China flips Trump the bird

December 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

bird

Outside a shopping mall in Taiyuan, north China’s Shanxi province, a giant sculpture of a chicken that looks like US president-elect Donald Trump has been erected.

With its tiny wings parroting Mr Trump’s distinctive hand gestures, replicas of the bird are also available on the Chinese shopping site Taobao, priced at around 12,000 yuan (S$2,504) for a 10-metre version.

Mr Trump has captured the Chinese imagination, and riled its authorities, with his threats to talk turkey about massive tariffs on Chinese exports.

With his crowing tweets on Twitter, including attacks on China’s foreign and economic policy, it is no surprise that China wants to flip the strutting American leader the bird.

Barack Obama says nation still largely embraces his political vision

December 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics, Media articles 

President Barack Obama says he could have been re-elected for a third term and that the nation still largely embraces his political vision despite last month’s election of Donald Trump to succeed him.

The US leader’s remarks were made in an interview posted on the podcast The Axe Files, produced by CNN and the University of Chicago.

Obama, who winds up his second and final term in office in just over three weeks, said he believes the American public still supports his progressive vision, despite having voted for Trump – his political opposite.

He was proud of the way the progress made in the two terms of his presidency, thanks to the “spirit of America,” especially evident in the younger generation.

The liberals’ dehumanization of the majority race is misguided and is backfiring

December 24, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

‘White men’: the most dehumanising insult of our times

by Brendan O’Neill, December 2016

The one good thing about Twitterstorms is that they tend, witlessly, to prove the point of the person they’re hounding. In the very act of whipping up fume and fury against someone who’s said something you’re not meant to say, these virtual pitchfork gangs confirm that person’s point, which was normally something like: ‘Have you ever noticed how risky it has become to express your thoughts on [some heated issue]?’ ‘You can’t say that!’, hollers the Twittermob in response. Well, yes, quite. So it was for Simon Jenkins this week. He wrote a column in the Guardian saying the one group of people you’re allowed to hate these days is old white men. ‘Stupid privileged white old man why doesn’t he STFU’, responded the Twittermob. Let’s call it Jenkins’ Law: the fury that greets anyone who says old white men have become hate figures proves that old white men have become hate figures.

Jenkins’ piece was good, knockabout stuff. On the back of this week’s description of the Football Association as a bunch of ‘old white men’, Jenkins said that PSMs — pale, stale males, like him — have become targets for humiliation. All identities are celebrated now, except oldness, maleness and whiteness. Institutions are ‘hideously white’. Old voters are ‘selfish’. PSMs are blamed for Brexit and Trump, for decades of discrimination and much else besides, said Jenkins. Twitter melted, of course. The Huffington Post huffed. Radio phone-ins were held. But if Jenkins committed any wrong, it’s that he didn’t go far enough. He should have said that ‘white men’ has been the most dehumanising phrase of 2016, speaking to the terrifying and casual way in which the politics of identity erases those considered ‘problematic’. It’s now really easy to tell when someone is prejudiced: they use the term ‘white men’.

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A new Chinese approach to Southeast Asia

December 12, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics, Media articles 

With the Philippines aligning itself more closely toward China and the election of President-elect Trump and the ensuing uncertainty about a continued U.S. “pivot to Asia,” China seems to have started laying out a new approach in dealing with its Asian neighbors. Recently, it has embarked on a charm offensive aimed at Malaysia, which led to the signing of 14 cooperation pacts worth RMB144 billion ($20.8 billion) including a major defense deal, and not least significant, the promise to handle South China Sea disputes bilaterally.

On the other side, China has over the past two weeks shown Singapore it is not content with the way the Lion City has interpreted the “one China” policy while still cooperating with Taiwan.

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Singapore is heading for a recession

December 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

Singapore is heading for a recession, or two straight quarters of economic contraction, after the economy shrank 2 per cent in the July-September quarter. Overall this year, the government reckons growth will be no faster than 1.5 per cent.

To make matters worse, high costs are beginning to bite. The elite joke about packing up and selling one overpriced home for several overseas. A recent UBS survey of top-earning millennials found Singapore’s youth among the least confident of achieving their wealth goals.

Singapore’s top problem is that global demand remains weak. That is taking its toll on export-oriented sectors, especially oil services companies, where there have been high-profile defaults. Finance is a drag too; the sector accounts for about one-eighth of GDP and is suffering from sharp declines. Big names like Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered have pared back local operations.

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Asian countries make top spots in latest PISA survey for teaching of science, reading and mathematics

December 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
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Asian countries dominated the top places in the latest PISA survey of 15-year-olds in 72 countries and economies. Singapore came top of the table for its teaching of science, reading and mathematics.

“Singapore is a standout performer,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria at the global launch of the report in London. “In Singapore, one in five students master the most advanced scientific problems and demonstrate that they think like scientists.”

The five top-performing countries in the PISA tests, which were carried out in 2015, were Singapore, Japan, Estonia, Taiwan and Finland.

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Donald Trump’s tactics for saving jobs could kill them instead

Donald Trump has pulled off a public relations coup by persuading Carrier, the air conditioning company, to reverse plans to offshore hundreds of jobs from an Indiana factory to Mexico. That fulfills a campaign promise before the incoming president even takes office. But the kind of corporate arm-twisting Trump is engaging in could easily backfire and end up destroying more jobs than if Trump were to do nothing.

Trump has reportedly struck a deal with Carrier to keep half of the 1,400 jobs it planned to outsource in Indiana, with details to be revealed later. Beyond jawboning the company, Trump supposedly promised relief from regulations and lower taxes, which in theory ought to offset some of the additional costs of paying higher wages to American workers. It’s a highly unusual arrangement, since elected officials rarely, if ever, make such deals with individual companies. If anything, it allows Trump to claim a win while Carrier gets off the hook.

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