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Blue blood?
In the news, Japan's new Prime Minister is facing the music for not coming back home in the evening.
[ 2008-10-24 10:54 ]

Blue blood?

In the news, Japan's new Prime Minister is facing the music for not coming back home in the evening.

"Since taking the helm a month ago," according to AP (Japan PM under fire over pricey nightlife, October 23, 2008), Taro Aso has spent all but four nights out on the town at posh bars and eateries."

"Aso's haunts include an upscale hotel bar where coffee is poured out at $15 a cup, and a ritzy restaurant where the plates of grilled eel start at $175 a serving."

And "the opposition has seized on Aso's nights on the town, claiming the 68-year-old political blueblood and scion of a wealthy family is out of touch with the people."

This comes, of course, "while much of Japan is grappling with deepening economic turmoil" as does America, where Sarah Palin, the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, has also been under fire for a handsome $150,000 lavished on her by the Republican party to dress her up. Half of the money, or $75,000, is said to have been done away with in one single shopping trip.

Now, the author of these pages is not bothered about Palin's wardrobe. Nor am I concerned about Aso's eel-eating in the company of geisha girls and to the music of Shamisen. And, hand on heart, there's little I can do about the world economy as a whole other than suffer through it with you lot, my dearest. Readers, you know me. I'm not concerned with any of that. What I'm concerned with is – and I have made sure that it is buried deep in text, haven't I? – why Aso, the Japanese leader, is called a blueblood?

All right. Take a look at the back of your palm and see if you canyou're your blood veins. If your skin is of a lighter complexion, you can spot them, greenish and blue. And that's actually where the term "blue blood", as in "blue blood runs in his veins" comes from. And it originally came from Spain.

From my archive of saved articles, I found this piece from The Hindu, India's national newspaper (February 11, 2003):

"Blue blood" is actually a translation of the Spanish term "sangre azul". At one time, the Moors (people of the Arab race) ruled over much of Spain. The Moors were dark complexioned and during the seven centuries that they ruled Spain, a lot of interracial marriages took place. But the Spanish aristocrats who lived in Castile did not intermarry with the Moors. As a result, they remained extremely fair and began to distinguish themselves from their rulers and fellow aristocrats by calling themselves "sangre azul". What they meant by this was that because of their very fair complexion, the veins in their arms looked blue. It was as if blue blood was running in their veins. How vain can one get!

Anyways, that is that. Blue blood stands for nobility and aristocracy. That's why Japan's opposition accused Aso of "being out of touch with the people." In other words, he is not one of the common folk.

Here are two more media examples of blue blood:

1. Ever since Ronald Reagan the right wing has been looking for a candidate whose conservative values mirror theirs. They thought George W. Bush was that person, but he turned out to be the most profligate spender ever in the history of the presidency, the man who oversaw the greatest wealth transference from government to private capital since 1776. Besides, unlike Palin, Bush 43 was to the manor born, a true Yale/Harvard blue blood. Palin's story, coming as she does from modest means, more closely parallels Reagan's - Main Street and small town American mythology come to life.

- Sarah Palin & the Presidency, HuffingtonPost.com, October 25, 2008.

2. From a standing start, Tom Pakenham has built up a minicab firm with 80 vehicles in two years. Green Tomato Cars is a taxi firm with a difference, with its claim to be "London's first and leading environmentally-friendly private hire operator".

The Cambridge graduate, now 31, seemed to be on a very different course when he qualified as a solicitor and began working with blueblood law firm Slaughter and May. But he turned his back on convention, walked out of the rarified world of intellectual property, got himself a job minicabbing and sold his flat in Notting Hill, west London, to raise money for his new venture.

- Inspired leadership stimulates taxi firm's organic growth, The Guardian, October 16, 2008.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

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