Pakistan, Stress Point for U.S.

Imran Khan is yet to assume office as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

But Pakistan appears to have become a stress spot for the U.S., as this CNBC report points out.

It is speculative at this stage, but it is possible that given the financial mess Pakistan is in, Mr Khan will seek IMF bailout as one of the first initiatives on assuming power mid-August.

www.cnbc.com/2018/07/31/pompeo-spotlights-pakistan-tension-point-between-washington-beijin.html

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Fake Colleges, Unemployable Engineers!

The World from Singapore to the U.S. Ready to Absorb this Mass Production!

This is one area where India is comfortably perched at the top of the charts – unemployable engineers and fake colleges and degrees.

It does not shock me that, per this Indian Express report, there are 277 fake engineering colleges functioning in India, with the nation’s capital city, Delhi, home to 66 of them.

Should this be a matter of concern for those who pass through these portals? Why should it as the companies that hire them are the ones paying the price for any such misadventure? Willing Scapegoat!

Several studies in the country have already shown that 80-95% of engineers that institutions produce are unfit for employment. Even the CEO of Tech Mahindra, CP Gurnani, was recently quoted as saying that: “94% of IT graduates in India are not fit for hiring.”

He goes on to say: “A student scoring 60 per cent marks cannot pursue BA English today but can definitely go in for engineering. My point is simple — are we not creating people for unemployment?”

This is not a new phenomenon. McKinsey had in a report a few years ago said that only 25% of India’s engineering graduates are employable.

The world is the hunting ground for the unemployable brigade – from Singapore to the U.S. where companies and governments merrily hire them in the name of “foreign talent”.  Foreign mediocrity, that is!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Commonality Makes Singapore Lean Towards China?

China Not Manipulating Yuan: The Straits Times

Singapore and China have a lot in common despite the differences in their political paths. So, it comes as no surprise that The Straits Times, in an editorial yesterday (July 27), took a pedestal view, dismissing charges that China was manipulating its currency and devaluing the Yuan against the U.S. dollar.

Its argument was that all currencies were weakening because the greenback was strengthening. This is to some extent not a tangential view as the U.S. economy has indeed been booming of late and poised for its best year of growth in a decade.

However, using that as a ruse to absolve China of any devious hand in yuan depreciation is a simplistic, patronising position. It ignores the reality that when China allows the yuan to drift lower, to deal with the simmering trade tensions, the other developing countries are not going to sit tight and keep their own currencies stable.

The editorial ignores the ripple effect of any monetary swings that will ensure there are no lopsided declines.

ST opinion on currency

It does look to me that Singapore is leaning towards China, either openly or through its media.

China’s Big Investments in Cambodia

In another piece today, The Straits Times gave mileage to Cambodia saying that “China does not push us.” China has been pledging aid to Cambodia to win its support on the South China Sea dispute with ASEAN.

According to this report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Chinese money accounted for 30% of foreign investments received by Cambodia in 2017.

Singapore Media Trying to Influence Indian Policies

A month ago, an Indian journalist had even suggested in an opinion piece, Mr Modi Comes to the Shangri-La, in The Straits Times that the Prime Minister “must break from the U.S. to proclaim his faith in free and open trade, and for a closer economic partnership with the region.”

Just as some ministers in the Government there are also Modi-worshipping journalists in the media, throwing objectivity out the door and pandering to their masters.

While Singapore does not like foreigners interfering in its affairs, it does not appear to care about its media trying to influence the political and economic policies of other countries.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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A 11-year Social Media Veteran!

So, I am a Facebook veteran with 11 years of social engagement! That is, out of the 12 years FB has been in existence! That should make me an early adopter!

Though founded in 2004, it was only in 2006 that FB became available for users outside of the U.S.

It is a wild medium, so wild that Facebook itself had admitted about a year ago that social platforms could be damaging to the mental health of users.

FB 11 years2

I am not a wild user, though, as I have limited my contacts there to those I know. I only have 137 friends within FB because I consider it a platform for sharing my thoughts with those I am comfortable with – not as a medium for pushing any narcissistic or political or religious agenda.

In fact, I think it is best to stay clear of anyone with around 1,000 or more friends there. That kind of social jamboree is not for me.

Just for a Singapore perspective, Facebook’s co-founder Eduardo Saverin has been living in the country since 2009. A Brazil-born billionaire, he renounced American citizenship in 2011 because, in his own words, he wanted to continue living and working in Singapore

I started blogging in 2006 – that is, before I got on board Facebook. I hit the Twitter bandwagon only in July 2009 though it was founded three years earlier. That is because I found blogging a better way to let off steam.

My idea of social media merrymaking, as I had blogged earlier, is all about letting off steam on issues dear to me, giving praise where due!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Next Stop for Ivanka: Presidency?

www.cnn.com/2018/07/24/politics/ivanka-trump-brand-company/index.html

Ivanka Trump shutting down her business is a good move that could silence critics who raise the question of ethics.

No more profiteering off the White House. Now, Presidency will be the next target.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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SingHealth Data Hack Shows the Pitfalls of Digitisation

Ugly side of TechnologyThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly Side of Technology

Is PDPA Just a Buzz?

No one and no country is safe from hacking as the SingHealth cyberattack reported yesterday shows, the more digitised you are the more vulnerable you become.

The personal records of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his predecessor Goh Chock Tong have been compromised. They are among 1.5 million people in the country who have had their data stolen, that is about one-third the population of Singapore.

SingHealth data breach

At least we know this has happened and it is easy for everyone to find out if they are among the victims, thanks to technology.

Technology Steals, Technology Kills, Technology Heals…

Technology steals, technology kills (as it happens in India with political criminals spreading venom and hate through the Web), technology heals….

In fact, everything is possible with technology – the good, the bad and the ugly!

I was able to find out that my personal data was not stolen, thanks to a quick check at the SingHealth site – https://datacheck.singhealth.com.sg/. That was a swift, tech-aided way to get to the truth. Singapore-style efficiency, available at your fingertips!

shhhClass Action Suit!

The hacking apart, I have always been sceptical about the efficacy of the Personal Data Protection Act in Singapore, possibly that is the same everywhere.

The difference being that if it happens in the U.S. the government (or entities responsible for it) will face the threat of a class action suit.

In one of my blogposts four years ago, I had argued the ease with which personal data could be accessed made the PDPA nothing more than a big buzz with confidentiality hardly kept sacrosanct!

My Blogposts in the Past

Unconditional Release of Data: That was written in the context of a hospital in the country asking me to sign a form that said it “had the right to process and release any information about me unconditionally for purposes it deems necessary.

In another post in 2016, I had wondered if the PDPA was being followed in letter and spirit in Singapore. That was after someone purportedly from the Ministry of Labour gave me a call for a survey with all my personal and professional details at her command. I had raised the question of whether the focus was more on protection of corporate data than that of individuals.

The SingHealth saga has seen Singaporeans end up with their personal data being compromised. What next? Will they lose their money also given the madness with which Singapore is pursuing e-payments?

G Joslin Vethakumar

Personal Jottings

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Happy Inflight Experience of a Conversationalist!

This heartwarming BBC piece is about a conversationalist striking a welcome chord with co-passengers on a plane and getting some funds to help poor students even without asking for it.

My best of efforts in limiting use of multisyllabic / polysyllabic mouthfuls fail occasionally (there I go again!). The word in question is “conversationalist” with six syllables.

“Talker” could have been a simpler alternative, a Word that finds mention in the writeup. It can be translated to “chatterbox” which is generally not a positive trait.

How about “communicator”? Its syllable count is five, without the same import as “conversationalist”.

So, what is the conclusion? Use of multisyllabic words in posts and conversations is inevitable!

Back to where I started – kudos to this teacher for the inflight conversations and for sharing her positive experience in the social media.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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