Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reading glasses pecha

Ending the year with a pair of broken reading glasses - my first, which I bought for $10 sometime before I discovered pasar malam were selling them for $8 and ABC or Valu$ offering theirs at $2.05!

Gotta go and get another of those $2.05 ones.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

SG: Small country in a hostile world

I shall begin by quoting from the story.
“The failure to see what was happening worries me quite deeply,” said Dr Shashi Jayakumar, Head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
“Because if you look at the Singapore point of view, we are a small country and we are vulnerable. We cannot afford to be consistently and strategically surprised in that way.”
Years back in this blog I sometimes lamented that we are becoming less able at seeing threats over the horizon. Now we have someone lamenting the fact. We cannot offer what we do not have. What we can and must do is to understand what has changed and respond quickly which I briefly explained two days ago in a blog post.

Ambassador Chan was interviewed on the sideline of this program and CNA has made available a YouTube version.

"Small country", I get it immediately but "hostile world" there is another way to view it. It is hostile if developments are inimical to our plans and ambitions. If we adapt our plans to a changed environment and is prepared to do whatever it take to survive and prosper, we might discover the world is less hostile and after a while even be full of opportunities.

Look at how Kissinger himself is adapting to Trump. Now he praised Trump as 'a phenomenon that foreign countries haven't seen' and says his election is an 'extraordinary opportunity' See the story in the Daily Mail.

Kissinger is reshaping to so that he can remain relevant. We must do the same. Is Kissinger selling out? I don't think so but that is not easy to explain. The man has great depth and is easy to misunderstand him. Here is a good example published in Project Syndicate by Dominique Moisi (got to be an European eh): How Dr. Strangelove Learned to Love Trump.

If that is how Kissinger responded, I think his teacher the late LKY were he in charge would lead Singapore to make the necessary adjustments as well. What these might be I have not thought them through and perhaps might not know.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Bought Logitech K380 keyboard

I am improving the quality of my work life with a new keyboard: Logitech K380 at $32.75 by ordering it off Qo10 with Video Pro at Sim Lim Square. The regular price is $54

I opted self collect to take the daughter on an orientation shopping at SL Square. Apparently you don't collect your order from the main shop. A guy from the shop smiled and told me everyone makes this mistake.

So here was where we went to pick up this keyboard.

I grudgingly accepted that I can't do a print screen with this keyboard but was pleasantly surprised that I could. Some of the keys are also programmable. Here are the short cuts. 

Now my PC, Tablet and Smartphone are all connected to this keyboard. When desk real estate is scarce this is much welcomed. 

Finally this is a low profile keyboard, practically silent. This is very important as I have injured my hands several times with regular keyboards. Finally I found a keyboard as suitable for typing as the Microsoft Arc Keyboard. 

The year of the cock aka Trump

This isn't just some digital art, it a large size figure in Shanxi, China surrounded by shopping malls. People's Daily and Global Times published it and I imagine other malls are going to try to out do this one in both size and creativity. Attract crowds, wefies and more sales eh?

Update: Jan 9 9:50 pm

I had suggested there will be more such Trump cocks. In fact it is turning out to be far more than I had expected!

A beautiful 26.9 Celsius

A photo taken with my Tab A instead of my Note 4. Can tell the quality is poorer but then I didn't have my phone with me.

Last night was very cool and the children decided not to have the aircon on. In fact one complained she shivered. When was the last time we had such enjoyable temperatures?

The Christmas/New Year week is often wet and cooler. We like it that way.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bought MS Designer Bluetooth Desktop

Bought the Microsoft Designer Bluetooth Desktop for the daughter this morning. Members received 20% discount. With this keyboard her hard and noisy pounding have just disappeared.

The warranty is good for three years and I made it a point to take a picture of the thermal paper receipt.

There were several occasions I regretted throwing the receipt away as I wanted to enforce the warranty on Microsoft. They have their fair share of lemons.

Adapting to a changing world order quickly

My ex boss sent me this earlier today and remarked she is shocked to read such a view from writer who is the head of the department of Strategy & Policy at NUS Business School.

My response to her as follows, trying to get used to the changing world order as quickly as possible.

With the election of Trump, the world is changing at warp speed. This don would never have contributed such an article if Hillary Clinton was elected. It woud simply be unacceptable.

Such views are always there but private. Trump's election legitimized their purblicity.

I tell myself better quickly understand what is happening than moping over what is lost. Just go back to the 70s and imagine the folks in power now looking back would view Nixon and Kissinger as having made a huge mistake to nanny China into the free world. So their attitude is to undo that mistake and all the follows. The Trump team will not listen to Kissinger and the smart Chinese should by now already know it is useless to get Kissinger input.

Demons have broken out of their prisons to wreak havoc upon us.

There is one and only one way for the US to accept the rise of China. Any other way will lead to war between them. America will never be secure and confident enough to allow China to be stronger than what she is already unless it is a democracy like the UK or itself. For decades their hope and they had faith that with economic prosperity the Chinese would demand democracy. Had they known this was never going to happen they would not even support China's admission to the WTO.

So in a sense this is quite simple: Either China converts to democracy when the Americans sent missionaries or else thy will mount a crusade against her.

They cannot understand why Taiwan and Korea could be democracies but not China and the enemy must be the CCP.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Who is dong God's work?

The story has a familiar ring to it. I believed ST had shared it before in another guise. Sister Gerard Fernandez was a death row counselor.

The people who does God's work has the habit of not declaring who they are working for. They leave it to ready and sensitive souls to recognize it.

Now compare that we Goldman Sachs CEO Blnakfein attitude and testimony before Congress. I am spoiled for choice which source to quote from but Business Insider was made convenient by Google. 

Before you could even ask Khong Hee he would have told you he was doing God's work too. The Riadys of the Lippo group from Indonesia hung huge banners from newly acquired office towers praising God and that they just did the Lord's work.

I think best to let people decide. As a rule of thumb the noisier the more suspicious. I have serious doubts the American religious right are doing God's work which they shout from the bully pulpits they are, and what were the eight in ten who voted Trump thinking? I thought they got their moral priorities warped. On the other hand an over ninety year old nun wrote to me from Fremont months before the election about her fear about Trump becoming the next president. I told her not to worry but now on hindsight her insight was right. Now she is also the sort who quietly doing the Lord's work never try to tell you that she was.

Hard to be friends with both the US and China

Dr Ruan Zhongze suggested Beijing could be more humble against what I recall his big boss the state councillor as FM Yang Jiechi had once said to George Yeo,  "China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that's just a fact."

China will not be more humble unless it is truly humbled, period. I don't believe Dr Ruan reflected anywhere near his bosses view. He is too westernized in the mind to suggest that. It would be nice but practically impossible.

So as I marked in a red box, neighbouring countries would just have to suck it up and make the best of the situation or be dictated to by China. At that time many small countries in our region would simply hope China would not change its relationship with them too much because it is too busy with so many other issues. Just hope the emperor is far away.

He might without mentioning names be referring to us. It is not easy to pull off what LKY had done for us. If we want to be a jewel among nations we have to pull this off or else we would decline and at some point it would only make sense for us to become part of Malaysia or Indonesia. That is the brutal fact of life for us. Now with Trump in the US it is even more difficult. 

How do we know we are not up to challenge? When we fail to anticipate what the US and China would do. That was what LKY was capable of doing. We do well by not getting trapped. If we are caught frequently then we must ask ourselves if we are capable of continuing our present strategy. God forbid that we lack sufficient foresight. We know we have continued to maintain that edge if foreign leaders regularly ask to talk to our leaders for their insights. 

Vote for your hero

I remember only reading about four out of these five stories in the ST. The clearest and most recent is "Life-changing kindness". I have no memory of "Drive for innovation".

This is a fuller list minus mention of the sponsors. Those I have circled, I had blogged about them especially Megan because the doctors said they care as Megan is one of our own. So proud of these doctors. It is values like this that is contributing to slowing the inflating cost of healthcare here. Their US counterparts have far more business minded doctors. Recently they also came out against paying TPAs a commission that is a percentage of treatment fees. Those TPAs are at the borderline between providing a helpful service or as pimps. 

I am not going to vote for any of them. They are all worthy of emulation and who is to say one is better than the other. We know that one fewer is one poorer for us. We want to have more of such people. 

Serial power trips

Ferocious weather yesterday. How quickly fifty years have passed (punt intended) when I saw on Facebook report of water ponding and flooding at many places including Orchard Road which we probably try hardest to keep the waters out.

At home the power keep tripping. I think I have a perfect record of when out power went out ever since we have this network drive installed.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Skipping Rouge One tonight

We saw Star Wars episode 7 twice last year, on opening day and Christmas eve. This year we caught Rogue One on opening day but decided against watching it again today. The children said, "everyone dies" this was to sad and tragic.

Tonight we will watch Episode IV A New Hope to take revenge on Rouge One.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Trump nuclear scare

Unlike so many public figures and wishful investors, I have absolutely no hopeful ideas about Trump as a successful president. I wish they impeach him soonest possible, failing which we must minimize the damage he will cause.

I imagine the NYT cannot believe they are writing an article explaining Trump. I have not read it and do not intend to. I don't think the Times is qualified to be his interlocutor. If you want to know how Trump words are meant by him to be understood, which by the way is wrong, his counselor Kellyanne Conway is the person to hear. Of course I will disagree with her warped sense of reality but that it not the point.

Trump is a compulsive liar and when you give such people power they use it to bend reality to their lies. That is what make such types so dangerous.

As president elect he denies inconvenient facts, as president we will try to remake them to his liking. The public and media must not let up in publicly calling him out.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Desiring God: Forget about giving

I can't remember how many years I have checked if they accept Paypal. One year I wrote them asking them to but they said no without explaining that they have full confidence in their payment system.

I am sure they are getting all the donations they need. Even if I am wrong, it wouldn't matter until they are willing to accept Paypal or at least some gift cards.

Yep, I don't trust their security. Nothing to suggest they understand that well enough.

Over the last few years I had many IT professional friends with their email accounts compromised. I know because out of the blue I get some out of character email from them. I told them they must have used the same password for all sorts of less secure websites. There is a deplorable disregard for security out there. I believe it is getting better but I think we have a long way to go.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

You don't need the best people?

My sis posted this to her Facebook page. I wonder if the story has what I sometimes told the children. Many employers only think and say they look for the best people but at the end of the day are simply hiring good enough ones. My favorite example are the non Chinese speaking doctors and nurses in our restructured hospitals. In the interest of controlling cost cum delivering better financial performance please be there to be the language interpreter for your parents when they visit our hospitals.

Friends used to complain until we are too sick to repeat ourselves any more that a lot of foreign talent here aren't as good as locals. That is because locals are more than good enough and some employers do not need locally trained quality. Sure foreigners bring some skills that are not available locally but they are not as important as they are much cheaper to hire.

You don't need the best people, you only need them to be good enough and that is why for those employed in such positions which are the majority of jobs, it is hard to get your pay up. 

Here is the link to the story in Fast Company which missed the elephant in the room. Being able to figure what is missing from what is published is more important that than what is read. It was a skill I thought they were trying to introduce to our kids when they did social studies in upper secondary school when evaluating information sources, but too many teachers and kids were engrossed in how to game it to get an A1. So I took it upon myself to teach my kids after the exams through informal conversation. They might not even be aware what I was up to.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Agree again with Pope Francis

This is just great. Although I deeply admire this guy I do not know anything additional about him except carried by the popular media. Nice to know he not only sees no problem but support the theory of the Big Bang universe and Evolution. The biblical literalists do not know how much abominable pride they are hiding to insist on Intelligent Design and Creationism.

Remember God relates to us at our level and not his which is infinite. As we increased in knowledge he comes to us making use of the additional knowledge and awareness we possess which our forebears did not. Theologians and pastors, please don't put God into your convenient limited boxes and pretending that you are not in fact trying to control him by making him predictable, usurping his authority so that you can reinterpret scriptures your way, gain power and manipulate his flock! That was what the religious teachers and Pharisees did in Matthew 23.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Predicting who becomes President

Finally got to do a quick survey of this book by professor Allan Lichtman. He has an unparalleled track record for predicting who won every presidential race since the 80s. His system is back tested all the way to the 1800s.

Very fascinating how he could come up with the thirteen keys. Looks deceptively simple but it takes a lot of work to use them correctly. I wonder why the political elites seem not to have paid much attention to his work and instead have always gravitated to polls. Except by luck they never worked. They ought to have leverage the wisdom of his system even if they cannot avoid those polls and media attention.

These thirteen keys can be found in Wikipedia.

By the way the prof also expect Trump to be impeached by Congress within the first year of being president. Just as well since Trump is a leopard which cannot change its spots.

Update: Dec 20 8:05 am

Basically if Prof Lichtman is right then a lot of things people worry and study about the presidential elections are unimportant and just wasteful distractions. Interestingly he never suggest Trump would be rejected by the Electoral College. His hunch is Trump would be impeached by Congress within a year. That is just hunch and not based on some equivalent model for predicting elections. But if you read his book you would realize he was simply hedging. A lot of systematic and rigorous thought must have gone into coming up with that "hunch". The man cannot stop being historian.

The Chinese deal with Trump with language

Time makes things clearer. The question is how much time? To me it is a little clearer now how the Chinese will engage Trump: language!

I have been telling family and friends the trouble with Trump is his language. He exaggerates and misrepresents, you might say he is a habitual liar. I explained this is dangerous. The language and protocols of diplomacy is fashioned out of the blood of past mistakes with language. Communication failures which led to misunderstanding and war. Now Trump has no regard for using appropriate language. He accused the Chinese of stealing the US underwater drone but even it that was true, it was careless because there are more than one way to look at it. Remember that sort of drone costing about $150k is also used by commercial enterprises and NGOs. The Chinese can always claim they didn't know it was US Navy property until it is too late.

You may accuse the Chinese of theft of US Navy property only if there is no other way to read the whole event. If you fail to do that, you only show yourself to be narrow minded.

The Chinese were cleverer and I think will continue to counter him with appropriate language by making Trump look bad. I quote from the WSJ article.
“The Chinese side inspected it, found that it belongs to the U.S., and decided to hand it back,” Ms. Hua told reporters at a regular briefing. She said both countries’ militaries “are in smooth communications, and we believe this incident will be properly handled.”
and the story ends with.
“We really don’t like the word ‘stealing,’” Ms. Hua said. “The most important thing is that the Chinese navy took a professional manner to prevent the device from harming freedom of navigation.”
Trump will provoke the Chinese into a Twitter war with him but the other side will never respond with tweets but through the organs and instrument of diplomacy e.g., a media announcement. The Chinese primary audience is their own people then the Americans. The Chinese people will say, "Look, Trump is a barbarian. We will not stoop so low"

How long will it take for Trump to learn that diplomacy cannot be conducted with 140 characters tweets? A tweet is "so bad" in Trump-speak that it is better to remain silent or remove all doubt that you are an ignoramus or idiot.

Update: Dec 20 8:35 pm

A diametrically opposite point of view from mine which I do not find helpful because one has to consider the trajectory of such behavior. Note I say behavior and not attitude. When dealing with an adversary, deception is highly prized and there is not need to have behavior consistent with attitude. But you have to be clear where you want the relationship to go. You cannot go tit for tat without purpose other than to get even or look bigger. I would like peace in the South China Sea so we can trade and next I would like China to behave better preferably by providing incentives for that, failing which we have to to resort to disincentives.

US allies and friends in the region are nervous because without saying so publicly, we doubt American resolve to hold their positions in these waters.

When the US says no to the TPP it tells me they are not prepare to risk it here? What for? What are you defending? Prestige? That is too expensive. Might as well preserve that by avoiding being tested.

Trump talks big and loud but does he understand the cost of backing up those words with action?

That is why Duterte has decided not to waste his time with the Americans. Things are moving quickly and timeliness of action is important. But do we see the Americans responding to the pace the Chinese are setting? The Americans are reacting in a distracting manner.

Ratify the TPP or lose influence big time in Asia. Trump is too dumb to see the connection between American prestige, security and economics. He is obsessed with running after Islamic terrorists when with patience they can already win that. He ought to be dedicating most of his attention to the US relationship with China.

Update: Dec 20: 11:05 pm

Now such language is appropriate. You don't like Trump say "steal" but unlawful seizure and equivalents would be right. The choice of words might appear innocuous now but not when matters develop further especially if they worsen.

See Reuters report.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Should Evangelicals Evolve on Homosexuality?

Even without reading the article, my response is No. Then I went to read the article which is too "cheem" for some, may be many. So those who feel that is "too deep" should just forget it. Don't get unmoored by it or get angry over it. Go find something more helpful. If your desire tends toward homosexuality you will be happiest with that. If you have the opposite inclination then don't do what the gays are doing. If you are careless and hateful about what you have to say to the homosexuals, most likely you are worse than them, and if they call you out as a hypocrite which I have done several in previous posts, they are probably on the mark.

Some of my blog post will cause readers to go away thinking I am friendly to the homosexuals. My quickest response to that is that my position is very close to Pope Francis. Thank God for him!

Climate Change: Trump's prized Mar-a-Lago under threat

I hardly ever check my twitter account and that was what when I did when I responded to a different notification! Your Mar-a-Lago could be lost to the sea.

Good luck Trump but I guess you would have made back a lot more immorally if not illegally from the American people as president with your innumerable conflicts of interest.

I am still hoping in a couple of days time the Electoral College rebuff you. America's wise founding fathers found a way to stop people like you from getting into the White House. All over the world except Russia, we are hoping it works. If that happens lots of analysts writing "fat chance this will happen" better do the honorable thing by handing in their resignation letters.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Letting domains expire

Have gotten several such mails from the domain name registration service and am expecting a few more. These are the dying embers of a past life. It was fun but didn't last as long as I hoped. Most important it was worthwhile and cannot complain about the money too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December 4: Before; December 12: After

I wanted to record this here but my thoughts were too mixed to do a quick post. I probably only blog ten to twenty percent of what I really wanted. Today's ST story on that kind act certainly helped. I can do a before and after story of  paying it forward.



Because this is about paying it forward, I don't expect it to stop here. I am sure it will inspire others to do the same but mostly quietly. I am familiar with this. Since Trump is so often on my mind these days. Paying it forward is not a Trump but Obama thing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Moore: Coyly, Trump might not be President

When the new bond king Gundlach predicted that Trump would win, I was not persuaded. A few months later I read Mike Moore's who predicted the same and explained why, I thought yes, he might turned out to be right. Then I saw how Obama's job rating keeps going up and thinking like a Singaporean and making the mistake that voters anywhere would do the same, I thought well, Hillary Clinton is going to win. Just look at how the Obamas were campaigning for her. I never trust those poll numbers.

On November 10 I discovered I  was wrong. For us we are only afraid of two freak outcomes in elections: ours and the USA.

Now Mike Moore is suggesting we might never see Trump become president. I welcome that!

Earlier I thought that was only good on paper but my hopes that the electoral college would reject Trump is rising.

Update: 10:45 pm

Looks like the idea of the Electoral College acting to stop Trump is gaining currency even if the stories are heavily hedged. Here is one from the BBC: Could the Electoral College dump Trump?

"foreign powers" and that would be Russia, checked.
"unqualified candidates" too many in Trump's character and track record to enumerate: checked.

Update: Dec 20 7:55 am

There we have it, the most unfit President of the United States of America.

Michael Moore was wrong and I am glad I have no money on this outcome.

As electors represented the voters so well they might as well not have the Electoral College. This bit their founding fathers put in has failed.

Update: Dec 20 8:35 pm

From this Reuters story I get to appreciate Alexander Hamilton's idea of the Electoral College was too idealistic and impractical. I agree with Governor Jay Inslee that it should be abolished. Besides the system has been almost completely gamed. If it hadn't it would have caused chaos simply because the founding fathers did not advise on how electors ought to be chosen.

It is interesting to note that voters mostly saw their system as a democracy when it is more accurate to say they are a republic.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Trump making a mess of US-China relations

What a mess from Trump. Why did you stir the hornets nest without first sedating them first? Better still why didn't you give yourself the chance to study this issue close up before acting? But you are too cocky and think private sector ways are superior to government approaches. Just as a lumberjack looks at every problem as a tree to be cut down, you think every issue in the world can be turned into a business issue? What an idiot you are.

Given that Trump is so thin skinned and adverse to losing, would he now be willing to walk back from here? The Chinese just insulted him with "as ignorant of diplomacy as a child"

What does "Beijing may support US enemies" mean? Did he never understand that "enemies" here could easily mean helping Pyongyang with long range missile technology to lob nuclear warheads at US cities on the west coast? The Chinese are prepared to go to war over Taiwan even if they cannot win. America might win on the battlefield but would surely lose the war and the rest of the world with it. In fact the lesser evil lawmakers already knew all along is to fail to go to Taiwan's aid. The secret of this relationship between the US and China is never to call each other bluff over Taiwan. Absolutely nobody wins here.

Trump is indeed a fool in the biblical sense. I hope the electors from the Electoral College have the wisdom not to vote for him come December 19.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Trump not like Reagan

PBS asked, how similar are Trump and Reagan? In less than six minutes they highlighted the salient points. Anyway Reagan was always smarter than Trump and also incomparably more morally anchored but that is not discussed in the clip.

Trump is a disgrace not just to the Presidency but also to America and what it takes to be a billionaire, which if he would only share his tax returns would probably reveal he isn't one.

Trump has gone around repeating he won the electoral college by a landslide. He didn't but Reagan did. On the other hand with Congress and Senate with him he is more powerful than Reagan, so I hope on December 19 we have a Black Swan event when the electors failed to give him the minimum 270 votes. It is a patriotic thing to do.

Americans chose Trump by voting for him and more by failing to show up to vote. It is their job to fix the mess they have dug up for themselves and us hapless price takers.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Thanks Robert Reich before we got used to Trump tweets

Got to thank former labor secretary Robert Reich for this one on Trump!

We need more people like Prof Reich calling Trump out publicly for who and what he is. If this doesn't happen enough in public then people are going to get used to him and he take America down with him to new lows in indecency, cronyism and corruption. His party, the Congress and its leaders should be wagging fingers at him but they are not. They are acting that their party and their jobs are more important than their republic. So much for their patriotism, these are vile people and millions of fools still supporting them. Looks like they need to learn the hard way.

When Trump appears on TV, responsible parents should be very alert and if necessary take their kids away. He is very often a bad influence and a terrible example.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Terrex? Just wait long long

Three meetings between APL and HK customs officials over many hours that you thought they were in love and dating each other and still we are no wiser why they are holding our Terrex vehicles.

I have written before there are no reasons good enough for public consumption and increasingly it looks like this is simply a tactic of "wait long long" a very Chinese approach before they release the armor vehicles to us without reason.

Probably one day one of their senior leaders will tell our leaders why it happened. Anyway you cannot believe wholesale what Global Times say about this. Meanwhile we will sail directly from Taiwan to Singapore as the lesson to take away from this experience.

Update: Dec 23 8:25 pm

Can't make Christmas but I think as long as we take the necessary bureaucratic steps these ICVs will be back home, which naturally takes a while. Very important to note that the Xiamen port authorities informed their Hong Kong counterpart to act. In this way the Chinese played both heads and tails but at Hong Kong's expense.

Hong Kong can expect more misuse and even abuse as China needs it less never mind if it sends the wrong signal to Taiwan.

Update: Jan 24 8:35 pm

Yep, they are home in the manner of following proper procedures i.e., done the way we always want things done especially in dealing with other countries, upholding the "rule of law"

Update Jan 31 2:05 pm

They are home :-)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Six lessons for all about Trump

As observed by Bill Emmott the former editor of the Economist warning us what to expect from Trump from the example of the former feckless Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi.

Four years is too long. I can't wait to see Trump impeached. As long as he is on the job the world just feels less safe.

Specool Quick Charge Powerbank

Paid about $26 at Qoo10 for this powerbank including shipping which arrived today. Like it that it has Quick Charge. This replaces the Xiaomi I bought in 2014 which could not longer hold its charge well. I had expected better but in the end it was the first free power bank from GP batteries which came free with the Canon S100 that is still working like new. That was in March 2013.

I think we have five Xiaomi powerbanks and three of them no longer keep its charge well. None of them more than two years old.

Galaxy Note 7 was too good to be true

The testing lab Instrumental has investigated and proposed why the Note 7 was prone to catching fire. Basically the Note 7 according to them had always from its designed a device that was too good to be true. No doubt Samsung would likely in private counter that with claims that they have mastered (they did not!) how to build the industry tightest batteries that upon expansion would not cause it to become shorted causing it to catch fire or explode.

Finally there is a possible reason why I would just have to stick with my Note 4 until there is a Note 8. May be Samsung will terminate the line and replace it with something else? The Note brand carries too much baggage.

From a broader perspective the poor record of industrial and safety mishaps in Korea suggest that they are often reckless. So are the Chinese, in fact they are worse but that is another story.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Chinese learn to read Trump

China's leaders had watched Trump on the campaign trail. Like previous presidential campaigns they had hoped Trump would be a different person once in office because as Obama quoted Cuomo who died recently, said you campaign in poetry but govern in prose. Well with Trump that could not be more wrong. I think we all know Trump cannot change or adapt but that possibility was just too terrible to contemplate. Now there is no ambiguity left. Your hopes and prayers are not answered.

To put it most mildly it would be a wild ride in the days ahead. The ignoramus Trump never understood why diplomacy is conducted the way it is. Historically kingdoms had paid in coin, blood and territory to develop today's norms in international relations.

How to deal with Trump? Always figure how to give him rope which he will eventually need to hang himself. He is a fool in the Biblical sense. He can calculate one, two steps ahead but have no idea how everything will eventually come together to work against him.


I was impatient reading this story from the WSJ, Keep wondering how quickly I can get to the end of it and yet not speeding along too much till I missed too much and have to return to some point and move forward again. My reaction? What the hell the FBI thought they were doing? Cocky investigators who have a tunnel vision with a cocksure attitude with no idea how the world outside their world work and yet tasked with poking their fingers everywhere. The value of this read? To have an understanding what Hillary Clinton endured. History will be kind to her but that takes time for people to discover. It was never a choice between her and Trump. There was no comparison. Voters have chosen the wrong person but more damning were those who didn't make the effort to go out and vote against Trump.

Conclusion? In vital ways the FBI trying to keep America safer has inadvertently made their country more vulnerable. In diplomacy and spying between the human and the technology, the human always win. Israel know this intimately and has kept them safe.

As usual I am reminded of Churchill's aphorism about the American tendency to try every dumb idea before hitting on the right one.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

韬光养晦 over revealing Goujian (勾踐)

Han Fook Kwang analysis is far from complete. You cannot discuss China and Singapore over the Straits issue and the South China Sea without adding America.

Just like Goujian who inspired generations of Chinese power plays, China has stopping biding her time (韬光养晦) and revealed its true character since the ascent of Xi Jinping.

I felt she has shown her true character too soon and if the mercurial Trump made a naval stand which Obama never would have there would be war and the CCP will have to think how to survive this because the PLA at this point is too weak to score victories.

The strategies the Chinese had used to engage Obama would not work with Trump. That was why Wang Yi had initially played down the significance of the Trump-Tsai phone meeting and called it a cheap Taiwanese gimmick. The familiar markers we used for navigating this tricky relationship between the two biggest powers have disappeared and we need to figure a way forward. Missteps would be very costly for Singapore. Fan Li would have left quietly and start a new life far from Goujian but real estate even if it is just a rock out of the waters have no legs for running to safety. If the US  and China are mad enough to quarrel with each other we will be forced to take a side. In other words I hope the 93-year old Kissinger succeeds behind the scene to ensure the two sides get along.

Indonesian Politics: Will of people strategy

Just read this story in the JP. 500,000 people turned up for Friday prayers in a show of force against Jakarta mayor "Ahok"

I thought the video implicated Ahok was edited to make him look guilty? How on earth did the AG decide there is a case to prosecute him? But this is not about the law or justice. It is politics, and if you elect a government through the ballot box then bringing lots of people onto the streets as a show of force, a proxy for the people's will is what they do everywhere to arc the future in their favor. The easiest and quickest but very dangerous response is the other side also gather their 500,000 or more people to make the counter statement of the people's will. This is rarely done as both sides are likely to end up fighting each other. You have to organize this in another city but that would not be Jakarta.

Looks like Ahok might end up as a sacrifice to keep Jokowi in power. Meanwhile Jakarta can continue to sink every year and over time the annual flooding will get worse. What can you expect when thy are all fighting for power than solving municipal problems.

Vile politicians conning gullible voters everywhere. Don't assume we are not vulnerable. We pass the test when it has become really hard to con our folks with financial scams, which we continue to score poorly.

This is a perverse world but with enough room for the hopes of the Desiderata. You always have to know in any situation who the sucker is. If you can't tell, it is likely to be you!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Regretting not making the effort to vote

Just caught this off CNet.

Never learned the lesson from Brexit eh? Too many of you were sitting on your bottoms instead of making that effort to vote. Now it is probably too late for tears.

Electoral College electors can see what Trump is doing before his inauguration. The man is a loose cannon unfit to be POTUS. You are not running some software inside you which says you must vote Trump. You are flesh and blood. If no disaster befall the world because of your vote, good on you otherwise you will have eternity to regret. The sanctity of the union is on your shoulders, use your good judgement. He had conned many voters, do you still go along with that? Why did the founding fathers create this institution which you are now its stewards?

Next date to watch: December 19. (The US electoral college)

Update: Dec 13 5:35 pm

Not too hopeful but this is a right and necessary step. Electors ought to reject Trump and those who were responsible for defending the US against the Russians should be brought to task for their failure.

See CNN.

Trump as feared

What a reckless and blockheaded move by Trump (see Huff's story). There is no way you can see this as smart. My guess is the Chinese will ignore him but they will REMEMBER! because Trump is new and wet behind the ears. He is also not yet fully POTUS.

If unilateralism is part of making America great again then he will soon discover such recklessness frightens America's allies. Keep pushing in this direction and your allies might make a deal with China to contain America in case this fool tries to go for broke in US-China relations. Then we are no longer even talking about a zero sum but negative sum game i.e., war. Nobody wants that. I hope his advisers are capable of saving all of us from his stupidity. We will know they have made some progress if they can get him to surrender his twitter account again otherwise people will take desperate measures because there are no hills to run to.

On the other hand these are some of the things he gotta do that could eventually lead to impeachment. Pity it is a GOP Congress. It would be a much shorter trip were it a Democratic Congress. That is what happens when party interests is put ahead of nation. This man was clearly unfit to be POTUS even during the primaries stage of the race.

This is Trump as feared and more to fear coming.

Update: 10:20 am

Like that ah? That is really asking for trouble. The Chinese will not stay silent unless they are quarreling among themselves over a Trump they don't understand.

Below shows the man just didn't or can't get it.

Sometimes I tell my kids that to a lumberjack every problem is a tree to be chopped down. Likewise every issue to Trump is a business deal issue! Every good and effective president is never going to come prepared as POTUS. Therefore the most important attitude is humility. You must have enough self confidence in yourself to listen and take advice from experts. Then you must let the right balance of tension between faith in your values and what is realistic guide you. I am reminded this man has no values other than his own self promotion. Therefore he will fail as POTUS even as we are more than a month away from his inauguration.

Update: 7:15 pm

The Chinese shrewdly adapted to an unusual incoming POTUS and decided they should be the adult in interlocution with the kid called Trump. Every government is learning how to live with Trump in a hurry.

The adults in the outgoing White House is urging the kid to always check with his parents and please grow up in a hurry. I have my doubt a 50 year old could learn new tricks, much less a 70 year old. Growing old is not an option but growing up is!

The above from NYT.

Update: 7:35 pm

If it was indeed true that Trump claimed to be a NYT reader then he would be reading this very soon.

It is a chronology of his free and easy phone calls with several world leaders with NYT explaining their impact which Trump was obviously clueless about when they happened. This guy loves to learn lessons the hard way and publicly too, if he is even capable of learning. Sadly he is too old and powerful to use a rod on.