mind that some key Government departments still don't have a photocopier,
the "first world" manages by way of globalisation to dribble its
way onto our scrappily managed islands.
banking is happening, so is text messaging, everyone has a cell phone, its
not inconceivable that soon we'll be shopping online for our groceries,
and phrases such as "operation anaconda" make us practically
American or first world or wherever you'd like to be.
so we are mimic men but in a world where one man called Bush owns the
biggest propaganda machinery in the globe, has the power to bomb the life
out of anyone who's against him, who's fighting it?
mind that 23 per cent of the population is totally illiterate, that
the school system annually spits out thousands of teenagers who can't
read, that more than 300,000 people live on less than US$2 a day.
the empty shell rot. It's the veneer that counts. But nature abhors a
vacuum (created by our pompous, self seeking politicians) and
globalisation gladly fills it with sausage meat. Literally.
reality is that globalisation, instead of being the great equaliser of
this century is exporting ill-health to developing countries to those who
can least afford to get sick. In two words: fatty foods.
December 13 edition of The Economist has a graphic cover showing the
evolution of man from ape in a series of images-the one following man is
alarming -an obese man hunched with fat holding a large plastic glass of
blurb reads "Much of the world is getting fat. It's unhealthy, and it
costs everybody money. Politicians are wondering whether to act."
Economist refers to three Harvard economists who point out in their paper,
‘Why have Americans become more obese?’, that in the past, if people
wanted to eat fatty hot food, they had to cook it. That took time and
energy-which discouraged consumption of that sort of food. Mass
preparation of food took away that constraint. Nobody has to cut and
double-cook their own fries these days. Who has the time?
to sausages. I nearly gagged at The Economist's description of what goes
sausages have for years been made largely of fat, re-hydrolysed "drind"-dried
pig rind, which expands when water is added to it. The rest is mostly rusk,
which gives texture and holds water, with a bit of sugar for browning the
outside and a lot of salt to make it taste of anything. The result is a
limp, fatty, pink cylinder, about as unhealthy as a food can be."
from our addiction to sugar (which we can blame on our colonisers) the
mimic men amongst us must be proud to say that we are equally, if not more
at risk than the Americans for obesity and its attendant diseases.
Geoffrey Frankson who runs a wellness centre has been warning us for over
a decade now that we are dying of lifestyle diseases-meaning we are too
fat. Obesity he says is directly linked to heart disease, cancer,
diabetes, high blood pressure, the works. Put bluntly, American fat and
Caribbean sugar is killing us.
while America can afford to spend millions in correcting the damage done
by fast food companies, with high-end gyms, organic foods, designer diets,
trainers, and more importantly mass education and a decent health care
system where does that leave us?
disintegrating health care system (that is discriminatory towards the
poor) can barely handle the every-day cuts and bruises of our population
and is appallingly deficient and unable to handle the fat related diseases
or "lifestyle diseases" from which most of us die.
Frankson once brought the point home hard when he referred to our blithe
unawareness (and the irony) of the high proportion of fat and obese nurses
who everyday take care of patients who are in our institutions dying of
fat related diseases.
are moves afoot to restrict companies ability to sell to children. Those
who support such moves argue that once people are fat, it is hard for them
to get thin; and tastes are established early.
touchiest subject of all is a "fat tax". At present, thin people
subside fat people. According to a study by America's Centres for Disease
Control and RTI International, a consultancy, obese people cost Medicaid
an extra US$1,486 each. Med extra $864 each and private insurers an extra
$423 each. So, the argument goes, just as governments tax cigarettes both
to discourage smoking and to pay for its consequences, they should tax the
things that make people fat.
states and cities in America, including New York and California, levy
special taxes on snack foods, sweets or soft drinks. Australia's
"general sales tax" introduced a couple of years ago, is levied
on snacks and convenience foods. The fat tax is already here, and is
likely to grow."
the FTAA barking at our heels, it is perhaps time we fill up our empty
caverns of ignorance and poverty with the health foods that are abundantly
available to us all-from the everyday pumpkin and callaloo, to the
homegrown provisions and fruit around us. We can use our savannahs and our
beaches and roads to work out, we can buy a gym membership instead of a
even if we can't do anything about our lifeless education and health
systems, about successive governments that have failed to protect
consumers, educate our people, or act in our interests, (a fat tax? how
can they act when they are unaware of the problems?) we can start by
saying "no" to unhealthy exploitative globalisation in our own
way by taking charge of our own bodies.