Friday, April 25, 2014

Weekend pickings (including The Morality of Dishonesty).

Diplomatically speaking, if you wondered why the Obama-Abe talks were not fruitful despite...

* The superb sushi
* The excellent sake
* The strictly no-ties "Call me Abe as in Ah-Bay, not as in Ape" informality

...That's because there were no fruits on the table! If there were, the spinmeisters would have provided headline writers with the opening to write something like this:

Great sushi, dinner ended on fruitful note


Talking about policy spin, the New York Times writer David Brooks has lamented the ceding, in the present era, of decision-making by leaders to their coterie of advisers...

It has become a sorry state of affairs, with the minders orchestrating practically everything. I thought Brooks' concluding citation of the Irish-born political philosopher Edmund Burke, while meant for an American audience, was applicable to so many other polities elsewhere too:  


I would not have thought that it would be an American newspaper, the New York Times, that came up with such a simple yet lovely intro for a story on European soccer!...

Still on sports, I like what TODAY (April 25) did with this story:

David Moyes may have been booted out of Manchester United but the erstwhile manager goes out with quite a lot of loose change...


A TODAY commentary writer had argued that Singapore needs even more shopping malls. On the contrary, I think the proliferation of characterless identity-killing malls has to be stopped or at least slowed. I am glad this sentiment of mine is shared by the writer below (TODAY, April 25, Donald Koh, "More malls add up to a zero-sum game"):

Give me the old-fashioned shopping centres any time. This ST report (April 25, "Bukit Timah's royal, genteel 'kampung' ") on one shopping centre that I'm very familiar with (as well as the one at Beauty World), resonates...


I'll wrap up with this interesting gem titled:

The Morality of Dishonesty
(or what the MBA professor didn't tell his students)

A few years ago, robbers entered a bank in a small town.

One of them shouted: "Don't move! The money belongs to the bank. Your lives belong to you.”

Immediately all the people in the bank lay on the floor quietly and without panic.
This is an example of how correct wording can make people change their view of the world.

One woman lay on the floor in a provocative manner. One robber approached her saying, " Ma'am, this is a robbery, not a rape. Please behave accordingly."
This is an example of how to behave professionally, and focus on the goal.

While running from the bank, the youngest robber (who had a college degree) said to the oldest robber (who had barely finished elementary school): "Hey, maybe we should count how much we stole?"

The older man replied: "Don’t be stupid. It's a lot of money so let's wait for the news on TV to find out how much money was taken from the bank."
This is an example of how life experience is more important than a degree.

After the robbery, the manager of the bank said to his accountant: "Let's call the cops and tell them how much has been stolen."

"Wait,” said the accountant, "before we do that, let's add the $800,000 we took for ourselves a few months ago and just say that it was stolen as part of today’s robbery."
This is an example of taking advantage of an opportunity.

The following day it was reported in the news that the bank was robbed of $3 million.

The robbers counted the money but they found only $1 million. "We risked our lives for $1 million, while the bank's management robbed two million dollars without blinking?  Maybe it's better to learn how to work the system, instead of being a simple robber."
This is an example of how knowledge can be more useful than power.

And the moral of this story?: Give a person a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a person a bank, and he can rob everyone.

Disclaimer: This is only a joke, hor!

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