Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Another Sham Project?

I bought a condominium unit at Saujana Resort in 2009 – basically for me and my wife to stay whenever we were in town, since we called Melbourne home at one time.

In the early 1990s, I was once a member of the golf club there under a corporate account. But I remember I have only visited the club house once. Apart from that, I did not know much about the precinct.

The unit suited me well – Subang Airport, which Firefly uses, is only five minutes away. And it would be all swift too if I had to fly from KLIA, except for the traffic light just at the exit of the suburb. However, this stretch of Subang Road is a nightmare to cover during peak hours.

The resort hides some of the most handsome homes in the Klang Valley. You will find all sorts of upmarket cars on Persiaran Golf, which many outsiders also use for their weekend morning walks.

My wife is finding Melbourne’s cold months uncomfortable. We have decided to return to Malaysia for good.

This is what we are seeing in a stretch of Persiaran Golf now:


What are these people doing?

Persiaran Golf is a double carriageway, except for this stretch of the road. Suddenly, drains are being erected every twenty steps of so. What are they for? The area has, as far as I know, never experienced any flood problem.

I consulted the signboard:

 


Yes, they are constructing the drains. Yes, that stretch of the road does not appear to have drain-offs. But why so many drains?

The completion date is supposed to be 3rd October 2022. Today is 16th January 2023, yet much of the work has yet to be completed. It is a big eyesore!

On what basis was the design done? Certainly not much on engineering principles.

Probably the way for someone to do rent seeking?

Talking about rent-seeking, I have a friend who reluctantly accepted a civil engineering contract from a politically connected party. Upon completion, he submitted a claim for RM11 million, giving him a happy margin of about RM3 million. He later found that the party was paid more than RM30 million for “the” project. The rent-seeking portions three times the true cost of the project!!!

Corruption and rent-seeking have gone outlandish! No wonder there are so many Alphards and Vellfires with all sorts of fanciful plates around!

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has just disclosed that the country’s national debt stands at a staggering figure of RM1.2 trillion. With other liabilities added, the total is about RM1.5 trillion! How much of these two figures are a result of corruption and rent-seeking practices?

Hope the unity government is doing something lest we may soon become the No 1 in the world’s Rent-Seeking Championship table.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Zhao Li-jian Has Been Reassigned!

Zhao Li-jian has been reassigned as the deputy director of the Boundary and Ocean Affairs Department of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has served as the ministry’s spokesperson for many years. Many friends are going to miss Zhao.

I hope this is a promotion for him. But I suspect it is not. Maybe with the new foreign minister, Zhao is deemed a baggage. 

Zhao had often been a source of my arguments with friends when we discussed China. I have always cited Zhao as an example of China’s inadequacy in international relations. To me, his demeanours when fielding questions are the type of China-bashing reporters love to see about Chinese officials – mean, harsh, too sharp, patronising, unsmiling, Communistic, someone who – in their own imagination – personifies the fictional character Fu Manchu, and what-have-you. To them, Zhao is China’s foremost wolf-warrior amongst its MoFA spokespersons.

Zhao postulated that corona virus was Fort Detrick’s creation and brought into China by the American soldiers when attended the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan in October. On Xinjiang, he bluntly said to the pro-West media that they were “cooking false information and reiterated that “China has no genocide, Period.” And this is what he has to say on Five Eyes: No matter if they have five eyes or ten eyes, if they dare to harm China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests, they should beware that their eyes would be poked. He also created an uproar with Australia’s Morrison government by posting an image of an Australian soldier holding a bloodied knife against the throat of an Afghan child. (Apparently, the image was originally created by a Chinese political cartoonist in response to the publication of the Brereton Report, which had been released by the Australian government earlier that month – to own up to the war crimes that had been committed by the Australian Defence Force during the Afghan war between 2005 and 2016. The cases include the throat-slitting of two 14-year-old Afghan boys and the subsequent cover-up by the Australian military.)

Being “western” in my concept of what public relations ought to me, I naturally took a dislike of his style as well. But having seen how the pro-West wordsmiths have behaved, I now think China should have more wolf-warriors like Zhao. But the approach needs refining.

Pro-West reporters are beholden to their vested-interest publishers to demonise China whenever and wherever possible. Few bothers about truth. Feeding frenzy is the order of the day. The vicious circle usually takes this form: Someone would come up with some ill-founded stuff. It does not matter whether it is true or false. You quote the source and add some condiments (to claim authorship, of course), and another will add some ketchup here and there. When the “news” reaches the original author, he or she will exclaim: There you are; it is a fact! Reporters and journalists are at best wordsmiths, but many have assumed that they are the authority for one to count on for facts and opinions. How silly!

What should the approach be?

Apply what the West is best at: The Art of Pre-emption.

Most of these reporters are lazy. They gather in press conferences to do daydreaming much of the time.

The stuff that they gather at China MoFA’s press conferences is usually perfect for them to distort things in or about China – especially if the spokesperson is aggressive and defensive, a style which Zhao tended to adopt.

In fact, before a press conference is held, the MoFA should already know what issues reporters will likely ask. The following are just some examples and what preparations should be made to pre-empt these reporters.

On the removal of COVID-19 restrictions…

China might have created for themselves a perfect storm out of its kneah-su (Singapore Fujianese term, meaning afraid to lose) culture. Virus does not care whether you are rich or poor, or democracy or autocracy. It will spread like wildfire if you are not prepared. Their three years of exemplarily handling the virus has gone to waste. There is nothing wrong in removing the draconian restrictions; as a matter of fact, China should have opened up a couple of months earlier. Unfortunately, the bureaucrats were too afraid to look bad – just in case anything untoward should happen during the 20th Party Congress. But they failed to bear in mind one big cultural weakness in Chinese – kneah-si (Singapore Hokkien, meaning afraid to die), and hence their tendency to rush to hospitals and hoard medicine on the first sign of infection, even they were just suffering from mild fevers and scratchy throats. There is enough herd immunity in the populace, except amongst the elderly rural folks. These should have been prepared for that, especially many old people were very reluctant to get vaccinated all this while.

Only after 60,000 have died (not to be unexpected with China's population base), mostly elderly people, have they started to own up. Again, their approach was defensive in essence. Their defensiveness has allowed Western and pro-West press and channels to have a field day, since many videos did confirm the mayhem in many parts of the country.

What Chinese spokespersons should have done is to own up early. We are also humans; we also make mistakes at times! And show the world that China cares!

With their organizing ability, containing this Omicron round should be just a walk in the park for them. Instead, they have become a source of “there you are” ridicules. There is a Chinese idiom (大智若愚 dà zhì ruò yú – brilliant, but acting like a fool), but this time around, I am going to twist it slightly as 大智是愚 dà zhì shi yú – brilliant but indeed stupid, this time at least!)

On COVID-19’s origin, the majority in the West continues to believe it originated in Wuhan. But having heard so many so-called experts, I dare say nobody can say for certain where it actually began. But with what has been exposed in the US-funded laboratories in Ukraine and what Prof Jeffrey Sachs has written in Lancet, I am inclined to point my finger at the US. What China should do is to equip these published materials and make them readily available at the conference room. Just ask the journalists to read them each time a question of this nature is raised.

On Japan’s attitude and actions towards China…

Kishida is visiting the G7 countries. He is telling them how good it is for the G7 to work with Japan to contain China. Japan’s aggression and its soldiers atrocities are all well documented – the Mukden incident, the Rape of Nanjing, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Darwin, the abuses of British and Commonwealth soldiers after their surrender in Singapore, the killing of countless Chinese in Malaya and Singapore, the pain that was inflicted to MacArthur’s in the Philippines, comfort women in Korea, China and else, and many many others.

It should also not forget to keep reminding the world of Japan’s decision to dump tonnes of nuclear-contaminated water from its Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean!

All the spokespersons must do is again to hand out OBJECTIVELY compiled documents to the reporters and ask this question: Can you trust the Japanese? Period.

Again, there is a Chinese saying: the more you add water, the more to-fu you get. Do not waste time answering them!

On the China-India boarder conflict…

Indian historian A S Bhasin has authored a definitive book called Nehru, Tibet and China on the history of this China-India conflict. Again, Chinese MoF should equip with a generous number of copies of this book to be complimentary extended to reporters or journalists when they ask about this matter. It should seal their mouths in no time.

On Taiwan...
Again, make the reporters and journalists aware of the true character of Lee Teng Hui, Chen Shui-bian, and Tsai Ing-wen, especially on Tsai’s questionable PhD thesis and her father less-than-honourable wealth accumulated in Japan-controlled Northeast and historical materials on Qing Hui or Qin Kuai [秦桧], Wang Jing-wei [汪精衞] and Wu San-gui [吳三桂] and let them know if treasons can be tolerated in their own society.

On the US’s ban on chips and chip-making technology to China…

Too much has already been reported on this. The US has clearly violated WTO’s most basic principle, i.e., the right of Free Trade. MoFA should just keep documenting and updating the US’s actions and make them available each time a question is asked. Let the world see how hypocritical the US is!

On South China Sea…

There was a report saying that Indonesia had to send a warship to shadow a Chinese coast guard vessel which seemed to be prowling in the former’s exclusive economic zone. China must not be too complacent about its neighbours. It should keep its neighbours informed of the activities of its naval and coast guard vessels in the area. Indonesians are a very sensitive lot. Jokowi has shown a great amount of goodwill to Xi. China must reciprocate!


Conclusion

In China’s press conferences, I suspect questions are often planted and answers are read from prepared scripts. And when fielding questions from foreign reporters, spokespersons tend to regurgitate the official lines. They can be very tiring to hear.

China is a poor student in International Public Relations Lesson 101, i.e., The Art of Pre-Emption. It should learn from the West the way to beat them in their own game!

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Do Away with Firing Squads but Bring Back the Big Cane!

 

ABS gave this Chinese “spy” headlines in November 2019. 60 Minutes Australia also gave him a big microphone. Today, the truth – to Australian authorities – is out and Wang Li-qiang has been refused asylum in Australia!

It takes the Australian authorities four years to know the “truth”, when every Chinese Tom, Dick and Harry knows Wang is a fraudster.

Wang indulged in self-aggrandization and claimed he helped China to undermine Hong Kong protest movement. He claimed he was a key person in China’s espionage network. He even incriminated several people in Taiwan. He decided he had had enough of a bad China; it was time for him to do good, hence his asylum application when he had the opportunity to be in Australia. He would tell Australia all the murders and tortures China had committed!

The Western media love Wang’s type of tall tales. They make good headlines. More importantly, they make China look evil! They throw away their professionalism and reproduce every rubbish that poured out from these fraudsters’ mouths.

The truth is, fraudsters like Wang are in deep shit in China and are desperately looking to have a new lease of life in countries like the US, Australia, or Canada. Claiming that they will face personal danger if they return to China because they have out of conscience “betrayed” China, or they have regretted in partaking in China’s “evil” deeds, is the easiest way to gain asylum from the not very discerning authorities in some of these countries. Apparently, some have also been successful with their dubious claims of being persecuted for their religious or ethnic causes. After getting their new passport, they dare even to re-enter China with their Chinese passports. But things are changing. China has recently decided to “kill” their Chinese passports upon arrival. They are now no longer Chinese citizens.

People like Wang deserves the harshest punishment. In China, facing a firing squad is usually the way to go. Personally, I am against death sentences. I understand China has already started to practise suspended death sentences unless the crime is totally heinous. Giving people like Wang 24 strokes of cane, like what Singapore usually does to serious criminals, is the best way to deter other Wang-like characters to demonise China and Chinese.

Coming back to treasons and treacheries…

Qing Hui of Qin Kuai [] (19090-1155) is perhaps the best-known traitor in Chinese history. He was a prime minister during the Song dynasty. He was instrumental in the execution of Yue Fei [] who fought against the Jurchen marauders.


There are several well-known traitors in Chinese history and their treasons are well-documented. In this article, I would just like to recall a few:

Wang Jing-wei [汪精衞

Wang (4 May 1883 – 10 November 1944) was initially a champion of Chinese nationalism. He was a close associate of Sun Yat-Sen. After Sun’s death, Wang unsuccessfully engaged in a political struggle with Chiang Kai-Shek for control of the Kuomintang. Upon the outbreak of the Second Sin-Japanese War in 1937, he collaborated with the Japanese to form a puppet government in Nanjing and served as the head of state of this government. Chinese regard Wang as a Qing Hui in modern Chinese history.

Historian Dr Stephen Leong Mun Yoon, in a speech during the launching of his book Sources, Agencies and Manifestations of Overseas Chinese Nationalism in Malaya, 1937-1941, explained that Wang was driven by the reality of the day. China was a wrecked country then; the only way to survive, in Wang’s opinion, was to accept Japan’s overlordship. In 1644, Ming general Wu San-gui [吳三] also opened the gate of Shanhaiguan to the Manchu invaders to establish the Qing dynasty. China stagnated thereafter!

This brings me to the second traitor in modern Chinese history: President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan. 

Tsai Ing-wen

We all know Tsai is openly inviting the US to support her Taiwan Independence cause. She might help turn Taiwan into another Ukraine for the US in Western Pacific. What the US wants is clear for all to see. Most Chinese outside Taiwan just cannot understand why Tsai would want to go down in history as the Qin Hui of the 21st Century.

Honorary Traitors,,,

Several others can rank equal with Qin Hui, but they are no longer Chinese citizens. But culturally, they still claim kinship with Chinese. They should be made “honorary” traitors – people like Miles Yu Mao-chun, Katherine Tai, and the likes of them. 



Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Melting Pot of Chinese Rú-Fú-Dào Culture

For the last two thousand years, Chinese culture has largely been shaped by a cocktail of Rú-Fú-Dào philosophies and teachings. There might still be some purists amongst those who are deeply into these three philosophies/religions, but I do not know if there are pure- or pure- or pure-Dào followers amongst Chinese men-in-the-street now. There is much 我中有你,你中有我 (Wǒ zhōng yǒu nǐ, Nǐ zhōng yǒu wǒ) – which can loosely be defined as “there is me in you, and there is also you in me” – in them. In short, what we are seeing in what is being believed and practised amongst Chinese at folks level is something in a melting pot of these three great teachings.

is Confucianism, which is a philosophy. stands for Buddhism, which many regard as a religion; and Dào or Daoism takes two very distinct forms – philosophy and metaphysics.

I would not go into the esoteric part of these three philosophies and/or teachings, save to talk about my personal takes of what I have seen in the region.

My late father was a typical Rú-Fú-Dào follower. But in mindset, he was very much a practitioner of mystical or superstitious Daoism, not the Lao-zi 老子or 道德經 (Dào Dé-jīng) variety. He was the acknowledged village authority on the rituals of marriage and death. Tong-shu (通書), which is a Chinese divination almanac that is released before the beginning of a lunar year, was his manual on these ceremonies. His calligraphy was good, and villagers would ask him to oblige them with 对联 (duì lián, a couplet in poetry that rhymes about good wishes to owner’s fortune or health or career advancement). They will adorn their main doors to welcome a new year. Father’s deep belief in mystic Daoism was always a source of conflict between him and me. I thought it was all superstitions and being the youngest son, I got away with brushing him off often. When I moved into a new house in Taman Tun Dr Ismail in Kuala Lumpur, we had the “luxury” of being served by two broad roads. But the geography was no-no to him. 

Oh, your front gate is facing a perpendicular road. This allows bad qi () to pierce through uninterrupted. You need to place a pakua (八卦, a small wooden frame with Daoist symbol carved on it) on your main door to ward off this bad qi! He urged. 

Things like this were rubbish to me at that time.

Years after his passing, I began to reflect on some of the predictions he had made on me based on what he had deciphered from the Tong-shu. I must admit that several of his predictions did appear to happen. They might be coincidences, but I had begun to convince myself that mystic Daoism should not be brushed off as totally superstitious. Maybe there is more to it that meets the eye.

I also remember vividly this incident: On our family altar there was a very fine wooden figurine to which we worshipped as Lord Zhu. I was then too young to know who Lord Zhu was, but I later learned that the figure was supposed to be that of the founder of the Ming dynasty Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋). The wood work was apparently given to my grandpa after a friend converted to Christianity. To the village folks, punting in 4-digits was a way to become rich overnight. Many would go out of the way to seek divine help. It was an illegal form of gambling, nonetheless, this was “So What?” to most people. One day several friends approached my father to seek our Lord Zhu’s help. An amateur medium was duly recruited and recited to “invite” Lord Zhu to manifest in him. Soon he was in trance and some blood-flowing grotesque acts followed. His state of existence – as if it was from a different world – left my young mind totally awed. Lord Zhu favoured the devotees with a number. The reverse of the number came up first prize. For every one Ringgit, the payout was two thousand. Several friends made a considerable fortune from it. Lord Zhu was for real, so everybody was convinced. (A footnote on this episode: The lucky devotees sponsored the figurine to be sent to China to be “redecorated.” The one that was finally returned – after many reminders – was certainly not the original; someone had made a switch!)

I recently got reconnected with a high school classmate who used to run a temple in Singapore. He has become a devout born-again Christian. I believe he has also earned a living as a temple medium before. I asked him about the phenomenon. Oh, we are surrounded by stray spirits; these are the stray spirits! And they pretended to be the deity you were seeking to summon. Nothing unusual. He explained.

Buy that?

A great number of Chinese believe in fēngshuǐ (风水). I had the opportunity to speak with the fēngshuǐ master of the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong. He told me that he was skeptical of the practice at the beginning, but as he researched and practised more, he began to appreciate the 奥妙(àomiào – inexplicable) nature of this form of metaphysics. Undoubtedly, there is some science in it; but they are pretty rudimentary or commonsensical to sceptics like me. Regardless, I am still far from convinced that fēngshuǐ is for real. The practice of fēngshuǐ is to help future generations achieve great fortunes or statuses. In Malaysia we live in a multicultural world. Many of the practices of the other cultures seem to go against our fēngshuǐ rituals. Have they disadvantaged their offspring? Great fortunes appear to fall on their laps!

Back to Rú-Fú-Dào: The melting pot is exemplified in Chinese temples. A case in point is the 1,500-year-old Shao-lin Monastery at Song-shan, Henan. It is supposed to be a Buddhist monastic institution, but there are many traces of Daoist practices in it. Several years ago I attended a 10-day meditation cum Taichi course conducted by a senior monk (who is said to be the younger brethren of the chief monk of the Shao-lin monastery) and I thought the Taichi that was taught to us was very much a Daoist form of kungfu.

Our everyday is much about the way we conduct ourselves, especially in the aspects of filial piety or xiào shùn (孝顺, meaning "respect and obedience") to our parents. An unfilial son runs the risk of not being blessed with offspring, so the teaching cautions. is also supposed to help harmonize the relationships between rulers and his subjects, between parents, and children, and amongst relatives and friends. And much of this is also anchored on Dao beliefs and practices, which have preceded Confucianism for generations.

And much about Chinese Buddhism is premised on compassion, and again, the deity that is often associated with is actually Goddess of Mercy Guān Yīn 觀音. To many Chinese, Buddha is worshipped as Rúlái 如来 – the forever happy, pot-bellied, Chinese-looking deity. So much for our knowledge in respect of the founder of Buddhism Siddhartha Gautama! (I heard somewhere recently why the monks were largely confined to monasteries – apparently, to avoid them getting involved in politics!)

In short, much of Chinese Rú-Fú-Dào Culture revolves around relationships, filial piety, spiritual merits, and retributions (因果 yīn guǒ or karma cause and effect) and continuous reincarnations. Fear and superstitions are just a natural part of this culture. And all these are evident in practices throughout the East and Southeast Asia regions. Many have gone to great lengths to stage elaborate ceremonies and rituals to demonstrate their devotion. And surprisingly, much of the practice of this melting pot culture is now absent in China! How the world has changed.

Deities out of Classics…

There were some great authors the protagonists in whose works have been worshipped as deities. The most famous of which is perhaps the money god Sun WuKong (孙悟空) in Wu Cheng'en’s (吴承恩, Ming Dynasty) Journey to the West (西游记). The classic fictionalized Tang Dynasty monk Xuan-zang’s (玄奘; 602–664) journey to India to source authentic Buddhist scriptures. Today, you still can find temples in Southeast Asia dedicated to this “saint” 齐天大圣(Qí-tiān Dà-sheng, loosely: a saint whose prestige is equal to that of the Heaven).
 
Ditto, thanks to Luō Guàn-zhōng’s (罗贯中) The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義), General Guān Yǔ (关羽) has also been turned god-like.
 
Another classic, written by Xu Zhonglin 许仲琳in the 16th century, 封神榜 (Fēngshén Bang , The Investiture of the Gods) combines elements of history, folklore, mythology, legends and fantasy set in the era of the decline of the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BC) and the rise of the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) and helped created deities and immortals and spirits, like 哪吒 Nǎ zhā.

 

And unlike Christianity and Islam, not much of the Rú-Fú-Dào belief is faith-based. It is basically a quid pro quo expectation between oneself and divinity.

 

Time for Chinese to rise above superstitions and emphasize on the philosophical aspects of Rú-Fú-Dào teachings?

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Storm in a Teacup?

China's COVID-19 “mayhem” that has been widely reported by the usual China-sceptic media – BBC, CNN, CNA, SCMP, ST, etc - during the last couple of days has prompted me to write this article.

Indeed, China is experiencing an embarrassing time now. Its hitherto unassailable medical experts must be finding themselves very naked now. To me, the situation is a result of a perfect storm, but will soon I believe it will soon blow over, not like what these China-sceptic media would want it to end – million deaths, etc. These people simply do not understand China or Chinese, or in the case of White Bananas, whom some of them are, they hope their rabble rousing will help them score points with Uncle Sam or Rishi Sunak.

How did the perfect storm happen? I am no expert in medical matters. But I argue the knowledge is all commonsense if you care to put on your thinking cap.

China has been containing the virus very well over the last three years. Unfortunately, its top-down inertia did not allow it to prepare for the winding down, even though it was clear that the new strains like Omicron, though very infectious, are not deadly. If you look at the situations all over the world, few did what China have been doing. Most allowed nature to take its own course, though vaccinations were administered. Singapore perhaps is the only country that had come up with a planned wind-down.

The world has to live with the virus. Sure, some will die after being infected. The same goes for every illness and disease. An unattended sore may cause a leg to be amputated. To achieve zero-COVID is an impossibility.

And that is China’s problem. Or a typical Chinese problem.

The top-down decision-making culture paralyses initiatives. Experts like Zhong Nan-shan are world class, but they have to abide by political decisions. The Chinese leaders are a very competent lot, but the West’s bashing has made them very defensive. They want to show the world that their zero-COVID approach is the envy of everyone. Alas, people are restless, and they want to go back to a normal life after three long years of restrictions here and there. Cases naturally exploded.

But that is nothing. Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan are experiencing that right now.

Lifespan in China today is pretty long. There are many old people. But why the medical services have become so helpless all of a sudden?

It is Chinese obsession to pre-empt that is a leading cause. Let me explain a little.

When vaccines were finally brought into Malaysia, all of us were anxious; we wanted to get ourselves inoculated at the earliest possible opportunity. We were prepared to resort to all sorts of means to get in front of the queue. That 超车(chāochē, overtaking) mindset is real in most of us. China’s Lian Hua capsules were touted as a cure for the disease. We lost no time in ordering quantities on-line and hoarded them just in case.

Now this is happening in China. The spike led everyone to rush to the pharmacies, hence the empty shelves!

They also jam their ambulance service with calls and rush their loved ones to hospitals once the slightest fever is detected. 90% of these “patients” should have stayed home to recover. Naturally, hospitals were overwhelmed, scenes of which the China-sceptic media love to broadcast to the world. Because of the man-made bottlenecks, many old sufferers died. (A headline article in the SCMP several days ago said exactly the same thing – the journalist reported that his friend’s father had to wait for hours to be admitted to ICU and only to expire minutes later there. Sure, it is a sad story, but the reporter was blaming China’s unpreparedness for the spike, which I thought was penned with some agenda.)

These journalists went on to say that Chinese vaccines were not as effective as the West’s, and they cited experts’ prediction that 1 million (some even say 1.5 million) people in China might die of the disease in this outbreak. These people are idiots. And the experts must be pseudo experts! Like Gordon Chang. 

The first strain was certainly deadly. If you got infected, you stood a high chance of going to Nirvana regardless of your status and age. Most countries suffered dearly, but not China. They wanted you to live and contribute to nation building. Yes, the efficacy of their vaccines, which are the inactivated type, are lower than those of the West’s mRNA varieties, but they would help prevent severity even if you got infected. On top of that the Chinese medical authority also introduced herbal concoctions to supplement. mRNA does not fully prevent infection too. It will also lessen severity if one gets infected. (I had four jabs of Pfizer but duly got infected a week or so after my fourth jab!) Western pharmaceutical giants love to boast about the superiority of mRNA. I am not sure if its claims are quite valid. But this very herd of journalists I mentioned above will swallow their sales line, hook, and sinker. Ditto the pseudo-experts.

Why do I say these journalists are creating a storm in the teacup?

When it comes to organizing things, CPC has no peers. They are able to mobilize resources across the country, despite China’s size, with a snap of fingers. Remember how they built a hospital dedicated for this purpose in 10 days? Yes, they might be caught with their pants down in the first couple of days, but ten new pants will be on their way. Chinese by nature is very kneah-su (Fujianese lingo, meaning “afraid to lose.”)

And all these silly 1 or 1.5 million fatality projections! Omicron is not as deadly as the earlier strains. Even if China follows Trump’s or Biden’s way of handling the pandemic, i.e., doing little, it will never add up to these projections! What more is you have a society that is so determined to place people’s lives first.

Nonetheless, Chinese must learn not to be too anxious. Do not rush to hospitals or pharmacies just because your throat becomes a little scratchy. Give way to those who genuinely need medical attention – especially old people with preconditions. And you will help to prove these idiots wrong!

These media people just want China to look bad. And they are looking at every opportunity. Period.


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Two Chinese Sayings on the Conduct of America’s Geopolitics

Today I would share my application of two Chinese sayings: 临时抱佛脚 (Lín shí bào fó jiǎo) and 恶人先告状 (È rén xiān gào zhuàng) on the desperate attempts by America to hold back China. The former is often used to describe an ill-prepared student who just before an examination resort to hugging Buddha’s foot to seek divine help. The latter says that a villain will always try to pre-empt things by accusing the victim first. 

America is going around demonizing China, hence the latter; and its attempt to court souls hitherto considered unworthy and thus the former. 

Of course, it is not just the US that is trying to contain China. The entire Western world, Japan and even India are hoping America will succeed. But I would like to concentrate on the ringleader, i.e., Old Joe.

Old Joe pretending to play victim
I even suspect it is not Old Joe himself that is calling the shots. I just cannot imagine an American president would want to lose his credibility with anybody days after he had made a commitment. But that is exactly what he has been doing to Xi Jinping all this while. Not only that, but Old Joe is also doing that to his hoodlums in Europe, Japan, and Korea. I suspect he is quite demented to remember much of what he had said moments earlier. Old people tend to do that anyway. There must be a Deep State to choreograph his actions. Old Joe is just a very good tool for the Deep State to use to confuse China.

Each time I saw Joe Biden on TV, a phobia of loathsomeness immediately gripped me. I really hate to see that man! He is such a “snake,” a metaphor which we used to describe some of our lecturers in the University of Malaya’s Engineering Faculty. They were pretty sadistic; they love to fail students by setting examination questions that would catch students off guard or unprepared. Some very good students had to repeat a year or two and this has left a life-long scar in their psyche. In geopolitics, Biden is such a snake. He would undertake to Xi one thing, but only for China to see his officials staging a 180-degree turn after they parted, especially on high-tech sanctions against China and military movements in South and East China Seas. My wife always wonders why Xi bothers to meet this half-demented old heck.

(Old Joe is not the only one I loathe seeing; there are a few more – State Secretary Antony Blinken, Defence Secretary Llyod Austin, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Chief Trade Negotiator Katherine Tai and Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns. I also hate to see NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg, EU’s Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, and Japan’s Fumio Kishida, UK’s Rishi Sunak. They are part and parcel of the Deep State that is determined to retard China. Once you assume any of these positions, you get sucked in.)


What has China done to them?
None of them can answer that question, except to make the same silly accusations about genocides and forced labour in Xinjiang, suppressions of democracy in Hong Kong, China’s tyranny in South China Sea and the intimidation of Taiwan. There are many more: Debt traps for those who signed up on Road & Belt Initiatives, and about to come – human rights against Tibetans, not to mention the theft of Western technology, industrial espionage, and the danger China’s high-tech firms like Huawei pose to their national security. (With Huawei’s equipment, you cannot spy on others anymore!)

Blinken is fond of saying that China is not playing its part in a rules-based order world. What is that? He never explained. What we know is that America will challenge any WTO rulings that are against it. Both America and China are not state parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. So, is not this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? It also withdrew from WTO and the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation, albeit they were done during Donald Trump’s presidency. In short Blinken continues to hold America has the birthright to stay preeminent in the world.

The inconvenient truth is simply this: China through its own hard slog is about to overtake the West. And this must be stopped.

To Biden and those in this Deep State, if you do not hold back China’s progress now, it will be too late. China’s Ru-Fuo-Dao 儒佛道 culture/philosophy are incompatible to Liberal Democracy and Liberal Capitalism. The West’s progress and wealth were built on conquests and colonization, China’s “co-existence and -prosperity” geopolitical model is alien to them. If China becomes No 1, they fear many new standards will be set by China and they will be at the mercy of China. This must not be allowed to happen.


But can China be stopped?
The West admired China, then known as Cathay to them, greatly in when the world entered the 2nd millennium. Venetian merchant Marco Polo is said to travel to Yuan’s China in the later part of the 13th century and was totally fascinated by what he saw. (I personally do not think he made the journey, but it does not matter.) Then came the British – George Macartney’s mission to Beijing in 1793. Despite the rebuff by Emperor Qianlong, he made the West understand that China was easy as cake for the West’s plundering, the rest is history.

But Xi’s China is no longer a pushover. Its infrastructure – highways, bridges, tunnels, metros, intercity highspeed rails, airports, power generation, clean water supply, telecommunications facilities – is the envy of the developed world. It is ahead of the West in 5G and AI. Militarily, its missiles technology has surpassed America’s.

In electric vehicle manufacturing, oil and gas exploration and extraction, chip designs, and shipbuilding, China has already overwhelmed every competitor. Sooner, its nuclear technology will also awe Americans.

There is still a gap to close in fighter jets, space exploration and precision engineering. China is now being strangled by the US in advanced chip production. Without the foundry equipment, like ASML’s EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography systems, it is unable to produce 7nm and below chips. This albatross around its neck has slowed down much of its progress to help usher the world into the 4th Industrial Revolution. But in the longer run, China will have a way to circumvent it.

Few countries can do as well as China in food security, poverty alleviation, basic healthcare provision.

China’s unstoppability is based on one thing: Chineseness, which is epitomized in its emphasis on education, regardless of whether one is rich or poor. China is producing four times the number of PhDs the US is doing, and most of them are in the fields of engineering and technology. (Nonetheless, Chinese culture is also not without weaknesses. These two lines of doctrine 礼义廉耻 明正大 (lĭ yì lián chĭ. gōng ming zhèng dà; though some say the latter should read 光明正大 guāng míng zhèng dà) encapsulate the Chinese Ru-Fuo-Dao 儒佛道 philosophy, which I have written before (Japanese: Asia’s Honorary Whites, 7 December 2022). However, I seem to see that the teaching is lacking in the aspects of cleanliness, orderliness, and personal hygiene. Might this be the reason provincial Chinese are generally causal about these needs in exercising social etiquette?)

It has a well-coordinated effort to manage the country’s commodity needs – oil from Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Venezuela and even America, and minerals from South America and Africa.

Despite what China has shown to the Western world how it has successfully managed the COVID-19 pandemic, Western journalists are still pouring oil into the bush fire China is now working on to extinguish following the lifting of quarantine restrictions there the last couple of days. The caption in a CNN article yesterday reads “China could see nearly a million deaths as it exits zero-Covid, study says.” CNA’s Olivia Siong quoted an even higher figure – 1.5million and insinuated that the fatality figures released by China’s official channels were high suspect. She is based in Beijing, yet she was happy to quote a Western report. Do they think officials in China like Zhong Nan-shan is stupid? Friends, the world is facing the Omicron and not Alpha strains now! Omicron is more infectious but less lethal. Like people everywhere, the first few days of opening are always a time of trepidation and people will flock to hospitals even on the account of a mild cough.

The Yellow Bananas
Three weeks ago, I went with a Singapore friend to see some people in Jakarta. To my dismay, he made this wild claim on the Covid situation in China: China’s vaccines are useless, and China’s hospitals are useless. I believe he was trying to ingratiate himself to this people by ridiculing China. I quietly said to him that President Jokowi was inoculated with Sinovac. My friend is an Ah Q through and through; I suppose he was trying to differentiate himself as a higher-end Chinese, not China’s Chinese. 

I no longer think the vaccines, be they Western or Chinese, are that relevant to most of us anymore. I had had four jabs of Pfizer, yet I contracted Covid two weeks or so after my fourth jab. The symptoms were mild and discomfort little. But the coughing did persist for a while after I tested negative.

If you listened to people like Elizabeth Neo and Olivia Siong without putting on your thinking cap, then you would think China would collapse tomorrow, like what the pseudo scholar Gordon Chang said in his “best seller” (The Coming Collapse of China) many years ago.

Western journalists and others like Elizabeth Neo and many Yellow Bananas love to belittle China. They are still stuck in the “West is superior” model and simply do not believe Xi is someone who is going to change the destiny of China. When seeing the Chinese authorities clamping down on their crazy developers, they think China’s property market is finished. When the financial authorities stopped the Ant group from trying to turn China into a debtors’ nation, they empathized with Jack Ma. Public good, which Xi is trying to ensure that his officials uphold, is not alien to their minds. They seem to have more confidence in crooks like crypto currency exchange FTX’s Sam Bankfried.

Of course, Chinese by nature are enterprising and entrepreneurial. These traits also helped create many crooks. They will hatch all sorts of outlandish financial and love scams to cheat people. Many have been caught in Myanmar, Cambodia, and Malaysia. They deserve firing squads.

Hugging Buddha’s leg…

Just a couple of days ago, Old Joe said he planned to commit USD55 billion to Africa over the next three years when he hosted a two=day meeting with Africa leaders. And he declared, “Improving Africa's infrastructure is essential to our vision of building a stronger global economy that can better withstand the kinds of shocks that we've seen the past few years.”

 

Do you believe that?

 

Of course, these African leaders had a good time in Washington. Afterall, it was a free holiday. His administration has made similar promises to the leaders of the Americas, ASEAN and even the Pacific islands. I suppose behind Old Joe, everyone would say, “Show me the money, man!”

 

Blinken explicitly announced to the world that these invites were not designed to contain or compete China. Any three-year-old will know that is exactly what America is trying to do. He would be more credible if he said so. They are so fake when they talk about things like climate change, peace, standing up for Taiwan, human rights, etc.

Hegemon America is not capable of learning. It is no longer able to call the shots; yet it wants to act like one. Biden was rebuffed by its own neighbours a year or so ago; he was given cold shoulders by the Arabs just a month or two ago. His teeth must be grinding hard and fist clenching tight when saw how Xi was welcomed in Riyadh.

I am afraid, save for a couple of saints – people like Jeffrey Sachs – virtually the entire Western world, together with the honorary Whites aka Japan, is no longer untrustworthy.

I could not help to add a long observation of many. Many Indians, despite their sad history of years of colonization by Britain, still find it hard to embrace Asian. Soon, India’s population will surpass China’s, which I thought is no good, yet it is being awaited like a great trophy. Oh, our demographic is young, we have overtaken Britain in terms of GDP, no sooner, we will surpass China. There are a lot of syiok sendiri (Malay term, self-gratifying) bravos there. Western press loves to give them hope. To me, unless they have a transformative leader to bring its masses out of the cultural doldrums, their rich and poor gap will be even greater and their religious divide even wider.

I have just chanced upon the following article in Australia’s ABC News. The caption speaks volumes of India’s sense of complex.

More Taiwans and Orange Revolutions, please! But…If the West had not used the Hong Kong protests as an opportunity to try to discredit or destablise China, Xi would have like his predecessors left Hong Kongers very much to their own to run the island. The heavy presence of foreign agent provocateurs was a wake-up call for China, hence the intervention.

Ditto with Taiwan. If not for the riots in Hong Kong and the distorted lenses that were worn by many Taiwanese, Tsai Ing-wen would have failed to get reelected. She does not think China is “motherland” (祖国,Zǔguó, ancestors’ land). The kinship between Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese was hitherto most heartening for Chinese all over the world to see – until Tsai Ing-wen decided to ditch the 1992 Consensus and went all the way to spike China with her “America is my god” policy. 

The proxy war between Russia and NATO in Ukraine has caused horrific tragedies to the people there. It is very draining to the Russian economy and military, which is what NATO wants. Now grounds are rumbling in Mongolia. A possible Orange Revolution there? Mongolia is sandwiched between Russia and China. It is a great place to be embedded to undermine these two countries.

Blinken is also working hard on ASEAN and the Pacific islands. I believe the ASEAN leaders are too wise to take side, even though some are not quite comfortable with China. Seeing the Arabs and China are getting close, Blinken might drive to court Iran to create jealousy there. Oh, there are so many things America is or may be trying to do to kill China.

End


Stop Press 26.12.2022
Below is a perfect example of 恶人先告状 (È rén xiān gào zhuàng)! And the accessory: Nikkei Asia!