Friday, September 30, 2016

Conceptualizing a Different Kind of Urban Space in Rural Africa

Iringa, in some ways, is a classic truck-stop kind of town.  Sitting on a top of a hill, it nonetheless serves as a transport hub where two of the country's major cross-country highways intersect.  A east-west highway connects the country's main port at Dar es Salaam with Zambia, providing ocean access for trucks coming from the landlocked interior of the continent.  And spurring off that east-west highway at Iringa is a highway leading north to the country's new showcase capital of Dodoma, where MPs and other political types from across the country congregate when the legislature is in session.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

チャリティーの感覚 VS ビジネスの感覚

以前このブログをご覧になっていらっしゃる方はご存知かもしれないが、筆者が今務める組織はタンザニアの農民に対してローン方式でメイズの種や肥料を販売している。販売相手となる農民の中で、このような世界どこかの工場で大量生産された種や肥料を見たこともなく、その効果を心から疑っている人は少なくない。彼らが持つその根本的な疑いを収めるため、農村でこれらの商品を紹介する際、常にこのような言葉を使う:「私たちはこれらの商品を通じてあなたたちを助けに参りました!」

Thursday, September 22, 2016

腐敗與公共財產濫用的關聯性

在著者工作的辦公室有一個非常有趣的現象。儘管使用厠所的人數并不多(通常每天在辦公室里的工作人員不超過30人左右),厠所垃圾桶總會堆起滿滿幾桶的衛生紙。這些衛生紙雖被用過,通常都僅沾了些水而已且并不會有任何其他異物。而這些沒有怎麽被用過但已被丟棄的衛生紙每一條都大概有手指尖到胳膊的長度。以著者的簡單目測,僅是這些丟在垃圾桶里的衛生紙應該就等同于每天足足四捲的使用量。著者在家裏即便每天大便,大概一個月都不會消費怎麽多的衛生紙。

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

When Corporate Economics Works against Smallholder Farmers

Often, working in the middle of nowhere in rural Africa for a clientele of mostly subsistence farmers feel like the work is largely removed from the realities of global economics.  Many farmers plant their local seeds and sell their produce to local markets.  Many foreign food imports see little local demand due to local populations' lack of sufficient income and exposure (and thus palate) for foreign cuisines, and more often than not, insufficient infrastructure prevent large amount of local produce to be shipped globally, even when the qualities and pricing of the products are competitive.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Bright Rural African Moon and Asia's Light Polution Problem

When one lives in a big Asian city, one tends to forget about what is up in the sky.  The context simply does not allow for casual relaxed upward observations.  On the streets, there are always people clamoring behind to ensure people move faster on sidewalks and pedestrian areas; high-rise buildings of all sorts densely sprouting out everywhere block out any chances of clear sky views at the ground level, and worst of all, flashy neon signs of commercial districts, along with thousands upon thousands of electrical illuminations make it impossible to see the sky clearly at night.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Art of Attention-Seeking and How to Keep the Crowds Interested

What does a nuclear weapons test in North Korea and the an iPhone release have in common?  At first sight, probably not much.  The political fanaticism of a dirt-poor autarky and a global business giant's latest attempt to wow the market have neither correspondent target results nor similar methodologies.  One is bound to end with worldwide criticisms, and one, even in the most pessimistic of outcomes, will get enthusiastic response from long-time fans as well as scores of reviews and analyses by tech geeks and market specialists.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

How Populism at Home Can Detract from International Image: a Case of Duterte's Philippines

It is no understatement to say that the Philippines is going through some interesting times with the inauguration of a new president.  Sticking to his words on the campaign trial, President Duterte immediately set out to wage a low-intensity war against distributors and users of illegal drugs.  While the exact casualty figures from the campaign is up for debate, there is definitive evidence that police forces tasked with the "cleanup" have indeed shot and killed quite a few people in the process.  The president, in rather dubious legal grounds, have promised protection for officers who have resorted to "shoot first, ask later" methodologies.