Monday, May 22, 2017

Finally a decent speech from Trump

Absent the usual divisiveness and now emphasis on unity and inclusiveness except for identifying Iran as the enemy, which there is abundant evidence that they are trouble makers.

Read his speech on his Facebook page.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

This fascinated Tharman

I find this completely intriguing that Chess could be addictive enough to lure people away from the bottle and gambling. Only in this Indian village and may be a few more undiscovered ones which have enough in common. It will never work here but it is very useful to understand why it is working there.

The other more important reason for this post is Tharman. I am always curious what goes on in the minds of some of our top leaders. Do I find them surprising or boring. Quite a few are boring but Tharman is always fresh or insightful.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mahbubani: West get North Korea wrong

I am tired of reading about North Korean defectors predicting the fall of the their country. Their track record is so poor, I have gone to read up and understand a little better why that ain't happening. These defectors basically wanted to sell books and wrote up their stories basically to achieve that. To be fair to them they believed the North is doomed or they would not have risked their lives running away.

I agree with Mahbubani that the western media get the North more wrong than right but I feared he has done even worse. E.g., there is no such thing as an unbiased point of view. All views must reflect our preference which is not informed by facts but beliefs.

His prescription of helping the North grow economically and secure so that they would give up their nuclear weapons is fantasy. There is simply not enough trust. The North does not even trust China to protect them! Would they trust the Americans? The western media has been far better at selling their views more consistently than Asian intellectuals or media.

It is completely in Singapore's interest that there is no war on the Korean peninsula and that the current debacle can with patience eventually be peacefully resolved. I signed up to that too but I feared the crazy Trump bends more toward violence because to the Americans all peaceful options have failed. The logic of others dead than American lives at risk is a powerful one to attack the North regardless of the consequences as long as America First is preserved.

A peaceful solution is available if China have the ability to guarantee the North's security but that would take a long time and the North would be nuclear armed with ICBMs long before that. Instead I think the Japanese is likely to arm themselves with nuclear weapon eventually. When that happens depends on the US commitment to its security. If the US waver the Japanese will be nuclear ready sooner. Following that South Korea will do the same.

There is no peaceful solution for the peninsula except through nuclear deterrence to maintain an uneasy peace until the social and economic circumstances of North Asia societies are completely different from today.

One Belt, One Road: Show me the money

China offers a free call option with no expiry and many nations signed up. Why not? Problem is where is the money? The Chinese have it but is not showing it. Not yet.

I like the OBOR idea but one has to be realistic as well. Beyond money the Chinese has plenty to catch up before they are able to lead this endeavor. What with so many pressing domestic issues that already consume so much time and energy.

The only thing realistic about OBOR is just one line in the story: He did not give a time frame.

But once you make a big public show of OBOR the clock starts ticking. It is no longer strictly true the Chinese can do as they please any more. You have to keep people expectant and interested or lose credibility.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Three blind mice

In July last year I decided two mice were better than one. For the past few months I have been using three! Three blind mice. Experience suggest I would stick with two most of the time. In this instance the runt is the blue one. The Arc Mouse was a small miracle. Shortly after I got it problems developed. Fortunately I didn't throw it away as it was so pricey, and now it is working fine.

Three blind mice is the way to go and I work them hard.

New and dangerous attitude toward drugs

I just finished reading this story from Today. One paragraph jumped at me which caused me to make this post.
A 25-year-old woman, who graduated from a local university and works in the media industry, claimed that taking cannabis was just like drinking coffee. “It’s popular among successful entrepreneurs”, she said. While in university, she took cannabis - also known as marijuana or weed - daily before she went for class, and even before examinations.
My daughter sometimes reported to me that some of the students have incredible stamina that she cannot even compare with them. I think I know why and hopefully this is only true for some of them.  The global environment and media attitude toward drugs is getting softer and with that it throws off an aura that drugs are benign.

The threat has changed and now these dangerous stuff is sold with false claims and half truths. Some of these drugs grow on you so slowly you thought it is safe. The only way to discover their danger is when you are trapped.

Update: May 14 7:55 pm

I had wanted especially to share this earlier but it wasn't convenient until now.

His public remark that drug abuse is commonplace was nothing less than sobering. Catch that in the video clip. 

Saboten: When kids eat free

That is what we saw at Saboten in 313 Somerset today when children get to eat free. Don't imagine all of them are locals. I could hear a fair bit of Japanese spoken.

To see toddlers in baby chairs seated in a row was simply too cute to ignore.

Saboten Tonkatsu is really good. We used to go to the one at IMM until one day they inexplicably disappeared.