Category Archives: Asia

Asia: Turning Exotic Species Into Meals, Pets And Snake Oil Potions

America, Asia, Culture, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Ethics, The West

It’s a tragic truth, but wild life will go the way of Western culture. By that I mean that when the West is no longer; wild life, now on the wane, will likely die out, too.

“Asia’s appetite for endangered species is” insatiable, warns The Economist.

In Indonesia, if not for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), “an American NGO, which helps bring half of all cases of wildlife crime to court,” there would be no convictions and hence no deterrent to the orgiastic culling, poaching, trafficking:

… The Indonesian island straddles the boundary between Asiatic and Australian species—and boasts an extraordinary number of species found nowhere else. But the market also symbolises how Asia’s amazing biodiversity is under threat. Most of the species on sale in Tomohon have seen populations crash because of overhunting (habitat destruction has played a part too). Fewer than 6,000 crested macaques now inhabit the forests. The cuscus hangs on by its fingertips—or its curling, prehensile tail. …

… Trade in wild birds is supposedly circumscribed. Yet the ferries are crammed with them: Indonesian soldiers returning from a tour in Papua typically pack a few wild cockatoos or lories to sell. One in five urban households in Indonesia keeps birds. Bitung feeds Java’s huge bird markets. The port is also a shipment point on a bird-smuggling route to the Philippines and then to China, Taiwan, even Europe. Crooked officials enable the racket. …

… As for the tiger, in China and Vietnam its bones and penis feature in traditional medicine, while tiger fangs and claws are emblems of status and power. Fewer than 4,000 tigers survive in the wild. The pressure from poachers is severe, especially in India. The parts of over 1,700 tigers have been seized since 2000. …

…  Owing to Asian demand for horns, the number of rhinos poached in South Africa leapt from 13 in 2007 to 1,028 last year. The new frontline is South America. A jaguar’s four fangs, ten claws, pelt and genitalia sell for $20,000 in Asia. Between 2013 and 2016 authorities in Bolivia seized 380 jaguar fangs.

South Africa auctions permits to hunt a few rhinos each year, with the proceeds supposed to fund conservation. This has provided cover for poachers. One Thai smuggler used prostitutes to pose as legal trophy hunters; the dead beasts’ horns ended up in Asia. Schemes to farm animals, which some said would undercut incentives to poach, have proved equally harmful. Lion parts from South African farms are sold in Asia as a cheaper substitute for tiger, or passed off as tiger—either way, stimulating demand. The farming of tigers in China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam provides cover for the trafficking of wild tiger parts. Meanwhile, wild animals retain their cachet—consumers of rhino horn believe the wild rhino grazes only on medicinal plants.

THE REST: “Asia’s appetite for endangered species is relentless.”

UPDATED (6/15): Japanese Leaders Are Patriotic, Rejecting Mass Immigration As An Answer To Declining Birthrates

Asia, IMMIGRATION, Nationhood

It’s shameful—treason, if you are a politician—to suggest that an aging and shrinking population is REASON TO FLOOD A COUNTRY WITH IMMIGRANTS, bringing about the near extinction of the native population.

This I’ve said in all my writing on immigration, and in response to the “demographics are destiny crowd” (Mark Steyn being among them). See: “Beck, Wilders, and His Boosters’ Blind Spot” (2010)

Not being traitors to their own, Japanese leaders are having none of it.

Japan will not accept mass immigration, says Masashi Mori, the mayor of Toyama. Efforts to raise the birth rate have had little success, although there are a few exceptions (see article). The only alternative is to learn to live with far fewer people. That implies great upheaval, which Toyama hopes to minimise.

MORE: “A small Japanese city shrinks with dignity.”

UPDATE (6/15):

Trump tells Shinzo Abe, “You don’t have this (immigration) problem, but I can send you 25 million Mexicans and you’ll be out of office very soon.” Brilliant audacity.

UPDATED: Lee Kuan Yew Knew A Thing Or Two (Like When To Cane An American)

Asia, China, Human Accomplishment, Intelligence

Ah, intelligence: When last was I moved by the intelligence of an American public persona—the teletarts, the presstitutes, the egos in the anchor’s chair, the politicians? If you mean moved to vomit, then all the time. Conversely, I could not listen to Lee Kuan Yew without being impressed by his enormous intelligence. Singapore’s “prime minister for 31 years, widely respected as the architect of Singapore’s prosperity,” died at 91.

More than anything, Lee Kuan Yew, who retired in 1990, understood that human capital, not natural resources, makes a society thrive.

The Cambridge-educated lawyer led Singapore through merger with, and then separation from, Malaysia.
Speaking after the split in 1965, he pledged to build a meritocratic, multi-racial nation. But tiny Singapore – with no natural resources – needed a new economic model.
“We knew that if we were just like our neighbours, we would die,” Mr Lee told the New York Times in 2007.
“We had to produce something which is different and better than what they have.”

And:

Lee’s role as the founding father of Singapore [is what] he will be most remembered for and which gave him that global status in the first place. His success in turning Singapore from a tiny third-world country – at the time of its independence separated from Malaysia and under threat from neighboring Indonesia – into a first-world city state is a feat to behold. While few expected Singapore to survive, it has thrived far beyond the wildest dreams of many, including Lee himself who once reportedly dismissed small island states as a political joke.

Alas, there “was a darker side to the Singapore story” (said in Keith Morrison’s most ominous, Dateline voice).

But we won’t speak ill of a man who loved his people and was genuinely loved by them, who didn’t spread democracy by force to nobody, kept his military mitts to himself, and did Americans a great favor by inspiring the public paddling of a visiting truant teenager, Michael Fay, when he spray-painted cars in Singapore of 1994.

UPDATE (3/23): Facebook thread:

Kerry Crowel: I’ve used a quote of his (“In multicultural societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.”) many times when arguing with open-border, amnesty advocates .
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Myron Robert Pauli: While perhaps too authoritarian for my standards (but how much better are Bloomberg and Guiliani??), Lee improved a lot of things to make a modern Singapore. Another interesting comparison would be to compare Abe Lincoln (from when he took office to when he died) with Deng Xiaoping (from when he took power to when he died) and ask who freed more people or lifted them from poverty and who butchered more people (how does Tienanmien Square casualties compare with Antietam?).
9 hrs · Unlike · 1

Hastings Ragnarsson: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists; not so good when people obey and acclaim him; worst when they despise him.” ~ Laotzi /// Wo jing ni yi bei, Lingdao.

A Bad Business: Avoid ‘Kimberley’s Tailoring & Alterations’ Like The Plague

Asia, Business, Capitalism, Free Markets

The fact that the proprietor of “Kimberley’s Tailoring & Alterations” has received some good reviews suggests that she has a clientele that expects little, is easily intimidated and has no qualms about parting with a LOT of money UPFRONT—yes, you heard me—with no assurances that the job will come up to standards, other than the abrupt, obnoxious manners of the proprietor. “Kimberley,” I presume.

I entered “Kimberley’s Tailoring & Alterations” for the first time ever to have two new skirts shortened. Pinning the skirts for hemming proved a somewhat unpleasant experience. “Kimberley” made no particular attempt to advise on length, or enable me to properly see the length of the hem, vis-à-vis the shoes. She did, however, convey in her gruff, incoherent demeanor what she could NOT do for me, rather than what was achievable. Indeed, “Kimberley” made it crystal clear that her aim was not to please this customer, but to lord it over her. No matter, I thought to myself. We all have our idiosyncrasies. So long as she’s good at what she does, right?

Following the fitting, I headed to the counter. I expected to receive a slip—perhaps pay a deposit—and depart. Whereupon “Kimberley” informed me that I would have to pay her in full and UPFRONT. I said that I seldom pay in advance for a service I have not received, except when the government forces that on me, and I presume she is not working for them (she’d make a great TSA agent). If I pay upfront, I inquired, what recourse will I have should she botch the job? None, “Kimberley” conceded. How much did she want for hemming two skirts, I inquired?

ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY EIGHT DOLLARS! $138!

The skirts, although stunning and well-made (one even made in Paris), were bought on sale for $29 each (at “Winners,” in Vancouver, B.C.: thanks, Karen, for sending me there). I told “Kimberley” I would not pay $138 for hemming. And I would most certainly not be paying $138 in advance. I’d be prepared to pay a deposit, no more. Besides, with the full amount in her pocket, what incentive would she have to do a good job? I requested that she return the pinned garments, at once. I offered to pay for the time she spent pinning the skirts for hemming. More civilized and reasonable than that one can’t get.

Whereupon “Kimberley” became unhinged, clutched my PROPERTY (the skirts), refused to turn them over, and informed me she’d be removing the pins forthwith. I had stood for 25 minutes in her sweltering shop, being pinned for hemming. I saw no reason for her to be so irrational and undo the work. “I’ll pay you for your time as well as for a box of pins,” I offered. Again, I demanded she return my garments forthwith.

From there on it was downhill. “Kimberley” threatened to call 911 and claim I had assaulted her, because I had reached for my skirts, which she was clutching and refusing to return. I took out $20, put it on the counter, and demanded again that she give me my property, or else she’d hear from my lawyer. I promised that I would be committing the experience at “Kimberley’s Tailoring & Alterations” to pixels.

Finally, “Kimberley” relented. My skirts were returned and she yelled, running after me, “I don’t want your money.” Realizing she was making a scene outside, “Kimberley” retreated into the shop with the cash. Good riddance. I headed to the adjacent “Dirk’s,” where the service is always fantastic and the people genteel and gracious.

Incidentally, I had a similar experience with “Margarita Tailor,” also of Issaquah. I can only imagine that in both instances (“Kimberley” & Margarita), one is dealing with individuals from an authoritarian culture, who do not understand how free-market transactions work.