Empathy Comes with Transparency

As Singapore Keeps COVID-19 Under Check, the Virus has been spreading wildly globally, Reaching Even the U.S. and infecting the Dow!

Soon after China went public about two months ago with data on what is now known as the COVID-19 outbreak it emerged that Singapore had the highest number of coronavirus (the earlier name) cases (perhaps around 30 then) outside of the mainland. That was Singapore-style openness. Transparency is, after all, the best way to deal with any crisis, virus or otherwise.

China is demonstrating transparency even as it has been going all out to tackle the outbreak in all earnestness. Not surprisingly, it has won empathy and praise from the WHO.

It is going through testing times and dealing with it resolutely. It may even emerge stronger from the crisis. A few days ago, I heard an analyst say on TV that the outbreak may hit the world harder than China.

Praise for Singapore

From Harvard University to the WHO, Singapore has won praise from many quarters for the transparent efficiency it demonstrated in containing COVID-19 in the country. So far, it has seen

While a Harvard University study described Singapore’s success as gold standard for case detection, the World Health Organisation found that the country left no stone unturned in dealing with the situation.

8400+ Being Monitored in California

That said, reports from the U.S. state that more than 8400 people are being monitored in California for the virus. Not too long ago, President Donald Trump had claimed  that the virus was under total control in the U.S. He recently even reiterated the message with a Tweet.

Covid live

  • The U.S. has 60 confirmed cases and yesterday he announced an action plan under the leadership of Vice-President Pence to respond to the threat.

It looks like Singapore will have to monitor those arriving from the U.S. as well.

  • Singapore has so far had only 96 COVID-19 cases out of whom 66 have recovered.
  • As of today, Korea has more than 2300 cases (with 13 deaths), most of them coming from a mad Church of Jesus with a cult following.
  • Italy has reported 655 cases (with 17 deaths).
  • Iran has 388 cases, with even its Vice-President and many senior government leaders down with the coronavirus. Japan has more than 220 cases and Germany 60 even as it is said to be spreading across Europe.

G Joslin Vethakumar

 

 

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From Commonwealth Games to Trump Visit, India’s Incompetence on Display!

India goofed up with the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Now it has done worse by failing to keep Delhi safe when US President Trump was in the city.
Whichever Government is in power, India does not fail to display its incompetence. In this instance, it was a demonstration of ineptness and a growing culture of majoritarian intolerance as a takeaway for the visiting leader!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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India Visit May Cost Trump Dear, Modi’s Image Will Get a Boost

Just 15 km away from where Modi and Trump were happily saying “India, U.S. bhai bhai” New Delhi was burning with unprecedented religion-centric riots, consuming 13 lives and injuring hundreds.

Well, back in the 50s, Zhou en Lai and Nehru had been sharing warm vibes with the chant, “Hindi-Chini bhai bhai”, (India and China are brothers) gaining ground. Then 1962 happened in what is believed to be backstabbing by China!
Trump must be embarrassed at giving Modi a clean chit on religious freedom in India even when people were being killed just miles away in a blatant display of intolerance.
Modi’s popularity is certain to surge in a country that is pitched on majoritarianism. But, this being election year in the U.S., Trump can be expected to pay the price for his tacit endorsement of Modi’s policies even amid horrifying violence.
G Joslin Vethakumar

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Pomp and Little Else

What a pathetic, even inappropriate, message to leave at Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram! It will have made some sense if U.S. President Donald Trump had added just a few more words at the end …”wonderful visit to the Ashram.”

This was the first stop for Mr Trump and his entourage (that include First Lady Melania, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner) on arrival in India this afternoon. He is on a 36-hour visit to India when he will also visit the Taj Mahal.

It will be good to find out what other world leaders had written in the book. I am sure most will have left their impressions about Gandhi and the ashram. Here is a sample:

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

Netanhayu's message at Sabarmati

Clinton's message at Ashram

“Thank you for making me welcome at the sacred place that is central to the freedom of India and the spiritual advancement of the world.” – Clinton

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Mackenna’s Gold That Was Not To Be!

www.ndtv.com/india-news/no-3000-tonne-gold-deposit-found-in-ups-sonbhadra-geological-survey-of-india-2184199

A day is all it has taken for the U.P. claim on a massive gold discovery to turn fake.

I don’t remember much of the movie, Mackenna’s Gold, that had its golden jubilee last year.

Fake news attacks in India are multi-pronged, with the biggest of them coming from, not the social media, but BJP governments in States, the Centre and their lackeys, proffered by foul elements (I will avoid calling them vultures).

Within a day after celebrations over an assumed gold unearthing in Uttar Pradesh, the euphoria came to an abrupt halt with the Geological Survey of India calling the figure that was put forth inaccurate and way too inflated. At best, the GSI thought it could be around 160 kg, NOT 3,350 tonnes as was crowed!

But the song, Old Turkey Buzzard, is unforgettable!

Mackenna's Gold

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Hair-Dyed Politicians in Singapore and Beyond: From Fake News to Fake Leadership?

Fully hair-dyed politicians of Singapore, touted to be its 4G leaders, only amuse me. Politicians face no threat of ageism, so they do not have to look fake. It is only in the world of business where employees have to worry about looking their age and losing job opportunities.

Perhaps Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat is taking his cue from Chinese leaders, including President Xi. From what I have been reading, President Xi is not even contemplating retirement, so he may have a reason not to believe in natural hair colour.

Heng

Greying hairs must be an advantage for government leaders as political and intellectual maturity born out of experience will get them respect from ministers as well as the public.

For this reason, even before the Rohingya crisis burst into the open, I thought it was strange for Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has a reputation of having fought for democracy and human rights, to sport 100% black hair.

I know I am indulging in a bit of frivolous writing, but I cannot still help feeling these are fake people and a misfit in politics.

As for the Budget presented by Mr Heng, who is slated to take over from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong soon, the less said the better. The advantage of being a political leader in Singapore is that the media will not resort to any objective analysis of the Budget.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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MWC 2020 Cancelled – Look Who Was Planning to Attend Barcelona Event!

Usually, more than 6000 people from China attend the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a huge hit with attendees from the Asia-Pacific region irrespective of the business outcomes from it. Give it to the charm of Barcelona! The magic lies in visibility!

Now that MWC Barcelona 2020 has been cancelled over coronavirus fears, can you guess which of the companies were planning to attend the event? Who else other than Huawei and companies from China, the epicentre of the coronavirus!

MWC cancellation

Not surprising as the event was expected to focus on 5G offerings, given that the U.K. and Europe had already succumbed to Huawei’s allure despite the continent being vocal about privacy and data protection.

Who cares about individual or even a nation’s security or corporate espionage when politics and economics trump every other concern?

All technology biggies had pulled out of the event – the likes of BT, Amazon, Ericsson, Intel, Sony, Facebook, Orange, Deutsche Telecom, Nokia and Nvidia.

It will be a disappointment for particularly the media as technology firms had been sponsoring visits of journalists to Barcelona for marketing mileage. That is how credibility of the media has been ensured all along!

For the record, two months into the coronavirus tragedy, China today revised the method of calculating infections. The result 242 more deaths in China, taking the total loss of lives to 1310.

The total number of infections reported just yesterday hit a whopping 14, 840!

  • Nothing shocking, as China has even exaggerated GDP data in the past, something that even India has picked up under the new political dispensation there.
  • What this means is that two countries with the world’s largest populations, both in Asia, will not inspire confidence and trust among people!

In essence, far from any improvement in the situation, the health crisis is only seeing an escalation. While panic is not the way to react to the worsening problem, any sugar-coated messaging, too, from world leaders has to be taken with a pinch of salt!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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