Kyrgyzstan: Übermensch in a Box (Non-Toxic, Too!)
It's a bird … It's a plane … It's Kyrgyz Superboy!A man in Kyrgyzstan has developed what might be the country’s proudest toy. The die-cast plastic boy -- wearing a national hat, the kalpak, vest and riding boots -- sings Kyrgyzstan’s national anthem as well as three patriotic Kyrgyz songs. His kneeling sidekick, sold separately, recites verses from the Koran, AKIpress reported. (With video, too). Akyikat – named after designer Irisbek Zhabirov’s son – could be an inspiring figure for Kyrgyz children. But what will he inspire? Nationalism or something more benign? A rabid anti-foreigner sentiment is flourishing in Kyrgyzstan, particularly since ethnic violence last year left hundreds dead. What kind of values, then, shall we hope for from Akyikat? The little guy also faces a congenital struggle: He’s made in China – the target of much Kyrgyz xenophobia.But parents, don’t worry. The $6 price tag includes a guarantee from the manufacturer: All its Chinese-made toys are non-toxic and harmless to your children. So hurry, there are only 10,000 copies of each available.
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor.