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Why Are the Chinese Dyeing Their Pets to Look Like Pandas and Tigers?

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Take a look at this girl's pets. No, they're not actual pandas -- they're dogs dyed to look like bears:


Now, if I haven't lost you to hyperglycemic blindness from that cuteness overdose, it's worth pointing out a couple things that make this picture significant.

According to Global Post, dyeing pets to look like wild animals has emerged as a full-blown craze among China's booming yuppie class. (Chinese yuppies, or "Chuppies," to borrow from Russia Today's Max Keiser, now number 300 million or so, according to Keiser, and they borrow and spend like flush Americans. It's like America in the '80s, a few dozen times over.)

So China is finally realizing the Western-style dream of a government printing tidal waves of money, so as to enrich a banking oligarchy that can lend out $1.5 trillion for newly wealthy Chinese to buy Buicks, jet around the world taking digital photos and make their dogs look like tigers.

It does sound familiar, doesn't it? But the part about the dogs is interesting, from a cultural perspective. Up until the last decade, Chinese (and many Asian) families rarely kept pets; dogs were seen as meat, not man's best pal. (Don't judge! We're all animals; it's practical, not cruel.)

Indeed, ask a young Chinese American whose parents lived in China about pets, and you'll probably hear that their parents consider dogs a nuisance and a waste of money. (A Chinese friend of mine from college had an older relative who would gripe about white people and their houses smelling like dog.)

Those attitudes changed in a hurry, according to Global Post:

Now, eating dog is viewed by many as an embarrassing reminder of a poorer time.

With more money to spend, newly wealthy Chinese have embraced dog-owning culture with a vengeance. Dogs are brought into restaurants, fussed over in public, dressed up in ridiculous outfits and dyed to look like ferocious tigers.
It seems Chinese yuppies have adopted American attitudes toward spending -- who knows, maybe they've been watching too much "Entourage" -- and it extends even to their relationship with (and ridiculous dressing-up of) canines.

Maybe not the most heartening news for those interested in the stability of global finance, say. But Americans should be glad to know our approach to frivolity is still the world's gold standard.

The economic explosion that's happening in Asia is larger than many can fathom, and that's what makes it seen ominous to many Americans. We should just be glad the Chinese still consider us trendy, and start scheming ways to get rich selling them doggie dyes, velour Juicy pug tracksuits and HBO Blu-Ray box sets.

We may not be the lone superpower anymore, but Americans are still the top players in the money-wasting game. It's going to be an amazing, deeply weird Asian century, and it'll be our job to figure out how we fit into it.

I don't know about you, but I'm about to look up pet-dye suppliers.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.