Saturday 30 April 2022

Russell Brand Reacts To Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard Trial


Russel, ex drug addict, ex alcoholic, present guru

More people should be like Grimes: "I don't know about this, so I'm not going to say anything"

Grimes on the Twitter deal. Remember: she is the mother of Elon's child. They have a kind of "open relationship".

Btw, her thoughts on 'sunset clauses' for legislation, which is a good idea, is Elon's. At least, I first heard of it from Elon.

More from Film Streak on Musk and Grimes. And the egregious Amber Heard. Which trial I can't get enough of. And who Musk ditched. No doubt figuring her out earlier than Johnny Depp did, and running like crazy. 

Friday 29 April 2022

China | Australia | Solomon Islands | Red Lines

On the march to the Pacific?
For sure Australia has every right to be worried about a more assertive Beijing  right in our backyard. Whether it’s the right strategy to say, publicly, it’s “very likely” China will place troops in the Solomons is another thing. It may just prompt a bolshy Beijing to do just that. Better, maybe, to handle these sensitive issues out of the public glare. Diplomacy, baby…

There’s heaps of comments that I haven’t looked at yet. My guess the “50-cent army” will be out in force, as they are dispatched every time the topic is Australia-China relations. Beijing is determined to hurt Australia. Which makes a mockery of their “principled stand” against sanctions, like against Russia. 

ADDED:It’s a bit rich for China Defence spokesman, Tan Kefei, to talk of “fake news”. When the whole edifice of China media, top to bottom, is fake news. Aka fighting “historical nihilism”.

Five things You can’t criticise, discuss or make fun of:
  • trending topics on the history of the party, country or military; 
  • Marxism, Mao Zedong Thought and the theory of Deng Xiaoping; 
  • The CCP evolutionary history and China’s economic and open-door policies; 
  • party and state leaders; communist history;
  • or the whitewashing of “villains” in the official version of history.
Horrid, no?

Thursday 28 April 2022

Denmark is the best performer in handling Covid | Questions about China

Re Denmark: they are stopping all measures including vaccines. Cases, hospitalisation, death rates all down. 

Re China: Sinovac vaccine not fully effective until three jabs. Oldies only 10-15% vaxxed to three jabs. Hence the panic. 

Freedom of speech in today’s America with David Mamet and Adam Carolla

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Cry “misunderstanding” when you do something crappy and get called out on it. The case of Free Speech in Hong Kong

Check out the underlined bits where Carrie Lam says worries about Freedom of Speech in Hong Kong are just a “misunderstanding”. 
Carrie Lam, our Chief Executive, these days always to be counted on to sound like a Beijing apparatchik. She’s coming along well in commie-speak. Here it's “misunderstanding”. You can’t be bothered to address the guts of the issue. So you call it “misunderstanding”. 
Which here is that the National Security Law of June 2021, has stifled and is stifling Free Speech in Hong Kong. Not really a “misunderstanding”, more of a fact. 
The only reason I can write this on this blog is because it’s in English and has less of an audience than even the late unlamented CNN+

Tuesday 26 April 2022

If Musk changes Twitter, I’ll join

“Yessss!” Says Elon. He just bought Twitter! To the chagrin of many on the Left who don’t like that they won’t be able to censor people they disagree with any more.
Musk says he wants to promote Humans and Banish Bots. And set up a pay version. $ 2-3 per month. Then join with your real name. I’d join that. As it is now, I follow quite a few on Twitter, both Left and Right, because — if you choose well — you get to know what’s going in in the world in real time. But I don’t ever take part. But I think I would if Musk does as above. There must be more like me, surely. 100 million maybe? That’s 2-3 hundred mill/month, ~3. Bill a year. That’s enough right there to make it profitable. Especially if he sacks some of the 7,000 staff in San Francisco. 7,000??! What are they doing? Mostly “moderating” I’d guess. From a left to far-left view. Which is something Musk wants Twitter to do less of. There’s the door, dear snowflake.

ADDED: To be clear: I’m a huge Elon Musk fan. Have been for many years, before he was even a word. A recent Vlog I’ve come across has some interesting takes on the Twitter purchase, by Krystal and Sasgar on Breaking Points

“As Republicans target primary schools and Disney in America’s culture wars, where’s the Democrats’ fight?” | Robert Delaney

My response to Delaney's column. I think he's lost where many American parents are. 
There's a reason Disney stock is down and it's not Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. It's because their "not so secret" desire to inject a far left ideology into the Disney product has turned many off. (Source: Internal videos that were outed by Christopher Rufo). 
My comment to Delaney:
(1) The (dishonestly) labelled "Dont Say Gay" Bill, Delaney claims "…will surely stigmatise the LGBT community". The Bill does nothing of the sort. Have you even read it? 70% of American adults support it, including 52% of *Democrats*.
(2) Republicans are boycotting debates because the Commission on Debates is palpably biased.
(3) Calling half the country which is Republican "…hypermasculine and heteronormative" is a rewrite of Hillary's "Deplorables". Ad Hominem, much?
(4) Republicans in bed with Beijing and Moscow??! Give me a break! Heard about the Hunter Laptop, Robert? Obama mocking Romney for labelling. Russia the biggest threat?  
Delaney's columns ought be relabelled "Report from the Bubble".

“China outbreak worsens…”

Not just Shanghai and Beijing. 83 of 100 top cities in China are in some kind of lockdown. 

There is no way to contain the incredibly transmissible Omicron BA 2.12.2 variant. While elsewhere in the world we see 83,000 maskless fans at an AFL match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. A full and maskless UK House of Commons PMQ. In the US the top five states for daily me cases are the ones that had adopted the most stringent lockdowns. It seems the best, the safest, the least damaging way to go is to go through it. UK now has a huge amount of natural immunity. Huge number of cases. Low hospitalisation, low-steady death rates, while outside life goes on.  

ADDED: I’ve spoken to a number of folks all of whom are hoping for Zero Covid to fail in China. Why? Because if it doesn’t, if they have some form of wha they can call a “victory” then every time there’s a new outbreak — which is inevitable — it will be new “strict lockdowns” again. And we in Jing Kong will e caught up in it meaning never being “normal” again. That’s why. Contrast this secenario with Australi now, once shut down totally, now open and free. With no discernible downsides. They hand ZCP then ditched it. That’s what we need China to do. There’s an article in the Economist “Authoritarian governments can get things right. But they have a hard time admitting when they got it wrong”. The only way China can get out of the craziness going on in Shanghai is by comprehensive failure of ZCP.

Monday 25 April 2022

ANZAC Day. Lest We Forget

Which brings to mind my grandfather, Bruce Anderson, mother’s father, who fought in Egypt in the First World War. A farmer from New Zealand, grandson himself of Scottish immigrants, born in NZ and having no idea of anything outside, sent to fight in the desert against Rommell’s troops. 

We visited the Auckland War Memorial in March 2017, and the very helpful people there found his army records to confirm all this. Actually we’d thought he’d fought at Gallipoli.... I’m guessing that’s the family history in many families, “he fought at Gallipoli”, just as it was for we kids of 1960s “I was at Woodstock”....

Grandfather Bruce came back to New Zealand, and said “if that’s what it’s like out there, I’m not going back”. He spent the rest of his long life, to age 96, in New Zealand, fathering four daughters, the oldest our mother, aka “Mutti”. 

Our father, John Forsythe, fought in WW2, in Papua New Guinea, against the invading Japanese.

The Guardian writes a sympathetic piece about the number of young people who attended today’s ceremony in Australia. 

ADDED: Our grandfathers and fathers would have said they were fighting for our Freedoms. Nowadays the Left has turned “Freedom” into a Bad Thing. Amazing. Musk wanting to protect freedom of speech is smeared and “only doing it for himself”. Says the poisonous dwarf, Robert Reich (no ad hominem intended)

Someone asks “how do you say ‘etc, etc...’ in Chinese?"


Young Wen San answers, with some bits I didn’t know. (The bit about yunyun”):

In addition to 等等 děngděng which the other respondents have provided, there is actually another word for etc. which features in Classical Chinese, which is 云云 yúnyún. Citations from the Hanshu and Zhuangzi:



The word 云 was the ancient form of the word “cloud”, which was eventually borrowed to mean “to say”. In order to create the distinction, the rain radical 雨 was added to 云 to form the new character for “cloud”, i.e. 雲, and this became the orthodox form moving forward, until the character simplification process in the 20th century brought 云 back as the mainstream form for “cloud”.

云云 yúnyún as the word etc. has fallen out of use in Modern Standard Chinese, perhaps partly because 云 yún itself has fallen out of use as the word for “to say”. But happily, 云云 as the word etc. still survives in the Vietnamese language, pronounced vân vân.

Yeah, Covid “insurance”, but sometimes the *premium* is too large

Zero-Covid strategy is like insurance for 1.4b people” says Liang Wannian, China’s top coronavirus expert. Oh dear. 

Once upon a time, after several years of high premiums for comprehensive insurance on a boat, we decided to cancel it. We figured we’d be better off just paying for any potential damage ourselves, rather than paying  huge up-front premiums. And it did work out better in the end.

So talking about Zero Covid being “insurance for 1.4b people”, without talking about the cost of the “premium”? Without talking about the cost to the rest of society? The cost to the young by protecting the elderly and unvaccinated?

 ZPG is crazy. Others call it “insane”. The “premium” is much too high. Not that the opposite of “insurance” is to “let it rip”. That was always a false binary. The alternative was and is: focussed protection. Focus on vaccinating the vulnerable and the elderly. Let the rest get on with life.

ADDED: Voices from Shanghai (unverified, at least by me). A city of 25 million people in the world’s most brutal lockdown.

ADDED: Liang does mention “costs”, like vaccination, mass screening and makeshift hospitals. But these are the least of it. The costs I’m talking about, that the world is talking about, is in livelihoods, scarce food, mental health issues and deaths from non-Covid diseases, untreated because of ZCP. (One estimate has these at five times Covid deaths). Washing streets down with Lime that will go into the water supply.

Sunday 24 April 2022

Macron will have to do, then, “faute de mieux”

Being pro-Putin in Europe is a bipartisan thing. Both far-left and far-right osculate the dictator. The real practical threat, though, is from Le Pen’s far right.  Not just in thrall to Putin, but wanting to cause serious damage to Europe. (Presumably she doesn’t aim to hurt Europe. But that does seem an inevitable outcome of her policies, some of which, to me, are pretty scary; the road to hell…). 

In the US, it was the Democrats — candidate Obama in 2008 — who mocked Republican candidate Romney for saying Russia was the main threat to the world. “The 1980s have rung and say they want their policy back”, said clever Barack. His Secretary of State Hillary infamously presented Boris Lavrov with a “Reset” button — offering to soften ties with a dictator who has already been in power for 8 years. It didn’t help that the button had used the wrong Russian word for “reset”, at least according to Lavrov (was he just trolling? Wouldn’t put it past him). Anyway, point being the the Dems can hardly claim the high ground on relations with Putin. And, moreover, that there must sorry have been an attempt to get sling, for a Russia on our side is better than a Russia on China’s side. 

As Brian Stewart says of a Europe’s attempt to “reset”, to “get along” with Putiin, “Russia responded to all this with galloping malevolence.” 


As we approach the denouement of France’s two-stage presidential election, it becomes clear that the race has been a missed opportunity to consolidate opinion in France, and perhaps Europe, against the malevolent rule of Vladimir Putin.

This may not greatly trouble the conscience of Emmanuel Macron, whose bid for re-election has been an unusually arduous affair. But the blunder is a microcosm of the feeble leadership he has demonstrated since entering the Elysée Palace. Under the banner of “the radical center”—rather more centrist than radical, one might say—Macron has steadily been drowned out by a cacophony of extremists on the Left and the Right. His appeal to French voters has been faute de mieux. To justify himself, Macron points only to the wretchedness of the alternatives on offer. [More]

To feel empathy for Ukrainian citizens — *empathy* not just sympathy — you have to imagine

You must imagine This,☝️ above, your peaceful neighbourhood, turning, in days, into this…👇
A man walks through the rubble of his home in Chernihiv, Ukraine
That’s what happens, your home suddenly rubble. If you’re lucky, you’re still alive. But with nothing. 

Yet China supports the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country, the levelling of cities and the murder of civilians by a rogue military. On maps it deletes the border between Russia and Ukraine. Shame on China. Shame on Beijing. Shame on the Chinese social media users who support this wanton murder. “China’s policy is very popular in China” say the apologists. Yeah, right. Plenty of dictators have been wildly popular. Plenty of unprovoked invasions have been wildly popular. A certain moustachioed dog-loving vegetarian comes to mind. Wildly popular. Attacked Poland, unprovoked. Wildly popular. Till he wasn’t. 

This article below. very anti-China’s Russia policy is in today’s South China Morning Post. Good on the Post:

Saturday 23 April 2022

Discovery Bay San Bai Beach

Looking East to Central

Hong Kong “election” : where 90+ year olds “shine”


Question: is it still an “election” if there’s only one candidate?  And five (five) — at least five — in his “team” are over 90! The United States is run by a gerontocracy and look how that’s going. Hmmm?!

John Lee, the only candidate for the top job in Hong Kong, Chief Executive, is choosing Mainlanders for “key roles”. That’s bad news on various levels. One, more influence from Beijing. Two, more suspicion from Hongkongers, given a big motivator for 2019 demos and riots was increased mainlandisation. I’m not predicting more demos. The National Security Law will nip that. But more bitterness and resent,met for sure.

And what’s with appointing no reps of youth, athletics and neutral civil groups? Civil groups are an important part of a mature society. They can be easily destroyed. Hard to build up. They need nurturing. Valuing. Bad move to exclude them, John.

Friday 22 April 2022

Shanghai lockdown: when will it end? With Cindy Yu


Cindy Yu is good. Listen (click above) as she talks about the Shanghai lockdown and at the end, how people in China avoid censorship, by cunning ruses.

Shanghai: a golden year of my life lived there in 1990

Who do you believe? The real world or the Five Year Plan?

Willie Walsh is head of the International Air Transport Association says Hong Kong “has fallen off the map” as an aviation hub and it “would be difficult for the city to rebuild that reputation”.

Don’t worry! says our intrepid Chief executive Carrie Lam. Don’t worry, because Hong Kong as an aviation hub is “included in the nations 14-th Five Year Plan”.  Oh well, that’s all right then!

Meantime: check out the underlined bits: 
Arrivals to Hong Kong down 97.4%
Cathay Pacific is operating at 2% capacity, losing $HK 1.5 billion a month in cash.

My own feeling: If we continue closed, relying on the magic of a communist Five Year Plan, we’re doomed, aviation hub-wise.

Thursday 21 April 2022

“We love you so much we’re going to destroy you” | China to Taiwan

China’s message to Taiwan. We love you. You are family. We love you our family, so much we’re going to invade you, level your cities, kill your civilians. So much do we love you. Our family…

Not so fast! What of Russia v Ukraine? Some pluses and minuses:

Russia hasn’t found it easy to conquer Ukraine

But China will learn from their experience

Asymmetric warfare — drones, hand-held anti-tank weapons — is effective

But Taiwan is resistant to using them

Chinese ships will be vulnerable to missiles like the Neptune

But China is working on a countermeasures 

A remarkably evenhanded assessment in an article [WebArchive] in our local South China Morning Post.

Bottle Brush | Bottle Geese

Three+ years in jail for saying horrid things about the government | Brrrrr… It’s getting chilly here

Ex TV presenter, Tam Tat-chi cops 40 months in jail. See underlined above. Tam sentenced for “vilifying the government” and “denigrating the National Security Law”. Gosh! That could be anyone. A “human rights observer” (unnamed) calls the ruling “harsh” says Hong Kong’s freedoms are being eroded at “dizzying speed’. 

The NSL is vague and open to scarily wide interpretation. It’s draconian. Is that “denigrating” it? Have I “vilified the government” by calling its Covid policies stupid?

Tam is a bit of a prima-donna and a bit crazy with some of his sloganeering. “Revolution of our times” (时代革命, Shidai geming). I thought it crazy at the time. But should being flamboyant and a bit crazy cop you 40 months’ lockup?

Judge Stanley Chan does his own grandstanding. Some of his comments at the sentencing are truly awful. He calls Tam “a peasant”. Whaaaat? He demeans Tam’s Christianity. The Judge is a mind reader, too, apparently. Says of Tam “The purpose of the defendant’s grandstanding campaign … was without a doubt… to enter the Legislative Council…”. Did Tam say that? No? Then you’re mind reading, Judge Chan.

Wednesday 20 April 2022

“Traditional Chinese Medicine is bunkum”. The TL;DR summary of the experts

Every Hong Kong citizen has been given a pandemic-fighting kit, and we’ve got ours. Face masks, RATs and Lianhua  Qingwen, a “proprietary Traditional Chinese Medicine”. At the time I mocked TCM. “It’s ‘medicine’ with the impurities left in”, at best. In short: not Science.

There’s no authoritative data that TCM is effective. Lianhua Qungwen’s claims to have been “tested” were (1) with an exceptionally small sample of just 284 patients  (2) was not double-blind and (3) there were confounding factors: eg, used together with western medicine (!). With other medications, most infamously Ivermectin, such shoddy work has been laughed out of court. But not with Lianhua Qingwen, because  it’s TCM, and TCM IS promoted by our dear leader, Xi Jinping.

Now the SCMP is throwing shade on it too. In a full-page article today, “Shanghai needs food not TCM…”. It quotes skeptics both in China and rest of world. 

A leading neurologist in China has called for authorities to make it “very clear” whether traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Lianhua Qingwen is effective against Covid-19 before giving it precedence over food and other essential deliveries to people in lockdown.
At least 8 million boxes of Lianhua Qingwen capsules have been sent to Shanghai in its battle against the Omicron variant, at the same time as many of its 25 million people are struggling to find fresh vegetables, rice and masks.
“Dispatching of Covid medicines should follow rigorous tests and examinations. No fake and shoddy products should be given to the public,” Rao Yi, president of Capital Medical University in Beijing, said in a post on social media platform WeChat.
“If the efficacy of Lianhua Qingwen has never been strictly proven, the mandatory dispatch would hurt the interests of people in shortage of food and drug necessities,” he posted to his Rao Yi Science account on Sunday.…
Three medical experts led by Jinan University’s Xie Wangshi also expressed dismay at the prioritising of Lianhua Qingwen in supplies to Shanghai, in an article on Sunday at Chinese health platform DXY.…
The distribution of Lianhua Qingwen to healthy people has prompted doctors around the country to warn against taking it unless they are feeling unwell, as it could lead to stomach or kidney dysfunction, according to reports in Shanghai-based state media Jiefang Daily
Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical’s stock price fell 10 per cent on Friday and Monday – hitting the daily floor limit – after Wang Sicong, the son of Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin, raised doubts about the WHO’s support for Lianhua Qingwen.
The US National Institutes of Health has said that while it may help with symptom relief, its overall effectiveness against Covid-19 is inconclusive.…
In November, Singaporean health authorities issued an advisory against misleading claims about its efficacy in treating or preventing the coronavirus. “ There is no scientific evidence from randomised clinical trials to show that any herbal product, including Lianhua Qingwen products, can be used to prevent or treat Covid-19,” the advisory said. 
The treatment, which is claimed to detoxify the lungs and clear heat, lists 13 ingredients, including apricot kernel, rhubarb, honeysuckle and forsythia powder. According to Australian authorities, it also contains ephedra, which can be used to make menthol. 
In May 2020, Swedish customs disallowed the imports of Lianhua Qingwen as the authorities said they tested samples and found they only contained mentholEphedra is also a key ingredient in the drug methamphetamine…
I rest my case. Authorities from around China and the world (Singapore, Sweden, US, Australia) are skeptical about TCM, especially Lianhua Qingwen. Made to a Stone-Age recipe (Han Dynasty). There is no sound scientific reason to be using it. In fact, it could give you tummy and kidney problems. Go figure this one!

Annals of Covid in Hong Kong: School’s back!

Talk about belts and braces! Not only do kids have to be double-vaccinated, they also have to do a daily RAT test before they come to school, and also mask up and also socially distance. This despite the fact children have vanishingly small chance of catching symptomatic Covid and even lower chance of serious illness. Some studies show that kids masking in schools slows down the learning process as kids take so many cues from faces, especially teachers’ faces. 

Still, at leat they’re back after three months of what is called “study from home”. But which we know disadvantages poor families, who can’t afford the home time to supervise their children.

It was never really worth the downsides of school closures for the sake of minimal upsides. 

We have punished the young to protect the elderly. The really elderly. The unvaccinated elderly. Average age of deaths in Hong Kong remains 86, a little above HK life expectancy. 

Here is the chart of percentage deaths per age group, from the Hong Kong Centre of Health Protection:

To be clear, for the 0-9 year olds, the case fatality rate of 0.01% which is 0.0001, or 1 in 100,000. Infections in Hong Kong are estimated to be at least four times cases identified. Thus Infection fatality rate is .000025, or one in 400,000. Of course this is not nothing. But it is in fact lower than the death rates for the flu, for children. And the rate would be even lower for the vaccinated children, since the above chart is for unvaxed 0-9 yo. Which continues to raise the question: are these vast, oppressive, intrusive measures worth it?  For that level of risk? I’ll venture, on behalf of kids, a solid “no”.

Show proof of beach and pool “dangers” | PF Letter SCMP


Todays Letters, scroll down
Josephine Ma: China must ease up on Zero Covid Policy
Zhong Nanshan: China’s top epidemiologist says can’t keep up ZCP forever. Gets cancelled in China

Tuesday 19 April 2022

Why I loved Hong Kong

In August 1976 I flew into Hong Kong for the first time. I was 26 and had lived around the world. Born in Tokyo, schooled in Italy, Australia, Germany and the US, university in South Africa. In 1975 I drove a rotten old Ford Anglia, with three friends onboard, from London to New Delhi. Ok, so I'd been around. Just not to Hong Kong yet. 

I still remember that arrival to Hong Kong. By Qantas. To Kai Tak airport. By the famous, the infamous, low-level, street-hugging, tree-scraping, approach, fly towards a checkerboard  on the side of Lion Rock, and pull hard right, push hard down and land. Make sure you stop before splashing into the harbour. A fabulous, nerve-tingling landing.

We flew in at night, that August 1976, over Hong Kong Island. I looked down and thought "Emerald City". What a view! A kaleidoscope of neon, of flashing lights, a night-rainbow reflected in the carbon-black waters of Victoria harbour. 

It was fabulous. 

And has been over the years. 

But not now. Not anymore. I wonder, will it ever be again?

Since that night-landing back in 1976, I have spent most of my life in this city. I went to University here, to finish off my studies in Mandarin, in 1977. Two of my children were born here, in 1977 and 1997. I've worked for the government here, I've owned a business here, employing 300 staff, with 12,000 students, have paid a bunch of tax and I've interacted with the government on rules and regs of our education industry. I speak and write the language. I have permanent residence. I’ve been every bit the local. 

In that time, I came to love so much about Hong Kong. Not a lot of it well-known outside Hong Kong. Like: you can do wonderful hikes in the Country Parks all over Hong Kong, glorious mountain and field trails that make up nearly half of the areas of Hong Kong The sailing and fishing here is wonderful. The food choices are without peer. A galaxy of Michelin stars. 

And then there's the connection to the rest of the world. I loved the fact that we could get to the airport from our front door in 17 minutes. Not 20 minutes, not 15 minutes. But 17 minutes. Because the road has zero traffic jams and the buses or taxis are always on time. So: leave house, take taxi or bus, arrive at airport in 17 minutes, through the Cathay Pacific check-in in three minutes, through the Immigration in 5 minutes more and at the Cathay Lounge in 5 minutes. All up, front door to lounge in 30 minutes. Lovely Cathay Lounge, with world-beating Dan-Dan Noodles, and choices of six wines, and first class service. For we privileged. 

And then your flight is called, 3 hours to Tokyo or Seoul, or Hanoi, or 8 hours to Sydney or Delhi or Hawaii, or 10 hours to London or Rome, or LA. What can beat that? It's been great for all that time.

Well, no more. And I wonder if it ever will be again. Maybe we've lived through a golden era of travel and we'll never come back to the "old normal" again. Who knows?

Peter Kammerer, chief editor at the South China Morning Post, says much the same. Is it time for we gweilos, we privileged, we foreigners, we reprobates, to leave? I don't really want to, but may have to. 

ADDED: Things to like about Hong Kong:

1. Safety

2. Efficiency

3. Cleanliness and care for the public space

4. The Country Parks

5. Our remaining Freedoms

Is the sinking of Russia’s Moskva Missile Cruiser good news for Taiwan?

The Moskva. From Moscow Times
Here’s a thought. 

But first, better get the two different stories out of the way. (1) The Russians say that their flagship, the Moskva guided missile cruiser, sank because of an onboard fire. (2) The Ukrainians say they hit it with two Neptune missiles. Americans support the Ukrainian story. 

Which is true? Well… you don’t know until you know this: that Pravda, Russia’s party paper (means “Truth”…) says “we must take revenge”. Revenge for your own on-board fire?? Right. Also: photos show two awfully large holes in the port side that look awfully like missile holes. So I’m gonna go for the Ukrainian narrative this time around. (Not always, for the Fog of War is especially thick in Ukraine).

Assuming that the sinking is down to a missile strike, that two were launched and that two struck and sank the pride of Russia's Black Sea fleet, then consider the implications. The Neptune missiles are a new weapon. Two were launched at a Missile Cruiser, two landed, two sank it. The pride of the fleet. A missile cruiser.Gosh!

Consider that any war games scenario of China attacking Taiwan would involve sea-borne invasion. The threat of Neptune missiles hitting home with near 100% accuracy must be pause for PLA thought. Surely. And no doubt America is selling heaps of Neptunes to Taiwan. Not just two. I guess. 

CORRECTION: My bad. The Neptune missile is developed and built by Ukraine. So maybe Taipei should talk to Kyiv. Another reason for hoping Ukraine at least keeps Kyiv. 

Monday 18 April 2022

China’s zero-Covid policy causes widespread hardships, as Shanghai’s lockdown shows. So why keep it?

Bullhorning Shanghai residents.
Click for article by Wang Xiangwei
Interesting that there’s some pretty direct criticism in the article. And it’s in the South China Morning Post and the author lives in Beijing. Where I’ve told you can be critical of anything and anyone except “The X-factor”, aka Xi Jinping. Which Wang does. Brave man, Wang. Brave article, SCMP. 
ADDED: By “anything” I mean you can say anything on social media, but you can’t be sure it won’t be removed by the censored. Like now, criticism of Shanghai’s lockdown is a no-no. You can only say nice things. Exception ps linked below, on Weibo.

Note: 87 of China’s top 100 cities are in some form of lock down.

There’s heaps of stuff online about the horrors of Shanghai lockdown. Globally, but also on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, like Resident complaints , horrid quarantine  and Public furyat officials killing pets. A dire situation. Quarantine facilities are horrible. Food is short. People are fed up. Confirmed by mates we have still living in Shanghai. (I lived in Shanghai for two years in the early 90s.I loved the place then. Looks grim now).

Let’s recall: in Shanghai not a single death from Covid. (ADDED: correction, there’s ONE death reported today).  For which they’ve locked down 25 million people. Not counting those 82 other top-100 cities.

Crazy, no? Only explicable when you consider it’s a Xi Jinping thing. He has to show the “superiority of Socialism with Chinese characteristics”. IOW it’s Xi saving face. That’s why they can’t back down and come to a more realistic policy. The only hope is that it fail. Otherwise endless lockdowns. As each sub variant of omicron, now up to BA2.2.6. Each more transmissible than the last. 

Sunday 17 April 2022

Fourth boosters or not? The science not fully in


Click for vid. Warning: farting crow!
Russel Brand. Rather crazy. Rather smart. Rather good. Works with scientific data in hand.

We’ve had three shots in this household, and did so as soon as we we could.  Not so sure about efficacy of a fourth jab, at this point. And of course if you’ve had Covid and been vaxxed you’ve got hybrid immunity.

Cattle Egret


Cattle Egret with breeding plumage, stalking our back garden. Status: “resident and widespread” in Hong Kong, mostly in northern New Territories.(“Birds of Hong Kong”). The “cattle” bit cause you often see them grabbing a quick ride on the backs of Water Buffalo.

In our garden they’re rare, and usually seen lurking around our Koi Karp pond, eyeing an easy meal, not stalking grubs in the lawn. “Breeding” plumage, so maybe looking for a mate?

“…infections below 800 for first time in 9 weeks” | SCMP

Government will no doubt claim its because of our Zero Covid Policy restrictions. It would have happened anyway. The shooting up, the shooting down. How to know that? Because that’s the way it’s been in every single other country in the world. As the WHO shows in latest figures.

Doesn’t matter which area of the world, which country, how many restrictions, how few restrictions, how stringent, how lax  — all the same. Up… and … down. Why should Hong Kong have been any different?

ADDED: Oxford University Stringency tracker confirms it — low to zero correlation between stringency of government NPI measures and outcomes of cases and deaths per million.

Saturday 16 April 2022

“This Shouldn’t Happen”: Inside the Virus-Hunting Nonprofit at the Center of the Lab-Leak Controversy

Vanity Fair, very left of centre, very Fauci supporting, does a very deep dive on the Lab Leak hypothesis on the origin of Covid. There’s a lot of smoke. So far no smoking gun. If this so-far circumstantial evidence were presented to 12 jurors I wonder how they would find (vs the competing theory that the origin was zoonotic). Here goes:

The dispute over COVID-19’s origins has become increasingly acrimonious, with warring camps of scientists trading personal insults on Twitter feeds. Natural-origin proponents argue that the virus, like so many before it, emerged from the well-known phenomenon of natural spillover, jumping from a bat host to an intermediate species before going on to infect humans. Those suspecting a lab-related incident point to an array of possible scenarios, from inadvertent exposure of a scientist during field research to the accidental release of a natural or manipulated strain during laboratory work. The lack of concrete evidence supporting either theory has only increased the rancor. “Everyone is looking for a smoking gun that would render any reasonable doubt impossible,” says Amir Attaran, a biologist and lawyer at the University of Ottawa. Without cooperation from the Chinese government, that may be impossible. [Read more...]

“Caseload below 1000 for first time in two months” | *AS EXPECTED*

It was totally predictable — and we did predict it, in our “hard prediction” — that the number of cases would shoot up, then shoot down. As has happened everywhere in the world, whether or not they adopted the Severe measure we did here in Hong Kong. 

Friday 15 April 2022

“Coronavirus Hong Kong: tough vaccination and testing rules for businesses and customers as city leader unveils broad easing of social-distancing rules” | SCMP

Our Dear Leader Carrie Lam
Dear esteemed leader Carrie Lam,
You have told us we might have some "easing " of Covid rules. Except that:
"…public beaches, pools and barbecue venues will remain shut."
Oh dear. 
We are all armchair epidemiologists now. We all do our own research. I can find nothing anywhere on the internet to support the idea that pools or beaches or outdoor barbecues are vectors of Omicron. 
Clearly you or your experts feel differently. 
Could you please share with us what your "experts" are telling you about these alleged outdoor  "dangers"? To respond "for an abundance of caution" (as your Dr Leung has said) is not good enough. Solid data, from experience elsewhere, please. 
Failing that, I beg you, dear leader, to ease the restrictions on beaches, pools and barbecues.
Or else tell us WHY. Why are you doing this to us? Why are you stopping us from very healthy outdoor activity?
Pf, etc…

Left and Right flip on Free Speech

Remember when the Left stood for Free Speech and the Right was against it? Now it’s flipped. 

What used to be “I may not agree with your opinions but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say them” has become “if I don’t agree with your opinions I’ll fight to the death to censor them”.

I watch and read media on the Left and on the Right. 

CNN, BBC, ABC, MSNBC, New York Times, WaPo etc on the Left; Fox,National Review, The Spectator on the Right. Probably more on the Left than the Right, just because there’s more MSM on the Left (see list above).

I remember when I was a young Leftie socialist in the 1960s and the Left fought on every hill for Freedom of Speech. Now they say that it’s necessary for democracy to “moderate speech”, another way of saying censorship, of ideas they don’t like. And now it’s the Right stands for Free Speech. Which the Left claims they only want to support so that they can “spew their racist, bigoted views freely”. Straw man, much? 

Many friends, rellies, colleagues, remain on the Left and say how horrible Fox is. Often, when I check, they’ve got that opinion without ever watching it. I suspect some fear that if they watch Fox they’ll be polluted somehow. 

Anyway, I suggest anyone watching the above 8 minute take and see if it’s not better than any take on the Left, like the ladies of CN ‘s The View. IMO much better, much more informed, much more eloquent. 

Bougainvillea | Table | Lawn


Happy Good Friday!

Or, if you’re the branding geniuses in our government “Happy National Security Education Day”!

Not a single mention of Holy Friday…

ADDED: In the main article above “…public beaches, pools and barbecue venues will remain shut”. Huh? I’ve been following this coronavirus since the beginning. I’ve done 475 posts on it. I’ve followed the beaches and pools issue. AFAIK, from the data (aka “the science”) there has not been one case of Covid traced to a beach or swimming pool. This is insane. In Twitter style: This. Is. Insane.

Also: top right “Symptomatic cases more than double to Shanghai record”. Do we hope China’s Zero Covid policy fails? Yes we do. Why? Because if they succeed, or “succeed”, or even get passably close to “succeed”  we are stuck with Zero Covid forever, because you can’t keep out the world. Or can only keep out the world with draconian quarantine, in shabby, crappy (literally) containers converted to effective prison cell blocks. Forever. That’s no life. And that’s why I, and increasing numbers both here in Hong Kong and in China, are fed up with Xi Jinping's ZCP, only maintained to save his own Face — that China did so well at the beginning of this, two years ago, showing the “superiority of the Socialist system”. So now they can’t lose, must not lose.  No matter the cost. That’s why ZCP must fail. 

Thursday 14 April 2022

If the law is an ass, it’s a mandate to ignore it

Dai Pak Wan beach (大白湾) Discovery Bay, Hong Kong 
Today’s South China Morning Post editorial, all about following the laws on Zero Covid, and how much in fines the police have collected for those “flouting” the rules. That’s the editorial at the bottom-left of the op-Ed page in the print edition. The one dictated to the Post editors by mainland officials, the one laid down by communist apparatchiks.The one they may as well relabel “Diktats from a Beijing”. It says in effect: “We don’t want to fine you, oh no, we just want you to obey”. Even if the rules are absolute nonsense.  As many commenters on the site note, see below.

So I went swimming again today, at our "closed" beach. My bit of civil disobedience. Because the science tells me I’m better off getting out, catching some vitamin D and getting some excercise than I am sitting at home with a mask in. So blow the rules. 
ADDED: Have a look at this last December.
Though why our local, private beach closed is a question, as it's not a governmental mandate to close private beaches. I presume it’s our local management just being goodie goodies, or else taking the “Covid excuse” chance to do a bit less work.

Re comments at the editorial, Most upvotes:
90% of these rules make no sense aka follow zero science (masks outdoor) or are hypocritical aka groups of 4 on a table then outdoors you’re fined for more than 2 people. I wonder why people are upset ?!


If the rules were sensible and actually prevented the spread of Covid, then people might be more inclined to follow them. When the rules are largely theatrical and politically-based -- like closing beaches, only 2 people dining together even if 3 people live in the same home, or preventing more than 2 people from gathering outside while buses and shopping malls are packed -- then people will recognize these rules as nonsensical and ignore them if and when they can.

Tell me: how does that tiny foot-high plastic divider on a restaurant table stop an airborne virus from spreading? How does a mask on a running trail stop the spread of Covid?

And the police being overzealous in enforcement? What do you think??? No, perfectly normal for coppers to go out with measuring tape on a Sunday to harass domestic helpers on their one day off a week. Or to pounce on a guy taking a puff of a cigarette to hit him with two fines --one for taking off his mask, a second for public smoking. 
Why issue warnings when you can fill your coffers with money taken from innocent citizens beaten down by this increasing authoritarianism. 

Wednesday 13 April 2022

Who’s winning?

I know who I wish were winning. Ukraine. I’d love it if a crazy comedian offed a crazy clown. Zelenski def Putin. And that’s the narrative in the west. Ukraine is winning.The attack in Kyiv was a defeat for Russia. Hope so. But how much of that conclusion is wishful thinking?

There is another narrative. Scott Ritter, the UN arms inspector who said there were no WMDs in Iraq (and was correct against all the narrative at the time),  has a different story. The Russian advances on Kyiv and in Odessa were tactical diversionary attacks. They’re now doing what they aimed to go from the beginning: carve off a piece of Eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk region. 

Which of these is true? I don’t know. And BBC and CNN don’t know. They, and we, must be careful of what we wish for becoming how we see in this fog of war. 

Germany would rather kill nuclear than fight Russia (or climate change)

Purple is Nuclear. Grey is Gas.
Tomas Pueyo does a deep dive on why Germany is going ahead to shut down its last remaining nuclear stations. And it’s not pretty. Basically the German Greens don’t want it, so that’s it. They’ve written a report that shows the only look at costs of keeping nuclear and not at its benefits, which means they weren’t serious about the report in the first place.

Heard someone on BBC recently say “of course hindsight is 20-20”. etc... But it’s not hindsight. Many people, including me, thought at the time that Mad Mutti Merkel’s decision to shut nuclear stations in Germany straight after the Fukushima meltdown, was plain crazy. It was blindingly obvious that Germany have kept its nuclear, even then. 

It’s all down to the Greens. Who, in the last three decades, have done the most harm to the environment. It was the Greens who shut down -- via Greenpeace scare tactics -- the plans to increase nuclear back in the 60s and 70s.  Imagine if we had four nuclear stations for every one now. That was the plan. Today we’d have no carbon dioxide problem. That’s down to the Greens. 

A thread: read it and weep.