Egg Foo Blonde

Many pros in publishing say that the hardest work of an investigative journalist is to find connections. Sometimes we can back up assertions for these perceived connections with facts, and sometimes we use more complex techniques involving intuition and guessing. This is one of those times.

In the international news we learn that poor Russian women earn money by selling their hair in the global market for hair extensions. If a woman is blonde, their hair is worth more money than other colors, like blue. According to an article in the New York Times, Russian women can receive $50 for a 16-inch braid of blonde hair, in a region where the average monthly wage is $500.

In a seemingly unrelated article, we learn that China is hungry for coal. Everyone thinks that the coal is to be used to fuel China’s meteoric economy. However, the Chinese are sitting on a gold mine worth more than coal, but they want to keep it a secret. This intrepid reporter has unearthed the dark secret, or is it a light secret?

The big secret – and grab onto something, because it is going to shock you – is that Chinese are actually naturally blonde.

That’s right: Chinese hair is not naturally black. Because they so revile and distrust the Western World – while coveting Western luxury goods like French Bordeaux wine, Italian clothes and German cars – they hide their golden tresses from the round eyes of the West. The coal is not used for energy; it’s used to dye the hair of billions of Chinese.

In more recent years Chinese coal mines yielded billions of tons of coal, which was diverted either to “top industries,” which produced hair dyes sold through government controlled drug store chains; or to “bottom industries,” those that burned the coal in furnaces to generate electricity. But as the years went by, and the Chinese population exploded, domestic coal production could not keep pace. As technology evolved and allowed other types of power generation to develop, such as nuclear and solar, a higher proportion of the coal mined went to the top industries.

Before coal was used to dye hair, ink was used. Evidence of the Chinese ink industry dates back to the 12th century BC; other countries such as India came to the party later.  While other cultures used ink to produce written documents, drawings, maps and so much more, the Chinese used ink for cosmetic purposes, such as dyeing hair.

As any seasoned observer of China will tell you, the Peoples Bullying Party only reluctantly allows Chinese nationals to leave the country, fearing that the secret of their honey hair will be let out of the bag. Just about everybody has seen young Chinese in the United States and Europe, with hair a strange copper color.  Many observers reckoned that this was the result of attempting to dye their hair a lighter color, but what is really taking place is that the black dye is wearing out, allowing the true color to show through.  When Chinese hair dye fades, the hair begins to turn a reddish hue, and then turns blonde.

Since the hair dyes found outside China are inferior, young Chinese people, usually college students going to Western universities to learn advanced fast food technologies, are at risk of having their hair revert to blonde. This is what Chinese leaders fear. On the surface, it seems benign at worst to dye one’s hair, but over a lifetime of prolonged exposure, American health experts theorize that hair dye toxicity could build up, affect the brain, and cause a diminution of ratiocination powers.

Could this be why the Central Committee of the Chinese Peoples Bullying Party makes such unreasonable decisions, such as preventing Liu Xiaobo from accepting the Nobel Peace Prize at ceremonies next month in Norway?  Come back next week and we’ll answer this question and many more.

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