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Thursday, Nov 04, 2021 - 22:09 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

To Do The Right Thing By Far

He's basically right, but is this even allowed nowadays?
[N.B. I would never hold frugality against a fellow Chinese, mind.]
[N.N.B. Come to think of it, does that explain this?]
[N.N.N.B. In short: Be a man, or get kicked in the nuts by inflation!]

Day off thanks to Deepavali (or how we've always known it as here, until "Diwali" made its incursion recently, that is), and topic for the day is: doing the right thing. Definitely one of those big questions plaguing be-a-mankind from antiquity, what with the Mahabharata - the longest and amongst the oldest epics known - offering the wisdom of keeping to the process*, and detaching oneself from the outcomes. This early expression of stoicism has been restated in many forms across history, with one celebrated example found in Kipling's If—:

...If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim†;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same...

[*Trouble is, of course, that given the complexity of life, one often doesn't even have real assurance that the process itself is right; a relevant formal construction might come in the form of the multi-armed bandit problem, which acknowledges that the only way to gain knowledge about the optimality of some process, is to try other processes too. This can get very dizzy.]

[†One unavoidably detects hints of Buddhist philosophy from this reference to "thought without thought", to which one might consider that Kipling wrote it circa 1895, just a few years after his visit to Japan, and the subsequent penning of Buddha at Kamakura; the first stanza of that last has in turn accompanied the completion of Kotoku-in in Civilization 6, though it should be noted that it's a pretty underwhelming wonder in the game.]

Digressions aside, the point here is probably that "doing the right thing" is not easy - and by not easy, I don't mean in the "working harder is not easy" way. Those presentations are a shonen manga trope: get beaten up by the Big Bad, just pop into the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and do push-ups non-stop for a few years, emerge with the Next Level Power Up, and wipe the floor with the baddie with the entire universe supporting you. If only it were that simple in reality! Instead, it's schemes behind shadows behind schemes, cloaked in a veneer of science and "democracy"; the true measure of being a man (or woman, or whatever one identifies as), might then be: would you hold fast, were the entire world itself against you? Would one do and say what one thinks is correct, shorn of the promise of immortal fame in the recounting of the Gita, with nothing but scorn and oblivion threatened instead?

As usual, Liar Game gives it straight
[N.B. Chapter released in Feb 2012, thus referencing COP17 in 2011]
(Source: mangakakalot.com)

Leaders suffer from that quandary more than most, one might expect, with Biden's burdens being a timely case study as to the toughness of "doing the right thing". As previously stated, my main disquiet with the current unifying "Let's Go Brandon" craze, is that it was probably at least partially down to his (right and long overdue) commitment towards withdrawing from Afghanistan. It seriously makes most sense for the abject operational failure to be attributed to the military leadership, but that's how it goes - guy at the top takes the fall. In my view, the U.S. has all but fallen to special interest lobbies and their symbiotic relationship with the entrenched bureaucracy (i.e., colloquially, "The Swamp"); slashing billions worth of defence-spending pork can't be very popular in certain quarters, and as the previous incumbent found, one can't even mandate affordable insulin without earning a lot of enmity either.

Again, I'm not entirely discounting the "protecting women and children" slogan for Afghanistan, but perhaps consider it this way: for two trillion bucks (actual figures hover around US$2.3 trillion, but what's a few hundred billion nowadays, eh?), what concrete legacy has been left for the people of Afghanistan? Compare satellite photos of the country from 2000 (before all the nonsense started) and today, and I'd gather there might not be much of a difference, craters aside. From this, one understands the general cynicism over the ongoing COP26, what with the luminaries jetting in and scooting about in massive motorcades whilst berating commoners for their consumption on luxury yachts. There was some hilarity, at least, when the executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme called Elon Musk out on solving world hunger with US$6 billion**, to which the budding shitlord offered the sum were he to be shown how that could be achieved (spoiler: it can't), before tweeting a Daily Express exposé on how starving minors were forced to give U.N. officials blowjobs for food. They kinda walked into that one.

[**Musk has, if you've missed it, become the first person worth over US$300 billion, after more Tesla booming together with his crypto portfolio. I have to repeat, however, that the whole crypto space has gone mad again IMHO, and I cannot in good conscience recommend getting in (even if MAS is in on the hype), not when my cousin's sixty year-old teacher colleague is buying Dogcoins too. While all the talk has been about whether SHIB will pass DOGE, the issue should be how these joke memecoins have attained market caps north of US$30 billion each, with no shortage of new entrants either. And then there's a Squid Game-branded coin rocketing in price only to turn out to be a rugpull scam (for now), but that is at least to script. While the premium versus junk tiers for crypto have emerged as posited via physical analogy in 2013, I confess to never having expected the latter to be able to attract such investment.]

But if it's any consolation for Biden, America has responded by voting in Virginia's first Black female lieutenant governor, together with their first Latino attorney general, in a resounding denouncement of white supremacy. To top it off, they have a new Governor who has made education his top priority. If this mood carries into the midterms, the U.S. may well see a return to saner and more competent administration throughout!

Eh, still couldn't resist
[N.B. Embiggen! Embiggen!]
[N.N.B. But really, this duty is not to be shirked.]
(Original source: cbr.com)

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