The Treatment at Boston Court, what will China do with 30 million extra men?

February 25, 2012

Last night we saw The Treatment based on the Chekhov short story, “Ward 6,” at Boston Court after having dinner at Saladang Song for Jared’s birthday.  There were eight of us, celebrating Jared’s birthday.  The play was well worth seeing.  It’s about a doctor who runs an insane asylum inRussia and you can tell pretty early that he’s doing to end up there.  There is a great deal of singing and dancing in this play, and the play practices what I call “hyper theatricality,” which means you never forget that you are watching a play and just get lost and drawn into the action.  Which I guess is a good thing?  But I’m not sure it always works.  I like the premise of the play, the mention of Nietzsche in a play about the line between good and evil, madness and genius, really centered the play for me.  The sets were fabulous as was the acting, and I believe almost everyone in the audience was entranced.  Our group certainly was.  I don’t like musicals as a rule, so this may be my problem.  But I liked the darkness, the deep irony, and the sense that we are all a step away from madness.

I like thinking about population shifts. In the U.S.in 1950, Hispanics were 1% of the population, now they are just under 15%.   The Muslim population was 53 million, of whom 16 million people are in the European Union.

There are about 7 billion people on the planet.  In 1350 after the Black Plague, there were about 370 million.  Nearly 20 % of the world’s population is in China, about 1.4 billion people, followed by India at 1.2 billion.

By 2020, there will be 30 million more men than women in the Republic of China due to China’s one child rule and the Chinese history of believing females are useless. The Chinese used to bind women’s feet so they couldn’t walk or run away, now those females are never born.  The Chinese phrase for girls is “You are only a girl.  You are spilt water.”

The speculation goes on about what happens in a country with 30 million males for whom there is no possible spouse:  An increase in rape, prostitution or homosexuality are all distinct possibilities.  Many countries have endured a male shortage after wars, particularly World War I, but no country has ever had a surplus of males like this, so there is no precedent.  It’s like something Margaret Atwood would write about.

Personally, my solution would be to allow women to have two husbands.  I feel I could handle two Chinese husbands.  I would make sure my husbands knew how to cook and I do love Chinese food and can eat with chopsticks like a native.  My husbands would make egg blossom soup like they do in Chinatown, Chinese spring rolls, shrimp fried rice, and of course, the fragrant eggplant, the crispy tofu with kale, you name it, my husbands will make it for me.  To teach them that we are in the 21st century, I would have  them learn foot rubbing and massage.  (Best massage gets the prize!) And they would also tend to the daughter we would have.  They would teach her Tai Chi and as a family, we would all do that together.  We would however; not listen to Chinese opera, that’s not my thing.  It’s an acquired taste and let’s just say I haven’t acquired it.  But most other parts of Chinese culture would be happening for us—Chinese medicine.  Definitely, whenever I was sick and the daughter needed attention, they would also know acupuncture and other forms of Chinese medicine.  I think this could work for me as a Chinese woman.  The two husbands.

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