Thursday, October 02, 2008

Faked in China.........

A walk through a bustling marketplace. Well, a surreal experience indeed. A different form of advertising – raspy screams talking about the wares being sold. Festival season – the whole of Mumbai is on the streets, buying flowers, fruits, and all things religious. Women – well, haggling comes naturally to them and every raspy scream is followed by a ‘ barabar ka bhaav bolo’! and somewhere, in some nondescript corner, preferably under the shadow of a tree, is another person – someone with a stand as easy to carry around as a portable stereo! He does not scream at all. Although the customer knows exactly where to find him. A case where the mountain comes to Mohammed. Anyway, walking through the marketplace, a hushed voice says – “Madam, all new DVD. Beshht kolty. Seedha China se aaya hai!” And true to his word, there were DVDs of movies released yesterday, movies that would release next week! And no, this is not new. One of my friends who was in China recently, recounts how the then new Bond movie DVDs were lying callously on roadsides. And I thought – was this free enterprise? Or infiltration of the third kind? Or was this just plain something that the Chinese were good at – ‘faking it’?

Recent cases – Chinese astronauts delivering their successful mission speech and the airing of the same prior to take off! The man faking the picture of the rare tiger. The girl who lip synched at the Olympics, because the original singer was not ‘pretty enough’. Adulterated milk packs getting ‘OK’ labels pasted on them. The Chinese company, Taian Chiran Machinery Company Ltd, had been reportedly marketing a copy of India’s Bajaj Pulsar motorbikes in different Latin American markets under a certain ‘Gulsar’ brand and had launched it in Sri Lanka in 2006 under the Ranomoto brand. Also, since ages, Bajaj’s landmark autorickshaw that is ubiquitous on Indian roads was made and marketed by Chinese manufacturers under the name of Bajaj Auto! But settlements, IPR infringements? Who cares?

Cut to 2005. India – China was big news. Time magazine,Forbes, the Wall street journal, everyone was high on India – China – The great Dragon-Elephant dance. People spoke of the bright future as having the trail blazing zest of the dragon with the rock solid support of the elephant. So, although the Dragon – Elephant tango sounds ambitious, I am sure both the dancers would look upon one another in any way but with love! I for one have never been a huuuuuuge fan of the Chinese! I really liked a Sino – Indian relationship tracker on the site – check this out. at the recent nuclear deal. Nehru had vociferously supported China’s inclusion in the UN ages ago. And when the time came to return a favor, China, who had pledged to support India’s bid for the nuclear deal, ended up being the largest hurdle! We all remember the recent controversy surrounding India’s Arunachal Pradesh – the Chinese called the state their own and refused to grant a visa to an Arunachal Pradesh member of a visiting delegation. Who grants a visa for one’s own???? The fact remains that Chinese at least for many Indians, are a group to be wary of. So with such a past and the publicly well known terrible track record on human rights, I am really not surprised that the Chinese could be called the masters of the FAKEiverse!

Let me attempt a personal anthropological evaluation of why this happens. For years Chinese were rejected by the world community. Their growth story still has had thought leaders stunned. Their population is what they were always associated with in the past. But to give credit where it is due, their economic model of being a core manufacturing oriented economy is noteworthy, unlike ours, where a great part of GDP comes from services. But another not so commendable aspect is the gross disrespect of human rights. Chinese working conditions are notoriously bad! But as a community who has faced censure all along – from invasions by the Mongol barbarians to exploitation by the West, they now had a success story to tell, and they wanted to hold back nothing while presenting a picture to the world. Everything should be ‘inch-perfect’, even if it took a certain degree of ‘fabrication’. "Our people are beautiful, talented. We manufacture, we market, we are the future." And when faults are condoned by authorities who also want to see China as the single dominator of the world, at all costs, such follies are bound to arise! And we as a world community need to take the dragon with a cartload of salt!


hercules said...

you still haven't added the fact that they had a fake Bourne too ... :)

Neha said...

China is expert in faking any item on this earth.They have large population and has to provide employment.For ethics sake they should print made in " India " in Chinese language..The pity is EU and USA purchase their cultural symbols/flags from China.
China can produce anything but should print made in China on the item.