Saturday, September 12, 2009

My sister in South Africa tells me a friend of hers has just been in Zimbabwe and found the shops well stocked with expensive foreign goods, people carrying the most stylish handbags and wearing crocodile skin shoes and the latest fashions. Tea and scones in a cafe cost the equivalent of 800SAR, that is nearly £6, so why, she asks, is Zimbabwe asking for money? Admittedly this was all in the city so what conditions are like in rural areas her friend didn’t find out, vastly different I would presume. So, continuing to discuss money, I see on the news a young Chinese woman has just paid £360000 (that is not a misprint and I thought footballers’ wives were shopoholics) for a Tibetan Mastiff, the latest “must have” in China, and a fleet of luxury cars was waiting at the airport for her to bring her new pet home. Chinese communism obviously works for some: though I wonder if this young lady, or members of her family, might not be part of a syndicate producing fake drugs which is evidently a vast and growing problem even for the Chinese; there having been a number of fatalities in that country due to these fakes. But evidently criminal gangs are making a fortune out of the racket and it seems impossible to put a stop to it. When fake goods like shoes, clothes, bags etc., come out of Thailand and China it is the original manufacturing company that suffers through loss of sales but when fake drugs come out it is people’s health and that is really terrible. It is quite frightening really. The consumer goods are produced in sweatshops and there are people who have to live on a dollar a day, and the very poorest on 45 cents. Meanwhile young madam can pay £360000 for a dog. I discovered all this by watching a documentary on Vouli TV. Vouli is the Greek government channel and there is often very interesting programmes on it: documentaries, theatre, opera, ballet; the documentaries, mostly from the BBC, covering any number of topics. Another one I watched the same evening was on aging which didn’t really tell you all that much except that inevitably we all have to die and we are the only animals conscious of that fact., as though we don’t know it. Evidently the oldest known person in the world was a French lady who died at the remarkable age of 122 (and that’s not a misprint either).
And still on the subject of money and dogs, an American woman (ex real estate), left $12000000 in her will to her dog and nothing to her family. There was another enormous bequest going to charity but only to dog charities. Fortunately a judge with a modicum of sense reduced the pet’s inheritance from $12000000 to $2000000 though even that is quite ridiculous, and declared charities other than doggie ones could benefit from this windfall. The woman in her lifetime was evidently known as “The queen of mean” because of tax evasion which is probably how she managed to accumulate so vast a fortune.
And still on the subject of money, Rovers went down the drain to the tune of a billion, 6500 jobs were lost and five directors walked away with £42000000 between them. I truly wonder how these people can live with themselves.

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