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The Asian boy boom

Feeling cheerful? Have a read of this:

In a new book, Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population (MIT Press), Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. den Boer warn that the spread of sex selection is giving rise to a generation of restless young men who will not find mates. History, biology, and sociology all suggest that these “surplus males” will generate high levels of crime and social disorder, the authors say. Even worse, they continue, is the possibility that the governments of India and China will build up huge armies in order to provide a safety valve for the young men’s aggressive energies.

“In 2020 it may seem to China that it would be worth it to have a very bloody battle in which a lot of their young men could die in some glorious cause,” says Ms. Hudson, a professor of political science at Brigham Young University.

With luck, if the two armies do go to war, it will be against each other.

Apart from that, what is the answer? Homosexuality via genetic modification, administered with magic gamma rays beamed in by satellites? Male death, ditto? An immediate plan by someone to test-tube a lot of girls, now? Polyandry? When confronting such a problem we generally find that the answers have a way of mutating into grisly restatements of the problem. How can we avoid …?

In the words of Noel Coward, there are, as always, bad times just around the corner, although that song (recently covered with what appear to be somewhat rehashed words by Robbie Williams) was originally only about places like Kettering (where I believe this Samizdatista lives), Hull and the isle of (because it rhymes with Hull) Mull.

38 comments to The Asian boy boom

  • toolkien

    You have to wonder what the alternative would be. The disportionate number of males is due to the termination (many times post-partum) of female babies (not just ‘given up’ as the article states). This is partly due to the restictions implemented by the State as to the number of children allowed, and males are/were considered the better option. The alternative would have been uncontrolled population growth, males and females, creating exponentially more people on down the line. One would think that under those circumstances expansion would be in order anyway. Just another example of the laws of unintended consequences. The government really controls nothing. All it can do is nudge the culture slightly and alter its roiling course into marginally different directions.

  • Jim Bennett

    The alternative probably would not have been uncontrolled population growth. As both countries enter development takeoff, they would probably have seen a fertility decline to somewhere between 1.3 and 2.3 children per couple, i.e., just above or below replacement rate. Almost every country in the world has done this as prosperity has increased. Given the Chinese and Indian preference for sons, they might have practiced sex selection to insure that one of their two children was a son, but less likely both.

    One of the patterns we might see is a market in mail-order brides from even poorer countries. This would undoubtedly have unintended consequences as well.

  • Paul

    The song “Bad times are just around the corner” should at least be on the shortlist as the next UK National Anthem.

  • Apart from that, what is the answer? Homosexuality via genetic modification, administered with magic gamma rays beamed in by satellites? Male death, ditto? An immediate plan by someone to test-tube a lot of girls, now? Polyandry? When confronting such a problem we generally find that the answers have a way of mutating into grisly restatements of the problem. How can we avoid …?

    How about good old Laissez-Faire? The reason the answers turn into restatements of the problem is that they all share the basic assumption that This Is A Problem, more more accurately: This Is A problem We Should Be Able To Do Something About.

    Am I the only person who sees this as a self-correcting phenomenon. Ok, so there’s a surplus of males, so what? it’s not like they are all going to go and mate with each other and create more males and, aaargh!, overrun the females. Sooner or later they die. For the moment, all these pampered little emperors would presumably like a mate – though one suspects that they will hanker after an impossibly indulgent mom-like mate – but should they be unsuccessful is it really credible that they would resort to violence. Isn’t equally plausible that they would emulate their neighbours in Japan and become Hikikomori?

    One problem that is theoretically fixable is the tendency to favour males over females. Ways to fix this, assuming the problem is more grave than overpopulation, would be for China to abandon its “one child” policy or to outlaw abortion. This would obviously only work for future generations.

  • Geez, I dunno. Thorny problem there. I’d guess you want to open a lot of pubs, start subsizing all forms of football, hockey, hoops, baseball, cricket and racing, and real ale, and popularize boys’ night out. Works in Oz and the U.S., don’t it?

  • Apart from that, what is the answer?

    We already know the answer Brian. Libertarianism is a complete solution to all plausible social problems. The best that we can do is to urge that the people of these countries adopt as many of its prescriptions as possible.

    1. If they bring in free market reforms the rapidly increasing prosperity will bring down the birth rates.

    2. Even failing that the sexual urges can be catered for by prostitution.

    3. The male bias arises, in large part, from the murdering of young girls. This practice should be severely punished.

    The problem only ever arose because these countries have strayed too far from libertarian prescriptions. The only way out, without generating other problems, is to urge the swiftest acceptance of as many libertarian ideas as possible.

  • Way to go Paul!
    A couple of comments,
    1. I sure as heck hope the Chinese and the Indians realize “a very bloody battle” won’t solve any of their “surplus males” problems.
    2. Wasn’t the UK (and a great part of Europe) in a similar situation, only with women, after WWI? There were a lot of “surplus females” due to the staggering casualties of the war. I don’t believe that much was done about it. As Frank said, it was a self-correcting phenomenon.

  • toolkien::

    The government really controls nothing.

    You forget we’re talking about China, land of forced abortions and suppression of dissidents.

    Calling for libertarian ideals in a country with an embedded communist system is missing the point a bit. Currently, Eastern Europe is struggling to get out of a socialist mindset, and it is hard on them.

    The problem is that the consequences of male dominated society will take effect very soon. Sooner than the government could be corrected, and sooner than a corrupt government could try to stop it, even if they wanted to.

    I think what we are going to see is a surge in basic competition among these males, for a fixed commodity: females. This might be bad for American tech firms because both parties in China and India will be winners.

    Those that get the girls will (ideally) be those that most deserve them, and natural selection on a generational scale will be accelerated.

    Those that don’t get the girls will seek other ways to cope. Yes, you will get criminals, but you just arrest, try, and execute them quickly, like they do now. The rest will do something else with that energy, and if it isn’t destructive meriting swift punishment, it can only be constructive, improving their society.

    I think it rather backward logic to say that China will want to go to war to do something with these excess guys. Since when do people desire to risk their lives, even during the greatest conflicts like WWII? From my understanding, people stand up when the cause is there, but no one wants to have their life threatened.


  • Doug Collins

    During the Viet Nam war, I heard several times that the Mekong Delta, were it to be farmed efficiently (non-socialistically) in peace time, could easily provide rice for the entire immense Asian population. Making control over it effectively control over Asia.

    From my very limited knowledge of Asian history, I seem to recall that the Chinese have conquered, occupied and interbred with the Vietnamese population at least once and perhaps more than once. An obvious solution to the excess male problem (could it have happened before?) would be to send a conquering army south. Soldiers who survive would get land and women, and China would get control of the region’s food supplies and solve its demographic problems to boot.

    The only two countries likely to object would be the US and India. I suspect the Chinese help to the Pakistani nuclear program may have been with an eye to this eventuality. As far as the US is concerned, while we might support Taiwan, I cannot see us trying to save the chestnuts of the successors to the Viet Cong, even though it might be in our interest to do so.

    Obviously this is speculation.

  • Verity

    Jim Bennett – The Chinese do not marry outside their race (except for occasionally marrying a Caucasian). Definitely not from more primitive cultures. Doesn’t happen. Ask Wobbly Guy. Not. No. No.

    They should emigrate to the West where their looks, their brains and their enterprise will be appreciated by Caucasian women.

  • Pete (Detroit)

    Agreed, competion will go up, girls will become a prized commodity, they will quit being killed – self correcting, in the long term. Those that can afford it will import women from S.E.Asia, africa, eastern europe.
    Possibly Arab women will prefer to go there?
    Prostitution will of course go up, as will “alternative marraige arrangements” – TWO guys might be able to afford a woman where either alone could not, and an accomodation would be made.
    Anyone konw what the rate of AIDS in China is? it might be a self correcting problem w/in this generation…

  • Chinese males ARE taking action to solve the bride shortage. Families and criminal gangs kidnap women and girls as unwilling brides, especially for peasant families. Kristof and WuDunn’s book “China Wakes” reports estimates of 10,000 women and children, presumably a small minority of those trafficked, being rescued by the authorities in one year.

    To rework a well-known phrase, when markets are criminalised, only criminals make markets.

  • Verity

    Doug Collins – Whaaaaa’? Do you understand we’re in the 21st Century? Have you ever been to SE Asia (no, don’t bother to reply).

    “An obvious solution to the excess male problem … would be to send a conquering army south. Soldiers who survive would get land and women, and China would get control of the region’s food supplies and solve its demographic problems to boot.

    The only two countries likely to object would be the US and India”

    Facts on the ground: Do you think ASEAN would tolerate “a conquering army coming south”? Hello?

    Soldiers who survive would get land and women? Taken from whom, as the land belongs to someone? And women are there to be bartered and traded? You think slavery exists in SEA? Have you ever had even the slightest contact with an Asian woman? (By Asian, I mean Asian. A long, long way away across the Hindu Kush from the Middle East.)

    As you couldn’t name a country in the region with any certainty of its history or racial makeup …your fuzzy, grossly ignorant point is: declare war on a country which is at peace with the world, then, if you win (doubtful; the region survived the US), you can take land away from farmers and padi owners and take their women?

    China is not starving. It doesn’t need to go to war to get other people’s food supplies. It’s doing fine.

    Hello? Century check…

    Pete (Detroit): Those that can afford it will import women from S.E.Asia, africa, eastern europe.
    Possibly Arab women will prefer to go there?

    Pete – see above. The concept is too hysterical for so many reasons …

    Doug, Pete – Travel more. Read more.

  • Doug Collins

    You may be right about my ignorance of current conditions in Asia. However, the fact that we are presently engaged in a struggle to the death with a foe right out of the middle ages makes your protestation that we are in the 21st Century less than persuasive. I might also point out that the Soviet Union -which had a space program -which we thought might soon outproduce us -which we felt unable to prevent overrunning Europe if we did not resort to nuclear war- turned out to be incredibly primitive and backward once the false front fell and we saw them as they were.

    No I haven’t been to China. I certainly have no idea what it is really like inside. Neither I suspect do you.

    I know I am suggesting primitive and barbaric behavior. Kind of like the Red Army in Berlin in 1945. ASEAN? Would they be more effective than the UN in Ruanda? or in the Balkans?

    I haven’t read the book. I intend to. I’m pretty sure that a demographic problem exists and is getting bigger. While I too am a fan of libertarian solutions, I don’t see them working here. China is still a primitive country with one major source of military power: her population. She still treats her people as a source of raw materials. And as far as the other Asian countries are concerned, what have they -in and of themselves, without the US- done to stop her so far? North Vietnam fought a minor war and the Dalai Lama gives speeches at American universities. Anything else?

    I realize what I wrote was somewhat extreme as a scenario. The idea shocks me too. But I am not so ‘grossly ignorant’ as you charge. Some of your questions – From whom would you take the land?- frankly indicate that you are a little too civilized to really understand the darker human possibilities. In a way that is to your credit, but it does make foreseeing possible disasters – like crashing planes loaded with fuel and hundreds of innocent people into buildings in which thousands more will be incinerated- almost impossible until they actually happen.

    China at present does appear prosperous as you said. However my grossly ignorant understanding is that this is achieved through huge subsidies to their factories to maintain employment. Their GDP is surprisingly small. I think it ranks somewhere between Holland and Brazil. We may be looking at another ‘Socialist Miracle’ that could implode one day. What happens then? Russia fortunately had a relatively small, spread out population. Their misery had nowhere to concentrate and ignite. Can we count on the same thing again?

    I have a number of Sinophile friends who have a similar view to yours and tell me similar things about the country. Then I read of the executions, the repression and the bellicose official attitude and I see another. I hope your view is correct. I would be happy to be condemned as an ignoramus if none of these disasters ever occur.

  • The Lurker Above

    This is why I’m investing my 401K in realdoll.com.

  • Honestly, I think the original idea of a population imbalance leading to the males dying “in some glorious cause” is a bit far-fetched. They use data that is at least ten years old, and nothing has come of the situation yet. I don’t hear anything about any Asian armies forming.

    I agree that free trade would be a possible solution. Then, it would be in the government’s best interest to allow an increased population for consumer spending. However, Communism is just as hard to break down as democracy is to build. Russia took the better part of a century to rid itself of communism, and its democracy is still flawed. While it’s an option, I wouldn’t look for a free market in the near future.

  • toolkien


    The government really controls nothing.

    You forget we’re talking about China, land of forced abortions and suppression of dissidents.

    Regardless, however hardline a government wants to be there will always be negative consequences that they don’t foresee scuttling their well laid plans. In China, child bearing restrictions, presumably to provide a Good of population control, creates an imbalance of the sexes which will create problems, maybe not on the scale mentioned, but creates problems never-the-less. Sort of like the draconian laws on what women can show in public in deeply muslim countries which fosters men making lovers out of young boys. Put up a wall at one point, the water will sluice around at another.

    If this leaves the impression that it is irrelevant the amount of Statism, it still shows that, regardless of the endless screwing with liberty at the micro-level, and inconveniencing individuals in the course of their life, Statist are playing a losing game at the macro-level as the ‘problems’ are ultimately finite, and will only pop up somewhere else. It is the simplest way to reduce Statist creeds, they create the maximum amount of problems at the micro-level and have little net impact at the macro-level to justify it.

  • “…what is the answer?”

    Money, honey.

  • I vote for massive sex change procedures.

  • Patri Friedman

    Those that get the girls will (ideally) be those that most deserve them, and natural selection on a generational scale will be accelerated.

    I don’t think this is right. Sure, there is a larger pool of males, but there is now a smaller pool of females. The women can choose better men, but the best men can’t choose as good women (because there aren’t as many of the top women because there aren’t as many women). And the following generation will have less people period, and thus less fodder for natural selection to work with.

  • Guy Herbert

    One further point for the ‘demographic “problems” generally work themselves out’ side of the argument. If male-female ratios are being altered as a result of social conventions then those conventions come under pressure. If there are fewer girls, then girls are potentially more valuable children, and people’s views may start to change subtly.

    What was a bit of a thunderbolt was…
    Paul Coulam: “Libertarianism is a complete solution to all plausible social problems.”

    I do hope that was a deadpan joke that I’m just to thick to spot.

  • Verity

    Doug – With respect, you did not read my post because before you got beyond a couple of sentences, you were too busy formulating your defence posture.

    I never said I knew anything about China. I can claim, however, to know something of the Chinese and Southeast Asia as I lived there for 10 years. I worked in Chinese companies. I reported to Chinese bosses. My coworkers were, in the main, Chinese. They are an extremely intelligent and complex people and I do not claim to understand them, but for sure I understand them better than you do.

    The Chinese are very aware of their intellectual and commercial superiority and they do not marry outside their race, except for occasionally, to a Caucasian. Marrying an Arab or an African would cause such a loss of face to the family that it simply would not happen. Immigration is far more likely, and any country that welcomes them will get a good bargain.

    You ask if ASEAN would be as effective as the UN in Rwanda. The Association of South East Asian Nations is like the notional NATO. If anyone attacks one of them, they will all consider themselves attacked and come to the rescue. Both Singapore and Malaysia have formidable military machines. (For those who don’t know, Singapore’s military was structured and trained by the Israelis and they have the identical take-no-prisoners attitude.)

    The Indonesians, who hate the Chinese with a passion because they are successful, would love a chance to have a bash at some cockamamie Chinese bachelor army invading SE Asia without provocation. You know absolutely nothing of the politics of the region or the Chinese character.

    In fact, you know so little that you couldn’t even name the the country that you envisaged this weird army was going to invade.

    You ask what the US has done to “stop China”. Stop China doing what? You don’t say. The US is pragmatic enough to keep on good diplomatic terms with China for two reasons: the financial might that it is building up, and its military might. In as little as, possibly, 20 – 25 years, there will no longer be just one superpower, but three: China, India and the United States. They prefer to be on good terms with one another.

    Doug, I didn’t mean to thrash you about the head and shoulders, but your comments were based on assumptions derived from your own experience which you are assumed and universally applicable, and they are not.

  • John F

    Re: Invasions.
    Lets face it, before any Chinese army got to Malaysia or Indonesia or wherever they’d have to conquer Vietnam.

    IIRC the Chinese Army had very high casualties against Vietnam in the 1979 war.

    More realistically, a shortage of females could be highly beneficial. Coming at the same time as increasing education and prosperity, it is likely to radically change the attitudes to females that produced the imbalance in the first place.
    Hard luck on the less appealing men, though.

  • Guy Herbert

    The sexual revolution’s already been tough on unappealing men everywhere. That’s one of the appeals of the fundamentalist reaction to repulsive adolescents.

  • Verity

    John F – Why would an army of young Chinese bachelors choose to go to Malaysia, where most of the population is Malay and Indian? Or Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population (198m)? Why did you leave out the other two ethnically totally inappropriate countries in SE Asia – Brunei Dar-es-Salam and the Philippines?

    The Malay Armed Services are equipped with all the latest gear and they are very well trained. Malaysia is a very rich, modern country. Did you think it was a vast rubber plantation?

    To get to Malaysia or Indonesia (why?) they’d have to get through the Vietnames (who are ethnically Chinese). Oh?

    This was a fascinating thread with interesting comments before people with no interest in China or SE Asia decided to favour us with their uninformed thoughts.

    The next time Dale starts a thread on space travel, I think I will join in and contribute a stream of nonsensical and irritating drivel.

  • Paul Marks

    On China – well the “Forth Modernisation” was the military. Whilst their is still a long way to go, the old “human wave” style of warfare (which led China to defeat in the brief border war with Vietnam) is long gone. Also China is a big nuclear power – and Vietnam (and the other South East Asian nations) are not..

    An interesting thing to think about are the Spratly Islands – now although these islands are in the “South China Sea” they are nowhere China (several nations have an possible claim to the islands – but China is not one of them).

    However, China controls the islands (and therefore has claim on the resources under the sea within 200 miles of them) – this is because none of the local nations (Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines or Vietnam) has the military strength to do anything about it.

    Even if we forget China’s growing nuclear strength (and it would be very unwise to forget this) China’s conventional strength is enough to deal with any one of the South Eastern Nations (and these nations do not have a great record in terms of defensive alliances -the last effort was the defence of the Republic of Vietnam – the so called “South Vietnam”).

    On the matter of Kettering.

    Actually in N.C. day Kettering was a nice town. It still is not all that bad (better than most towns in this part of England), although it is bit a big now.

    In N.C. day Kettering was about the size that Towester in this country (a nice place) or Stanford over the border in Lincolnshire.

    Stanford could well make the claim to being one of the best towns in England.

  • Antoine Clarke

    more likely than government actions (i.e. Waorld War Three) to deal with the lack of marriageable women are free-market operations: kidnap gangs.

    Heck! An engagement ring can cost 5,000 pounds, wining and dining for three months costs another couple of thousand. So a kidnap to order bride for 10,000 pounds would seem to be about the right price.

  • Verity

    Paul, That is very interesting. Singapore’s armed forces are similar to Israel’s. This was intentional on Lee Kwan Yew’s part as Singapore resembles Israel in important respects: it is tiny – it’s only around 23 miles long and 12 miles wide – and it is surrounded by Muslim states – Malaysia, which is a friendly Islamic republic, but you never know …, Indonesia, not a nice country, and Brunei.

    I do not know how ASEAN would hold up if one of them were attacked. It’s an interesting scenario to think about. If the Philippines were attacked, I think they would all just expect the US to come in and take care of it, which they would do. But Indonesia …? Hmmm … I wonder …

    But certainly in Asia, as far as military might is concerned, there is nothing approaching China.

  • Lady Gunner

    Has anyone read Neal Stephenson’s “Diamond Age”? Part of the story is about floating farms of Chinese baby girls (IIRC). Weirdly prophetic if some of the noted “kidnap gang” ideas and the Chinese propensity for high intellect/exceptional business skills come together. Any one know where the Chinese stand on human cloning? If they wives can be “home grown” the burgeoning crop of not so “little Emperors” wont even have to leave their homes, let alone their country.

    BTW really interesting reading about the ASEAN member socio-cultural differences. Fodder for further study. Thanks so much!

  • Pete (Detroit)

    Verity – You seem highly knowledgeable, please explain why the concept of “mail order brides” TO China is so laughable? There are plenty of women available here, but EEuropeans are heavily (and successfully) marketed to guys not satisified with the domestic pool. Why should things be different there?
    What am I missing?

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Interestingly enough, my brother-in-law is exactly one of those single sons of China. Nice fellow, though I keep harping on his distressing tendency to avoid speaking clearly and frankly(that false humility which I’m fed up with in my own culture). Also, it’s clear that my sister is the more dominant partner in the relationship. Oops. 😛

    And Verity is right. Most chinese would not consider marrying anybody other than a chinese girl, or perhaps a Caucasian woman if available, as well as ‘close enough’ substitutes, eg. Japanese or Korean girls. Yummy! ^_^

    Just a few weeks ago, we discussed over the dinner table China’s birth policies. The consensus was that if the food shortage problem didn’t exist, no such draconian measure needed to be implemented. However, from first hand descriptions of the arable land in China, it does seem like the increase in food production is bottoming out despite the use of more efficient management systems. If the chinese people wish to enjoy 21st century standards of living, the amount of food must also increase correspondingly, and catering for 1.5 billion people on the land that China has would be a real chore. The subsistence level of grubs and noodles for North Korea just won’t cut it.

    And the way the population was booming, even a Singapore-like economic progression would not be enough to save China by means of the… what’s that effect called again when prosperous nations will have lower birth rates? Nope, not gonna happen quickly enough to solve the problem.

    So natch, Deng and gang decided to clear up Mao’s mess(more hands, less work indeed!) by imposing such draconian measures. Presumably(admittedly a rather long shot), they already predicted the effects of just such a policy, and have plans in the works ready. From what I see and hear, the ruling CCCP doesn’t seem too worried at all. Maybe it’s part of their top secret plans, for use only when the male majority start acting up.

    After all, why go south, when they can go NORTH? It’s no surprise China has been eyeing Siberia for some time now. Throw a dozen million expendable men to the north, secure the oil supplies. Kills two birds with one stone, though the Russians will be pissed, to say the least.

    You ask me what the even bigger problem is? It’s when the population starts aging. OH GOD!!! Although the possibility exists that without any political competition(Look Ma, no elections and no candidates for welfare!), the state can just ‘depose’ of all elderly and infirm in the cause of preserving the nation, though it’ll be an even bigger poke in the eye for the traditional concept of filial piety.

    I blame the Great Chairman for this big fucking mess. And at least China is doing something about, unlike India, where we’ll see matters get worse… and worse… and worse…

    Borlaug said something about his agricultural methods simply buying time… Reckon that time’s up for India. If not already, then soon. Wait for another 20 years for India to implode. It won’t be pretty. Strange that individual Indians can be very capable persons, but take them as a culture, an entire people, and… and… they suck! There were horror stories I heard from people who travelled there. More than the ones I heard about China anyway, where most complaints were about the food. One marked difference between chinese and Singaporean cuisine is that we add less… flavoring, while the chinese tend to go overboard with the oil and salt. But I digress.

    Now for the posts and comments on ASEAN…

    Singapore is tight with Malaysia, more like two long-suffering neighbours who have no choice but to get along.

    Our military is rated highly(by others), though our own troops(like me) doubt that very much with every screwup we see and the ‘softness’ of the personnel. I don’t wish to go into the culture of ‘slacking’ and ‘chao-geng’ that permeates our military and weakens the entire defense effort. Suffice to say, the Israelis who started us out(my uncle was one of their recruits) would have been sorely disappointed. A point in favor for the idea of a volunteer military.

    Malaysia actually would be quite tempting for China, with about 30% chinese, 60% malay, 10% indian population. It’s actually quite interesting, because for years now Malaysia and Indonesia have been making snide remarks against Singapore(success breeds jealousy), and the guys from China would blithely state that if it comes to a war, China will come to our tiny island’s aid(never mind that it’s far away to the north, these guys are really clannish).

    To tell the truth, if China does manage to hammer past Vietnam/Cambodia, Thailand, and down to Malaysia, in all likelihood we Singaporeans(chinese) will just sit tight, laugh at the silly(and lazy) Malays, and then petition the Chinese for inclusion into ‘Greater China’ using the ‘one nation, two systems’ caveat. Oh, and it won’t do to forget the fact that there are more girls here right now than guys(though why I’m still single is one of the greater mysteries of the universe).

    If Indonesia gets hit, we’ll laugh even harder. So mch for defensive alliances. That was for a long ago age, when China was very red.

    I think I should stop yammering now…

    The Wobbly Guy

  • Verity

    I knew Wobbly wouldn’t let us down!

    You didn’t comment on my suggestion that presentable and capable males emigrate. As you know, they practically hand out permanent residence visas to ethnic Chinese like candy at Changi. Singaporeans are actively recruiting Chinese immigration. Australia could absorb a couple of million, as could the US and Canada. The tongs aside, countries benefit from Chinese immigrants.

    I was one of the people who wanted us to give the Hongkies a Scottish island when we sold them down the river, make it a free trade zone and watch Scotland prosper and become a major economy. Alas, alack – an opportunity missed out of petty mindedness.

    Yes, Singapore would have a good laugh if Indonesia were attacked by China – or anyone else, really. There would definitely be a get-out clause for any ASEAN treaty. Singapore and Malaysia will, as you say, stick tight even though they don’t like each other. They have done excellent work together in the war on terror. Unlike dimwit (“what problem?”) Thailand.

    I too had thought of Korea for these lonely bachelors. Bride smuggling from N Korea could turn into a major industry, and Korean women are attractive. And moving to China would be a huge step up.

    Finally, I agree with you about Indians. They are brilliant and capable individuals, but they cannot get a government to march in step. Yet their military is well trained and awesome.

  • Verity

    Pete in Detroit – I’m sorry, I didn’t answer your question. No European or American woman could take the culture shock of moving into a Chinese family and being ruled by a mother in law. It was also be a vast step down into poverty and a fairly primitive life. (Rich Chinese men in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, etc don’t have to import wives; there’s more than enough local talent where there is money – a universal truth.) There is no incentive. You are talking into a descent into poverty, incredibly hard work and total obeisance to a mother-in-law and no privacy. Wobbly will confirm, I think.

    Add to that, the Chinese don’t want to marry Caucasians. They want to marry Chinese. I’ve known a few mixed couples in Singapore who fell in love and got married in spite of all drama and tut-tutting, but they are rare.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    You are talking into a descent into poverty, incredibly hard work and total obeisance to a mother-in-law and no privacy.

    Hey, it’s not that bad!

    Not totally hard work, and not total obediance, since rich fellas who could afford to import brides probably could afford maids for housework as well. If not, then then there’s really no incentive. The chinese culture is often too alien for Western woman to adapt to.

    There’s the customs, the language, the social norms etc. In Singapore, where everybody knows more or less about the other races, mixed marriages are rare enough. Take away even that sliver of having grown up around chinese people, and it’s just impossible.

    Not that I mind, personally, as well as most other chinese males. It’s not that we don’t want Western brides(if we can get and love them!). Hey, we watch Baywatch too. The problem is whether both sides can adjust in such a relationship, and for ‘mail-order brides’, they’ll be immersing themselves into a society that’s quite different from the ones they’re used to.

    As for the issue of immigration, I didn’t mention it because I thought my short anecdote of my brother-in-law already serves as an example of capable chinese men emigrating(and setting down roots) overseas.

    Australia is already taking in a lot of chinese immigrants, and there seems to be a bit of a backlash against the chinese community in recent years, IIRC, leading to a decrease in immigration.

    It certainly would help in the long run if other countres around the world are willing to accept skilled male chinese immigrants, relieving China of its surplus male problem. But still, there’s the poor proles left in China, and that could be a serious social problem down the road.

    Now, if we could kill a whole bunch of fundamentalists, and get the women in their societies to marry into chinese culture, then it’ll be win-win…

    Great, now I’m daydreaming. :/

    The Wobbly Guy

  • Verity

    since rich fellas who could afford to import brides probably could afford maids for housework as well. If not, then then there’s really no incentive. Yes, but if they’re rich, there are plenty of beautiful Chinese women ready to marry them. They don’t have to look outside.

  • Paul Marks

    The idea that China would go to war for extra women seems demented to me. My only problem is that future tends to include some demented things (i.e. things that do not make sense).

    Take the example of Kettering (which Brian mentioned). What would N.C. (or anyone else) have said to this “in the future some of nicest buildings will be pulled down and replaced, at vast expense, by buildings that are both structually unsound and that everyone (including those who ordered their building) thinks are very ugly”.

    This was not just true of Kettering, but of most towns in Britain.

    I still do not believe there will be any “wars for women”, but the future is such an unknown country for me that I hesitate to rule anything out.

  • dragonpiss

    The notion of this overly aggressive nature in Chinese men, especially if there is to be a ‘surplus’, should not be dismissed too lightly. The birthrate as it stands is 118 males to 100 females and surveying a Chinese classroom indeed reveals that such an imbalance exists. As well, this past Friday I was riding home in a taxi and watched a fight break out amongst twenty or thirty boys for no apparent reason. However, I could not hear their Chinese so I will hypothesize that someone ‘scolded/cursed’ the other and voila-instant violence.

    Prostitution is a 30 billion yuan industry in the P.R.C and with that number of head massages available I do see that as a safety valve of sorts for releasing any ‘tensions’, or there is the good old-fashioned ‘boy’s night out’ full of beer, baijiu, and general inebrieation, puking. What happens to go hand-in-hand with this behavior. You guessed it. Violence.

    The Chinese are too concerned about the Chinese and the ‘contributing to the country(read Motherland)’. So, the propoganda cannot totally be blown off since it is constantly inculcated into the minds of the students. The Chinese, for the most part, are only concerned about the Chinese universe as long as it is not on life-support they are perfectly content.

    The Chinese are concerned with matters that will improve their own prosperity; as a nation and individuals. The distinct lack of interference in most world affairs save for Taiwan, hosting the six-party talks, and the Spratlys shows that unless it is of major economic interest or jingoistic pride it is of no concern to the Chinese.

    If you want to blame Mao for this whole mess Wobbly Guy you might want to go back a bit further into Mao’s own education. Even if Mao is the scion of China who did Mao base his ideas upon? Marx, Engels, and Lenin all of whom are prominently displayed in many a restautrant and store. They are the fathers of Mao’s ‘modern’ China, not Mao.


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