Saturday, April 25, 2015

Is Betting on Gambling Still the Right Bet?

Over here in Metro Manila, the construction of new hotels with in-built casinos are not at all abating.  New areas devoted to attracting high-rollers in the names of Entertainment City and City of Dreams have now finished phase 1 of construction and continue to aggressively expand into open lands next to Manila Bay (at least part of which are reclaimed from the sea).  Despite the author's frequent travels within Manila during his time of residence, this development (and the scale and pace of construction) is certainly not previously seen and can be considered unprecedented.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

How Can One Tolerate Portraying Past Colonialism as NOT Evil?

For many countries that have some colonial past, the national identity is often supplemented, and in many cases, defined by struggle for freedom and throwing off colonial rule.  That of the US is a great example.  The cherished principles of freedom is evidenced by the early rebels' personal sacrifices in battlefields against the British.  And their struggles are epitomized as heroic in places like the lyrics of the national anthem.  The US is often not the exception but the norm in post-colonial countries, many of which systematically link the idea of nation with pain of colonialism.

Assessing the Presence of Chinese Firms in Africa

As comparatively new players on the African continent, Chinese companies often face uphill battles against much more entrenched European and American competitors.  With their strong advantages of extensiveness in local resource ownership, social networks with influential local leaders, and brand recognition among the common populace, Western firms use their long-established traditional presence and trust to secure large segments of the African market.  The lack of such long history has forced Chinese firms, many of which largely unknown to Africans, to undertake a brazenly risky approach in doing business on the continent to compete with the West.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Potential Restrictions of Offensive Joking in a Conservative Society

In America, people sometimes say that the funniest jokes tend to be the most offensive, and in a socially liberal Western society (at least in the parts of it not directly straddling the Bible Belt), decades of evolving freedoms in speech have guaranteed that not many things being said can still offend people immediately.  Comedians (and common people cracking jokes, for that matter), often take to greater and greater extents just to ensure their offensiveness (and thus funniness) can be taken to higher and higher levels, through more and more unique and disgusting ways.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lee Kuan Yew and Legitimization of Pragmatism in Politics

To be universally respected as a national leader is not an easy task, especially one that has governed during the turbulent times of global rivalry.  Yet, with the conflicts interests of Soviet-American bipolarity in the past and Sino-American duality in the present, Lee Kuan Yew shrewdly managed to make the island city-state liked by both sides, but somehow managed to extract beneficial economic externalities from balancing opposing ends.  Singapore, as a global entrepot with little prejudice in its political agenda on the international stage, greatly benefited.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Asian Cuisine’s Perplexing Partiality of Vegetarianism

The author, being a skinny man that he has been for the past God-knows-how-long, has never really been too careful on the foods he eats.  The logic is that, given the lack of body fat, high intakes of fattening foods should not be too problematic as long as certain precautions are taken.  And the author has been doing some of that, mostly avoiding fried snacks like potato chips and carbonated sodas, while keeping alcohol consumption to a social minimum.  Yes, there is lack of exercise, but he never thought of himself as terribly unhealthy.