Friday, October 19, 2018

South-east Asia power plants seen clashing with UN climate goals

[Maybe I am over-sensitive, but does the title of this news article strikes you as being overtly racist? Subtly racist? Rationalised racism? "South-east Asia" "Clashing with" "UN" --- "Those damned slant-eyes just don't understand the sacrifices THEY need to make to keep this world comfy for ALL of us!" 

Too hostile? Too passive-aggressive? Not passive enough?]

18 OCTOBER, 2018


SINGAPORE — Almost 84 per cent of South-east Asia’s planned and existing fossil fuel power plants are incompatible with future scenarios that avoid catastrophic damage from climate change, according a new study from the University of Oxford.

The report, which comes on the heels of a major United Nations-backed study of the impacts of global temperatures rising 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), is based on analysis of the amount of carbon expected to be emitted over the lifespan of the plants.

Singapore ranked first among places for expats to live and work in: HSBC survey

[So we are in the bottom 10 in the Commitment to Reduce Inequality (CRI) Index administered by Oxfam, but we are #1 in the World Bank's Human Capital Index, though we are #2 in the World Economic Forum's Most Competitive country (US is #1). And here we are #1 in HSBC's ranking of best places for expats to live and work.

The point, in case you are assuming the usual, is not that SG is the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. 

I mean, if that is your takeaway from all these accolades, let me ask you: what did you personally do to develop our human capital, make SG a competitive country, and make SG the best country for expats to live and work? Let me ask you, do you even LIKE expats in SG? Or are you subtly racist like most Singaporeans, and would rather NOT have expats in SG?

The point is not that we should be proud, or disgusted, or dismayed, or disheartened, or arrogant, or any other emotional reaction you can think of.

That we live in a Singapore that is #1 and #2 or #150 is what OTHER people think of us. If what they think of us makes you happy, or sad, or angry, or glad, you are not very stable, are you?

Put it another way, with the latest news (whichever news), how has your life changed for the better or for the worse?

Did your wife/girlfriend leave you to look for a new Expat boyfriend because of this report? I hope not. But if she did, do you really want such a superficial person as your life partner?]

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Investors brace for Malaysia tax on capital gains, consumers


17 October, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia is keeping investors guessing as to what new taxes will be unveiled in next year’s budget. For now, the market is bracing for the worst: capital gains and consumption taxes.

Levies on returns from capital investments may worsen stock declines. The benchmark equity index hasn’t recovered from last week’s steepest plunge in four months, after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced the tax plans.

A consumption levy may further constrain economic growth that had eased to the slowest pace in more than a year.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Human Capital Index - Singapore's Achievement?

[Hot on the heels of the Oxfam report that slammed SG (well, ranked SG in the bottom 10 countries for our efforts to reduce inequality), comes the World Bank Human Capital Index Report (news article follows) which ranked SG #1 in how well we develop our "human capital".

What are we to make of it?

Well, let's first see what they are reporting.]

Thursday, October 11, 2018

“We don’t mail Elvis a Social Security check, no matter how many people think he is alive.”

[A Commentary on populism, conspiracy irrationalism, and anti-intellectualism. Sure it is mostly in the US, but it is not alien elsewhere in the world.

At about 2:46 into the video: "...we aspired to intelligence, we didn't belittle it, it didn't make us feel inferior... we didn't scare so easy..."

Fear makes us stupid. Fear makes us willing to believe comfortable lies, lies that tell you it is not your fault, it is the fault of the world, and the evil in the world trying to take from you what is rightfully yours.

Our parents or grandparents did not believe that. And some of them lived through times when there was evil trying to take their lives, their families, their happiness. 

Only in the comfort of your armchair can you imagine the conspiracy arrayed against your happiness, your petty interests.]

Sunday, October 7, 2018

In familiar pattern for S.Korea's Moon, property curbs backfire

07 October, 2018


SEOUL — Ms Park Soo-jin's plan was to cut expenses to bare minimum for the six years she rented a flat in a high-rise Seoul neighbourhood, so she and her husband could buy their own property in the area once the lease ends in December. It is not going to work.

The South Korean capital has turned into one of the world's hottest property markets despite nine rounds of cooling measures taken by President Moon Jae-in's government in the past year.

Making housing affordable for newlyweds and graduates was one of Mr Moon's key promises ahead of his election in 2017, along job creation and reducing inequality.

Economists say housing measures were long overdue as South Korea needs to curb household debt, now almost equaling the size of its economy — just as it did in the United States before the 2008 crash that led to the global financial crisis.

Friday, October 5, 2018

How this Supreme Court pick could cement Trump’s real economic legacy

Wonkblog Perspective

Washington Post

By Steven Pearlstein

July 11 2018

The Democratic outrage machine has it wrong. It’s not Roe v. Wade that is most in danger of being overturned if Brett Kavanaugh makes it to the Supreme Court — I doubt either Kavanaugh or Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is of a mind to wade into that political and legal minefield. What Democrats really ought to be worried about is Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council.

In its 1984 Chevron decision, the Supreme Court declared that when a law passed by Congress is silent or ambiguous on an issue of how an agency should exercise its regulatory authority, the courts should defer to the reasonable judgment of the agency. In the years since, this “Chevron deference” has provided the legal basis for hundreds of regulations protecting consumers, workers and the environment promulgated under laws that, in many instances, could never have anticipated the economic, social and technological changes that would necessitate them decades later.

But to the business community and legal and ideological conservatives, Chevron has come to be seen as a giant legal loophole that has led to the creation of a vast “administrative state” that has encroached on the power of Congress to make the laws and the judiciary to interpret them. And no two judges have been more closely associated with the campaign to pare back Chevron, or overturn it completely, than President Trump’s first two Supreme Court nominees, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.