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Pens in China, Coke in India, and A Neglected Column

At Simon World there’s a post about this bit of news:

China’s annual pen production now totals 29 billion, accounting for 80 percent of the global market share.

Simon notes that

You never see a pen in the picture of the desperate and impoverished. Flies, malnurished kids and dust. But no pens.

And that’s true. When I traveled in India, kids asked me for all kinds of things: candy, chocolate bars, money (of course) but the most stunningly common request was for pens, ballpoint or otherwise. I was shocked. So I suppose eschewing the pen would be an effective form of economic warfare against China, then? Ah, hell, you’ll never get me off pens, though. But more demand for decent refillable pens might still cut into their profits some. Ah, always with the science-fictional econowar scenarios, me.

His Asia By Blog column was a little shorter than usual this week. I wonder if fewer people are posting worthwhile material (most of my posts of late have been either on ESL stuff, or personal things) or because fewer people are reciprocally linking to the worthwhile column. I know I’ve been remiss in posting, as I’ve fallen behind in all of my feeds and because is, for some reason I cannot fathom, blocked on the server at the school where I am working. Bloody annoying, that.

Oooh, one more link from the Asia By Blog column: guess what cotton farmers have been using Coke for in India? It’s not a surprise to me, since one of the big news stories when I was there centered on some study having found pesticides in the stuff, but still… it’s funny. People I know use Coke to clean their drains, but I am amused when someone finds an agricultural use for it!

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