Friday, September 05, 2014

Links and comments

This little guy has been hanging round our screen door for the last couple of days. I've been trying to get a shot of him. What a pleasure to finally get a good shot.

No time to blog....
  • Hanjie's Blog: Matsu -- trip + pics
  • Thinking Taiwan: when surveys become propaganda instruments: the recent survey parading around FocusTaiwan and other pro-KMT sites is an example of the ugliness to which the dark side will stoop.
  • Shocked, just shocked to hear the Taiwanese investors are superstitious and irrational, according to the Economist. Sometimes I get tired of the Othering that lies behind this sort of thing: "they" are different from "us". Actually, Americans are worse. Gregg Easterbrook at ESPN's TMQ, who sometimes is right, observed this week about the way hedge fund managers abuse those who are dumb enough to imagine that they are making super secret deals, but in reality could just buy an index fund and make more money.:
    Making super-secretive deals -- even if they turn out to be super-secretive bad deals -- is used by money managers to justify their outsized pay. Last week some Harvard alums released numbers the university's money managers have been trying to keep quiet. (The alums are unhappy with the university's self-indulgent use of money. Harvard's endowment is sufficient that every undergraduate could attend free, but instead university insiders live in luxury while alums are dunned for more donations, a topic this column will return to later this autumn with my annual endowment-abuse item.) The alums found that Harvard's endowment has a 324-person staff with an average annual income of $410,000, captained by the recently departed Jane Mendillo, who paid herself $5 million a year. For doing a terrible job! Harvard would have ended up ahead by laying off 323 of its money managers and instructing the remaining one to call the 800 number of Vanguard. But then there would have been no mysticism about secret investment formulas and no excuse to divert huge paydays to unproductive white-collar cronies of Harvard's administration.
    Read the whole section on TMQ, it's superb. I just finished Grey Wolf, Grey Sea, the story of the U-124, one of Germany's most successful U-boats, and in it there's a blurb about a U-boat captain who was so superstitious that he would only set courses divisible by the number 7. On the U-124 itself chocolate pudding was banned after allied vessels attacked the boat three different times after it was served. Such superstitious and irrational behavior is a staple in every society.... it's not just "they" who are irrational. It's everyone... Ok, I admit fan death is in a class by itself.
  • The Economist scribes on Chang An-lo and his pro-unification politics.
  • And so it begins: Ko Wen-je, the non-KMT candidate for mayor of Taipei, starts with the stupidity with just a few weeks to go in the election. This last month promises to be very entertaining, if comments as stupid as this are any indication: “I’ve always believed that during Chiang Ching-kuo’s era, there were strict regulations on government officials’ ethics, as well as on relationships between government and business — this should become a model in politics for all those in power to learn from.” This is a common trope among individuals in Ko's generation, despite the fact that they all lived through the era and knew how completely corrupt it was. Loose lips are going to sink the Ko ship if he is not careful. And I don't think he will be...
  • Article asks what China thinks about the Ukraine crisis. The article says: "Put simply, does Beijing see the Ukraine Crisis as demonstrating the West’s weakness when confronted by a determined and capable challenger?" Umm no. What China thinks is simple -- the brain trust in Beijing is ROFLMAO at the US investing all this time and energy and social capital in sideshows like the Middle East and the Ukraine when the main event is coming soon out here. 
  • Speaking of shenanigangs shenanigans before the election, gangsters shot up the police here in Taichung this week. That will go down well with the public just before the election... Taichung Amcham has a whole page on Taichung area news, maintained by the totally hot, awe-inspiring Courtney Donovan Smith.
  • China's land reclamation in the Spratlys is going to screw everything up. But Japan has already set this precedent.
  • Chinese scholar says democracy would be bad for Hong Kong because, well, democracy is too communist.
  • NOTE: Drew and I were just predicting a crime boom if Lin beats Hu for Taichung. Can ya think why?
  • We're in the grip of another food scandal here this week as an oil producer who sold to several major brands, including Wei Chuan, probably the most trusted food brand in Taiwan, and 85C (bread products) admitted to re-using scrap oil in its products. Clearly the problem is too much regulation....
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13 comments:

Mike Fagan said...

And...

"Drew and I were just predicting a crime boom if Lin beats Hu for Taichung. Can ya think why?"

Because Taichung residents have precious few civil and market choices in respect of organized self-defence which therefore leaves them at the mercies of a likely politicized and corrupted (but I repeat myself) monopolist commonly known as a "local police force"? Is that why?

Anonymous said...

Praising Chiang is a good move on Ko's part - it'll irritate pan-green voters, sure, but they're still going to turn out and vote for him in droves because this is their first real chance at unseating the KMT (and sticking it the Lien family, which is a huge bonus) in twenty years. On the flip-side, it'll attract more light blues, who he has been pandering to ever since hiring Yao Li Ming. It looks like there's a good chance James Soong will endorse him in October, which would be a big blow to Sean Lien.

Anonymous said...

China's land reclamation in the Spratlys is going to screw everything up. But Japan has already set this precedent.

WTF are you talking about? Japan is claiming Spratlys?

Michael Turton said...

Japan has built up rocks in its waters into permanent land so it claim their EEZ. Malaysia has done so as well -- in face they put a resort on one.

Michael

Michael Turton said...

On the flip-side, it'll attract more light blues, who he has been pandering to ever since hiring Yao Li Ming. It looks like there's a good chance James Soong will endorse him in October, which would be a big blow to Sean Lien.

Soong endorsing Ko?

Yes, in my talks with both light and deep blues, I've found that Lien is really despised and hated. I really doubt that CCK nostalgia will win over the light blues -- he could have made the same points without mentioning CCK and more importantly, he's complicated his ability to respond to the nepotism issue.

Really, though, for me it is moot. The real issue is that Ko is a time bomb and this nostalgic shit is a signal of that. My only hope is that the election happens before he goes off.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Japan has built up rocks in its waters
(Japan and every country that has a rock to play with)


So you think the waters belong to China.
If so then China also owns Taiwan.

Readin said...

"Beijing is ROFLMAO at the US investing all this time and energy and social capital in sideshows like the Middle East and the Ukraine when the main event is coming soon out here."

What time and money has America invested in Ukraine? It looks to me like Obama has made it clear to Putin that we don't really care one way or another whether he annexes it.

That has to be heartening news for China (unless they figure the permission to annex nearby sovereign nations will be rescinded in January 2017).

But even if the permission does get rescinded, it will at least give China another excuse to whine about unfair treatment. "WAAH you let RUSSIA conquer THEIR former colony without penalty, why can't WE? It's because your RACIST isn't it!"

Anonymous said...

Nice write-up on the upcoming Alibaba IPO:
here

Michael Turton said...

"'So you think the waters belong to China.
If so then China also owns Taiwan.""

LOL. YOu guys are really desperate.

Anonymous said...

off topic: is it the same spider https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=704030386345992 ?

Michael Turton said...

Alas, not a peacock spider. Some boring white and brown version of same.

Anonymous said...

Chinese scholar says democracy would be bad for Hong Kong because, well, democracy is too communist.

Yes, a mainland scholar justifying not allowing democracy because of the need to protect the .... superwealthy.
One of the craziest things I've ever read anywhere, especiallt from China.
Then again at least he's honest.

CP

les said...

Oh, this is bad. You spot a car with Chinese plates, you run and hide. http://udn.com/NEWS/MAINLAND/MAI1/8921643.shtml