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百元有找 March 27, 2017

Posted by hslu in China, Economics, Taiwan.
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三個林口”鬍鬚張滷肉飯”的外帶只要$265元新臺幣:滷肉飯便當:$80。豬肉排便當:$95。炒肉絲便當:$90。平均不到美金三塊一盒。

鬍鬚張是個連鎖店,臺灣很多地方都有。林口好像只有一家。它的堂吃菜單跟外賣菜單不一樣。外帶的菜單只有幾樣,都是一盒一盒的,比較好包裝。堂吃的有套餐,也有單點的。主打的是滷肉飯,其他有小菜,豆腐和青菜。
我叫的每個便當看起來好像有好多東西,可是它們的盒子都只有一寸多一點厚。東西並不太多,飯量大的人,吃一個便當是吃不飽的。

林口三井對面的鬍鬚張


味道都不錯,肉排沒筋,不大,不厚,裹了太白粉煎炸的,很嫰,一點都不老。滷肉飯味道十足。飯粒分開,肉燥很香,肥肉不多,沒有太油。炒肉絲飯,沒什麽肉絲,跟滷肉飯味道差不多。帶了一點甜味和辣味的韭菜丁和醃的醬菜非常下飯。我們懶得做飯,學這裏的上班族,買外賣回家吃。便宜,方便,快,不用洗碗。一舉四得。

付了錢以後,我忍不住想問:為什麼這麼便宜?

當然,份量較少,肉普遍不多,便宜的青菜是一個原因。不過,同樣一盒飯在美國 VA 中國餐館可能要六,七塊錢美金:差不多臺灣價錢的一倍。在 LA 或 SF 那邊,中國人口密集,應該比較便宜。VA 的中國超市一般有現成的飯和菜任你選。可以在那吃,也可以外帶。那裏價錢便宜,同樣的一盒可能只要五塊半吧。

不止鬍鬚張如此便宜,許多街邊巷口的小吃店,牛肉麪和餃子店也是如此。牛肉麪百元有找的不多,但是一百二一碗的還不少。林口生活水準比台北低,房價便宜,商店租金低,牛肉麪的價錢還要再低個十塊錢。

至於為什麼臺灣價錢低,我想這跟臺灣的經濟結構有關系。

  • 臺灣是服務業的經濟結構。服務業薪水低,買不起貴的便當。
  • 臺灣經濟不好,利息低,新臺幣匯率下降是物價便宜的基本原因。
  • 臺灣資金外流,工作機會不多,年輕人薪水普遍不高,他們被交通費,公寓租金,套房貸款壓的透不過氣,當然買不起太貴的外賣。消費者買不起,商家自然無法漲價。
  • 臺灣勞工薪水十五年來都沒有上漲,這些人居家不易,被現實環境壓的抬不起頭,志氣低迷,競爭力大受打擊。買不起比較貴的便當是想當然而。
  • 勞工薪水低,店家的勞工成本就不會太高,成本相對來說比較低。便當價錢自然便宜。
  • 臺灣商家不敢加價,怕人民上街遊行反對是個原因。
  • 臺灣在中國的壓制下,對外收到限制。這些外在的因素就自然展食品價錢上面了。加上世界財務危機,通貨膨脹率不高,生活用品沒有辦法上漲,是個原因。
  • 餐館的門檻低,任何人只要買個推車,把他改裝一下就可以擺在大街上開起店,自己做老闆了。
  • 這是一個新的車子。大概才開張沒多久。

  • 如果家人一起租個店面,花個20萬簡單的裝潢一下。買些桌椅,碗盤,廚房用具,紙板,紙碗,一次用筷子。媽媽做主廚,爸爸當跑堂兼收盤子,兒子收錢,接外賣電話,太太幫忙洗菜,裝外賣,一個餐館就這樣開了。週末比較忙,請個$220新臺幣一小時的臨時工大概就搞定了。有幾家生意很好,一年做個幾千萬或一億以上的不是沒有。可是大多數這種家庭事業都有苦苦掙扎,僅夠糊口而已。大小小餐館到處都是,競爭激烈是個原因。
  • 美國,日本,中國和歐洲銀行印鈔票,美其名是刺激經濟。其實對實際經濟沒有太大幫助,反而造成嚴重的貧富不均現象。資金往回報率高的產業跑。股票和房地產大賺,基本經濟發展受到限制。中產階級沒落,低階乘的人數增加,可運用的資金降低。無法負擔太貴的便當。
  • 臺灣外貿佔 GDP 比率太大,臺灣本土經濟,也就是臺灣本土的購買力,比數字上顯示的人均 GDP 有一段距離。這是臺灣結構上的問題。短時間是無法改變的。
  • 如果臺灣政府繼續抵制中國的一中政策,臺灣經濟發展一定會受影響。薪水絕對無法增加。便宜的便當還有的賣的。
  • 臺灣人才流失,技術逐漸落後,以前的領先產業逐漸被中國和韓國淘汰。中國過去五,六年在IC的投資已經逐漸看到結果。臺灣的前途堪憂。便當價錢無法上漲。
  • 臺灣民富國衰,政府窮(稅收太低,不敢加稅,股票賺大錢政府只能看著,政府出個點子,人民比政府更厲害),人民身價高(許多財富都在房地產上,付稅低),本末倒置。沒有錢的政府如何能夠推廣經濟,協助江河日下的工業?
  • 臺灣認為自己是一個發達的國家,對環境保護的要求很高。化工廠不要。核電廠不要。晶片厰不要。發電廠不要。有意在臺灣投資的工業不來。只有靠馬殺雞,牛肉麪,滷肉飯和鍋貼為生。
  • 臺灣人民要去核能發電廠,政府已經決定要停止核電廠運作。可是以後電從哪裏來?沒有電,沒有工業。沒有工業,只有繼續吃新臺幣$80的滷肉飯便當。

No one else to blame but Republicans themselves March 26, 2017

Posted by hslu in Congress, Election, Politics, Trump, US Government.
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Many conservative talk show hosts are doing their best to find cover for Trump. Ryan became the de facto scapegoat.

Some asked for Ryan’s head because he failed the party and Trump. Some even suggested that Trump was on board according to his tweet.

Some called out the “The Freedom Caucus” and suggested that they planted a dagger in the Trump presidency.

Well, I of course don’t know what’s going on in the Republican Party, but Trump, Ryan and the Freedom Caucus are all responsible for the misery they are facing now. 
Trump failed to negotiate a deal in his own party even though he kept touting his “best-deal-maker-ever-lived-in-this-world” image. Ryan didn’t do a good job as the leader of the Party. The Freedom Caucus forgot that the Republican Party was bigger than the Caucus. They sacrified party image and  party unity with by staying their ground and opposing the bill. 

Sadly to say, the Republican Party is probably the most disfunctional party of the land; about the same as the Democrat Party before the November 2016 election. 

The path ahead for the Republican Party is treacherous in the face of the united Democrat opposition. The budget, the border wall, the Supreme court candidate Judge Gousuch, the Russian inquiry, Trump’s unsubstantiated wiretap claim, the tax reform and infrastructure spending are all difficult legislation battles. Without unity, the Republican Party will fail to produce meaningful legislature, Trump will be trapped by his own wotds, Democrat will regain the Senate in 2018 and  Trump will be a lamb duck for 2 years.

Learn the lesson from the failure of the American Health Care Act and work together on the next agenda item. Trump and the Republican Party can recover from the first defeat. If one failure turns into two and two becomes three, Trump will be among the least effective presidents in recent memory.

Very busy March 25, 2017

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Taipei, Travel.
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One hour wait for a party of 4 at 3:15 pm on a Saturday afternoon at Zhong Xiao Fuxing (忠孝復興)Din Tai Fung(鼎泰豐), the xiaolongbao (小籠包)place.

It takes four people to make a xiaolongbao: one person makes wrapper, one person takes the wrapper, fills it with chopped vegetable and places it on a scale to check its weight, one person picks up the vegetable-filled wrapper, adds shrimp or crab meat to it and then places it on the wooden work table. The last person fold the wrapper up and makes sure the end product has 18 folds.

Well, folks, that’s the way it is.

You are fired. March 25, 2017

Posted by hslu in Trump, US Government.
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In general, VCs don’t buy a family business no matter how successful it is. Trump should apple the same principle too: no relatives in the White House. 

Democrats and the liberal media should have a field day with imploding of Ryancare legislation and SNL, The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live! will make a mockery out of the Trump family too.
So Trump is “furious” but will Trump utter the words: “You are fired” to Ivanka and Khshner? 

Please stay tuned.

 “MAR-A-LAGO Act” March 25, 2017

Posted by hslu in Congress, Trump, US Government.
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Obama should be subjected to “MAR-A-LAGO” too.

Source: U.S.A Today

Well, all U.S. presidents should too. Who knows who or what is buying access at “MAR-A-LAGO” or the White House. 

Let’s pass the  “MAR-A-LAGO Act,” Congress.

Do Americans even care? March 25, 2017

Posted by hslu in Islam, Middle East, Military, Muslim, Religion, US Government.
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Yeah, the Pentagon said that there will be an investigation about civilian deaths in the hands of U.S.-led airstrike in a western neighborhood in Mosul.

Then what? An apology by a Pentagon spokesman is probably all American people will hear six months later. But do American people even care what’s going on in Iraq? Probably not. They care more about Kadashine’s next bf than how many Iraqis got killed by American bombs and missiles.

However, Iraqi people and a lot of people in the Middle East will remember every death in the hands of the U.S. government.

Hatred against the U.S. in the Muslim world perpetuates.

掌上明珠 March 24, 2017

Posted by hslu in Food, Restaurants, Taiwan, Travel.
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朋友從 LA 回臺灣,請我們去宜蘭吃飯。餐館的名字叫:掌上明珠。好可愛。朋友來過這裏多次,對餐館的環境,氣氛,食材和8菜的品質及味道都非常喜歡。他們特意帶我們來嘗一嘗。

離開台北那天早上,天上下著不小的雨。上了高速公路,一路無事,上山後,過了雪山隧道(first time for me),沒多久經過礁溪,然後往宜蘭方向走,下交流道以後走了一些鄉間小道,前後差不多一個半鍾頭就到餐館了。到了餐館,雨慢慢的停了,正好讓我們可以四處走走。

餐館好像在人口稀少的宜蘭郊外,離市區有一點路。四周都是農田,沒有高房子。一路上,幾間矮矮的農舍點綴著沒有農作物的稻田。說這個餐館在鳥不生蛋的地方,是有點委屈了它。可是,餐館附近確實沒有太多人家,也沒有什麼商店。路窄,車少,天陰,雲低。冬天的宜蘭郊外還真沒有什麼景色。

餐館不小,氣派十足,兩個高高的大房子四周有幾間比較矮小的房子,看起來都是木頭的建築物。除了飯廳,廚房,還有一個頗有韻味的美術館和一個鐘樓塔台。院子裏有小橋,流水,燈飾和精心栽植的黑松與大樹,搭配著花圃,樓臺和花間小道。幾個不算小的鳥籠子裏,有孔雀,鸚鵡,鴛鴦和一些我叫不出名字的鳥。看來老闆投資不少。也看得出來這個主人確實花費了不少功夫和心思。餐館在這裏多年了。想必有一定的客人讓它在這裏生存,成長,打造出一個響噹噹的名聲。連台北的客人都專車跑來吃飯。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

朋友說,鳥籠是不久以前蓋的。這一對可愛的紐西蘭太陽鸚鵡最引人注意。嘰嘰喳喳的也不怕人。相親相愛,相偎相依,你儂我儂,羨煞人也。

鴛鴦戲水。

白孔雀是非常珍貴,少見的。還有幾隻其他顏色的孔雀。

牆壁上的小裝飾。

因為當天是週日,客人並不多。好大的餐廳顯得有些空曠。樓上也是餐廳,還有品茶的地方。我們上去參觀,覺得它的氣氛優雅,精緻的桌椅和房裏的擺設都是日式風味。

樓上的雅房。簡單,大方,風景極佳。

我們幾個人被安排在一間包廂裏,窗外景色宜人,剛剛下過雨,樹木花草顯得格外美麗。掌上明珠的菜是走日本懷石料理的風格,精細,漂亮,餐具典雅,份量卻比以前吃過的多了許多。開胃小菜,壽司和生魚片是一定有的。

這是菜單,也是出菜的順序。

<a href=”https://hslu.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/wp-image-1605627665jpg.jpg”&gt;</a

掌上明珠跟我們以前去過的幾個懷石料理餐館差不多。不過,這家給的份量太多,全桌沒有一個人吃完。有的菜的品質精細和盤飾新穎,值得推薦。有些菜一大盆,沒有一點美感,跟攤子上吃飯一樣。服務也有一點匆忙,給人一種趕集上市的感覺。我們在的那天,一點都不忙,不知道是不是廚房太急了。要不然就是我們吃的太慢。

整體來說,掌上明珠像是宜蘭平原上的一顆樸素的珠子。四周的稻田把這顆明珠襯托出來。那些人工打造出來的景觀經過歲月和海風的洗禮,顯得非常安詳,默默的散發出誘人的光彩。一方方的稻田,襯托著一條條細細的田埂,延伸到不算太遠的高山。高高的山頭,躲在淡淡的霧裏看著這顆人工堆積出來的明珠,欣賞古典和詩意柔和在一起的綠洲。

臺灣地小,人多,許多年輕的一代薪水低迷,工作時間非常長。除此之外 他們還被大環境壓的喘不過氣來。可是,這幾年來,臺灣的房價高漲,有房,有地的人身價大增,無形之間使得社會財富增加。掌上明珠和許多懷石料理餐館以及下午茶之類的高級餐廳就名正言順的滿足了這個市場。

 


Over easy March 24, 2017

Posted by hslu in Taipei, Taiwan, Travel, 林口.
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不知道林口扶輪公園的雕刻是什麼,不過它有一點像 over easy。有個小銀牌子,可是字太小,看不到,只好作罷。

後面的白房子是一個比較小的購物中心。它有一個電影院,幾個運動服裝店和幾個精品小店。餐館有七,八個,中間一個是火鍋吃到飽。我們試過。青菜自己拿。肉隨你吃多少,不過要向店員要。我們肉吃不多,拿來的也沒吃完。

電影院好像 $200 一個人。這是會員價。我們已經參加。不是會員要 $400 吧。還沒來看過。電視上的節目就多的看不完了。還有 PC 上的文章和影視節目呢。

扶輪公園還可以,地方並不是太小。在台北這一帶已經算是不錯了。我們有機會就在這裏走幾圈。繞著人行道上走一圈差不多 1000 步。公園裏有六,七個雕刻。三個籃球場,許多步道,好幾個亭子和做體操的地方。只要不下雨,就有許多人在這裏走路,跑步,談情,說愛,運動,遛狗,打籃球。公園邊上有好幾個公車站,附近有好幾個高樓,熱鬧的很。

來一鍋 March 23, 2017

Posted by hslu in Food, Restaurants, Taipei, Travel, 林口.
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林口三井 Outlet

韓國美味,高麗佳餚,熱鍋燒烤,任君選擇。物美價美,花样繁多,小菜大餐,一概俱全。

林口三井,聞名北台,四方饕客,趨之若襟。三朋好友,大宴小酌,粗茶淡飯,利益良多。

弄假成真。

如假包換。

跟真的一樣。

Ghost shopping malls in the U.S. March 23, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, jobs.
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The Fed has just raised the key federal funds rate by 25 basis points, citing improvements in the labor market and rosy economic indicators. Two more rate hikes are widely expected before the end of 2017.

Indeed, the latest unemployment rate data shows that the U.S. is almost at full employment with unemployment rate at 4.7% as of 3/10/2917. In other words, according to the U3 data, most people who want a job have a job: washing dishes, flipping hambergers, driving for Uber, waiting tables at local diners or walking dogs for the top 1% in NYC near Trump Tower. 

We are not going to quibble about the U6 number because the media doesn’t report it and most Americans have never heard of it anyway.

To me, 4.7% U3 means people’s pockets are stuffed with $100 bills. They are happy. They are satisfied with their lives. They go out for beer and lobsters. They fly to exotic resorts for vacations. Of course, they buy stuff they want instead of what they need. They might save a penny here or a quarter there. They are confident in their future according tow the latest consumer confidence survey results.

But, according to this 3/23/2017 thestreet.com article on Yahoo Finance and other sources on the web, why are these U.S. retailers closing hundreds of their stores all over the United States?

Are people having less money because their jobs aren’t paying enough?
Are Amazon and eBay so successful selling almost everything on the Web that they ripped the faces off these once untouchable giants?

Have their profit margins been squeezed by higher costs because China has been exporting inflation to the world?

Do these big and small retailers simply lose touch with the changing spending habits of the consumers?

Do baby boomers stop buying from them because they only have enough to pay for medicines and food?

Or could the reason be as simple as America simply has too many shopping centers?

Whatever the reason, real estate operators in the U.S. will need to adopt and modify their operations so that they don’t end up with ghost shopping malls on their portfolio. 

Here are the known store closings for 2017. The list is long and no doubt that you have been to many of thrm:

  • JCPenney – 138 stores
  • Sears and K Mart  – 150 stores
  • Macy’s – 100 stores
  • Foot Locker – 151 stores
  • Kohl’s – 16 stores
  • CVS – 70 stores
  • Office Depot – 198 stores
  • Radio Shack – 552 stores
  • Family Christian – 240 stores
  • HHGregg – 88 stores
  • Pier One Imports – 100 stores
  • Staples – 118 stores
  • Tiffany – 11 stores
  • Bebe – 170 stores
  • Payless – 500 stores
  • Abercrombie and Fitch – 54 stores
  • Guess – 60 stores
  • Crocs – 160 stores
  • BCBG   Maxzaria – 118 stores
  • The Limited – 250 stores
  • Wet Seals – 171 stores
  • American Apparel – 110 stores

All together, there will be roughly 3,500 empty retail spaces across the U.S. To make the matter worse, WalMart reportly will close 269 stores in 2017. 

With so many stores closing up in 2017, how many employees will lose their jobs? 

Is America’s economy really that good?