keeping the economy honest

Monthly Archives: March 2011

Priests and Child Abuse

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia just suspended 21 Roman Catholic Priests suspected of child molestation.   I don’t want to judge anyone, just want to make an observation. I thought Priests are holy men who possess the best understanding of church teachings. They’re moral and compassionate like Jesus whom they devote their lives for, they are probably closer to God than the average person, they’re like the Phds of the meaning of life.   So if a group of doctors who graduated from the same medical school claim to be experts on medicine and their patients keep dying, you would probably think the teachings of this medical school probably doesn’t reflect the best understanding of medical science.  So I’m just saying medicine is complex, extraordinary healers need extraordinary track record.


Race to Nowhere

This documentary points to problems with excessive focus on tests, performance in our school system and reflects the problem I have with the Tiger Mom mentality.  I was in this Race for 13 years (5 years of high school and 8 years of university education).  While I don’t want to sound ungrateful or take my education for granted because it has afforded me a good career, the education system is Extremly Inefficient in my opinion.  What I mean is that the ratio of meaningful benefit or knowledge that you take away vs. the amount of hours you spent “learning” in the system is very poor.  We’ve all had the experience of self directed learning in our regular life, whether it be a hobby or something to fix around the house.  We encounter a problem or want to do something and we go out to find a solution for it and we learn along the way.  It may not be very organized, but every bit of learning was purposeful and useful.  If our higher education system trained our woodworkers, they would probably make them study the histology of all kinds of wood, perhaps memorize the different wood pattern, long before they are allowed to cut any wood.

So I’ve spent 8 years of post secondary training to prepare for my career, you think I would be an expert in what I do. No, school was partly a foundation, partly a piece of paper you need to get into the door, and a good amount of wasted energy in pointless homework and learning … read more

Sexy Stats

New York Times costs Nelly Furtado $1M

The New York Times reported that Nelly Furtado made $1 million for her performance for the Gadhafi family in 2007 for a 45min performance.  After the report came out, Furtado said she will donate the $1 million to charities.  I have to give her props for donating the money, because she obviously didn’t want to.   We all knew who Gadhafi was in 2007.  You had to know that to be paid $1.33 million/hour, there had to be something UP… nobody with a government salary would spend like that.  The same way that Canadian oil companies in Libya knew that their business also had to contribute to Gadhafi’s regime.   The same way that when Wall Street CEOs gets millions in severance for running their companies to the ground, you had to know there’s something UP.  But it’s all legal because that’s the system we live in and we all play the same game.  I mean that’s why Celebrities are so appealing because it’s a sweet gig and you make easy money.  That’s why I give Nelly Furtado props for donating the whole amount despite her intentions, because she really didn’t have to…  We need to change the system.

Tiger Mom

I completely understand the Tiger Mom mentality since I’m a product of that environment; a poor immigrant family where you need to work extra hard to succeed.  While I’m glad I went through it and of the career it gave me, I see Tiger Mom as a very pragmatic technique  and it’s only applicable to certain situations.

It’s really a very practical matter about playing this game of ”succeeding in life”.  If you’re born into an economically disadvantaged environment, you have to work harder than other people to make sure you have the best chances of getting into a career path that leads to a better life, and by “better” I only mean good income, ease of life and all the other reasons why a woman might care about her future husband’s career.  A job with investment banking firm on Wall Street would fit that bill.   This may involve going to the right school, participating in a course of “success” associated activities like piano or violin and Tiger moms are effective in directing that.  While you may think it’s a very contrived view on life, I appreciate the motivation of those families.   The parents have a tough life with their disadvantaged  jobs and they want their kids to have a different life and the most predictable way to do that is to get into an attractive profession  like doctors, lawyers and whatever other sweet gig you can think of.

But you’re right, life is about more than that. There’s really no happiness in forcing yourself to do things that you’re not interested in just to play this game.  I thought the whole point of having “success” in life is so your kids can have an enjoyable childhood and do whatever they’re interested in.  This is where I think Amy Chua is wrong.  Her daughters are already getting a head start in life being born into privileged environment.   I have no doubt they shall receive a good education and be afforded all the opportunities to pursue what they’re interested in.  So why coerce them into a perfectionist in things that they hate?  just because it looks good on paper or sounds nice when you talk to other people about your kids? … read more

The Oscar goes to…. Inside Job

Watching the Oscars wasn’t a complete waste of time because it finally made me watch the Inside Job.  If you’re not in top 0.1% of the previous post, then you should probably watch it too because you’re getting screwed by them. Like I said in the previous post,  generally people can take a lot of injustice and unfairness before they start doing something about it.  I guess we still haven’t reached that point of outrage.

What percentile are you in?

This chart shows the current income distribution of Americans.  No,  these are not inherited family wealth passed on over many generations or money accumulated over years of smart savings or investment.  These are the income each American family takes in every year based on their jobs.  The poorest 90 percent of Americans make an average of $31,244 a year, while the top 1 percent make over $1.1 million.  So how did we get here? …

Well, for the past 30 years, the income of 99% of the population barely moved, but the top 1% has seen its income nearly quadruple… read more

The Oscars

I watched the Oscars and was disappointed that Sandra Bullock wasn’t nominated for anything.  Then I realized that’s because  she didn’t have to work last year after raking in $56 millions in 2009 for The Proposal and Blind Side.   Anne Heche must be really angry because she just revealed that she regrets turning down Sandra Bullock’s role in Speed. I had to google who Anne Heche is…but she was  just as  big of a star as Sandra Bullock at that time and she is a fine actress too.  Despite the relatively unknown Sandra Bullock, the movie was a hit and catapulted Sandra Bullock instantly to an overpaid star.   I think for Blind Side, they should have gone with Anne Heche to save some money since it was such a good script.