Saturday, August 30, 2008


A Book Review

By Kevin Stoda

In the wake of two sets of events in India this past month, it is appropriate to review Chetan Bhagat’s recent novel, The 3 Mistakes of My Life.

The first occasion in August 2008 that I am referring to was the rise of youthful and sometimes violent protest once again in Srinagar, with the greatest call in years for Jammu-Kashmir to separate from India. This renewed manifestation of protests has occurred in response to the June and July boycotts of Jammu-Kashmir by Hindu groups who were upset at the loss of a land grant which had been awarded to them under shady circumstances some months ago.

The second event in August 2008, which dealt with the same problems of intra-religious and intercultural infighting in India, was the rise of Hindu attacks on Christians in Orissa. In this case a Christian orphanage was attacked after a Maoist murder of a Hindu leader. The number of Hindu nationalists seeking to attack Christians, especially Christian delist, in recent years in that eastern India state have increased greatly in recent years—as the leaders of Orissan government refuse to intervene and truly protect religious minorities.

In the context of modern India, Chetan Bhagat has been reported to be the biggest-selling English-language novelist in India’s history. Baghat is still in his 30s and lives much of the time outside of India. Bhagat’s first three novels have been called block busters. Currently, both of his first two books, one night @ the call center and Five Point Someone, are being made into Bollywood films. For the non-Indian reader, the works o Bhagat provide great insight into 21st century experiences of Indian youth.

In 3 Mistakes, Bhagat takes on the topics of intra-religious hate and political warfare in India. He does it by handling very youthful genres of love, i.e. (a) one’s first love, (b) love of mathematics, and (c) love of the game of cricket.

3 Mistakes is set mostly in Ahmadabad, Gujarat where the author spent many of his formative year. (Incidentally, it is also the home of Mohandas Gandhi’s ashram.) This tale mostly takes place in the year leading up to the Great Gujarat Earthquake of 2001 and the period then leading up to the terrible ethnic communal riots and violence of the following year.

Five of the six main characters are of Hindu descent. (Only one is Muslim.) However, the first person narrator for most of the tale, Govind Patel, considers himself more of an atheist than religious. Similarly, one of his best friends and cricket coach, Ishaan (known as Ish), is not interested in religion either--and is even less interest in combining religion and politics.
This is a common theme of moderation and secularization among five of the six main character’s personalities in some ways is the call of modern India—not just a call of its youth. Particularly, Ish is much more interested in promoting his youthful cricket prodigy, Ali, than he is in the world of nationalist politics, socialization, and education.

Only Ish and Govind’s friend and business partner, Omi, is a fairly religious figure among the three closest friends in the novel. However, Omi’s father, Mama, is interested in Hindu nationalism and promoting the status of Hindus in modern India.

Furthermore , Mama wants to be seen as leader in the Ahmadabad Hindu political scene and strives to increase his status throughout the novel. In short he is a Hindu nationalist temple priest with ambition.

The sixth of the six main characters in Bhagat’s 3 Mistakes is Ish’s sister, Vidya, whom Govind tutors in math and science throughout most of the novel.


India is a cricket crazy land. One of Bollywood’s greatest blockbusters of the last decade, Lagan, was based on the game of cricket. In 3 Mistakes, cricket plays a central role as well.

First, cricket is a business. Govind, Ish and Omi open a cricket shop in the corner across from a Hindu temple run by Omi’s family for generations. In this way, the three young men attempt to make a living without directly following in the path that their parents would like to have seen them go.

Ish is the number one fan of cricket among the three. The successes and failures of the national Indian cricket team constantly affect success in their sales of cricket equipment and cricket clients for training on the pitch. For example, after the Indian team makes a historic upset over the Australian team, not only does the country go bonkers over cricket, but the cricket business in Ahmadabad booms.

Likewise, in the phenomena of the young cricketer, Ali, Ish (as the cricket shop trainer) finds his true passion in life, which goes beyond just overseeing young Indians learning to play cricket better. He desires to improve cricket education for all in the schools of Ahmadabad.

In the meantime, Ish becomes extremely concerned with Ali’s welfare and sees the gifted young man and his success on the playing field as a symbol of national hope for all of India. Ish often calls Ali a national gift to all Indians—regardless of race, faith or gender.

Eventually, this desire to see Ali succeed pushes Govind, Ish and Omi to first travel to Goa to meet with Australian cricket players and to get an expert opinion on the future of their young cricket prodigy. These experts then agree to bring Ali and his friends to Australia to train a week with a club in Sydney.

Ish and his friends are in awe of the fact that a country with Australia’s population can constantly put together world class cricket teams. In contrast, India with 60 times the talent pool cannot do nearly as well. Therefore, one rationale for taking the foursome out of India on this journey to Australia is meant to show Indian readers how they need to reorganize their sports education better in the future. In short, Australia is portrayed as an alternative world of sports training and education, which author Bhagat uses as a foil to educate his readers about one possible future India could have if it determined to use its human resources and educational system in a more productive and nationally supportive fashion.


Over the years, I have known many Indian math tutors who love cricket. They love the science and strategy involved. They support their national team but fairly even-handedly criticize national stars who fail to support good team ideals.

Mathematics is a way of bringing order to a world that might otherwise appear to be the domain of randomness and surprise. In short, conquering on the cricket pitch is equivalent to ordering one’s universe most productively.

As noted above, Govind is the business savvy partner of the three cricket shop owners. At times, Govind is also a bit arrogant and often disregards his friends advice, especially Omi’s warnings that Govind should stop trying to tutor Ish’s sister.

Nonetheless, no one can deny that Govind is bright and he could likely be anything that he chose to be.

Govind’s father died when he was young. He helped turn around his mother’s small ailing business when he was still in high school, i.e. through his introduction of clear management and accounting practices.

Govind is also the only one of the three friends who had attended university—although he bailed out early to realize his dream of running his own business.. Like many Indians talented in math and science, Govind found a calling early on as a tutor in his neighborhood.

Even after the cricket shop opens on Omi’s family land, rented to the threesome by the temple family, Govind continues to love tutoring, especially the subject of mathematics. He is fascinated by numbers, probability, risk taking, etc. However, he strives to have order in his world and, like Ish, tries to stay out of the fray of the rising Hindu nationalism around them.

Govind, in his first-person narration in 3 Mistakes, reveals this love for numbers. He can calculate costs and benefits at great speed. It is these very skills and overall wisdom and logic which partially endears him to his friends and their families

On the other hand, it is this very same respect for both Govind’s math and tutoring skills that imperils his relationship with Ish. In a turning point in Govind’s life, Ish begs Govind to tutor his sister Vidya, who is just getting ready to turn 18 and has plans to go off to college in Mumbai.


According to both Bhagat and first-person narrator, Govind, Vidya is different than many other young Indian women. (Indian guidebooks relate that the gender roles in South Asian society are historically much distinguishable--more evidentially different--from one another than they are in the West.)

Near the end of the novel, Baghat indicates several times that would-be mother-in-laws would find Vidya as a bride-to-be quite daunting. She approaches the world with a character and drive uncommon for women in India. She almost always speaks what is on her mind and advocates a strong recognition of right for youth to make their own individual choices in how to live their lives.

Although she is Govind’s tutor, she quickly becomes his tutor in courting and thinking critically about some facets of own life which he has heretofore tried to ignore.

On the other hand, as the novel unfolds this courtship is fairly slow as public distance among the sexes is promoted in Indian tradition (and how societal norms continue to function in India to this very day). For example, although Govind is several years older than Vidya, he does everything he can throughout the book to maintain the illusion that he is simply tutoring Vidya in maths—nothing more.

Vidya is the one who normally has to set up dates, even if it is under the guise of shopping for a new science book. This is the way it still is for most Indians today. Dating is just not done by most in India—even now in the 3rd millennium. Dating could affect a woman’s virtue in the eyes of family, friends or society in much of India.

On the other hand, there is another pressure for secrecy in the relationship between Vidya and Govind that even westerners can comprehend. This is because, even in the West, there are certain commonly accepted concepts or codes of trust in any friendship. One of these codes is simply: Do not try and date your best friend’s sister, especially behind his or her back.

I am referring here to Ish’s love and trust for Govind.
In fact, both Ish and his family have placed great trust in Govind. Govind is seen as part of the family—so to speak—helping to raise their daughter to succeed in the competitive entrance exams of India’s university system.

In short, Govind constantly feels bad and conflicted for his deceit, and he is ashamed when Omi first confronts him with his indiscretion while on their trip to Australia. (This occurs when Omi discovers Govind has spent much of their meal money for that day on a long phone call back to Vidya in India.)

It appears clear that the storyteller Bhagat and his first-person narrator Govind, believe the first of the three big mistakes in Govind’s life has to do with falling in love with his best friend’s sister.


The first big historical crisis to intervene in the lives of the protagonists in this novel by Bhagat is the Great Gujarati Earthquake—the first major natural catastrophe of this decade, a decade which has seen the Great Tsunami of Christmas 2004 in the Indian Ocean, Hurricane Katrina in the USA and the Kashmiri Earthquakes of 2005, and the floods in India and Bangladesh of recent days.

In the weeks preceding the natural calamity in Gujarat, the cricket shop, under Govind’s management, had been preparing to move into a new popular mall. Just prior to the tremors, Govind and partners put down an expensive deposit on the new store.

Serendipitously, neither Govind nor his partners were in the mall at the time of the quake. The mall and all of the newer buildings in the area were flattened. Readers are educated by Bhagat to the fact that the older parts of Ahmadabad survived the quake quite well. We are told that shoddy and illegal construction are partially to blame for many of the other collapsed structures which left hundreds of thousands of Gujaratis homeless.

Govind is terribly distraught—having lost a great deal of savings and loaned monies through the collapse of the mall. His friends console him and the business continues at the small shop, located on the ground’s of Omi’s family-run temple.

Meanwhile, we are shown a world of rising Hindu nationalism in this same period. This is because Mama, Omi’s father, sympathizes with the cricket shop’s losses and seeks to recruit all three owners to join him in his religious Hindu and political workshops, study camps, and demonstrations. Mama lets them rent the shop without payment for many months while the trio get back on their feel

Due to the fact that they have accepted Mama’s generosity in taking on shop space and loans, Govind, Ish and Omi end up being more active than they desire at such Hindu events—including being asked to spy on Muslim and non-sectarian political groups & speakers over subsequent months.

The next national crisis was a fully man-made one.

This crisis involved the great Gujarati riots of 2002—led mostly by Hindu groups attacking Muslim communities in the state—as revenge for an attack on a trainload of Hindu youth returning to their hometown from a weekend conference and proselytizing. (By the way, Mama sees himself as responsible for recruiting Hindu youths to be on that ill-fated train.)

These attacks on Muslims immediately hit home for Ish, Omi, and Govind as their star athlete, Ali, is a Muslim. As a matter of fact, Ali’s father and mother are some of the first attacked by Hindu gangs in Ahmadabad as the rioting in that city begins.

The trio set out to save Ali from a similar fate of blind anger and revenge.


In short, a love story, a sports story, and a mathematics’ lovers tale is transformed by the location in time an space it is embedded—namely in a Hindu dominated state (Gujarat) in India during some of the most disruptive episodes in India’s recent memory. The events in Gujarat of the past 8 years ago continue to effect most of India today. For example, in July of 2008 there were a series of 16 bombings in a singled day in Ahmadabad alone.

In some ways, every time Gujarat sneezes, the rest of India gets a cold. Lack of press freedom in the name of fighting terrorism took on a particularly distasteful form in Gujarat this past year when the governor of the state had an local editorialist arrested in January simply because the writer had criticized the government in a series pieces. (The good news is that this past summer the India’s national courts threw out the Gujarati governors charges and severely criticized the state’s governorships when doing so.)

With the Bhagat’s choice of situating his story of youthful passions in Gujarat, the author has made The 3 Mistakes of My Life a must read, especially for non-Indians looking into the world of modern South Asia and attempting to comprehend what sort of existence is lived out by 1.2 billion people each and every day.

In this tale, none of the protagonists are wealthy, but most have greater aspirations for themselves and their own country or family. This focus on family and “we Indians” hits home when the young Ali snubs an offer from Australian officials, who have kindly offered to help both him and his impoverished family to resettle in Australia on a sporting scholarship, whereby the young prodigy would have a much better chance to grow in the athletic potential and stardom he was born to demonstrate.

Ali, his coach, and older friends instead return to their poverty and struggles in Gujarat, situated on the cusp of horrible racial, religious and ethnic violence.

This violence would not only cripple this star athlete but would lead to the death of one of the partners of the cricket shop along with the deaths of other members of their families.

Albeit a short novel, The 3 Mistakes of My Life hits home with many young Indians who cry out that they did not build the world they were born in—and yet must struggle through and inhabit the nation of their forefather’s making.

There is pride and hope for India’s future revealed in the tale, but in the representations of the main characters, youth of India are portrayed as disconcerted individuals who have to pick up the pieces of messes that others have made. Young people question the historical solutions to date. These solutions have been to join cadres of political parties or cadres of thugs who benefit from social division and strife in India—while not allowing society to develop in a much more positive manner.


Chetan Bhagat’s Official Website,

Review: Chetan Bhagat’s recent novel, The 3 Mistakes of My Life ,


Sunday, August 24, 2008

KUWAIT is EXPECTING to DEPORT nearly 1,000,000 IMMIGRANTS—Trying to Read Between-the-Lines in the Kuwaiti Press

KUWAIT is EXPECTING to DEPORT nearly 1,000,000 IMMIGRANTS—Trying to Read Between-the-Lines in the Kuwaiti Press

By Kevin Stoda

According to a 17 August report from Kuwait’s Al-Watan Daily, “State agencies are to coordinate efforts to deport at least 800,000 unskilled expatriate workers within the next three years.” The government agencies claim that this is not a racist approach against any particular people, nation, nor region.

However, some informants have noted that “workers to be deported mostly hail from two Arab countries and two Asian nations.”

Al-Watan’s contacts in the government have recently emphasized that “the authorities will not change their decision to repatriate these workers, particularly since they pose a serious and real threat to national security.”

It is not made clear to Al-Watan Daily readers, though, how their could be 800,000 dangerous people in such a small country, i.e. Kuwait, whereby the state only has a total population of under 3.2 million persons (with two-thirds of those being expatriates).

The Al-Watan staff report continues, “Meanwhile, informed sources have revealed that about 200,000 nationals of an Asian country will face deportation due to the spread of infectious diseases among them and their involvement in crimes.”

This likely refers to the Bangladeshi citizens now living in Kuwait. Last month, Bangladeshi laborers in Maboula, who were striking for many months of back wages, found police response in the form of tear gas and clubs. Violence also apparently broke out. The U.S. Embassy has warned its citizens to stay clear of the area.

In addition, one government source was even more precise saying that more than 800,000 would be expelled. This is because peoples of “one Arab country have been living in Kuwait as unskilled workers to avoid compulsory military service in their countries . . . this segment is numbered at around 170,000.”

This is probably a reference to the Syrian population in Kuwait as military service is compulsive back in these expatriate’s homeland. Earlier in April 2008, Kuwait had expelled two Syrians for traffic violations, i.e. driving through red lights.

One final quote from the Al-Watan investigators is “that at least 500,000 nationals of an Arab country will be repatriated since they either carry contagious diseases or constitute as unskilled laborers.”

It would appear that this might refer either again to the Syrian labor force in Kuwait or two the Egyptian population.

Apparently, Al-Watan editors were afraid of causing riots in the streets by naming any names—or even names of ministries in their alarming front page piece.

Kuwait, however, needs to have more information on this topic—and pronto.

Kuwait already has a bad labor rights reputation and this planned move by Kuwaiti government ministries using claims of (1) national security and (2) the supposed necessity of reducing the number of lower-skilled laborers needs to be debated more in the local media and in the editorial sections of all papers and media sources in the region.

This form of vague news report (in this case: a labor report) by Al-Watan is not too uncommon in Kuwait because so much is done behind closed doors. Therefore, news journalists often need weeks or months to verify the authenticity of claims made by their sources. With this being the case, I would anticipate Al-Watan to follow up on this piece with more detail—even naming names—in September and October 2008.

However, the fact remains that such an important (but vague) article, entitled “State Agencies to Team Up on Mass Expat Deportation”, was placed on the front page of a major Kuwaiti daily indicates a great confidence by Al-Watan staff that the facts and details will, indeed, be revealed as fact and actualized by the Kuwait ministries in months to come.

That is, other media sources in the region (and around the globe) need to start shining their light on this matter of anticipated mass deportations of laborers from Kuwait very soon.

It sounds like at least 4 nations will suddenly have to find jobs for nearly a million people in the next year—otherwise Kuwait will not only be exporting oil, but unemployed peoples as well in 2009 and 2010.


Al-Watan Staff, “State Agencies to Team Up on Mass Expat Deportation”, Al-Watan, 21 August 2008, p.1.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

An Action Plan for Secondary Teachers around the World to Teach about China and the Asian Other in 2008

Action Plan for East Asia to be Integrated more into School Curricula

Kevin Stoda, Across Curriculum—Literature, Language, and Social Studies—
10th & 11th Grades, Dasman School (KUWAIT) and Midwestern High Schools (9 to 12th grades)


Not only are curriculum, instruction, and assessment important to what we teach, how we teach, and how we about measuring and observing what learning is going on in- and out of the classroom, as instructors, we also need to focus on choosing content which is empowering for our students.

Over the past decade I have written and presented workshops on the empowering aspects of focusing on the role of “outsider” when aiding L2 learners to step into the shoes of the other. This enables the language learner to focus on empathetic relationships to language and culture of the other who may or may not speak the target language very well.

Earlier this spring, I noted at the republishing of my paper, “Image of L2 Learner as Outsider” that “[a]n individual who is considered an outsider is defined as such by living a lifestyle or representing a race or culture that is considered by those in power to be outside the established order, particularly someone who ignores (or seems to ignore) or challenges social norms. Foreign and second language educators should especially focus on the perspective of the outsider (1) in organizing classes and in order to (2) select written and spoken texts with the perspective of the outsider in mind—for use in reading, viewing and discussion. These authentic texts, when focusing ‘on the perspective of the outsider’, help students to internalize cross-cultural information when presented in realistic exchanges and in authentic communication for those students trying to comprehend and internalize cultural and language cues.”

Further, in presenting the following action plan, I will also emphasize the role that popular images, paintings, and photos play in our interpretation of the other—especially when we language learners and instructors perceive the other to be someone outside our personal cultural-language worldviews.


In selecting or developing “outsider” related materials, we teachers can also be responsible for expanding and focusing on other targets across the curriculum, especially in extending both reading and vocabulary skills in all disciplines.

In this plan of action , one of the primary foci is on how Americans relate to the Asian other and how the Asian other likely perceives Americans and non-Chinese. Finally, professional development for educators is further encouraged. This should lead to requests for expansion of library and media (or other materials, including online materials but also primary sources and visuals in print), which both teachers and students can share with each other, with their peers or families, and with the greater learning community and public in which we serve.

Shared experiences across the curriculum are important and topics related to the Asian and American-Asian experiences are timely as intolerance is often cultivated when political economic times are tough and uncertainty is high. The rise in competition between Asia and the USA in terms of markets and demand on resources is only one aspect of the relationship which needs to be considered.

The three types of shared experience I focus on in this action plan are: (1 ) an example of a classroom excursion, (2) literature and media with an Asian face from the Western perspective, and (3) images from Asia viewing the West over the recent centuries.


In the bibliography I have compiled a great number of images from all over the net. These images generally show various East Asian Views of the West (and intra-East Asian perspectives). However, a few are done by Westerners in sympathy with the East Asian positions. (Can the students decided which style of painting or drawings are done by a Westerner—and not an East Asian artist or photographer?)

These many images can certainly be a great source for class discussion about imagery of the other in popular media and art.

Such a discussion will likely hit home more if American students were asked to view the critical reflections shown in Shimomura’s artwork (discussed below) in conjunction with such discussion and research.

Finally, one line of on-line research I suggest for students would be to look at various (selected) images from the bibliographic category of images listed at the end of this action plan and ask the students to determine in which era each of the images are from. Many pictures and styles clearly come from certain historical eras or periods, i.e. during the Cold War, during the age of European Imperialism or 21s Century history various images are favored over others.

(1) Are the images from some time in the 19th or 20th Century or do they more represent the status quo in 2008?

In addition, (2) students should be encouraged to journal or write about what their own image of East Asia are before proceeding too far along on how East Asians view others. This might be done after viewing some of Shimomura’s work.

(3) Comparing and contrasting certain images could become a topic of one of the student’s power point presentations later in the year.


Likewise, we educators need to deal with other East Asian related literature discussed in this University of Kansas online seminar (EALC 747/HIST 747 course). I personally plan to continue to expose future students to international issues, ideas of faith, religion, and philosophy (as well as history, literature, and culture) in months as well as years to come. Moreover, I would advocate that all school libraries purchase some of the books (noted below) which we have read in this seminar.

If possible, in the area of world literature, some of these books are likely to become classics for the age groups targeted. Specifically, I plan to begin to assign parts of these books to my students for class discussion in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12--i.e. along with our regular course readings.

To elucidate further why and how this particular East Asian literature fits in well with (or compliments) my current curricular development needs, I should explain that 10th and 11th grade students whom I will be teaching this next year (i.e. a high school in Kuwait using current U.S. school curriculum standards) must read (1) Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe’s THINGS FALL APART, (2) Franz Kafka’s METAMORPHIS, and (3) Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD.

In Lee’s classic story, the first person narrative of a child, a tom-boy nicknamed Scout, is used throughout the tale. This is important because students can often quickly identify or empathize with someone speaking in first person who is nearer to their age and is speaking in a relaxed (but insightful) manner about a world which adults and ancestors have bequeathed her (their own) generation.

This similar technique is use in all three young adult books which were required reading for this Teaching East Asian seminar (EALC 747/HIST 747 course). :
Alan Gratz’s, Samurai Shortstop, Penguin Group, 2006.
Richard E. Kim, Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood, U. of California Press, 1998.

Whelan, Gloria , Chu Ju’s House, HarperCollins, 2004.
Further Gratz and Whelan’s work are fictional historical pieces, just as Harper Lee’s MOCKING BIRD and Achebe’s FALL APART are. (Only Kim’s NAMES is an autobiographical work.)

Two of these Asian books, Kim’s NAMES and Gratz’s SHORTSTOP, also focus on a (1) particular time in the modern era and on (2)restricted geographical settings. Gratz looks at Tokyo, Japan of the late 19th Century just as Chinua Achebe’s FALL APART looks at two villages situated in rural Nigeria of the 19th century (as European colonialism transforms one tribal village after another). Meanwhile Kim looks at rural Korea of the 1930s & 1940s. (Kim is also looking at life in colonial Japan .) Finally, Harper focuses only on Maycombe County Alabama of the 1930s.

NOTE: Kafka looks at Prague of the 1910s and 1920s and paints a European landscape on the verge of the collapse as the international liberal capitalism of the prior two centuries will collapse in the coming decade. Meanwhile, Whelan focuses on 1980s China after the virtual collapse of the political and socio-economic world of Mao’s attempts at permanent communism and revolution: Chu Ju, the main character of Whelan’s writing, spends her childhood in a restricted rural setting.

In all these stories children are shown growing up under a system of change and facing societal pressures to conform to the world left to them as their destiny. A good didactically sound and spirited of discussion, research and student centered presentations should provide insight for all teenagers (and teachers) handling such material. Finally, writing assignments inevitably invite creativity and discussion of

“What would you do if you were __ X__ in that situation?”
will be beneficial to students and educators.

In short, times of change and instability are awaiting the readers when they approach the materials and historical eras discussed in all these books and in viewing these images. Curricula designers around the world and in the USA need to take both a global as well as local approach to such topics and educational materials and literature.

The Asian experience cannot (or must not) be left out of this reading experience.

I intend to drum up support for a fuller integration of Asian experience into curricular developments wherever I labor in years ahead. Along with advocating more literature with an Asian face for purchase by school libraries, I will ask computer and other departments across the curriculum work on developing more Asian oriented lesson plans in this 3rd Millennium. Fo example, research about online Asian Art exhibitions can provide great potential for Teacher-to-teacher dialogue in a variety of disciplines. Progress in course development related to teaching Asian are essential for long term changes to take shape.


I. INDIVIDUAL PAINTINGS & Images reflecting Chinese Views on America and West

America Discovered in 1421

British Imperialism

Captain America

China Dragon and relations with American Forex

China sees Rising Sun on West

Dial 911 for America - Dashanzi – Beijing

East Meets West

European Imperialism

Female Chinese/Western Warrior

Mainstream Chinese TV program on Nickolodean

New Rules of Imperialism

School Debate on American Culture in China

State of SinoAsia Relationship
Note: In most cases, I recommend censoring this particular image of Kenneth Shang—even though it is painted by a Chinese citizen!!! ( I leave it this action plan because some students doing research will certainly come across it if they look under terms of stereotypes and images of China and America. I am simply forewarning the instructor.)

Western Imperialism


2008 Paintings at the Guizou Painting Academy

Anti-US Political Cartoons 1958-1960

The Paintings of Zhang Hongnian,

III. IRONIC IMAGES FOR DISCUSSION in Media on China and America

American in China

British Imperialism

Chinese as Fans of American Culture

Chinese face mask today

Chinese meets Chinese American

The Colonel as Standard Barer

Heroic Chinese War Imagery

Made In America

Mainstream Chinese TV program on Nickelodeon


One View on China

School Debate on American Culture in China

Ying yang

Western Imperialism

IV. JAPAN & IMAGERY with or of the Other

Anti-Communist imagerey
Images of the Floating World Ukiyoe,
Is this me?

Japan, please tell me your opinion of ____.

Map: How Japan Sees America,


American (definition in Korean)

The Good Neighbor,
Korean American Mission …Christian,

Korea Cartoons,
Korea and the Republicans,
Korean-American Association,

Koreans Hate Mad-Cow,
Possible Free Trade Agreement,

VI. ENTIRE Exhibitions related to Asians as Outsiders & Overseas American stereotypes

Images of the Floating World Ukiyoe,

List and links of some collections

On-Line Museums of Asian Art



Gratz, Alan, Samurai Shortstop, Penguin Group, 2006.

Park, Linda Sue, When My Name was Keoko, Clarion Books, 2002.

Qiao, Li, Wintry Night, (translated) Columbia University Press, 2002.

Whelan, Gloria, Chu Ju’s House, HarperCollins, 2004.


Carpenter, TedGalen, “Taiwan’s View of America and Coming War with China”,

Bacon, Alice M. “How Japanese ladies Go Shopping, 1890”,

“Chinese consulate: How the Chinese See Americans”,

“How the World Sees America”,

Kim, Richard, Lost Names: Scenes from a Korean Boyhood, U. of California Press, 1998

Seldon, Mark, “Japanese and American War Atrocities”,

Tappan, Eva March, “Sir Edwin Arnold, A Japanese Dinner Party, 1890 ”,


The New Yorker’s View of America,

Retribution, The Juiling Chronicles,

Shambaugh, David L. Beautiful Imperialist: China Perceives America, 1972-1990
Princeton University Press, 1991

Stoda, Kevin, “The Imagery of the Outsider in Literature, Media and Society: ‘It’s Affect on Second Language Acquisition”,

Stoda, Kevin, (March 13, 2002) Presentation on the "Second Language Learner as Outsider" at THE OUTSIDER 2002 Conference for the Society of the Interdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery by the Society, Colorado


An example of what needs to be done educationally (especially in terms of public education and in terms of appreciating hidden concepts relayed through art would be found in Roger Shimomura’s “The Return of the Yellow Peril”, which has been touring in 2007-2008 in Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas. The works are a retrospective of one Japanese-American artist. The imagery is built on numerous topics and themes of Shimomura’s personal experiences in his homeland over the last 70-plus years.
Even overseas students, such as those I teach in Kuwait, can view many of Shimomura—a third generation American of Japanese descent—on line.

Especially of interest to educators in viewing such a retrospective are topics which many non-Asians have barely been subjected to in their educational experience. This has been because U.S. and European experiences and international narration have dominated the global political scene and textbooks until well into the late 20th century. These caricatures of Shimomura include images of prejudiced and racial characterizations of Asians, i.e. focusing on oversimplification of Asians through manga-like imagery in areas of politics, faith, traditions, and society ( , especially as is relevant to us in dealing with cross-cultural education and training).

Shimomura’s “The Return of the Yellow Peril” was shown in Joplin , Missouri from June 14- August1, 2008. A pamphlet explains, that Shimomura is “[u]sing woodblock prints and Pop Art Style in . . . unforgettable commentary on stereotyping, prejudice and the Asian American experience.”

Roger Shimomura’s “The Return of the Yellow Peril”,

Roger Shimomura’s “The Return of the Yellow Peril”,

Shimomura’s “The Return of the Yellow Peril”


Friday, August 15, 2008


A year ago this month, my step-mother, Janet Stoda, passed away. She love the works of Betty J. Eadie.

Today, as I prepared for a new job outside the USA, I read the following and it really hit home. It comes from the book: EMBRACED BY THE LIGHT by Betty J. Eadie.

I deal with the topic of memories quite a bit in my writings and feel that these for sets of phrases from Betty J. Eadie's work help us deal with memory, loss, and moving on.


"I was shown that gluttony is a sin and that it can involve more than just food. Gluttony of anything, including our dwelling on the past and the mistakes we made there, can enslave us. The would haves, should haves, and could haves are all ties to the past, and they can bind us unless we let them go." The Awakening Heart pp. 32-33

"If a man therefore pure himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." 2 Timothy 2:21

"Father, forgive me for holding on to would haves, should haves, and could haves from my past. They are difficult to let go because they are what I know. Help me to let go of them and to trust in my future by trusting more in you and in your desires for me. Bless me to move onward and become a more perfect vessel for your use."

Affirmation My earthly vessel is cleansed, and I receive the rewards my Father in Heaven wills to give me.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ashes to Memory or Commemoration

Ashes to Memory or Commemoration

By Kevin Anthony Stoda

I share the following stories for those others considering commemorations with ashes.

(Part 1)


There are at least three forms of “commemoration”. A first type has to do with having “a ceremony to honor the memory of someone”. Other kinds of commemoration have to do with other non-ceremonial actions, such as a pilgrimage, or displays of memory, such as a statue or plaque.

My father, Ronald John Stoda, who passed away late last December 2007, did not wish to have a ceremony or a grave. Moreover, like his spouse of 19 years, my father desired to have his remains cremated with no ceremony. In making such a choice, through such an act, my father possibly wished to state that he is simply “ash”. This was the status of our heroes from the Bible, like Abraham (and others in the Bible). Abraham had stated before God, “I am nothing but dust and ashes . . . .” (Gen. 18:27b)

Dad, born October 18, 1934, was a voracious reader, sports fan, card player, and movie watcher. In all, dad read well-over 7000 books and spent many total years of his life following sports at the high school, college and professional levels.

During my last 2 visits with Dad in his home in Jackson, Michigan in late August and early October 2007, he twice alluded to a scene in the classic revisionist-Western movie, LITTLE BIG MAN (1970). Dad said then and at several other times over the year that he would like to be taken up in the hills to die like the Native Americans of old. He clearly didn’t want to die in an old folks home.

It wasn’t till earlier this year—i.e. a few months after my Dad had passed away—that I sat down for the first time to watch the movie, LITTLE BIG MAN. I subsequently came across the somewhat humorous scene (with actors Chief Dan George and Dustin Hoffman) that Dad had so often referred to .

In one of the last scenes in LITTLE BIG MAN, Chief Dan George is playing the aged chief of the tribe of “Human Beings” or Cheyenne Indians. Chief Dan’s character is named Old Lodge Skins, and he is the adoptive grandpa of Jack Crabbe (played by Hoffman), who eventually lives to the ripe old age of 121.

Old Lodge Skins doesn’t desire to live nearly that long and oversee his people becing totally overcome by white man’s domination of 19th Century America. Old Lodge Skins therefore asks his protégé, Jak Crabbe to take him onto a hill overlooking the expansive North American prairie where the aged chief anticipates dying at the end of a mystical ceremony.

However, in keeping with the irony and tongue and cheek comedy of the film’s overall narration, a big rain storm comes along at the end of the ceremony, but instead of the ancient warrior quietly passing away on the prairie, the aged Indian father played by Dan George recovers and both walk back down in the rain from the higher elevation to the plains and to his tribe’s teepees below. They are both laughing and making jokes about the whims of the gods and spirits all along the way.


Although my father had been ailing for many years, his death at the end of 2007 came a bit too sudden for most of us family members. Ronald John Stoda had suffered from heart problems, bad knees and hips, diabetes and other illnesses for a decade or more.

In order to keep with his wishes upon his death, our father was cremated immediately after the first of the year in 2008. Dad definitely did not wish to have his ashes placed in any particular permanent memorial cemetery. He wanted things simple--and evidently with as little traditional sort of commemoration as is possible.

With the help and attendance of many family members, we children, however, organized a small memorial for our father later this summer. (This is why I returned to the USA this July. After the memorial, our family spent time together.) Before my older brother left us that last week of July 2008, though, my older brother gave me Dad’s ashes to distribute to my other two siblings to keep or commemorate in their own special way and in their own especially chosen places.

Over the preceding months, we siblings had discussed via e-mail the possibility of dispersing Dad’s ashes to all corners of the globe. For example, I had suggested taking some of his ashes to a Wisconsin grave where his great grandfather Friedrich Stoda was buried near the Mississippi well-over a century ago. It was also suggested taking the ashes to Asia where I have lived and traveled recently. My youngest sister had suggested taking her ashes (of Dad’s remains) to where his father and mother are buried in Illinois.

The reason I had hesitated to take Dad’s ashes to India concerned the fears I had about the logistics and legality of importing and exporting “cremains” or ashes to other countries. That is, I fathomed I might get into some international legal problem in carrying out the transportation of cremated ashes on airlines without filling out proper paperwork and fees.

I also looked on-line and discovered that there must be a billion-and-one possible ways of commemorating with ashes these days. After all, didn’t Scotty of Star Trek fame have his ashes beamed up into outer space recently? There are even jewelry designs being hawked on the web by those who claim to be able to turn ashes into “articles of art” to be worn by the mourner.

From reviewing many on-line options, I noted that other families have simply put up a permanent on-line memorial to their loved one to go along with their ashes and memories. Still other parks for such memorial ashes are being opened up in cities and towns across the land each year. (My dad would never have gone for that sort of permanent memorial—on-line or not. He didn’t want anything big nor flashy. However, it has been interesting to learn of all the options.)

(Part 2)

The following is a fantasy short story of how and where I placed dad’s ashes and memorial container (one of 5 bricks of ashes provided by the crematorium).

Fantasy is in telling such a tale is important because of the multiplicity of laws, standards, practices, regulations and rules encapsulating every town, village , territory, and various department of government regulators or bureaucrats in America who are currently making a mountain of differing rules concerning how and where to place ashes of loved ones. In short, the process in America is too varied and unwieldy.

For example, I have noted through my on-line research that the U.S. Coast Guard in the San Francisco Bay area will dispose of ashes at sea for free—but only if the ashes are from a veteran of war who had served in the Navy or the Marines. Meanwhile, the only legal way to disperse ashes or commemorate at sea in San Francisco involves fees from 400 dollars or more.

There are different rules for different residents all over North America as of 2008.

Therefore, instead of fantasy baseball this season, I will deal with fantasy dispersal of ashes.


Finally, I had determined to take my father’s ashes to both the waters of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

The decision to take Dad’s ashes to the Mississippi River was obvious in many ways. (The Missouri, of course, flows into the Mississippi.)

First of all, both my grandfather, Floyd Stoda, and my grandmother, Gertrude (Leibold) Stoda, were both born on or near the Mississippi in Wisconsin and Illinois. As a matter of fact, I recall my Granny Gert telling me of how she used to take a boat across the Mississippi to go dancing in Iowa near the Quad Cities on weekend nights back in the World War I era.. (Granny Gert didn’t know how to swim, so it was fascinating for me to thinkk how she overcame her fear of the mighty river regularly, i.e. when she wanted to go dancing. Dad says that his mom and dad danced avidly for many decades after there meeting near the Quad Cities.)

In the early 1990s, Granny Gert had also shared with me how her own Grandmother and Grandmother Shiffman had arrived in New Orleans, the mouth of the Mississippi River, in the latter part of the 19th Century from near Hamburg, Germany.

Later, through further research, I learned that the oldest mention of the family Stoda in the USA dates to the memory of Friedrich Stoda, who is buried in a small town, called Victory, on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin. Friedrich Stoda would have been my father’s great grand parent and had been German-born. Nonetheless, he was also a Civil War veteran. I visited Friedrich’s grave there in Wisconsin two summers ago and took several photos of his plot. (I also ate at a German restaurant on the Mississippi River at the nearby town of Victory.)

I thought long and hard about traveling up to that very ancient cemetery in Wisconsin to deposit Dad’s ashes from my mother’s home in southwestern Missouri in July (where I met with my siblings and other family members for a memorial afternoon), but I decided I did not need to travel that far to find appropriate places to disperse Dad’s ashes.

Along side the fact that the Mississippi River was a place where I best understand my father’s heritage in America, there were several other reasons related to childhood and family memories that led me to place my father’s ashes in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

The first such reason is that the border between the states of Missouri and Illinois is the Mississippi River itself.

Let me explain!

In June of 1960, my Dad, Ronald John Stoda, of Genoa, Illinois married my own mother, Deloris Jean Whisner of Sarcoxie, Missouri—the same year Dad got his first drivers’ license and the year the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Yankees in the World Series.

NOTES: First, Dad had been diagnosed with epilepsy as a teenager, so he had to eventually cross the river to Missouri and get his driver’s license at the age of 26. Second, Dad was a Pittsburgh Pirate fan, so all-in-all Dad must have had a great 1960—with the wedding and all.

My mom was considered a Southerner when she moved north to live with my Dad.

My mother had been born in the part of Missouri, the town of Sarcoxie, which had been pro-Dixie throughout the Civil War. It is reported that in the whole state of Missouri, Sarcoxie was the first town to flight a confederate flag following the Battle of Fort Sumter, which had marked the start of America’s Civil War. The decisive Battle of Carthage had also been fought quite nearby Sarcoxie.

Meanwhile, my Dad was from the Land of Lincoln—Illinois! He was from Dekalb County where the corn grows high.

Thus, the 500 mile-long visits between our families involved the equivalent of a race across the Mason-Dixon line each year at either Thanksgiving, Christmas and/or summer vacation—only, for our family, the Mississippi River served as our Mason-Dixon line.

On these annual pilgrimages to family and ancestors scattered between northern Illinois and southern Missouri, we children were made aware at a young age that America was still fairly divided culturally and socially. Nonetheless, throughout the tumultuous l960s and early 1970s, it was also clear that America was still one single unified country (despite its lack of hegemonic views and histories).

Before my parents divorce in 1980, they had lived together in Iowa (where older brother Paul was born), Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. In this time we had crossed the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers dozens and dozens of times.

During this traveling era, we 4 children had also grown up at least 4 ½ years of our lives near the junction of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. This is when father and mother moved out of DeKalb County in Illinois, and planted our residence in St. Charles County, exactly where a great old Missouri River bridge stands less than an hour west of where the Mighty Mo weds itself to the Mighty Mississippi—i.e. just north of St. Louis.

In short, in my childhood memories concerning the crossings or approaches to the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, these two rivers became a normal part of my childhood sense of American geography and experience. (NOTE: Both these rivers had been explored by great men such as De Soto, Lafayette, and Lewis & Clark. All American school children have to memorize these facts numerous times in public school.)

These rivers were the backbone of America, and I had grown up playing cards and going to ballgames with my father in this part of our Great Land.

In conclusion, these are the many reasons why symbolically ashes this August 2008.
I symbolically first returned to St. Charles County and then to the Mississippi River to deposit or disperse a few of Dad’s ashes (cremains).


I determined in advance of my pilgrimage to stay at a hotel in Wentzville, Missouri en route to my final destination on the Mississippi River—on the Illinois side. I chose this particular (imaginary) hotel because it was located on Continental Drive.

Dad had worked for over 4 ½ years on that very street at Continental Telephone. The road was named for this now-non-existent firm.

After checking in at the hotel on Continental Drive, I headed to the baseball diamond, where Dad had played softball with some of the church teams in Wentzville.

In Wentzville, Dad had played the first few summers with the local Catholic Church softball team in the Church League. His team was very very good—loaded with talent--, and they handily won the league each season. According to many, this particular Catholic team was also very fun to be around—as well as to watch and play.

Alas, that team consisted of certain Catholics who were not setting good examples for the community of softball followers. Years later, my best friend’s father—who also played in that same league but on another team—shared and laughed about how many of the outfielders on the Catholic team carried full cans of beer out to their positions some innings. Some of them were known for making diving catches even as they tried not to spill a drop of beer from those same cans.

Eventually, the head priest at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, i.e. who was outraged at the bad behavior of some of his church’s players on the Catholic Team, decided that the Catholics would not field any more teams in the Church league for the foreseeable future..

Subsequently, my father played on the Methodist Church Team as my mother attended regularly there.

These memories of the sporting side of my father explain why I chose to deposit a few of the ashes on the very field where Dad, my brother, and I had played at during our family’s tenure in Wentzville.

It was a wet and muddy day. As I walked onto the field, I released some ash onto the on-deck circle of the home team.

Later, I decided this was quite poignant because it is on such an on-deck circle where batters kneel, do practice swings and pray—while waiting for their turn at the plate.

We all have to take our turn at the plate, don’t we? (We also all need to learn pray and try to get a hit—even if life throws us curve balls, eh?)


After leaving the ball diamond, I drove to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, school, and cemetery in the south side of Wentzville on Church Street. My Dad, older brother, and I had attended the fellowship here for the duration of our stay in St. Charles County from December 1970 through August 1975.

My younger sisters attended more regularly with my mom at the United Methodist Church at the other end of town. In short, both my father and mother had let us children know from our childhood onwards that faith was a choice. (Many other peers of mine in America and around the globe have never seen faith as a constant act of making choices, i.e. as to which church to attend or which faith to consider or which softball team to play with.)

It was here at that St. Patrick’s Church where on January 1, 1973 we lit candles for our hero Roberto Clemente, who had passed away the night before.

Roberto Walker Clemente was a Pittsburgh Pirate and a great humanitarian, who died airlifting goods to earthquake victims in Central America on December 31, 1972. Dad and my siblings had gone to see the Pirates play in St. Louis on-and-off many times over the years, too. (By the way, to get to the Cardinal’s Bush Stadium, we would have to drive over the Missouri River and along the Mississippi River.)

Upon arrival, at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery entrance, there was a welcoming monument with a sign saying, “IN CELEBRATION OF LIFE”. There was also an encouraging scripture from John 10:28, which stated,

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one can snatch them out of my hand”.

I felt that this was such a very encouraging message for my loved one’s memory, so I poured some more of my father’s ashes at the foot of this monument.


As I headed to the great bridge in St. Charles, the original capital of the state of Missouri nearly two centuries ago, I noted how much the county had been built up, i.e. over the past 3 or more decades since this region had been a boyhood home of mine. There were many new malls, hotels, and school districts on I-70 leading up to the St. Charle’s Bridge on the Mississippi, where once a great replica of Noah’s Ark had once stood.

Today, there are even a pair of casinos on both sides of the Missouri River at the I-70 bridge of St. Charles.

I parked myself at one of the notorious establishments and went hiking on foot through the foliage and trails below—looking for a path to the Missouri River—with the great highway bridges at St. Charles located over my head..

Alas—too late—I remembered why the Missouri River, was not always called the “Mighty Mo”. Rather, it also has the vicious nickname: the “Muddy Mo”. Soon, I couldn’t ignore the mud as my feet sank ever deeper into the quicksand-like clay that is on the banks of much of the great Missouri River.

Luckily, after several heavy recent rains their were small pools and streams of water flowing into the mammoth Missouri.

Coming upon one tiny stream rushing into the river, I took my opportunity to pour in ashes, which flowed into the Missouri River (which had given its name to my mother’s home state).

I looked up at the I-70 Highway structure above me--where cars were rolling east and west--and I thought about how often my family had transversed this same roadway on our routes to family in Illinois or to southern Missouri—or even points further on (like on our family trip to Washington, D.C. in Spring 1973 when the Watergate scandal was raging ).

I then looked across the river to the economic development zone known as Earth City, Missouri, and I recollected how in the mid-1970s great floods had gone over the banks there—just as they had again this year on various parts of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

This had been my third stop that day on behalf of my father’s remains.

Next, it was time for me to do something different so I headed up into near St. Louis’ Lambert Airfield. There I had parked my car. Then I took a metro into downtown St. Louis—where a Cardinal-Dodger game was awaiting me.

Although, this was a new Cardinal stadium (not the Bush Stadium of my youth), I could still recall as I looked onto the Gateway Arch on the Mississippi from the entrance to the great baseball park that Dad—just as we kids had observed in our childhood.

We had come to St. Louis games quite often here in the early 1970s —including a match of soccer between the St. Louis NASL team and Pele’s New York Cosmos.

The baseball game this past August night was very good for the home crowd—with the Cardinals winning handily over their ancient rivals, the Dodgers.

That night, I saw several homeruns, including a grand slam homerun by the Cardinal star, Albert Pujols.

I had to then recall that when I attended my first major league baseball game in 1970 in Chicago with Dad, we had observed numerous homeruns, including a grand slam.

Actually, that ChiSox game was the first time Dad had ever seen a grand slam homerun and he marveled at my luck for years, saying, “I had been to 25 major league baseball games and had never seen a grand slam, but the first time Kevin goes, he sees a grand slam! I can’t believe it!”


I got up early the next morning at my hotel on Continental Drive in Wentzville and made one last journey to St. Louis.

Along the way, I stopped in a Barnes & Nobel Bookstore and bought a book by David Maraniss, entitled CLEMENTE: THE PASSION AND GRACE OF BASEBALL’S LAST HERO.

I then passed through St. Louis, by the Arch, past the baseball stadium I had visited the night before, and finally drove to the Illinois side in order to be in the state where Dad was born in 1934—i.e. the same year when Roberto Clemente was born. I ended up first on land owned by Monsanto and couldn’t get through to the Mississippi there or at the train tracks.

One Illinois trainman warned me at Cahokia, Illinois about trying to cross the tracks there—even after I had explained to him what I was trying to do. The stated sternly, “There are a lot of ‘railroad wackos’ with guns out back that way. You had better try from the Missouri side—possibly near the Arch.”

To make a long story short, the trainman convinced me to go back over the Mississippi River and disperse the last few ashes of Dad there.

Sometime later, on my way back towards the Gateway Arch, I began to cross one of the bridges over the Mississippi River. Suddenly, I saw that I had room to maneuver safely, and a sudden sense of strength and calmness passed over me.

Quickly, I rolled down my right-hand car window as I approached the middle of the river and tossed the tiny brick of marble out towards the water—easily clearing the bridge’s railings at the edge of the far right lane.

Then I smiled and headed back to Wentzville, Missouri for lunch—a hamburger and Peanut Buster Parfait at the new Dairy Queen situated across from the St. Patrick’s Church I had visited the day before.

Why did I end my pilgrimage by eating a Peanut Buster Parfait?

Well, Dad (Ronald John Stoda) loved peanuts. As a matter of fact, at we children’s we had concluded our memorial for Dad a few weeks earlier by serving peanut butter pie, peanuts, and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.

Eating a Peanut Buster Parfait and contemplating the cemetery’s scripture was an appropriate way to end my journey with Dad’s ashes in Wentzville.

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)


I wish to encourage others to talk with their parents and siblings about how they wish to deal with their ashes upon a loved one’s death.

I can tell you after my recent perusal of the internet concerning the topic of dispersing ashes (and making any sort of memorial or commemoration ) that many Americans face these same issues year-after-year. It is clear to me—after writing my fantasy story above and doing the research—that every town and state appears to have different rules and regulations for dispersing ashes, planting ashes, disposing ashes, and memorializing or commemorating with ashes.

Whatever you decide to do, please recall that any commemoration is intended to aid in memories and remembering.

If you decide to go on a road trip (pilgrimage) or decide to do something else—even in your own back yard--, make sure it is (1) true to how the loved one would have preferred to be remembered and (2) an act which does indeed lead to further memories and bonding of memories as the event or act of commemoration is recalled in years to come.

Are loved ones may (certainly have not) lived perfect lives but a commemoration is an important bridge to the past and should be a positive experience—even if the commemoration is undertaken only by a single member of the remaining family.


Albert Pujols,





Monday, August 04, 2008



By Kevin A. Stoda, back in the USA

I returned from working overseas for the past 6 years to find a strange phenomena in tiny Ottawa County, Oklahoma—i.e. near the four states area of Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. I found 14 casinos in one litte county!

Ten of these casinos are run by 8 Indian tribes.

These tribes include the Quapaw, Shawnee, and the Wyandotte. Newer ones have been opening up over the past year, and the state of Kansas is planning to run a state-owned casino across the border.

Can we call this development? (i.e. Let alone—try and call it a good or great development in a time of high joblessness and an overall unhealthy U.S. economy?)


Here is just one website that monitors the rising phenomena of gambling in the U.S., especially in here-to-for virgin or formerly gambling-free territories.

According to one of the analysts quoted by this CASINO WATCH website, the rise of gambling addictions is currently one of the biggest mental health problems in the world. Moreover, gambling already affects anywhere from 2 to 5% of the population in the USA alone.

GAMBLING WATCH GLOBAL is another site that observes with alarm the rise of gambling fever world wide-- --even as housing and economic issues continue unabated in many lands, especially here in the USA.

There are currently already several major research libraries at universities around the country studying this phenomena and how it adversely affects health and economies in the short and long term.

Various articles deal specifically with problems that native tribesmen in the USA are facing as the number of casinos on reservations rises—and rises:;jsessionid=LW5dwl0TvmshRWQh3hhn9rLJD3q2GKrRzGn8CHCJnQy4Bhgkvhpv!-887735472?docId=5002458511
The author, Maria Napoli, writing in the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare states unequivocally that gambling is apparently bad, but turns around and argues the opposite.

Pardon me—I have to ask: Who pays for such research and such findings?


Ask economists who compare crime rate rise to the rise in casinos and rise in the number of problem gamblers in a community!
Economists David B. Mustard and Earl L. Grinols find that crime rises almost exponentially with the rise in problem gamblers and access to gambling.

After studying the issue over a 20-year period, Mustard and Grinols discovered, “Casinos were non-existent outside Nevada before 1978, and expanded to many other states during our sample period. Most factors that reduce crime occur before or shortly after a casino opens, while those that increase crime, including problem and pathological gambling, occur over time. The results suggest that the effect on crime is low shortly after a casino opens, and grows over time. Roughly 8 percent of crime in casino counties in 1996 was attributable to casinos, costing the average adult $75 per adult per year.”


Is the four-state area of Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma really prepared to pay for the increase in crime?

i.e.. Will the intermediate and long-term goal for the county and region actually be to then (1) build more prisons in order to (2) handle the rise in crime by hiring more law and order personnel and thus (3) provide more jobs to under-employed locals in the 4-State area who will be subcontracted out to service the growing prison or police population?

Another worrisome trend is this report which claims that evidence from around the USA has shown that in recent years the number of children’s games that promote gambling has increased in the USA as well.

Is America trying to raise (1) not only a nation of capitalist risk takers but(2) a nation of gambling addicts as well?


Let us not forget that indebtedness grows with casinos, too.

Nichols, Stitt and Giacopassi (1999) have shown in their report, “Casino Gambling and Bankruptcies in new United States Gambling Jurisdictions” that bankruptcies certainly increased in 7 out 8 counties studied, i.e. in counties where gambling had been recently introduced.

Let me guess—there is also likely negative backwash on the housing market and banking industry when bankruptcies are seen to increase in any region—right?

I’ll bet on it!


LET’S PUT OUR HEADS TOGETHER and THINK UP WAYS TO MAKE positive CHANGES away from the current saddening trends in our regional, state and county economic planning and practices, OK?

I will also bet that most of us would like to have and build a better economy than legislators and politicians have left us with as of August 2008.

LET’S CONSIDER TAKING RESPONSIBILITY AND CLEARING the senates and houses across America of bad candidates by the end of this physical year. (Look for candidates that don’t depend on prisons, gambling, or raising children to be gamblers and potential criminals or bankrupted Americans.)


Check out just a few of the articles on this topic of the relationship of bankruptcies to the housing and banking sector.


Christiansen, Eugene Martin, Gambling and the American Economy Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 556, Gambling: Socioeconomic Impacts and Public Policy (Mar., 1998), pp. 36-52

Marks, Alexandria, “Youth Gambling on the Rise”,

Kearny, Melissa, “Economic Winners and Losers of Legalized Gambling”,