Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘amelie nothomb

Am I working hard? What is “work” to qualify it in first place?

There are several types of “working”, or feeling that we have been working, or thinking that what we are doing can be perceived as working by the community…For example:

First, many people exclusively work to get paid in currencies, on the assumption that if work is not compensated by money, another term should be invented to confound language

Second, many more people, billion of them, are practicing the bartering method: They produce product and services and exchange them with other types of products and services…If I inherited an olive tree-field, I’d rather barter my olive or olive oil (added-value process) with a pair of shoes and save my profit from a middleman…Actually, we are bartering skills and talents (acquired with hard work, time, and patience) for another set of skills and talents…

Third, many more people, mostly men, are discovering the mysteries of daily survival skills through maintaining house and family demands (housekeeping chores)…

Fourth, many more people are taking more seriously types of hard work, camouflaged as leisure time, which bed rid you for a week in pain and suffering and ruin your “currency paid job”: You should not go hiking for 8 hours before prior exercising for this arduous task.  As any work, prior hard work, efforts, time, and patience are required to doing a stupid work such as hiking, gliding, ocean treasure hunting…

Fifth, many more people are starting to appreciate truly “leisure work” that bring laughter, smiles and contentment into the life of family members…Like what?

Sixth, with the advent of Internet social platforms and easy and quick publishing, life is getting more complicated: How could you define publishing posts and articles on social platforms, working 8 hours a day, including holidays, and not earning a dime from this hard work?  Not only you are working hard, but publishing carries huge responsibilities when you disseminate ideas, concepts, and express your thoughts to thousands of readers… Writing for the benefit of the “demonizing” process of your troubled life should be a different category from publishing your “soiled” life…?

Suppose you get paid for reading and publishing on Internet, would your work be perceived by your community as true work, and that you are indeed a “normal” person…?

I stumbled on this post from emmatzeng (see link in note) published on Sept. 21 under “Has hard work become an exotic concept?” referring to “work culture” in Western and Eastern countries (I edited slightly the post):

“A few weeks back, I came across an NY Times piece “Reaping the Rewards of Risk-Taking” (written by Steve Lohr) that basically expounds the innovation-driven, creativity-centric values that encapsulate Steve Jobs’ life and career and brands America as the all-encompassing hub for such risk-taking pioneers. I already wrote an entire post about Jobs’ ideologies, but I have to comment on them again, perhaps because they strike such a deep, personal chord in me.

Before I delve into personal technicalities, the article classifies Jobs as “the vanguard of innovative thought, experimentation, and so-called “recombinant mash-ups,” or disruptive products that blend perspectives from different disciplines.  At the core of all this creating and revolutionizing are the tried and true American values of pioneering, innovating, and risk-taking; and it is, in fact, these very principles that put our nation at a competitive advantage to other countries, even despite the latter’s heavy government financing for scientific research and educational achievements in science and technology….”

Going along those lines, businesses like Apple, who are credited with revolutionizing the computing and electronics sectors, generally trade at higher valuations on the stock market because they enjoy what is called an “innovation premium.” Sort of it’s the truly innovative businesses that are the game-changers which brings in serious dough–and power.

Now, you’re probably wondering why this all matters to me as an individual aside from the knowledge that 1) I’m a huge admirer of Jobs, and 2) I’m all about creativity and risk-taking. 

Well, two weeks ago, I lived and worked in Asia. It was a unique, eye-opening experience that I’ll never quite be able to put into words and all that other jazz that you hear from everyone else who’s lived abroad: I’ve seen firsthand the cultural disparities that underlie Western and Eastern societies.

The West culture champions its free-spirited, individualistic culture, while the East generally values discipline, respect for authority, and academic excellence. In this respect, a Westerner might look at an Asian and label him as rigid and self-deprecating, and an Asian may view his Western counterparts as undisciplined and disrespectful.

I won’t take sides.  As a born and raised American, my time in Asia has allowed me to better understand how the Eastern side of the world thinks and operates. Thus, speaking solely from sheer observation alone, I believe that Lohr’s article, though compelling, presents a one-sided, ethnocentric perspective that completely ignores the strengths of other cultures, particularly those of the East.

I have seen a handful of Americans in my age group with lofty, elaborate dreams of pursuing their passions eventually settle into dry, unfulfilling jobs. Off the top of my head, I can cite a number of reasons for this phenomenon like lack of drive, personal insecurities…, but I believe that, at the root of it all, is an unwillingness to work hard, to exercise discipline, and to suffer a bit in order to reap the future rewards.

And while I advocate strongly for the mantras of our generation that egg us on to pursue our passions, I believe that these adages need to come with a forewarning–something along the lines of, “Go hard after your dreams–but be dang well prepared to work your butt off for them and encounter some setbacks along the way. THIS IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.

The truth of the matter is, taking risks is exponentially tougher than simply going after what’s safe and socially accepted. In this respect, taking risks requires hard work and discipline, virtues that Eastern societies hone in on.

Sure, Jobs dropped out of college after his first semester and spent some time traveling India, which is awesome and all, but he also slept on the floors of his friends’ dorm rooms and went to a local temple every week to partake in a free meal. Oh, not to mention that he started Apple in his parents’ garage and spent ten years building it into a multi-million dollar business. If that doesn’t sound arduous and even a bit unsexy, then I don’t know what is.

I have encountered and worked alongside multitudes of bright, hardworking individuals during my time in Asia. The work ethic is so strong there that it almost puts our good ol’ American working middle-class values to shame.  What I also witnessed in Asia was an unquestioning and borderline passive stance towards societal norms. Nearly every time I thought to challenge authority in some way shape or form, my remarks were almost always met with an all-too-accepting “that’s just the way things are.”

On the flip side, Americans are great at questioning the status quo, engineering new ideas, and standing up for their opinions and beliefs. It is, essentially, this flourishing spirit of creativity and outside-the-box thinking that attracted me back home. Nonetheless, aside from our dedication to individualism and appetite for creativity, I worry that a good number of my fellow Gen Y-ers simply cower in fear at the prospect of being challenged and stretched beyond their perceived means. It is this distaste towards discomfort that paralyzes us and puts us as a competitive disadvantage on the global scoreboard.

I’d like to expand on Lohr’s points and argue that, while America is a unique and vibrant nation with a strong knack for creativity, we should never allow ourselves to get away with believing that our school of thought is superior to any other culture’s.

Instead, we should be utilizing our resources to continuously seek out new ways to grow, to adapt to our increasingly globally connected world, and to broaden our perspectives. Like Jobs instructs, it is our duty as a nation that fosters innovation to cultivate an environment that rewards curiosity and open-mindedness. That takes some hard, unadulterated work.

What do you think? Do you agree that our current and future generations would be better off finding and achieving a delicate balance between Western ideals of personal freedom and creativity and Eastern morals of discipline and respect, or am I way over my head with this one?” End of post

Note 1: You may read my book review of Amelie Nothomb on her experience working with a Japanese company (Trembling and stupor)

Note 2:

A winter “mushroom trip”, Part 1.

I am a public servant attached to the ministry of energy (electricity to be specific).

My job is to pay visits to new owners of properties and suggest remedies for saving on energy.  One of the owners was to be a writer.  I met the two ladies Astrolabe and Alienor.  One was very beautiful and the other was obviously a retarded person:  She didn’t get up, and kept eating while I was visiting.

It was winter and cold in the old and small apartment beneath the attic with glass roof.  I suggested remedies to saving energy, but the beautiful girl declined all of them on the basis that they cannot afford to pay electricity bills.

The girls were wearing three layers of parka.  The beauty reluctantly accepted to cover the roof with transparent plastic cover to cut out cold air from infiltrating in the apartment, if I brought the cover.

I search for the books of the author with the exquisite name of Alienor:  She had four books published.  The latest book of Alienor that I read was relatively violent but good.

On my second visit I asked the beautiful girl for her autograph and she said: “Alienor, this guy needs you to sign your book”.  Alienor suffered from the rare gentle autism called “autism of Pneux“. This kind of autism renders the individual totally defenseless against any kinds of aggressions:  They cannot perceive aggressions as bad, but just as a curiosity.

Alienor view dirt and being dirty as an amusing phenomenon: Astrolabe has to wash Alienor and give her baths.

Alienor writes with great difficulty and Astrolabe has to take dictation of a language that only her can decipher.  Astrolabe is de facto the intermediary between Alienor and the outside world, particularly with the publishers; and she refuses to part from Alienor for even an hour.  The particular case of Alienor is that she can only feel aggression when she writes, but never in her daily life.

Anyway, Astrolabe accepted my small electric heater, but never plugged it on:  I was expecting that the heater would keep me warm as I intended to concoct excuses to visiting with Astrolabe more often.

On one of my visit, I was kissing Astrolabe and Alienor came very close to observe the event, with wide eyes:  This behavior was sort of “reading material” to Alienor; she was observing details for her stories.

I had this ingenious idea.  I asked Astrolabe to expect me this Saturday morning to bring in breakfast, and suggested they eat nothing before I arrive.  That morning I brought dry hallucinogenic Guatemalan mushrooms and the CD of Aphex Twin (Zigomatic 17).  (To be continued)

Note: This story is from the French book “The winter  trip” (Le voyage d’hiver) by Emilie Nothomb

You think that you are adult and finally decided to leave home without a proper education.  You want to investigate the world and feel aware of your potentials, courage, and determination to have a life of your own.  You are hitch hiking to the East, to the West as Kerouac did over half a century ago.  You meet people on the way who shared your longing; and you experiment with all kinds of drugs since you are in the experimentation mood.  Eventually, once you reach the western ocean where the weather is always hot then you discover that the homeless experiment is feasible: sleeping outside under a clear sky, near the beach, watching people passing by…  Then hunger sets in and the challenge of getting fed becomes acute because people are fed up of dolling out to outstretched dirty hands.

Waking up one morning in a ditch, awareness that you reached bottom posts in front of your spirit three alternatives:

First, you may try to change and apply to jobs.  This is not an easy decision:  You have to get a shower, shave your beard, find decent cloths, find an affordable facility to write and print your altered CV with catchy professional exposures.  Trouble is:  You don’t have a base to start with to keep up the cleansing, washing, and pressed cloths for the duration of job application process.

Second, you fall back to your parents and impose your presence.  They might purchase a computer and connect you to internet in order to get you out of their legs.  You get installed in front of this fast communication facility and view the world unfolding in front of you.  By the by, you are eating abundant quantity of junk food without realizing it and you gained a lot of weight.  One day you shave your extended beard and discover that the mirror is reflecting three chins and no neck.  Your mouth shrank relative to your bloated face.  Your eyes are just two dots surrounded by masses of flesh.  You are now addicted to eating; an addiction worse than opium, heroine, cocaine, or nicotine.  You gave up trying to diet:  This is an impossible mission.  You can no longer walk any distance:  Your heart has more urgent task to do than indulging aiding you stepping out.  People will no facilitate venturing out to the limelight:  You are a tar to the svelte community.  You decide to move to the basement and have your parents bring you food at your door step and you call the pizzeria to deliver.  A life form.

Third alternative, you enroll in the military.  Your country has always a couple of wars going on simultaneously and Uncle Sam wants you.  Free food aplenty; and they know exactly why you joined the army.  You are another mercenary with a petty goal of eating, getting paid, obtaining residency, or all the above.  You are sent to Iraq first.  You are killing innocent people (collateral damages?) and are traumatized.  You are the kind of sensitive person and your conscience is disturbing you.  You fall back swallowing huge amount of food to appeasing your ethical and moral standards.  You try to vomit what you regurgitated but fail.  Your stomach is aching continuously its skin is dilating to amazing proportions.

You are gaining about 25 pounds a year and are advanced to the front line; not because you are a valuable and trained soldier but you are an ideal shield for the skinnier soldiers moving behind you.  The army would love that you are “killed in action” instead of degrading the image of the army when you are repatriated.  For example these kinds of comments: “Are you fighting or spending time eating?”; “How are we to win if overweight soldiers are running the show?”; “McDonald must be making a fortune in Iraq”; “Now I can figure out why we witnessed this terrible financial crash”.

This pathology of becoming very much overweighted (much over 200 pounds) is endemic in the overseas divisions in war action.  This is no longer opium addiction or venereal diseases:  This is a worse terrible addiction that is shaming the image of a supposedly a young and svelte army.  The best trained and discipled war machine that can live on little and withstand moral atrocities.  The dailies are reluctant to cover that shameful pathology increasing exponentially.  Life forms cannot make headlines.

You are encouraged to read “A Life Form” by Amelie Nothomb.

Last high school summer, (Chap. 14).

I barely succeeded in my first  “Baccalauria” (public exam) in 1968, and that summer I attended ideological indoctrination session to a political party, which would start my downfall as a student, and loss of any prospect for any civil or military positions in the government institutions.

The next year, I failed both the French and Lebanese public exams of “Matheleme“. I managed to barely pass the required Lebanese “Matheleme” in the second trial in September.

These failures were a turning point in my future and this critical summer of 1969 was a total loss in prestige as a good student and, worse, for lack of preparing to enter any university.

Indeed, I didn’t enjoy that summer, which should have been the best summer ever and spent it studying and reviewing for the nth time all the boring course materials, and not feeling like solving math or physics exercises or problems.

I recall that we rented the tiny ground floor apartment of George and Marie Ghoussoub building in Kuneitra, and I spent most of my hours walking the yards of the nearby Sisters’ convent of Mar Maroon to recapitulate my boring notes and school books while everyone were taking trips.

I recall that I noticed a smashing Yugoslavian beauty of around 30 year-old, tall, raven black hair, and renting an apartment around the convent of Mar Maroun and I used to wait diligently for her to show up on her balcony in her “negligee”. To my chagrin, she got married the next year.

I was supposed to participate in a Lebanese play at the end of summer and had memorized my part for a few sessions before I drop out from the group of first-time actors to prepare for my exam.  The play was a success and was shown twice on the basketball court in Beit-Chabab.

We used to hire buses and travel all over Lebanon during summers, but I didn’t participate in the fun.

I recently read “AnteChrista” by Amelie Nothomb and she described an introverted 16-year old girl named Blanche.  Blanche located a group of three girls in her class who were happy together.  She forced herself in the group and never left it.

Three months later she overheard them talking how happy the three of them were and how much fun and great time they were having.  Blanche discovered that she was practically invisible among them; the group didn’t even notice that she left them.

It is practically my life story when young.

Maybe that the environment is not initially a major factor on your psychological tendencies and constitution, but it does make you sink in deeper and deeper no matter how hard you try to alter to extrovert type.

I never had my own room, and even then, my mom would have not let me decorate it my own way or leave it in a state of chaos.

Sociology and cruelty: a sub-field of climatology?  (December 10, 2008)

Any student in sociology who is not expert in climatology and topology or the land of people he is learning about is out of the subject matter.

Sociology, psychology, social organization and most human sciences are fundamentally sub-fields of climatology and topology.

Just figure people living in an arid desert; people living in Antarctica or the Arctic regions; people living in the equator where it rains 24 hours and every day of the year.

Just figure people living in regions where it is dark most of the year; people living in mostly sunny areas.

Just figure people having access to the stars at night and people not seeing but clouds.

Just imagine people shoveling snow most of the year and living among dirty and frozen snow; or people shoveling sands most of the years of an advancing desert.

Visualize people living on rivers; people living in valleys, and people living on mountain tops…

Do you think that they have many common psychological characteristics or that their social organizations are compatible?

Do you believe that the recent habit of the few 5% of world population, living in semi-cozy homes that shelter us from climatic rigor, has transformed our psychic of total dependence on climatic changes?

Billions of people living below the survival level have no shelters; billions are living in makeshift shelters.

Why do you think that if a few millions managed to build adequate shelters that mankind has conquered the weather, the sky, the sand, the snow, the rivers, the oceans, and the land?

Author Amelie Nothomb had stated hilarious facts of history that we tend to forget:

The civilization of the west needs to pinpoint an enemy to wage war against, for the sake of engaging in wars, camouflaged in ridiculous reasons.  The civilization of the East welcomes wars anytime, for the sake of fighting duels among equals in values, to the very end.  Cruelty of the western armies never reached the ankle of their Asian counterparts.”

For example, even after a ridiculous armistice is signed between the western and eastern armies, the psychological warfare in the east resumes until the adversary is totally exhausted and annihilated.

George W. Bush (Junior) was half lucky for selecting Iraq as the battlefield. The half part in the unluckiness was selecting a country bordering Iran and targeting Iran at the same time. 

At every period Iran was upset with the US politics, the US army in Iraq experienced acute pain, suffering, and disillusion in wining the war.

The more the western troops approach toward China the more the level of cruelty increases!

The western troops in Afghanistan are already loosing ground; the Taliban is controlling 70% of the land.  If the west tries to control Pakistan then higher levels of pain, suffering, and cruelty is awaiting its troops.

Note: It would be interesting to analyze the types of cruel behaviors inflicted on “enemies”.

For example, how the US annihilated the Indians, how the Spanish “Catholic civilization” annihilated the Indians in south America, how the Moguls ransacked countries they invaded, the atrocities of Japan in China and the countries it occupied, the mutilations exercised by European colonizers in Africa, the Congo, Western Africa, how the German and Dutch treated the occupied people

History will testify that the Zionist State of Israel tops all cultures in barbarity, humiliation, and cold cruelty. Israel synthesized cruelty tactics and methods and applied every single one of them, at the face of world community, without condemnations or retributions.

“Le sabotage amoureux” by Amelie Nothomb ((book review, December 10, 2008)

I have read 6 out of 16 books that Amelie Nothomb has published since 1992.  After I finish reading a book I exclaim: “This is the most hilarious, most intelligent, and the most instructive book that I read”.  It never fails:  “Le sabotage amoureux” is the one and the best.

Every paragraph generates a laugh, a tragic-comic laugh. Any one with a humor spirit and who laughs easily might find himself incarcerated in an asylum by the end of the book. Except for “Sulfuric Acid” that I have harshly critiqued, and still I am convinced that it was not written by the same Nothomb: it was not her style at all.

The “Amorous sabotage” is the story of a 7-year old girl falling totally and unconditionally in love of another 6-year old girl named Elena.

Amelie finds Elena the most beautiful girl in the whole world and Elena is the most conscious girl of her beauty and power to subjugate anyone; Elena’s lonely behavior of staying above the fray, walking very slowly and looking straight ahead was hiding a most dangerous inner power that did not encourage her to fall in love.  She still demanded that people look fixedly at her beauty and forcing deference to her presence.

The story is located in Peking during the monstrous “Gang of Four” rules that decimated China by famine and in spirit by destroying its past culture and manuscripts.  It is the years between 1972 and 75 and in the “ghetto” where the foreign diplomats were forced not to cross or mingle with the Chinese population.  The Chinese cook used to frequently recall the good old-time “dans l’autrefoid” (which he pronounced “dans l’eau tres froide”); a habit that cost him to disappear in thin air and be replaced by a lady cook who was convinced that there was no past to China.

Little Amelie defined communist States as series of City of Fans (ventilators).  The kids of the foreign diplomats in the ghetto had great times: they had their own war to fight and to torture the kidnapped enemy.  They started by the “Allied” kids against the East German until the leader of the East German kids suffered chronic bronchitis from frequent immersion in urine and forgotten over night to be released.

Amelie was the center of the universe, as she remembers, until she saw the new comer Elena.  The center was transferred to Elena by Amelie who could not stop looking at her and falling helplessly in love with Elena.  Amelie quickly realized that she does not exist to Elena but she had “to do something” to attract Elena’s attention.  Amelie was ready to obey any order from Elena and ran the school court 80 times, at Elena’s wishes, who didn’t even notice that the asthmatic Amelie was running.

The French Fabrice, a boy of 6, made Elena look at him and even he managed to produce a smile from her.

Amelie had categorized society into three classes: the adult girls (including mothers), the little girls, and the ridicule (all the rest of human kinds, especially those with ridiculous penis).  Fabrice was definitely in the group “ridiculous” and Amelie could not comprehend how Elena could stoop so low.

Amelie got seriously love-sick and her mother gave her the consignment to act as cool and as distant like Elena if she wanted Elena to love her.  Amelie obeyed and stuck to the consignment and Elena noticed her very much.  Elena started to invite Amelie to her house to play with her but Amelie consistently refused.

One day, the miracle happened. Elena cried saying “Amelie, you don’t love me” Amelie did the capital error of telling Elena that she was lying all the time, that it was all a role play, and that she never stopped loving her.  The table was turned over and Elena replied “That is all that I wanted to know” and resumed her older distant behavior toward Amelie.  It was about time to leave China to New York.

Twenty years later, Amelie overheard her father saying that Elena is gaining fast the title of “femme fatal” in Rome; many sweet hearts have committed suicides.  Amelie was overjoyed because Elena stayed loyal to her legend.

This book is packed with political acumen and sharp criticism of the ridiculous life and world of the grown ups, told from a kid’s perspective.

Humor has three pre-requisites: clear purpose, clear plan, and clear ideas; no wonder humor is a rare commodity.

“Metaphysique des tubes” by Amelie Nothomb, (Started November 30, 2008)

God needed exactly two years to express his wrath. 

During that time of gestation outside of the uterus, God was a Plant.  Worse, God was a Tube: food was entered in a mouth and then excreted.

The large green-gray eyes were focused on nothing; the eyes never expressed any sign of a desire in selecting a particular object, which means to refuse other objects for a specific one.

The plant/tube was content of his total inertia.  The “parents” tried once to raise it and made its tiny fingers grab the bar of the crib; the body fell unaffected and lay contented.

Nothing would move that “thing” and shake the child out of her “pathological lethargy“.

One day, God got mad.

Anger, the magnitude of the universe, made God roar, shout and gesticulate 22 hours a day for 6 months.

An accident might have disturbed his lethargic brain and the gates of hell got loose-opened.

The serene large eyes developed pupils darker than volcanic ashes, and more incandescent.

The parents were nostalgic of these years of serenity and blessings in disguise. The mother gave up holding the angry God: God would box her like the devil.

God is all-powerful and capable of anything, but he could not name things as the other “creatures” do, effortlessly and elegantly uttered them.

God got angrier and angrier at his helplessness and barely could sleep or let others sleep.

The grand day came; grand mother finally decided to travel from Belgium to Japan to see her third grandchild of an angry girl.  She entered the monster’s lair.

God had decided to bite the finger of the new visitor as soon as she approaches any kinds of fingers. Curiously, at the end of the fingers dangled a Belgian white chocolate.

The God/Monster had a bite of the chocolate and discovered voluptuousness.  God defined the new discovery as: Voluptuousness is “I”; I am “voluptuousness”.

The grandmother carried victoriously the born-again God, happily cuddled in her arms; she would not divulge her demonizing secret.

After two and a half years of gestation, God was alive, in motion, and out of her potent inertia.  Amelie’s long-lasting love for any thing with heavy sugar content started…

This is the most hilarious book that I have read so far and the most intelligent.  I would love to translate it in English word for word but I need money too.

“Stupor and quavering” by Amelie Nothomb  

Stupeur et tremblements by Amelie Nothomb, (Book review, October 30, 2008)

Amelia Nothomb in her captivating, touching and very funny book of 189 pages “Stupeur et tremblements” describes her experiences for a whole year at the Japanese Import/Export large company of Yumimoto in 1990.  The title was extracted from the behavior and acting of any Japanese in the presence of the Emperor.

As a mater of fact, the entire story is mostly a long series of stupor and quavering by the Japanese employees, who are dealing with the culture of a western girl.  As we recall, Amelie was born in Japan when her dad was the Belgian Consul and loved her first 5 years there and felt that Japan was her homeland after so many transfers to other countries. Amelie returned to Japan with fresh recollections of her sweet and unforgettable years there as a child.  Amelie will discover at her expense that she was not to prove in business meetings with other friendly Japanese companies that she understands the Japanese language!

Amelie managed to have a life after her 10-hour work day, but she decided to focus her autobiography of that year on her work at the enterprise. Nothomb described in details the strict hierchical structure of the company, its unwritten rules, the behavior of the employees, and the status of women in society.

With or without a contract, an employee at that period was not expected to be fired. The initiative for leaving a company was left to the employee who would have to meet personally with each boss in the higher levels in the hierarchy and present his resignation.  A sample of the verbal resignation should be stated is what Amilie memorized “We are at the end of term of my contract and I would like to announce to you my regret for not being able to renew it.  The company of Yumimoto offered me multiple occasions to prove my potentials.  I will be eternally grateful. Unfortunately, I could not satisfy the expectation of the honor accorded to me.”

It is unheard of that an employee could take the initiative without the permission of his immediate boss or even complains to a higher level.  In general, the higher levels would refrain from undercutting the responsibilities of the immediate boss, although they could and had the total right to curse, lambaste and humiliate any lower level employee in front of all the employees for no specific reasons; the cadre was not permitted to defend himself or speak; all that he should be doing is to lower his head and show respect until the verbal storm is over.

For example, Mori Fubuki, a most beautiful and classy lady of 29 boss of Amelie, was subject of such a scene.  Mori hurried to the toilet to cry her eyes out and Amelie followed her to express her compassion as western custom is preponderant; Mori was greatly furious that Amelie dared to see her crying and she vowed to humiliate her at the extreme.  Fubuli thus decided to relegate Amelie to cleaning the toilets for seven months at 44th floor of the building or the accounting department.

Fubuki selected the boring task of classifying receipts by company names and ordering them by date of receipt to punish Amelie.  Amelie ordered the names of the German companies called GMBH in one file on account that any additional prefix can only mean to be an affiliate to GMBH; it turned out that GMBH stands for Ltd in German.  The accounting cadre laughed very hard and every employee shared in the merriment.  Fubuki was humiliated because Amelie was her responsibility.

Fubuki then endeavored to find a task for Amelie that does not require “intelligence”.  Amelie was assigned to verify the accounting of business charge trips.  The genius of Amelie was that for a whole month not a single number matched!  Calculating and accounting was the worst job that could be asked of her.  Fubuli knew that Amelie will never finish the job but she waited patiently for Amelie to concede defeat.

The way I see it, the President of the company (not necessarily the owner) should be considered as God; as such he should be handsome, tall, soft spoken, and no one except the Vice-President is permitted to visit him or a cadre he summons to see.  The job of the Vice-President is play Bad Cop; as such he should look ugly, an ogre, and should be trained to curse and his powerful voice should transmit far away; basically, the Vice-President is to keep all cadres to their proper place in the hierarchy and remind them that no one is above the unwritten rules.

Once, Amelie took the initiative of aiding a cadre from another section without asking permission of Fubuki.  Fubuki wrote a complaint to Omochi and the cadre and Amelie had a thorough wash down.  Fubuki would not allow a new comer to be promoted quickly when she had to suffer for ten years to get her present promotion.

Nothomb explains why the Japanese society comprehends and admit crazy people in their company: this authoritarian society with strictly controlled morals at work and in families has a high rate of males cracking down and losing it.  The women are more controlled than men in society but they manage not to reach the act of committing suicide, an act viewed within society as the ultimate in honor for a woman; may be the only honorable decision that a woman can make beside marrying before the age of 25.

Working and breeding are the only tasks of a woman; she should not expect much in promotion or eccentricity or compliments. Children are treated as God till the age of three; from 3 to 18 they are sent to schools with “military” discipline; from 18 to 25 offspring have the only break in their lives to be free in university settings; then they are back to concentration camps in their enterprises and strict duties and responsibilities to their institutions.

The Japanese fathers have an inkling of giving infinitive verbs for names to their boys such as “Work”; whereas females receive poetic names such as “Snow”, Rain”, or “Flower”.

Here is a list of prescriptions that women have to follow to the letters:

  1. If you are not married by the age of 25 then you have good reasons to be ashamed.
  2. If you laugh then you will not be distinguished.
  3. If your face shows feelings then you are vulgar.
  4. If you mention that you have a single hair on your body then you are vile.
  5. If a boy kisses you in public on the cheek then you are a whore.
  6. If you eat with pleasure then you are a sow.
  7. If you experience pleasure sleeping then you are a cow.
  8. If you go to the toilet for body releases then make sure nobody hear anything.
  9. You should never sweat  Thus avoid voluptuous love making.
  10. You should not marry for love.
  11. If you fall in love then you were not educated well.
  12. Stay thin because males do not appreciate round shapes in the body

All the sufferings in sticking to these precepts have the sole objective of preserving your honor and nothing else.

In 1993, Amelie had published two books and Fubuki sent her a brief letter in Japanese saying simply “Congratulation”.




July 2020

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