I haven’t taken to twitter yet. Anyway, I’m sitting in the “Axis” Lounge & Bar in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Singapore. The girl who greeted me at the entrance is Japanese, so I’m slightly wondering what’s up with the name of this place. But more interesting than that are Singapore’s F-15 fighters that are flying outside the window over the Singapore Harbour at this moment. Damn those things are fast, loud and amazing. And they’re pretty good assurances that the Malaysians and Indonesians won’t get any funny ideas.
Many interesting things to cover. First and most imporantly, the Egg McMuffin is available 24 hours a day. It’s option number nine in the photo:
This fantastic option is essentially negated by the lack of coffee refills outside of breakfast hours–which, by the way, last until 11am, instead of 10am as is standard on the mainland.
The coffee is decent, but with so many good coffee shops around, it tastes relatively worse. It is nice to get real half-and-half with one’s coffee, though, instead of the faux half-and-half substitute provided in the mainland.
The sausage here tastes much stronger and better than the sausage patties used in the rest of China. I suppose it’s imported from the U.S., while the China meat is processed domestically.
Will try the pancakes soon….
China Daily provides a mildly inspiring story about a “Hero Porker” that survived over a month (36 days!) in the rubble of its pig sty. The pig, recently bestowed with the last name / first name combination of Zhu Jianqiang (strong pig), survived by drinking rain water and eating charcoal.
NATOR ADDS: The answer to your question is an unqualified YES.
Finally, some movement on the elusive Hong Kong Fatburger. A few weeks ago (yes, it took me a little while to get around to taking a photo) they put a wrap on the increasingly frayed construction barrier announcing that renovation was in progress and the shop would be “opening in this summer.” English grammar aside, I interpret this to mean they will open before the end of August. Judging by my recent walk-bys on Queen’s Road East, there hasn’t been a lot of movement on the renovation. Time is running out.
President HU Jintao went onto the People’s Net Powerful Nation Forum (人民网强国论坛) to answer some questions from China’s netizens. He only stayed to answer a few questions, telling netizens that he typically gets online in the morning to check domestic and international news. In the Chinese media’s typical provincial way, Hu was sure to say “The People’s Net Powerful Nation Forum is one of the sites that I must read on a regular basis”.
The only semi interesting question was whether he reads the massive amounts of comments from Chinese netizens. Hu said that yes they do, that national policy is formulated on what the people need and think, and that the net is one way to understand the people, so it is an important channel.
Good answer. So if you like to understand the people, Mr. Hu, I’d like to know why so many domestic and international websites are then blocked? Especially stuff about Teabet and Tiewon. Oh and porn too. Let me know next time you’re online and I’ll ask.
Last month I brought you analysis of China’s Oil Manipulation, arguing that China’s price controls for energy is one of the reasons for the elevated worldwide price. My fellow contributors Mul and Nator challenged me on this point, but a story out today that China will lift some fuel subsidies has led to a modest sell off of oil today. This shows at least oil traders agree with my earlier viewpoint.
From the China domestic standpoint, it will be interesting to see how this ripples through the marketplace. China is already under inflationary pressures, and if the economy at large is exposed to higher energy prices, this will exacerbate those pressures.
John McCain says that the US has 21 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, and that exploration and drilling should be opened up in areas where a moratorium restricts disallows it (Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)). This is one of the ways he would respond to high energy prices in the US.
Well, it wouldn’t. And it’s a bad idea.
Bloomberg reported in January ’08 that worldwide oil consumption is 88 million barrels a day. If you accept the rough math and oversimplification, and you’ll see that this means the US’ proven reserves could supply the world’s need for all of about 8 months.
Does that sound like a lot of oil to you? Does it sound like its worth ripping up ANWR for? And what would it accomplish?
I say it would serve to bring down the price of oil ever so slightly, ever so shortly. And it would the typical politics of ‘give it to me now and pretend there are no consequences.’ And when that oil runs dry quickly, the crisis will be deeper and energy prices higher, and Americans will still need to get off oil. I really hate that about high level American politics. (Obama/Deomcrats are just as bad or worse, his pandering theme this week in Wisconsin is “Change that Works for You“).
If McCain wants to be a leader on this issue, he should be focusing more on how to really bring energy alternatives to market quickly. And if those alternatives can’t be brought about quickly, then I’d like to see the US hold on to ANWR oil for a true rainy day. You know, it could get a lot worse than $4/gallon gas…
I just finished reading a fantastic piece in BusinessWeek – Inside the War Against China’s Blogs.
The article describes how a new market has emerged for companies who help monitor China’s blogosphere and help fight negative and potentially brand damaging remarks before they turn into a PR crisis. These services cost anywhere between USD 500 and USD 25,000 a month, as the article quotes, and major clients of such firms include Toyota, Nike, Carrefour, McDonald’s, and many others.
What caught my eye was this :
Plenty of companies are willing to pay for positive spin. PR outfits hire students to write postings that boost certain brands and criticize the competition, says a staffer at a Western PR firm in Beijing.
Chinese Web Union is candid about doing this. It pays thousands of people to write nice things about clients, and it compensates forum leaders who spread positive information and quash bad publicity.
So basically, some companies are paying for a positive spin… and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are companies paying for a negative spin…
Heck, for USD 25,000 a month, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some “PR companies” that are doing both at the very same time…
“War is good for business” — The 34th rule of acquisition.
I haven’t seen this anywhere in English yet, but it’s a pretty hot topic among many university students in Beijing. On June 12, announcements similar to the one below were posted at dormitories in several universities (my sources have asked me to delete information that indicates which university this announcment came from):
It says that all students in certain areas of the school have to move out by July 5. (It’s “for the safety of the dormitories”, of course.) Certain areas will be cleared out completely to make way for various Olympic teams and officials, and all students will need written permission with the seal of various school bodies in order to stay on campus. The application process to stay on campus is detailed for students who have work related to the Olympics (most likely as volunteers), as well as for any other students with “special reasons”. No one who does not have special permission will be allowed to stay on campus.
This has come as a surprise to many students. Although many were notified months ago that facilities at their schools would be used for the Olympics, it was not stated that students would not be allowed to stay in the dormitories over the summer. Even though many students will in fact be doing volunteer work for the Olympics, and even though many others will choose to go home for the summer break, there are surely tens of thousands of others who want to stay around: graduate students writing dissertations, science majors doing labratory research, and students doing summer work internships, to name a few. Most of these students would have difficulty renting an apartment in Beijing during normal times, and rents will likely be unusally high this summer as landlords look for wealthy visitors coming in for the Games.
I looked around for links online, but most had already by blocked, so here is a screen capture from the ChinaRen online forums instead (click for full size):
Quick summary (Again, I don’t have time for the full translation right now): The author pasts part of an IM chat with a friend who is attending graduate school in Beijing. The friend mentions that all the students in his school are being kicked out to make way for a team of Olympics “representatives” from the US. The author complains about the forced evictions (rough translation):
This is going too far. . . We’ve already done so much — building the Olympic village, all the stadiums and gymnasiums, and all the infrastructure improvements. What else do you want from us?
My sources tell me that that only certain schools have made such announcements, but that others are likely to do so soon. Notably, nothing yet has been heard from Peking University and Tsinghua University, but if students there are asked to leave, you can be sure that there will a lot more talk about this. And if no more students are asked to leave, those who have been asked to leave are likely to be even more angry that some of their peers at other schools that will get to stick around in their inexpensive dorm rooms all summer.
I subscribe to daily news alerts from MEMRI – the Middle East Media Research Institute, and an email I got a few days ago was about Islamic fundamentalism in Xinjiang. I’ll let you read the original article on their website, as it is filled with several terms that can get our site blocked.
NATOR ADDS: Check out The Opposite End of China for excellent coverage of Xinjiang.
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