Fast Times in San Fran

Once again, long time, no post. Yet, the dam of thoughts have overflown and I couldn’t resist another post.

1. A glimpse of Asia in SF.

Last week, the retailing giant, Bloomingdales opened up in a new shopping mall in the center of the city. Today I decided to go see what all the fuss was about and was greeted with huge swarms of people milling about, checking out the shops and taking advantage of the discounts being offered.

Bloomingdales had the best offer which was free umbrellas if you filled out a survey. However, their scheme of gleaning information for umbrellas went splat on the ground. What happened was reminiscent of my experiences in China and Vietnam. If you’re going to give away anything of value, be prepared to be swarmed. It took approx, .5 seconds after finding the umbrellas to notice the line 6 miles long of ethnic Chinese with surveys in hand. Then it hit me, and I finally understood why all the Chinese people in the mall were walking around with four and five umbrellas of the same type and I burst out in laughter. My mind immediately flashed back to Vietnam and the crowds that gather there and how you must push and shove to get your freebee.

The Bloomingdales staff looked none too happy since the information they were receiving in the surveys was bogus as most Chinese in line did not speak English very well at all and were copying each others answers. The umbrellas were being given away on each floor and the Chinese were really making out by no sooner receiving an umbrella on one floor, handing it to the family umbrella holder and going to the next floor. I think most of China town must have been empty during this bonanza.

Now, given my experience in the third world, I absolutely know these umbrellas are going to be sold tomorrow for about $10 in China Town. You gotta hand it to the Chinese for being able to spot an opportunity and take it!

Once the Bloomingdales officials understood what was happening, they stopped the free umbrella promotion much to the dismay of many Chinese. I was lucky enough to be next to one who was yelling at one of the mall security people. “You say free umbrewa until 7pm, now you no give! You give umbrewa!”

Adapting back to America is a piece of cake!

2. Politics

Again, I had a flashback to communist China when I heard the most recent statement of our “Dear Leader” GWB. GW was responding to a report that was splashed all over the media which said the war in Iraq would actually make the USA “less safe.” GW responded my saying that the report was “confusing the American people.” For those of you who never visited the Marxist countries this is a textbook quote. Whenever the censors miss something and make the rulers look bad, the information is always (take your pick)

1. wrong information
2. misguided
3. rogue elements
4. enemies of the people of (insert country)
and now we are “confused!”

Apparently, invading another country, killing their citizens, torturing them, ignoring international agreements does not make them hate us. To think so would be “being confused.”

1984 anyone?

3. Linguistics

After an absence of five years in America, my vocabulary is simply not up to date. For the benefit of my ex-pat friends, let me bring you up to date.

1. Lying, in order to glean information illegally is now known as “pretexting.” For example, if you want to know what crimes your co-worker has committed and tell the cops you are a reporter from a famous newspaper to get the info, you are simply “pretexting,” which is much less worse than lying.
2. You no longer try to “change someone’s opinion.” Now, it is a “fight for the hearts and minds.” Violent vocabulary is encouraged and try to use the word “fight” or “battle” in front of every sentence explaining what you are trying to accomplish.
3. “Send more soldiers.” Soldiers are now referred to as “boots.” “Boots” implies a commodity, or something not living. Please don’t say “humans” “fathers” “brothers” “sisters” or anything that sounds remotely alive. “Boots” will now be used. So, “sending more soliders” is now “boots on the ground.”
4. Muslims
This group of people is really really angry. They control the political discourse now and should you say anything negative about them, there are going to be riots and death. But perhaps this is the way the pendulum should swing as Western policies has caused many of these people to become impoverished, and with no jobs, nothing else to do except visit the local Mosque and learn how to hate the West. The grand civilization that introduced mathmatics and astronomy 1000 years ago has disappeared and now there’s a lot of really pissed off people out there.

Of course not all blame can be shouldered by the west as many Muslim leaders have been horrendous, but we cannot forget that good leaders cannot do much with a really unhappy population. Also, blowing up their towns and killing their husbands, mothers, and children is not going to endear them to us no matter how good the intentions were previously and even though our “leader” calls us confused. Where o’ where art thou Colin Powell! Come back! And why do you let that nasty Pentagon roll over you dear State Department! Quit taking its bullying!

If any government department should be trusted, it should be the State Department as they are the ones who actually live in other countries and sometimes (stress sometimes) truly understand their dilemmas unlike the war hounds whose entire training has only been to kill the other side.

On a side note, the San Francisco Chronical ran a “profile” of American Muslims. One was of an overweight white woman who decided to convert to Islam last year. She simply cannot understand why so many people change their attitudes about her when she decides to wear her headscarf. Now converting is just fine, but not being able to understand why peoples opinions change when most of the population in this piece of land called America are none too happy with such people who recently ran planes in to buildings is just lacking any modicum of damn common sense. It seems to me she is one of those who are just dying for attention and have one of those complexities where you are gain some sick type of gratification by being ostracized. One might call this masochistic but I prefer the more colloquial term “just plain retarded.”

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! (^.^)/


  1. The sad type of attention seekers we have here in Denmark as well.
    There is this guy, perhaps in his early twenties, who frequently walks by my windows. He is the whitest boy alive but still walks around in full Osama gear. Complete with camouflage vest, long Afghan garb and a scarf round his head. He even has a long beard. I hope for his sake it is real

  2. Mateo,
    If you read the actual UN Resolutions, you’ll find that we were legally allowed to enter Iraq based on their breaking of the resolutions that ended the war. Not arguing whether or not it was the right thing to do (and I think that it could end up being the right thing to do, but only if the current Iraqi gov’t stays in power and they continue with their constitution), but it wasn’t illegal or ignoring international agreements.

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