Friday, February 19

Wanted by U.S.: The Stolen Millions of Despots and Crooked Elites

This is what pisses me off about the uk. We allow all kinds of corrupt bastards and people with war crimes and religious fundos into the uk. And despite so much evidence that foreign governments offer up, we do sweet sod all. We have anti bribery and anti corruption laws for years and broadly speaking, literally zero people have been prosecuted. Now you can't believe that there are simply no guilty people in the uk? Bollocks. 
This is why I admire the USA. It's going after the bastards. So it's not 100% accurate but what the hell. They are doing something at least. What are we doing? Forget about Europe or other parts of the world. Heck even Switzerland is going after corrupt people like the situation in Malaysia. Bah. Truly pisses me off. 
Look forward to watching the movie with you Kannu. Missing you :)

Wanted by U.S.: The Stolen Millions of Despots and Crooked Elites
(via Instapaper)

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, scion of the ruling family of Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa's smallest countries. Prosecutors say his country's citizens are victims of his "relentless embezzlement and extortion." Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

It's hard to imagine a public official with more toys than Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who spent $300 million on Ferraris, a Gulfstream jet, a California mansion and even Michael Jackson's "Thriller" jacket. The buying spree is all the more remarkable since this scion of the ruling family of Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa's smallest countries, bought all this while on an official salary of $100,000 a year.
But legal action by the Justice Department has brought an end to Mr. Obiang's spendthrift ways. His $30 million Malibu estate is on the market, as are his luxury cars and six life-size Jackson statues. Proceeds from these sales are earmarked for citizens of Equatorial Guinea, who prosecutors claim are victims of Mr. Obiang's "relentless embezzlement and extortion."

Thursday, February 18

NYTimes: Scuba Diving in Thailand: A Balancing Act


Remember I offered to take you to Thailand for a week long trip and then you can learn scuba diving there? Here's an excellent article about a father son trip that you may want to read. Of course it's more oriented towards divers who already have a padi licence but we can discuss that. You and I can get a licence in London :) assuming your asthma gets fixed.

Scuba diving, son, is a wonderful exercise. One of the most amazing moments of my life was when I would scuba in the coral reefs. You saw the sea floor in Galapagos. It was nothing. Literally nothing. When you are down there, it's a magical location son.

Remember I have mentioned the burial ground of the sailors of the nautilus submarine for the 20,000 leagues under the sea? It's in a coral area. It is exquisite. So peaceful. The beauty of the scene with the sun dappled waters and fish and sea weed and and and is mind blowing. People faff around on beaches and I hate that. Knowing just few meters away you have a magical sea scape to wonder.

We will go there son :) it should be fun.



A father-son relationship deepens during a scuba trip exploring an exotic underworld off Thailand.

Young Saudis See Cushy Jobs Vanish Along With Nation’s Oil Wealth

I'm not impressed by Saudi Arabia son. Besides the absolutely rampant racism and religious fundamentalism, the terrorism problem is big here. Then again what do you expect? I have seen the university syllabus and have interviewed Saudis and worked with them. The syllabus of most of the Saudi universities is shit. Teachers are shite. Atrocious. For a rich country to have such shitty university is a travesty. 

With some honourable exceptions, they are spectacularly unsuited for modern life. Professional middle class jobs or vocational jobs are simply out of the question. Entrepreneurship is minuscule. So what can you do with quarter of a million Saudis who enter the job market? Some wrenching changes are in train. And unfortunately you and I will see a large proportion of these young Saudis swelling the ranks of the jehadis. 
This will cause us problems. And the steps the Saudis are taking by embarking on two wars is very bad. A giant country like USA finds it difficult to wage war properly. Saudi Arabia will pay very heavily for its Yemeni and Syrian mistakes. And us as well.

Not good



Young Saudis See Cushy Jobs Vanish Along With Nation's Oil Wealth
(via Instapaper)

Saudi men leaving a mosque in Riyadh last year. For decades, the royal family has used the kingdom's immense oil wealth to lavish benefits on its people, including free education and medical care, generous energy subsidies and well-paid government jobs. Tomas Munita for The New York Times

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — In pressed white robes and clutching crisp résumés, young Saudi men packed a massive hall at a university in the capital city this month to wait in long lines to pitch themselves to employers.
It was one of three job fairs in Riyadh in two weeks, and the high attendance was fueled in part by fear among the younger generation of what a future of cheap oil will mean in a country where oil is everything.
For decades, the royal family has used the kingdom's immense oil wealth to lavish benefits on its people, including free education and medical care, generous energy subsidies and well-paid (and often undemanding) government jobs. No one paid taxes, and if political rights were not part of the equation, that was fine with most people.
But the drop in oil prices to below $30 a barrel from more than $100 a barrel in June 2014 means that the old math no longer works. Low oil prices have knocked a chunk out of the government budget and now pose a threat to the unwritten social contract that has long underpinned life in the kingdom, the Arab world's largest economy and a key American ally.

Wednesday, February 17

Putin is learning what Churchill knew


This was a great quote 

read what Winston Churchill had to say about going to war in My Early Life: “Let us learn our lessons. Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on that strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realise that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. 

“Antiquated War Offices, weak, incompetent or arrogant commanders, untrustworthy allies, hostile neutrals, malignant fortune, ugly surprises, awful miscalculations – all take their seats at the Council Board on the morrow of a declaration of war. Always remember, however sure you are that you can easily win, that there would not be a war if the other man did not think he also had a chance.”
As they say, wars never survive contact with the enemy

This is the problem, people simply dont understand the issues that you will face after going to war. Every time, without fail, the costs of going to war are much higher than what you expected or anticipated or even planned for. Even now, every of the little wars or big wars have unexpected and unanticipated costs all over the place. Jaw Jaw is better than war war as the other quote goes. 

And to a much lesser extent, son, same thing happens in business as well. Your resources may not be the best ever. Your support may not be good. Your competitor may do something else. Your customers may not buy into your proposition. The trick is to be flexible and be willing to move smoothly and react to unforeseen circumstances :) 



I saw this article when using the Financial Times app and thought you might be interested:

Financial Times,
Putin is learning what Churchill knew
From Mr Charles Lucas. Sir, Vladimir Putin should read what Winston Churchill had to say about going to war in My Early Life

Read the full article at: 

Tuesday, February 16

Catholicism and Violence in Late Chosŏn Korea

You know kannu, I was surprised when I first found out that Korea is a huge Christian country. Seriously. I guess my initial impression was coloured by the fact that both japan and china managed to keep the Christian missionaries at bay. But Korea didn't and has therefore managed to have a huge Christian population. 
Proselytisation has had a bad rap down the years son. With good reason. People have killed each other over which god is better. Heck, people have killed each other whilst belonging to the same bloody religion. See what's happening in Israel to Iraq to India. Maybe they operate on the principle that kill them all, God will sort them out. How weird. 
But it's a salutary exposition on how governments use religion son to keep us under control. And the sad part is, the governments lose control over religion. And then you see the mess that you can witness in the USA to France to uk and in rest of the world. Which is why a strong secular perspective is the only way forward for governments. 
Anyway. Happy reading about a small aspect of Korea. They make the most amazing kimchee. And if I may point out, they are one of the hardest working people in the world. Absolutely gobsmacking. For them to rise from pretty much ruins after the Japanese occupation and then the Korean War to where they are at the moment is simply amazing. Much to learn. 

Catholicism and Violence in Late Chosŏn Korea - Dissertation Reviews

A review of The Ambiguity of Violence:  Ideology, State, and Religion in the Late Chosŏn Dynasty,by Franklin Rausch
Why do governments and those who oppose them use violence to advance their aims? What are their justifications for the use of violence? These are some of the questions that Franklin Rausch confronts in his dissertation centered on two case studies in late Chosŏn Korea between the late 18th and early 20th centuries. They involve two famous Catholics, Alexius Hwang Sayŏng and Thomas An Chunggŭn, and it is in its elucidation of the complex history of Catholicism in Korea that this dissertation particularly shines.

Monday, February 15

I can barely afford your mother


I saw this article. 

I completely agree with the sentiments. And I actually think that the estimates are on the low side. You two are the biggest joys of my life. And I think what mum does to ensure we all have a home and love and food and cuddles and scolding and and and is priceless. So never think that she's just a housewife. For me, she's the fund manager for overseeing my two biggest joys and investments. 

What mum brings to the table is priceless. She has created a home for us. A place for safety. A place for fun and games. A place where there's always a hug and a cuddle. Despite all my attempts to fill the house with books and artefacts and make it a museum, she still manages to keep it a neat tidy and clean home. 

And she not only does all all this but she writes and writes well. In various forms. Books. Short stories. Scripts. Novels. Fiction and non fiction. I heard her speak recently and she's passionate. She comes across as a person who cares about her topics and subjects. And people recognise it. Which is why she is a best selling author and people love her. 

So take a look at the article. Quite interesting. 



Sunday, February 14

Self help

Makes one think eh?

a bit of a basic set of rules, but gosh, makes sense indeed.