Tuesday, September 30, 2008

$700B Plan Rejected: What happened and what to do?


There were plenty of hopefuls waiting in anticipation for the agreement to a $700 Billion rescue package which was perceived as a done deal. Their hopes and the markets crashed on Monday when the news of the opposition winning the vote struck. The good news is this morning as Bush promises that the package is not dead and negotiations are still underway, the market jumped a little. Not enough to be optimistic about the market outlook but it will have to do for this week as the government continues to work out some kind of a market relief action plan.

However, the US contagion has spread to the point where you have to question if there is anything that the government can realistically do to calm the market down. It is hard to put the blame on anyone when people have little idea what to expect or believe anymore. The biggest problem now is that the government is destroying confidence rather than rebuilding in a system that is built on confidence.

Why was the $700 Billion package turned down?


  1. The main reason is based on moral grounds. The US democracy system is built on equality and freedom. With freedom, you need to assume the responsibilities involved. Is it fair to ask taxpayers to pay for the mess or failure of the corporations which have exploited the system for profits? Consider that the high executives and CEOs of these mega-corporations are each earning millions to hundreds of millions per year in salaries; do they not have the obligation to save their company?
  2. If the government buys the bad debts from the market, it is basically using good money to buy bad money. In addition, it will promote the corporations to rely on the government further tipping the balance between risk and profit.
  3. Some lawmakers believe that the market is self-sufficient and able to heal itself based on past experience. The fact is that US has always been ahead of the crowd by promoting the next coming bubble as it did the internet and automobile industries which enable the country to recover from recession very quickly.
Few things to note:

  1. People invest in the confidence in the US dollar and the belief that US consumers are the end users. Neither is promising at the moment.
  2. If they have to borrow to pump money into the market, it effectively means that US is printing money and it will adversely affect the US Dollar value. Meanwhile people are flocking to buy more secure assets such as gold, commodities and US government bonds.
  3. Every month, there are hundreds of thousands of people going out of jobs. Even if any rescue package works, there will be considerable downsizing and retrenchment to reduce cost. So, people going out of jobs coupled with increased personal and country debt has reduced the consumers’ purchasing power. Who is there to push the economy then?
  4. On Thursday, the temporary ban on short selling in US will be due. It would be interesting to see if it will be extended and how the market responds.

Implicit



Implicit meanings make fun of puns
hiding in the company of more than one.

The treachery of making conversations
is a part of society's desideratum.
A cold war of schemes and lies
scatters hopeless freezing ices.
Soon words lose passion, meanings lose faith,
the power seeked is power disintegrated.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pickup lines - Fall for it or fall laughing?


Well, you know most pickup lines are lame. But they are good for a laugh.
  1. I'm not drunk, I'm just intoxicated by you.
  2. I was so enchanted by your beauty that I ran into that wall over there. So I am going to need your name and number for insurance purposes.
  3. If beauty were time, you'd be eternity.
  4. All those curves and I have no brakes.
  5. Excuse me, I just noticed you noticing me and I just wanted to give you notice that I noticed you too.
  6. Most people like to watch the Olympics, because they only happens once every 4 years, but I'd rather talk to you 'cause the chance of meeting someone so special only happens once in a lifetime.
  7. If a thousand painters worked for a thousand years, they could not create a work of art as beautiful as you.

  8. When I'm older, I'll look back at all of my crowning memories, and I'll think of the day my children were born, the day I got married, and the day that I met you.

  9. Excuse me, I think you have something in your eye. Oh wait, it's just a sparkle.

  10. Rejection can lead to emotional stress for both parties involved and emotional stress can lead to physical complications such as headaches, ulcers, cancerous tumors, and even death! So for my health and yours, JUST SAY YES!

  11. (Ask a person for the time) 9:15? So today is May 1, 2008, at 9:15 PM, thanks I just wanted to be able to remember the exact moment that I met the woman of my dreams.

  12. Did the sun come out or did you just smile at me?

  13. You are a 9 - you'd be a perfect 10 if you were with me.

  14. My buddies over there said that I wouldn't be able to start a conversation with the most beautiful girl in the bar. Wanna buy some drinks with some of their money?

  15. I have had a really bad day and it always makes me feel better to see a pretty girl smile. So, would you smile for me?

  16. Hello. Cupid called. He says to tell you that he needs my heart back.
  17. You're so beautiful that you made me forget my pickup line.
  18. Are you as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside?
  19. Shall we talk or continue flirting from a distance?
  20. I want to be your tear drop, so I could be born in your eyes, live on your cheeks, and die on your lips.
  21. Hey, don't I know you? Yeah, you're the girl with the beautiful smile.

  22. Hello, I'm doing a survey of what people think are the cheesiest pickup lines. So, do you pick 'Do you come here often?', 'What's your sign?', or 'Hello, I'm doing a survey of what people think are the cheesiest pickup lines.'?

  23. If I had to choose between one night with you or winning the lottery...I would chose winning the lottery...but it would be close...real close...

  24. You know, you might be asked to leave soon. You're making the other women look really bad.

  25. Hi, do you know any good opening lines?

Please, not another Monday!


Monday is such a pain. It is the unluckiest of all days. Today is no different.

If it was just the morning dentist appointment, I probably will take it in. But the past two days, I have been living in silence, spoken less than 20 words per day as the pain during speech has been unbearable. Perhaps it was the 2 grill and 1 barbecue food feast that I have been indulged myself the past week. The ulcer sitting under my tongue makes it almost impossible to sleep at night or work during the day. Thus, I am laying off work today and staying at home.

Anyways, I am plagued with ulcers about two to three times a year, almost always after eating logan or grill or even too much chocolate. You would think I have gotten used to it by now. But, I did get learn many ways to aid the recovery from ulcers. My treatment involves applying Taro-Clobetasol cream, rinsing with salt water, drinking honey or the Chinese bitter tea "28 tastes". The cream works to relieve pain and reduce the acid level. The salt water kills bacteria. The honey and bitter tea cools your "heated" body down. There are some things to avoid as well, particularly anything acidic such as orange, coke, tea and coffee. Perhaps next time I will try to use a lozenge to prevent the ulcer from exploding.

Normal recovery period is about 3 days so I should be fine tomorrow. I hate ulcers. I hate Mondays. I can't wait for tomorrow to come.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Amaryllis


There are flowers in the garden watered daily by passing lover's tears. Slowly each of the flowers begins their growth, and what once were buds, open up to reveal the splendor of their beauty and cast their fragrance to the wind.

Roses are romantic, lilies pure, but they do not make my favourite. It is the Amaryllis which has its pride and pastoral poetry that to me is home. Flowers have their language and if you listen, you can hear them whispering the softest poetry in their own style. If you pay attention, you will be drunk in their sweet scent and they will share with you their deepest secrets.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Obama-McCain Debate


Resembling nothing like the lop-sided debate of Bush-Kerry, the Obama-McCain debate was almost not a debate. In a perfect waste of two hours, there was rarely any testy exchange and the two leaders avoided saying anything that may cost them votes. Even though it was originally a debate devoted to foreign policy, Obama and McCain spent the first half addressing issues that is on everyone’s mind - the economy. Several key points worth nothing:

  1. Both leaders said they will only sign the bailout bill depending on the language. (Too vague for my understanding.)
  2. McCain tried to portray Obama as a novice who was not ready to lead the United States in relations with foreign leaders, while Obama painted McCain as having bad judgment, starting with his support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
  3. McCain proved himself to be too confrontational with threats as his main arsenal for foreign relations. Obama showed an understanding of using diplomacy, military and economic power as tools.
  4. Neither candidate addressed relations with China despite it being the most important economic and strategic relationship the new president will have. Nor did they address the importance of the health of the economy to national security and global dominance.

Jealousy hurts


Jealousy hurts everyone. A little glance in the wrong direction can bring that little sinking feeling. A little action can drive others to feel the same. But jealousy in small amounts hurt just enough to be healthy. They can drive people to work harder, change and improve. Therefore we need to be careful of when jealousy becomes an obsession or a compulsive activity.

I think it is important to catch your own jealousies; not to hide them but analyse them. Why do I feel jealous? Should I feel jealous? Do I put down people I am jealous of? Is that person instantly a piss-head? Lots of little prejudices. Yeah, we all judge people, but it is not right to dismiss a person you haven't met or spoke to.... it is so hard not to be biased.


I see all sorts of people always being trampled over. They unknowingly act as the friendly avenue to a greater goal. Friends out of convenience, lovers out of jealousy. After being walked on and rendered useless, only but an apology comes of it. A meaningless, empty little apology. One day we'll all wake up to see the truth and smell the coffee. But for some people it'll be too late.

Friday, September 26, 2008

China to allow short selling


"Chinese authorities reportedly have given short sales and margin lending the green light to help boost trading in China's second largest stock market in Shanghai. This comes in stark contrast to U.S. regulators who have now banned short selling in more than 900 companies listed domestically.” ~MarketWatch~

Interestingly enough, while US struggles with their capitalism society, China is quickly learning how to play the game and making a bold move during a tumultuous time. China will attract the players who find their playground restricted in US but whether this is a good thing is up for debate.

Nonetheless, there is no denying that while the world has its eyes on US, China is making full use of the opportunity to establish its position as a Superpower. They do have to be exta cautious of controlling corruption and enforcing strict regulations on the financial sector. Hopefully, the situation in US has given enough insight into the dangers of capitalism.

With the growth of China, the day of a world with a balance of superpowers may come much sooner than expected. We can only keep our fingers crossed.

Truth of the lines

Pity the lines. Where do we draw them? Honour and insanity? Love and craziness? Yes, on the surface, they seem so far and distinct. Apply them to the right surface and you see just how very faint and very grey the line is.

The world is built on bounds and bounds of uncertainty which leads to limitless possibilities. Assumptions are made, then assumptions upon assumptions, and further down the spiral they may realize that the base case was never true to start. Fault of one, fault of many.

Is there such a thing as truth? Truth as in what is absolutely right may not even exist in this universe. It is the ultimate mystery that may not even span an answer. Since things always exist in constant change, there may be truth in the moment but nothing more. It all comes down to a choice as to what you believe at this moment in time. The line is almost always grey, hardly ever perfect white or black.

So what's better? Believe nothing or believe everything? Maybe its best not to believe anything and question everything.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gentle


One gentle morning, the gentle sun gently rises from the horizons.

A gentle girl gently opens her eyes. She gently smiles, gently gets up, gently stands and gently walks to the window.

She uses her gentle arms and gently opens the window. She gently looks outside and gently said,

“God damn. Why is it so *Beeping* hot?”

To bail or not to bail


To bail or not to bail, that is the question.

I am sure the US public does not appreciate how the government is using taxpayers' money to bailout the corporations for their mistakes or greediness. Of course, the other course of action would be to let the banks and investments agencies go bankrupt, and then the government comes in to take over. In doing so, all the major banks and financial institutions will once again be state-owned, and public confidence can be restored.

Upon deeper analysis, I decided that a bailout would probably be better in the long run because:

  1. Investors' and market confidence: For the past 20-30 years, the money structure has shifted towards the corporations. If the major financial institutions are forced to bankrupt, it will severely affect the investors' current investments and their willingness to invest in the US in the future. The main focus now has to be how to recover the market's confidence.
  2. The real estate crisis: The housing market is a clear indicator of public confidence. Take away the investors and you are left with mostly people who cannot afford homes. This does not provide relief for the real estate crisis US is facing at the moment.
  3. Jobs creation: US unemployment is the highest since September 2001. Businesses need capital to invest and create jobs. It will be a long and painful journey to recovery before the average US citizens have money in their pockets again.
Latest news-flash: an agreement in principle has been reached regarding the bailout. Guess that means that the government also believes that the market will not heal by itself and that the consequences to refuse the bailout package is simply too serious for everyone.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

30 years of love and bliss


September 24th. Today marked the 30th wedding anniversary of my dear beloved parents. We sat together and listened to them share the story of their love and how they overcame all the adversities to be where we are now.

This morning, my brother and I exchanged a look and a smile before congratulating them. Deep inside, there is a sense of how extremely lucky I am to be part of this family. We were missing our sister and grams. If only they are here, then this day can be perfect.

It was a family night. There were jazz music, a beautiful singer, romantic ambience and even the rain was dancing in celebration. If the food was bad, it tasted great because of the company. This night belonged to the two most wonderful person on earth. They are the embodiment of the greatest love of all.

My sister does not believe in love coming too quickly. Maybe she needs 30 years to be convinced that love exist. But I knew. From the moment I was born, they have given me unconditional love and made me feel like the most important person in the world. They made me feel special.

Love doesn't need to be spectacular to be remembered. Tonight, we were in the presence of love that is just there because two people made the commitment to each other. It is that simple.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD!!! WE WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU!!!

Dancing Rain


Raindrops dance on the window and find each other as they drop. Its rhythm, a hypnotic pace, lulls me to sleep.

It brings me to a land filled with rosary scent, teasing wind and a half-asleep sun. There is the naughty rain, slow and in small numbers. And the wind carries me as it sings kisses. This must be a dream. Yet it feels a little too real.

My senses runs wild as if on fire and pace picks up. A walk turns into a jog and a jog turns into a run. Suddenly, I am sprinting. My heart pounds hard. So hard that my mind is dizzy and all the colors around are blurring. All that remain is a glowing white that angels like. Perhaps I will see an angel.

It seems like I am flying now. I look down and I can see the clouds and glimpses of the land below. The world has never looked more beautiful. Just when I am getting comfortable with my light weight, gravity decides to interfere. Weight gaining as I plummet through the sky. Fear and panic quickly takes over. My mind goes blank and as I try to scream for help but the wind seals my lips. I start waving frantically, my hands scrambling to catch on to something, anything. My eyes are too scared to watch and as I crash through the layers and layers of cottony whites, the heavens begin to cry. The rain falls with me and urge me to join them in dance.

Suddenly, time slows down. I spin as if turning back time. New sensations gather around, comforting me and teasing me at the same time.

Eyes open. The rain is still dancing. I can see your reflection on the window. It brings a silly grin to my face. Somewhere, you are watching the rain too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

478 Near-flawless Diamond Found


One of the world's largest diamond (near flawless 478 carat) has been found in Letseng mine in Africa. Though it is hard to estimate the value of the diamond, a lesser quality and clarity weight-stone has sold for US$12 million.

If you are curious, the world's largest diamond is the Cullinan, discovered in South Africa in 1905. It weighed more than 3,100 carats before it was cut into more than 100 separate gems, many of which are part of the British crown jewels.

Figuring I will never want to spend that kind of money on diamonds, I would advice anyone looking to buy a diamond an artificial rather than natural one. They both share the same chemical composition with the only significant difference being the much higher pricing of the natural diamonds. It used to be limited to small sized diamonds but has been increasing in size with technological advancement. And ladies, no one can tell the difference when you are wearing it anyways.

Gift of the Gab - Lawyers

A local United Way office realized that the organization had never received a donation from the town's most successful lawyer. The person in charge of contributions called him to persuade him to contribute.

"Our research shows that out of a yearly income of at least $500,000, you give not a penny to charity. Would you like to give back to the community in some way?"

The lawyer mulled this over for a moment and replied, "First, did your research also show that my mother is dying after a long illness, and has medical bills that are several times her annual income?"

Embarrassed, the United Way rep mumbled, "Um ... no."

The lawyer interrupts, "or that my brother, a disabled veteran, is blind and confined to a wheelchair?"

The stricken United Way rep began to stammer out an apology, but was interrupted again."or that my sister's husband died in a traffic accident," the lawyer's voice rising in indignation, "leaving her penniless with three children?!"

The humiliated United Way rep, completely beaten, said simply, "I had no idea..."On a roll, the lawyer cut him off once again, "So if I don't give any money to them, why should I give any to you?"

Monday, September 22, 2008

U.S. Consumers - The end losers

Putting myself in the US point of view.

Bush’s administration decided to pump in another $700 Billion for mortgage buyouts. By agreeing to purchase the toxic assets no one else will buy, the U.S. government stands a chance of coaxing banks to resume lending to each other by erasing the risk counterparties are exposed to with subprime mortgages. By taking care of thousands of mortgages, there may be lesser credit costs leading to lower mortgage rates, it will also allow the government to set favourable terms so that people can find a way to repay their loans and stay in their homes.

Of course, so much emphasis has been on the financial sector, we may forget there is an ongoing real estate crisis as well. Looking at the real estate market, there is simply too much inventory to unload. Why has demand died? House prices are still in the stratosphere, relative to the general public's family income. Problem is that the family income has been dropping as businesses suffer and coupled with rising inflation, consumer buying power is shrinking. Earlier, house prices soared because everyone bought into the greater fool postulate and assumed there would always be a greater fool who would pay more for the overprice housing that people bought. And we blow and blow till the bubble burst. Suddenly, most of the fools found themselves severely injured or killed. And the world without fools is surprisingly quite hectic and ugly.


Since the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, governments have been intent on making the labour market more “flexible” which is basically another way of saying that risk was transferred from capital to labour. But workers are also consumers. As corporate profits expanded as a share of national income, households went into debt. What Henry Ford early in the last century had grasped, that paying his workers well meant he had customers for his mass-produced cars, has been largely unlearned in recent years. With the consumers’ spending capability impaired, the whole scale is tipped towards the corporate sector which can’t even take care of itself right now.

Now, with the U.S. economy hobbled for generations by the massive public and private debt ($1.2 trillion owed to the Chinese), incomes needed to afford home ownership will be held back for decades. The money to pay off even the U.S. Federal debt of $11 trillion, let alone just pay the interest, will cripple the U.S. economy into the foreseeable future. Yet, the government is left with no choice but to guarantee every bad mortgage loan made by Wall Street and to borrow from foreign sources in order to do so. I can just hear the consumers cursing in the background. This is America. Live and learn.

The bittersweet irony


Love is so funny..... It is impossible to recognize, impossible to fight, impossible to guard..... simply impossible. Yet, it is the symbol of possibilities. The irony kills me.
"When I look into your eyes, I see everything. I can see myself so easily falling in love with you. And I know it is too soon, and I know it is happening too fast. You are keeping me at arms length and I can barely touch you, let alone your heart. And when I look into your eyes and see forever standing before me, yet I can't figure out how to reach it. You have no idea how much it hurts."
A friend of mine lost his beloved wife today. They went through a lot to be together but it barely lasted a year. I really didn't know how to console him because I have never felt the pain he has to endure. All of a sudden, I feel very blessed and lucky to be ignorant to that kind of pain.

You could see the tears swimming in his eyes, waiting to burst through with the pain. It was heavy and bitter, and as he broke down in front of me, I couldn't help but cry with him. I knew one of us had to be strong, but at that moment, all of us were weak in every possible way. It was worse than dying; as if life has lost all meaning, as if crying was the only possible reaction.


At least once, he had real happiness, the perfect kind. The kind you had to earn and fight for. And now all he can do is hold on to the sweet memories in all the bitterness he is drowning in and hope one day he can learn to move on.

Love is ironic, isn't it? You want to live and die at the same time. Got to enjoy its humour. Sometimes it is so funny but you can't find yourself laughing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

One Month Anniversary


To everyone, "Happy ONE MONTH Anniversary"!! Oh, what fun I have had and what a quick way to get back into writing.

Writing seems to clear my mind and allow me to process my thoughts much faster. Unfortunately, I am bombarded with such a myriad of random thoughts that makes it hard for my readers to digest many of my posts. My sister for one is very critical of how I need to connect with my readers. Upon reflection, I have made an effort to put myself in an objective perspective and write shorter, more focused posts. Hopefully with time, I can be more organized in both my thoughts and writing.

A million thanks for those of you who have read my blog and left their precious comments. I deeply appreciate any feedbacks and promise to take them seriously. If you have a blog to share, please don't be shy. I am very curious of what other people have to say.

In our short time together, I sincerely hope you have enjoyed my blog as much as I have enjoyed writing.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The World Series

Eyes lazered me as they built on the Everest mountain of embarrassment I was pinned under. I hung my head low and charged like a pit-bull through the crowd. What was a minute felt like hours and hours of humiliation. The murmurs thundered around then spreading and multiplying. In my darkest hour, it felt like I had no place to hide.

It must be a dream. Dreaming of being naked in public is not uncommon; perhaps, being naked in the middle of field right before the start of the World Series is. There were smiles, laughter and even cheers but my mood was solemn. The big screen on the walls had a close-up on me that perfectly accentuated my features. I looked good, surprisingly. My hands found themselves covering the least important area of all - my buns. Why, you ask? Maybe you should ask my therapist.


At the speed of light, I cut across the field towards the bench. In a corner, I could spot the door to the locker rooms. The players stood guard though, all 22 of them. With sheer determination, I cried “Lets play Balls!!!” then ran right at them. But just before contact, my face was covered by the wind. No. The wind caught a scarf and blew it to me. It was pink but there was no time to be picky. The scarf gave me a choice and my instincts picked my face.

I composed myself. Without the 9 that took the field, there was the unlucky 13 that remained in my way. With brute force, I would probably be brutalized by any single. Then suddenly as if struck by a stroke of genius, I understood why I covered my face and buns. I held my breath and when the toxic erupted, the stadium was dead silent. Painful shrieks from the 13 penetrated the hyped up atmosphere, shattering fear amongst them. There was an opening, if only for a brief second. I lurched forward ferociously. My eyes were blood red with a thirst to kill. No one dared risk his life to stop me. Finally, I broke through.


“I knew…. you could do it.” A soft voice shivered in the dark corridor.

I pulled off the scarf on my face, feeling high with the adrenaline pumping and a certain courage I never knew I possessed. I moved towards her.

She jumped and wrapped her arms around me. “I knew.... I knew…. you could do it.”

"Thanks for your scarf"

And there were tears of joy flying.

Time for a laugh

Here are 3 jokes to brighten up your day.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SPORTS


After a 2 year study, the National Science Foundation announced the following results on the
American Male's recreational preferences:

1. The sport of choice for unemployed or incarcerated people is: basketball

2. The sport of choice for maintenance level employees is: bowling.

3. The sport of choice for blue-collar workers is: football.

4. The sport of choice for supervisors is: baseball.

5. The sport of choice for middle management is: tennis.

6. The sport of choice for corporate officers is: golf.

Conclusion: The higher you rise in the corporate structure, the smaller your balls become.

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MARRIAGE


On their 40th wedding anniversary and during the banquet celebrating it, Tom was asked to give his friends a brief account of the benefits of a marriage of such long duration.

"Tell us Tom, just what is it you have learned from all those wonderful years with your wife?"

Tom responds, "Well, I've learned that marriage is the best teacher of all. It teaches you loyalty, forbearance, meekness, self-restraint, forgiveness -- and a great many other qualities you wouldn't have needed if you'd stayed single."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PREGNANCY


A woman goes to her doctor who verifies that she is pregnant. This is her first pregnancy. The doctor asks her if she has any questions.

She replies, "Well, I'm a little worried about the pain. How much will childbirth hurt?"

The doctor answered, "Well, that varies from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy and besides, it's difficult to describe pain."

"I know, but can't you give me some idea?" she asks.

"Grab your upper lip and pull it out a little..."

"Like this?"

"A little more..."

"Like this?"

"No. A little more..."

"Like this?"

"Yes. Does that hurt?"

"A little bit."

"Now stretch it over your head!"

Friday, September 19, 2008

Love is.......

"Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire." ~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin~


Someone once explained to me, "Love is mutuality of devotion forever subduing the antagonisms inherent in divided functions.". I think I believe him now.

When I look at you a moment, then can I speak no more. My tongue falls silent. At once a delicate flame courses beneath my skin and with my eyes I see nothing, and my ears hum, and a wet sweat bathes me, and a trembling seizes me all over.

Moved by a passion not understood, a good seldom found, haunted by the vision of a distant possibility that refuses to be extinguished. Then again, you ask what love is.

Some say it is the metamorphosis of soul into body. Luminous Saturn in Aquarius on his slow calm voyage towards Pisces. But all I know is that it is like waterfalls of mind music, like magic giving me starbursts of fireworks and crescendos of glorious joys.

Indescribable and simply life altering. In every single way.

The Bailout

With news of the government’s bailout and the ban on shortselling, the US stock market jumped on Thursday's closing and then continued on Friday. A bailout is effectively the government’s way of saying that they can’t allow the market to continue this freefall. At least, this stops the market’s bleeding for now.

Several points to highlight:

  1. The sudden boost in the market is largely due to the covering of the short positions. Pending good news during the weekend, I wouldn't be so eager to say the market is turning.
  2. The reason why one company's collapse can lead to the whole market panic is because of the diverse exchange of financial commitments in the market which creates an intrinsic bond tying everything everywhere together. On the big scale, it is known as globalism.
  3. The US and the world has been consuming too much, leading to uncontrolled inflation.
  4. They are buying stuff they can't really afford and doesn’t need even in the midst of global inflation. It is better known as speculation, which is simply a grand word for gambling.
  5. Bubbles which led to the housing crisis are brought about by the greedy and ignorant who bought what they could not afford, and the sharks who loaned them the money to do so
  6. It is simply ridiculous that US has accumulated extra trillions in debt in less than a decade. There is no such thing as a free lunch. And in the case of markets, it is as simple as what goes up must come down.
  7. While they are accumulating debt, they are also not spending the money they borrowed correctly. How are buying the mortgage foreclosures of the credit crisis and giving money to corporations to save them from their own greediness supposed to help the public? It's their mess, let them find a way to fix it. Meanwhile, help the people who need help by boosting manufacturing and consumer spending with tax relief or incentives.
  8. Give up on the American dream. If you want to get rich, work for it. All these unrealistic delusions about making money the easy way are what got us here in the first place.
  9. People need to start thinking of consequences. The thing about credit is trust. Now we either grant trust on a much more conservative basis or we implement more serious penalties for those who abuse trust. In any case, I think the first to go has to be the bankruptcy protection which transcends irresponsibility, basically telling people that's the worst they can do.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Haircut


It is amazing how many people call themselves barbers because they can cut hair. I mean how hard is it to pick up a pair of scissors and clip? Any idiot can, maybe with a little more practise.

What makes things worse than they already are is the lack of standards and people who can differentiate between the good and bad barbers.

I get a bad haircut, the barber gets paid.

Next victim please.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The roller coaster continues


The financial roller coaster ride continues in Wall Street. And today’s victims include Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. While there are optimisms regarding the government’s bailout of AIG, the widespread solvency problems still stand strong. Today, lets focus on how to nurse the patient back to health instead of leaving him on life support.

Looking back to the source of the whole crisis, some may blame the decline of the US housing market and some will blame the rating agencies such as Moody for not doing their jobs. The truth is that playing the market is gambling and there will be winners and losers. The key is to limit the players to those who can afford to lose. Only with a fundamentally sound and strict system, confidence and credibility can build up. So first things first, there is a need to revamp the financial structure and regulations of at least the major markets in the world – US, Europe, Hong Kong and China.

For example, there are many predatory short sellers taking advantage of the suffering market. When the prices have been forced down so low from shortselling and vicious rumour mongering, it takes away the ability of these companies from raising additional finance that they so badly need. While it may even be good to take away shortselling all together (with a ban) for the time being, at the very least, there need to be regulations limiting shortselling and its effects. This would create a breathing space for the market.

When we go back and talk about creating a fundamentally strong economy system, two major assumptions need to be fulfilled: the market moves towards equilibrium and that everyone is rational. Today, equilibrium is nonexistent as day after day we move into new uncharted territories. It is also impossible for people to be rational all the time unless they are robotic. The new regulations and structure need to reflect on these facts while pushing to fulfill the two assumptions of economics. If you can increase the complexity of the system to exclude those without the explicit knowledge and then hold those in the system accountable for their actions, then there is a high chance the system will move towards equilibrium and heal itself.

I believe that we all have to take some responsibility for this period of gloom and doom. Coupled with rising commodity prices and enviromental dangers, the world is in bad shape, probably the worst it has ever been. And if we can’t work together to stop the bleeding, it will die. There is no time more crucial for the world.

House Season 5 "Not Cancer"


House M.D. Season 5 just took off last night together with House's best friend, Wilson. Being among those who has spent the last few months waiting in anticipation to see how Wilson will handle Amber's death and how his friendship with House will be affected, I have played out many possible scenarios. Yet I am still pleasantly surprised with the actual script not only with Wilson's departure, but also how he let it all out at the end.

Wilson is leaving not because he blames House. He understands that Amber's death was simply an accident. However to a certain degree, he blames himself as he has reiterated several times, "I have to do what's right for me.". Throughout the show, House explores many ways and reasons to make Wilson stay, failing miserably. When he walks into Wilson's office and sees all the shelves and tables empty, he realizes that it is too late and finally opens up to Wilson with the kind of sincerity that many questioned whether he is capable of. But, Wilson gives another compelling reason and the true underlying reason for his departure; that is his friendship with House makes House think that it is alright to spread misery and be indifferent. In a way, their friendship caused Amber's death by drawing her to the bar and then onto the bus. And for that reason, they can't be friends anymore. Wilson finally got tired of finding excuses to stick around for House.

Perhaps many fans would hope that Wilson will stay. But personally, I always found Wilson rather weak, often being manipulated by House. In this episode, I gained much respect for Wilson. It will be interesting to see how House responds with one of the major pillar of his support system gone.

There were many good lines, but several quotes left an impression.
  1. "Almost dying changes nothing. Dying changes everything." House shares an insight with Thirteen
  2. "This is Doctor House. He is too brilliant for introduction." Thirteen tries to explain to the patient as House charges in without a word.
  3. "Your friendship means more to me than any patient" House tries to persuade Wilson.... with blackmail.
  4. "I have total confidence in all of you." After hearing House's team's diagnosis while House is on strike and having no clue what to do, Cuddy leaves them with an encouragement.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Insults

Here is a list of insults to keep you occupied and feel free to add some of your own:
  1. I don't hold your behavior against you because I realize it was caused by childhood trauma; your parents spanked you when you fell on your head and broke the cement.
  2. I don't think you are a fool. But then, what's my own humble opinion against thousands of others?
  3. I heard you got a brain transplant and the brain rejected you!
  4. I believe in respect for the dead; in fact, I could only respect you if you WERE dead.
  5. You are the kind of person who, when one first meets you, one doesn't like you. But when one gets to know you better, one hates you.
  6. All of your girlfriends kiss you with their eyes closed. Considering your face, that's the only way they could.
  7. I hear that when your mother first saw you, she decided to leave you on the front steps of a police station while she turned herself in.
  8. There are several people in this world that I find obnoxious and you are all of them.
  9. I've had many cases of love that were just infatuation, but this hate I feel for you is the real thing.
  10. When you get run over by a car, it shouldn't be listed under accidents.
  11. We all spring from apes, but you didn't spring far enough.
  12. You must be the arithmetic man -- you add trouble, subtract pleasure, divide attention, and multiply ignorance.
  13. You started at the bottom -- and it's been downhill ever since.
  14. You are so boring that you can't even entertain a doubt.
  15. You are living proof of reincarnation. No one could possibly get to be so stupid in just one lifetime.
  16. I'm busy now. Can I ignore you some other time?
  17. They say opposites attract. I hope you meet someone who is good-looking, intelligent, and cultured.
  18. Anyone who told you to be yourself couldn't have given you worse advice.
  19. I hear you were born on April 2; a day too late!
  20. The three words that describe you are as follows, and I quote: 'Stink, Stank, Stunk!
  21. Do you still love nature..... despite what it did to you?
  22. I wouldn't piss on you, even if you were on fire.
  23. You are Michael Jackson gone wrong.
  24. Did you have to leave so soon? I was just about to poison the tea.
  25. This is no battle of wits between you and me. I never pick on an unarmed man.
  26. You are not even beneath my contempt.
  27. I am the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy.
  28. To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people.
  29. Wit is a gentleman's weapon. I wouldn't trust you with any such "sharp objects" just yet.
  30. I don’t know what makes you so dumb but it really works.
  31. You look like shit. Is that the style now?
  32. Now we know why some animals eat their own children.
  33. I’m glad to see you’re not letting your education get in the way of your ignorance.
  34. What he is lacking in intelligence, he more than makes up for in stupidity.
  35. There's no beginning to your talents.
  36. The more i think of you the less i think of you.
  37. You have a room temperature IQ.
  38. Don't worry, you aren't adopted, no one in their right mind would willingly take you.
  39. Everyone has the right to be ugly, but you abuse the privilege!
  40. You are proof that there is no vaccine for stupidity.

After all the dominoes fall...


The mood after Monday’s Lehman Brothers’s collapse is at best described as sombre. Employees and investors find themselves in the midst of uncertainty overshadowed with worries of losing their jobs or money. And all they can do now is wait. Wait for a lifeline from anyone and pray that this crisis will be over soon. Only one thing is certain in this difficult time - we have not seen the full potential of this economic catastrophe. The underlying problems of banking and investment fundamentals, consumer confidence as well as inflation are all yet to be resolved. The worst is yet to come.

The fact is that the scope of the crisis has exploded beyond the governments' control. To soften the effects on the market, the Central Banks of United States, Europe and Japan each injected billions into the market but it is unlikely to be significant enough to restore the loss of public confidence. To make matters worse, AIG, which has sold $441 billion of fixed-income assets to Wall Street’s top firms and the biggest companies in Europe and Asia, got hit by news of its ratings cut and lost as much as 74% of its trading value in New York today. AIG is so widely tied to assets and financial products that its collapse would trigger a domino destroying the whole global financial system. In this widespread chaos, no one has any idea what to expect.

Then, sooner or later, after enough dominoes have fallen, the market will learn to be conservative once again. People will learn that greed may pay off in the short run but will only end in self-destruction. So the pain will accumulate making sure we don’t forget anytime soon. We learn from our mistakes and move on. Matured.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lehman's Collapse


Today, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. joins its counterparts at Bear Stearns Cos., Merrill Lynch & Co. and more than 10 banks that couldn't survive this year's credit crunch.

Just when the US economy seems to be leveling out, the collapse of the 4th largest US investment bank will cast chaos upon the market and would be extra heavy on firms and individuals who are relying on Lehman for financing. This however shouldn’t come at a surprise to anyone with the company losing 94% of its market value this year. Moreover everyone except its shareholders and workers have everything to gain and nothing to lose with Lehman’s bankruptcy.

The good news is that as the system has already been through the crisis of Bear Stearns Cos, it is expected that given time the losses will distribute themselves in the market and there will not be any lasting turmoil.

For a more in depth analysis of the difference between Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, check out Barry Ritholtz's article "The Terrible Lessons of Bear Stearns".

Insomnia - I want to sleep!!


Raise your hand if you are not getting enough sleep. (Staring at the picture above won't help)

We are deluged everyday with the same old depressing news of economic woes, political conflicts and environmental disasters. Everyday. It is hard to rest when there is such incessant pessimism and being in this information age, it is impossible to avoid the news. But at the end of the day, before bedtime, resist the temptation to surf the net, check your emails, read the news, watch TV or even use your phones. Absorbing stressing information is not really inductive to sleep (Unless politics puts you to sleep like nagging does to me, then you are in luck).

Being an insomniac and a compulsive dreamer, I have come up with a few things to note before bedtime to help you find your slumber.
  1. No alcohol or rich food
  2. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and tea (Coffee has short and strong effects, Tea has long and mild effects)
  3. As our body cool down to conserve energy when we sleep, avoid absorbing heat through TV’s and computers.
  4. No strenuous exercise or heated arguments.
  5. Take a warm bath or warm milk (relaxes your system and prepares cool down).
  6. Empty your mind and focus on breathing (standard meditation technique) if you must think, think happy thoughts.
  7. Listen to soothing and mind-numbing music (For me, its smooth jazz or classical)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Piano Man



I think I wanted to play piano after I watched "The Legend of 1900" several years back. Today, I got back to learning piano after close to two years of inactivity.

The first question I was asked by Monica, my music mentor, is, "What do you want to learn?". Without any hesistation, I responded, "Magic Waltz". Of course, I know that it is beyond me to play the piece at present, but I plan to in 6 months. With a little courage, I performed 10 pieces that I have learnt but barely remembered for her review. She quickly caught on to the genre of music that I like and designed a teaching plan. Being sensitive to the student's capability and preference is what really impressed me about her, even more so than her music capabilities. This first session was enjoyable and further fueled my determination to study piano. It also doesn't hurt that my teacher is a cute young Korean lady.
Currently, I am working on 3 pieces that I really like- "Take 5", "Fly me to the moon" and "Misty". Hopefully, all the positive notes are not just part of the honeymoon period. Next week, the real lesson begins.

Elevator


Here are some common elevator tips.
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Trapped in an elevator? You are lucky if there is no electricity surge that sometimes can cause the elevator to free fall. But just in case, you are that unlucky, here are a few pointers that may save your life,

1. Quickly jam every button for every floor, hopefully there will be a backup system that cuts the fall.

2. Hold on to any railings so as to maintain balance and support upon impact.

3. Align your back to the wall of the elevator to protect your spine.

4. Bend your knees as your knee tendons are flexible and can better absorb the impact than your bones.
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Ever get tired of waiting forever for a spot in an elevator? Try making your way to the highest or lowest floor where the traffic usually starts loading.
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And here is an elevator joke to top it off.
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An Amish boy and his father were visiting a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again. The boy asked his father, "What is this, Father?"

The father (never having seen an elevator) responded, "Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don't know what it is."

While the boy and his father were watching wide-eyed an old lady in a wheel chair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights with numbers above the walls light up.

They continued to watch the circles light up in the reverse direction. The walls opened up again and a beautiful 24-year-old woman stepped out.

The father, not taking his eyes off the young woman, said quietly to his son, "Go get your mother."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lifestyle Consultants


Now, Hitch was a fun and romantic movie. The charismatic Will Smith plays an image consultant who breaks down the dating game for desperate singles and helps them find true love. Don’t be surprised if people find this such a great idea that there is a huge boost in the community of pick-up artists, dating advisors and image consultants. You can also find a growing collection of related books which generally can be summarized as teaching you to be yourself while emphasizing the qualities that appeals to the opposite sex.

In my opinion, all these resources are nothing more than crap.

Come on. The media has created a love delusion that guys are to be athletic, macho, well-established, suave, tall, responsible, caring and well, you get the point. Ladies are to be gorgeous, tall, sexy, well-dressed and well-groomed. If you took a walk in the city, you will probably get a smack on the head by reality that the percentage of the population with the expected qualities is so low, you have a higher chance of hitting the lottery.

Not to mention, do you know how bad it makes you feel to fail to live up to society’s standards? People get confused that if they are not getting the girl or the guy of their dreams then they must be doing something wrong. Take a look around. Most people just make do with what they can get. It is the few that wants to be turned into a human magnet or have a boost in confidence that enlist the help of a mentor or a guide.

Confidence is the number one turn-on factor for both sexes. For ladies, they like someone not affected by others and know what he wants. It is almost the first rule of thumb. But once again, they are just teaching you to be yourself. That is not to say they are not helping. They add a little of their assurance that they know what women want and they want you. For men, they take pleasures in sight meaning that ladies primarily need to be eye candy. Nowadays, help for ladies commonly comes in the forms of packaging or cosmetic surgeries. These also boost self-confidence.

What is so special about confidence? It allows you to carry a conversation, move and act naturally. Of course, no one wants to feel uncomfortable or awkward so translate that and you get the “be yourself” conclusion once again.

You should have caught on by now that all these hired help is just a motivation for you to improve yourself (Nothing that you shouldn’t be able to operate yourself). Not to mention, some people are just resistant to change. In these cases, I doubt these experts will have much success in providing useful advice anyways.

So, before you commit on the hefty fees these professionals charge, try to change your lifestyle to improve your health, energy and image. You will be pleasantly surprised at how fast things change. Remember - small steps, one at a time.

The water child


I am a water child, born at the edge of the land, under the water sign of Cancer the Crab.

It makes a certain affinity strong. It makes me flow with a love for the places where the rivers and the sea mingle. There is always this thing about a river, that it is a road in motion that melts into other roads.

This is the romance of the river world, that it is open-minded, a travelling space.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Joy of Sex


In case you haven’t heard, there is a new “The Joy of Sex” book out. Personally, I haven’t checked it out yet so everything here is hear-say.

This book is aimed at the couple rather than just the men. Using new knowledge about hormones, pheromones, body parts and sensuality, this book aims to educate on the new attitude to sex. They apparently replaced the bearded 70s icon with a cleaner looking man who is more representative of the 21st century. They also took out some of the tips because of legal issues such as sex on horseback and sex on moving motorcycles. New additions include phone sex, pregnancy intimacy, sex shops and internet advice to name a few.

I guess I am writing out of my element here seeing my lack of understanding on the materials. On a side note, when I was in China a while back, I saw on the shelf of a video store a series of videos on sex positions. Out of curiosity, I turned to the back to check out the content list, the names were all common four letters idioms and just hilarious. So if you really think about it, anything can be related with sex. I seriously doubt there are 108 positions as the title indicates, the number is just popular with Chinese and attention grabbing (being large and all).

Alright, before the awkward level elevates anymore, I would like to say that true intimacy comes from understanding each other. No lies, no masks, just two people in love. It should be a natural process and you shouldn't need a manual. But since so many people have good reviews for the book, maybe it is time to pick one up just to see what the fuss is all about.

Patience


Patience is a lost art. Paul Sweeney said it best, “How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixers, frozen dinners and instant cameras teach patience to its young?”

With the lost of patience, the problems seems to snowball. Degradation of common courtesy, increasing irritable nature and louder voice volume are just the tip of the iceberg. Etiquette especially seems to be slipping with raw behaviors scoring points of coolness and redefining the social norms. Is it that surprising that only a handful of ladies ever get praise from me because of their grace and elegance? And while I pride myself in trying to learn the ways of a gentleman, there are few I can actually take example from.

Of course, even if you possess patience, it does not equal to charm, courtesy or even general niceness. It however means that you will have a certain calmness to help you handle situations, accept new ideas and make changes. One must be careful not to get confused patience with efficiency. It is one thing to get the most out of your time and effort, it is another when the wait, which sometimes is necessary, becomes unbearable and trigger off a series of petulant symptoms.

So how do we develop patience? Force obviously has negative effects in this case. For me, it was strategic games like Weiqi that have helped cultivate some level of self-restraint and calmness. Believe me when I tell you that I am rather rash and it took me years of constant self restraint and reminders to become who I am today. I know I still have a long way to go with finding that balance.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ipod Nano Chromatic


If the new design and new colors do not inspire you to get or upgrade to the new Ipod Nano, then maybe the new shake-it-and-shuffle-your-music-feature will steal you over. My favourites are the Yellow, Green and Orange colors.
Anyhow, I don't find much use for Ipod despite how cool it is so you won't find me at the lineup. But don't let that stop you from having some fun. Oh, and did you hear that they cut the price again? Check it out!!

Quietly


Walk with me, will you? A casual stroll on the soft sands as you bask in the sweet aroma of the ocean. The night never sleeps.

With the stars glistering in envy, I am drunk with bliss. Music flows in as if luring us to dance. A little bow and I take your hand. In that instant, fireworks of mind music grace me. My heart can hardly contain itself, yet there we are, dancing as if floating on air. The music seduces and takes over, leaving no room for anything else. There is no distance between us. You can feel my breath upon you as I can feel yours. And we dance. A little closer.

In the dim moonlight, I catch a glimpse of your beautiful face, return smile for smile and our lips find each other. My heart stops and when I breathe again, there is life for the first time.

We dance and dance till the music fades and even the waves fall silent. I quietly forget how I don’t dance. I quietly move till the night turns cold. I quietly fall asleep in your warmth. In your arms. In your love.

Badminton

Yesterday night I had the chance to fill in for a sick friend for her badminton lesson. Despite being told to take lessons if I want to change my bad habits and improve, I have never seen the importance of having a coach.

So I showed up, warmed up with a little stretching before a young Chinese instructor pushed a trolley with a box of shuttlecocks over. Bear in mind that it was already 10 at night so I was already half asleep. My body felt like it has been sleeping for the past 3 months from my slacking off exercise. My instructor, Hugh, after proper introduction, suggested warming up. This being my first workout in a long time I figured it wouldn’t hurt. It was my first time doing running drills, covering the front courts at first then full court. After warm up, we started some deep hitting at the back corners. The hand and striking positions proved more challenging than the footwork. The one thing I caught on quickly was my timing which started a little off as I was hitting the shuttlecock when it is dropping instead at its highest point. Mistakes were pouring but mostly small ones.

An hour flew by and as we collected the shuttlecocks, we reviewed the lesson.
  1. Covering front court, slide in with your legs and relax your hand. Hit the shuttlecock at a higher point to avoid setting. It doesn’t need a lot of force to get the shuttlecock over.
  2. Keep the racket up and close to you. When hitting high balls forehand, raise the racket in a parallel fashion then swing through.
  3. Always step in with your right foot and return to ready position after.
  4. Slow down and take your time to swing your body instead of just your wrist.

I thanked him for his time and before I left, I took a look around at the other courts full of players. You become more critical when you know what to look for. I took a deep breath and let my body take a break. It turned out to be quite a vigorous workout and there were a lot to digest. Having a coach isn’t half bad, that is if you are serious about doing it right and improving. I know I will be back.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Friends Forever


I never thought writing about friendship will be this hard. But I try anyways.

There are some people who made a difference in your life and it doesn’t matter how far apart or how long, there is an unbreakable connection. Because it is imprinted in your memory of the things and times you shared. In this sense, I am blessed with several.

I am fortunate to have a loving family who makes my life easy; so easy that it almost deters me from making an effort to have friends as they will never be as close as my family. Yet it is almost impossible for people not to interact; building friendship is almost a natural process. Trust me. It gets addictive. As you broaden your circle and perspectives, you learn to play the social game. The fun grows as your network grows. And it took me close to twenty years to understand that it is not a competition. Friends will carry you to new heights while you grow with them. Don’t ask me why it took so long for me to get this.

The hardest part of interactions is probably building trust; especially with the super-conservative-protective mindset I have been instilled. Bear in mind, that while I choose to listen, it does not mean that I accept or believe; while I choose to acknowledge, it does not mean that I do not have my own point of view. And I try to never assume of others.

Then maybe one in a hundred so-called friends will impress me with his wit and knowledge as we build a connection. Words lose its importance and are minimal as there is a much deeper mutual understanding at work here. Just a smile, a fleeting hello or a casual call to check on things is enough most of the time. And when there is a need, I will be there just like I know they will do it for me too.

Come to think of it, my best friends were my adversaries at some point. Now we would look back and laugh about the times we gave each other trouble. Its priceless. You know what they say about keeping your friends close and enemies closer, right? The best case scenario would be total elimination of my enemies by turning them into my friends, though I probably missed a few.

So, maybe there is no eternal enemy. But I sure hope there are eternal friends.

Sometimes


Sometimes, your screams will go unnoticed. You will struggle to get out of just being a memory. Sometimes, it is just not meant to be.

You wake up one day, realizing that the world has changed but you haven't. You can no longer catch up with the difference. It was like a dream, except this world is full of dreamers who lives in the day instead of night and works to make their dreams reality. You have been left behind.

You blame your laziness, your stupidity or just your stubbornness. Disappointment after disappointment seems to wear out people's expectations and now, looking in the mirror, evident signs of age reminds you that you are no longer young. You blame time, and you blame the world till you realize that you are running out of excuses.

It is simply too late for regrets.

Sometimes.


"Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation... even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind."
~ Leonardo da Vinci ~

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The lamb and the wolf

Often, people who project a certain image of themselves outwardly host a diametrically different reality inside. The wolf disguises himself as the lamb in order to bring your guard down enough to trust him. On the other hand, the lamb may disguise himself as the wolf in a conscious or unconscious effort to create an armor of protection for himself. Underneath the wolf facade, the lamb purrs at the world with an innocence that may be tarnished in an instant. It seems essential for the lamb to hold a mask out as a shield against the harsh world.

The lamb only wants the kindness of the world to embrace his own child-likeness. But cruel expectations bear down upon the lamb in forms of disapproval, admonition, and disrespectful smack-downs. The lamb thus thinks of hiding from these storms. The wolf facade houses the lamb's inner vulnerabilities in a tough structure. The lamb is safe and lives in the roomy bubble that its fiercer mask perpetrates.

Perhaps cowering under such grating conditions seems the ultimate choice in self-preservation. But if an assumption can be made about any living mindful creature, it is that growth comes from a process of painful adaptations. We cannot grow in our comfort zone because we are highly familiar with its workings. Therefore, in creating a strong wolf shell to protect the weak lamb inside, the chance for the lamb to toughen up its own skin dwindles. Energy is spent on making a better and stronger armor, so the wolf grows daily. On the other hand, no energy is spent for the lamb to get used to overcoming adversity.

Ideally, the world would change to nurture the lamb's growth in gentle ways. As perfect as that may be, the probability of it happening is slim to none. We can only pray for the lamb to see a different option than creating a facade that does not serve him over the long term. We can only hope that the lamb would find strength and determination enough to grow out of its wolf armor and face the world in its own skin. It won't be easy. Yet, many lambs have done it.

The stolen look

If I could ever run out of encomium for the grace I was fortunate enough to catch, then I would be unappreciative, and she would be undermined and underrated. Maybe it was her eyes or the way she exulted an enigmatic mysterious pull. Or maybe, it was her eyes.

She euphorized every delicateness of her voice with a touch of euphoria making every living thing around quiver in envious excitement. She moved with small motions but the exotic pantomime seduced all the manhood present to the brink of self-control.

Yes. It was her magical body language that can make a blind man see. It hypnotizes then seizes control. She played all our hearts like a cat with a ball.

And I would sacrifice myself to steal another look that makes all other men fools if they didn't.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Survival of the fittest

"A growing and increasingly influential movement of philosophers, ethicists, law professors and activists are convinced that the great moral struggle of our time will be for the rights of animals."
~ Michael Pollan ~

This is the pervasive nature of democracy and globalism, two of the dominating ideologies for the past 20 something years.

Democracy is an irony in itself, practising dictatorship of the majority while encroaching the rights of the minor. On the other hand, you allow too much freedom to the individuals and in doing so empower them. The result is a handful of the minor imposing their will on the majority. For example, I was discussing with my friend who is the director of Century College and he was relating to me that they have a class taught by two gays on homosexuality. Well, they managed to get that special vocation through a court order as they sued the college for homosexual discrimination. As you can imagine, the number of students taking this college course would be meagre considering its popularity, and now the two teachers are asking the court to issue an order to make the course mandatory. This creates a power distribution dilemma that determines only one thing - You just can't win.

Globalism has unified the economic, technological, sociocultural and political forces of single societies into a whole. As a result, we have the convenience of all the information in the world with a click of a button, and the creation of International Court and other global agencies made up of members of different nations. Things are moving so fast, it is easy to get lost in the progress we have made in the past two decades. But the real consequences of globalism are just starting to surface specifically inequality and environmental degradation.

Globalism builds on the competitive idealism of capitalism which when broken down is nothing more than the exploitation of the poor. The under-developed or the poor are at such a competitive disadvantage in this system that it is near impossible for them to change their plight. As a result, the rich gets richer, the poor gets poorer. This creates a vortex of increasing disparity between the two.

For the longest time, there has been few or no environmental regulations on businesses. They were able to pay little attention to the consequences of the actions to the environment which eventually lead to the public paying the bills for to cleanup their mess. With increasing public awareness, there has been significant improvements to environmental regulations in recent years.

All in all, both democracy and globalism has promoted vast growth as well as scientific and technological advancements. But they have also created many of the compelling problems we face in present time as suggested above. I believe that the two ideologies need to evolve so as to adapt to our present time and this is the task of our future generation.

Sidetracking. There is nothing more important than education we can give our future generation. Lately, I have been challenged to define the foundations of a good education. Kids nowadays have been subjected to these pervasive ideologies at such a young age, it is understandable that they lack the capacity to fully differentiate between the good and the bad. Not to mention that there are enough distractions and misrepresentations to confuse and corrupt the pure hearted.

I guess it is time for me to think hard about what I want to teach my kids and how.