Tihar is where Robert Vadra will find good company 

Deal with him before he flees to London!

Put him in jail, seize all his assets before he pulls out a Vijay Mallya trick and flees to London, a safe haven for all such criminals!

I am talking about Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, who heads India’s most corrupt party, the Congress. Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of Sonia and late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, is Robert Vadra’s partner in life and, possibly, in crime.

robert-4_082212085717Vadra was just a petty businessman, selling some arts and crafts, before he married Priyanka. Now he is a multi-billionaire, a status he is alleged to have gained by abusing the clout of the Gandhi family.

He looks like a thug, behaves like a Dawood Ibrahim, has the audacity to call India a banana republic and throws his weight around!

I am tired of listening to all debates on such scum. Deal with him once for all, so we don’t hear about him again!


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Modi, root of all problems: Kejriwal

Minimum wages must be enforced.

A pro-business climate does not mean that while the Adanis and Ambanis will amass wealth, workers can continue to be paid peanuts. 

India’s Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, and the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi appear to be partners in crime, seeking to scuttle Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s push to make it happen.

Having climbed to the top from the dumps as a former tea seller, Mr Modi cannot stand in the way of the poor. He wants his party cadres to win over the poor while he himself is seen as their enemy.

Under the circumstances, Mr Kejriwal cannot be faulted for accusing Mr  Modi of pandering to the rich by holding up action on his minimum wages initiative.

Singapore, with a first world economy, is still resisting it because without a minimum-wage culture the country is able to import foreign mediocrity with low salaries.


G Joslin Vethakumar

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Francis Fukuyama at his analytical best!

American political scientist Francis Fukuyama was at his best at an interview on NDTV tonight, dissecting world politics with unambiguous perspectives and sparing none. No emotional baggage, no wild views, just a calm and clear analysis!

Seeing China as a bigger challenge for the world than ISIS can ruffle feathers but will be tough to dispute.

I am reminded about what George Fernandes said decades ago — that China is a bigger threat for India than Pakistan! Now the two evils have strengthened their bond!

A lovely interview though I often find Shekhar Gupta full of prejudices.

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S R Nathan, A “Humble, Dependable Leader”

Singapore lost its sixth President, S R Nathan (92), tonight.


He was a popular, non-controversial and respected President who remained active in public life till he was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital in July following a stroke.

Known for his humility and warmth, Mr Nathan held the Presidency for 12 years during 1999-2011 but chose to stay at his own modest house (pictured herein) and not at the Istana.

Screenshot 2016-08-22 at 22.32.15

Steady, Dependable Hand for a Tricky Task: Late Lee

Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Late Lee Kuan Yew had great respect for Mr Nathan. Here is what he had once said of Mr Nathan:

“Every time there was a tricky task which required a steady hand, someone dependable and who could get things done, his name would pop up. Many people believe that, as a government, we select people by their academic credentials. Yes we do, but only in part. We place much greater weight on character.”

Late Lee went on to call Mr Nathan a man for all seasons, a man who would never say “no” when called upon for a task.

Mr Nathan will be remembered for long. RIP

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Banning Uber, Grab will Protect Old Ways but we will be Left Behind: Singapore PM

Positive Passenger Experience and Service Efficiency, Thanks to Technology

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore can easily grab the attention of audiences, delivering speeches with substance, not populism.

Yesterday, he brought up the issue of Grab and Uber gaining ground in Singapore, saying: “We could ban them and impose restrictions to protect the ‘old ways’.

“But we will be left behind and our commuters will lose out, and our economy will suffer. The other way is to embrace change, let the disruption happen… but help the incumbents, and especially help the taxi drivers, to adapt to the changes.”

Embrace Disruption to Stay Ahead

As a big user of both Uber and Grab, particularly when I travel, I find the passenger experience positive, exclusive and economical.

The Straits Times today quoted Mr Lee as saying that Uber and Grab were examples of how industries and jobs were being disrupted by technology and globalisation. He was of the view that Singapore must embrace disruption to stay ahead which would also help incumbents adapt.

PM Lee

Mr Lee made the comments at the National Day rally speech yesterday, when he took ill with signs of fatigue and dehydration. He received immediate medical attention and, to the relief of Singaporeans, recovered and returned to the stage to complete his speech that I got to watch through the live telecast.

Uber and Grab benefit passengers through better, more responsive and faster services, he said, explaining that their “apps also analyse travel patterns, and adjust fares to match supply and demand.”

More Innovation through Driverless Taxis

Singapore has consistently been forward-looking, always quick to embrace disruptive changes. “I think we all know that we can’t stop progress,” he said.

Driverless cars running a taxi service will be the next wave of innovation Singapore will see next year. So “even Uber and Grab are going to be disrupted,” as Mr Lee pointed out.

Traditional taxi operators have often complained that with the entry of Uber and Grab, they have lost a level-playing field. Uber and Grab are not subject to such rules as a minimum mileage daily.

Mr Lee said such issues would be addressed to foster fair competition. He, however, pointed out that regular taxi drivers also had some advantages – while they can pick up passengers from the kerb, Uber and Grab cannot.

Lee's tweet

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Rio’s Carnival in August Finishes with a Flourish

Hitting the pool wall convincingly ahead of the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, is no mean feat. And with a new Olympic record in 100 metres butterfly!

That gold medal-winning performance from the 21-year-old swimmer from Singapore, Joseph Schooling, is to me a key highlight of the Olympics that came to a glittering finish today. I say that with a conviction that goes beyond any geographical, jingoistic constriction!

Phelps and Bolt

Phelps, who ended up with 28 medals from the last four Games, 23 of them gold, was graceful in defeat, heaping praise on Schooling in what is an embodiment of the Olympic spirit.

Then there was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt who predictably won a triple treble (Beijing, London and Rio) to end his Olympic career with nine gold medals – 100m, 200m and 4×100 relay.


Predictable Winners and Losers

Rio produced predictable winners and some shock exits, too, as with any of the Olympics. The defeats of tennis megastars, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, come to mind. Brazil taking home its first Olympic gold in football brought joy to the hosts. Argentina flopped as it usually does in major international sporting events.

Demonstration of individual sporting excellence aside, the big winner is Brazil, showing finesse in showcasing the Olympics at its best. An event that fully embodied the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) without letting the country’s crime scene or the Zika virus cloud it.

Splendorous Rio

What the world saw was a beautiful Rio with all its natural splendour. The television coverage was perhaps the best ever and soaking it all in with a Sony 65-inch ultra HD TV amplified it further, virtually transporting viewers to Rio.


Organising an event of this scale is a humongous task and from what I saw I can authoritatively say it could not have been done better. Very well done, Brazil!

I liked the way Brazilian authorities quickly exposed the inglorious lies of American swimmer Ryan Lochte, without letting it sully the reputation of the Games. Lochte, possibly sensing he was in for knucklehead trouble after making the wild charge of having been robbed at gunpoint, managed to escape from Rio and find himself back in his American cocoon.


Kudos to Brazil for pulling up its investigative prowess and proving with clinching evidence of how Lochte pulled up a fast one!

BBC has a brilliant report on the Rio closing ceremony. I will, therefore, not go into the details here. The most memorable moments of Rio are captured in another BBC recap.

Japan, the hosts of the 2020 Games, have a tough example to follow but I am confident they will provide the world with another great celebration of the Olympic spirit.

I have had the joy of blogging about the Games fairly regularly from the confines of my home. My posts include one on how Rio epitomised the true spirit of the Olympics!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Genuine Soul-Searching Needed in Medal-Starved India

Sporting accomplishments are in decline – 6 in London, 3 in Beijing and 2 in Rio, a figure that takes India back to the 1900 Games

India is winding up its Rio Olympic campaign with two medals – one silver (Sindhu in badminton) and one bronze (Sakshi in wrestling). 

That takes the country back to the 1900 Games when they won two medals – both silver, so better than how India fared in Rio.

The 2016 count is one-third of what India won at the 2012 London Games and one less than the three they struck at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where shooter Abhinav Bindra brought home the country’s first-ever individual gold.


Sindhu’s Stellar Show

Indians have reason to be proud of the performance of Sindhu but some soul-searching is needed as to why sporting accomplishments are in decline in a country of over 1.3 billion. 

That despite Indian sportsmen spending a lot of their time overseas, participating in tournaments and undergoing training.

SindhuSindhu gets to savour all of the attention that is justifiably being heaped on her. Just as Joseph Schooling received in Singapore after his record-breaking gold in the 100-metre butterfly event that pushed Michael Phelps to silver.

If, say, 70 of the sportspersons India sent to the Olympics had won medals then attention will have been divided and given Indians greater reason for joy and celebration.

China Disappointed

China won 70 medals in Rio – lower than what they had achieved in the last few Games.

This has understandably left the country disappointed. It won 88 medals in London 2012 and 100 in Beijing 2008. It blamed the fall on competition getting stiffer. This is a fair assessment as even tiny nations have begun to punch above their weight.


Nonetheless, the U.S., topped the table in Rio with 118 medals as opposed to 103 in 2012. But their gold count is 43 while they won 46 gold medals in London. 

There are a few more events awaiting completion, so the overall tallies could still change. 

Britain is in second place currently with 27 gold medals, with China third.

Besides China, other Asia-Pacific countries that have done well are Japan (41 medals), South Korea (21 medals), Australia (29) and New Zealand (18). The final tally could be checked here.  

The Monetary Factor is Secondary to Passion for Sports

In Singapore, every gold medalist gets S$1 million but in countries such as Canada, it is just a few thousand dollars. 

Those passionate about sports will not be driven by monetary or considerations other than love for the games they take to. It is that culture India must encourage and no prejudices must come in the way.

Rio logo

Prejudices aplenty

India is a country bogged down by regional, racial, religious and casteist  factors. For instance, media reports indicate that when the nation was celebrating Sindhu’s silver the people of the country were more concerned about her caste. Her caste was the most googled item, as this report shows.

Sindhu, who is from Hyderabad and is coached by former champion Pullela Gopichand, is the first Indian woman ever to win an Olympic silver.

Celebrities, Leaders Jump in for Share of Limelight

The glow is understandably on her. Celebrities and political leaders have jumped in with tweets for their share of the limelight.

One NDTV reporter in Rio could not resist saying that “Saina Nehwal was unfortunately injured and lost early.” There was no need to bring this up but then the North-South divide is very pronounced in India.

Bhindra 3When columnist Shobhaa De expressed her frustration over India’s continued poor performance at the Olympics with a sardonic Tweet, Abhinav Bindra came on TV to say that what old people say does not bother him.

Indians do not have the maturity to take criticism in their stride. In the process, they expose the prejudices so deeply ingrained in them.

The Olympic Spirit Lives on – https://joslinv.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/heartwarming-tales-from-the-web-of-worms/

G Joslin Vethakumar

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