1.2 juta, 1 juta, 300,000

Filipino 1.2 juta, 600,000, 100,000

Jordan 500,000, 300,000, 100,000

Syria 400,000, 300,000, 50,000

Sudan 300,000. 200,000, 50,000

Lebanon 400,000, 200,000, 50,000

Yemen 600,000, 100,000, 1 juta

Afghanistan 200,000, 100,000, 50,000

Bangladeshis 200,000, 150,000, 50,000

Sri Lanka 200,000, 100,000, 100,000

Eropah 150,000, 100,000, 100,000

Amerika Utara 50,000, 50,000, 50,000

Lain-lain (termasuk Malaysia) 700,000, 800,000, 400,000

Jumlah Ekspatriat: 8.8 juta (2009), 6 juta (1999), 3 juta (1989)

Pekerja Lelaki Saudi 3 juta (2009), Menganggur 500,000?

Pekerja Wanita Saudi 500,000 (2009), Menganggur 2 juta?

Jumlah warga Saudi 16 juta termasuk pekerja, pengganggur, warga emas, kanak-kanak dan seramai 1 juta wanita yang tidak mahu atau tidak mampu bekerja.

Purata pekerja buruh ekspatriat dipecahkan ke 3 kategori bahasa, iaitu Inggeris, Arab dan lain-lain.

Kesemua ekspatriat dan keluarga mereka boleh bercakap minimanya bahasa Inggeris dan Arab. Tetapi lebih 2 juta yang tidak boleh membaca dan menulis dalam bahasa Inggeris dan Arab. Dalam 3.5 juta boleh menulis dan membaca dalam bahasa Arab, dan kebanyakan dari 1.2 juta warga Pakistan dan 200,000 Afghan boleh mengenal huruf Arab kerana bahasa mereka menggunakan huruf yang sama. Selebihnya dalam 4 juta, lebihkurang 2 juta boleh membaca dan menulis dalam bahasa Inggeris.

Dari 8.8 juta dalam tahun 2009, lebihkurang 6 juta adalah orang Islam, 1.5 juta adalah kristian dan 1.3 juta adalah Hindu serta lain-lain. Sejumlah antara 1 hingga 2 juta orang Islam adalah pendatang tanpa izin yang masuk menggunakan visa haji atau umrah dan terus menetap. Bakinya adalah pendatang yang melarikan diri.

Dari 8.8 juta ekspatriat Expatriates, barangkali 6.5 juta adalah berstatus bujang, , 500,000 berkahwin, 1 juta pekerja wanita (kebanyakan bujang dan sedikit isteri), dan 800,000 isteri yang tidak bekerja dan kanak-kanak.

Apa Beza Nasharudin, Ibrahim Ali, Ezam & Katak-Katak Perak?

"A man of principles will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Non-collaboration with evil is a sacred duty!" -- Gandhi

Salah satu tragedi yang muncul sebaik berakhirnya muktamar ke 55 PAS ialah kemenangan Nasharudin untuk mempertahankan kerusi Timbalan Presiden. Tragedi kerana kemenangan itu diraikan dengan penuh semangat 'perpaduan' oleh media UMNO (Baru)yang tentunya adalah suara kepimpinan parti Melayu terbesar di dunia itu.

BARISAN kepimpinan baru Pas yang terpilih dari kiri Naib Presiden Salahudin Ayub, Timbalan Presiden Nasharudin Mat Isa, Presiden Abdul Hadi Awang, Naib Presiden Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (dua dari kanan) dan Mahfuz Omar menjulang tangan pada Muktamar Tahunan Pas Ke-55 di Stadium Malawati Shah Alam, Selangor.

Baca tajuk-tajuk Utusan Malaysia hari ini:-
Kuasa ulama terus teguh
MUKTAMAR Tahunan Pas Ke-55 yang berakhir semalam telah membuktikan bahawa kepimpinan ulama di dalam parti berkenaan terus kukuh tetapi dalam masa yang sama tidak menolak sumbangan kumpulan profesional dan aktivis.

idea Presiden Pas, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang mengenai pembentukan kerajaan perpaduan yang disifatkan mampu menyelesaikan masalah negara nampaknya mendapat sahutan positif dan negatif daripada pemimpin politik.

ISU kerajaan perpaduan sepatutnya diterima secara terbuka oleh semua pihak. Jangan terburu-buru menolak. Berilah ruang kepada pemimpin bertemu dan berbincang. Usah diragui keupayaan pemimpin yang mengendalikan isu ini.

Melihat kegelojohan media UMNO (Baru) memberi sokongan, berkempen dan merayakan kemenangan Nasharudin mencerminkan ada udang disebalik batu.

UMNO (Baru) tentunya tidak peduli pada kepimpinan parti lawan kalau tiada apa-apa muslihat dan strategi 'devil plan' yang menguntungkan mereka.

Lantas 'scam' 'Perpaduan Melayu' dan 'kerajaan perpaduan'. UMNO (Baru) menjadi tema yang cukup mega. Secara realitinya, UMNO (Baru) bukan gerombolan suci, bersih dan mulia untuk mempertahankan institusi ulamak dalam PAS. Malah sebelum ini habis-habisan mengutuk kepimpinan ulamak PAS.

Maka kemenangan Nasharudin boleh membuka jalan kepada objektif utama UMNO (Baru). Kita tidak perlu menduga lautan dalam. Semuanya sudah terbuka dan bukan rahsia lagi.

Harun Din ada menyebut mengenai musuh dalam selimut. Sama ada kumpulan Erdogan atau kumpulan ulamak menjadi musuh dalam selimut masing-masing, memang ada musuh sedang berselimut untuk mengubah haluan PAS. Sama ada ke arah lebih baik atau buruk, terpulang pada 'musuh-musuh' dalam selimut tersebut.

Melihat gelagat kurang ajar Ibrahim Ali yang menang atas tiket PAS tetapi masih berjiwa UMNO (Baru) dan tindakan dua katak PKR yang melompat untuk menyokong UMNO (Baru) sekaligus meruntuhkan kerajaan PR di Perak , mungkinkah Nasharudin sama sahaja taraf perjuangannya?

Mungkin Nasharudin, ada sedikit kelas sebagai Timbalan Presiden PAS. Sebelum ini pernah ada mantan Presiden PAS yang mati sebagai ahli UMNO.

Kalau Hadi Awang dan Nasharudin, tanpa mengindahkan nasihat Mursyidul Am PAS sendiri, mengambil langkah untuk berpadu dan tidur satu selimut dengan kepimpinan UMNO (Baru), konon-kononnya demi perpaduan dan ketuanan Melayu (baca meneruskan kebobrokan, rasuah, penyelewengan, penipuan dan survival UMNO (Baru)), maka tiada bezanya mereka dengan Ibrahim Ali, katak-katak di Perak, Ezam & lembu-lembu GERAK, dsbnya yang kini berselimut dan berjiwa UMNO (Baru).

Mereka sekadar pencacai yang menjadi hero UMNO (Baru) demi survival sebuah parti yang sudah lupus tarikh hayat dan hanya berharap kepada PAS untuk bekalan oksigen.

Ulang semula:
Menteri besar Kelantan itu menyifatkan penubuhan kerajaan perpaduan dengan Umno sebagai "mengarut".

"Kita sudah buat keputusan menyokong Pakatan Rakyat dalam muktamar PAS yang lalu. Kalau nak berunding dengan Umno, tak usah.

"Kerajaan perpaduan ni tak usahlah, mengarut" (Petikan dari berita Malaysiakini 7/6/09 bertajuk "Nik Aziz: K'jaan perpaduan 'mengarut'")