elb's hovel of thoughts

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Boycotts: Oppressing the innocent and the poor

Update 17/2:
'Consumer boycotts of Danish goods in Muslim countries in protest at publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad are costing Denmark's companies millions, and has raised fears of irreparable damage to trade ties.
'Arla, which draws some 6 percent of its revenues from the Arab Gulf states, employs about 1,500 people in the region. Mikkelsen warned the company may have to start laying off workers if the boycott continued.'
Are you boycott supporters happy yet? You only cause misery for the Muslims employed by the Danish companies.
Original post as follows:
Seriously. Would you like it if someone were to impose a boycott of buying made in Malaysia goods? No? Why not? China could be all pansy and cease trade with Malaysia with the excuse that the Chinese are treated as #### (you know what I'm on about).

Except that Denmark's government has nothing to do with the independent newspaper (can we say the same about Malaysia?) that is in the centre of all this. So to be fair they can choose not to apologize. Remember that some of those caricatures would never have been portrayed that way if not for the terrorism (it is a fact that most of the terrorist attacks that have been carried out were by Muslims, so don’t accuse me of being Islam-bashing and all that).

Let’s imagine if we got boycotted. Semiconducters, steel, cars (not like that one is a great loss), palm oil, the whole jalopy. Who suffers? Sure the fat cats do suffer (some deserve it), but the impact (if you can even call it that) on them is not that painful. Guess who really suffers? The bloody everyday worker, who usually cares not for politics and all that. The man whose very survival depends on the external markets. The rubber tapper who suddenly finds no one wants to buy the latex that he sweated hours for. The man with a wife and six kids who finds himself retrenched from his job at the palm oil estate because his employer cannot afford to pay the wages. The engineer who gets laid off because people will not buy Malaysian-made AMD and Intel chips.

Boycotts seriously do not work. All you do is to ruin the lives of the many innocent people who are trying to make a decent living. Many of them are not well off, many of them are moderates who wish for nothing more than peace instead of the hatred you throw at them, and have absolutely nothing to do with whatever conflict you conjure up. I believe in the use of trade to generate wealth for everyone.

Can you see it? Don't know about you all, but I love Denmark. That's right. I mean, I've been supporting Danish products for years (with the exception of the piss beer Carlsberg/ Jacobsen). I've had countless Lego sets which I got when I was kid. I love their butter cookies. Part of my childhood magic was woven by Hans Christian Anderson. I listen to my Bang & Olufsen when I go out. Danish pastries are the best stuff in the world; I’d take it over Krispy Kreme anyday. I spread Lurpak butter on my bread. Pickled herrings are delish, too.

The same goes to those who boycott Israeli products. Hi, if you really want to boycott the Jews, I would suggest that you unplug your phone and throw away your mobile phones. Turn off your computer and bin it. Don’t drive. Ladies, stop using that birth control pill and don’t wear MNG. Don’t vaccinate your children. And so on. You hate the Jews and wish to boycott them? Come on, do it properly.

Many Jews are very nice people (I count Jews amongst my friends), and they (those that I know, anyway) feel very sad about the Middle-Eastern conflict. Of course I have Arab friends as well (and they are absolutely fabulous too), just in case you were to start to nitpick me about being impartial towards the Jews. Speaking about that, I read somewhere that before Islam came to be, Arabs and Jews actually co-existed peacefully. Correct me if I am wrong.


Coming to think of it, I feel the urge to make a trip to Legoland. Too bad that I’m too busy.

5 Comments:

  • well said. :)

    frankly, i think it's blown out of proportion..the violence, the boycottting, the cutting of trade ties...

    *sigh*

    i wish people will practice what they preach.

    By Anonymous foong jin, at Thursday, February 16, 2006 4:51:00 pm  

  • Are people still going on about boycotting? Wtf.

    Btw, today I had Carslberg. Hmm... refreshing Danish import.

    By Blogger Jon, at Thursday, February 16, 2006 9:31:00 pm  

  • jin: they lack brains.
    jon: yeh they still are:

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/2/17/apworld/20060217074608&sec=apworld

    'Consumer boycotts of Danish goods in Muslim countries in protest at publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad are costing Denmark's companies millions, and has raised fears of irreparable damage to trade ties. '

    And as I have predicted: 'Arla, which draws some 6 percent of its revenues from the Arab Gulf states, employs about 1,500 people in the region. Mikkelsen warned the company may have to start laying off workers if the boycott continued.'

    'The boycott has also spawned a grass-roots Internet campaign by people around the world urging others to "Buy Danish.'- similar to the 'Purchase Israeli Products' campaign.

    By Blogger elb, at Friday, February 17, 2006 2:06:00 am  

  • The thing about boycott in general is I support it. But for me it has always been about selective boycotts that has ethical implications. For example I do not buy from fashion houses that still make products containing fur nor do I buy stuff from Caterpiller.

    Another thing is the issue of Jewish people and Israelis. In Britain, it seems that there are Jews who are offended by any political attack on Israelis. Just yesterday the head Rabbi of Council of British Jews attacked the Church of England over the withdrawal of shares from Caterpiller.

    This provide an illusion that all Jews=Israelis. I have friends who are British Jews who has no interest with the state of Israel. Similarly even though I am ethnic Chinese, any boycott of China will have no affect on me and I certaintly wouldn't accuse people of racism.

    So I do hope that any 'boycott Israel' should not be interpretated as a racist gesture on the Jewish people.

    Having said that a boycott (insert country name) is the most stupid thing to do. From what I understand it was a (singular) Danish paper who published the cartoons and yet there are those in Malaysia who wants to 'punish' a whole nation (as though it is possible).

    There are hard working Israelis who do not share the hardline stand of their government just like there are Malaysians who do not share the thoughts of the Malaysian government and Danish who are ashamed of what the paper did.

    If general boycotts should be called due to the action of a few, should we now actively promote the boycott of Malaysian products sold overseas?

    By Blogger Jon, at Friday, February 17, 2006 2:18:00 pm  

  • jon: i know what you mean. but there's only so much sense that you can hope out of them; in general, they lack education and are easily swayed by religious leaders.

    By Blogger elb, at Friday, February 17, 2006 6:25:00 pm  

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