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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Asia

Monday March 31 2014

I have been following the World T20 cricket tournament now taking place in Bangladesh on Cricinfo in the last few days or weeks or whatever it is, and it has been non-stop thrills and dramas and surprises, the latest being an amazing game between Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

Sri Lankan fans had been urging the replacement of Sri Lankan spinner Mendis by Sri Lankan spinner Herath for some time, and they were not wrong.  Mendis in the earlier game that Sir Lanka lost against England: 4 overs 0 maidens 52 runs 0 wickets. Herath in today’s game against NZ: 3.3 overs 2 maidens 3 runs 5 wickets.  NZ, chasing a modest 119, only managed 60.

Things will probably calm down as the final games approach, as often happens at big international sports tournaments.  I seem to recall many football World Cups starting out fun but then getting duller and duller, culminating in four Continental European teams beating each other one-nil after extra time or nil nil with penalty shoot-outs, and one of them (I immediately forget which) gets to win it.  But in the early rounds, when teams like Cameroon and Croatia and England are still involved, it is fun fun fun.  I can even remember the long ago times when Scotland used sometimes to be involved in these early dramas.

I can’t say I was too distressed this morning about England being humiliated by The Netherlands.  When I saw the scorecard after it was all over (I had been doing something else) I actually laughed, and not bitterly.  Well done the Dutch.  This is one of those results that are “good for cricket”.  Cricket badly needs to extend its empire beyond the usual British Imperial suspects, and nothing attracts attention in an outsider country like their outsider team thrashing one of the insider teams.

England were never going to win this T20 tournament.  They did okay for most of it, and only crashed into this Dutch debacle after they were definitely about to go home anyway.  Besides which, this is T20, and crazy things happen in T20.

England were a bit unlucky against New Zealand, when rain gave NZ the win that they might not have managed had it not rained, given England’s quite decent total.  England’s best game was against Sri Lanka (see above), when Hales hit a brilliant century.  Lucky Herath wasn’t yet playing.  And England did not disgrace themselves against South Africa.  The margin, a mere three runs, flattered England, because actually it was all over several balls before that, with Bresnan only adding a bit of consolation slogging off the last few balls that got England near, but couldn’t have got them near enough in the absence of no-balls.  Even so, decent effort, jolly good game, etc.  Like every other England fan, I have no idea why Jade Dernbach remains in the England team, despite being regularly clobbered for about fifty.  This time he conceded 0-44 in three overs and didn’t bowl his final one, and was dropped for the final game against The Netherlands.  Will he play for England ever again?

The Dutch, on the other hand, had a terrific tournament.  They got totally creamed by Sri Lanka and beaten by New Zealand.  But in the first round they pulled off an amazing win against Ireland, where run rate calculations meant that in order to go through to the next round they had to score something like a hundred and ninety something in about fourteen overs.  The Dutch were never going to manage that.  But guess what, they did, and they eliminated both Ireland and Zimbabwe.  Astonishing.  Then, they gave South Africa one hell of a fright, losing a game by six runs that they were well course to win.  I was not amazed when they beat England.

Australia didn’t win a single game at the group stage, and were yesterday bowled out by India for 86.

The white guys have not been doing very well at this tournament.  It’s happening in Asia and the Asian teams are the strongest.

Friday January 24 2014

Incoming from 6000:

Loving the more regular updates on this. It’s something I meant to send to you long ago, but I don’t think I ever did. Fascinating, amazing and rather unsettling photographs of apartments in Hong Kong. Wow.

(And yes, “density” is misspelled.)

Actually, I think I did clock this.  Yes.  But what the hell, no harm in clocking it again, because maybe you are clocking it for the first time.

And I agree.  Wow:

image

So, that’s today’s more regular update sorted.

Saturday October 26 2013

Incoming from Michael Jennings:

image

But, you know what they mean.

Michael, where are you?  Or rather, where were you when you took this?  (You will presumably be somewhere entirely different by the time you read this.) Georgia was it?  Moldova?  Az ...something?  Something-istan?  I think he did say.

Anyway, good luck with the hydro power guys.  Dam I love hydro-electricity.  Sorry, I have been out, and there was drink.

Tuesday April 16 2013

Me at Samizdata, commenting on this, about the bonkersness of North Korea:

No. North Korea is not socialism betrayed. It is socialism done.

Which everyone here knows, but it is worth repeating.

Commenting on that, Perry de Havilland said:

That North Korea is ‘late socialism’ is a meme worth spreading.

Indeed it is.

Duly spread.

A bit.

Various people have been nagging me (a bit) about getting into Twitter, which things like this suit well.  It reminds me (a bit) of when people got contemptuously angry (a bit) because I still didn’t have an email address.

Wednesday May 02 2012

Two interesting early comments (two of many that follow) on this posting, which vividly (i.e. with lots of vivid photos) describes an idiotic Occupy occupation (with thanks to David Thompson for the link).

“Buzzsawmonkey”:

Given that the University of California, which owns this now-”Occupied” farm tract, is largely responsible for teaching the “Occupiers” the idiot theories under which they’ve undertaken this action, isn’t this really an instance of the chickens coming home to roost?

“Zombie”:

The vast majority of the “Occupy the Farm” buffoons are not Cal students; it’s mostly composed of losers who didn’t get into Cal, so in jealousy and frustration, they’re stealing the research equipment of the students who actually did well in school.

UC Berkeley is actually two completely distinct universities; the “liberal arts” half is thorough and irretrievably contaminated with Marxist ideologies; but the “STEM” half (“science, technology, engineering, math”) is very rigorous, hardcore, not politicized (and mostly Asian).

The College of Natural Resources, which does research at the farm, is mostly in the STEM half of the school (though there is a politicized component). Notice that the professors who joined the occupiers are all from the Anthropology and Gender Studies departments, not from Natural Resources.

So, this may not be a clear-cut case of chickens and their roosting behavior.

That “mostly Asian” bit makes me very pessimistic about the future of the West.

For how long will the best Asians feel they have to go West to get the best sort of education?  Will they keep coming, and after their rigorous Western educations, will they stay in the West?  Or, at a pivotal point in the nearish future, will they take their rigour back to Asia and plant it there, leaving what remains of Western education at the mercy of the “humanities”?

Monday April 09 2012

Lovely piece by Jarrod Kimber (the fat short Aussie half of the Two Chucks) about how experiences can happen at the end of test matches that couldn’t be had on any other days:

On day five at the P Sara, I listened to a conversation.

Now I’m well aware that this conversation may not have interested everyone, but when Suraj Randiv and Graeme Swann found each other out on the ground, I knew what they were talking about. You could tell by their hands that it was nerd spin talk.

To get close enough to hear I had to push through the crowd who were holding up English kit that had been thrown to them by the players, police officers who were standing there without really doing anything and the throng of people trying to take photos of Swann. I got as close to Randiv and Swann as the massive English security officer would let me. Then I had to block out the many fans who were planning to get something signed the minute the conversation ended.

The first bits I heard where Swann talking about wrist position. My persistence had paid off. For the next three minutes I was listening to a spin bowling masterclass. Randiv had clearly asked Swann about his action and whether he imparted too much over-spin on the ball. Swann explained his own action, and suggested that too much over-spin wasn’t a problem for Randiv as he still ragged it.

Don’t quite get that bit.  Was it Swann who “imparted too much over-spin” or Randiv?  And what does “ragged” mean?

Wrists, fingers, arm height and follow through were all discussed as Randiv, and I, listened intently. Randiv, Swanny’s Padawan learner, and me, the lucky eavesdropper.

The conversation ended with Swanny being very complimentary to Randiv about his bowling. He never said ‘attaboy’, but it was one of those sorts of conversations. I assume it boosted Randiv; even I was ready to hit the nets and try a few offies to see if Swann’s words could help me. And I’m a leggie.

Spin bowlers in cricket are different from the rest.  The regular cricketers are all regular super-athletes, who could have done football or golf or tennis instead, had the ball fallen only slightly different.  But the spinners often seem like they stepped right out of The Big Bang Theory.  A different twist of the wrist at a critical moment, and they could have been geography teachers or nuclear physicists, or, in the case of Phil Tufnell, a bookie.

One of the tribe, Piyush Chawla, yesterday at the IPL, made a wonderful mess of a steepling catch on the boundary.  He moved back and back and back, but never enough, dropped it, and then rolled completely over, losing any idea he may have once had about where the ball was.  Not yet on YouTube, but it soon will be.

And yes, I am back writing about cricket, now that England are back winning a test match.  I don’t care to wallow in misery.

By the way, take a look at this scorecard.  Be sure to scroll down to the end.

Friday December 16 2011

And how:

image

It’s one of of these.

There’s a definite hint there of somewhat excessive Photoshopping.  But I forgive it.

Friday November 18 2011

Indeed.  Try to guess what this next oddity is before you follow any links.  Or, don’t.  It’s entirely up to you.

First there was this photo, which I took yesterday.  And now a picture, which I did not take but which I have horizontalised a bit:

image

It’s one of these.

Today I’m in a “How very odd!” mood
Choosing a Clean Food Outlet in Lawas is as easy as ABC
Health and safety on a mountain in Borneo
NZ doing a bit better than England
Sportsmanship by us – bullying by them
I can now copy and paste from .pdf files
Mmmmmm … Asian skyscrapers!
Abandoned Bangkok tower
Ten thoughts about the Pakistan cricket corruption story
Tiny Cardboard Box People Appear All Over Singapore
Why not just sell them?
Big Singapore Thing
The US Navy photos itself
Chained cat in Vietnam
Changing faces of Europe
Colonial Governor’s Mansion dwarfed by modernity
Africa is big
What’s this for?
Malaysian footbridge for everyone except … gephyrophobiacs?
My Wheel’s bigger than your Wheel
Self-guided photo-tour of the streets of San Francisco
Michael Jennings on telecoms at Samizdata
The robotic future
Eee PC not eeesy to get in Asia either
Rain stops Murali
Operation Cat Drop and some Hello Kitty Bags
Alisher Usmanov is now better known for being nasty
Taipei with skyscraper
DMZ