I do not watch TV very often but I peeked at clips of the White House Correspondents’ 60th anniversary dinner and LOL’d on the joke on Hillary Clinton being an attractive next President since we can pay her 30 percent less.
Michelle Obama, however, did one thing Hillary did not do while in the White House, and that is to deliver the presidential address on behalf of the President. Michelle before Mother’s Day broke a barrier and spoke on behalf of the Nigerian school girls kidnapped in Africa.
Thailand’s prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was deposed by a Constitutional Court’s ruling for “abuse of power.” The reason for the massive street protest by the “yellow” group led by former deputy minister and self-proclaimed General Secretary of the Democratic Reform Party, Suthep Thaugsuban, is Suthep’s charge that Yingluck is a puppet of her brother, the military-deposed former prime minister Thaksin. Her “red” supporters, of the north and northwest quadrant, were subdued during her term, advised not to do anything while the “yellows” mouthed their diatribes, but that has changed as Yingluck is out of office, and Suthep desperately wants to be appointed PM without the benefit of election.
The Shinawatra “dynastic” reign began when upstart Thaksin became prime minister in 2001, the only PM to serve a full term without being kicked out for corruption, to return on a popular landslide until summarily deposed by the military in 2006. Charge? Corruption, of course! Thaksin and Suthep had been at loggerheads from the start. In 2011, Thaksin asked his younger sister Yingluck to lead the “upstart” party, subsequently becoming PM after she bested Suthep’s party.
I am going to great lengths on this because it is clear from where I sit that Yingluck’s luck ran out when she was reduced to being a female mouthpiece of her brother. The “corruption” charge on him is par for the course. Suthep, too, not only was accused of corruption while in public office, but also of murder for giving direct orders to shoot protesting “red” shirts while he was in office. The last three decades saw corruption judgments from the Constitutional Court against Thailand’s politicos, the latest being on Yingluck, the luckless female in the bunch!
Park Geun-hye in Korea, daughter of the assassinated Korean president Park Chung-hee, has been subdued of late, grieving over the tragedy of the MV Sewol ferrying high school students to the island of Jeju. Though we applauded her ascension to her office as a female politician, the patriarchal Korean society makes her act more to out-guy the guys in public. She is refreshingly showing part of her feminine wiles in a guile-filled posture of submission and artfully gaining acceptance. Merkel of Germany, on the other hand, does not hesitate to arm wrestle mano-o-mano Putin on Ukraine!
“Women” in Chinese means “we,” a rather collaborative, cooperative, and communal term. An old saying, revived by Mao Zedong, “nu ren nong ding ban bian tian” (Women hold half of the sky), emboldened Chinese females during the revolution. Many female entrepreneurs following Deng Xiao Ping’s opening up and reform made bold moves, with a few, particularly in financial matters, taking their initiatives beyond the pale of the law.
But China still prefers its sons, with the current lopsided ratio of 54 males to 46 females in the under-30 population. Among my students at the university, snagging a boyfriend, however, remains a top priority, and management personnel in corporate offices are still dominated by the strutting cock! (Khuy! for Vladimir.)
The abduction of 284 girls in northern Nigeria that has the world in an outcry was due to the objection of rebels to their education. Malala of Afghanistan survived an assassination, an activist toward female education in “veiled” countries, a thorn in al-Qaeda’s stomping out of the female specie from learning to read and write, and in a misuse of the name of Allah, would not have them have a mind of their own in public!
Matriarchy in the Marianas is well entrenched. A co-teacher refused to marry the father of her three children so that she can parcel out real estate along matriarchal lines. But on the whole, the reason we chuckle at the WH Correspondents’ Dinner joke is that almost a century after the U.S. gave women the vote, they still have to try harder just to be at par with their male counterpart in almost every field with a long way to go. Michelle might have cracked the WH glass ceiling this Mother’s Day.
I watched the Clintons while living in Washington, D.C. during their term in office. That was a conjugal presidency that the U.S. could not accommodate. We are due for a female President. Hillary and Bill might be watching their health to be an option. I see Hillary to be too divisive for a nation needing desperately to be healed. Elizabeth Warren, an Okie transplanted to the East Coast, fights hard but with a feminine touch. I hope she considers taking the plunge.
“We the People” can translate to Women Renmin in Zhonghua. Will get a T-shirt emblazoned with: Women for Warren.