Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pope Francis and Pres Obama respond to Trump

Well said, nothing for me to add. Only to return to this post another time and remember.

and President Obama who could only lasts nine days before he gotta respond to Trump senseless executive order on immigration.

It takes time and patience but there is a way for Americans to stop Trump and perhaps redeem themselves for failing to turn up to vote against him when they had the chance. 

They just loved to learn the hard way, don't they.

Scott Adams' mischievous defense of Trump

The is the brain behind the Dilbert's, the dystopian comic strip on working life. A friend shared this on Facebook and I thought he would have succeeded in giving intellectual ballast to intellectually gullible Republicans. They number in the millions. (see his post)

I think he is crediting Trump with too much tactical sense than his track record suggest he is capable of. This is not like you are meeting Zhuge Liang in new engagements and trying to figure out the outcome.

What Scott Adams has done is using his creative mind to concoct a white conspiracy. Easy to do on hindsight but useless for forecasting what Trump would do next. It is like trading black boxes that were built on curve fitting historical data. They are often useless without luck forecasting what is coming next and you would need a new curve fit to join up the new data coming. That's right, it could explain the past but not forecast the future. People are making up explanations for Trump as he goes along which even he would be impressed. He might even be following Adams blog for what to do next. Closer to reality I think the evil genius behind Trump is Steve Bannon who has recently been elevated as a principal member of the NSC.

So is it the Hitler's filter or Persuasion filter in play here? Neither. Such filters are for lazy or less smart people who have outsourced their thinking to others.

What I know and handed us down the ages is this:  Character is destiny and Trump has none.

Just before I could copy and paste from my OneNote I got yet another Trumpian joke. 

An Israeli doctor says: "In Israel, medicine is so advanced that we cut off a man's liver put them on another man, and in 6 weeks, he is looking for work."
The German doctor says: "That's nothing, in Germany we take part of a brain, put it in another man, and in 4 weeks he is looking for work."
The Russian doctor says: "Gentlemen, we take half a heart from a man, put it in another's chest, and in 2 weeks he is looking for work."
The American   doctor laughs: "You all are behind us. About a week ago, we took a man with no brains, no heart, and no liver and made him President.
Now, the whole country is looking for work!" 
Share with your friends, don't laugh alone 😜😜😜

Remember to always take Trump seriously but never literally. Mexico is learning quite quickly how to do that and I bet the Chinese are observing and learning quickly. 

Trump should surround himself with more advisers with medical backgrounds. At least he will learn that if you can't make things better, don't make them worse. He is too stupid to realize that in trying to drain the swamp he will set the house on fire. He never understood the inseparable good and bad mixing of the swamp. Even the almighty God himself does not drain the swamp until the End of Time. Who the hell do you think you are Mr. Trump? 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trump: Early results of governing by prejudice and gut feel

Should I even have this blog post? I know there will be no lack of opportunities to write something like this because Trump as a leader is an idiot. His compass is his prejudice and his brains is in his gut and according to many other sources his gonads.

It is getting late but this is so upsetting and I am not even American.

I quote from the article.

Brandon Friedman, who worked with Mr. Darweesh as an infantry lieutenant with the 101st Airborne, praised Mr. Darweesh’s work. “This is a guy that this country owes a debt of gratitude to,” Mr. Friedman said. “There are not many Americans who have done as much for this country as he has. He’s put himself on the line. He’s put his family on the line to help U.S. soldiers in combat, and it is astonishing to me that this country would suddenly not allow people like that in.”

Mr. Friedman, who is the chief executive of the McPherson Square Group, a communications firm in Washington, added, “We have a moral obligation to protect and repay these people who risked their lives for U.S. troops.”

He also said he feared for America’s military. “This not only endangers troops in the future, it endangers troops who are in combat now in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, wherever, “Mr. Friedman said. “If those interpreters and those fixers hear that the United States is not going to protect them, then they don’t have any incentive to work with U.S. troops, and there’s no way that we can operate without their support and assistance.”

“He is a brave individual, and he cares about Iraq and he cares about the U.S.,” he said of Mr. Darweesh.

Who is Darweesh? He worked for the US government for ten years. Even if you don't care for him which you should, you must care for your troops risking their lives in America's stupid wars started by Bush. 

Trump doesn't understand what he is doing isn't it? He is also prepared to terminate Obamacare without a ready replacement which will cause millions to lose their health insurance. 

America will increasingly be ran like a third world government in everything Trump touches. If it doesn't some people are valiantly trying to hold the fort to avoid embarrassing the USA. As there aren't enough such types around, we can expect lots of screw ups from the US going forward. 

I am not bothering to share my comment on the very childish public spat between Trump and Mexico's president. Such a low class act.

May not be a good idea for him to visit Singapore. What if he said America is getting a raw deal with us because we are doing so much better than them. He might think we are secretly screwing America because his narrow minded idea of America First is well in a deal America must come out on top! We are not dealing with a normal leader when he still believes the US military ought to have seized Iraq's oilfields. This an Ah Beng or stupid Redneck whose instinct is to bully his way to what he wants.

Update: Jan 29 8:45 am

The same link to the NYT article now tells a fuller story than the one I read last night. The passage I quoted from it has been replaced with more stories of affected immigrants and arrivals at US airports. What was lost is now a photo of Mr Darweesh

and now as told by NYT

Shortly after noon on Saturday, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, the interpreter who worked on behalf of the United States government in Iraq, was released. After nearly 19 hours of detention, Mr. Darweesh began to cry as he spoke to reporters, putting his hands behind his back and miming handcuffs.
What I do for this country? They put the cuffs on,” Mr. Darweesh said. “You know how many soldiers I touch by this hand?

Good luck to you Mr. Trump and this is only the beginning. You incompetent fool.

Update: Jan 29 9:20 am

That is from one of my FB friend. It is good to hear the other side especially after calling Trump an idiot and a fool. The genius of Trump as opined in Foxnews.

Always remember it is extremely rare to have someone who is both good at gaining power and governing well afterward. I was once worried the silver tongue Obama would be like that. To excel at both like LKY is extremely rare. If a US president runs the show like on the campaign trail doesn't that remind you of Mao? Trump is probably the first to do so.

Conquer on horseback but rule on a throne; campaign in poetry but govern in prose!

Update: Jan 29 8:20 pm

When I chose Darweesh to focus on, I did not know he will end up featuring so prominently.

Curiously nobody is able to easily find out why he has been released. This was gaining a lot of negative publicity rapidly for Trump and perhaps someone from the White House called to let him go, The Federal judge only ruled that these immigrants must not be sent back i.e., they would remain in detention.

Update: Jan 30 9:50 am

Partly reversed. That is what happens when you shoot from the hip. You learn by mistake at others and your expense. That is how third world governments rule and Trump has a third world mindset toward government which he does not even know. To him he is trying to run it efficiently like a fast moving business, which is totally inappropriate for even small states, what more a super power which when it adjusts course sends ripples around the world.

But this is not a bad idea for those who feel it is impossible for him to succeed because a leopard cannot change its spots. Better to fail fast and furious then be tortured slowly by him. If you cannot make things better at least don't make it worse. 

Update: Feb 2 12:25 pm

Got this from my daughter.

Just as I feared (read article) and judged him to be! Scumbag. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

When not to holiday overseas

You can't resist the juggernaut of the Chinese wanderlust. Gotta remember to remember to stay at home when they are traveling! Their holiday spending is so huge it shows up as decline in their forex reserves. Question is would I remember to look up this blog when I need to?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Welcome lower temperatures

After two days of rain with floods in several places because of the strong appearance of the NE monsoon, the reward is the cool weather.

Less than three hours later, the temperature went down a little more.

I checked this blog for records of pleasant temps and there were two. CNY 2016 and a day in 2010.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Best foot forward for Trump?

Taken at face value this is a gracious act by Trump towards Hillary Clinton.

As I had blogged before, I think Trump is unfit for this job but now that he is already taken the job we will learn to make the best of it in a world which he is about to diminish.

Well they say "God bless America" but we in South East Asia and in particular Singapore that would be "May God help us"

The message sent to by Pope Francis via an official Telegram (so cannot be faked eh?) is relevant and to the point.

The Honorable Donald Trump
President of the United States of America
The White House
Upon your inauguration as the forty-fifth President of the United States of America, I offer you my cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high office.  At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding far-sighted and united political responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide.  Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door.  With these sentiments, I ask the Lord to grant you and your family, and all the beloved American people, his blessings of peace, concord and every material and spiritual prosperity.
                                                                       FRANCISCUS PP.

As a matter of degree depending where you live what Pope Francis said about America is true but I am afraid is disappearing beginning with the rapid decline of America's soft power.

I see America as always struggling for faith to have the courage to live by its values in a mix of triumphs and failures, idealism versus cynicism in constant conflict. With Trump as president that will change unless he is stopped not by anyone by rank and file Americans.

Because an America first approach consigns this exceptional power to the unexceptional. America will become like the hated imperial powers of history, and in this paradigm the Chinese would be the least bad power which was the most enlightened power until America was invented.

Yes, when every country is looking after themselves first it can easily over a long time be seen that Americans are suckers and taken for a ride by others. That is easy for the average voter to understand. On the other hand America enjoys huge surpluses and benefits which are often not easily seen in the numbers. Take for example the dominance of the US dollar. It is an exorbitant privilege, expensive to us and a privilege for America which she freely spends and the rest of the world pay. If the world faith and confidence in the USD is weakened because America though still big is unexceptional, those unseen good numbers will become true pain for America.

The global system underwritten by America is unfortunately also akin to riding a hungry dragon. You are safe as long as you ride it, if you get off you will get eaten. Then that frightened dragon would run around eating others as well not because it wants to but it has no choice. That dragon is China and without plugging into the US led system it could not maintain internal stability. So China will be forced to destabilize others in order to maintain its own stability.

Eight years ago the world was fed unrealistic hope and change in Barack Obama. Now we are probably fearing more than necessary since people are filling their imagination with worst case scenarios. My wish is that the stupid things Trump is going to do receive their backlash pretty swiftly. That is the way to learn lessons quickly. Smart people rehearse the potential bad results in their minds and avoid making those decisions. Dumb fools, prejudiced and irrational learn the hard way. The sooner it happens the safer we are.

What I am most afraid of is stubborn ideology. Ideologues never give up and keep wasting and destroying lives and wealth until they succeed which is never. Fortunately that is a GOP and not a Trump weakness.

Update: Jan 22 11:25 pm

None too soon!

Dismiss or accept Trump's call?

Got an early morning call from Trump! Actually it was just my friend silly Whatsapp message with a photo of Trump and the phone ringing in the background.

Will you take his call? Of course! But I can't because he will never call me.

My friend wished Trump would be a failed president but I told him that is not a good idea because we would all suffer big time. Neither is it an attractive prospect if Trump succeeds then all the dishonest, narcissistic demagogues everywhere will stand and might win many elections. If such types also come to power here, I think SG is finished.

Remember character is destiny but unfortunately it is not always true unless taken over infinite time. This con artist might yet succeed.

So what is best is a mediocre president Trump and how likely is that?

My worst fear is massive destructive failure accompanied by wars everywhere which will come after Trump succeeded because in this scenario the many demagogues that will follow after him will bring this world to an end. Want to have an idea what such a world would be like? Just look at human history when the rulers were monarchs, the global dystopia. Fortunately for civilization these kings and emperors only had for weapons whatever that could be made with iron and steel. Imagine if they had nuclear weapons like we do.

For our children's future a mediocre Trump presidency is the least worst outcome. For Singapore that is not good enough unless Trump succeeded at giving China so much problems she fails to implement her version of  the Monroe Doctrine in our neighborhood.

Not likely to do well and only looking to survive the next four years, but the hardship might be mitigated if the Chinese export their factories to our region, taking our commodities as well and we somehow in embracing them economically are still able to resist them in security matters. We will need a lot of luck to get this outcome because overwhelmingly we are price takers and ASEAN have never been as divided as now.

A card from a Trump supporter

Came in last night and I guessed it must be about the inauguration of Trump as the 45th US President.  I was right and a card I had received before usually for their Independence Day appeared.

After fifty cards with their state flowers playing to their national anthem and then

God Bless America & President Donald Trump, but not before

America First appeared on the display.

I have not spoken to many of them for a very long time. Those I have kept in touch with, and this was unplanned turned out to be Obama supporters. These are usually better read, more thoughtful and less religious although not necessarily less spiritual.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Two more Xiaomi Mi Band 1S Pulse

After a successful first purchase, we added two more for ($10.90 and $9.90). For a brief moment I caught the price went down to $8,80. Then I saw a local seller offering the Mi Band 2 for $29.90.

I often wrote about being too busy to blog and this Mi Band is helping to say that eloquently.

Fortunately this is not typical. Unfortunately the difference is only 30 mins or about five hours. This is insufficient without breaks of longer hours every week or so.

Would be very interesting what the sleep record would look like on atypical nights, say having a bad dream.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Over invested in rental cars and taxis

This happen because these businesses were overly optimistic in the future and over invested. It could not be avoided because it was impossible to get timely data plus investing in vehicles involved some lead time. Where is the regulator who is tasked with seeing the big picture and guiding this? LTA regularly get blamed and they must be very sick and tired of it.

Regulators are scared stiff about getting this wrong and guess what? They are likely to get it wrong. You cannot bring your academic models and theories to understand road transport issues which are complex and constantly changing. In the end the least evil approach from the perspective of protecting their careers is to react to problems than the terribly difficult task of avoiding problems and never getting credit for it, the same "mistake" Obama made in foreign policy which actually showed him to be more patriotic and courageous than most presidents. Of course Kissinger is unhappy with him for that: a foreign policy of avoiding problems and "don’t do stupid things" which his detractors took advantage to ridicule him. He inherited the stupid things Cheney-Bush and the neo-cons got America into in Iraq.....but the Iran deal and TPP were bold moves, which is being undone by the feckless Trump. 

LTA must be motivated even more to work to avoid problems. They will be praised for upgrading the intelligence of the transport system but nobody feels motivated to overly invest themselves in the thankless task of avoiding problems. 

Creator of Hanyu Pinyin dies

As the creator of the now ubiquitous hanyu pinyin his contribution was phenomenal. I would think he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. Without his contribution I wonder the Chinese could even enter the modern age because it would be too hard to achieve high levels of literacy. What is the use of Deng's opening up then? As a counterfactual, may be the lots more Chinese would have picked up English without the aid of hanyu pinyin to learn their own tongue. The world would have been a completely different place. 

Zhou Yougang would probably had remained on Wall Street if he knew the suffering he was destined under Mao. He is a believer in democracy and after living to a ripe old age of 111, democracy is not even a distant goal for China. 

"Ordinary people no longer believe in the Communist Party anymore," Zhou said in the interview. "The vast majority of Chinese intellectuals advocate democracy."

The biggest takeaway from him to survive in a unpredictable and may be brutal world is to always remain optimistic. The NYT article concluded with this line from him:

“When you encounter difficulties, you need to be optimistic,” he said. “The pessimists tend to die.”

Saturday, January 14, 2017

SG crisis of foresight?

Even as Kerry visits Vietnam, their party chief is having a brotherly conversation of a fellow communist in China.

Vietnam is shrewd to strengthen its ties with all key parties. Unlike us they do not need to re-calibrate but they show us that it is possible to stay as friends with both the US and China for now.

I think every medium and small Asian states would want to keep as many options as possible. The Philippines and Malaysians have re-calibrated but we have not and may even be wondering if we need to.

Our edge and survival strategy cannot change because as a tiny island state we have no choice. We just have to understand what is happening much better than every other player. Big powers act to defend and promote their interests, tiny states like us do not have that option but park ourselves at the right spots ahead of time. What I do not know is without LKY and Raja are we able to pull this off. The capture of our Terrexes by Hong Kong suggest that our early warning radar failed. The Chinese national now Singaporean William Zheng Wei, suggested we ought to have imitated LKY was spot on. We better buck up.

Without securing our external space every good thing we have domestically cannot be sustained or protected.

In that red box, Ng Eng Hen identified three antagonistic pairs of forces at work today. They are Globalisation versus nationalism, global rules versus the regional order, and collective good governance versus individual rights.

To me they appear remarkably like those scenarios I used to work on and they are probably from PMO scenario planning outfit. The problem with that approach is that they are only good at describing what is going on in a limited way and quite useless at suggesting appropriate course of action. For example, it is tantamount to saying we need to find a way into the future but is incapable of suggesting that you need a compass and a map or even those aren't good enough and a GPS is required. They are impressive for those who can't do better but useless when we need to go above and beyond that. We need to rearrange the facts to form pictures beyond what such scenario planning methodology can produce. They do not offer enough insight to support foresight because to paint the big picture in neat concepts is had to leave behind what was ill fitting to building their models. What was rejected would often proved to be absolutely critical. 

Shell invented scenario planning and it failed to help them stay on top. ExxonMobil with Lee Raymond and Rex Tillerson had done much better than Shell. 

I fear we might have a deficiency of foresight among our present generation of leaders because they could not make sense of the present situation as well as LKY could, which was alluded to by William Zheng Wei. Foresight as my daughter pointed out in an essay a few years back is founded on superior understanding of the present. In the Terrex case, our leaders failed to understand better what it meant for the KMT to lose to DPP in Taiwan's presidential elections. In other words had the KMT controlled the presidency and stuck with the 1992 consensus, the Chinese would not have detained our Terrex vehicles. 

Finally raspberries

Raspberries after a very long time. I last had them when we were in the US in late 2014. Bought these at $3.75 for only a measly 80g of them. When we were living in Dubai, I had raspberries ice cream with raspberries every day.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Xiaomi Mi Band pulse 1S arrives

Ordered on the 8th, delivered today all the way from South Korea.

Special price: $9.90 but shipping was $4.90

This is not for me but I am looking forward to feedback on how well it is working.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Obama's farewell address

Why does God in his inscrutable wisdom decide Obama should be decided by Trump? That is why he always asks us to respond with faith and not insight. Obama just did that earlier today in his farewell speech as the 44th president of the United States.

Those who hate him, they do so because metaphorically this man had chosen to "heal on the Sabbath". They have their pet moral and social issues which is elevated beyond loving God with all your heart, mind and soul; loving your neighbor as you love yourself. These sort of hypocritical professing Christians are a threat to America's democracy which America's enemies have tapped into with shocking effectiveness. From this lens, Russia and Daesh are enemies but surprisingly China is not. The Chinese will not be your enemy unless you make them yours. Fear and suspicion will make enemies out of the US and China but trying the hardest to understand and accommodate each other will usher in the brightest ever future for humanity. On that Trump cannot but be starting off on the worst possible foot. Having answered the prayers of the Christian to make Trump president, may God the producer of Joseph stories now help us.

Update: 4:20 pm

This is the story as carried by our ST

and there were a fair number of Obama's detractors (their right of choice) and some like this some pastor put in as his comment.

If it weren't ST but some US media, there would be lots more vitriol and hate toward Obama and liberals.

And now to inject some realism as a counterbalance to some idealistic writing about the US-China relationship in the main post, the outgoing US trade representative in a written statement as reported by NYT.

Suspicion and fear is the default. To ask for and build trust you need to really dare to hope and have faith. "Yes, we can" is the hardest thing in the world.

Suck it up Christians, just as Obama was God's gift to you which you never asked for, Trump is his gift to you too after much prayer (sic). Not many people will understand where I am coming from but I am blogging for myself. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Temperature records

Extreme of temperatures on either end has often caused me to whip out my phone to record the event. Today isn't the hottest I have seen of our thermometer but this is not a good sign when it is only January.

The hottest I have seen here was 31 Celsius, which happened on April 19 last year. Here is a sample of previous 30.7

June 14, 2013 when haze was a factor.
November 9, 2014
June 21, 2014 but a 0.1 Celsius less

Now if it doesn't rain perhaps we will see 31 Celsius tomorrow? If so, that will justify another blog post on our indoor temperature.

Our apartment is South East facing. Just imagine what my west facing neighbours must be enduring.

Terrexes discussed in Parliament

The PM has wrote CY Leung. Defence minister clarified that detention of our ICVs by Hong Kong is against international law but I don't think he explained how this can be decisively resolved under the law. To me it is clear that the Chinese has the opportunity to detain these vehicles at Xiamen but chose to task HK to do it instead. That is a big hint of how this issue would play out. China is sending us a message and hedging it so that heads or tails they win.

The Chinese are prepared and ready to go beyond words and act. Their activities around the region in particular the port that they are developing with Malaysia in Malacca is not based on commercial calculations but probably geopolitical and military.

I had guessed that we would have to wait for a long time to get our Terrexes back. If we are powerful we would have gotten it back as the US navy had their drone fished out illegally by the Chinese navy. But we are a little Red Dot.

Like any small country, Singapore foreign policy only work when mostly the rule of law prevails. I do not know for how long we have the power to act on our interest without submitting to the coercion of a big power. The Chinese are determined to drive out the US navy from the East Pacific probably all the way to the second island chain. The Americans do not seem as determined to resist the Chinese as they are resolute to realize their ambition. Without the TPP the cost of a significant military presence to the US will eventually become prohibitive. The ebb and flow of US politics will inevitably create opportunities for the Chinese to incrementally gain control of the seas in this region imperiling our livelihood as we know it, i.e., to live we have to accept Chinese suzerainty. Look at HK and you know it is a terrible idea. Note that the Chinese never tried hard enough to make an attractive and shining example out of HK to attract Taiwan to return to the fold. Of course the Taiwanese watching developments would resist the mainland for as long as possible. They know life under Beijing cannot be better than self rule. 

The only way for us to maintain our independence is as we had done before: Bold farsightedness. Meanwhile what we need to do is to counter Chinese "Slow burn" strategy against us of wearing us down slowly. 

Detaining our Terrexes would not be their last unfriendly act. We can expect them to push and poke us harder. We have to figure out how to respond and show them it is a waste of time. On hindsight it is easy to foresee their action on our ICVs. We have failed to read them accurately. If we had shipped those vehicles directly back to SG the Chinese would have noticed and offer hats off to our sagacity. That would be bold foresight in action. So let's learn to anticipate better. We cannot assume but have to keep earning our right to independence. It is not easy to be friends with both America and China. 

Update: 6:10 pm

The Chinese statement is because we are publicly accusing them of violating our sovereign property rights protected under international law. They don't want to be told that but we want to remind them even without LKY we are the same people who like LKY returned the book Hua Guofeng gave him because whilst we are ready to listen to an alternative point of view, we reserve the right to hold our own view of history and events. We will not be cowed. If we must the perpetual smiling lips will part to reveal sharp and determined teeth. We have no choice if we treasure our independence. 

Choose the Boeing Dreamliner or the Airbus A350

A lot more comfortable to fly in an B787 or A350. These two newer plane models preferred over other planes. Got that useful recommendation from the Economist recently.

Michael Lewis apologized to us

This is unprecedented isn't it? In a phone call with ST, the author Michael Lewis apologized to us for America's election of Trump. I quote from the article

The “undoing” in the book’s title refers to the duo’s key finding about the way people cope with abject loss. They do so by fantasising about what might have been, thus “undoing” their memory of the loss.

But that does not work for tragedies writ large such as a tsunami, because such realities are too big for the mind to blot out.

Lewis, for one, is wishing that his fellow Americans could undo Trump’s triumph.

In a telephone interview on Dec 15 from London, where he was promoting the book, he told The Sunday Times: “I want to apologise for my country to Singapore. But we’re going to try to figure this out... by organising ourselves to defend ourselves against our own president... to compensate for the idiocy of the man we elected.”

Being ebullient, he also gave an optimistic take, saying that Mr Barack Obama “came into office with pretty good public support and he was very well-liked generally.

“But he wasn’t able to do some things because they (bureaucrats) just really make it hard for the president to do a lot of big, bold things right and so maybe it will make it very hard for Mr Trump to do anything because he is not popular even though he’s a protest candidate... So it’s possible that he won’t be able to get anything done and that would be nice.”

For now, he said Mr Trump and Brexit were “the political equivalent of the financial collapse in 2008”.
Got to bear in mind that unlike Obama, the Republicans control both houses now and democratic opposition in the Senate is much weaker than before due to the deals they cut with the Republicans previously. Cannot assume equivalency with the Obama's presidency unless there are some surprising changes early in this cycle.

More than selling bread from a van

He may have been among the last few or perhaps the last. Used to see such vans as a kid. The way Mr. Foo Kee See went about this job, he had turned something humble into a meaningful vocation. This happens to any job when we put our heart into it serving others. You got to think carefully if you want to stay too long in a place that does not allow you to make this possible.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

How would Trump respond to Kim's ICMB test?

If Kim launches a test ICBM shortly after Trump becomes president, my guess is that Trump would tweet blaming China for failing to control the North Koreans. The American public have no idea what China have been doing with North Korea and Trump would take advantage of that. He loves to demonize China hoping to achieve greater negotiating leverage, which is a mistake because diplomacy is different from business negotiation.

Well, we shall see. As for conviction, I do not yet have money on this one.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Maybe Trump is not that stupid

I was quite impressed with Prof Ferguson when I read an early work of his: The Ascent of Money which was also made into a documentary. Since he moved from the UK to the US I found him to have sacrificed intellectual integrity for commercialism and opportunism. He has also transformed himself from an economic historian into a geopolitical strategist. Well that is just following the money.

The above was one really long article and a big bet by Ferguson shortly after Trump was elected. Kissinger is in the bet too. To me it is some pretty smart people suggesting there might be some wisdom in Trump's prima facie foolishness, which after more reading and thought I remain persuaded that Trump doesn't have what it takes to be president.

To save time, I will just finish this by pasting here my opening comment as I forwarded the article to a friend.

Very long article by Niall Ferguson but I think a useful perspective even if it comes across as assuming far too much about Trump's cognitive abilities. Trump most likely is not aware of the legacies of the former presidents mentioned here and Ferguson is trying to give Trump's foreign policy ideas credibility in the sense that it sounded remarkably like Theodore Roosevelt. 

I feel that Ferguson has been unfair to Obama criticizing him without cognizance of the constraints he faced but that is another lengthy story. The white man as oppressors to black people will never understand strategic patience, to him that is weakness. 

What Trump isn't

What a role model! Jim Dwyer cheekily compared him in this NYT story. Such a pleasure to read and a person absolutely worthy as an example to the wealthy. If only the super rich would only be a quarter as generous as him, there would be no wealth gap in the world and it would be hard to imagine the conditions would have existed for Trump to be president. There wouldn't be the great financial cisis of 2008 either. All simply because of a different sort of money values.

Charles Feeney is not well known but I had come across him sometime back. A good way to understand him is to see Donald Trump life lived backwards. This is not my imagination but Dwyer's.

Update: 5:20 pm

Made my day! Many are reading the right things. It is now at number five and I hope it trends up.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Finally put the Silencio to work

This little DIY looking voltage converter I ordered off eBay for about USD 5 arrives today.

and I quickly put it to work replacing the old Cooler Master with the superb 11 dB only (versus my Starmex aircon 19 dB) Cooler Master Silencio (bought S$20 at Sim Lim Square)