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Put on your ‘GOLD’ shirt August 8, 2014

Posted by hslu in Gold.
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$213,000.

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Source: CNBC mobile site.

That’s how much this ~8.8 pound, 18-22 carat ‘gold’ shirt is worth.

His name is Pankaj Parakh and he is an Indian. He is a textile magnate with a lot of money. He got the shirt for his 45th birthday.

We the gold bugs need many rich people like Pankaj who has more money than he needs.

May be Pankaj can make a ‘gold’ wedding gown for his daughter or something.

Let do some math here:

The article says the following:

1. the shirt weighs more than 4 kilograms.
2. the shirt is made out of 18-22 carat gold.

Let’s assume it weighs 9 pounds and it is made out of 20 carat gold since we don’t know the exact gold content.

9 lbsx16 oz/lb = 144 ozs
20/24=0.8333% gold
144 oz x 0.8333 = 120 ozs of gold.

That’s how much pure gold the shirt has in it.

$213,000/120 oz = $1,775/oz

Let’s assume labor cost is minimum in India and let’s assume the othe metal in the shirt isn’t worth a lot, Pankaj bought the gold when it was eorth $1,775 per oz.

Gold closed at $1,311 per oz today for Dec. 2014 delivery.

How does Pankaj take off his gold shirt?

Very carefully, for sure.

I wonder how many more times Pankaj plans to wear his gold shirt?

Asiatique Riverfront Market, Chao Phraya River, Bangkok October 26, 2013

Posted by hslu in Travel.
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Bangkok‘s Asiatique Riverfront Market is a very popular and trendy tourist spot along the Chao Phraya River 湄南河. There are many shops and restaurants here and is a good place to spend an evening here. Eat, drink, play and be happy with the one you love on your side.

Evening is a good time to visit here. It could get very hot and messy in the day when temperature could go up to the 90's. A cool breeze in the air makes it a very comfortable evening here.

Evening is a good time to visit here. It could get very hot and messy in the day when temperature could go up to the 90’s. A cool breeze in the air makes it a very comfortable evening here.

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Expensive hotels and high end condos on the right bank of the river.

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Oh, did I mention that you can watch stage show made famous by Thailand’s transsexuals too?

We came here around 4 PM and our tour guide helped us bought two tickets to see the stage show at Calypso Cabaret: a popular musical show performed by stunning transsexuals and transvestites. Each ticket cost us 1,000 Baht which was more than similar shows elsewhere in Bangkok. We also got a drink with each of our ticket though. Our tour guide told us that he could get better seats for us and we didn’t have to wait for the box office to open at 6 PM. He also said that we could get in there about half an hour earlier and watch the performers too.

He also said that we were allowed to take pictures but can’t use flash. He said that in general these transsexuals and transvestites lived a difficult live because they weren’t looked upon favorable by the general public. They got sick easily and they had to take drugs all their lives to suppress their male identities. The drug caused complications all the time but they had no choice if they wanted to stay that way. Illegal drugs were another problem for them and their stage lives were short because they got old easily. On top of all that, they don’t normally live a long life. Well, beneath the pretty faces, I now realized that there were a lot of untold sad stories and many sorrows for people like them.

We then said goodbye to our tour guide and our driver which was the end of our 2-day tour. 

Sunset along the Chao Phraya River was gorgeous and watching boats going up and down the river was a good way to kill some time before the show too.

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There were some street performers trying to get people’s attention but all that got cut short because of light shower before the show got started.

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There were hundreds of shops spreading out in multiple sections. Many upscale restaurants were open along the river front. Wide selections of cuisine were available too: Irish, American, seafood, India, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese and Chinese too. There was also a amusement park but we didn’t check it out because we were interested in rides or games.

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Studying tonight's menu before the crowd arrived.

Studying tonight’s menu before the crowd arrived.

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I liked to see a little more tourists here. Well, it was a weeknight.

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Nice color.

Nice color.

The make up was great! They were actually alive. See the Live Statue sign there?

The make up was great! They were actually alive. See the Live Statue sign there?

From 6 pm to 7 pm, Monday to Thursday you could eat as much as you could for 599 Baht: about $20 US.

From 6 pm to 7 pm, Monday to Thursday you could eat as much as you could for 599 Baht: about $20 US.

Live fish skin treatment. Smooths out your skin.

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Pants only.

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You could find many international cuisines well represented here.

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Owned by a Japanese or the ice cream came from Japan, I suppose.

By the time we got out of the show, it was almost 10 PM. Rain came down very hard. We had a simple dinner with a bento box and ramen.

By the time we got out of the show, it was almost 10 PM. Rain came down very hard. We had a simple dinner with a bento box and a bowl of steaming ramen.

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BRIC Development Bank July 28, 2013

Posted by hslu in China, Economics, Euro, Global Affair.
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The details of the BRIC Development Bank are being discussed among five founding members of the bank: China, Russia, India, Brazil and South AfricaEach country has pledged $2 billion initially to get it off the ground. It will be ready in 2015 according to news reports. Of course, $10 billion is a minuscule amount compared to what IMF has inits war chest. But, given it sometime, like a decade or two, it will give IMF and World Bank some competition when it comes to lending emergency funds to troubled countries.  Many countries didn’t like the tough conditions tied to the emergency funds that came from the IMF but they had no choice because it was the only game in town. Commercial lending was mostly shut out to these debt laden countries.

Competition is always good for consumers even when we are talking about lending billions of dollars or Euros to bankrupted countries.

I am sure that one of the items on the table is the depreciation of the U.S. dollar. It is also reasonable to assume that another topic under consideration is the possibility of using Renminbi, instead of US dollar, as the preferred common currency for inter-country trades. Funding commitments based on each country’s GDP will also be discussed.

Will BRIC Bank lend its money without string attached?

We shall see how it evolves about 18 months from now. 

United State’s new enemy – China December 2, 2010

Posted by hslu in China, Cold War, Economics, Global Affair, Military, Politics, Taiwan.
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The American’s war machine under the Department of Defense (DOD) has found a new enemy because it has to justify its enormous budget of more than $700 billion every year.

Just about how big is American’s defense spending every year? How about 46% of the total defense spending in the world.

Of course, the new enemy is China via North Korea.

Now that American combat troops have left Iraq, the top brass in DOD looked around the world and didn’t like what they see in China because China is threatening US’s standing in the world even though China’s defense spending is about 1/10 to 1/8 of what US spends every year.

The DOD get together with the State Department and devise a plan to open a new battle ground to block the expansion of China along the Pacific Ocean and India Sea, stretching from South Korea all the way to India.

The United States conducted several naval exercises with Korea navy in Japan Sea and East China Sea after the sinking of Cheonan. The United States deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington to Korea and threatened to conduct a naval exercise in Yellow Sea.

Due to the tension between North and South Korea and the threat projected from China, Japan also beg the United States to intervene.

Taiwan has long been willing to be a small pawn in the US-China competition and its president has elevated the rhetoric of begging US to sell more advanced attacking weapons to Taiwan. The US has long been using this as a bargaining chip in dealing with China for more than a decade now.

The State Department also look at other disputes in Asia and decided to  make new friends with Vietnam and India with high level visits by Clinton, Obama and battleship. Of course, the sole intention of their visits was to further isolate China.

The United States could not compete with China on foreign trades. China will not raise the value of Renminbi according to US’ terms and China owns a big chunk of American’s foreign debt. About the only things US can do is to show its military power in order to intimidate China and to put China in a corner with the help of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and India.

The line in the sand, or sea, has been drawn by the US against China. The US has started another war,albeit a cold war, to justify its defense spending.

Of course, China is not a 省油的灯 “sheng3 you1 de1 deng1,”

好戏还在后面呢。”hao3 xi4 hai2 zai4 hou4mian4 ne1。”

欲知后事如何,”yu4 zhi1 hou4 shi4 ru1 he1,”

请听下回分解。 “qing3 ting1 xia4 hui1 feng1 jie3。”

 

Cold War between US and China October 12, 2010

Posted by hslu in China, Cold War, Global Affair, Military, Politics, Taiwan.
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United States defense budget accounts for 46.5% of the total defense spending in the world.

But according to an article in New York Times, the United States is “alarmed by harsh tone of China’s military.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/world/asia/12beijing.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

The article maintained that “The Pentagon is worried that its increasingly tense relationship with the Chinese military owes itself in part to the rising leaders of Commander Cao’s generation, who, much more than the country’s military elders, view the United States as the enemy.”

The key words here are “in part” because what is not spelled out here are the military exercises that US navy have conducted with South Korea and Japan naval forces in recent months in and around China’s Yellow Sea and East China Sea under the pretense of teaching North Korea a lesson. They were intended to be a show of force to tell China that you are under our watch at all times.

During the recent Diaoyutai incident, the US has reiterated US’s position under Japan-U.S. security treaty to protect Japan if a military conflict erupted between China and Japan over this island even though the US does not necessarily agreed that the island belongs to Japan.

According to an article in New York Times,

The other problem is that, technically, the U.S. would be obliged to bail Japan out if there were a fight over the Senkakus. The U.S. doesn’t take a position on who owns the islands, but the  specifies that the U.S. will help defend areas that Japan administers. And in 1972, when the U.S. handed Okinawa back to Japan, it agreed that Japan should administer the Senkakus. So we’re in the absurd position of being committed to help Japan fight a war over islands, even though we don’t agree that they are necessarily Japanese.

http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/10/look-out-for-the-diaoyu-islands/

The US has in recent months accelerated shipments of military supplies and advance weaponry to Taiwan in the name of defending the small island against China’s military advance. Its clear intention was to use Taiwan as a pawn to block China’s expansion into Pacific Ocean with Taiwan acted as a willing partner. The US, however, has held back on the shipment of F-16 C/D fighter jets to Taiwan purely as a bargaining chip in dealing with China’s expansion economically and militarily.

The America also injected itself into the long standing territory dispute between Vietnam and China in South China Sea after decades of silence on this issue. Its Secretary of States and Secretary of Defense suddenly found Vietnam a friendly country with promises of providing Vietnam with nuclear technology and the construction of a nuclear reactor power plant in Vietnam, all in the name of protecting American’s national interests in South China Sea. What interest is the US talking about?

What’s really going on behind the close doors between US and Vietnam are secret discussions of setting up a permanent naval port in Vietnam for American’s navy ships in South China Sea.

On India, closer military cooperation between US and India was the primary objective of the high level visit by US defense secretary Robert Gates to India earlier this year. His goal was made very clear by his speech:

“In coming years, we look to India to be a partner and net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond.”

Can you not clearly see the intention of the United States which is to block China’s expansion militarily and diplomatically? The United States looked for areas of dispute and potential conflicts between China and its neighbors. It then make itself a partner with China’s neighbors and in the process further divide Asia into two camps: China and everyone else.

How can China not seeing the US as a potential enemy given the diplomatic and military maneuver by the US in recent months?

What’s going to happen is an arm race in the region because every country is entitled to defend itself militarily. China will certainly do so to rid its “sick man of Asia” image once and for all. It is also likely that the pressure from the US will push China and Russia closer in the near future and the cold war will take on a new meaning before you know it.

The United States has 10 aircraft carriers and hundreds of naval ships cruising around the world every day. It has thousands of nuclear war heads and countless fighter jets in airbases all over the world. It has advance military technologies no other country can match in years or even decades.

But, what right does America have to object other country’s military expansion?

They do not, period.

The United States is exercising its military power over other countries for a simple reason: that’s all it has now!

The United States is losing the global war on energy as it imports 70% of its daily crude supply. The trend can not be reversed any time soon and the United States is sending $380 billion dollars to foreign countries every year. If you want to know what wealth transfer is all about just look at this amazing sum of money flowing from our pockets to oil-rich countries. Year after year! With no end in sight! The Iraq war cost the US $700 billion in nine years. We are giving away two Iraq wars every two years with some changes to spare!

The United States is losing the global war on economics as its morphs into a service centered economy.

The United States is losing the global war on capitalism as it moves slowly to socialism with national health care system. In the process, it will drags down its medical instrument industry and drug companies; two areas of innovation and research.

The United States is losing the global war on currency as US dollar is weakened by the introduction of Euro and renminbi within the next twenty years.

The United States is losing the global war on manufacture as new plants popping up all over the world except in the US.

The United States is fighting the global war of terrorism as more and more terrorists looking for ways to come to America as we speak. This global war on terrorism is America’s to lose because of increasing discrimination against Muslims in the US.

The only area that the United States is decades ahead of every one else is its military capability. But the paper tiger is struggling to hang on to its military might in order to exert influence in the world. But its military power is built on a house of cards because the United States is broke.

In short, the good times are gone for the United States. It may not be forever. But it is damn close!

The really sad thing about this is that the US has limited ways to get out of this malaise simply because of its enormous debt, federal deficit and trade deficit in the years to come.

Taiwanese people like status quote, why? September 21, 2010

Posted by hslu in China, Cold War, Economics, Global Affair, Politics.
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Taiwan is a second class “nation” on the world stage due to political pressure from China. According to a recent poll, slightly more than half of the Taiwanese people are willing to maintain the status quote indefinitely instead of unifying with China or declaring independence.

I have to admit that I fail to see the rationale behind this mindset.

Why the status quote?

Is it because that your pockets are filled with money from all that exports to China that you don’t care about your status on the world stage? According to the latest data, China accounts for 40% of Taiwan’s export market.

Is it because that this quasi mother-child relation on economics is enough to keep the unemployment rate low enough that most of you do not feel the pain?

Is it because that diplomatic advancement is simply a pipe dream given the strength of China in recent years? Didn’t President Ma said that Taiwan can “handle” diplomatic isolation as long as Taiwanese have jobs to go to and money to spend once economic isolation is removed.”

Is it because that declaring independence is a non-issue now because ECFA has taken effect as of 9-12-2010? Don’t you know that, with a closer tie on economy and other areas of your daily life, Taiwan’s life line will be firmly in the hands of China to the foreseeable future?

Why not unify with China?

Is it because you do not trust Chinese government and its ability to strike Taiwan at any moment?

Since Ma took office, officials from Taiwanese government at many levels have called for China to remove roughly 1,200 missiles that are aimed at Taiwan. This is utterly non-sense because it sounds like what Chinese said “自欺欺人zi4 qi1 qi1 ren2.” Why should China do that? What does China get in return? Will Taiwan come to the negotiation table to discuss conditions of a  unified China if these missiles are removed back to Central or Western China? These missiles can be reset at moments notice if China likes it.

Is it because the current leader is satisfied with being the head of a nation, second class or not, instead of a governor of a small state in China?

Is it because that no Taiwanese president, certainly not Ma Ying Jiu, from KMT wants to be the last president of the ROC Dynasty that may 遗臭万年 “yi2 chou4 wan4 nian2”?

Is it because Taiwan has found a new mother to play child with? Didn’t the United States wants to sell Taiwan advanced weapons to counter China’s insurgence? Even the president called for such a sell in order to “balance” with China’s military power? Is he kidding? Without the backing of the United States, Taiwan would have long been part of China already. Taiwan is willing to be a pawn and a front line foot solider of the United States in the cold war between the US and China in the decades to come?

Is it because that being a front line foot solider of the United States gives Taiwan a false sense of importance on the world stage?

This is what I have to say to those 50+% of Taiwanese people:

Forget about the status quote. Independence is not achievable given China’s “One China” stance. Use ECFA as a blue print, seek the best comprises from China politically across the negotiation table and move towards a peaceful one China goal in the next decade. It will be good for China and it will be for Taiwan.

Believe me:

The United States is not a friend of Taiwan. It sees China as its new enemy and has aggressively seeking partners such as Japan, Vietnam and India, to fight against the insurgence of China.

Taiwan and China should join hands to counter the attack from the US instead of fighting each other.

Iran Nuclear Weapon February 12, 2010

Posted by hslu in Global Affair.
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How come India, Pakistan and Israel are allowed to have nuclear weapons but Iran can’t?

How come there wasn’t any economic embargo against India or Pakistan when they were testing their nuclear weapon technologies?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not supporting any of this; I just think the international community, led by the U. S., is a whole bunch of hypocrites.

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