Thursday, December 24, 2009

Things that I hate, dont like, or just make me reach for the valium bottle

Everyone has pet peeves, or things they cannot stand, tolerate, would rather not experience, or just simply hate the crap out of; Im not talking about stuff life warm beer, or asian chicks with high pitch voices, or black people, or lettuce on a hamburger or whatever, but concrete concepts/notions that certain people have or the way the people exhibit those annoying perspectives. So I hava decided to make a list of my own, which will be updated or modified in a timely manner. In case you, the reader, is offended by any of these then please assume without a doubt that you too could be a great addition to the list. Enjoi.
  • Republicans. Whether they are moderately conservative or orthodox or liberally right.
  • People who are offended by, or point out, politically incorrect innuendos/remarks.
  • People who think that 1) _____ is the best damn country in the world or 2)______ will some day be the best damn country in the world. Americans usually categorize the first one while Indians fulfill the requirements of the second.
  • People who truly, honetly, sincerely, in a thought out process fully believe that the prospect of total world peace and order is inevitable and maybe even imminent, if possible at all. Gandhi was a big ignorant dolt who believed in this nonsense.
  • Overly proud parents who dont miss an opportunity to celebrate and brag about their child's most mundane and trivial achievement to boost his/her self esteem, especially the ones who put stickers on the back of their cars.
  • People with newborns or toddlers who not only make them the center of their life, but impose that same notion on anyone and everyone they can while trying to fulfill every void or unachieved mark by projecting it onto the innocent kid . Procreation is something that I'm not that great a fan of in general.
  • People with no interest in the world news or happenings; always content just to watch the local unremarkably uneventful news without paying any attention to the big picture. The Economist magazine is a great way to rid yourself of this condition.
  • People who cannot even point out about 50 countries on the world map.
  • People with not even the slightest interest or appreciation for Astronomy, and the achievements of mankind in the field.
  • In conjunction to the above point, people who even depend even slightly on any Astrological concept, or read horoscopes, or believe in Feng Shui and all that bloviated stuff.
  • People who are even moderately religious; this would be alright with me, but from my experience most people who believe in some god always tend to project their rightousness onto anyone who doesnt.
  • People who outright reject or ignore the concept of Evolution (by Charles Darwin) and doubt or try to argue about its fallacies or failure to explain certain phenomenon. I dont mind if you believe in some sort of god(s), but actually rejecting the idea of Natural Selection is utterly dispicable and repugnant to me.
  • People who actually think Natty Lite is "not that bad" of a beer. That has to be the utmost unrefined palette that utters those filthy words.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Consumer whores that are Americans

When it comes to spending money on futile consumption, borrowing to spend money on futile consumption, or just spending money for the psychological fun of it, Americans are unparalleled. No other nation epitomizes wasteful or unnecessary spending like the Great States of America. When it comes to consipicuous or the other forms of it, Americans are the Jenna Jameson of consumption: ever-ready, eager and more than glad to do it. And so when people converse with me on the recent recession facing the country, it is absolutely amazing that most of them still ponder as to what could be the underlying cause? People will blame the developing economies like China for its undervalued currency, or the big corporate financial institutions that blew the bubble of credit into the people's ears, and to some degree, that is justifiable. But americans are oblivious to their downright pathetic practice of, or the lack there of, saving money.

The fact that the household savings rate in the US was no more than 1-2% for much of the 2000's is egregious; the savings rate actually went NEGATIVE for 2005-06 according to the OECD !! That means that in effect, americans were spending more than they earned all together. The proverbial American dream of owning a suburban house and car was so forecefully and effectively fed to the residents that they themselves began to partake in the imminent and inevitable financial/credit bubble. The people became confident as the property rates kept rising and forgot the old wisdom of equal and opposite Newton's action & reaction. The debt to income ratio in 07 for US stood at 130%, so they were overspending 1/3 more than was theoretically possible, thanks to the pre-approved creadit card, pre-adjusted APR's, and thus the pre-determined sh*thole that now peacefully exists over the vast land.

By comparison, savings in emerging economies actually surger during the financial boom of 2003-07 of India and China, to many economists surprise. In India, the savings rate for the 2000's was 30% of the household income, whereas in China it was a whopping 40%. It was this saved up money that actually cushioned the worldwide recession so comfortable in these two countries, GDP where for 2009 was around 9% for China and 6% for India, a farcry from the negative numbers of OECD countries. This financial prudence and providence is a remarkable and very important aspect of Asian culture; saving up money for future is a signature of both these countries, and that they also hold around 30% of the world's human population is no coincidence. Just as in the animal world, when there is fierce and relentless competition as such, everyone learns and feels a need to save resources for future. In India, parents save up for their kids education, marriage, houses, grandkids, who then in turn start the cycle again. Financial planning and frugality are the hallmark of Indians everywhere. But in America, as soon as the kid turns 18, just as a bird's chick learning to fly ahead of its time by frefalling from a tree, they leave the parents house to go "grab life by its horns". Even the parents are no less eager to shit the kid out of the house so they can finally spend on themselves. The kids might not know a collateral from a forbearance, but they sure do know the size of rims to get on their cars and size of the stud to get their tongue pierced. Everything from a victorian house to a brand new chevy to a HD tv to a macbook: it can be yours for one low payment! how pathetically convenient. Along with learning to cook curry and the academic prowess, I have also inherited financial management in my Indian heritage (not the frugality though, I am very much a consumer whore to some degree). I opened up my savings account at the age of 18, have two mutual fund investments in India along with a monthly fixed deposit scheme giving me a 8% compounded return, and bought a handful of gold before that bubble started blowing.....So when I see worn down faces of the recently unemployed hobos in the States, or the sad look on the teenager returning the PS 3 he bought for no money down, or the people locked out of their own 5 bedroom victorian houses with granite modular kitchen,I laugh, hysterically......
Americans once spent so liberally they would have charged off even life itself to a no money down, low interest, pre-offered platinum card, and now as they look outwards and inwards for a line/life of credit, they must finally come to a sincere and firm realization that what they want is not what they need; instead of looking towards the west for fun and frolic, its time for them to turn their heads and thoughts east for some prudence and providence.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Indian's Inquisition

Indians would make a great police force, not due to their physical abilities (most are skinny and weak) or their quest for justice (indians love inequality in every realm of life), but to their incessant and relentless interrogation. Indians love to prod into each other's life by means of excessive and extreme questioning ranging from one's social,cultural values to religious practices to eating habits to daily routine. Ive been asked personal questions regarding my sleep cycle to my abscence from any religious affairs; Ive been asked about prejudiced notions of "american" culture such as an explanation of why the divorce rate is so high or why the women are shameless in western countries; ive been asked about what kind of fruits one can avail in the US, or why such broad and confusing inquires such as why does the world hate Indians; ive been asked to clarify the ways of a disease or a drug, no matter how little the interrogator might know about human anatomy or physiology; why is the sky blue? why do people get sick? why do you wake up so late? why dont you drink milk twice a day? why dont you touch your grandpa's feet every morning? why did you leave india? why do you come back so often, and for so long, to india? when will you get married? how will you or to whom do want to get married? why do americans hate indians? and on and on and on......Everyone seems to partake in the most deliberate and expansive inquisitions, meanwhile offering their "indispensible advice" on how to conduct a certain act of life/behavior. The irony is no one ever questions the corrupt politicians, the injustices perpetrated by the hindu culture against the poor or opposite sex, the horrific state of living of almost half the country, and the deepening divide between the different socioeconomic classes/castes in the country; no one seems to be bothered by these ongoing evils in indian society.....yet they wonder, in a very surprising and obsessive manner, why I keep my head shaved constantly, and that too in winter???....