All of these serious blog posts have me worried that I’ve lost my sense of humor. So, herewith, some silly stuff.
- Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was up in Tokyo telling Japanese people what to do yesterday. Among his suggestions was that Japan should admit more immigrants, but only smart Japanese-looking ones. “If I were Japanese, I would not want to go beyond people who look like Japanese. I will (also) choose people from the high end, so that the children will be of a higher calibre.” He also suggested that Japan not kick the US military out of Okinawa, for the sake of maintaining security in East Asia. “If you have two big trees, instead of one, we can choose which shade to be under.”
- Singapore’s mass transit system is called the SMRT. I cannot board a train without thinking of the classic Simpsons episode featuring “I am so smart, I am so smart, S-M-R-T.”
- The Straits Times reported some world reactions to the North Korean sinking of the South Korean ship the other month. All statements were pretty much caricatures of the countries making them (Britain called it “callous,” Japan called it “unforgivable,” North Korea chimed in that the South Korean president is a “traitor”), but China’s was the best: “China…called the sinking ‘unfortunate’ but appealed for restraint.” Thanks for your input, China.
- About once every 10 cab rides or so, I get a cabbie who is very excited to talk about politics. I wish I had a tape recorder on me so I could have captured this morning’s cabbie and his incredibly animated discussion of the Thai crisis. (What looks to be bad English here is really “Singlish,” the local dialect which is almost like a pidgin at times. I’m just rendering it as is, not trying to be offensive.) “No can compromise, very bad never mind. King, what he do? No can get involved. Red shirt yellow shirt try to get King side. Thaksin, he was a businessman, know how to run business. Poor people northeast side very happy. So military kick out! Next guy Thaksin gang, kick out! So this guy, northeast people say ‘you Prime Minister So-What-I-Don’t-Care.'” Awesome.
- Are we finally ready to admit that Clint Eastwood isn’t as good a director as he’s often portrayed? I watched Invictus on the flight here…that has to be one of the worst “important” movies ever made. It’s not just that the rugby scenes don’t make much sense to an audience who doesn’t understand rugby and that 5’7″ Matt Damon doesn’t look one bit like the gigantic Boer rugby legend Francois Piemaar (the Sports Guy critique). It’s that the movie itself is bad. The writing, the acting, the story, all bad. The basic outline of the story is that
- Francois is a good guy who and remains a good guy, and he loves his country and he respects his president and he wishes that everyone would just get along
- Nelson Mandela is a good guy and remains a good guy, and he loves his country and he respects his rugby team and he wishes that everyone would just get along
- All the peripheral characters who have like two lines each are the who don’t get it, but who are changed by a rugby game
So basically, we have two main characters, who are flat, and 42 million
peripheral characters who we never meet, who are round. Great.
explain why that’s a bad idea. And don’t even get me started about how dopey the story is…