Thursday, October 11, 2018

Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle at age 100 I don't agree with this article. I think too much of current novels are preoccupied with minutiae of suburban or middle class life, esp. "white life" or rich Asian life--too much love and sex and violence. I much prefer the Dickensian big picture which takes on the world. In fact why I am reading this is I want to write about the monks of the Saffron Revolution, who fled to Thailand, then gained asylum in USA (upstate NY) and then had to earn a living in a chicken factory. U Gambira became brain damaged due to beatings in prison. He said before he was arrested, he had spent his entire life as a novice and a monk. Buddhist monks aren't supposed to kill. In Thailand I saw shrimp packing and tuna canning factories at Mahachai (Big Fort). I was taken by a university contact to "the good ones" so I can only imagine what the really bad looked like. Also, I only saw the healthy workers. They lived in open huts or lean-tos built against the shrimp factory wall. When the students started asking Qs, such as "Can't you provide chairs so the workers can sit down?" The manager answered, "Wood chairs will dissolve? /splinter in the water." After that my contact stopped translating. In the shrimp factory there was 10 inches of water on the floor, though the workers had white boots on. At the tuna canning factory the conveyor belt was set at tock tock tock, as you would read this. So--I believe Upton Sinclair. I immediately gave away the canned tuna I received from the factory tour. The industry is not only cruel to animals but also to the workers, as witness the workers (today, now, in 2018) throwing and slamming turkeys about. AS for pigs squealing, my husband and I and a western guest heard a heart-rending squeal, which could only have come from the baby pigs (for suckling pig) we saw in a cage on our way up, being killed with a spear. Somehow I didn't realize when I saw the pink piglets that they would be on the menu soon. --I have not eaten suckling pig since, except maybe one Thanksgiving when my Karen friends (Karen is a Burmese ethnic group) brought in a whole roast pig from Italian Market in Phila. I still eat meat, but less and fortunately I like beans and bean products such as tofu and fake meat and crab meat made of gluten. Another Karen lady was a vet and a USDA meat inspector, so she knows all about sausage meat. kmk 10-11-2018