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Life’s Mise en Scene

A big supermarket was paid to advertise my friend’s products, but they forgot, my friend naturally showed displeasure, he was threatened with his products disappearing from the racks of this supermarket.

Logistics contractors have seen prices cut, margins shaved to a point where pay to drivers are too low to keep them, a constant turnover rate that eats into the administrative time of teaching and building institutional learning. The penalties that the logistics companies dish out to these contractors are similar to loan sharks payout.

A few of my friends from warehousing, food manufacturers and in the hotel sector, sat, pondering the future and their own lives. Singapore is a small market, the GLCs controlling many sectors of the economy, do we at this time move our resources out to Asean, to China, to elsewhere? Even my own family of 5 will be in 4 countries in a few years.

But our kids are finding their own feet, more worldly, a bigger control of their lives, a more liberal parenting context that gave them confidence and resilience to move to their next step.

I see the young, a spectrum of the hardworking and the laxed. Some working, 16 hours-day, some can hardly take a day of physical work. Some old who wants to work but the body just cannot take it. Each searching for a way to live, a meaning to a life that is elusive, and yet revived by small moments of friendship, of love, of kids, of people passing by.

I am sure these scenes are part of the human condition. A constant challenge of the ebbs and flow of being born, of breathing, of love, of heartaches, stress and hopefully peace.

Perhaps of all the books in the Bible, I adore Ecclesiastes.

“Kohelet proclaims that all human actions are hevel, “vapor” or “breath”, meaning “insubstantial”, “vain”, or “futile”, since the lives of both wise and foolish people all end in death.

While Kohelet clearly endorses wisdom as a means for a well-lived earthly life, he is unable to ascribe eternal meaning to it. In light of this perceived senselessness, he suggests that human beings should enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life, such as eating, drinking, and taking enjoyment in one’s work, which are gifts from the hand of God.

The book concludes with the injunction to “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone”, but the Oxford Bible Commentary notes that this “lends the saying an orthodox tone which is quite absent in the monologue.”

While a nation and even a corporation is legally endowed with ‘eternity’, a long term with no expiry, the person, the individual and a human must necessarily expire at some stage.

And public policy must embrace this notion of the human condition, an expiry date. We have the capitalist belief that the market works it way out; bringing balance to the economy. But the fact is that the aggregate of power and money will skew public policy to their advantage. A democracy is less efficient but prevents the worst abuses that a dictatorship can wrought.

A government is liked a director. He is not the actor, he is not the star, he provides the mise en scene to bring the colors, the props, the texture of the film to elicit the best out of the actors. But there must always be a constant dialectic between director, props and actors… the Singapore story is really just about normal humans, who despite the odds, were able to “enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life, such as eating, drinking, and taking enjoyment in one’s work..”

 

BK

 

 

yyy
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17 Responses to “Life’s Mise en Scene”

  • SojoüRner:

    A government is liked a director. He is not the actor, he is not the star, he provides the mise en scene to bring the colors, the props, the texture of the film to elicit the best out of the actors.

    The Bible reports that Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty king of the Babylonian Empire 600 years before Christ, had received a vision from Heaven. Daniel explained that God gave this vision to Nebuchadnezzar, “in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, he gives it to them. Whoever He wills, and sets the lowest of men over it”

    It explicitly indicates that God would often put awful leaders in places of great influence for the express intention of executing His plans. So does this mean that God somehow “allows” every other leader with all his faults and foibles? No, no. What it does say is that there is a aim for mankind, a goal for world affairs, and He will fulfill that goal through the leadership that He either sets up or makes.

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  • Harder Truth:

    The role of the government is not to take the place of the free market. In Communist Island the problem is there is no free market. Anyone who does business cannot do even the snallest thing without government approval.

    Aby nation without a free market cannot survive for long, no matter how many scholars are behind the scenes. The USSR is a recent example. There are many others like Venezuela, Costa Rica, Greece, Brazil, which have enormous wealth but no free market.

    $G depends on the oil tanker fees, oil exploration, import/export trade, tourism and its bloated land prices and overpriced housing for income. That is it. Once these stop working because of regime stupidity then say goodbye to everything else built on this foundation.

    Where is an island of 6 million going when majority are unemployed?

    Exactly.

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  • TEMUSIK PATRIOT:

    Good for you BK,
    more of Reality and none of the ILLUSIONS we are living in hypocritical perpetuity…I take Life One Day at a Time and and Live life KNOWING that when it is TIME we go Happily and NOT in Fear…

    from Agnostic-Nominal Buddhist to Jesus Christ in death’s bed owing to Fear of Death and NOT REMORSE of the Evil done

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  • TEMUSIK PATRIOT:

    SojoüRner: The Bible reports that Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty king of the Babylonian Empire 600 years before Christ, had received a vision from Heaven. Daniel explained that God gave this vision to Nebuchadnezzar, “in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, he gives it to them. Whoever He wills, and sets the lowest of men over it”

    It explicitly indicates that God would often put awful leaders in places of great influence for the express intention of executing His plans. So does this mean that God somehow “allows” every other leader with all his faults and foibles? No, no. What it does say is that there is a aim for mankind, a goal for world affairs, and He will fulfill that goal through the leadership that He either sets up or makes.

    Bro, we are Living Danial’s Prophesies TODAY and “believe” it will come to Past sooner than later it seems, stay TRUE to your course and finish the race with Joy and NOT regrets & FEAR!!!…the End will COME like a THIEF in the night NOT Broad-Daylight in an ILLUSION of Firsts…for the Last will be FIRST in a Race well run!!!

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  • Lupin:

    $12,000 for a puppy? Why pet lovers in S’pore are willing to pay ‘pandemic premiums’ – ST

    A Technological University student (20 years old) bought her three-month-old bichon frise, Sunny, for $8,900 last month. Who wants to be rich when you can be awfully rich in Singapore? Who are they?

    BK: I see the young, a spectrum of the hardworking and the laxed. Some working, 16 hours-day, some can hardly take a day of physical work.

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  • TEMUSIK PATRIOT:

    SojoüRner: The Bible reports that Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty king of the Babylonian Empire 600 years before Christ, had received a vision from Heaven. Daniel explained that God gave this vision to Nebuchadnezzar, “in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, he gives it to them. Whoever He wills, and sets the lowest of men over it”

    It explicitly indicates that God would often put awful leaders in places of great influence for the express intention of executing His plans. So does this mean that God somehow “allows” every other leader with all his faults and foibles? No, no. What it does say is that there is a aim for mankind, a goal for world affairs, and He will fulfill that goal through the leadership that He either sets up or makes.

    Hi bro + BK, I watched a recent podcast @u-tube and it makes sense…SonyPodcastB #2386EpA…I am not econ and finance savvy but the world seem to be ruled by The Great Almighty Dollar more than ever and the little RedDot under Con You was the best example for the world to see…a Pliant People easily CONtrolled

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  • oxygen:

    @ BK

    THE PANDEMIC WILL AGGRAVATE the rich-poor inequality divide into sharper focus. Beyond that, the “green economy” will make it a lot harder for poor countries and the poor generally to survive.

    Why?

    There won’t be “cheap” oil to drive the transportation/economy and no cheap coal to fire power stations. Air transportation will be very expensive for food supply. Production will be localised as much as possible even if uneconomic relative to imports (if oil-fuel sea shipping is available). And generally less jobs and labor-based income as technology disrupt/degrades labor input into the production equation.

    It is slightly better than the semi-comatose state of the economic wheel in this pandemic-hit landscape of your writing’s illumination.

    A lot of millennial are still living in fantasy land Alice-in-Wonderland dreams. It may still be big homes, electric car driving, but no jobs or low-pay job to maintain a standard of living aspiration unsustainable any longer for most.

    It is scary.

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  • Sg heavily imports to live:

    SG basically do not create the goods we use and buy.

    The general business model is see who is cheapest.

    This results in use of inferior workers and goods.

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  • Gov gives great welfare:

    PM designate distributes $50 vouchers to 400,000 needy households.

    Clap. Clap. Clap.

    Last batch of vouchers was half a year ago. Another batch this year.

    So, one household gets $50 voucher to last for 6 months.

    If a household has 5 persons, that’s $10 per person for 6 months, less than $2 per month.

    Or if a hawker meal is $5 per person, that’s just enough for 2 meals. Thank you, PM Designate.

    By the way, where is the $23,000 per person calculated by Ms Tin?

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  • oxygen:

    @ BK,

    Your mates in the warehousing, food manufacturers and in the hotel sector might find this weblink read interesting.

    Pandemic aftershocks overwhelm global supply lines.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/news/pandemic-aftershocks-overwhelm-global-supply-lines/ar-BB1d3lz8?ocid=uxbndlbing

    Of course, the hotel sector is dead in the water, but who can see the pandemic -aggravated aftershocks more clearly in the warehousing/transportation sectors other than those in the thick of it. This came after global supply shocks in the wake of Trump’s tirade/trade war with China.

    Central bankers have been lazy worrying about deflationary pressure, pushing down interest rate and growth prospects including the Fed’s Powell.

    Think higher inflation is coming? The Fed will believe it when it sees it

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/think-higher-inflation-is-coming-the-fed-will-believe-it-when-it-sees-it-11611600673?mod=home-page

    I suspect all that could soon change. Material shortage and supply shocks will take the Fed by surprise as stimulus spending/budget deficit in the US fuel inflation expectations globally.

    Among other reasons is the impending fall in US$. Yale economist, Stephen Roach has again forecasting the STEEPER FALL in US$. I hope he is wrong this time, but if he is right again, it could bring turmoil in global financial market of major structural shifts of the US$ and economy.

    Stephen Road was, of course, correct when he forecast a drop in US$.

    https://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=dxy&insttype=&freq=1&show=&time=8

    This chart shows US$ has fallen around 12% in 2020 – staggering of magnitude in that short space.

    S.Roach is forecasting STEEPER AND CONTINUED FALL IN US$.

    The Dollars Crash Is Only Just Beginning

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-01-25/the-dollar-s-crash-is-only-just-beginning

    Another fall of just 10% in 2021, must in my judgment call create at least tremors in the asset and credit market, with follow-on aftershocks in the global economy mired down by pandemic resurgence world-wide.

    For one thing, falling US dollar means higher import cost and slower US exports of goods and services – itself slowed down by pandemic aftershocks in broken supply chain.

    Yes, massive debt and deficits may not be consequential in a low inflation, low interest rate climate

    But what if the Fed is caught with a surprise collapse of US$/ inflation spiral forcing it to raise interest rate-.

    When that happens, what will happen to global economy especially those trade/externally-driven economy like LEE-jiapore?

    I see harder times ahead this year – the stimulus-spending driver of economic so-called “recovery” in the works won’t last.

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  • xoxi:

    Christian Teaching tells us that *man is only a PILGRIM on earth* and Buddhist Teaching tells us * Life is transcient*.

    Yes,* Death comes to everyone like a thief*,so says the Holy Bible.
    Rich and Mighty or Poor and Weak,we cannot know when we kick the bucket.

    We pass by this way but once,so if there is any good we can do to help others,let us do it now…

    It is more blessed to give than to receive(take).

    This is the message for all who are blessed with wealth and talents especially those in high positions.

    God is watching us from a distance…

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  • xoxo:

    i humbly predict this.
    COVID19 pandemic will persist as long as *WALLSTREET GREED* persists!

    despite the hype of the advantages of globalisation,many more ordinary workers become impoverishedlspecially the all-important MIDDLE CLASS.

    Just think about it.
    Even as workers lose their jobs and poor becoming poorer,THE RICH GETS RICHER still?
    Despite gloomy economy,$TOCK MARKETS ALL OVER THE WORLD SKY-ROCKETS?!

    MORE BILLIONAIRE$ MINTED WITH HIGHER AGGREGATE NET WORTH$ NOT SEEN BEFORE EVEN DURING HIGH GLOBAL ECONOMIC GROWTHS?

    So,the GREEDIER THE GREEDY BECOMES,THE STRONGER THE *VERMINS* THAT CAUSE PANDEMICS.

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  • xoxo:

    Positive energies (like generosity) bring about positive outcomes; Negative energies ( like extreme greed) brings about negative outcomes.

    GlobaliSation is not the same as globaLIE$ation?

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  • TEMUSIK PATRIOT:

    Where are the PUNDITS??? When “TRUTH” prevails silence is PREVALENT!!!

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  • TEMUSIK PATRIOT:

    xoxi:
    Christian Teaching tells us that *man is only a PILGRIM on earth* and Buddhist Teaching tells us * Life is transcient*.

    Yes,* Death comes to everyone like a thief*,so says the Holy Bible.
    Rich and Mighty or Poor and Weak,we cannot know when we kick the bucket.

    We pass by this way but once,so if there is any good we can do to help others,let us do it now…

    It is more blessed to give than to receive(take).

    This is the message for all who are blessed with wealth and talents especially those in high positions.

    God is watching us from a distance…

    “Ditto” bro

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  • TEMUSIK PATRIOT:

    xoxo:
    Positive energies (like generosity) bring about positive outcomes; Negative energies ( like extreme greed) brings about negative outcomes.

    GlobaliSation is not the same as globaLIE$ation?

    Singapore movie “Money not Enough” but to some Money NEVER enough even with Millions and BILLIONS…when becoming fodder for worms they still want MORE every August seeking Hell Notes

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  • Quran chapter: "Time":

    In the Name of God The All Compassionate & Merciful

    *By Time
    *Humankind is in a state of loss
    *Except for those of true faith
    and good deeds
    *And those who mutually enjoin one another in seeking truth and patient equanimity.

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