He Who Laughs Last, Laughs Best

Kim Jong-Un’s uncle Jang Song-Thaek, being dragged away from a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party in Pyongyang. He was later executed with an anti-aircraft gun.

Just as Trump-bashing is the latest in thing, Kim-bashing is a favorite hobby of many today. On October 29th The Straits Times ran a couple of pages written by Rahul Pathak and Desmond Foo, showing off photographs of North Korea and the tone accompanying the pictures was one of mockery and sarcasm.

“…people stand perfectly still for fear of falling…” – they wrote of North Koreans on an escalator to the metro. I have been to North Korea, and I have rode on its metro, and no sir, people on the escalators had no fear of falling. I bet those who ran the metro do fear for their lives should the metro fails, a reasonable fear that is utterly absent here. Don’t believe me? Well, the clowns who run our SMRT still walk around wearing a smug expression on their shitfaces.

Desperate in the face of declining revenue, the paper is milking North Korea for what it’s worth (in addition to running a wine club, promoting restaurants and giving away useless  tchotchkes to attract new subscribers). The Straits Times is organizing a public seminar entitled Pounding the streets of Pyongyang and the blurb says “The Straits Times spent seven days in North Korea last month. Hear from Associate Editor Rahul Pathak how people there see the ongoing crisis.” I’m sure North Korean agents sitting in will be interested to hear what Pathak has to say. Seven days in North Korea and their associate editor is now an expert. I spent more than seven days in North Korea, does that now make me a world-class authority on North Korea?

Why bash North Korea?

First, a bit of historical background on North Korea is in order.

Japan seized the Korean peninsula in 1910, and the country spent the next 35 years under Japanese military rule. With Japan’s defeat in World War II, US troops landed in the southern part of the peninsula, while Soviet forces secured the area north of the 38th parallel. In 1948, Kim Il-Sung (Kim Jong-Un’s grandfather) was installed by Stalin as the leader of the newly established DPRK – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Meanwhile, championed by the US, the United Nations “inaugurated” ROC – the Republic of Korea, in the south.

Long story short: North Korea was created by the USSR and the USA.

Tensions between the two Koreas and their powerful allies erupted into war in 1950, when Soviet-backed North Korean troops invaded the South. Fighting in the Korean War (with China and the USSR supporting the North and America supporting the south) cost at least 2.5 million lives and ended in July 1953, with the peninsula still divided into two hostile states.

The USSR’s collapse in the early 1990s left China as North Korea’s most important and only ally. What choice has the country got other than to desperately fend for itself?

Net net: North Korea believes that going nuclear is the only way to ensure its’ survival.

Kim Jong-Un cannot be blind to the existence of about 600,000 well-equipped South Korean fighting men and women and 25,000 American troops, all combat ready, just 60km south of his border – and, more ominously, hawkish politicians in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington itching to effect a regime change in North Korea.

Kim will hang on to his nuclear ambitions at all costs. Isolated and ostracized by the rest of the world, what choice has he got? His behavior is to say to the rest of the world, including the leaders of the neighboring countries “Don’t fuck with me!”

Kim has only to look at what the US did to Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, under the pretext of preventing them from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and what it is trying to do to Bashar al-Assad in Syria today.

Sanctions? The North Koreans will tough it out. They remember what Mao Zedong said – that the Chinese people must have the atomic bomb even if that meant they had no pants to wear.

Instead of understanding why the North Koreans behave the way they behave, the world instead mocks them, ridicules them, makes satirical movies about them, creates insulting Internet memes about them and consider them pariahs in the international community. Yes, even I myself once called Kim “retarded.” (But then, I use that label on just about anybody.) But please note that I am NOT a fan of chubby and I am NOT defending him.

I am a nobody, I’m just a big mouth and have no solutions to the North Korean issue, but those who mock Kim do so at their own peril. Kim is not stupid, I mean, the guy studied in Switzerland, and today, at age 33, one of the youngest leaders of a country, he is in firm control of his hermit kingdom. (Sebastain Kurz of Australia is younger by two years.) He is also extremely ruthless and exhibited no hesitation killing his own uncle and half-brother. So please don’t treat him like he’s a brainless clown because he clearly is not.

One country to watch out for is Japan – Japan is using North Korea as an excuse to expand militarily. Mark my words, we ain’t seen nothing of Japanese expansionist ambitions yet. Unlike Germany, Japan has never apologized for World War II.

“We will strengthen Japanese defense power, including missile defense capabilities, in order to protect the people’s lives and peace,” Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said last week. Abe and evil Japs like him say the current Japanese constitution is a humiliating relic imposed by US occupiers after Japan’s defeat in World War II. Abe wants to change the wording of the document to affirm Japan’s right to have a full-fledged military.

Japan is even taking advantage of natural calamities worldwide as excuses to beef up its army and to venture overseas. As my grandfather used to say “When you stumble upon a Jap and a cobra in the jungle, kill the Jap first.” He ought to know, he and my dad were almost slaughtered by the Japanese when they conquered Singapore.

If the West and the rest of the noise-making world – including tiny Singapore – adopt a much less hostile stance towards North Korea, one can reasonably conclude that the peace of the Korean peninsula is all but assured. Nobody wants a war. What the world needs to worry about is Japan. North Korea provides a convenient excuse for Japan. (By the way, I have been cautioned that the word “Japs” is derogatory. Yeah, like I care two fucks about insulting this nation of buck-tooth, bow-legged yellow perverts.)

In this day and age, nobody knows who’ll laugh last, but it won’t be the idiots making fun of Kim, that’s for sure. And that includes those jokers behind The Straits Times.

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Fatal Affectation

If you dislike someone, nothing he does is right. I see that in the global obsession to be politically-correct by participating in Trump-bashing.

Yes, isn’t nearly everyone on that bandwagon?

When Donald Trump talked tough about North Korea, the entire world condemned him for risking a war; I bet if he behaves in a conciliatory manner, he will be condemned for being too soft.

The American press is the worst; entire issues of Wall Street Journal and New York Times seem devoted to Trump-bashing. I have since cancelled my subscriptions. I’ve decided not to pay good money to read journalists hurling insults at their president day in and day out.

The so-called Fourth Estate overestimates its own importance.

It seems that nowadays, most media coverage on US matters is no longer about reporting and analyzing significant events, unless they fulfill one messianic mission: to unearth any transgression, real, alleged or imagined, of Donald Trump.

Indeed, much of the current mainstream reporting on Trump boils down to a self-feeding loop in which new stories are published or picked up not because they are significant or even newsworthy but because they may strengthen the fashionably-held view among most US mainstream journalists that Trump ended up as President by mistake, and must be removed.

The real risk of such gutter journalism is that this one-side media coverage reduces America’s global standing, making the country a laughing stock.

I am no supporter of tough talkers, and I am no worshiper of Trump, who’s a douche in my opinion, but I think it’s good that Trump has put a little swagger back to America again.

America cannot have a wimp for a president.

Look at Obama – what an eloquent and polished orator, suave and all, but what has he done?

In any case, man-child or not, mad man or not, Trump is the president Americans deserve. And for those who argue about popular votes versus electoral votes, well, for such a smart people, surely Americans could have come up with a more effective system for electing their presidents, right?

Americans should let the man do his job, unless they prefer that evil witch Hillary instead. If you dig at what the Clintons did in the past to get to where they are today, you’ll be shocked at how diabolical they are.

Remember the torrid Lewinsky affair? Remember that US$145 million deposited by the Russians into the Clinton Foundation? Remember Gennifer Flowers? Remember the Whitewater deaths?

By the way, Hillary is going to guest-edit December issue of Teen Vogue magazine.

Yup, a 70-year-old editing a magazine for teenage girls.

Has anyone watched the movie Notes on a Scandal?

Jesus, the things people do just to get attention.

Hillary thinks she knows everything.

Being a know-it-all – that’s an affectation that is so disgusting it makes me sick to the bones.

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Bullied? Fret Not!

Things have changed. Those days we were told never get into a stranger’s car and never meet anyone from the Internet. Today we use the Internet to summon strangers to our house so that we can ride in their cars!

The Internet changes behavior. Not all good.

Impulsivity and aggression are traits enabled by the internet. Accountability is not required when you bang away with a keyboard, separated by millions of physical miles from the subject of your ire (imagined or otherwise).

With eye-contact deemed unnecessary, the net elevates the stupid, the rude and the demagogues; it unleashes behavior that culture, religion and civilization contain; it pushes morons to extreme positions through hostile, impossible-to-forgive denigrations. How one’s personality shifts online is worrisome as such disregard for civilities cannot be rebottled once released.  The question is will such obnoxious online traits be transposed offline.

I hope not.

A friend was recently recalling to me her horrible experience of being the victim of cyberbullying.

I am sure if that people who attack her online were to meet her face-to-face, they would not have used the words they used in their online attacks. They wouldn’t dare. Only cowards hide behind keyboards and hammer away.

Revenge is a dish best served cold; I told my friend. We can go about it six ways from Sunday.

In the meantime, ponder on these words by Lois Mcmaster Bujold and be inspired by them: “Have you ever heard that phrase, ‘Living well is the best revenge’? Where I come from, someone’s head in a bag is generally considered the best revenge.”

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12,045 days Together

Yup, 33 years together. My wife has the patience of a saint. Only God is able to adequately reward her.

So, I’ll just stand aside and let God do his job.

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A Truly Moretti Collectible

I couldn’t resist this gorgeous Moretti, so the best way to deal with temptation is to yield to it; meaning, I bought it:

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Endowment Insurance Plans

Thanks dad for dying.

I don’t believe in paying for years into an endowment insurance plan only to benefit your descendants after you have died.

Nobody should sit around all day waiting for their parents to croak so that they can inherit.

Everyone should find a source of income to sustain himself and if he can find some job satisfaction while doing it, then good for him.

There are many people chained to boring jobs and I’m not saying you too must do that, but idling around, doing nothing and expecting cash to drop from the sky, that’s not very realistic, is it?

Generally, I don’t think much of insurance policies though I think those that cover accidents, and hospitalization can be helpful in times of need.

And if you have policies which allow you to take out cash for emergencies, those can be useful too.

But to pay big premium amounts year in and year out until you die, so that those freeloaders in your life (who won’t lift a finger to help themselves), will end up with a shitload of cash after you are dead and gone – that is stupidity on your part.

A watch advert says you don’t buy that watch, but you look after it for the next generation.

Why the fuck should I?

Indeed, why the fuck should I worry about the well-being of the next generation when these rude, disrespectful, self-absorbed narcissists won’t even give me the time of day now.

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Award-Winning Single-Malt from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

In a leather case, the prized bottle, next to my Smio Satou pipe.

Tucked in a corner in faraway Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, is Sullivans Cove Distillery.

The distillery makes single-malts, gin and vodka.

Its French Oak Single Cask Tasmanian single-malt whisky has become a legend in its own right, one of the most sought-after whiskies in the world, and the bottle that put the Australian whisky industry on the map after winning World’s Best Single Malt at the World Whisky Awards in 2014.

If you have a bottle somewhere, you might want to check and see if it’s from barrel 525.

If it is, that A$100 bottle is now worth more than A$1000. That’s what collectors are willing to pay for it now.

Aged in 300-liter French Oak ex-tawny barrels, this whisky has rich flavors of Christmas spice, chocolate, dried fruit and powerful oak. As a single cask bottling, each tiny batch is different, expressing the unique characteristics of each barrel.

Naturally I bought a bottle when my buddy Ian Baxter (who’s happily retired in Tasmania) took me there, but alas it wasn’t from barrel 525. Those are long gone.

Still, it set me back nearly A$500/-.

But it was worth every bit of it.

I consider it so precious that I bought a leather case – it comes with two glasses – to protect it.

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A Moretti Tamarind

Marco did it again! This time, my latest acquisition is a Moretti made of tamarind wood:

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Everything Also Can Lah

Chute or I’ll shoot; nah, come space out with me.

Li Lin Wong, a has-been TV actress with self-life long expired, and who would, for money, sponsor just about any product when asked, was recently appointed as executive director of the Public Hygiene Council. It is a job she has no qualifications for. This is echoed in the headline of the local paper which said “Wong Li Lin: former ballerina, actress, entrepreneur, and now a public servant.”

The same paper reported that since she took up the job, Wong has been “learning the ropes”.

Wong admitted that “she has no academic or work experience in the area of public hygiene” but she does not see it as a problem.

Some people are very brave. I’ve seen enough braggarts who over-sell themselves at interviews, only to underperform at work and get fired.

Celebrities are no exceptions and it is disturbing to note that many celebrities with zero relevant qualifications are hired for certain positions. Is nepotism at work here? Is it a case of “it’s not what you know but who you know”, or worse, are there Weinsteinian forces lurking in the background? Come on, it’s not like acting, you know. On a film set, you can be anyone but in real life, if you don’t deliver, out you go.

Not long after the Wong announcement, Space For Humanity, a US outfit that aims to send non-astronauts to space as early as the end of 2018 declared that it has named Eunice Olsen, another local actress (and former Nominated Member of Parliament) as Strategic Advisor. For those not familiar with Singapore politics,  “Nominated” means she didn’t win any election but was again, appointed into the role. The whole idea of NMPs is a joke uniquely Singaporean. I’ll leave you to Google to find out more yourself.

Back to Olsen – what are her qualifications for the job?

None whatsover. Zilch. Nada.

The Straits Times reported that Olsen is a Star Wars fan who has been following Elon Musk and his company Space X’s developments and was inspired by the 2016 movie Hidden Figures “to think further about women playing a key role in space missions.”

Okay, so that qualifies her as a strategic advisor to “select citizen astronaut crews” for space trips and “take on a mentorship role to assist these individuals in fulfilling their ambassadorship duties upon their return.”

Well, I have always been a Superman fan and have been inspired by all Superman movies. Maybe I can fly now by jumping off the window.

Any organization worth its salt will not hire people into significant positions so they can “learn the ropes.” Senior hires are expected to hit the ground running and immediate contribution is expected. Key Performance Indicators should be clear and measurable, and tied to remuneration.

In Singapore’s mass rapid transit system, we are already experiencing first-hand the devastating effects of having some idiot with zero pertinent experience placed at the helm, just so that retired loyal (paper, meaning “untested”) army generals are not left with nothing to do.

Yet we continue to be wowed by pretty faces and installed them in lofty positions in the hope that they will learn and grow on the jobs they are hired to. Such irresponsible hiring practices are a waste of financial resources – and in the case of Wong, taxpayers’ money –  and put the public at risk.

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Jaan Restaurant Pisses the Shit out of Me

A bloody waste of time.

Have to take someone out for lunch today but am already feeling pissed.

The restaurant is Jaan and since making the reservation, I must have received at least 4 email reminders as well as a reminder through SMS.

Come on, it’s just a lunch and you may have a Michelin star but you don’t go around pissing off your customers even before they set foot in your eatery.

Yes, I don’t care if you have ten Michelin stars – to me, it’s just another meal and Jaan is just another eatery.

So stop annoying the shit out of me.

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