In economics, there is a type of product called "Veblen good" that does not contradicts the normal supply-and-demand relationships. For a normal good, a decrease in supply corresponds to an increase in price, leading to a corresponding drop in demand as consumers reduce consumption and/or seek out cheaper substitutes for the now more expensive product. But for a Veblen good, while decrease in supply also leads to a price increase, demand actually surges, with consumers assigning higher value to the good due to the higher price of the good.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Friday, March 17, 2017
Friday, February 24, 2017
at 5:41 PM
Many readers of this blog may or may not realize that the author of this blog is actually an American citizen. Yet during more than six years of this blog's run, the vast majority of posts are written in locations about topics that are distinctively unrelated to the author's country of citizenship. Even when written, America only exists as an elusive point of reference for other countries, a passive player looming large in the background that features much in the collective psyche of the local populace, but not nearly as much in the workings of their daily lives.
Sunday, February 5, 2017
at 10:57 PM
In his work Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki attempts to dissect the mentality of the poor, the middle class, and the rich. Among all the differences he notes of the three, one is constantly repeated and stands out as pivotal in the difference. The rich, he argues, invests in assets and not liabilities. And when the rich makes these investments, they do so through incomes earned through assets, and not by taking on more liabilities in the form of loans to be repaid. By wisely investing in income-generating assets within their means and then reinvesting resulting incomes in more assets, a small initial capital can quickly turn into a large sum.
Friday, January 20, 2017
at 11:43 PM
Many people see one's academic and professional lives are two separate,distinct phases. Schooling is something done in young age, a process of learning that culminates in certifications that signify one's ability to think critically and apply certain skill sets. Those skill sets are prerequisites to a second phase, professional work that apply and further enhance academic knowledge that can be directed and sharpened to achieve certain goals that are worthy of financial compensation. For most, one leads to the other (sometimes in reverse), and the two rarely, if ever, crosses paths.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
at 7:02 PM
Many countries have one of these. Promising, self-confident young men and women are thrown into almost endless lectures of political orthodoxy, of the need to serve their country, and of uploading its law, without questioning its underlying morality and validity. Years later, the indoctrinated youth become government officials, dictating the policies that affect the very future and fortune of the country. Unfortunately, being isolated in an entirely different academic and living environment makes youth educated under "bureaucrat schools" lose connection with society at large. As such, government bureaucrats should not be trained in special schools.
Sunday, October 18, 2015
at 1:17 PM
For people interested in ancient Chinese history, the Three Kingdoms era (roughly the second to three century AD) is one of the most familiar portion. The titular novel on the subject, romanticizing the heroes of the era, along with numerous movies, books, and video games based off their stories, have become hits across much of East Asia in the past decades. However, most of the interest in the era focus on the earlier half of the era, when various warlords and generals make their historical debut from humble origins in their respective lofty goal in uniting China in an era of internal divisions.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
at 4:09 PM
In the last weekend of his stay in Taiwan, the author was taken to a college campus by a friend of his. As the friend was taking the author around her alma mater, explaining every corner of the school that made and unmade a thousand memories of her formative four years, the author noted a group of young high school students on what seems to be a summer camp being held at the school's main auditorium. Boisterously, the kids were going about discussing among themselves, bouncing ideas off one another as they hatch ideas to bring forth in what seemed to be their end-of-the-camp presentation/talent show.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
at 3:48 PM
It is a disturbing time that people seem to live in nowdays. The fury of one person is casually unleashed upon the innocent passerby, making them the cannon fodder for social frustration that are not only not caused by them, but not even really related to them in any way. The bloody mess in a subway carriage in Taipei recently is followed by a drive-by shooting in the UC Santa Barbara campus in California, in both cases instigated by young man whose unique concerns with their own, rather different forms of social disgruntlement were suddenly exposed to a society unprepared to receive them in the way it did.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
at 9:46 AM
It has been a few days since one of the most talked about violent crimes in Taiwan's recent history took place. A 21-year-old student, allegedly neglected by both parents and society at large, stabbed through carriages full of innocent commuters on Taipei's subway, killing four in what people can only dub as a psychopathic assault. Since the incident, both mass and social media here are filled with speculative reports on the background of the 21-year-old, with discussions ranging from how to detect anti-social behaviors early in a person's life to how to properly punish violent criminals of this sort.
Monday, April 28, 2014
at 8:40 AM
In the eastern suburbs of Taipei, a little rural township nestles amid the northern reaches of Taiwan's central mountain range. A little railway runs through the valley, bisecting the township's component villages and bringing in tourists from all over the island and beyond into the embraces of their splendidly well-preserved architectures of the past and winding, hilly roads frequented in the township's glorious past as a top coal-mining spot. Honestly, the villages themselves are not that old, but that feel of "living history," along with all the foods and sights reminiscent of the past draw massive crowds on a regular weekend.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
at 4:11 PM
The first rays of light in the morning accompanies the receding darkness of the night. When bright colors of nature once again scar off the uniform blackness that enveloped the land, it is time to start anew, completely anew. The clear blue sky heads into the mind through the eyes, clearing out any mental debris that tired it from the night before. Refreshing, reinvigorating...it re-balances the senses and reassures one that what is past is the past, and what is future starts now, ready to be written on a new, blank chapter.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
at 5:50 PM
When talking about Taiwanese politics, China is the elephant in the room. These words from Western media should not and indeed really do not face disagreement even here in Taiwan. Certainly, for an island where 40% of exports head to China and 10% of citizens live in China, to speak of political issues in a Sino-centric fashion would not be at all excessive or exaggerating. And looking at events of the past across the Strait and potential repercussions for the future, the fixation of local politicians and common people with China is very well justified.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
at 5:18 PM
At one moment the author and his friend were the only customers in a quiet hole-in-the-wall halal restaurant, and just five minutes later, to their bewilderment, the shop was getting over run by a Chinese tourist group, who took up 3/4 of the restaurant in two waves. Even as massive, money-wielding Chinese tourists have become a common sight abroad in the past decade, this one was maybe a bit subtly different. The venue was a Muslim restaurant, and the tourist group was composed fully of Chinese Muslims taking perhaps their first trips to Taiwan.
Friday, January 17, 2014
at 10:59 AM
The ongoing political stalemate in Thailand, entering an even grander stage of opposition protests and incumbent counter-protests to paralyze Bangkok, seems to see no end. Fueled by continued anger over talks of inappropriate use of national funds, hidden corruption, and unjustifiable grips on political power by the so-called "Thaksin regime", the opposition seems to still have plenty of firepower left despite private murmurs among its supporters that they are pushing too far with their demands, and that their lives are increasingly being disrupted by the constant need to be on the streets.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
at 5:06 PM
It is not particularly surprisingly that as people get older and older, their attitude toward the coming of a new year turn from excitement and anticipation to something more akin to avoidance, nostalgia, or in extreme cases, hatred. When one starts to become more aware of age and less aware of concrete progress in life, the passage of time, as symbolized by coming of a new year, becomes more and more a sign of meaningless aging, of another year passed without significant accomplishments or achievements, and, again, in extreme cases, another step closer to that inevitable end of human life.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
at 10:12 AM
Two guys were sitting in a casual Japanese restaurants. The waitress shows up at their table with their lunches in hand. "Sorry, the soup from one set and the rice from the other will come later," she noted apologetically. The two men did not seem to mind. They carry on chatting and eating whatever that was already served at their table. Almost done with their incomplete meals, and noting that the rice and soup have yet to arrive, they call over the waitress to ask. Embarrassed about her memory loss, she quickly ran back to the kitchen and brought out rice and soup to the table.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
at 4:44 PM
Tucked in a densely forested northeastern corner of
City lies University of Philippines-Silliman, the main
(and the largest) campus of the UP system that is the cornerstone of the
country’s publicly funded tertiary education system. Every year, 2000 freshman from all over the
country, selected based on scores on a tough and highly competitive entrance
exam, enters the campus, receiving a heavily subsidized education courtesy of
the Philippine government.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
at 1:15 PM
The basic principles of economics goes something like this: the greater the demand for something, the higher the price for that something will be. More people will go produce that something because they know they can make good money of it, creating more competition for that something among the producers. And when there is more competition, the producers will seek to create better version of that something faster and cheaper than others so that s/he can get a bigger share of the demand than others, and make more money.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
at 5:00 PM
My Malaysian Chinese girlfriend frequently speak of how pushy her parents can be. Not only run errands for the house, force her to go to university to study what they dictate, and compel her to help out with the family business on a more permanent basis. She tells me that she just want to get away from her family and move far far away to become independent just like what I am currently doing by living and working in Malaysia. While such complaints are common among Asians growing up in the West with its strong individualistic values, it is rather interesting to observe similar mentality in collectivist Asia.