Reporters on the Job

Reinhard Krause/Reuters
Cheerleaders wait behind a soldier for the start of the Olympic torch relay through Xinjiang Province.

Flowers After Dark: As a journalist working in Kuwait for the past several years, Jamie Etheridge has seen rising opposition to Valentine's Day, which mirrors the efforts by Islamic traditionalists in parliament to roll back other Western or modern imports.

She notes that some Kuwaitis want to model their social norms after Saudi Arabia, where "florists will often deliver at night to avoid the religious police. There have been calls to ban Valentine's Day here but the merchants are powerful and have resisted the Islamists' efforts to stop shops from selling flowers, candy, and anything red on Feb. 14," she says.

By law, women can't work after 8 p.m. "Technically, it applies to me though its never been enforced. As an American, I'm not expected to abide by all the social limits that Arabs are expected to follow," she says.

Immigrant Labor: Staff writer Scott Baldauf doesn't condone the violence against immigrants in South Africa (see story). But he understands the envy and anger many jobless South Africans, who suffered for decades under apartheid, must feel toward working migrants.

"Today, outside many hardware stores, you can see South African carpenters and painters gathered together. They decide among themselves what hourly wage to accept. But construction bosses will often bypass the higher-priced South Africans for cheaper Zimbabweans or Mozambicans farther down the road," he says.

"Go into a South African restaurant, and you'll likely be waited on by a Zimbabwean. I once met the local spokesman of the Zimbabwean opposition MDC party at a family restaurant. He was the maître d'. Knowledge of French can be a help when parking your car at a local shopping mall, because most of the parking lot guards are Congolese," says Scott.

David Clark Scott

World editor

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