Monday, June 16, 2008

The Winds of Change

Growing up in a poor country, I was always inclined to think of environmentalists as morons. I was living in paradise, but struggling every day for education, healthcare and hot designer shit. I wish I could walk around cutting down the trees, emsaculating leopards and performing dental work on elephants all for some profitable chinese herbal tea. My family eventually settled on two incredibly environmentally unfriendly industries: garments and crab fishing, to give me my first taste of the good life. I had proven myself right, again.

Until I came to Hong Kong. Even I could see how often Nature had been raped to tame her rolling hills, sparkling waters and clear blue sky. The cock-shaped IFC 2 tower is a literal expression of what mankind has rammed down Nature's throat. Ofcourse I couldn't give two shits. I threw my starbucks paper cup right, I dropped my plastic bag left, I washed my shampoo down the sink and I kept my A/C on high sending sweet CFCs sky-ward.

The earthquakes and flooding changed all that. Suddenly my livelihood, capital markets, were threatened by an endless litany of environmental disasters. Earthquakes in China, floods in China, droughts in Pakistan, floods in Australia (which previously had droughts), floods in Iowa, storms in the North Sea. Even my favourite sushi fish - salmon, was not arriving bloody pink on my plate but instead turning upside down in the slightly warmer waters of Canada and Norway. So for the first time I thought about the environment.

I realised that environmental damage, committed in the name of progress, only ever hurts poor people. Peasants die in floods, peons die in shoddy high-rise collapses during earthquakes, beggars get lung cancer from air pollution. There is an endless, silent death toll in the name of progress. That's not even counting all the cuddly animals, fuck them. So I asked myself three very important questions:

1. How many people have to die before someone invents an environmentally sound system of economic development?

2. Do I give a fuck?

and finally

3. Do I then play China Life from the long or short side?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Why I still read Books

"By the second week in September I reached the conclusion that a unversity education was meanigngless. I decided to think of it as a period of training in techniques for dealing with boredom. I had nothing I especially wanted to accomplish in society that would require me to abandon my studies straight away, and so I went to my lectures each day, took notes, and spent my free time in the library reading or looking things up." - Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Six lines to summarise my four years in University.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bright Red Cherry

Just got a pair of cricket ball cufflinks from Links of London. Feeling very very pimp. Time to work on that MCC membership.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Trader's Battle Cry

From :

A Few Good Men - A Trader’s Version

I eat breakfast three hundred yards away from four thousand hedge funds who are trained to pick me off. So don't think for one second that you can come down here, flash a client relationship, and make me nervous.

Son, we live in a world that has risks, and those risks have to be hedged by men like me. Who's gonna do it? You? The Sales Force? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for your client and curse the desk. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that your client's loss, while tragic, probably saved p&l. And that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves p&l. You don't want the truth - because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me in those screens.

You need me in those screens. We use words like roll-down, carry, gamma.

We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something.

You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very bonus pool that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise, I'd suggest you pick up a prop book and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!

These are a few of my favourite things

Wall Street + Family Guy = Fucking Hilarious!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Quote of the Day

"We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glowworm"

- Winston Churchill

Holiday Observations - Part 2

As you may have realised by now, one of my greatest foibles is the insatiable desire for books. Led by one of these urges, I walked into my neighbourhood book store this afternoon, and paused. It looked like a gathering of the Stepford Wives. I was the only man in the whole place. Now I knew what office aunties did after a long day of doing fuck all.

It turns out that professional women love to read, read crap, but read nevertheless. Suddenly, the success (and for fuck's sake, sequels) of "The true stories of a London Call Girl" made a whole lot of sense. Publishers have realised that the only people who still read by holding ink and pulp for hours are women, and have instructed their minions (writers) to produce books accordingly. In addition to the incessant drivel pumped out by romance/susepense/soft-porn/travel/cookery/"hot guy autobiography"/"brave/abused woman autobiography" writers, serious literature is also adjusting to the changing demographics of its readership. Rushdie's newest book is about love, not Shaitan falling from the sky into a British Pastoral. A woman, a bloody feminist at that, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and she had the balls (sic) to refuse.

I'm not Talib, and welcome the development of a race of women who actually know more about the world than the latest on Britney's tit flashings but I mourn for my fellow brothers. Please start reading, before we have to start those fucking gay book clubs.

Holiday Observations - Part 1

I've finally been granted a break from my 4-screened toils, for an entire blessed week. It might come as a shock to you that I will spend the whole week in Hong Kong. Why? Well, firstly I have punched quite a hole in my bank balance with my home-bound remittances, clothes, books, food and booze spending. Secondly, I find international travel on my passport so stressful and humiliating that it rather defeats the purpose. Lastly, my definition of de-stressing is sitting in a quiet cafe with a great book and a sickly sweet cuppa.

Besides acting like a retired old white man, I have also been wandering around the movie theatres and shopping malls of Hong Kong trying to burn some time. In the process, I have proved to myself a seemingly biased piece of ancient wisdom: "having a wife and kids is fucking expensive". I used to think that fathers made too much of a fuss about the ball and chain and her progeny. Until I saw IFC Mall on a Monday afternoon. As their men were being tossed about by the waves of incomprenhensible stagflationary markets worldwide and being drenched in red ink, women and children were taking safe refuge in this giant Ark of consumerism, full of designer clothing, sensual perfume and ever-tackier sunglasses. As the cash machines rang, I realised the inevitability of the "shirts sleeves to shirts sleeves" rule. It might take three or five generations, but as long as you give your woman a credit card, it WILL happen.

It occured to me: when men finally get their permanent vacation, would they be able to afford the same retail therapy? I hope that our wives atleast buy us a book and some skinny lattes.