Category Archives: General

Messi vs Ronaldo Equation Settled, with Argentinian’s Poor Start!

Draws in their respective first matches at the World Cup later, the Messi vs Ronaldo comparison can now be closed as settled with the honours going to the Portugal star.

Messi and Argentina had a forgettable match tonight against Iceland, with the former missing even a penalty.

Ronaldo, in contrast, had a magical hat-trick against the formidable Spain in a match that ended in a 3-3 draw yesterday.

Bye bye, Argentina, you may still qualify but the Cup will not be yours.

G Joslin Vethakumar


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Otamendi, Culprit or Villain?

Argentina Tied 1:1 with Iceland at Half Time, Hardly Champion Material!

Argentina must pay attention to Otamendi whose defensive lapse cost the team a goal against possibly one of the weakest teams at the World Cup.

Moments earlier, Otamendi also made a reckless wild shot at the goal from the middle of the field, with the ball going metres above the post. He mis-struck a corner too.

A well-marked Messi had a few good shots at the goal that were well saved by the keeper. He had a poor corner with the ball sailing safely to the hands of the goalkeeper.

In contrast, the man Messi is often compared with, Cristiano Ronaldo, had a stellar night yesterday with a hat-trick against one of the Cup favourites, Spain.

It does not look to me that Argentina is champion material.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Thief Calling Victim Fools! How True!

The world’s biggest intellectual property rights thief is calling its biggest victim fool.

China is right, American multinational corporations did make a fool of the U.S. by losing their IPR for business crumbs. Fools!

But U.S. President Donald Trump is only a showman without credibility. While he makes populist noise, his family maintains proximity to China. Politics is big business, fools!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Trump-Kim Summit: Singapore’s Investment Pays Off

It may just be a piece of paper capturing the denuclearisation commitment of North Korea, without room for verifiable and irreversible monitoring, but the joint agreement is affirmation that Singapore’s $20-million investment on the Trump-Kim summit has paid off.

No fire and fury, no wrangling, no backing out of the joint statement and no threatening postures, only an environment of warmth as the stage is now set for follow-throughs!

The U.S. President, Mr Donald Trump, was full of optimism this evening when he took questions from journalists at a post-summit press conference, staying unruffled even when he was taunted by a lady reporter from NBC: “The man you met today has killed and starved his own people. Why are you calling him talented and why are you confident the agreement will work?”

Trump at Singapore press meet

All he would say during the course of the press meet that lasted more than an hour was “Kim Jong Un is a good man. There will be intense negotiations to enforce commitments.”

History is Anathema

I liked it when Mr Trump said: “The past does not have to define the future.” History, to me, is anathema and I do not like to quote from the past when forward-looking actions are called for. Getting hung up on what is history can only scuttle progress.

Not Time-Bound

The commitments are not time-bound with the agreement merely mentioning an “expeditious” fulfilment.

In response to a question, Mr Trump said human rights violations in North Korea were discussed, though not at great length as “the focus was on denuking.” He went on to add: “I didn’t want to be very threatening.”

Nonetheless, bringing back POW/MIA remains has been committed to in the agreement.

Asked who will fund the denuclearisation, Mr Trump said he expected South Korea and Japan to help with it.

Women Dominate Press Meet

One of the most striking parts of the press conference (that was streamed live) was that most of the questions came from women journalists, countering Mr Trump with add-on questions.

Also, foreign journalists, with more than 2500 having come to Singapore to cover the event, were mostly the ones firing the no-holds-barred questions.

The session is evidence that democratic principles are still valued by the U.S. though liberals tend to abuse it.

Usage Inconsistencies

The agreement is less than two pages and appears to have been hastily crafted, given the usage inconsistencies I noticed in a few sentences (this may sound trivial, but I still cannot help highlighting the discrepancies in such a high-profile document as this):

  1. “President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully and expeditiously.”
  2. “The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.-DPRK relations…”
  3. “The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains…”
  4. “The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations,
  5. “…committed to cooperate for the development of new U.S.-DPRK relations”

If I were to use “commit to” in a sentence I will always follow it up with an “ing” participle.

Maybe it is an Americanism that I am ignorant of – precisely why I did not call it a grammatical inaccuracy. The inconsistency shows when in one of the sentences the “ing” participle has been used. That, to me, is the right way.

The trivia aside, the Trump-Kim summit has concluded on a positive note with an end in sight to the Korean conflict – and Singapore can be proud to have played a successful role in facilitating it.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Stunning Visuals on TV, Great Graphics in The Straits Times

Commentaries Shallow in Both

As the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, got under way this morning in Singapore, it was easy to see the good television coverage in the local channels, with brilliant 4k visuals of beautiful Sentosa and Hotel Capella, the venue.

The commentaries, though, appeared to be shallow. For better sophistication, viewers could, however, switch to international channels which air their own anti-Trump prejudices. They may not offer live streaming as the local channels do- I did not check them out as I had to head to the office where I may get to watch it at least sporadically.

Newspaper readers in a country patronising media monopoly have no such option as they just have to make do with The Straits Times. As with the visual delight from TV, the print medium has been delivering great graphics and information-packed supplements.

They make up for the mediocre reporting from its big band of reporters and editors. Today’s edition had scores of reports from different local writers, many of them were too repetitive, with conjectures and their own pedestal analysis.

The Straits Times has in the past held the view that Singaporeans like simple reports – the underlying message being that they cannot understand complex writing and only kindergarten-style reporting will cut. To me, that is gross underestimation of the 100% English-literate local population. Worse, it amounts to unfairly putting the blame for their own core inefficiencies on readers.

What is lost is that good writing need not be complex reporting.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Will they or won’t they?

#TrumpKimSummit – will they or won’t they? A 45-minute one-to-one first (with a translator) before they are joined by the two teams

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When NTU, Singapore and Modi Fooled the Audience!

Bluffs, Gaffes and Sycophancy – The Straits Times Also Playing Toady to Indian PM?

Bluffs, gaffes and sycophantic questions at one of the world’s best educational institutions cannot be just an embarrassment but a disgrace for everyone involved in delivering that.

The fanfare did not stop a person as distinguished as Dr Subra Suresh from asking Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a fawning question: “how do you manage to work so hard all the time?”

How Modi maintains his stamina

A sidebar to a June 2 piece in The Straits Times, Modi moots idea of student hackathon

It is an individual’s prerogative to play toady to anyone, but when Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is the platform for it, the message has unpleasant portents.

You are telling the audience, including students at one of the world’s finest universities, that it is okay to:

  • Kowtow to megalomaniacs
  • Glorify people who are known to be religious fanatics
  • Raise questions that have no meaningful import

BJP Mouthpiece?: An IIT alumnus, Dr Suresh, incidentally, is President of the NTU, a position he took on this January after four years as president of the Carnegie Mellon University. He was also the Dean of the School of Engineering (2007-2010) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from where he had also taken his doctorate.

Singapore, India's political toolThe question and answer was faithfully reported in The Straits Times (see image) which appears to have become a mouthpiece of the BJP and of Mr Modi in Singapore.

He has let down all those institutions he has been associated with by putting forth a question that verges on inanity. Particularly so because similar scripted questions had been posed to Mr Modi by another so-called interviewer during the latter’s visit to London / other global cities.

That brings me to the gaffe of Mr Modi’s translator in Singapore.

To a question from Dr Suresh on the main challenges facing Asia, Mr Modi gave a simple response, with the crux of it being that “Though the world is of the view that the 21st century belongs to Asia, those in the region do not think so. We are so much in awe of the rest of the world we often find it hard to believe that it is our turn now.”

The translator came up with an elaborate response attributing to Mr Modi what he did not talk about (Asian Tigers, China, Japan, SEA, digital era, sustainability, pollution, biodiversity and so forth). When I listened to the video available online, it was clear the translator was reading from a script – and reading it superfast – that Mr Modi deviated from.

What a gaffe!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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