Category: Romance/ Love

The Non-Financial Cost of Stagnation: “Social Recession” and Japan’s “Lost Generations”

The Non-Financial Cost of Stagnation: “Social Recession” and Japan’s “Lost Generations”   (August 9, 2010)

Japan’s stagnating economy and society are still operating on a postwar model which no longer makes sense. In response, its young generations are opting out of workaholic career paths, marriage and having children.

We in America are already getting a taste of the social costs of grinding economic decline. Young people who are graduating from college find a world of greatly diminished opportunities for full-time employment.

Many of the jobs that are available are free-lance/contract or other temp jobs, or part-time positions which pay one-third of what their parents earn.

Lacking sufficient income, young people are moving back home or staying at home because that is the only financially viable option open to them.

The cheerleaders cranking the hype machine shrilly claim that the U.S. economy will soon start growing smartly. But as this weblog and many others have documented over the past five years, that assumption has essentially no foundation in reality.

Much more likely is an “end to (paying) work” of the sort I have described here many times:

End of Work, End of Affluence (December 5, 2008)

End of Work, End of Affluence I: Cascading Job Losses (December 8, 2008)

End of Work, End of Affluence III: The Rise of Informal Businesses (December 10, 2008)

Endgame 3: The End of (Paying) Work (January 21, 2009)

Demographics and the End of the Savior State (May 17, 2010)

What happens to the social fabric of an advanced-economy nation after a decade or more of economic stagnation? For an answer, we can turn to Japan. The second-largest economy in the world has stagnated in just this fashion for almost twenty years, and the consequences for the “lost generations” which have come of age in the “lost decades” have been dire. In many ways, the social conventions of Japan are fraying or unraveling under the relentless pressure of an economy in seemingly permanent decline.

While the world sees Japan as the home of consumer technology juggernauts such as Sony and Toshiba and high-tech “bullet trains” (shinkansen), beneath the bright lights of Tokyo and the evident wealth generated by decades of hard work and the massive global export machine of “Japan, Inc,” lies a different reality: increasing poverty and decreasing opportunity for the nation’s youth.

The gap between extremes of income at the top and bottom of society– measured by the Gini coefficient — has been growing in Japan for years; to the surprise of many outsiders, once-egalitarian Japan is becoming a nation of haves and have-nots.

The media in Japan have popularized the phrase “kakusa shakai,” literally meaning “gap society.” As the elite slice of society prospers and younger workers are increasingly marginalized, the media has focused on the shrinking middle class. For example, a bestselling book offers tips on how to get by on an annual income of less than three million yen ($34,800). Two million yen ($23,000) has become the de-facto poverty line for millions of Japanese, especially outside high-cost Tokyo.

More than one-third of the workforce is part-time as companies have shed the famed Japanese lifetime employment system, nudged along by government legislation which abolished restrictions on flexible hiring a few years ago. Temp agencies have expanded to fill the need for contract jobs, as permanent job opportunities have dwindled.

Many fear that as the generation of salaried Baby Boomers dies out, the country’s economic slide might accelerate. Japan’s share of the global economy has fallen below 10 percent from a peak of 18 percent in 1994. Were this decline to continue, income disparities would widen and threaten to pull this once-stable society apart.

Young Japanese, their expectations permanently downsized, are increasingly opting out of the rigid social systems on which Japan, Inc. was built.

The term “Freeter” is a hybrid word that originated in the late 1980s, just as the Japanese property and stock market bubbles reached their zenith. It combines the English “free” a nd the German “arbeiter,” or worker, and describes a lifestyle which is radically different from the buttoned-down rigidity of the permanent-employment economy: freedom to move between jobs.

This absence of loyalty to a company is totally alien to previous generations of driven Japanese “salarymen” who were expected to uncomplainingly turn in 70-hour work weeks at the same company for decades, all in exchange for lifetime employment.

Many young people have come to mistrust big corporations, having seen their fathers or uncles eased out of “lifetime” jobs in the relentless downsizing of the past twenty years. From the point of view of the younger generations, the loyalty their parents unstintingly offered to companies was wasted.

They have also come to see diminishing value in the grueling study and tortuous examinations required to compete for the elite jobs in academia, industry and government; with opportunities fading, long years of study are perceived as pointless.

In contrast, the “freeter” lifestyle is one of hopping between short-term jobs and devoting energy and time to foreign travel, hobbies or other interests.

As long ago as 2001, The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare estimates that 50 percent of high school graduates and 30 percent of college graduates now quit their jobs within three years of leaving school.

The downside is permanently downsized income and prospects. Many of the four million “freeters” survive on part-time work and either live at home or in a tiny flat with no bath. A typical “freeter” wage is 1,000 yen ($8.60) an hour.

Japan’s slump has lasted so long, a “New Lost Generation” is coming of age, joining Japan’s first “Lost Generation” which graduated into the bleak job market of the 1990s.

These trends have led to an ironic moniker for the Freeter lifestyle: Dame-Ren (No Good People). The Dame-Ren get by on odd jobs, low-cost living and drastically diminished expectations.

The decline of permanent employment has led to the unraveling of social mores and conventions. Many young men now reject the macho work ethic and related values of their fathers. These “herbivores” reject the traditonal Samurai ideal of masculinity.

Derisively called “herbivores” or “Grass-eaters,” these young men are uncompetitive and uncommitted to work, evidence of their deep disillusionment with Japan’s troubled economy.

A bestselling book titled The Herbivorous Ladylike Men Who Are Changing Japan by Megumi Ushikubo, president of Tokyo marketing firm Infinity, claims that about two-thirds of all Japanese men aged 20-34 are now partial or total grass-eaters. “People who grew up in the bubble era (of the 1980s) really feel like they were let down. They worked so hard and it all came to nothing,” says Ms Ushikubo. “So the men who came after them have changed.”

This has spawned a disconnect between genders so pervasive that Japan is experiencing a “social recession” in marriage, births, and even sex, all of which are declining.

With a wealth and income divide widening along generational lines, many young Japanese are attaching themselves to their parents, the generation that accumulated home and savings during the boom years of the 1970’s and 1980’s. Surveys indicate that roughly two-thirds of freeters live at home.

Freeters “who have no children, no dreams, hope or job skills could become a major burden on society, as they contribute to the decline in the birthrate and in social insurance contributions,” Masahiro Yamada, a sociology professor wrote in a magazine essay titled, Parasite Singles Feed on Family System.

This trend of never leaving home has sparked an almost tragicomical countertrend ofJapanese parents who actively seek mates to marry off their “parasite single” offspring as the only way to get them out of the house.

An even more extreme social disorder is Hikikomori, or “acute social withdrawal,” a condition in which the young live-at-home person will virtually wall themselves off from the world by never leaving their room.

Though acute social withdrawal in Japan affect both genders, impossibly high expectations of males from middle and upper middle class families has led many sons, typically the eldest, to refuse to leave the home. The trigger for this complete withdrawal from social interaction is often one or more traumatic episodes of social or academic failure: that is, the inability to meet standards of conduct and success that can no longer be met in diminished-opportunity Japan.

The unraveling of Japan’s social fabric as a result of eroding economic conditions for young people offers Americans a troubling glimpse of the high costs of long-term economic stagnation.

There is even a darker side to this disintegration of the social fabric and convention: child abuse is on the rise as well. Sadly, people under long-term stress often take out their multiple frustrations on the weakest, most marginalized people–including children:

Record 44,210 child abuse cases logged in ’09

Japan hit by huge rise in child abuse

Both Japan and the U.S. alike desperately need a peaceful revolution in expectations, financial justice (i.e. the absence of fraud, collusion, looting, gaming the system and parasitic leeching by financial and political Elites) and in the social definitions of wealth, security, community, “growth” as a measure of well-being and prosperity, and ultimately, what constitutes meaningful “work.”

In effect, postwar Japan grafted a mercantilist export economy based on insane work-hours onto a traditional patriarchal society in which women were expected to sacrifice their autonomy and ambitions for the good of their children, husband and the husband’s parents.

The male “salaryman” was expected to sacrifice his life up to retirement to his employer, via 60-70 hour work-weeks and killing commutes. Children were expected to sacrifice their childhood and teen years to study, in order to pass hellishly demanding exams on which their future livelihood, career and income depended.

These extremes of sacrifice might have made sense or seemed necessary to rebuild the nation after World War II. But now, 65 years and three generations after the war, these sacrifices make no sense and are destroying the social fabric of Japan.

Men who work 70 hours a week have no real role in their children’s lives, nor are they able to be husbands and fathers in any meaningful day-to-day sense. Understandably, many young Japanese men are opting out of that life of absurd, fundamentally meaningless sacrifice to corporations or the government.

For their part, young women are opting out of the burdens of being in effect a single parent who carries the immense responsibility of guaranteeing the academic success of her son(s) and the marriageability of her daughter(s). Further, as in standard traditional societies, she essentially leaves her own family and throws in her lot with her husband’s family, as she is expected to care for his aging parents as a daughter-in-law.

Given these burdens, it’s no wonder a third of Japanese young women have not married and have no plans to marry. According to one female author quoted in one of the above articles, Japanese men sometimes propose to women with lines like: “I want you to cook miso soup for me the rest of my life.” Quelle surprise that Japan’s increasingly educated and well-traveled young women are not impressed with this offer of lifetime menial servitude.

Japan’s youth are opting out of its stagnating economy and traditionalist society for good reason: the sacrifices demanded are inhuman and no longer make sense.What Japan needs is 35-hour work-weeks and shared jobs, not 70-hour work-weeks for some and dead-end jobs for half its youth.

If Japan wants to encourage families and women to have children, then it needs to recognize that the sacrifices demanded of young men and women no longer make sense in today’s world.

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The moment of doubt.

It’s always something that will jolt me back into whatever I should be doing. Whether it involves getting into a better career path or getting back in shape. Something has to happen before I start taking that part of my life under control.

I remember last summer going with a friend to the Gansevoort in the meatpacking district just for kicks and to meet new people.  We knew people who could get us in and we got there before it got too crowded.  Just my luck, I ran into an old friend I had not seen since 2008 despite staying in touch via Facebook and messenger. He was completely suited up and was there to celebrate his show’s success in getting expanded to a daily format. He talked about how he was involved in activism and caught the attention of some media personalities in need of someone of his experience and political views. One meeting led to another and he became the producer. I really was glad he made it after going through some challenges several years ago. At the same time,  it struck me that I really didn’t advance in my professional life I had hoped. I was scapegoated in my previous position and I basically had to start over when I joined a new account team. The pay did not increase and the company gave all employees a paycut regardless of performance as a cost cutting measure to stabilise their precious share price.

It really hit me that night out and I lost the mood to enjoy the night. It was more complicated when I saw a coworker there enjoying his professional and personal growth with his friends and girlfriend as well. It really felt like everyone was moving ahead while I was left behind with a few others. I wound up leaving the place with my friend after spending less than two hours there.

After that night, I made an effort at my current position with the new account team. The effort rarely paid off as I was being micromanaged with no chance to work independently and based on my actual workload. There was also no guarantee that I would even get a raise, let alone promoted.

I knew this was a dead-end and I started working on getting myself out of this professional rut. For starters, I hired a professional writer to help update my resume based on my work experience with the hope it would get attention from better companies and highlights skills that I may have overlooked. It was also good luck that a headhunter reached out to me with an opportunity at a company I had strong interest in. In the end, I managed to quit my dead-end job and start at a place that is closer to my professional goals.

Now I find myself facing a similar situation in my personal life. I was in a serious relationship for over a year before it ended thanks to my previous position and from an increasingly unappreciative girlfriend. It took me time before I decided to go on a rebound relationship with a girl setup by friends. After three months, she decided to break up without reason and the friends who set me up with her didn’t care and blamed me for it without caring how it happened. It was messed up that she stopped on a whim but it was even more disappointing the way people who I thought were my friends reacted.

I decided to simply stop bothering to meet new people or girls after those chain of events. I was growing sick of the revolving door friends in the NYC social scene and I was tired of being hurt and worn down by immature and petty girls. I just had it with the entire New York social scene and only trusted my friends from childhood, NJ and college while everyone else is a potential revolving door friend who could disappoint me or drop me at will.  There would be no real reason to go to social events other than professional reasons or for appearances.

Then recently, I met someone at one of these social outings. She was approachable and had a very interesting background. It was also helped by the fact she liked cute things. We were having a fun conversation about current news and random stuff until an old friend ran into her. It turned out that they knew each other from a previous job but lost touch for many years. They really hit it off and I felt lost in the conversation as the event became more crowded and hard to follow. We exchanged numbers and emails and seemed interested in knowing more about some things we discussed, but I really felt I could have made things move in a better direction.  I held back and got lost in the scene because I was wary of making new fake friends and the prospect of a failed connection or more.  It got awkward at the end and I wound up leaving early that night.

The missed connection is bothering me and still bothers me. It’s becoming one of those moments that will get me to reassert myself in this area. It sometimes can be hard distinguishing between someone who can be a good friend from one who will work himself out of a circle of friends for petty reasons. It’s even harder to find a connection in a hectic career and with similar backgrounds despite being in such a large city. I really am unsure how I will get myself out of this predicament and I know this needs to be done or else I will keep having these moments in my personal life.

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Strange times

It’s been months since I have started blogging. Blogs from years past focused on personal subjects,  commentary on current events and random reviews.

The blog stopped after a representative/marketing manager from Michael Page international went out of their way to track me down and pressured me in a passive-aggressive way to delete a post detailing my poor experiences dealing with their reps in 2007. The comments from that blog gradually became a hotbed for disgruntled MPI reps and immature reps that supported their company. In any event, mixed reviews of this boutique recruiting firm are all over glassdoor.com if they are out to remove any real or imagined criticisms of their company.

Another reason I stopped blogging was the busy work schedule that kept me from putting time into blogging. Then there was the failed relationship that I involved in but ultimately nothing was ever enough.  These issues lead to a void in my thoughts, feelings and interests.

Recently, I resumed my interests in world events after the people’s revolutions in Egypt and the Middle East. The success in people power and al-Jazeera in contributing to this success gave me a sense of hope and optimism that faded when Obama took office. It really gave people hope that they can make change if they had the means to do so. Some friends expected the uprising to fail and for protests to result in jihadis taking power, but nothing is for certain.  I can only hope that the rebellion in Libya is just as successful as the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings.

In terms of my social life I am really not sure who my friends in NYC really are. It’s been said that friends come and go but my circle of so-called friends is like a revolving door. Some of them simply cut off contact over changes in Facebook while some distance themselves once I switched jobs.  Then there are those who simply disappoint when it mattered and those who will only hang out only if a “cool” mutual friend is there. This is one of the more unpleasant realisations of my time in the city.

My childhood friends are accessible and can be counted. My high school era buddies are good company.  My college friends are one of my core circle of friends. Friends I’ve met around NJ are also good company.  I only wish they were less busy and more accessible.

This is an unpleasant feeling and the only way to get around it is going out and meeting new people. My previous social circle in NYC is not what I thought it was.

There are some things I needed to change now. I will need to start with my Gmats now I have more leisure time that was taken because of an unproductive start-up and issues with my previous job.  I also started exercising again after being in poor shape for months.

I need to keep changing even if people like Obama and my fake NYC friends disappoint me.

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The Perfect Hipster Accessory

The Perfect Hipster Accessory
Date: 2004-08-09, 9:48PM EDT

You’ve got the sexy, shaggy, unkempt greasy-but-not-too-gross hair. You’ve got flawless skin so pale that you glow in the dark. You’ve got the ironic vintage shirt, the shabby corduroy blazer and the chic designer jeans. You’ve got the carefully beat-up Chucks. You’ve got a two room walk-up in Williamsburg which you share with a highly-strung actor, a struggling writer, a freegan and a docile, hairy guy in a poncho who grows weed under the kitchen sink. To top it all off, you’ve got your own up-and-coming post-punk band. You’re almost perfect. But wait a minute. You’re missing something:

The ethnic girlfriend.

Yes, you’ve got the look down but, as we ALL know, nothing’s complete without accessories. You without a ethnic girlfriend is like a messenger bag without thousands of buttons proclaiming your political leanings and your extensive knowledge of music.

Well luckily for you, here I am. Your very own, personal, cute, non-threatening, little Asian. What better way to piss off your wealthy blue-blood Greenwich-Hamptons family, without pushing the line, than to date a shy, quiet, non-threatening Asian chick? Yellow’s close enough to white, anyway. After all, you wouldn’t want your parents to cut you off from your monthly allowance – you might have to get a job and give up your dreams of being a rock star. Anyway, you majored in English and Music at NYU, and teaching’s not really your thing.

Also, you really need somebody to drape your arm around after your show, to hand you a beer as soon as you come off stage and to tell you just how good you were. You were SO good. Yes, someone who will complement your style without overshadowing you. Want to coordinate outfits? I’ve got a vintage crocheted minidress that would look so good with your tweed jacket.

I can be anything you want, baby. Want me to wear only black and white, sneer and blow smoke into people’s eyes? I can do that. Want me to dress like I smoked a bowl of ice and then hitched a ride with Marty McFly in the Delorean? I got you covered. Want me to impress your snotty friends with my extensive vocabulary and vast knowledge of International Relations? I’ll read-up on my current events just for you, even though I hide copies of Star magazine in my copy of the Voice. After all, I did go to an elite boarding school and then art-school, where I majored in graphic design.

If I hadn’t, would I be the well-dressed, cooler-than-thou hipster I am today?

Also, I’m stick-thin, fashionably bisexual and smoke bidis. I am publicly a socialist but am secretly a rampant materialist. Do you think I actually go to Sal-Val for these ironic shirts? Please. I shop exclusively at Andy’s Cheepee’s, Cheapjack’s and Screaming Mimi’s. So what if I have to pay the finder’s fee? It’s not like I don’t have a trust-fund, anyway. I just wait tables at the vegan restaurant to look like I’m slumming it. I don’t actually need the money.

So. You need to have me hanging like a wristband off your lanky arm and you know it. Please, bassists and drummers only – and send a picture. I only pretend I’m not shallow.

this is in or around Probably the L train
PostingID: 38889776

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/nyc/38889776.html

Thank You Amy Tan: Support the Joy Luck Club!

Thank You Amy Tan: Support the Joy Luck Club!
By Captain Livingston

Asian doll. Tight, submissive, exotic, mysterious and sultry. She shrieks at the sight of a mouse. She takes insults as a reminder to improve upon her flawed self. She is the survivor of abuse by Asian men from her past, just as she watched her mother abused by the hands of her father. She endures. She sits quietly alone, waiting for her White knight to sweep her away from generations of misery. Who is she?

She is a fantasy Asian woman created by Amy Tan to get Asian girls into the hands of the White guys like us.

My campaign, or better put, my goal is simple: to promote Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club in the reading lists of high schools and universities across the nation to get more White guys like myself with Asian girls. Right now, the Joy Luck Club (JLC) is currently used by academic institutions in the US and is known by us White guys as a novel that is “Draws Asian girls to [us]”. Through Amy Tan and her novel, the images of self-loathing Asian women and abusive, wicked Asian men have reached the millions across the nation, much to our favor.

In my campaign to promote JLC for schools, I have enlisted the support of Asian-American women’s groups, fraternities, pornographers, the Republican Party, and any Asiaphile group of every feasible nature. I am not looking to wipe out all Asian males nor am I looking to ignore White women. I just want more Asian girls to learn about Amy Tan and her wonderful novel so more White guys like me can enjoy them.

What I love most about her is the way she plays upon all of the Asian stereotypes. Asian women are depicted as lonely miserable characters whose ultimate salvation comes when united in marriage with a White male (us). Furthermore, she mercilessly smears all of the Asian male characters, confining them to the role of the wife-abuser, pervert, weakling or the nit-picking egomaniac, which is partly true from my own observations. This novel really represents the Asian American experiences and it is loved by critics, in addition to being popular with Asian girls and us White guys.

Amy Tan (who in real life was swept away by a white man) said herself that she would never date Asian men because she would not date her father or her brother, and this only helps our cause. I truly respect and believe her as a major figure of the collective voice of Asian-Americans and I really don’t think it’s right to question her thinking because that would be racist.

When chatting with Asian girls of every background online, they all said that the story is a major reason why they only date White guys. I must confess that there were parts to JLC that I could relate to, such as the generational and cultural gap the main characters felt with their parents. Nevertheless, alongside these anecdotes came, what I felt, were interesting generalizations that brought back memories of the abusiveness and arrogance that I faced from Asian nerds and thugs in high school.

So long as JLC and Amy Tan are the only widely recognized products of Asian American literature, Asian girls will date us more. I hope others will enjoy reading Amy Tan because she is both a very engaging writer and gives us a the truth at what Asian women had to suffer from in her pages.

Britons ‘saving money with sex’

BBC NEWS
Britons ‘saving money with sex’

As the credit crunch bites, Britons may be turning to sex as a cheap way to pass the time, a charity says.

A YouGov survey of 2,000 adults found sex was the most popular free activity, ahead of window shopping and gossiping.

The Scots were most amorous with 43% choosing sex over other pastimes, compared with 35% in South England.

Aids charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, which published the survey, also welcomed recent figures showing an increase in condom sales.

Around one in 10 respondents to the survey, carried in November, said their favourite free activity was window shopping and 6% chose going to a museum as the cheapest way to pass the time.

But the sexes differed on their priorities, with women preferring to gossip with friends while men had sex firmly at the top of their list.

Safe sex

Publishing the results to coincide with World Aids Day, the Terrence Higgins Trust reminded people to practise safe sex and pointed out that a packet of condoms costs a fraction of the cost of a night out.

Lisa Power, head of policy, said: We’re glad that people are finding ways of relieving some of their credit crunch woes, but if there’s one thing it’s worth forking out for, it’s condoms.

“Alternatively you can get them free from family planning and sexual health clinics.

“Rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections are on the up so when you snuggle down with a partner, make sure you do it safely.”

Rebecca Findlay, from the Family Planning Association advised: “If anyone’s having more sex at the moment whatever the reason, do think about your contraception, your condoms and any testing you might need for sexually transmitted infections.

“And you can get all of these for free on the NHS.”

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/7755315.stm

Published: 2008/12/01 01:49:38 GMT

© BBC MMVIII

Why Yellow Fever is Bad for the Asian community

INTELLIGENT, cultured, 22y/o wm seeking Asian women (pref. Nihonese)


Date: 2008-10-16, 3:29AM EDT

Hello ladies of the internet!I am here today, as are you, to find the love of my life ideally. Now, I am an introspective and reflective man so over my life I’ve come to realise exactly what I’m looking for in my ideal woman.

Personally, I am 22 years old, my name is Perseus, I am attending U of T in the final year of my Engineering degree, and I am a little on the chubby side. I am a dedicated Green party voter and staunchly opposed to the Conversative hordes dashing themselves against the impregnable Liberal/NDP/Green keep of our fine enlightened city. I am fond of discussing philosophy and the meaning of life over a glass of wine in the ‘even. As hobbies go, I am an avid gamer and enjoy delving into the myriad artistic realities of animé (the origin of my affinity for Asian culture, which is frankly superior).

You MUST fulfill the following requirements:
– Asian
– Woman
– Aged NO MORE THAN 23
– – and NO LESS THAN 16
– Petite build. Ideally no more than 115 lbs.
– – but no ‘Paris Hilton’ bulimics please! I like my women with some meat on them.
– Like sushi, animé, and video games.

BONUSES include:
– Japanese heritage
– Large collection of animé and manga
– Glasses
– Interest in cosplay and roleplaying
– Traditional Ladies’ education

I must stress again that this is for a SERIOUS, long term relationship. Not some ‘fling’ as though I were a boy toy to be tossed aside.

  • Location: Toronto
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

These people scare me. I sometimes see them in networking events or meetups crowding around the cute Asian girl and scaring the crap around them. Once that girl starts talking to one of them, the rest swarm in like sharks in a feeding frenzy on a wounded dolphin. Obviously the sharks being the weird White guys and the dolphin being the girl in this example. The more you know…

Some activists and feminists have interpreted Yellow Fever as a form of racist love.

Introspective musicology: the soundtrack to our lives.

introspective musicology: the soundtrack to our lives. we all have them, some strange mixture of karaoke classics, queen-level ballads, heart thumping hip hop and head banging metal. the purpose of IM is exploring how one relates to these soundtracks, how an artist can understand another, not through interaction, but through those tracks that the individual feels is significant to their lives. it is an examination to symbolic meaning, as well as how individual pieces can create a collective whole.

Here are some that are the current soundtrack of my life (in no particular order) for a friend’s art project.  It has its ups and downs along with its moments:

1. Depeche Mode – Never Let Me Down Again –

2. Joy Division – Atmosphere –

3. New Order – True Faith –

4. The Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever –

5. The Beatles – Getting Better –

6. Faithless – God Is A DJ –

7. Angel y Khriz – Ven Bailalo –

8. Starsailor – Love is Here –

9. Madonna – I Want You (Feat. Massive Attack) –

10. The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness –

11. Robbie Williams – Rock DJ –

12. David Bowie – I’m Afraid Of Americans –

13. U2 – With Or Without You –

14. Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The U.K –

15. The Chemical Brothers – Galvanize –

Saudi Arabia hates Facebook

Saudi woman killed for chatting on Facebook

By Damien McElroy Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:39AM BST 01 Apr 2008

A young Saudi Arabian woman was murdered by her father for chatting on the social network site Facebook, it has emerged.

The unnamed woman from Riyadh was beaten and shot after she was discovered in the middle of an online conversation with a man, the al-Arabiya website reported.

The case was reported on a Saudi Arabian news site as an example of the “strife” the social networking site is causing in the Islamic nation.

Saudi preacher Ali al-Maliki has emerged as the leading critic of Facebook, claiming the network is corrupting the youth of the nation.

“Facebook is a door to lust and young women and men are spending more on their mobile phones and the Internet than they are spending on food,” he said.

The woman was murdered in August but her death was highlighted following Maliki’s comments.

Social customs and religious rules oblige women in Saudi Arabia to cover their head and figure with a veil so that men are not distracted by the female form.

Critics also allege that Facebook is an avenue for the promotion of homosexual relations in Saudi Arabia. More than 6,500 people have signed the online petition in a bid to stop the conservative Muslim kingdom following Syria in banning access to the network from local internet servers.

There are estimated to be more than 30,000 Facebook users in the oil-rich kingdom. Many Saudi women use nicknames and post comic images or drawings on their pages instead of photographs. Some Saudi bloggers have dubbed the network “Faceless”.

Women users’ contact details and email addresses are often pseudonymous. The popularity of sites for singles has broken taboos on people making contact outside family and class connections.

One of the most popular Facebook groups among Saudi Arabian youth is Single and Looking in Saudi Arabia, which has 1,823 members and hosts many sexually explicit images.

And the world still buys oil from one of the last absolute and corrupt monarchies in the world?  Facebook is really becoming like myspace.  I hope Mark Zuckerberg and his team are happy.