24 December 2008

Saluting Congressman Anh "Joseph" Cao of Louisiana

Congressman-elect Anh "Joseph" Cao of Louisiana

We join the Waco Tribune in saluting Congressman-elect Anh Cao of the second district of Louisiana. He defeated 18-year incumbent William "$90,000 in the freezer" Jefferson in a predominantly Democratic district.

From the Waco Tribune:

Editorial: Congressman Cao



Bzz up!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It’s doubtful that many Central Texans knew the man who last week pulled off one of 2008’s political upsets.

Anh “Joseph” Cao, a Vietnamese refugee who attended Baylor University, will represent Louisiana’s Second Congressional District after beating 18-year incumbent William Jefferson.

Even though Jefferson faces criminal corruption charges — famously stashing $90,000 in his freezer — few insiders expected the Democratic incumbent to lose. The Republican Party had all but conceded the seat again.

Cao, however, gave voters a choice. Boosted by a large Vietnamese population, his candidacy went beyond viable to victorious.

A man once without a country now goes to Washington.

Now, that’s an American success story.

18 December 2008

The Economy in a World of Hurt...

Anderson Forecast: 'Nasty recession' to include 4 quarters of declining GDP
By
Hilary Rehder
12/11/2008
In its fourth quarterly report of 2008, the UCLA Anderson Forecast predicts that the current national economic recession will include four quarters of negative growth, followed by very tepid growth rates, and rising unemployment that lasts through 2010. California will share the national recession, with negative growth through the middle of next year and high unemployment until 2010 as well.The National Forecast

"The news from the economy is bad," writes Anderson Forecast senior economist David Shulman in his essay "The Balance Sheet Recession." "The recession we had previously hoped to avoid is now with us in full gale force."

The Forecast now expects that real gross domestic product (GDP) will decline 4.1 percent in the current quarter, followed by declines of 3.4 percent and 0.8 percent in the first two quarters of 2009.

In addition, the unemployment rate is expected to rise from its October 2008 level of 6.5 percent to 8.5 percent by late 2009/early 2010. Associated with the rising unemployment will be the loss of 2 million jobs over the next 12 months.The Forecast lays the blame for what it is calling a "nasty recession" on the financial crisis of 2007–08, noting that the economic circumstances underlying current conditions differ significantly from past recessions.

The Forecast's research also notes that the "global economy is in its first synchronized recession since the early 1990s," as Europe and Japan are also in recession, while China and India are suffering growth slowdowns — which, in turn, negatively impact U.S. exports.The California Forecast

California will join the nation in its recession, though the impact will be felt differently across the state. Anderson Forecast senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg writes that the "Inland Empire, Orange County, the East Bay and Central Valley will be hit hardest as the recession provides a double whammy with a generalized downturn in demand and a postponement of a recovery in residential construction."

Coastal regions will be impacted by a decline in imports coming through California ports, while the global recession weakens demand for manufactured California exports.The forecast for California sees a very weak first three quarters of 2009, with the glimmer of a recovery in the fourth quarter. A key to look for will be a recovery in the rest of the country and in Asia, which will create demand for California goods and services.

Employment is expected to contract by 0.7 percent in 2008 and 1.4 percent in 2009 before growing at a more-than-modest 0.3 percent in 2010. The unemployment rate is expected to rise as high as 8.7 percent next year and remain at that level through 2010.

The UCLA Anderson Forecast is one of the most widely watched and often-cited economic outlooks for California and the nation and was unique in predicting both the seriousness of the early-1990s downturn in California and the strength of the state's rebound since 1993. More recently, the Anderson Forecast was credited as the first major U.S. economic forecasting group to declare the recession of 2001.

The UCLA Anderson School of Management, established in 1935, is regarded among the leading business schools in the world. UCLA Anderson faculty are advancing management thinking through innovative research and teaching. Each year, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,700 students enrolled in M.B.A., executive M.B.A., fully-employed M.B.A. and doctoral programs, and to more than 2,000 professional managers through executive education programs. Combining highly selective admissions, varied and innovative learning programs, and a worldwide network of 36,000 alumni, UCLA Anderson prepares students to become future global leaders.

South Korean Court: Actress Ok So-ri Guilty of Adultery

SKorean actress found guilty of adultery

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — One of South Korea's most famous actresses was convicted of adultery Wednesday in a high-profile case that drew renewed attention to a decades-old law prohibiting extramarital affairs.
Ok So-ri, who was handed a suspended jail term, had lost a battle in October to have the ban declared unconstitutional.
"I would like to say I'm sorry for causing so much trouble to society," a somber Ok told reporters after the verdict.
A district court in Goyang, near Seoul, handed Ok a suspended eight-month jail sentence, South Korean media reported, meaning she will not have to serve time. Ok's lover received a six-month suspended term.
There was no immediate word on any plans for appeal.
The sensational sex-and-celebrities case has been tabloid fodder for months, with Ok's challenge to the adultery law adding extra spice.
Last year, Ok acknowledged during a news conference that she had had an affair with an opera singer who was a friend of her husband for a few months in 2006. She stressed the affair was a result of her loveless marriage to actor Park Chul.
The court appeared to show some sympathy for Ok's predicament.
"Though the fact of adultery should be criticized, (the court) issued this ruling taking into account that husband Park Chul's responsibility was not small," the court said, according to cable news channel YTN.
She also "suffered mental pains" due to the exposure of her privacy, the court said.
Ok earlier this year filed a petition to have the adultery ban ruled an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. But in October, the Constitutional Court upheld the ban, part of South Korea's 55-year-old criminal code.
Despite decades of Western influence, South Korea remains deeply conservative and is influenced by a Confucian heritage. Those convicted under the anti-adultery law face prison sentences of up to two years, though few serve time.
Supporters of the adultery ban say it promotes monogamy and keeps families intact. Opponents argue the law violates privacy. Complaints have been filed with the Constitutional Court three times in 1990, 1993 and 2001 to abolish the law, but the court has upheld it every time.
While women's rights group were the ban's biggest supporters in the past when the law was meant to keep philandering husbands in line, in recent years some husbands have begun pressing adultery charges on their unfaithful wives.
The number of adultery cases filed in South Korea has dropped in recent years, declining to 8,070 in 2006 from 12,760 in 2000, according to the Supreme Prosecutors' Office. About 80 percent of those cases were dropped before formal charges were filed, largely because complaints were withdrawn.

Many Muslim nations have anti-adultery laws, some with harsh penalties. Taiwan, Austria, Switzerland and some U.S. states also have laws prohibiting extramarital affairs, according to the Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations, a government-funded legal counseling office.

16 December 2008

The Shoe Incident: Does America Have No Pride?!

I know the left-leaning MSM in the United States hate George W. Bush. But when a putative Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at the President of the United States on foreign soil, it is more than just a personal attack on Mr. Bush himself. It is an attack on the Office of the President of the United States of America and indeed on America itself.

Had this pathetic incident been directed against Her Majesty the Queen, the British press would have rallied behind their head of state and demanded an apology from the Iraqi government. Yet, the American MSM are silent -- perhaps even gleefully giddy -- over this attack on the Office of the President.

Shame on you MSM. Leave your personal animosity against Mr. Bush aside, and defend the reputation and pride of your country!!!

09 December 2008

Remembering Lo Hwei Yen: Victim of the Mumbai Terrorist Attacks

Lo Hwei Yen of Singapore

'Angel' killed in Mumbai was Singapore's first terror victim


Agence France Presse December 4, 2008



SINGAPORE



VICIOUS tropical rainstorm beat down from darkened skies Thursday, Dec 4, as mourners held a funeral for Singapore's "angel" murdered by militants in India -- the city-state's first-ever terrorist victim.
The rain continued throughout the 45-minute service, even as Lo Hwei Yen's white coffin left the church.
Lo, 28, was one of at least 188 people, including 22 foreigners, killed in a shooting and grenade rampage by 10 militants who terrorised Mumbai for 60 hours last week.
The Church of Saint Teresa was packed for the private ceremony, and family friends said hundreds of mourners were expected.
Some, like Pearlyn Koh, did not even know the young lawyer.
"I am here to send my prayers and well-wishes to her, her family," said Koh, who attended the funeral on her lunch break.
"I think she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why her?"
Hundreds more mourners, including cabinet ministers, turned out during the week for her wake.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a letter of condolence that Lo was his country's first victim of terrorism.
Her death has jolted the nation, which prides itself on rigorous security measures, and politicians said Lo's death reinforces the need for vigilance.
"She was there at the wrong time," Devendran Puhaindran, the uncle of Lo's husband, Michael Puhaindran, said before the funeral.
"I remember her as a very bubbly girl, always with a smile."
Funeral mourners were urged to wear "fabulous black", a reflection of Lo's stylishness.
Even the skies obliged, making the early afternoon resemble the dim light of dusk.
Lo's smiling face has been regularly featured in newspaper photographs since the foreign ministry announced her death late last week.
"You look at her smile, you can see that radiance of her soul," her husband said in a 15-minute eulogy.
"She knows how to enjoy life," he said, adding that friends described her as caring and selfless.
They were married just last year on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, local newspapers have reported.
Reports said Lo had gone to Mumbai for only one night to deliver a talk about the global credit crunch.
She was taken hostage, along with others, by the militants who stormed the Oberoi/Trident hotel where she was staying.
Jai Sohan, an official from Singapore's foreign ministry, told reporters earlier that before she died Lo had conveyed a message from the attackers.
"The terrorists demanded that the Indian authorities refrain from storming the Oberoi hotel or else they would harm her," Sohan said.
In interviews with local newspapers published Thursday, Michael Puhaindran, 37, said that his wife calmly told him in a telephone call from the Oberoi that men with machine guns and grenades had taken her hostage.
"She was extremely brave. Her voice didn't waver," the New Paper quoted him as saying. "She didn't want to panic me."
It was the last time he spoke with her, but newspapers said Lo also managed to send emails to three friends using her BlackBerry.
"If I don't make it out of here, I love you all," her message said, according to Puhaindran.
Lo's body was found on the 19th floor of the hotel.
"Yen, my angel, my princess, words cannot express how much I miss you," her husband said, choking on his words during the eulogy.

06 December 2008

She's All Natural...

Han Ga-in then and now

In a country and an industry that are notorious for going under the knife in order to look beautiful, South Korea's supermodel and actress Han Ga-in is (mostly) natural beauty. Ever since childhood, she has had the basics of her stunning beauty. Such DNAs must be passed on to future generations!!!

29 November 2008

America's Culture of Gluttony

Filed by Michael Henchard.

Two people died in a gun battle over toys on sale at a Southern California toy store, and one worker was stomped to death at a Long Island, NY Wal-mart store on "Black Friday."

Frankly, I blame the retailers for these incidents. They hype up the American sheeple who are already easily impressionable and excitable in the first place. And incidents such as these are the results.

28 November 2008

South Korea's "Culture of Suicide"

Up-and-coming actress Jung Da-bin hanged herself in February 2007.

K-POP, or Korean popular culture, has now permeated throughout the world. In fact, Korea's two largest broadcasters, KBS and MBC, are now vying with the legendary BBC and Voice of America (VOA) to project Korean culture, arts and cinema to the world. And it appears that the global audience is lapping it up. K-POP stars have mesmerized the world audience with their stunning good looks (often achieved through plastic surgery), charm and grace.

But behind the world-famous glam that is K-POP, there's a sad tale. Since 2007, there has been a string of high-profile suicides of K-POP stars who were in their 20s and 30s. While this statistic is scientifically insignificant, we thought that it might prove to be a sentinel indicator. And yes, it turns out to be so. In 2006, South Korea had the highest suicide rate of all the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the elite club of the world's 24 richest countries) member countries. See http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/158160.html .

Clearly, Korean society -- like that of Japan -- is not easy to negotiate for those who deviate (or are perceived to do so) from the narrow normative parameters. Here's one commentator's take on suicide and Korean culture. We don't necessarily subscribe to his thesis, but it is worth a read.

Well, one thing worth thinking about -- I think the nastiness is partially enabled by 1) lazy moderators on sites, and 2) the particularly extreme nastiness of the Korean internet.

Now, before people go off saying this is "racist" or whatnot, I'll say that I place this all squarely within a framework of causality -- not just "Koreans are essentially, genetically X."

There is an extreme amount of competition for scarce resources in this society, ranging from less space-per-person, how standardized tests rule everything, the extreme militarized hierarchy of society, and the general amount of mental trauma that has not at all been dealt with throughout the entire 20th century.

Take a country ravaged by invasion and colonization for 36 years, forced labor and military conscription through World War II, then "liberation" by a new set of neo-colonizers, then a devastating war that ravaged the nation and rent family ties asunder, which was then followed by dictatorship, torture, and the constant threat of force by the government on labor unions, activists, and anyone else who bothered to question authority, coupled with the crushing of organized labor and the democracy movement (within a nominal democracy, right? the irony) in Kwangju, and the constant "scare" and suspicion that one's neighbor was a "Commie" -- and then suddenly, the economy is great-n-the-80's, people are toting Prada bags and Beamers (or wanting to), and busy enjoying themselves -- or trying not to think about the massive collective trauma inflicted upon them.


Read more at http://metropolitician.blogs.com/scribblings_of_the_metrop/korean_pop_culture/

26 November 2008

Korea: Caught between Modernity and Tradition

Photo source: The New York Times

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean prosecutors on Wednesday demanded a popular actress who tried to overturn the country's law that criminalizes adultery be thrown in jail for a year and a half for having an affair, local media reported.


South Korean enacted its adultery law more than 50 years ago to protect women who had few rights in the male-dominated society but critics say now it is a draconian measure no longer fit for a country with an advanced civil and family court system.


Actress Ok So-ri's case has created a sensation in South Korea after she admitted to an affair with a singer and called on the country's Constitutional Court to overturn the statute that can send a person to jail for up to two years for adultery.


"The accuser (her husband) wanted a severe sentence," prosecutors said in court as to why they are seeking 18 months in jail for Ok, Yonhap news agency reported. Prosecutors were not available for comment.


Ok's lawyers were also not immediately available for comment but they have said in a petition to Constitutional Court: "The adultery law ... has degenerated into a means of revenge by the spouse, rather than a means of saving a marriage."


Last month, the Constitutional Court said adultery damaged the social order and therefore was a criminal offence.


It is rare for courts to jail adulterers but that has not stopped several thousand angry spouses from filing criminal complaints each year.


Critics have said a better compromise might be to allow spouses just to sue for compensation in civil court.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz and Kim Junghyun; Editing by Nick Macfie)

21 November 2008

Romantic Asian

Korean actor and model Kim Ji-hun


I saw this ad on Craigslist. I think it's the poster's genuine feelings... Very beautiful sentiments indeed. Ladies, isn't this what you really, really want?

TALL ASIAN GUY WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR - 34 (SANTA CLARA)


Reply to: pers-922014162@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2008-11-16, 6:35PM PST


I am having a bad day at work. I get in my car and drive somewhere to have lunch. I call up my wife and tell her about my day. After a few sentences of telling her about my day we just starting talking about nothing and immediately I start laughing and she starts laughing. We laugh and joke around and talk. I realize how lucky I am to have this person in my life.

To be married to my best friend. Someone who
(sic) I love talking to and spending time with even if we are doing nothing like running weekend errands. Or we are at the airport sitting at the gate and there is an hour to kill until the flight takes off. We just sit there holding hands and people watch and talk and goof around and the hour flyes by in a minute. The whole time I look at other couples and they are just sitting there and not talking or they are getting restless waiting for the flight.

Imagine hanging out with a group of people and your significant other is talking to others. She is having a good time and she is friendly to everyone. Later on your friends comment on how much fun they had talking to her and how cool she it. You realize how lucky you are.

Ever date someone and you can tell that your friends just thought that they were 'okay'? Well I want someone where she will be proud to date me and I am proud to date her. It would be great to think so highly of someone. I am not talking about physical appearance.


I imagine how good it would be to wake up next to my best friend and starting my day talking to her, goofing around and having fun. I imagine waking up on a Saturday morning and going to the store to get fresh donuts and bagels for my kids. I imagine how fun it would be to take my middle school kids to the mall to buy back to school clothes. I imagine laying in bed at night and just talking about life and the things we want to accomplish. I guess as I get older I think about different things.


Sorry for rambling. I am just typing random thoughts that come into my head.

I am honestly looking to meet that special someone to have a long term relationship with. I look back over my years of dating and I think about the meaningless relationships that I've had and the long meaningful ones and the meaningful ones are the ones that I am the most proud of. They are the ones that really make me think about what is real in this thing called dating.

I am a professional asian male who is seeking someone for a long term relationship. I am an honest, easy going, guy who likes to have fun. I work hard but make it a point to play hard. Life is short and I like to enjoy myself. I have never been married and I don’t have any kids.

I am seeking someone who is honest, fun, intelligent, classy, has a great sense of humor, and likes to laugh. Someone who is also easygoing, likes to have fun and try new things but is also serious when she has to be. Most of all I am seeking someone who has a good heart and is a good person.

In terms of physical appearance I am 34, not a FOB, 6'1" 190lbs, I go to the gym several times a week. Hey! No beer belly here! Oh and by the way my teeth are white and straight. :)

My female friends would say that I dress well, and that I have nice shoes. I figured I should put that line in since girls check out a guy from top to bottom. :)

I am hoping you are reading this and think to yourself,
'Whew! Glad to get that out of the way instead of having to meet him for coffee and finding out too late that he has bad teeth and bad shoes and then I have to sit through a 20 minute cup of coffee with him.'

I guess I am a funny guy. I promise that if we hang out I can get you to laugh and have a good time.

16 November 2008

Trend-setting Han Ga-in

Goddess Han Ga-in
filed by Bian-lian Huang.

As late as 15 years ago, fashion and style trends were set in Paris, Milan and New York. For a wee period in the late 1990s and early 2000s, London became the trend-setter. Now it's Asia.

Here's the latest hair style from the most beautiful woman in the world, Han Ga-in of Korea. (Readers of this site know that I am a huge fan of Ms Han. And what straight man wouldn't be?) I am already seeing young Asian ladies in Los Angeles and San Francisco sporting this new do!

Figment of Modernity: Former Taiwanese President Detained for Corruption

From Taipei Times

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2008/11/17/2003428828

Chen Shui-bian rushed to hospital for checkup

STILL NOT EATING: Complaining of chest pains and soreness while refusing medication, the former president was taken to Far Eastern Memorial Hospital last night
By Ko Shu-ling
STAFF REPORTER
Monday, Nov 17, 2008, Page 1

The ambulance transporting former president Chen Shui-bian arrives at the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in Banciao, Taipei County, last night. Inset: Chen is pictured as he is being taken from the ambulance to the hospital.
PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES
Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was taken to hospital yesterday for a check-up and possible force-feeding as he refused to eat for the fifth day since he was detained on Wednesday.

Lee Da-chu (李大竹), deputy head at the Taipei Detention Center in Tucheng (土城), Taipei County, where Chen is being held, said that Chen had complained about discomfort in his chest and soreness, adding that the former president’s blood pressure and pulse were near the lower margin of safety.

Doctors said his electrocardiogram was abnormal and that a check-up was necessary.

Lee said doctors at the center had prescribed drugs but that Chen had refused to take them.

He said Chen had also been vomiting liquid as a result of an empty stomach.

TV footage showed Chen being rushed to Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in Banciao (板橋), Taipei County, in an ambulance at about 8pm.

Rather than carrying Chen on a stretcher, the ambulance backed into the emergency room and let Chen get out.


PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES
The hospital said Chen would be spending the night.

Chen, who is suspected of money laundering, taking bribes, forgery and embezzling NT$15 million (US$450,000) during his two terms in office, has been held incommunicado without charge.

He has accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration of “political persecution” and waging a “political vendetta” against him to curry favor with Beijing.

Denying any wrongdoing, Chen yesterday continued to push away food trays in protest against what he describes as judicial injustice.

Supporters were chanting “A-bian [Chen’s nickname], jiayou” outside the hospital, while more than 100 police officers were deployed to maintain order.

Meanwhile, hundreds of supporters of the former president yesterday continued rallying outside the detention center protesting Chen’s detention and chanting “Release! Release!”

Tucheng police were deployed to the site to control the crowd. No incidents were reported.

At a separate setting yesterday, former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) declined to comment on Chen’s fast. Lee has dismissed Chen’s remarks about “political persecution” and “judicial persecution,” saying: “Chen should not shift the blame on the rest of the world. He’s the one who made a mistake.”

Meanwhile, Chiayi County Commissioner Chen Ming-wen (陳明文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday continued his hunger strike to protest accusations of corruption against him.

He was taken into custody on Oct. 28 on suspicion of engaging in graft by leaking confidential information to help a businessman win a tender worth more than NT$650 million. He has been on a hunger strike since last Tuesday.

Supporters of Chen Ming-men yesterday also continued their rallies outside the Chiayi Detention Center where he is being held.

Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智), Kaohsiung County Commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興), Pingtung County Commissioner Tsao Chi-hung (曹啟鴻), all DPP members, showed their support for Chen Ming-wen by joining the supporters.

08 November 2008

Amateur: Obama Trashes Nancy Reagan at First Press Conference since Election Night

Inexperienced yet arrogant, St. Obama, the Chosen, wrongly trashed Nancy Reagan for practicing seances. For the record, Mrs. Reagan has never engaged in the black art of seances.

Is this the putatively flawless orator from the ghetto?

05 November 2008

Market Reaction: Dow Dropped 500 points (over 5%) on Obama's Election

Filed by Michael Henchard.

Investors voted with their feet today as fear spread that the Barack Hussein Obama regime will raise taxes and increase spending over and above the already high baseline established under putative Republican George W. Bush.

With control of all levers of the federal government, the Democrats are poised to carry out some shock and awe of their own. They will shock the economy by raising taxes and awe economists with such reckless hijinxes.

29 October 2008

Obama not a shoe in

Despite the MSM's pathetic and flagrant attempt to crown Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States, his coronation by these liberal elites may prove to be premature.

McCain/Palin may still pull this off...

25 October 2008

Eye Candy for Yet Another Depressing Week

Korean up-and-coming actress Lee Seol Ah

The last time we featured the "eye candy" series, the Dow was at 8579. This weekend the Dow hovers around 8300 and change. Hopefully, we won't need any more eye candy to ameliorate our pain in the coming weeks...

By the way, keep an eye on Miss Lee. She has the potential to rapidly take off in Korean cinema in the next 18 months.

19 October 2008

09 October 2008

IMMINENT FINANCIAL COLLAPSE!!! DOW @ 8,579

How Prescient We Were: Greenspan and the Housing Bubble

Editor's notes: We first pointed the finger at Grandmaster Greenspan back in November 4, 2005. Our then economics contributor, B G Phan, wrote a piece that was at least 18 months ahead of its time -- B.L. Huang.

04 November 2005

Good Bye and Good Riddance (?) to "the Maestro"
By B G Phan

Good bye and perhaps good riddance to Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan. He is scheduled to leave the Fed at the end of January 2006. Sycophants in government and the mass media have hailed him as "the maestro," "the genius" and other equally nauseating, honey-dripping terms of endearment.Let's look at his recent records to see if these accolades are justified.

In 1996, Greenspan correctly foresaw the "irrational exuberance" of an overheated, speculative stock market. Yet, he did nothing to cool down the market. A few interest rate hikes in 1997, 1998 and 1999 might have avoided the crash of the stock market from 2000-2003. In fact, Greespan probably exacerbated the 2000-2001 recession by belatedly and continuously raising rates after the March 2000 bubble had burst.

It was only after the attacks of 9/11/2001 that the Fed began to cut interest rates.And then there's his recent "froth" in the real estate market commentary. Duh!, as the Valley Girl would say.

Under his chairmanship, the Fed has failed to regulate the banks and other financial institutions, which have been pushing dangerous exotic loans, e.g., interest-only, piggy-back, 100%+-financing mortgage loans. In overheated housing markets such as California, Boston and New York, these creative financing schemes now account for the majority of outstanding loans! People who have no business buying houses are purchasing them at enormously inflated prices. After all, it's not their money; they're playing with OPM, other people's money.

The housing bubbles in California, Boston and New York will burst. And the consequences and ramifications will be ten folds worse than the bursting of the Nasdaq bubble. Yet, Dr. Greenspan, "the maestro"--nay "the genius"--has done very little to prevent excesses in the housing markets by reining in rogue lenders.

Even if the Fed acts aggressively today, it is a day late and a dollar short.The upcoming housing bubble-induced recession, perhaps even a small depression, should be called Economic Hurricane Alan in honor of the maestro, and like other hurricanes, this one will pack a wallop and cause a world of hurt...

04 October 2008

JUSTICE!


At 11 PM Pacific Time last evening, the (hard-working) jury and judge reconvened in a Las Vegas courtroom to deliver the verdict on the 12 criminal charges filed against OJ Simpson and an associate relating to the theft of certain sports memorabilia, putatively valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The verdict was GUILTY against the two men on all 12 charges. Sentencing is scheduled for December 5 in Las Vegas. Simpson and his confederate were immediately remanded into custody after the presiding judge denied the motion to post bail.

03 October 2008

Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

Photo source: http://thestar.com.my/archives/2007/5/19/columnists/insightdownsouth/n_50jeyaretnam.jpg
Outspoken Singapore dissident dies


International Herald Tribune
September 30, 2008
SINGAPORE OBITUARY: By Seth Mydans

JOSHUA Benjamin Jeyaretnam, the opposition politician whose outspokenness and persistence made him Singapore's leading dissident, died Tuesday of a heart attack, family members said.

At the age of 82, recently freed from bankruptcy, Jeyaretnam was preparing another run for Parliament, where he had broken the governing party's monopoly by winning the first opposition seat in 1981.

"We were trying to surmount the last hurdle," said a close friend and political partner, Ng Teck Siong, speaking of Jeyaretnam's attempt to enter Parliament once more. "But we were not able to do that. He had to leave us."

Jeyaretnam's career was defined by his persistent attempts to win a seat in Parliament and his ongoing criticisms of the political establishment.

Since that first win in a special election, Jeyaretnam had lost his seat twice as the result of legal actions. He had been sued for defamation more times than he said he could count, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, mostly to members of the governing People's Action Party.

He fell into bankruptcy in 2001 when he was unable to pay a damage award, and was barred from politics until he cleared the debt early this year.

During that time of political exile he sold self-published books from a cardboard box on a sidewalk, shouting out their titles in the booming voice he had used to challenge the government in Parliament.

Though his photograph rarely appeared in the government-friendly press, the man known by his initials, JBJ, was easy to recognize with his long, somber face, exaggerated features and white fringe of whiskers.

"It would be terribly funny if it weren't tragic for me," he said in an interview at the time. "A lot of people tell me: 'Why do you carry on? It's hopeless in this place. Why do you sacrifice yourself, suffering all this pain?' Not that I suffer that much."

"Funnily enough, I enjoy the fight," he said. "It's true. And if I had to give it up, I wouldn't know what to do."

In his doggedness and refusal to compromise, Jeyaretnam was an irritant to the country's leaders, particularly to Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, who called him "a poseur, always seeking publicity, good or bad."

Although he never won a libel case and lost more political battles than he won, Jeyaretnam's lone challenge made him a hero to some people.

"First, you see, I respect his courage," said a 46-year-old machine-parts salesman who bought one of his books by the side of the road. "This is a culture where if you can sleep well and eat well, nobody wants to find trouble. There's no right and wrong sometimes, in my opinion. For me, I just want to hear another voice."

In May, freed from bankruptcy, Jeyaretnam announced the formation of a new political party, the Reform Party, whose objective he said was "a complete and thorough change in the way this country is run - no tinkering."

"We are not allowed to exercise the fundamental rights given to us in the Constitution," he said at a news conference announcing the registration of the party.

"These are not abstract rights, airy-fairy rights, but rights that are most essential to our well-being: the right to speak up freely, the right to tell the government that the way things are going is wrong," he said.

With his new party duly registered, Jeyaretnam was in the process of preparing one more challenge for an open seat in Parliament - the last hurdle mentioned by Ng.

Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam was born in 1926 and grew up mostly in what was then Malaya, where his father worked as a clerk in the public works department.

A devout Anglican Christian of Sri Lankan descent, he often said he was motivated by a religious mission to do good for other people.

He earned a law degree at University College in London in 1951, where he met his future wife, Margaret. She died in 1980 and it was a point of regret to him that she was not there to share his victory when he won his seat in Parliament.

Back from London with his law degree, Jeyaretnam rose quickly in the legal establishment, serving as a magistrate, a district judge, a prosecuting counsel, a registrar of the Supreme Court and chief of the Subordinate Judiciary, a position of status and influence.

He resigned in 1963 at the age of 37 and went into private practice because, he said, "I was disillusioned, completely," and in 1971 he made the first of his many unsuccessful runs for a seat in Parliament.

He is survived by his two sons - Philip, a prominent lawyer who is president of the Law Society of Singapore, and Kenneth, an economist, at whose home he died.

As word of Jeyaretnam's death spread in Singapore, tributes multiplied on the Internet, where dissatisfied Singaporeans are finding a voice.

"JBJ, father of Singapore democracy," said one.

"Singapore has lost a true opposition leader, devoted to fight till the very end for what he believes in," said another.

Jeyaretnam had heard these anonymous voices before.

"A remark you often hear is, there's nothing we can do, you can't do anything in this place," he said. "I tell them that's nonsense."

02 October 2008

Sarah Held Her Own!

In terms of rhetoric and style, I think Senator Joe Biden (ever so slightly) outshone the inexperienced governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. But for a novice, Palin held her own and did so much better than expected against a man who has over 30 years of political experience.

Republicans must be pleased with their gal. This was a crucial performance for Palin since she, until tonight, appeared to have lost some luster -- thanks in large part to the left-leaning MSM.

Bian-lian Huang.

Lucky Bastard!

More of Ms. Han Ga-in and hubby. Lucky indeed!

22 September 2008

Ha Ha: We Told You So Back in 2005



Good Bye and Good Riddance (?) to "the Maestro"


Editor's Note: Originally posted at THE FAIRBANK REPORT on 04 November 2005 (See the 11/4/2005 entry at this Fairbank Report.)

By B G Phan
Mr. Phan is Senior Editor and Economics Correspondent of The FAIRBANK REPORT.

Good bye and perhaps good riddance to Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan. He is scheduled to leave the Fed at the end of January 2006. Sycophants in government and the mass media have hailed him as "the maestro," "the genius" and other equally nauseating, honey-dripping terms of endearment.

Let's look at his recent records to see if these accolades are justified. In 1996, Greenspan correctly foresaw the "irrational exuberance" of an overheated, speculative stock market. Yet, he did nothing to cool down the market. A few interest rate hikes in 1997, 1998 and 1999 might have avoided the crash of the stock market from 2000-2003. In fact, Greespan probably exacerbated the 2000-2001 recession by belatedly and continuously raising rates after the March 2000 bubble had burst. It was only after the attacks of 9/11/2001 that the Fed began to cut interest rates.

And then there's his recent "froth" in the real estate market commentary. Duh!, as the Valley Girl would say. Under his chairmanship, the Fed has failed to regulate the banks and other financial institutions, which have been pushing dangerous exotic loans, e.g., interest-only, piggy-back, 100%+-financing mortgage loans. In overheated housing markets such as California, Boston and New York, these creative financing schemes now account for the majority of outstanding loans! People who have no business buying houses are purchasing them at enormously inflated prices. After all, it's not their money; they're playing with OPM, other people's money.

The housing bubbles in California, Boston and New York will burst. And the consequences and ramifications will be ten folds worse than the bursting of the Nasdaq bubble. Yet, Dr. Greenspan, "the maestro"--nay "the genius"--has done very little to prevent excesses in the housing markets by reining in rogue lenders.

Even if the Fed acts aggressively today, it is a day late and a dollar short. The upcoming housing bubble-induced recession, perhaps even a small depression, should be called Economic Hurricane Alan in honor of the maestro, and like other hurricanes, this one will pack a wallop and cause a world of hurt...

21 September 2008

Bail-out Nation

1. Bear Stearns
2. Bail out of unworthy homeowners to the tune of $300 billion
3. Fannie Mae
4. Freddie Mac
5. AIG

See/search for our piece on the phenomenon of "moral hazard."

12 September 2008

Happy Third Anniversary (9/15) to the Fairbank Report

Another successful year in the blogosphere. Covering the stories and controversies that MSM dare not touch! Over the last three years, this Fairbank Report has gone from strictly covering news (with a 'tude) and commentaries to now covering all facets of modern life and love in the blogosphere.

Thank you, again, to our dear, dear readers... We know you're out there for us.

J. Fairbank
M. Henchard
Bian-lian Huang

Lee Hyori: Asia's (Putative) Bad Girl


Sexy Lee Hyori

In a society that still celebrates feminine virtue and elegance, Korean pop sensation Lee Hyori appears to be a misfit. She gyrates, in a nano-skirt and high heels, to Western-style rap-rock (our invention, feel free to use it with proper credit). Of course, in Los Angeles, she would just be another typical high school girl. Except she's not in Los Angeles, and she's not a teenager. She's 29.

But we have a hunch that this "bad girl" image is just a marketing ploy. Like so many supposed "gangsta rappers" in Seoul, Taipei and now even in Beijing, Miss Lee's in-your-face dance and musical routines are not endemic to her temperament and belie the (stereo)typical persona of the sweet Asian girl next door...

10 September 2008

WOW!


We at the Fairbank Report have always bridged the gap between East and West on all things. And we are delighted to do so again in the case of the most beautiful woman in the world: the lovely Han Ga-in of Korea, aged 26. Actress and super-model, Ms Han (who is married to a fellow Korean actor) is widely known in South Korea and the Far East for her beauty and elegance. And yes, she's all natural; there's nothing plasticky about her, which makes her even more amazing. One can't improve on Nature.


Yet, she is a virtual unknown in the West, which is a loss for Westerners because never before have our eyes seen such beauty and perfection...

07 September 2008

Breaking News -- Obama: "My Muslim Faith"


We knew it all along. First, it was Obama's half-brother in Kenya who confirmed the Democratic standard bearer's Muslim faith. Now Obama confirms this himself, even if unwittingly...


Obama's verbal slip fuels his critics
Christina Bellantoni (Contact)
The Washington Times
Sunday, September 7, 2008


ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Sen. Barack Obama's foes seized Sunday upon a brief slip of the tongue, when the Democratic presidential nominee was outlining his Christianity but accidentally said, "my Muslim faith."

The three words -- immediately corrected -- were during an exchange with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week," when he was trying to criticize the quiet smear campaign suggesting he is a Muslim.

But illustrating the difficulty of preventing false rumors about his faith from spreading, anti-Obama groups within one hour of the interview had sliced it out of context and were sending it around via email. They also were blogging about it.

Mr. Obama, who is a Christian and often proudly speaks about how his faith has influenced his public service, said he finds it "deeply offensive" that there are efforts "coming out of the Republican camp to suggest that perhaps I'm not who I say I am when it comes to my faith."

The exchange came after Mr. Obama said that Republicans are attempting to scare voters by suggesting he is not Christian, which McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said was "cynical."

Asked about it on ABC, Mr. Obama said, "These guys love to throw a rock and hide their hand."

"The McCain campaign has never suggested you have Muslim connections," said Mr. Stephanopoulos, who repeatedly interrupted Mr. Obama during the interview.

"I don't think that when you look at what is being promulgated on Fox News, let's say, and Republican commentators who are closely allied to these folks," Mr Obama responded, and Mr. Stephanopoulos interrupted: "But John McCain said that's wrong."

Mr. Obama noted that when Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin "was forced" to talk about her pregnant 17-year-old daughter, he issued a forceful statement to reporters that the line of inquiry was "off limits." But he said the McCain campaign tried to tie him to "liberal blogs that support Obama" and are "attacking Governor Palin."

"Let's not play games," he said. "What I was suggesting -- you're absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith. And you're absolutely right that that has not come."

Mr. Stephanopoulos interrupted with, "Christian faith."

"My Christian faith," Mr. Obama said quickly. "Well, what I'm saying is that he hasn't suggested that I'm a Muslim. And I think that his campaign's upper echelons have not, either. What I think is fair to say is that, coming out of the Republican camp, there have been efforts to suggest that perhaps I'm not who I say I am when it comes to my faith -- something which I find deeply offensive, and that has been going on for a pretty long time."

Asked to comment on the accidental misstatement illustrating the difficulty of the issue, Obama spokesman Bill Burton offered this comment: "I'm not surprised that the only outlet doing this story is The Washington Times."

Hott Chick of the Month


Han Ga-in

05 September 2008

Illiberal Obstinance: UCLA Violates Law to Admit Unqualified Minorities

Source: dailybruin.ucla.edu

Admissions cover-up alleged
University denies taking race of applicants into account, but professor’s report says otherwise
Anthony Pesce (Contact)
Published: Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A professor is alleging that UCLA illegally takes race into account when admitting black students and is accusing the university of hiding data in a cover-up.

Tim Groseclose, a professor of political science, authored an 89-page report outlining the above concerns and then Thursday resigned from his position on the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools, a faculty oversight committee on admissions.

By law, UCLA cannot consider race in admissions, but Groseclose charges that application readers are getting around this restriction because some students reveal their race in their personal essays.

UCLA administrators deny both using race to make admissions decisions and a cover-up.
Janina Montero, vice chancellor for student affairs, told the Associated Press that UCLA application readers are instructed to not consider race at all.

Tom Lifka, associate vice chancellor for student academic services, said that as a result of this report, UCLA is commissioning a study to determine whether black students or other minority students receive an unfair advantage in the admissions process.

Groseclose wrote that he requested the necessary data from the university to conduct the study himself, but he was denied the data on several occasions – constituting what he describes in the report as a cover-up.

Though students applying to any UC school have the option of revealing their race on the application, readers are not given that information. Instead, the report read, some students voluntarily share their race and other personal information in their essays – theoretically giving readers the opportunity to consider it.

Groseclose offered some circumstantial evidence to support his claim, saying that in 2006, a black student had an 11.5-percent chance of being admitted.

After UCLA adopted a holistic admissions model in 2007 that, among other things, placed a heavier weight on life challenges, the statistic went up to a 16.5-percent chance.

Lifka said these statistics are not evidence of Groseclose’s claim but are instead an outcome from which the professor is deducing a cause. Lifka added that the study currently underway should shed some light on the situation.

The university attributes this shift primarily to the adoption of the holistic admissions process, which administrators have said is fairer to applicants because it takes into account their personal background and experiences in addition to academic qualities.

In the past, however, other data have suggested that there may be a difference in the way minority students are considered. In 2007, the Daily Bruin obtained admissions data from the university that showed that black and Latino students who were admitted had significantly lower average GPAs and standardized test scores than the overall averages.

Groseclose’s report also stated that the pool of applicant readers had a disproportionately high number of people from the black community, allowing for what could be a conflict of interest from a community that has heavily criticized UCLA for its low number of black students.

Lifka did not directly challenge this claim, adding that roughly 40 of the 160 readers were black. He also said the black community was encouraging its members to apply to be UCLA application readers at the time.

But Lifka did say that this argument makes for a slippery slope.

“If you begin to hypothesize that a reader, because of their own conditions – be it racial conditions, religion, gender, whatever it is – that that’s going to lead them to make a biased decision in favor of whomever it is they’re reading ... and buy into that mentality that they’re not capable of being trained, and you can’t set up reasonable safeguards,” he said, “then all you’re left with is some mechanical, computerized system.

But Ward Connerly, a former UC regent and nationally known opponent of affirmative action, said the UC should just make a policy that prohibits students from mentioning their race in an application.

“Students reveal their race in essays, and then you have readers who are black and the system is therefore rigged to produce a certain outcome,” he said. “The only way to get around this is for UCLA to say that if you mention your race, it will be automatic grounds for a denial.”

04 September 2008

Girl Power!

Staff at the Fairbank Report along with about 37 million other Americans watched late last evening as Alaska Governor Sarah Palin delivered the speech of her political life. And she hit it out of the park. Talk radio dittoheads have gone beserk as have some of the British newspapers. Monies are pouring into the McCaine/Palin coffers like it was Typhoon Katrina all over again.

We say, you go girl!

02 September 2008

Musing: Talk about an Over-achieving Family?

We ran across this obituary in The Guardian (UK). Mr Shiu's family typifies the high-achieving Asian/Chinese family across the world...

Obituary
Po-Ku Shiu
Man-Hei Shiu and Peter Shiu
The Guardian,
Monday June 16 2008
Article history

Our father, Po-Ku Shiu, who has died aged 95, may have seemed just an unremarkable self-made businessman from Hong Kong, but for the fact that he had the vision back in the 1950s - long before it became fasionable - to use his resources to send his many children to faraway Britain to be educated and acquire professional qualifications.

Po-Ku came from a well-to-do family in south China. But with the early death of his opium-addicted father, the barely educated teenager was forced to leave his "bound-feet" mother in Shiqi, a village in Canton province, to seek labouring work in Hong Kong, sending money home to support his two younger brothers. Nonetheless, he had the insight to recognise the importance of learning English at night-school, thereby enabling him to get a job as a runner for import agents.

In 1935, he married our mother, May-Ling Fung, a secretary, and had three sons before fleeing to mainland China during the Japanese wartime occupation of the colony. Despite great suffering as refugees, they had two more sons and a daughter, followed by another two sons after returning to Hong Kong in 1946. Thus they had together the supposed ideal Chinese family of "seven-stars-around-the-moon".

By the 1950s, our father was a highly successful businessman with his own company, Wah Tat, manufacturing electrical appliances (mainly domestic products such as lamps, plugs and sockets). He was rather proud that it even exported to the UK. But unlike many who went on to become fabulously rich, he decided to use his money to send his children to Britain.

In 1963, following the death of a younger brother, he also took responsibility for the education of two young nieces.

After many years in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US and Britain, our parents settled in Birmingham in 1984. Following his wife's death in 1991, Po-Ku lived quietly as a respected member of the city's Chinese community.

He is survived by his eldest son, Man-Hei Shiu, a former transplant surgeon and professor of medicine at Cornell University, New York state; Peter Shiu, a former reader in pure mathematics at Loughborough University; Stephen Shiu, a mathematical physics graduate from Birmingham University who worked in industry; Man-Fai Shiu, a consultant cardiologist; Margaret Shiu-Tan, a prominent artist in Taiwan and economics graduate from the University of California, Berkeley; and Edward Shiu, a senior lecturer in marketing at Strathclyde University. Two of Po-Ku's sons predeceased him: Albert Shiu, a businessman and physics graduate from Birmingham University; and Matthew Shiu, a much-loved Birmingham GP.

He is also survived by his nieces, Diana Siu, a doctor in Hong Kong, and Teresa Siu-Tong, a recently retired partner with accountants Ernst & Young.


About this article

Obituary: Po-Ku Shiu This article appeared in the Guardian on Monday June 16 2008 on p31 of the Obituaries section. It was last updated at 00:03 on June 16 2008.





01 September 2008

Another Reason for the Hott Asians and Koreans: Plastic Surgery

In 2005, we brought you the fascinating story of Dawn Yang, the Singaporean blogger who went from a homely Southeastern Asian schoolgirl to a super-gorgeous model, after undergoing major plastic surgery. (We're unsure whether Miss Yang had the work done here in West Los Angeles or in South Korea.) But here's a story from Singapore's New Paper about the plastic surgery craze in Asia.

Asia, learn well the lessons from Argentina, where they spent so much of their GDP on plastic surgery that the country went belly up about five years ago...
*************************************************************************

He cuts up plain Janes to make them beautiful

With more S'porean patients, South Korean plastic surgeon Dr Kim Byung Gun wants to set up shop here.
Elysa Chen

Sun, May 18, 2008
The New Paper

TURNING plain Janes into beauties is all in a day's work for renowed South Korean plastic surgeon Kim Byung Gun.

Some of his patients even went on to become showbiz stars.

And several times a year, Dr Kim, 46, says he works his magic on faces from Singapore.

In fact, he claims the number of patients from Singapore has tripled in the last few years.

And this has spurred him to make plans to set up shop right here in Singapore.

Speaking to The New Paper on Sunday when he was here on vacation with his family two weeks ago, Dr Kim said he's planning to open a clinic, and even a plastic surgery hospital here.

The director of BK Dongyang Plastic Surgery Clinic, South Korea's largest chain of plastic surgery clinics, could not give the exact number of Singapore patients he sees in Seoul.

In an interview with The Straits Times in November 2006, Dr Kim said up to 20 Singaporeans visited him every year.

He told The New Paper on Sunday that he sees about 50 foreign patients a month.

He also runs a medical centre in Shanghai.

Dr Kim, who is likely to be the first Korean plastic surgeon to set up shop here, said: 'So many people in Singapore want plastic surgery, more and more of them are coming to Korea.

'Korean doctors have performed surgery on more patients and have much more experience.

'Many of the Singaporean patients I see in Korea have had to get revisional work done. If I come here, I can do a better job for patients the first time around.'

He claimed he had seen some patients from Singapore with botched nose and double-eyelid jobs.

When contacted, Ms Priscilla Tan, the secretariat of the Singapore Association of Plastic Surgeons, said they were not aware of other foreign plastic surgeons who are practising here, or any who plans to do so.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said any foreign doctor who wants to practise here must first be registered with the Singapore Medical Council (SMC). The clinic must also be licensed by MOH.

A check on the SMC website showed that the university which

Dr Kim went to, Seoul National University's Medical College, is recognised here.

Korean stars who go under the knife
» Harisu, a transgender actress-singer-model. Went for a sex-change operation (above)

» HAN Ae Ri, formerly from girl band Babyvox Re.V, wanted bigger breasts and a sharper 'V-line' chin. She went under the knife twice in the space of just three weeks in November last year. She lost so much blood that she had to be hospitalised.

» Kim Dong Wan of boy band Shinhwa. Fixed his 'flat nose' after his debut in 1998 because he was unhappy with it.

» Actress Kim Jung Eun, who acted in the Korean drama, Lovers. Her parents paid for her chin job as they were worried nobody would marry her.

» Actor-singer-model Kim Hee Chul of Korean boy band, Super Junior. Got a nose job after he injured his nose after falling down from the stairs in his home.

» Actress Chae Rim, who acted in All About Eve. Got a nose job

BUSY PRACTICE

But it's not just work that will bring Dr Kim, who said he became a Singapore permanent resident two months ago, to our shores.

He said: 'I may want my children to study in Singapore because there are very good international schools here, and English is taught as the main language.'

Dr Kim and his wife, who is a supreme court judge in South Korea, have 2-year-old twin girls.

But his busy work schedule - he claims to work 350 days of the year - means he has little time left for his family.

Dr Kim said he operates on 20 patients a day, and flies to Shanghai on Sundays.

Laughing, he said: 'My wife and I talk for about 10 minutes a day!'

Dr Kim claimed to have earned more than US$30 million ($41million) in the last three years.

His charges do not come cheap. It's US$3,000 for a nose job, and US$2,000 for double eyelids.

SURGEON TO CELEBS

And he claims to be the plastic surgeon to 'most of Korea's celebrities'.

So, who are some of these famous people who have gone under his knife?

Dr Kim declined to reveal their identities, but he did let on that they included two Miss Koreas and the winner of a supermodel competition.

'When I went to the beauty competition, I was surprised to see one of my patients there,' he recalled.

'She had surgery just four or five months back, and yet she won!'

Seeing his client reap the rewards of his work gave Dr Kim a great sense of satisfaction.

But he does not just operate on famous people.

He also does pro bono work.

He operated for free on one woman who had been slashed more than 40 times on her abdomen, thighs and legs during a robbery.

Because she was a poor woman from the countryside, she could not afford surgery and had to save up for 10 years before she approached a plastic surgeon.

But Dr Kim said he did not take a single cent from her.

Gratitude from her and her husband was reward enough.

Although Dr Kim was unable to correct completely the scars on her legs, her husband came to his clinic a year later and gave him fruit to thank him for helping his wife.

Dr Kim said: 'Plastic surgery is really challenging. If it's easy, everyone can be a plastic surgeon. But it's the challenges that keep me going on.'

When contacted, Dr Woffles Wu, a prominent plastic surgeon here, said that it is 'quite difficult' for foreign plastic surgeons to practise in Singapore due to strict guidelines and the selection process.

But he welcomes new competition.

'We are a globalising country. So, if the government allows it, and if the doctor is a bona fide plastic surgeon with a good reputation and a high level of skill - who is not just here to make money - I think it would be great.'

This article was first published in The New Paper on May 18, 2008.

30 August 2008

Another Earthquake, 6.1 Mag, Hit Sichuan Province, Killing 25...

From Xinhuanet.com

PANZHIHUA, Sichuan, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- One more death was reported in Huili, a hard-hit county in Saturday's 6.1-magnitude quake, as of 11 a.m. on Sunday, bringing the death toll of the quake to 25.

Saturday's quake also left 192 people injured, and three more people missing in Huili, which falls under jurisdiction of Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Liangshan, a neighbor of Panzhihua City, the epicenter of Saturday's quake, according to Huili County Headquarters of Quake Control and Relief.

No other details are available for the newly found death at the moment.

The quake struck the juncture of Renhe District in Panzhihua and Huili County in Liangshan prefecture at 4:30 p.m. (Beijing time) on Saturday. The epicenter was about 50 km southeast of downtown Panzhihua, at 26.2 degrees north latitude and 101.9 degrees east longitude and at a depth of 10 km, according to the China Earthquake Administration.

Spicy Kimchi: Why Koreans are Hott!!!


Actress and pop star YoonA

Actor Hyun Bin

Dramatist Lee Ha Na

Koreans, as do many Northeastern Asians (e.g., undiluted Manchurians), have elevated noses, which along with almond-shaped eyes, give them an exotic Pan-Asian, Eurasian look that accounts for their hotness factor.

23 August 2008

Mrs. Thatcher in Her Sunset Years...



Source: bbcnews.com

Thatcher dementia fight revealed

The daughter of former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher has spoken for the first time about her mother's struggle with dementia.

In her new book, serialised in the Mail on Sunday, Carol Thatcher says she first noticed her mother's memory was failing over lunch in 2000.

She says she "almost fell off her chair" seeing her mother struggle.

Baroness Thatcher, 82, had to be reminded several times her husband, Sir Denis, had died, Ms Thatcher says.

In her book, A Swim-On Part in the Goldfish Bowl: A Memoir, she tells of how her mother's "blotting-paper brain", which had always absorbed information, began to fail eight years ago - a decade after leaving power.


Mum started asking the same questions over and over again, unaware she was doing so
Carol Thatcher

The former Conservative prime minister got confused between Bosnia and the Falklands during a conversation about the war in the former Yugoslavia, Ms Thatcher writes.

"I almost fell off my chair. Watching her struggle with her words and her memory, I couldn't believe it," she says.

"She was in her 75th year but I had always thought of her as ageless, timeless and 100% cast-iron damage-proof."

The contrast was all the more striking because she had always had a memory "like a website", she writes.

'Repeated questions'

Ms Thatcher goes on to describe how telltale signs of dementia then began to emerge.

"Whereas previously you would never have had to say anything to her twice, because she'd already filed it away in her formidable memory bank, Mum started asking the same questions over and over again, unaware she was doing so.

"It might be something innocuous - such as 'What time is my car coming?' or 'When am I going to the hairdresser?' - but the fact she needed to repeat them opened a new and frightening chapter in our lives."

Ms Thatcher describes how she had to learn to be patient and that her mother "had an illness and that it wasn't personal".

"That's the worst thing about dementia: it gets you every time," she says.

"Sufferers look and act the same but beneath the familiar exterior something quite different is going on.

"They're in another world and you cannot enter."

Losing Sir Denis to pancreatic cancer in 2003 "was truly awful" for her mother, she says, "not least because her dementia meant she kept forgetting he was dead".

"I had to keep giving her the bad news over and over again.

"Every time it finally sank in that she had lost her husband of more than 50 years, she'd look at me sadly and say 'Oh', as I struggled to compose myself.

"'Were we all there?' she'd ask softly."

Series of strokes

On bad days her mother can "hardly remember the beginning of a sentence by the time she got to the end", she says.

But on good days there are flashes of her old self, and she retains a good memory of her time in office "as if her dementia had sharpened her powers of long-term recall", she adds.

Lady Thatcher, who was prime minister from 1979 to 1990, had a series of minor strokes in 2002 and was advised by doctors to stop making public speeches.

Friends of the Tory peer, who lives in central London, said earlier this year the strokes had affected her short-term memory.

But Ms Thatcher's book is believed to be the first time a family member has spoken publicly of her condition.

Lady Thatcher briefly returned to the limelight in September last year when she visited Downing Street as a guest of Gordon Brown.

She had won praise from the prime minister who described her as a "conviction politician".

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk_politics/7579352.stm

Published: 2008/08/24 01:54:46 GMT

© BBC MMVIII

16 August 2008

Step Aside Ian Thorpe, Zeus is in the House


Phelps perhaps the greatest

Beijing — It speaks to an athlete’s dominance when people cease comparing him to others in his era. It speaks to Michael Phelps’ rare dominance that the debate has left the pool. And the century.

Is he better than Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals in Berlin with Adolf Hitler watching?

Has he surpassed Carl Lewis, who equaled Owens’ four golds in Los Angeles, then won five more in the next three Olympics?

Do we reach back to a Soviet gymnast, Larissa Latynina, from the 1950s? A Finnish distance runner, Paavo Nurmi, from the ’20s? Nadia Comaneci, who was so otherworldly in Montreal that gymnastics scoreboards in ‘76 weren’t even equipped to post her perfect 10s, leaving fans perplexed over judges giving her only a “1.0” on floor exercise?

If Michael Phelps isn’t the greatest Olympian of all-time, he is at least in the argument.

If bling is the determining factor, it’s no contest. Phelps swam to seven gold medals in his first seven events, tying the record of Mark Spitz. He went for eight in the 4x100 medley relay this morning in Beijing.

Phelps’ two-Olympic resume now stands at 15 medals including relays (13 gold, two bronze), nine individual golds, eighth world records and four Olympic marks.

There is dominance. Then there is mind-numbing.

It’s like watching somebody open a laptop computer during the Stone Age.

“The problem,” said FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu, “is we have an extraterrestrial.”

We will forever remember Phelps not merely for his medals but how he got there. He swam the 200-meter butterfly in world-record time despite being partially blinded most of the race, his goggles filled with water. He won his seventh gold in the 100 butterfly, despite making the turn at 50 meters in seventh place. Serbia’s Milorad Cavic appeared to be out front as the two closed on the wall. But Phelps reached out with one of those long limbs of his and touched first.

The goggles. The reach. That special trait elite athletes have in finding ways to motivate themselves, even when sheer ability is good enough. Before the 100 butterfly, Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, told him of a Cavic quote in which the Serb declared: “It would be good for the sport if he loses. It would be good for him if he loses.” That’s all Phelps needed to hear.

Cavic swam a great race. He’s just not terribly bright. What could be better for a sport than having a superstar? What could be better for Phelps?

“Some people said [Spitz’s record] would be impossible to duplicate and that it wouldn’t happen,” he said. “It shows really that anything can happen. [Bowman] is the one who really helped me want to dream about anything. He’s the one who said, ‘Dream as big as you can.’ “

He wanted to change swimming. Check. A friend sent him text messages after the 100 butterfly about seeing the race live — on a JumboTron at a baseball game.

He wanted to change a sport. Instead he changed the argument.

Phelps vs. Spitz? It’s over.

Phelps vs. Owens? Phelps has the numbers. But Owens faced pressures we can’t possible imagine. He won events in two disciplines, running and long jump, whereas Phelps only swims.

Phelps vs. Lewis? Phelps surpassed him in gold medals. (Lewis won nine). But Lewis ran and jumped and competed in four Games. Then again, he didn’t take a daily sledgehammer to the record books. Phelps has done that.

Phelps vs. anybody from decades long ago? There are more competing nations today. But isn’t that true in every sport? Do we throw Willie Mays and Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth out of baseball arguments because Barry Bonds faces more and better pitchers?

Nobody has ever dominated his sport like Phelps. But the talent pool is deeper in track than swimming. More athletes from more places.

He is fast — faster than we’ve ever seen and possibly ever will see. But sprints and jumps and long-distance running is so much harder on the body than swimming. Consider: Swimming is used to help runners rehab runners from injuries, not the other way around.

Greatest Olympian ever? The argument can’t be won. At least not yet.

“I’m sure,” Phelps said, “Bob and I can think of some other goals in the next four years.”


SIZZLING HOTT!!!

Korean pop star and actress Yoona. Her acting ability is a little weak, but she's only 18 (jealous!) and will undoubtedly improve. Look for her to cross the Pond into mainstream Hollywood some day soon...

09 August 2008

Christ Child and Yao Ming Led Chinese Delegation into the Olympic Stadium to Rousing Applause and Wild Excitement!!!!

A small Sichuanese boy named Lin Hao, who risked his own life to save his classmates after the deadly May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, led the Chinese Olympic delegation into the Beijing Olympic Stadium on Friday evening (8/8/08). He was accompanied by the delegation flag bearer Yao Ming, an NBA star athlete.

Jonathan Fairbank, editor of this Fairbank Report and Chairman of the Fairbank Group, has referred to Lin Hao as the Christ Child.

BEIJING OLYMPICS: GREATEST OPENING ACT EVER! CHINESE OLYMPIAN LI NING SOARED 2200 FEET IN AIR TO LIGHT THE OLYMPIC FLAME... MORE...

photo source: http://en.beijing2008.cn/photo/ceremonies/


Mayor of London, England (host of the 2012 Games) collapsed from sheer fright of the task to match the Chinese opening ceremony...

06 August 2008

dé·clas·sé hill billies


Thousands of ordinary visitors come to Beijing every year without donning (poorly designed and poorly constructed) face masks.


Millions of ordinary Beijingers go about their daily business without donning face masks.


Four American putative athletes wore their poorly designed and shabbily constructed (made in Alabama!) face masks as they arrived at the high-tech Beijing International Airport for the Olympics. We call them wussy prima donnas.


On the other hand, we forgive them as this was the first time these hill billies have actually set foot on an ultra-modern metropolis.

26 July 2008

OUTRAGE: ILLEGAL ALIEN KILLED FAMILY OF THREE IN SAN FRANSICKO

By Michael Henchard

An illegal alien, aided and abetted by the homosexual mayor of San Francisco, shot and killed a family of three earlier this week. This illegal alien thing has had several brushes with the putative law in the Bay Area. Yet, this is not the ultimate insult: He shot the entire Bologna family simply because they were observing the speed limit on a San Fransicko street. Apparently, Thing was late for an appointment at the Welfare office.

Still more outrage. Reports abound that the gay mayor of San Fransicko continued to remain at a party when news of the massacre reached him. One anonymous eyewitness saw Mr Newsome toasted a male friend moments after aides informed him of the murders.

Yet, more outrage. The MSM have not covered this story. Even the Drudge Report has been remiss in its refusal to cover this deadly story. Thank God for the blogosphere.

8:00 PM on 08/08/08