Daggers keep dropping hints that I should give a Southeast Asian expat perspective on what’s happening in Egypt. By dropping hints, I mean that they keep emailing me and telling me to write a Southeast Asian expat perspective on what’s happening in Egypt. I’ll think about that some more and get back to you.
ArtAppraiser asked for my thoughts on a New York Times article about the relationships Indonesia is forging with the United States and China. I have to admit I haven't been paying that much attention to politics and economics over here. There isn't much in-depth analysis in the English-language press and my friends are mostly fellow teachers, so we talk more about grammar and culture than geopolitical manuevering. But, for what's it's worth, I do have some thoughts.
You'd think for the kind of money President Obama is spending on travel in Right-Wing Fantasy Land, there would be at least one public event during his time in Indonesia. I mean, it's not like there are occasional attacks of terrorism in a city that is beyond impossible to secure.
Except it is exactly like that. Oh, well. I know somebody who knows somebody who is invited to dinner with the President this evening. Him and a few hundred other more important expats. Not that I'm bitter. But for $200 million a day, you'd think anybody holding a U.S. passport would be invited.
I didn’t have internet service at my house this week. There was nothing wrong with the service. I paid the bill and magical signals were coming through the cables hanging high up above the street. I say magical because I don’t understand the ins and outs of how I can sit down on my couch in Jakarta and communicate with people all over the world through invisible electrical impulses. What’s more, I don’t really care how it works, just that it does. And when it fails, I get the tiniest bit cranky.
Lebaran is this weekend which means I have successfully completed my first Ramadan in a Muslim country. I wasn't affected much. My area of the city has almost as many Christians as Muslims, so the restaurants were still crowded at lunch time. I was more careful about eating, and drinking alcohol, outside during daylight hours and I didn't eat in front of my Muslim co-workers prior to sundown, but other than that, life went on normally.
Bukit Lawang is a village in North Sumatra, on the edge of the jungle. The Bohorok River plays a central role in village life, providing a place to wash bodies and clothes, to cool down during sweltering days, and to have a little fun, running smallish rapids on tubes and in rafts. The village exists almost entirely due to tourism.
There is a report in the Jakarta Post this morning announcing that the city will begin construction on a sewage system next year. The first phase of the project will take almost 10 years and only serve about 10 percent of the city, but it's a start. In 20 years, a projected expansion plan will reach a quarter of the population.
On my way to Jakarta, I had a nine hour layover in Seoul, Korea. As I was planning my trip, I considered spending that time sight-seeing or finding a restaurant with some excellent bi bim bop. But then I realized I would be tired and grimy, so then I decided to try to find out if there was any place at the Seoul airport where I could take a shower. I was explaining this idea to a friend who frequently travels to India and she made a suggestion that changed my entire trip. She said, “Why don’t you look for a day-rate hotel?” Whichever hotel maven thought up this idea was a genius.
Former President George W. Bush on Monday offered a gentle critique of some of the rhetoric and policies President Donald Trump has embraced in his first few weeks in office.
"Today" host Matt Lauer confronted Bush specifically about Trump's assertion that some news-media outlets were the "enemy of the people." It was a rare interview for Bush, who was promoting his new book, "Portraits of Courage." [....]
Over six minutes, Bush countered Trump's worldview, seeming to slightly criticize everything from Trump's immigration policy to his description of "American carnage" across the US [....]
As AA noted, Route 66 used to be *the* way to escape the madness. I used to be hellbent on 20 hour drive-a-thons to whatever sector of the country or side of the border till I figured out planes fly, cars sink, so as to outmaneuver the coasts. I was amazed meeting an Oregon woman in her 30's who'd never been to the ocean 100 miles away. Seems the post-war wanderlust has largely subsided,
As populism grips Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere, there are few targets as ripe for political assault as the institutions stuffed with unelected technocrats wielding the power to affect the economic fate of millions.
.....if Iraq remains on the list of banned nations in a revised order the White House says it is preparing, he could face another political rebellion that could cause his government to collapse. Tehran’s Shiite militias could push to replace U.S. forces in the fight for Mosul; or more likely, Iran’s clients could demand that all American forces leave Iraq immediately after the battle...
President Trump will instruct federal agencies on Monday to assemble a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes sharp increases in Defense Department spending.. tens of billions of dollars in reductions to the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department...Social safety net programs, aside from the big entitlement programs for retirees, would also be hit hard.....
Fascinating and very apropos to everything we members do on this site as well as the current political and social situation in this country.
To sum a major point of the article up, which is itself a summary gleaned from several recently published books: Scientists from several disciplines are beginning to think that the more evolved a human is, the less "confirmation bias" they will have in selecting facts and other information. That "confirmation bias" was a positive trait in tribalistic society, but is becoming a negative trait now.
(their web headline story after all the Oscars stuff, natch)
Backers of a 'single-payer' system that operates like Medicare say the uncertainty surrounding Trump's promise to repeal Obamacare presents California with a chance to rethink how healthcare is delivered to its 39 million residents.
It’s just over a month into Hillary Clinton’s historic presidency, and Milo Yiannopoulos works as a Starbucks barista, the Koch brothers have fled the country and the first woman to occupy the Oval Office is the sober, exacting policy wonk that millions of Americans expected.
[....] Linda Stasi, who chronicled Mr. Trump’s up-and-down marriage to Marla Maples in the 1990s for two New York papers, said she could have predicted the presidential agita. “He would plant stories and he would get mad if they didn’t come out exactly as he wanted,” she recalled of earlier dealings with Mr. Trump. “It never occurred to him that he couldn’t control everything.”
Now, Ms. Stasi said, “he is shocked that he is not in control of the press.”
The headlines this month have been alarming. “Steve Bannon’s obsession with a dark theory of history should be worrisome” (Business Insider). “Steve Bannon Believes The Apocalypse Is Coming And War Is Inevitable” (the Huffington Post). “Steve Bannon Wants To Start World War III” (the Nation).