Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Trump - Gump or Chump?


This video tries to present Trump's 4 years with his achievements and failures.

Do you agree?

First, let's call a spade a spade. This is (or was) the "Trump Presidency", not the Trump Administration. Because calling what they did over four years, "administration" is arguable and generous. Just consider the turnover of the Cabinet members (not covered in the video, because rightly, it is not usually considered an achievement or failure, but is indicative or symptomatic of a dysfunctional... "administration". Or "Dysadministration".) So it is NOT in question that Trump was the 45th POTUS. So call it the Trump Presidency. "Trump Administration"? Laughable. Arguable. Debatable. But I will let it pass as a customary nomenclature rather than an objective and accurate descriptor. 

Second, some of the achievements or failures are subject to the judgement of history and/or are multifaceted and would depend on the perspective and the lens thru which it should (or would) be seen. For example, was Trump's confrontation with China good or bad? Achievement or Failure. It's not easy to say at this point in time/history. Or you might say, it depends on your perspective. US perspective? Even so, that depends on the long term objectives and US's role in the unfolding history. If the US is on the decline (from the perspective of history) and China is in ascendency, then though Trump was not ready to concede the 2020 election weeks after the result was obvious, he readily ceded US global leadership (in some/many aspects) to China. 

Third and finally, this video assesses Trump's "achievements" and "failures" as if this presidency's endeavours were thought out and thought through. That the achievements are intentional, and failures were just badly executed, unfortunately timed, or undermined by opponents or historical events. That is generous. The evidence suggests that Trump "Forrest Gump" his way to the Presidency, and his achievements. As for his failures, they can all be traced back to his lack of understanding, interests, and intellect. Or his bias/prejudices. 

And some of the achievements in this video were wrongly attributed to him. Getting to pick 3 conservative Supreme Court Justices was due to the machinations of Mitch McConnell more than the astuteness of Trump. 

It may be too soon, but eventually, history will ask, "President Donald Trump - [Forrest] Gump or Chump?" Or maybe some are already asking. Or some believe they already know the answer.

[Edit/ Addendum: From a Washington Post newsletter (The Daily 202), of 25 Nov:

Trump will be the first president since Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression to leave office with fewer Americans employed than when he started. More problematic is that, as a lame-duck, Trump is aggressively trying to box in his successor with new rules, regulations and orders that are designed to tie the hands of the incoming administration.

The federal budget deficit was $3.1 trillion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, by far the biggest one-year gap in U.S. history. Trump promised as a candidate in 2016 to eliminate the national debt over eight years. When he took office, the debt was $14.4 trillion. It now stands at $21.1 trillion.

While Trump has lost in the court of law, he was won to some degree in the court of conservative public opinion. By baselessly sowing doubt in the integrity of the results, and with the complicit consent of Republican lawmakers who stayed silent for so long, Trump is convincing millions of gullible supporters that his successor is somehow not legitimate. This will make it harder for Biden, who strives to be a healer, to bind the national wounds into which Trump has been rubbing salt these past four years.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Prelude to war

Pure, Simple (or Simplistic) Democracy. Consider that this - DEMOCRACY - is a Sacred Cow. It cannot be questioned. The process cannot be questioned. The System cannot be questioned. Yes, this system threw up a Donald Trump in 2016. But this system also threw him out in 2020. The system WORKS!

Tell yourself that. Convince yourself that this is DEMOCRACY WORKING. This is the age of disinformation. And there is no greater disinformation and deception than to see something, and BELIEVE THE VERY OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU ARE SEEING.

The simple matter is if democracy works as advertised, then ok, maybe people are tired of slick politicians and Washington insiders, and are sold on the idea of an outsider, a maverick, someone who will rock the boat and get the rats off the boat. So 2016 - Trump. Besides Clinton was *bleargh!* Trump won? Understandable really.

Litigating Democracy

In the aftermath of his defeat, Trump is alleging, without any evidence, that Biden has stolen this election from him.

And his lawyers are filing lawsuits in various courts to challenge ballot counting, or to stop the process of ballot counting, or to allege impropriety or illegality.

And his supporters believe him.

The truth is, Trump has lost.

He's just playing a role that 71 million voters (his supporters) require.

If the Democrats are so clever as to win the Presidency fraudulently, why didn't they win the Senate as well? If the Democrats could control the outcome of the election, in what universe would they allow Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham to win and win so comfortably?

If the Democrats had the power to control to election, why did they lose seats in the lower House (House of Representatives)?

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Singapore Military Strength

For 2020, Global Firepower ranked Singapore 51st out of 138 countries

Fortunately, our neighbours are ranked higher. Indonesia is 16th, Malaysia is 44th. Philipines is 48th.

Even Myanmar is ranked higher at 35th.

Of course, Myanmar and Philippines are not immediate concerns or relevant.

We have no quarrel with them.

Friday, 6 November 2020

Democracy - the worst form of government

 So I believed the polls.

For two reasons. One, I believed the pollsters were embarrassed by their "failure" in 2016, had analysed their errors, and would have adjusted for their mistakes.

So this time around, they should be better right?

Their polling results were worse.

If they were off in 2016, they were off even more in 2020. Pollsters just couldn't explain or account for Trump.

The other reason I believe the polls was because it was the reasonable and rational thing to do. The fact that I was wrong to believe the polls suggests that 

a) it was not reasonable

b) it was not rational

c) it is not reasonable to believe that people will act reasonably

d) it is not rational to expect people to act rationally

e) it is not reasonable to believe people will act rationally

f) it is not rational to expect people to behave (or vote) reasonably.

Or maybe Democracy is playing a different game with different rules.

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Democracy sucks (well, US-style democracy)

 In my last post I stated my "wish list":

So here's my wish list.

1) Biden takes Arizona (11), Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), Georgia (16), and Texas (38). This will be my Bingo card. I expect I will be disappointed by Texas and Georgia. Maybe even more.

2) Graham loses his Senate seat. Again, with a 77% chance of him winning, this is a wish, more than a hope. I am almost sure to be disappointed.

3) And I would like to see Mitch ditched. But he has a 96% chance of being re-elected. So, doubt it will happen. But it's on my wish list.

As at midnight of the 5 Nov (Thursday morning), Biden has won Arizona. 

Monday, 2 November 2020

Democracy (At least US Democracy) is a spectator sport

I have been too engrossed with the US Presidential Election.

It is a spectator sport. And highly engrossing. Almost as engrossing as a WWE matchup.

I had intended to post some comments after our GE in July. 

The results were very interesting. I read the various commentaries and post-mortems by pro- and anti-PAP pundits. 

And I'm trying to distill my thoughts.

The question everyone is thinking about is... what does the Singapore Voter want.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Democracy or Dictatorship


"Democracy or dictatorship" is a logical fallacy offering a forced and false dichotomy.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Random thoughts for Cooling Off Day 2020

So it occurred to me that 29 years ago, Low Thia Khiang told the Hougang voters: "WA SI TEOCHEW NANG!" (I am a Teochew!) at one (or more) of his rallies.

And he snatched Hougang from the PAP.

Twenty-nine years later, the Workers Party couldn't even send a rep to the Chinese debate.


Monday, 6 July 2020

Is the coronavirus airborne?

You might have seen this news article:

239 experts with 1 big claim: The coronavirus is airborne

In an open letter to the WHO, 239 scientists in 32 countries have outlined the evidence showing that smaller particles can infect people with Covid-19 and are calling for the agency to revise its recommendations.

06 July, 2020 
NEW YORK — The coronavirus is finding new victims worldwide, in bars and restaurants, offices, markets and casinos, giving rise to frightening clusters of infection that increasingly confirm what many scientists have been saying for months: The virus lingers in the air indoors, infecting those nearby.
If airborne transmission is a significant factor in the pandemic, especially in crowded spaces with poor ventilation, the consequences for containment will be significant. Masks may be needed indoors, even in socially distant settings. Health care workers may need N95 masks that filter out even the smallest respiratory droplets as they care for coronavirus patients.

Sunday, 5 July 2020


Let's get real.

The PAP will win the election. The question is, how will the opposition do?

And by "opposition" we realistically mean, Workers Party. All the other political parties are jokes at worst, and delusions at best.

Maybe Progress Singapore Party and Tan Cheng Bock can pull off a surprise. But even that may be a miracle. I'll explain later.

If you subscribe to the "pendulum" theory of political fortunes, that voters vote one way, then swing over to the other side, in 2011, the PAP got 60% of the vote. Then in 2015, it got 70% of the votes. In this blog, I predicted in 2015 that the PAP vote share for the next election (GE 2020) would fall.  based simply on this "pedulum" theory.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

My first conspiracy theory about GE 2020

So I woke up to this story:

GE2020: PM Lee accepts PAP candidate Ivan Lim’s withdrawal; says ‘thorough investigation’ not possible given nature of GE campaign

“I recognise that the controversy over my candidacy has eclipsed the core issues of what this election should be about — Singapore’s future and the difficult steps we have to take to recover from Covid-19,” Mr Lim wrote.
“The controversy has also caused intense pain and stress for my family. I cannot put my family through this,” he added. “I thank the party for giving me this opportunity to serve.”
In accepting Mr Lim’s withdrawal, Mr Lee [PM] said that the controversy over his candidature was unfortunate.
“Ideally, there would have been a fair and deliberate consideration of these allegations. Unfortunately, the nature of the campaign is such that we do not have time for a thorough investigation,” Mr Lee said in his reply to Mr Lim.
“The allegations spread like wildfire online, eclipsing the serious life and death issues we must grapple with,” Mr Lee, who is also the prime minister, added.

Everything I need to know for the GE 2020

So there was this Simplified List of Political Parties in Singapore to bring Singaporeans up to date on the fauna of Singapore's political landscape. 

Which tried to be as apolitical as possible. 

And not to rock the boat.

This is my list. Based on their list. With what I think is the various parties' "claim to fame", and my take on the parties.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Three Gorges Dam - disaster awaiting?

The Three Gorges Dam is an engineering and construction marvel. Or at least a technological challenge. And a socially disruptive endeavour. With environmental and ecological impacts that were... ignored?

My personal superficial view of this feat of engineering and construction was that it is what a big country does. It is what a rising power chooses to do to showcase its capacity and ability.

It is what it is.

Then the last few days, my Youtube feed was getting quite a few videos about unceasing storms in China, leading to flooding, and the danger of the Three Gorges Dam giving way.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

A GE in the time of a pandemic

Is it a good idea to have a General Elections in the midst of a pandemic?

Well, if you ask the opposition, like Tan Cheng Bock, the answer is no.

In fact, any experienced (and/or smart) politician can tell you that having an election during a crisis, like a new pandemic, will result in a "flight to safety" (or a flight to quality).

Basically, if your job is on the line, if your income is not secure, if your business is shaky because of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic, you want a government with a proven track record to steer the country.

A crisis is not the time to "experiment" with untested politicians who have little to no experience leading a country let alone leading a country during a crisis.

Unless the incumbent government has done a terrible job, and you might want to try something new.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

The Day McDonald's Closed

You know things must be bad when even McDonald's closed.

I thought it was bad when the cinemas closed. And movies' opening got postponed. Or even cancelled.

I had realised a long time ago, that cinemas NEVER closed. No matter what holidays it may be, you could always go to the movies. They are open on Chinese New Year, Christmas, National Day, whatever. They don't close.


Until now.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Save money. Spend time.

This situation has affected people severely. Loss of jobs, loss of income, less disposable income.

To help Singaporeans, the Govt has ordered bars, cinemas, nightclubs and karaokes to close. So people with less income won't be tempted to spend their scarce income frivolously. But these measures were not enough! People were still finding ways to spend money they don't have! 

So the govt is closed other "leisure" centres from 7 April - IKEA, Decathlon, Japan Home, Daiso...

And for those who have lost their jobs, who might feel lonely at home by themselves, the govt suggested companies allow people to work from home. So they can keep their laid off family members company and reduce loneliness and depression. 

But for some couples, after years of... "Togetherness" they can't relate to each other without their children. So the govt ordered home based learning so the family could spend time together during this trying times.

Save money. Spend time. With your family.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Ignorance... and stupidity, kills

Trump in an abundance of stupidity and ignorance, tweeted that a combination therapy of hydroxychloroquine, a less toxic derivative of chloroquine, and the antibiotic azithromycin — which was administered to six patients who recovered from Covid-19 this month in France — has “a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.” 

Dr Anthony Fauci warned, “what we don’t know, is when you put it [chloroquine, which is used to treat malaria, arthritis, and lupus] in the context of another disease, whether it’s safe.”

But people heard Trump.

And someone believed him enough to try to self-medicate.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Update and Comment on Covid19

The stats as at 24 Mar 2020 0121 GMT, Italy is second with almost 64,000 cases, and US is firmly in 3rd with almost 44,000 cases (update: 46,000+ at 0446 GMT) after over 10,000 new cases were identified.

China of course still has the most cases (over 81,000), though their death toll has plateaued at 3,200.

Italy had long surpassed China's death with over 6000 deaths as of this writing.

US deaths are still relatively low at over 500.

Germany has over 29,000 cases but they have managed to keep their deaths to just over 120.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Fear leads to stupidity...

There are as of this writing (23 Mar 2020, early hours), almost 24,000 confirmed Covid19 cases in Germany. The numbers reported for the US is more than 30,000. But the deaths reported in Germany is 93. So how many deaths are there in the US?




Sunday, 15 March 2020

Conspiracy Theory on the Coronavirus

The coronavirus that causes Covid19 is quite selective. It is quite mild in children and young people, and most of those who died from it or complications from it, are older people.

The virus originated in China.

China's one-child policy has resulted in an ageing population. And this top-heavy population pyramid will mean that each working adult will have to support many elderly.

China's "social support" system will not be able to support an ageing China.

If only there were some way to... reduce the burden from an ageing population...

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Some thoughts of the US Presidential Elections 2020

As of this writing, the Democratic candidates are down to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Biden has a lead and is likely to hold the lead and win the nomination. Which will be a sad thing. But understandable.

Politics are conservative.

Until it is not.

Malaysian Political Drama Feb 2020

I need to include a date in the title or you might ask, "political drama? which one?" So this one, as reported in brief by The Washington Post:
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad, the world’s oldest national leader, resigned.“Under Malaysia’s constitution, the entire cabinet must be dissolved if the prime minister resigns,” Shibani Mahtani and Jonathan Edward report. “As the prime minister’s office announced Mahathir’s intent to resign, his political party, the Malaysian United Indigenous Party, known as Bersatu, said it would be leaving Malaysia’s ruling coalition. About a dozen other prominent members of parliament also left to form an independent bloc in the Southeast Asian country’s legislature. The king, Sultan Abdullah of Pahang, has not commented publicly on the matter. The political drama on Monday appeared to thwart one of Southeast Asia’s most celebrated democratic transitions, and returned Malaysia to a time of backdoor political plotting and palace intrigue. The move also appeared aimed at preventing [Anwar Ibrahim] from taking over as leader.”
Washington Post 
Daily 202, News email 

Thursday, 27 February 2020

China in the Year of the Metal Rat 2020

So this is the Year of the Metal Rat (from Jan 25 2020).

But for some, it is also the Year of the Golden Rat, and it starts on 4 Feb 2020.

And this Rat Year is especially auspicious as it is a double spring year.

Tell that to China who is dealing with the Covid19 , a.k.a. the  "Wuhan virus".

Technically, that virus/epidemic started in Dec 2019 (the Year of the Earth Pig), and lingered into the new year.

Monday, 24 February 2020

The Year of the Rat - for Malaysia

In the aftermath of the historic 2018 Malaysian General Election that swept UMNO out of power after 60 years, and brought in fresh hope in the Hope Alliance that is Pakatan Harapan (PH), this piece pointed out how fragile a coalition government is, and offered some scenarios as to the challenges this fragile coalition could face.

One of the scenarios suggested was this:
Or Dr M, after ensuring that Najib has been dethroned from UMNO's leadership, may lead Bersatu back to UMNO. Then BN (with Bersatu) could ally with PAS, and based on the current numbers, they would have 109 seats. They just need 3 more seats for BN to be back in power. This could be from defecting PKR or Amanah MPs (DAP would be very unlikely), or the independents, or STAR, or Warisan.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

The Future of Covid19

Chinese experts "believe" (officially) that the epidemic will run its course and die out (just like SARS did) in April.

Whether they REALLY (medically/scientifically) believe that, or they are required OFFICIALLY to believe that, is arguable.

They may be right. Or they may be official.

This video provides a more medical/scientific consideration of the two scenarios (or three depending on how you understand the situation/their explanation.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Can a Carrier Group Defend against China's "Carrier Killer"?

In my Oct 2016 post on Singapore's possible Aircraft Carrier Ambition, I suggested that China just needs to build up the numbers and performance of their "Carrier-killer" missile the DF21.

This video (not mine) explores how the US carrier group might defend against the DF21.

Friday, 7 February 2020

The Fear of Living Dangerously (or "Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wu(han) virus?")

The 2019-nCoV is known as the Wuhan virus.

And as for "who's afraid of the Wuhan virus?". The answer is, Singaporeans. And everyone else.

Shouldn't we be afraid?

Yes and no.

Just how dangerous is the Wuhan virus?

That depends on how you define "dangerous".