The end of the Ding Dong – The mental link between cake and the U.S. class-divide

Normally I like to write about the adventures in Singapore like maybe today’s venture to Funan, which was temporarily paused by the torrential 20-minute downpour that seems to occur every afternoon. Yes, we are in rainy season for the next 3-4 months. I have a really nice umbrella therefore I don’t mind! Plus, seeing lightning strikes occur near the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel reminds me how cool our view is during a major storm.

But what was most interesting to me this weekend was the demise of Hostess Brands. They make my favorite snack not sold here in Singapore: Ding Dongs.  Don’t start to snicker – I do mean the foil-wrapped chocolate cakes that parents all over the U.S. used to sneak in their kid’s lunch bags back before words like saturated fat, cholesterol, and obesity made everyone run for the hills or ban the 7-11 Big Gulp cup. They also make those really good small chocolate covered doughnuts that last forever not to mention the iconic Twinkie. The doughnuts got me through many a long work night.

Today I was checking out CNN and read the reader comments that followed the Hostess story. Over 8,600 comments so far.


A few made me laugh and a few reminded me of some conversations over here after the Presidential election last week. First, the fact that people actually spent time writing about the improper use of grammar or calling each other “asshats” made me laugh. At the same time, it made me cringe. Is this what our communication has come to? Do we use social media to come up with Zingers while wasting time writing about things not even related to the article? I wonder how many saw that of the 13,500 employees being laid off because of a union strike, the union in question represents only 5,000 of the overall employee base. I won’t venture a guess at how many scratched cars and egged homes are occurring in that part of the U.S.

What makes me sad though were the large number of comments back and forth blaming President Obama or Romney, or the vice-versa. I won’t get into a political discussion because frankly, I think we’re at that tipping point and someone else will write about it in some history book of the U.S. after its demise or takeover by zombies. No, its not that bad but when you read some of the comments, you’d think the U.S. is optimally set to soon follow the Roman Empire into the sunset.

If you have read this far, what is interesting and what this reminded me of was the reaction here in Singapore after the election. “Good, there will be little change in foreign policy” is pretty much what most would say. “Another election done” might be some others. Very basic and seemingly ambivalent. These are NOT the comments I would see on friend’s Facebook postings. No one here was going back and forth about the death of the US because the democrats are staying in power. Granted, they have their own politics to worry about and that makes sense.

But you know what else they ask? They want to know why the U.S. has such a class warfare system. I had to think or a bit. There are other countries where class warfare exists maybe in a caste system or maybe the urban versus rural populace. When I am asked that about my own country, I don’t have an answer. When did politics become so decisive that friends turn on each other while writing on a social media site that has become the way we now communicate! Yes, I use it too but sometimes I just feel it has even made us more disconnected. Will it change? Will the next generation realize they can’t move forward unless there is a way to really work together to move the entire country forward? Will they even be able to balance a checkbook or has interest in math, chemistry, and science gone down the test tubes.

Or will they still spend weeks being angry at something that is done, over, tallied. Will every four years be like this? I hope when we come back in a few years, things have gotten better.  I am just throwing my thoughts out there since that is what I like to do!