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The truth about mistresses
By Chong Zi (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-10-07 07:43

In the old society women were often called the "bane of men". They still play the scapegoats today.

"Ninety-five percent of the corrupt officials have a mistress or more," Wang Zhang, head of the discipline commission of Zhengzhou, Henan province, told those who were to be sent to inspect discipline in government departments and institutions.

Wang came to the conclusion after analyzing more than 50 cases involving corrupt officials. And he put these women into seven categories based on what they wanted from the officials - love, power or money.

The tips Wang Zhang gave his colleagues to ward off the oomph of mistresses were feeble. He told them to stay home with their families, reading books and working on their computers. Of course, a harmonious family can help men stay away from other women.

Wang's study may offer us an eye-catching fact. But his conclusion is shaky. He was too fascinated with the appearance of the issue to ignore the root.

Mistress is kind of a person in human history - some great men had female companions who were not their wives. Caesar, Napoleon and even George Washington. But don't get me wrong. This does not mean I support these men, be they scapegraces or heroes.

The point is that mistresses are not the cause of some officials' corruption and degeneration and of great men's greatness.

Wang's strained interpretation makes people forget the essence of corruption.

Absolute power causes corruption absolutely. This is the way it is.

Corruption will be around unless effective ways, multiple checks and institutions are in force to combat it. The study of women behind the corrupt officials is not the answer.

* * *

Where has our creativity gone?

Our directors seem to copy almost every popular sitcom that wins ratings in the United States. We can find the Chinese versions of Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City, Friends, Lost, Prison Break and Ugly Betty. Just to name a few.

Shame on these parrot things. They look bizarre: they are stories on Chinese people living an American life - young women have no shame to have one-night stands, and four Chinese housewives lived a middle-class life after a woman living next door killed herself. Sound familiar?

None of the Chinese versions wins hearts of viewers.

Reproduction is not a forbidden thing in film industry. Hollywood has the American versions of Chinese stories, like Infinite and Disney's animated feature Mulan. Not all of them end in failures. The secret? They did not put a Chinese story under an American cover.

* * *

We are a people with an increasingly larger waist though researchers at McMaster University of Ontario, Canada, said we scored best at 88 for the waist-to-hip ratio, calculated by dividing waist circumference by that of the hips.

Researchers have come up with a better way of identifying people at risk and helping avoid a heart attack. Well-toned hips and a trim waist - not just the pounds you carry - appear to be one of the best protections against heart attacks.

New studies found that the risk of heart attack rose progressively as the waist-to-hip ratio increased.

Researchers recommended a two-part strategy: trimming the abdomen, and possibly increasing hip size by increasing muscle mass or redistributing fat.

The hourglass shape is not only about heart but also beauty.

The author William Shenstone (1714-63) put it poetically: "Health is beauty, and the most perfect health is the most perfect beauty."

Let's keep a lid on saturated fat, thanks to vegetable oil, no cheese, and a host of seafood, poultry, and (hooray!) vegetable dishes.

(China Daily 10/07/2008 page8)