Sunday, June 28, 2020

What the pandemic reveals about the male ego

By Nicholas Kristof

The author noted that leaders who bungled the response were mostly a particular type: Authoritarian, vainglorious and blustering.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

15 June, 2020

Are female leaders better at fighting a pandemic?

I compiled death rates from the coronavirus for 21 countries around the world, 13 led by men and eight by women. The male-led countries suffered an average of 214 coronavirus-related deaths per million inhabitants. Those led by women lost only one-fifth as many, 36 per million.

If the United States had the coronavirus death rate of the average female-led country, 102,000 American lives would have been saved out of the 114,000 lost.

“Countries led by women do seem to be particularly successful in fighting the coronavirus,” noted Anne W Rimoin, an epidemiologist at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

“New Zealand [4], Denmark [104], Finland [59], Germany [107], Iceland [29], Norway [45] have done so well perhaps due to the leadership and management styles attributed to their female leaders.”

Let’s start by acknowledging that there have been plenty of wretched female leaders over the years.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Trapped abroad, China’s ‘little pinks’ rethink their country

Young and patriotic, Chinese students abroad often defend their nation against its critics. But when many tried to return home during the Covid-19 pandemic, they became targets themselves.
THE NEW YORK TIMES

26 June, 2020


NEW YORK — Mr James Liu has always considered himself a patriot.

With a lump in his throat, he watched a military parade on National Day, China’s birthday, that showed a once backward nation that had become strong and powerful. He got goose bumps watching “Wolf Warrior 2,” a “Rambo”-like Chinese blockbuster featuring a superhero veteran who single-handedly rescues his countrymen trapped abroad.

When China came under attack online, Mr Liu was one of the legions of Chinese students studying abroad who posted in its defense. He condemned the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which he saw as an effort to split a uniting China.

After US President Donald Trump called the coronavirus the “Chinese virus”, Mr Liu turned to Twitter to correct those who used the term.

“I was a real little pink,” he said, using a somewhat derogatory term for the young, Communist-red Chinese nationalists who use the internet as a patriotic battleground to fight those who disparage China.

GE2020: Political comeback unlikely, says former Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang

By Lianne Chia

By Afifah Ariffin 

27 Jun 2020


SINGAPORE: Former Workers' Party (WP) secretary-general Low Thia Khiang on Friday (Jun 26) said it was unlikely he would make a political comeback in the future.

This follows the announcement made by the party on Thursday that Mr Low would not contest the upcoming General Election.

In an interview with CNA, Mr Low said he was stepping down because he wanted to see a “more resilient” and younger WP team to build on the base formed by the party to “provide Singapore a more balanced political system and safeguard to Singaporeans”.

“If I were to one day offer myself as a candidate, it’s a back step,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to see that, and I believe that it should not happen.”

Monday, June 22, 2020

We are not power crazy, say Pakatan Harapan leaders as they seek a common ground for PM candidate

22 Jun 2020


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s opposition parties have denied that they are power crazy for their attempt to wrest back control in parliament, adding that Pakatan Harapan (PH) and its allies must work towards a common ground to reclaim electoral mandate.

The statement, jointly issued by Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) president Mohamad Sabu and Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng on Monday (Jun 22), came amid a difference of opinion within PH over the candidates for the prime minister post.

“We have been criticised for not quickly regaining our rightful government and yet when we find the only realistic route left for success we are criticised as power crazy. This is unfair because while we are not afraid to be in opposition, the rakyat (people) voted for us in 2018 to be in government,” the statement read.

PH was voted into Putrajaya in the 2018 general election with Dr Mahathir at the helm, but the administration collapsed in February after Mr Muhyiddin Yassin led Bersatu out of the coalition. Mr Muhyiddin, who is backed by Barisan Nasional and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, was sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister leading the Perikatan Nasional (PN) pact.

PH, which finds itself as the opposition coalition again, was strategising its moves to return to federal power but reached a stalemate when component parties and their allies could not agree over the candidacy for premiership.

Uncertain future as Covid-19 infection rate sets global records

22 June, 2020


HONG KONG — Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic and the good news is a number of countries are easing lockdown measures, allowing a semblance of what was normal life to return. The bad news is global infection numbers are surging.

The number of newly infected people set records on multiple days in June, according to data from Johns Hopkins University in the US. The World Health Organisation issued a telling statistic of its own, noting that 85,000 cases were reported in the first two months of the outbreak; in the past two months, it was 6 million. The WHO's grim figures coincided with a new flare-up of the disease in Beijing.

China, where the coronavirus was first identified at the end of last year, had earlier locked down a region of 60 million people and shut its borders to foreigners to control the disease. Even after those stringent measures, the virus surfaced again in the capital.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

China's young spenders say #ditchyourstuff as economy sputters

04 May, 2020

BEIJING - Tang Yue, a 27-year-old teacher from the city of Guilin in southwest China, steam-presses a blue dress and takes dozens of photographs before picking one to clinch her 200th online sale.

For a growing number of Chinese like Tang, hit by job losses, furloughs and salary cuts, the consumer economy has begun to spin in reverse. They are no longer buying - they are selling.

Instead of emerging from the coronavirus epidemic and returning to the shopping habits that helped drive the world's second-largest economy, many young people are offloading possessions and embracing a new-found ethic for hard times: less is more.

Break the China habit? Lobsters, lights and toilets show how hard it is

20 June, 2020

NEW YORK — As the coronavirus pandemic amplifies long-standing concerns over the world’s economic dependence on China, many countries are trying to reduce their exposure to Beijing’s brand of business.

Japan has set aside US$2.2 billion (S$3.06 billion) to help companies shift production out of China. European trade ministers have emphasised the need to diversify supply chains. Several countries, including Australia and Germany, have moved to keep China, among others, from buying businesses weakened by lockdowns. Hawks in the Trump administration also continue to press for an economic “decoupling” from Beijing.

But outside government circles, in the companies where the decisions about manufacturing and sales are actually made, the calculations are more complex.

China is a hard habit to break.