The Changing World August 2008

“When my cousin buys land it gives me a stomach ache!” An old Korean adage Like 70% of American television viewers, my family and I have been glued to our chairs watching the Olympic Games from Beijing. The excellence of the competition and the superb organization of the events has been remarkable. But more remarkable to many of us is the stage itself. The ancient imperial palace that became a background to the marathon run showed the glory of old China and everywhere the fantastic architecture that is modern urban Beijing tells the world that China has arrived. For many Americans and Europeans that is not exactly good news! For most our lives America has been the model of industrial prosperity in the world, bringing with it admiration from other countries, but at the same time a complex set of dark feelings rooted perhaps in jealousy. When I began traveling, still in my teens, one of my European mentors told me — “Ah!

Pity poor Richard that he must wear an American skin!” I remembered the words and they have rung in my ears many times since. But now it seems there will be some relief as China becomes the new target as a model of prosperity. Have you noticed how eager the press is to make a major news items out of any problem with a product from China? China, like the United States, grapples with difficult social and economic issues but it seems amusing doesn’t it, that so many American politicians are so eager to help China solve its problems? Not surprising though, because there are just as many foreign politicians that are just as eager to help us out! Since 1981 Saga has been working together with factories in China and we are proud of the results… and it really isn’t that hard to wear an American skin!

Richard Keldsen
San Francisco
August 2008