Podcasts about east asian

Eastern region of Asia

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Your Energy First
Your Health, Your Energy, Your Options - An Interview with Dr Radha Sinha

Your Energy First

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 25, 2023 61:20


Feel empowered when it comes to your overall wellness. What are your options when it comes to your health, how much of an impact do your hormones really have, and how does your current environment, impact your overall health. I interview Dr. Radha Sinha and ask her why she didn't go the traditional medicine route when her family did, she shares that she believes everything with our health is possible to clear up or reverse, and more. Dr. Radha Sinha is a Naturopathic Doctor and a licensed practitioner of East Asian medicine (EAMP) and Acupuncture in the state of Washington. She is triple board certified in Naturopathic medicine, Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. Get in touch with Dr. Sinha: Website | Instagram If you'd like to be a guest on the podcast for a free live session, fill out the form HERE Ready to gain insights into your intuition, purpose, relationships, career and overall energy/Higher Self and Spirit guides & team? Book a 1:1 session with Emily here: Book Now If a 1:1 all in feels more up your alley and you're ready to trust your intuition fully and bring all of you forward in 2023? Want to develop your own personal energy skillset and use it to navigate your life in a way that feels fully aligned to you? Tired of feeling like there's more out there for you but you can't quite put your finger on it? Create space for yourself with the Aligned Container, and focus on fine tuning your intuition, understanding better these parts of you, bring your energetic gifts forward in you life and realize how you can use them to navigate in your life so you feel completely fulfilled and full of JOY! You are meant for great things, join the Aligned Container today if this calls to you.: Get Started Today New app launching soon!

The Fandom Show
30: Pokémon (with Filipe Dimas)

The Fandom Show

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 24, 2023 66:25


GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL! This week we're talking to comedian and Twitch streamer, Filipe Dimas (he/him) about the highest grossing media franchise of all time: Pokémon! We discuss the vast range of pocket monsters, from regular-ass Pigeons to time-bending Poke-Gods, the most boring or bizarre Pokémon and how East Asian mythology informs the design. We also get into competitive gaming, the value of the cards, why Ash's Pikachu needs to go to therapy, and how contemplating the interior of Pokeballs maaaaaay lead to an existential crisis.  Produced by Andrew Ivimey as part of The From Superheroes Network. Visit www.FromSuperheroes.com for more podcasts, articles, YouTube series, web comics, and more.

Today with Claire Byrne
South and East Asian Food for Lunar New Year

Today with Claire Byrne

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2023 8:49


Eva Pau, from the Asian Market, Richie Castillo, Chef

Qiological Podcast
287 Tradition and Innovation • Mark Petruzzi and Jeffrey Dann

Qiological Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 17, 2023 77:48


As practitioners of East Asian medicine, we are informed deeply by the ancient medicine, experience and wisdom passed down through generations. The holism woven into the East Asian medicine traditions is especially important in a modern world that often separates the body from the mind and spirit from the material. But like a tree rooted in ancient soil with the branches and leaves adapting to the environment as they reach towards the heavens, we need to incorporate influences of the modern world into our medicine while still maintaining a connection to fundamental principles. Seeing how the old can arise in the new offers a bridge, a way to find how the medicine arises in our lives at this time.In this conversation with Mark Petruzzi and Jeffrey Dann, we explore how the art of Japanese acupuncture blends with the modern medical understanding of the body. We investigate the co-mingling of old and new to better understand the integrative power of this holistic treatment. We share our ideas regarding the need to preserve the flame of tradition while adapting to the needs of the present.Listen into this discussion on what it means to be part of a tradition and how we can bring our medicine alive in this modern moment.

TPR Pod
Pod#178 - Zeerak Ahmed - Launching his revolutionary Urdu keyboard, Matnsaz!

TPR Pod

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 16, 2023 37:31


Zeerak is here too in the remaining half of a long chat we had with pod177 being about Pakistani music and this being about his project to revolutionize the Urdu typing experience on smart devices using his keyboard app Matnsaz! An app that quite recently also was launched finally after years of work! Things discussed in this episode: 00:00 Intro 02:08 Matnsaz - What was the keyboard idea - quick pitch! 05:17 Why this would not have been possible before the age of software 10:44 How was the layout decided? 15:29 East Asian vs Latin vs Arabic, written letters vs picture-based languages! 19:12 How was the app rollout? Beta testers, new bugs, users in unexpected regions! 24:45 What are the next steps for the keyboard and rollout? - Supercharging the autocorrect 31:40 Does the autocorrect library include slang? SWEAR WORDS??? Android release when? 35:50 People want their names added to the dictionary! LINKS: Zeerak's Twitter: https://twitter.com/zeerakahmed Matnsaz's Twitter: https://twitter.com/matnsaz Matnsaz's website: https://matnsaz.net/ Matnsaz on the App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/matnsaz/id1380747860 Support the podcast by becoming a monthly patron on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/tprpod) or send a one-off token on Ko-fi (https://ko-fi.com/tprpod)! Find all our previous episodes on SoundCloud, Spotify & Apple Podcasts and follow us all on Twitter! Links to everything below! SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/tprpodSpotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6PvTahp... Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast... Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tprpod/Twitter: https://twitter.com/TPRPod Ali: https://twitter.com/themaholupperRizwan: https://twitter.com/RizwanTakkharSarkhail: https://twitter.com/Sarkhail7Khan --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/tprpod/support

Nine Questions with Eric Oliver
The Skeptical Provocateur - Chris Kavanaugh

Nine Questions with Eric Oliver

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2023 35:30


Chris Kavanagh is a post-doctoral researcher in cognitive anthropology at the Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford. Currently he is based in in Japan where he conducts research in collaboration with Masaki Yuki's Culture, Social Ecology, and Psychology Lab at Hokkaido University. His research interests include East Asian religions, ritual behavior, and the bonding effects of shared dysphoria. He is also co-host the podcast Decoding the Gurus.Support the show

Board Game Dojo
Ultimate Japan Board Game Buying Guide (Tips for Buying Japanese Games, Best Stores, and Game Recommendations)

Board Game Dojo

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 11, 2023 30:05


Join us as we go over our favorite board game stores in Japan, some shopping tips when buying Japanese games and shopping in Japan (including Game Market tips), and a few games we recommend buying if you come here.You'll learn some important Japanese words, save some time shopping, and hopefully get a better idea of how to be prepared shopping in the land of the Rising Sun.Please follow/subscribe for more great podcast content!And check out our YouTube for more great East Asian games: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpNqwAiQpSxCeGVAUosYfPwContent discussed in this episode:What stores to go to: 01:47Shopping Tips (including Game Market Tips): 10:50Tip 1: 10:55Tip 2: 12:47Tip 3: 13:45Game Market Tips: 15:00Tip 4: 17:40Tip 5: 20:55Tip 6: 21:32Game Recommendations: 23:00Surugaya: https://www.suruga-ya.jp/hobby/boardgame/index.htmlYellow Submarine: https://yellowsubmarine.co.jp/Surugaya Akihabara Board Game location: 東京都千代田区外神田3-15-4 2階3 Chome-11-3 Sotokanda, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 101-0021, Japan  (THIS IS THE 2ND FLOOR)Words to know:買取 (Kai Tori) - Buying Used Articles会計 (Kaikei) - Register中古 - Used新品- New

Wild Yoga Tribe
#67 - Yoga Is Just A Word - Yoga in Cuba with Michel Uranga Briñas

Wild Yoga Tribe

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 6, 2023 24:40


Welcome to Episode #67 of the Wild Yoga Tribe Podcast! This week, I welcome Michel Uranga Briñas onto the show. My conversation with Michel Uranga Briñas, a yoga teacher from Cuba, was so vibrant as we took a deep dive into what Kundalini yoga is, and the history behind it. I hope that this conversation made you also curious about shiatsu massage and Thai massage, and how they are different and similar. If you're looking to tune into a podcast episode that is all about yoga in Cuba then this is the conversation for you. Support the podcast: https://www.patreon.com/wildyogatribe Tell me more about Michel Uranga Briñas Michel Uranga Briñas is a yoga teacher from Cuba who mainly teaches Kundalini yoga, though he occasionally does teach haha yoga. He used to own a yoga studio in Havana, though since the pandemic, his work has been directed towards spiritual retreats on mountain beaches. He has been teaching yoga in Cuba for nine years. Michel began his studies in East Asian therapies and fell in love with Thai massage. He began studying yoga to understand the origin and nature of yogic massage. A short time later, Michel joined a Kundalini Yoga Teach Training in Mexico and then a Hatha yoga teacher training course. In Cuba, as Michel obtained a university degree in Therapeutic Physical Culture. He has also studied Japanese medicine, the Matsunaga shiatsu method, for three years. He then founded AgataYoga, which involves some yoga teachers and therapists who work alongside Michel and offer spiritual retreats. What to expect in the Yoga In Cuba episode of the Wild Yoga Tribe Podcast On the podcast, we talked about what is Kundalini yoga, and why out of all the types of yoga out there, he chose to study Kundalini. Michel feels that Kundalini yoga offers the maximum amount of benefits in the shortest amount of time. Personally, Michel shared that he only practices 5-10 minutes of Kundalini yoga a day, and that is enough to provide the benefits he needs. As he said, “Yoga teachers have more secrets than yoga students— more knowledge.” These secrets help him to get the benefits he needs in mere minutes, just as he finds that his students need an hour or more to really soak up the magic of the practice. I was also grateful that Michel shared with us what it is like to live in Cuba, and the difficulties that creates for him, as a yoga teacher, and for his country as a whole. He was very transparent about what the reality in Cuba is like, and he expressed excitement that yoga in Cuba has been slowly and steadily growing as more and more people are coming to the practice. Ready to learn more about yoga in Cuba? Let's go! For the skimmers - What's in the yoga in Cuba episode? What are Thai massage and Shiatsu massage? What is kundalini yoga? Yoga is just a word that describes the art of living Cuba is a difficult place to have yoga studio Yoga in Cuba is growing, but still very small Connect with Michel Uranga Briñas https://www.instagram.com/agatayogaretreat/ https://www.facebook.com/agatayogaretreat https://www.agatayoga.com/ Everything you need is just one click away! Check out all the resources here: https://linktr.ee/wildyogatribe --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/wildyogatribe/message

The Socialist Program with Brian Becker
How the U.S.'s Taiwan Policy Makes War with China a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The Socialist Program with Brian Becker

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2023 53:09


A growing chorus of U.S. elites are calling for the U.S. government to prepare for war with China. The strategy hinges on coercing Taiwan into the middle of the “major power conflict” with mainland China. Brian is joined by Dr. Ken Hammond, professor of East Asian and Global History at New Mexico State University, founding director of the Confucius Institute at New Mexico State University, and leading organizer with Pivot to Peace. Please make an urgently-needed contribution to The Socialist Program by joining our Patreon community at patreon.com/thesocialistprogram. We rely on the generous support of our listeners to keep bringing you consistent, high-quality shows. All Patreon donors of $5 a month or more are invited to join the monthly Q&A seminar with Brian.

NOURISH
SOLO EP: navigating limbo, my 2023 goals, & recap of my meditation retreat with Deborah Eden Tull at Esalen

NOURISH

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2023 23:42


Today is my first ever solo episode! EEEK! I have absolute nerves putting this out there but I feel really called to share a bit about my past week at Esalen and some of the vulnerable breakthroughs that came up. To be frank: the stories of the incredible humans I spent the past week with inspired me to tap into some really profound perspectives. My hope is that this episode and my vulnerable story might do the same for you!Kasia's Bio:Digital health entrepreneur and student of Chinese Medicine, Kasia is on a mission to inspire others to discover their innate authenticity, balance, and holistic health by applying principles of Yin (spirituality) & Yang (activity, productivity) in balance to their own lives. Kasia is excited to finally combine her interests in mindfulness, spirituality, nutrition, personal development, and East Asian medicine into a heart-powered show dedicated to supporting each and every listener. 

Earth and Spirit Podcast
Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim on Serendipitous Creativity, Religion, and Ecology

Earth and Spirit Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2022 63:38


Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim are a husband and wife team of Senior Lecturers and Research Scholars at Yale University in the School of the Environment, the Divinity School, and the Department of Religious Studies, with specializations in East Asian religions and Indigenous religions. They co-direct the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology and are the creators of the new Coursera series, Religions and Ecology: Restoring the Earth Community. In this 2021 episode from our podcast archives, Mary Evelyn and John discuss their decades of work at the intersection of ecology and the world's religions, as informed by their mentor Thomas Berry and with the hopeful, deep-time perspective of our evolving universe. RESOURCES: Please donate to support this podcast and the Earth & Spirit Center nonprofit organization: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/category/podcast/ Earth & Spirit Center website: https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/ Coursera courses by Mary Evelyn and John: Religions and Ecology: Restoring the Earth Community https://www.coursera.org/specializations/religion-ecology Journey of the Universe: A Story for Our Times https://www.coursera.org/specializations/journey-of-the-universe Yale Forum on Ecology and Religion: https://fore.yale.edu/ Journey of the Universe film/book/podcasts: https://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/ Thomas Berry Website: https://thomasberry.org/ United Nations Environment Programme Faith for Earth Initiative: https://www.unep.org/about-un-environment/faith-earth-initiative Greenfaith: https://greenfaith.org/ Ecology and Religion, by John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker. Washington DC: Island Press, 2014. The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times, by Jane Goodall and Douglas Abrams. New York: Celadon Books, 2021

Cover to Cover
9. Discovering hidden gems in Korean lit

Cover to Cover

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 30, 2022 25:12


In our final episode of 2022, we talk about hidden gems in Korean literature with Taylor Bradley, co-founder of the independent publishing house Honford Star. Taylor co-founded Honford Star in 2016 with Anthony Bird with a mission to publish the best literature from East Asia. In this episode, we look back on highlights of translated Korean fiction over the past year for Honford Star, including the runaway success of the International Booker Prize shortlisted “Cursed Bunny” by Bora Chung (translated by Anton Hur). Taylor also filled us in on his personal process for selecting the “best” East Asian literature and some unexpected hits from 2022 for Honford Star. We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, or suggestions for other Korean books you'd like us to review or discuss. Tweet us (Beth @_paperfetishist / Naomi @ngnaomi) or leave a message on The Korea Herald's Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram page. You can also email us at bethhong@heraldcorp.com or ngnaomi@heraldcorp.com.

Qiological Podcast
284 Case Studies and Storytelling a Lens into Medicine and Meaning • Sarah Rivkin

Qiological Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2022 53:58


So much of our medicine is conveyed in stories—the ones we live, the ones we tell, and the ones we hear. Storytelling is an innate human impulse. It provides context and meaning, allowing us to share complex ideas and navigate our experience. Stories—of both success and failure—enrich our lives and convey the values, history, and culture that connect us.No matter how automated, evidence-based, standardized, or computerized medical systems become, the clinical encounter boils down to a story between a patient and the practitioner. Medicine is not just about reciting a chronology of data points. A practitioner's role is to recognize and pull meaning from a patient's story of illness in such a way that can guide us in being helpful.In this conversation with Sarah Rivkin, we talk about the place of East Asian medicine in a world that leans more towards a standardized approach to medicine. We noodle on the similarities between case studies and novels, and what Sarah's research could tell us about navigating a Western world without losing sight of what makes Chinese medicine a treasure.Listen into this discussion on narrative medicine and how to use case studies as a powerful storytelling tool.

ERIC KIM
The Body is God

ERIC KIM

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 25, 2022 34:09


Your Body Your body is god, your body is king. Why have there not been that many philosophers who have philosophized and praised the virtues of the body, our human body? Some theories: First, the superstition of this notion of the “immortal soul“, that after you die, the cognizant mind soul of yours will continue into perpetuity. Second, the nonsensory of this new Silicon Valley notion that you could somehow one day, “upload your consciousness to the cloud“. The idea that somehow, your mind can exist without your body. It cannot. Third, notions of shame culture around the body, whether Asian, East Asian, Confucian, even American. Considering that we Americans descended from Quakers and Puritans, and also have these antiquated Victorian notions of shame in regards to the body, the body is a weird thing; we got it, but we shouldn't become too proud of it, and we should only maintain it to the minimum, in order to promote other virtues. Also, let us consider that America is a Christian protestant nation. According to Protestantism, which is essentially Catholicism 2.0, the body is a thing of shame. For example, the notion of the “immaculate conception” of Jesus. The reason why this idea was promoted was that there was this idea that somehow sex is shameful. It isn't. The ancient Greeks and Romans deified birth, procreation. Back then, sex was simply a normal part of life, a necessary path to be getting offspring and children. I think what has changed in modern day times is notion of sex for the sake of sex, sex for the sake of pleasure, or pleasure for the sake of pleasure. Certainly pleasure is just a means to an end, not the end itself. For example, if sex did not feel good and did not promote pleasure, the human race would have died off a long time ago. Biologically speaking, we humans want to continue to procreate. Consumerism? It is my personal thought that most modern day consumerism is built around shame, fear, and capitalizing off the insecurities of people. For example, I don't think anybody out there is actually proud of their body, or deifies their body. Even Jesus said that your body is a temple. I think it is because in modern-day times, most people do not have a sense of philosophy. Many people in modern day society are not quite certain what they really want out of life, and instead, they fall into the same means of desiring to travel and see the world, eat good food, bed beautiful women, eat and drink exotic foods and drinks and alcoholic beverages, and promote pleasure, and purchase objects of desire, etc. I think it was Nietzsche who said that the Englishman only desired two things, which was fashion and comfort. It seems that the modern-day American only cares for comfort, pleasure, and fashion. Also novelty. Your body as an instrument and a tool In order to think, philosophize, make art, innovate, create and publish things, you need a body. Your body is the whole package, all of the things in between your toes and the top of your head. Your bones, your sinews, your blood, your muscles, your fat, your brains, the electricity running through your body, etc. Also all of the hormones. It seems that most people today desire to become more productive, in order to make more money, purchase more things, obtain more things, and “become successful“. Ironically enough, if you want to become more productive, spending more time energy and money and resources to build your body and strengthen and further your body might be the best strategy. For example, working out at least twice a day. Isn't this the ultimate luxury? To be able to go to the gym and lift

Ideas Untrapped
MUDDLING THROUGH - BANGLADESH'S DEVELOPMENT JOURNEY

Ideas Untrapped

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 23, 2022 85:51


Bangladesh has transformed tremendously in the last twenty-five years. Average incomes have more than quadrupled, and many of its human development indicators have improved alongside. It has also become an export powerhouse with its garment industry, and generally a shining example of development - though things are far from perfect. Five decades ago, when Bangladesh became an independent country, many were not hopeful about its chances of development. So how did Bangladesh turn its story around? Well, it turns out the history of its transformation is longer than credited - and the process is more complex than what is cleanly presented.I could not think of a better person to help me unpack the Bangladeshi miracle than Dr. Akhtar Mahmood. He is an economist and was a lead private sector specialist for the World Bank Group - where he worked in various parts of the world for three decades on privatization, state enterprise reforms, investment climate, competitiveness, and more broadly private sector development. He has written some excellent books (see embedded links), and his column for the Dhaka Tribune is one of my wisest sources of economic development commentary.TranscriptTobi;Welcome to the show Akhtar Mahmood. It's a pleasure talking to you. I am very fascinated and curious about Bangladesh, and you are my number one option for such a journey. It's a pleasure, personally, for me to be having these conversations. I've been reading your column for about a year now with the Dhaka Tribune, and I've learned so much. They are very perceptive, and I'm going to be putting up links to some of my favourites in the show notes for this episode. Welcome once again, and thank you so much for doing this.Akhtar;Thank you very much for having me. Thanks, Tobi.Tobi;There's so much that I want to talk to you about, as you'd imagine, but let me start right at the end, which is now. There has been a lot of attention on Bangladesh, recently, at least in my own orbit, there have been two quite detailed and interesting columns in the Financial Times about Bangladesh. There is also Stefan Dercon's book, which used Bangladesh as a positive case for what he was describing about the development process. But also, there's the issue of what's going on right now with the global economy. First, it started with COVID and how the economy suddenly stopped, and all the reverberation that comes with that - the supply chain, and now, a lot of countries are going through a sort of sovereign debt crisis and Bangladesh, again, is in the spotlight. So, I just want you to give me an overview, and how this, sort of, blends with countries that put so much into development…you know, in terms of policy, in terms of the things they are doing right, in terms of investment and attracting investment, and the exposure to these sorts of global economic risks and volatility. [This is] because, usually, what you get in Western discourse is that a lot of countries are victims of some of these risks because of some of the wrong policy decisions they make. But in the case of Bangladesh, at least to my knowledge, nothing like that is going on. And yet, it is usually talked about as a very exposed country in that regard. I know you wrote a column recently about this. So I just want you to give me a brief [insight]—is there anything to worry about? How do countries that are trying to get rich, that are trying to do things right, how do they usually manage these sorts of global risks?Akhtar;Right? I think, inevitably, we'll have to go a bit into the history of how we came here. But since you started with the current situation, let me briefly comment on that, and then maybe I'll go to the history. Right now, yes, like most other countries, we are facing challenges, but I think there has been a bit of hype about how serious the challenge is, in terms of the risk of a debt default, the risk of foreign exchange reserves going down very sharply. And I think there is a bit of the Sri Lanka effect, and then also the Pakistan effect, as people are trying to put Bangladesh in the same bracket, which I think is very, very misplaced. I think the IMF has made it clear, [not only] in its latest country report, which came out in March 2022 but also in many recent statements, that Bangladesh has both a solvency situation and a liquidity situation. As you know [that] the solvency is typically measured by the external debt to GDP ratio, one of the ratios is external debt by GDP and the liquidity is measured by debt service requirements - the external debt service requirements by the export earnings ratio. And there are these certain thresholds, and if you go beyond that, it's considered a bit risky. Bangladesh on both these accounts is much below the threshold. So there's already a lot of headroom in the sense that even if things get worse over the next few months and maybe a year or two, Bangladesh would still be able to manage the situation. So I just wanted to make that clear at the beginning. Now, that doesn't mean that there aren't other issues in Bangladesh, issues which have been brewing for quite some time. For example, many of us are concerned with the efficiency of public expenditures. We know of projects where there have been cost overruns. Some of it may be for genuine reasons, some of it may be related to corruption, which sadly still remains a serious problem in Bangladesh. I feel that I've written about it, and you may have read some of these articles about the spectre of rising cronyism, which, again, is not surprising; when an economy grows as fast as Bangladesh's has, there are certain people who become economically powerful. And at some stage they acquire political power as well, and then you start seeing the problem of cronyism. So we have that, we have a serious problem in the banking sector with a lot of non-performing loans. I'm not suggesting that we don't have serious problems, we do. But there is a disconnect between the typical headlines and where the real problems lie in Bangladesh.  Now, this may be a good moment to bring up a little bit of history, and I can go deeper into it. The Bangladesh economy has certain resilience. And I just want to comment on that. One which is not discussed much, because the story often is about garments and remittances, is the transformation that has happened in the rural areas. It started with agriculture, it actually started with rice production, which is the most important crop in Bangladesh. And then it expanded into other crops, and then even non-farm activities in the rural areas, we can go into the details of this later. But agriculture provides a certain resilience. And we saw that again during COVID. Because the agricultural activities in Bangladesh were not affected that much by COVID, and that was a big benefit. The other is the unleashing of an entrepreneurial spirit in Bangladesh. And this spirit has been unleashed across the board, so it's not just some large conglomerates or some large government manufacturers who have become entrepreneurial. This is something which has happened across the board, from small farmers to large conglomerates. And that, I think, is a big asset for the country. Because we don't have natural resources; unlike Nigeria, we don't have natural resources. In some ways, it's actually a good thing. Because then we are forced to use other assets and latent entrepreneurship… you know, Albert Hirschman, the famous economist, wrote a book in 1956, which is a classic, on the strategy of economic development, and he made a very interesting comment. He said, in developing countries, you have a lot of latent resources. In developed countries, the task is how to allocate the resources you have; how to best allocate them. In developing countries, it is about bringing out the latent resources you have; and entrepreneurship is one of the latent resources developing countries have, but many countries have not been able to bring that out and make use of it. Bangladesh has, and that gives a certain resilience to the economy. So yes, the shocks are going to affect us, especially because our major industry, in fact, is export-oriented, which is garments. So that is affected by the shocks, but unlike commodity prices, export earnings don't fluctuate that much. And the industry has proven to be resilient over the years.Tobi;Yeah, I'm glad you touched on history because, really, that's where I wanted to start. But I just want to get the pulse of the moment and how to make sense of all the headlines that we're seeing around. So usually, and I'll refer to the two pieces I've read in the FT [Financial Times] recently that I referenced in my first question. The development trajectory of Bangladesh is usually dated as something that started around 1990. But Bangladesh became an independent country two decades before that. So my question then is: that intervening period before that sort of consensus about the takeoff point, what were the things that were brewing in the background that culminated in that takeoff? I know a lot of things went down, and just to mention that one of the reasons I'm very interested in Bangladesh is that it sort of defies some of the seductive examples of development and progress - the Asian tigers, you know, so to speak - where things seem to be very clear, the prescriptions are very precise, you need to do this and do this. Bangladesh seems like a regular country - like Nigeria, with its history, its complexities, its problems like every other country in the world, but that has also managed, despite a situation that has seemed hopeless, at first, to people who look at these things in terms of hard boundaries - that has emerged as this fantastic example of economic growth and development. So what were the major things that happened before 1990 that sort of made this takeoff possible?Akhtar;Now, one may debate on whether 1990 is the point of the takeoff. In any case, it's very difficult to pinpoint. But anyway, it's good. So 1990, twenty years after independence and also a transition to democratic rule after fifteen years or so of military or quasi military rule. So that's another reason people take that as a counterpoint. But it's a good counterpoint to start discussing these things. Professor Stefan Dercon, whom I think you had on your show recently, who wrote this book Gambling on Development; he has been saying that actually, in some ways, it's a Bangladesh experience which may be more relevant for many developing countries than the East Asian [experience]. And one of the reasons he mentions is, I think, what you just alluded to - that there is a certain messiness, and yet Bangladesh developed. So countries which think that they are also in a somewhat messy situation, or whatever dimensions, say in governance or other dimensions - whether it's possible for them to develop. And that's why the Bangladesh example may be more relevant and encouraging than the East Asian, where one common characteristic has been the strong capabilities of the state. In China, it has been there for hundreds or more,  thousands of years. In East Asia, yes, I'm sure they also have that but they certainly acquired that quite fast. So how do you develop in a country context where the state capacity, the governance quality are not that great, and then you have many other problems as well. So you're right. In that sense, Bangladesh may be very relevant. I think I'd like to first start with, um, even deeper history, because if you look at the region which now constitutes Bangladesh, it used to be part of a province in British India. So it was East Bengal, and then you had West Bengal and then together it was Bengal. Now there was a time in history when Bengal including East Bengal was supposed to be reasonably rich, perhaps the richest province in [the] whole of India before the British came. But if we go back to the beginning of the twentieth century, East Bengal was actually quite backward economically and in many other ways. And if you look at the political discourse in the first half of the twentieth century, before the British left, the political and intellectual discourse in what is now Bangladesh, you'll see there's a lot of talk about peasants being exploited. We were a very peasant dominated economy and society. In many ways we still are, although there has been a lot of urbanisation and industrial activity. At that time it was very much peasant dominated, and the theme which dominated the discourse was exploitation of the peasants. And the aspiration that the leaders whether political or intellectual had is how can we improve the conditions of the poor people. And that sort of got ingrained in the minds of the leaders, and that continued during the time when we were a part of Pakistan. Because you may have heard that there was a lot of disparity and there was a lot of discriminatory treatment by the Pakistani establishment. So that theme was there. When we became independent in ‘71, you could think of the political leadership, you could think of the professional leadership, the bureaucracy, the intellectuals, the media, this theme of doing something for the poor, was actually very strong. So right at the beginning, and, I heard somewhere that our first prime minister, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was asked by a foreign journalist: what is the number one problem of your country? And he said, I actually have two number one problems. One is food security, and one is population. And we need to take care of that. So right from the beginning, even in the midst of all the turmoil in the first few years, and all the challenges of relief and rehabilitation, work had started on ensuring agricultural growth and food security. And we were fortunate that the HYV rice, the high yielding variety of rice, had been introduced just before independence, so we had something to work with. So that was very important. And there was a strong program to bring down the rate of growth of [the] population and we succeeded on both counts. So by the time we come to 1990, agriculture is taking off. Rice production had taken off significantly, farmers were diversifying into other crops. And we had started to see the beginnings of a rural non farm sector. So agriculture and non agriculture together. And, Bangladeshis had been going out as migrants, and they're sending back remittances, most of it going into the rural areas. So there was a vibrancy in the rural area by the time you come to 1990. Secondly, sometime in the late 70s, the government decided that not only should we move away from the early talk about socialism, [but] towards a more private sector-oriented or market-oriented economy. They also understood that industry has to grow to absorb the surplus labour in agriculture, and export orientation has to grow, because the market in Bangladesh is simply not large enough. So there was an early emphasis on exports. And of course, fortuitously, you know, the South Koreans were running out of their garment quota, so they wanted to relocate some of the production to Bangladesh, but we were ready to take advantage because by then the government and let's say the elite of the class had decided that we need to industrialise and the major driver of industrialization is going to be exports. And then throughout the 80s, we saw the takeoff of the garment industry. The third thing which happened was the liberalisation of policies, mostly in the 80s. So, privatisation was done, the banking sector was open to the private sector. The agricultural input market, which was previously dominated by the government, was gradually liberalised and towards the late 80s, there was a significant liberalisation of that. And finally, as remittances started coming in, our foreign exchange constraint was relaxed. So that also gave government some comfort that we can decontrol certain things. And we can allow industry to move ahead without too many controls. So all these things coming together sort of created the context in which we entered the 1990s. So a lot of the preconditions - the population growth rate had fallen significantly by the time it came to the 1990s, agricultural growth had taken off, industry was taking off, especially the labour intensive garments, which is export-oriented, that industry was taking off.Tobi;That was such a loaded answer, which has preempted some of my further questions. But let me quickly make one digression on agriculture, because over the past seven years or so, in Nigeria, there's been this debate. There's been a huge debate about agriculture, the current administration sort of prioritised agriculture and a lot of resources (capital) was allocated to that sector. And there's been challenges and there's been critics, sometimes I've found myself on the critic's side of things. Now, what I want to know from you is that,the link between agriculture, especially investment and the agricultural productivity that is necessary for the vibrance of that particular sector, how was the Bangladeshi experience? How did Bangladesh achieve food security, especially in terms of improving yield and productivity?Akhtar;Right, so a few things. Firstly, as I said, the high yielding variety of rice had been introduced in the late 60s, and then just after independence, government continued, but more vigorously with a model of… it was more [of a] public sector driven model, where the public sector would import the major inputs. One is irrigation equipment, because this rice needed irrigation, and the other was fertiliser. So, they're imported by the public sector, then they're distributed by the public sector going all the way to the farmers. Maybe at the last mile, there were some private traders who act as dealers on behalf of the government. So, the government took that responsibility. Later on, as I said, in the 80s, they started liberalising it. We'll come to that later. Second is, there's been quite a bit of investment in agricultural research. Now the HYV rice came from abroad, but as it was being applied in Bangladeshi farms, in many cases, we realised that there was some adaptation needed, because the conditions were not always well suited for this variety. The crop conditions varied even within Bangladesh, even though it's a small country, lots of variation. Later on, for example, salinity became a problem, because a lot of water was coming from the Bay of Bengal into Bangladesh. So there are all kinds of problems - there's flooding also. There were many areas where after floods, the waters don't recede that fast, so they remain underwater for a long time. So the agricultural scientists in Bangladesh, and they were all in the public sector, they came up with innovations to come up with rice varieties and later other varieties like maize varieties or vegetables, which are better suited to the conditions in Bangladesh. And then the public sector effort was also complemented, supplemented by NGO efforts. You may have heard about BRAC [Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee], which is the largest NGO in the world, and we often talk about their activities in the health sector, in education, in microfinance. They were actually doing a lot of work in the economic sphere as well. R&D in agriculture was one of the things that we're doing, in collaboration with the government often, so there was R&D. Another thing happened, which I forgot to mention, when I mentioned sort of the run up to the 90s. In the 80s, the government started a massive program to build rural roads, connecting the rural areas to the small towns and the small towns to the bigger towns. So,a huge rural road network was built starting from the late 80s. And it continued into the 90s, which broadened the markets of the farmers. So in all of this, the core player was the small farmer. As I said, Bangladesh is a peasant, small farmer dominated economy, so it is remarkable that these farmers were willing to innovate, they were willing to move away from what their parents and grandparents had done for many, many years, and adopt these new varieties. So the combination of the government with some NGOs and the farmers, I think that created the basis for productivity improvements in agriculture. And that was sustained because the market was sustained. There were lots of public policies. And at some point, when the government thought the public sector delivery model was not working that well, they allowed the private sector to come in.Tobi;I don't want to infer anything, but from your answer, I can tell what Nigeria is doing wrong, but maybe we'll get to that later. So let's talk about the conditions, which you've also sort of answered for me but I want to know if there is more. Dercon in his book, I'm talking about Professor Stefan Dercon, talked about elite consensus that sort of becomes the bedrock of deciding to pursue economic development. So this broad consensus amongst the Bangladeshi political elites to improve the conditions of the poor, and, which, I'm speculating sort of enabled an ecosystem of policy consistency, even if there are deviations at the margins, how did it emerge? And how was it sustained?Akhtar;Okay, as I had mentioned to Professor Dercon ‘cause I also had a conversation with him for our Bangladeshi group. And I said that – and, he agreed that, it's really difficult to define if there was an elite consensus because it's not that the elite are sitting in a room discussing and bargaining and one day they come out and say, okay, here is an agreement, we have agreed on these three things, it doesn't happen. And there is a bit of tautology in his book as well. And he agreed with that, that in his country chapters, he says, these countries had an elite bargain. And then he says, Okay, this is how the countries grew. And if they have grown, therefore, they must have had a bargain. So there's a bit of tautology there. But coming back to this, I think, I started giving you a flavour of that when I brought in history, even before the British left and how in East Bengal, there was this deeply ingrained feeling that something has to be done for the poor people. And then just after independence in ‘74, we had a big famine. And that sort of strengthened this feeling amongst Bangladeshis. And you know, you mentioned the word elite and it's a bit difficult to define the elite. I would say that it's a broader… I'm talking about people who can influence policy, both the formulation and the quality of implementation. There are a lot of people in the bureaucracy who may not, in that sense, be called part of the elite, but they do have some authority. Now, most of these people, they actually are not too far away from the poor people of Bangladesh. Many of them still have very strong connections with their villages. They go back regularly. They know what the conditions are there. And in a densely populated country like Bangladesh, you see poverty all around you. So all these things, I think, have ingrained in the minds of the elite, however you define it, this commitment to doing something to safeguard the interests of the poor, but that is the security side - food security, [to] address the vulnerability. But somewhere down the line, people started recognizing that Bangladeshis also have an entrepreneurial potential. And there was a feeling that we should try and help unleash that potential. So, as I said, it's difficult to pinpoint a particular period where there has been a consensus but in a subtle way, there has been this consensus that to achieve food security, to help take advantage of the latent entrepreneurship of Bangladeshis, we should be focusing a lot on growth and more generally on development. And that has survived the transitions in administrations, from one government to another, that common element has been there.Tobi;It's not exactly a push back, and I should note that there is a lot more; there's vastly a lot more to Bangladesh than Dercon's book. So, and I don't want to be caught in debating his book. But, why I find that particular line of thought relevant is that, from what you have described, it's amazing to me, so maybe you can help me understand the difference. Now, how a country can set out to do some of these things; invest in agriculture, agricultural R&D, and all these other support programs with big macro effects. Whereas a Nigeria can set out to do those same things and then you find divergent outcomes in their implementation, particularly the inability to execute. You know? There's always a plan. We want to improve the lot of the poor. We want to invest in agriculture. We want to improve productivity. We want to build infrastructure, you know, this, that, they are always so nice and interesting. But the difference is always at the end of the day, countries often don't do these things, right, they never stay true to these things. And of course, we can talk about various reasons why it fell astray - corruption, state capacity, and all that. But what I… which you mentioned in your last sentence [is] how policies survive, even though there are political transitions, election cycles come and go, the particular direction that policy goes, survives this transition, I think that's really what I'm trying to get at.Akhtar;Okay, so I don't know that much about Nigeria. Now, people say that the fact that you have natural resources may have been in some ways a curse, I don't know if it's true or not, but certainly, that sometimes gives governments a sense of complacency and therefore, even if they start on a certain course, they may not have the discipline to stay that course. Now Bangladesh, we never had the advantage of having natural resources. Nowadays, certain things have improved, you know, foreign exchange reserves have been at comfortable levels for several years. So, that may induce a certain degree of complacency, but for a long time, the government knew that we were operating with very narrow degrees of freedom. So that was the context in which Bangladesh had to operate. Which also meant that we were somewhat dependent on donors and that certainly imposed an additional set of disciplines on Bangladesh. But later on, I may come and comment on exactly the kind of relationships I think existed between donors and Bangladesh. But maybe the best way to answer your question would be to say a little bit about the way in which policies have evolved in Bangladesh. And in a sense, it's a bit of a “muddling through” process. And I wrote a blog for the Brookings Institute a year ago, where I said that Bangladesh did it, alluding to that famous song of Frank Sinatra - “I did it my way.” So what was that “my way?” We all know that the Bangladeshi Government has never been tremendously competent, there's always been corruption problems as well. So the way it has happened is the following. Things happened in the economy, let's say agricultural productivity is improving. But then it hits certain constraints, and the economic actors, or people acting on behalf of the actors; like academics, donors, journalists, will bring up those issues. And they will probably say that, “here are ten things which need to be done.” Now what the governments in Bangladesh have done, successive governments, [is] they have responded to that, not by doing all the ten things. No. They may have picked up two or three things. And they may have done a little bit. Why a little bit? Because they were risk averse. They wanted to test out what would happen in the market, how the market players respond. [As the government], if I do just three or four things and not everything, and then see the response…and here comes the entrepreneurial side - the response was usually quite good, and when the response was good, the government felt encouraged. And then the government said “okay, let's do a few more of the things that were demanded.” The other thing which happened was, as the response came, newer constraints were revealed, or constraints which were not binding before became binding. For example, initially when the agricultural growth was not that great, when production wasn't that huge, the fact that we did not have a good rural road network connecting the rural areas to broader markets wasn't that big a constraint, because you're not producing enough to go out in a big market. When you started producing a lot of marketable surplus, you needed a broader market. And that's when you started feeling the constraint. And people started talking about the need to build up the rural road network. And to the credit of the government, they responded. So, this is what I call the sort of back and forth, policy dynamics - things happen in the economy, government notices it or it is brought to their notice, they react not in a grand way, just doing a little bit here and there;nd then the market responds, may be much more than in many other countries, because of the entrepreneurial spirit, and then the government responds. And that process has gone on uninterrupted throughout the last fifty years. And so, once you accumulate, even if these are modest steps, once you accumulate all of that, you'll see a tremendous result. And that's what we're seeing here. So, what it means is countries – the governments don't have to be very competent, they just have to pick the signals. So, you know, you have this phrase called “picking the winners” and a lot of people say, no, governments should not be in the business of picking winners. I say, in Bangladesh, that what the government just does is pick signals. They've picked signals from the private sector, from the farmers, and they have acted accordingly. And I think the accumulation of all these, the synergies created by all these is, I think, what has made the difference.Tobi;That's interesting. So, generally, the usual story with development is structural transformation. That is, for you to grow rich, the economy has to transform from a largely agrarian, low productivity economy to preferably an industrial high productivity economy. And, I mean, to an extent, we've seen the same process also in Bangladesh. Manufacturing, particularly the garment industry, is eighty or so percent of exports and employment is largely created also in that industry. Now, what I want to ask you is, the role of foreign direct investments in that cannot be understated. You talked about South Korea earlier, and how it played a role in that. For South Korea, so many other scholars would cite the role of Japan in kickstarting the South Korean garment industry; garment and textile industry itself. So, my question then is, is there a link here? I mean, also in your columns, I've read about the role of Samsung, and the electronics industry in Vietnam. Right. So the role of FDI in development, and especially getting industrialization started, what are the favourable conditions? To what degree is it external and internal? I guess that would be my question.Akhtar;Okay. Well, you use the term kickstarting, because in Bangladesh, in the garment industry, a foreign investor helped kickstart that industry, but didn't do much beyond that. So, Bangladesh's Government has been largely domestic…[it is] a case of domestic entrepreneurship leading the sector to the heights that it has achieved now. Yes, we have some Export Processing Zones where we have a number of foreign invested garment factories, but the bulk of it is domestic entrepreneurship. But you're right. The initial thrust came from this partnership with Daewoothe IU. It was a five year partnership. Daewoo trained Bangladeshis, (they) took them to their plants in Korea, trained them. They obviously had the market connections and market knowledge, all that was very useful. But what many people don't know is that the Bangladeshi partner actually quit that agreement just one year into that five year period. So after one year, he thought that he had learned everything that needed to be learned. Now, if he hadn't done that, I believe Daewoo had other plans of coming into other sectors, which we may have lost. But then we did end up with this vibrant mostly domestic-owned garment industry. But foreign investment had a role in jumpstarting that. If you go a little beyond industry, think about sectors which facilitate industry. The entire mobile phone development in Bangladesh, which is also remarkable, was foreign investment led. So, foreign investment played a major role there. So, I agree that foreign investment can play an important role in kickstarting industries, and that is something very important now that we want to diversify our exports, make them more sophisticated, we can come to that subject later. Now, you asked me about what are the conditions which are conducive for foreign investment. And this is where I would say that in Bangladesh, the conditions are still not that conducive. In the case of garments in the late 70s, it was the exhaustion of the South Korean quota of garments, which was the major inducement for them to come in. But also, as I said, the new government, which came into power in ‘75 was talking a lot about export promotion. So, that was there. But the most important constraint that Bangladesh faces, and it's true of many other countries, is policy and regulatory uncertainty. So, Bangladesh often says that we have got a policy regime which is very friendly to foreign investors. And that may well be true. But the execution has problems. And there are a lot of case by case decisions which are taken, which affect the foreign investors adversely. And that creates uncertainty. And those stories are told to other prospective investors. And when they hear those stories, they get discouraged. And the World Bank where I used to work, in fact, the last unit that I worked on, they did a survey of CEOs of multinational corporations just a few years ago, asking them about what are the factors which are very important for you when you decide to invest or not invest in a country, and policy and regulatory uncertainty was top of the list. So that is where Bangladesh still has got a lot of work to do. It is attractive in many other ways - very large domestic market, relatively cheap labour, the labour is quite fast at learning, a lot of good things there. But I think the policy environment, particularly the implementation, the certainty, that has to be ensured.Tobi;I have a further question, particularly on that point, and referencing another one of your columns, I think I'll just stick to your columns today for all my questions. For example, in Nigeria, I'll give you an example. In Nigeria, recently, foreign airlines are threatening to quit. Over the past three, four years, foreign investment (FDI) has plummeted. It's barely a billion dollars, currently, one of the lowest even in Africa. And of course, a lot of these things you mentioned are the problems that investors and business people talk about - policy uncertainty, especially around the control of the exchange rates and inability of companies to repatriate their capital, and to fund their operating expenses, and so forth. So, I mean, that's one constraint. But one distinction you made is like the types of FDI. There are different categories of FDI; market-seeking FDI, natural resource-seeking, efficiency-seeking [FDI]. And the reason I'm asking this is that there seems to be one problem, which, to my mind, Bangladesh has solved, it's not perfect, that Nigeria is struggling with, which is this inertia to get things started, you know, once you start on a journey, you can muddle through, but the inertia to get that process going is still something that Nigeria struggles with, in my opinion. So, now talking about FDI, if I were a policymaker today talking to you; advise me, what kind of FDI should I prioritise in trying to lure investors into my country, for them to create jobs and [create] a nest of high productivity manufacturing industry? So is it market seeking? Is it natural resources seeking? Is it efficiency seeking? Which one is the best in terms of the necessary incentives for sustainability?Akhtar;Okay, so one of the articles, not as part of the regular column, I think, but I wrote for the same newspaper a few years ago, was titled “investment for what?” So that's a question the governments have to ask. Because everyone talks about attracting FDI. It's a mantra all over the developing world. But governments need to ask why exactly do we want FDI? How is it aligned with our development aspirations and development programs? I wanted to just emphasise that because often governments just go blindly trying to attract foreign investors. And whoever comes in, we welcome that. That's not necessarily a good strategy always. For example, in Bangladesh, if we now have a lot of foreign investors coming in, to make jeans and T-shirts, using the same technology as before, we don't really need that, we can't afford to give our scarce land and utility and other things to do things which our domestic entrepreneurs have become reasonably good at doing. So it has to be something new that comes in. Now, at the same time, we also have to recognize that the foreign investors also have their own interest and their own calculations. So we have to come to a balance between the two as well. Now, it's difficult to say a priori that we prefer market-seeking or efficiency-seeking. On a natural resource, it's a slightly different issue if you have natural resources, and if you don't have the capacity to develop them yourself, you may need foreign investors. And obviously, we all know why foreign investors are often very attracted to that. But let me confine my answer to the choice between market-seeking and efficiency-seeking. Now, let's take the case of Bangladesh. We are now talking about diversifying our exports. And we are talking about going into more sophisticated products like electronics. If that is our objective, we may want to target some people who come and make electronics. Now they may come for two reasons. Bangladesh has a huge market, our per capita income may not be that high, but our total economy size is actually pretty large. We are amongst the top 40 economies in the world. And if you look at the size in the purchasing power parity terms, we're actually in the top 30. That's a very large economy. So, naturally foreign investors would come in looking at the market as well. But if our objective in this sector is to make a breakthrough in the global value chains, and not just serve the domestic market, then we'd like to have foreign investors come in with an efficiency-seeking objective that, in Bangladesh, we can make these things more efficiently, at lower cost, than in other places. So that Bangladesh then can ride on the backs of the foreign investors, who know the markets, who have the brand recognition and show the world that things can be made efficiently in Bangladesh. And, then once we have shown that with the help of foreign investors, maybe Bangladeshi entrepreneurs can also start doing it. So here you see I give you an example, where you have a strategic objective, and you attract foreign investors of a particular type. Now, there are also many needs in the domestic market. Bangladesh needs to develop a very good logistics system. And we may need foreign investors to come in and invest there, but will be more market-seeking. I mentioned the case of mobile telephones, that was not an export-oriented industry, although it may have facilitated exports, that was domestic market-oriented. And we encouraged foreign investors to come in, who were obviously coming in as market-seeking investors. So the answer would vary depending on the sector or the activity. But that brings me back to my first point, the government should have a clearer idea of what is the role of foreign investment in implementing the various dimensions of your development strategy. And accordingly, you're going to target efficiency-seeking investors in some cases, and market-oriented investors in other cases.Tobi;So, now, from a policy perspective, because really, that's what's sort of dominating this conversation. One thing that keeps coming up is the role of government, the strategy it pursues, you know, this, that. But inevitably, that leads to the question of what… in terms of economic development, what role does the government play by itself? Now, China, and, of course, other East Asian economies are very, very popular in the development discourse and these are largely autocratic governance. Right. And, to an extent the gospel of state-led development has travelled far and wide, sometimes in contrast to what is generally called the neoliberal or the Washington Consensus-type policies. But at the same time, at the nexus of all this is the role of markets, how the economy is regulated, liberalisation. How does a government approach regulation and policymaking generally, with the right incentives for the government to take the lead in areas where, maybe because of access to market or not seeing the prospect of returns, private actors are reluctant? And also at the other end, this sort of control, excessive control, that you see in so many developing countries, like Nigeria, and so many others in Africa, where government sees itself as the primary player in the economy, right? What is the balance? What is the heuristic generally, in trying to, [or] should I say, make policy and regulations to encourage economic development, and, of course, your Bangladeshi experience of that?Akhtar;Okay. So, when you say state-led, there are many ways you can define that. One is the direct participation of the state in productive activities. And in China, that is still pronounced, there are different models of state-owned enterprises, including public private partnerships, but the state plays a dominant, or at least an important direct role in the production of activities. That's one thing. The other is playing a direct role, not in production, but in things that facilitate production. So I had mentioned the case of research and development in the agricultural sector of Bangladesh, which was there right from the beginning. It was largely a private sector activity, but that was meant to facilitate productive activities by the private sector, in this case, thousands and thousands of farmers. So, the whole spectrum of things that the government does and, of course, there is the whole regulatory function of the government. And I think in choosing the balance, and the balance itself may shift over time as the economy develops. And I give an example of that, again, from the agricultural sector of Bangladesh, how the government moved away from the direct import and distribution of agricultural inputs, giving more and more space to the private sector over time. So initially, in the 70s, maybe that was the right thing to do. And then later on, the right thing to do was to withdraw and create space for the private sector. So the balance, (a) has to be thought of carefully, in terms of the capacity of the government, that's very important. And, again, if I [could] mention Stefan Dercon, he talks about the self awareness of [the] government. Are governments aware of what they can do and what they cannot do? And that answer would vary by country. Often governments make the mistake of thinking that they can do a lot of things, and therefore they; (a) go into productive activities themselves directly, and (b) also controlling too much the activities of the private sector. Controlling is not that easy. It requires a lot of skills, and many governments actually don't have the skills of doing that. The thing that may have happened in Bangladesh is the government has been more or less self aware, not always, but more or less self aware of what they can do and what they cannot do. And that has led to a certain division of labour between the government and the private sector, and the NGOs. With that division of labour also changing over time. That's very important. So the government needs to be aware of where its capacities are, and they need to also have some faith that the private sector, if given the opportunity, can come and do certain things. Because governments often say, okay, but if we don't intervene, the private sector is not going to come in. Or we have a big factory, if we close it down, then a lot of people will lose their jobs, and the private sector will not be forthcoming to create jobs for them. If you want, I can give you a good example of that kind of thinking. In Bangladesh, we had the world's largest jute mill called the Adamjee Jute Mill, and it was bleeding like hell, and every year the government had to subsidise. So there was lots of debate on whether the factory should be (a) privatised, and there was no taker, then the question is whether it should be closed down. Then, about 20 years ago, exactly 20 years ago, a very bold decision was taken to actually close down the factory. It was a controversial decision. About 26,000 workers lost their jobs. Some of them were ghost workers, maybe 20,000. Now the story of what happened after that is very interesting. That land was converted into an export processing zone. And now the latest figures are that about 65 to 70,000 jobs have been created there. So you had lost about 20 [thousand jobs] and you have created so many. These are all private sector firms, they're all export oriented firms, the government doesn't need to subsidise them. So you can see once given the opportunity what the private sector can come and do. So you don't have to hold on to a loss making enterprise just because you're worried about job losses.Tobi;Let me sort of ask you a big picture question on this particular point, which is the role of democracy in development, generally. Democracies have been taking a beating recently, so maybe you can speak up for it, somewhat. Do you think democracy has some kind of unique weakness in terms of trying to engineer economic development, particularly because of elections? I mean, to cite the example of the jute mill you mentioned, some regime that is sensitive, maybe in an election year, or maybe that wants to appeal to a particular constituency, or, maybe workers Union or something might actually kick the can down the road. An example is (fuel) petrol subsidy in Nigeria, which the bill keeps increasing, but I mean, each government promises to remove it or reduce it, and then kicks it to the next government because nobody wants to annoy the workers union, nobody wants to lose votes, the party wants to remain in power, you know, and these incentives that are common in democracies. So, do you think this makes democracies weak in a way, in trying to develop the national economy? Because a lot of people will say that's why China has developed much faster than India, for example. What's your take?Akhtar;Okay, let me start by giving you an anecdote. So this is from about I think it was 2008 or so, 2007 maybe. Bangladesh then had a quasi military government, it was called a caretaker government, whose major responsibility was to conduct free and fair elections. So they were in power for about two years. And I was actually working in Bangladesh at that time. And we had, I think we had a natural disaster, or maybe we had floods. So conditions were pretty bad. And one of the… well, they were called advisors, but they were de facto ministers, who was having to deal with this problem of getting food to poor people, dealing with rising prices [and] all that; he said to me, “I can feel a certain handicap being part of this kind of government.” What is the handicap? Right now what I need a lot is information from the grassroots, I need to know what is happening in different parts of the country, and I need that information very fast. I need it right now, about what's happening earlier today, or what has happened yesterday. Fortunately, I have some connections in the NGO world, this gentleman was an academic. I'm getting some information. But if this was a political campaign, I would rely on my political network, my workers, my small town leaders, and within a few hours, I'll be getting information from all over the country on what the conditions are. Now, why do I mention this anecdote? Because in a democratic system, your feedback mechanisms may work very well. Yes, there can also be a lot of noise. But otherwise, the feedback which is very, very important for government, they need to know what's going on throughout the country with different groups of people, with different localities etc. That is something that autocratic governments lack. Yes, information flows, flows from lower level bureaucrats, but I'm sure they are modified on their way. Because, the boss often doesn't want to hear certain things. It may happen in political democratic setups, but generally, the flow of information is much better for politicians. Now, how they act upon that information is another issue, but that's very important. Secondly, politicians operating within a democratic setup, (a) they develop a lot of empathy, because of their interactions with people, [b] they also get a good idea of what the trade-offs can be. And these are very, very important in decision making. So those are the good sides of democracy. Now, yes, in democracy, you also need to cater to your political constituencies, and that may lead to certain decisions, which technocrats may feel are sub optimal. But that is the price you pay for democracy. Compared to the gains for having a democratic system, that is sometimes a small price to pay, although sometimes that can get out of hand. But if it gets out of hand, it's usually where you may in name have a democracy system, but in practice, you don't. So the kinds of disciplines that democracy imposes on the government are lacking there. So that is my answer. Now, as you can see, implicit in my answer was some definition of democracy. It's not just about electoral politics. It's not just about having regular elections and free and fair elections. It is the monitoring mechanism. Are governments picking the signals, are they getting the information? How wide is the information that they're getting? That's a very important characteristic of development.Tobi;So another one of my sort of big picture questions to you, and in this case, using the Bangladeshi experience and example, is, in the last couple of years, there has been this big debate in development over, oh, do you prioritise the big things or the small things you can measure? You were with the World Bank, I'm sure you have some familiarity with the so-called empirical revolution and how it has sort of taken over the field of development economics where, yeah, there is a lot more preference in terms of international aid funding for interventions, things that you can measure. So, the RCTs, or, whether it is conditional cash transfers, and all these things – and the atmosphere with which this debate happens sometimes, personally, I find it frustrating because it makes it seem like a zero-sum kind of thing. Like, you can either have one or the other. You either pursue growth, or you forego that and choose to do all these small scale, local and domestic interventions. But Bangladesh, like you mentioned, the issue of BRAC and also people like Naomi and co. have written about – Naomi Hussein [that] Bangladesh managed both. There was a sort of productive combination of both frameworks, that is, the role of non governmental organisations who were able to provide some support for the rural communities. And of course, there was the big macro policies that were explicitly designed to pursue economic growth, get businesses going, create jobs, you know, and all the other things that happen in the private sector. So, my question would be, how did that sort of synergy happen in Bangladesh? How was that cooperation, so to speak… I mean, you talked about the role of BRAC in R&D and agriculture, you know, how did that happen? How did, perhaps, it wasn't intended, but in practice, how does it work?Akhtar;Okay. Let me start by recounting something I heard Abhijit Banerjee, the Nobel laureate, who got a Nobel prize for his work on RCTs, said something about the rationale for going into RCTs. And he's saying that the kinds of interventions that we talk about in the context of RCTs, they're not the only interventions that bring about development. In fact, the most profound development impact may come from other kinds of interventions and policies, and other factors. But his point was that, let's say, as a development practitioner, we are not able to influence these big things. So I'm going to focus on the things that we can influence. So I'm doing a project here, a project there, and we can change the parameters of the project in certain ways that we achieve the most significant impact. And how do we change the parameters or what parameters we choose or how do we design the project? That's where randomised control trials can give us very useful insights. And we can get more bang for the buck from the development expenditures in those kinds of projects. Now, he never said that that's all about development. There are many other things that need to be done. And governments, in their collective wisdom, may have a better idea of what those things can be. And that's different from a particular project team trying to do a project. They won't have all that knowledge, which can lead them to think about much bigger things, but governments can; not perfectly, but governments can. Or large organisations like BRAC can within certain spheres of operation. So, yes, I agree with you that this is a false dichotomy, that you either completely forget about RCTs or you get completely immersed into RCTs. So, one has to find the right places where the randomised control trials, which are after all an instrument, one of the tools in your toolbox… which is the best time and place to deploy it. I would say in Bangladesh, yes, the scope for applying them is more than the actual application so far, which means that we have a scope to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending by using these techniques judiciously in certain areas. Now, coming back to, I think you mentioned the question of BRAC in the context of R&D, but also BRAC has played an important role in market development through their social enterprise world. So, as I said before that the part of BRAC's work which is not discussed much is the work on the economic sphere. So what happened there? I'll just give one or two examples. I think giving concrete examples is the best way to illustrate this. So, they got into, let's say, they got into dairy [farming]. Actually, the way BRAC started most of these activities was from a livelihood concern. They wanted to create livelihood opportunities for the poor people in the rural areas of Bangladesh. So they said, okay, we have dairy farmers whose incomes are limited, we want to do something to help enhance their inputs [output]. So they came up with certain small interventions, which helped improve the productivity of their dairy farming, and they ended up with more production, then they had a problem. Now, milk is not something that you can preserve for a long time, you need to have some cold storage facilities, some refrigeration facilities, and that was lacking. So a lot of these increased output was actually being wasted. That led BRAC to start thinking about what else it needs to do. So then it went into refrigeration plants. So, they set up refrigeration plants, where the dairy farmers would come from adjoining villages and store their milk. And that led to other things also down the road. So there are many examples of BRAC where they went into a certain activity, they went into poultry, for example, and then discovered that there isn't a good supply of day old chicks, which is an important ingredient in poultry. So they went into that. And the interesting thing is, in many cases, BRAC was the first one to go into that, later the private sector came in and came in in a big way. And when they did, BRAC withdrew. Because BRAC thought, okay, we have played the role of a pioneer, we have catalysed the entry of private enterprises, we can now withdraw and attend to certain other things. So what's going on here? What's going on here is, you have value chains, which are underdeveloped - there are gaps in the value chain. And one aspect of development is to make the value chains more complete. And here you have an actor, BRAC, which has entered the market… [enters] one part of the market, trying to do something, discovering that there is not much it can do unless it intervenes in other parts of the value chain. Well, it can do something but the impact will not be that great, so then it intervenes. But at one point, it realises that other players who are better at scaling this up have entered the field so let me withdraw. So judicious entry, and judicious withdrawal. And that is also true of the government. It's also true of BRAC. I think that's the kind of dynamics of development which is very important. And somewhere there, yes, you may have some trials, which may be randomised control trials, it may be just informally observing from your own experience of what is working, what is not working, but this idea of learning by doing, learning by doing, the government has done it in Bangladesh, BRAC and other BRAC-type institutions have done it. The private sector is also doing it.Tobi;The last of my big-picture questions to you is– Another dichotomy that I have observed is the business cycle concerns of an economy and policy and these sorts of other long-run development growth policies. For example, in Nigeria, it's a common refrain that we had growth in some years, but we never really had development. Income didn't grow as fast as GDP, and growth has been cyclical, it's not sustained. And some of the issues that really plague governments and policymakers is that even in trying to make policies that are tolerant and favourable to long-run growth, there are short term issues that you have to deal with [like] foreign exchange policy, inflation, and sometimes I've heard people say that, Oh, as a developing country, you have a lot more tolerance for inflation than developed economies. I think you'll have to tell me whether that's true or not. Because inflation does not happen in a vacuum, it affects the purchasing power of people, poor people even more so. Right. So how do policymakers in growing countries manage these tensions in terms of – and, I'm working my way through your book with Gustav Ranis on this – how policymakers mine through these everyday concerns of the economy, versus the long-term prospects and the projects you are trying to put forth as a government?Akhtar;Okay. Well, since you alluded to that book, I will first briefly mention the main theme of the book, and then come to this specific [question]. The main theme of the book, which we illustrated through a comparative study of East Asian countries and Latin American countries, [was that] we talked about the East Asian pattern of government behaviour and the Latin American pattern of government behaviour. And the period covered was from the mid 60s to the mid 80s so things may have changed after that. And in any case, it's difficult to talk about (a) East Asian pattern, and (b) Latin American pattern. But what we were talking about is that during the course of a business cycle, or terms of trade cycle, as your terms of trade improve, your foreign exchange reserves go on increasing, obviously, growth accelerates. The question is what does a government do when things are good? Do they let growth accelerate according to some normal – “normal trajectory”, or they get excited, and they try to push growth beyond the “normal trajectory”-- making it higher than what the good times normally would make it? So, in the “Latin American” scenario, when things were good, growth was happening, government wanted to have more of it. So they went for expansionary fiscal policies, expansionary monetary policies to push growth beyond what the natural trajectory is. And then inevitably, because we are talking of cycles, inevitably a time came, where things started going down. And conditions were not as conducive as before. At that time, what the East Asian countries did– but first– they never tried to artificially push growth above the natural level. When the downturn came, they allowed the growth to fall. So they went for contractionary policies, they allowed the growth to fall. But in the Latin American scenario, having pushed growth beyond the natural path, it's almost like being intoxicated, you could not get rid of that habit. So, you try to artificially maintain growth even though the signs were all pointing downwards. And then the time came when things just crashed. And you fell into a deep crisis. Whereas the East Asians, they had their ups and downs, but they didn't have a serious crisis at that time. They had later, but not at that time. So that was the main thing about how you conduct your policies during the upturn, and then also during the downturn. Now, coming back to the specific situation like the one we observe now, when there are many economic challenges facing countries, and what can governments do to ensure that the course on which they had been before the crisis started, or the challenges started, and hopefully it was a course of development, how can they stay on that course as best as they can? First is, governments should look for existing inefficiencies. For example, in your public expenditures, there may be a lot of inefficiencies, and if you can identify those and get rid of those [inefficiencies], then you can bring things under control in the context of the challenges without sacrificing growth. Most developing countries, including Bangladesh, do have inefficiencies in their public expenditures. So the question is, do you target those inefficiencies and curtail them? Or, do you target those parts of expenditures which are actually very useful? So that's number one. And that's why we often have this phrase, “don't let a crisis go to waste.” Because a crisis can often focus attention better than good times can. And a crisis can also create the political and social consensus to take some tough decisions. So that's one thing. Second is the importance of social protection. And we must remember that for people at the margin, and in our kind of countries, Nigeria, Bangladesh, a lot of people are still at the margin. Even a small shock which takes them below the threshold is not a temporary damage that after some time they can come back [from], often it's a permanent damage. They have to sell off their productive assets, which means even when things start improving, their conditions won't improve. So that's why it's very, very important to have good social protection systems in place.Third, coming back to a point I made earlier, it's very important to have good monitoring systems. ‘Cause we really want to know what's going on, how the lives of different people across the country is being affected by the tough conditions in which you are, without that your policies will be suboptimal. So that monitoring is very, very important. And it's very important to engage different stakeholders in society. And for two reasons. One is part of the monitoring, because economists, business people, journalists, and others, would know a lot beyond what the government knows and it's important to tap into that knowledge, but also to build consensus about some of the tough decisions that need to be taken. So, at the end of the day, it is a lot about governance. It's a governance challenge that countries face when they're facing an economic challenge.Tobi;My final question to you, I have a couple of other questions, but… from a policy-making perspective, how do you then make knowledge count? Because from everything you have talked about, the role of knowledge… which takes me back to where we started, you know, talking about agriculture. The role of knowledge is actually very important. But you have situations where you can have knowledgeable people in government, world class economists, and the government itself might be making policies that are clearly wrong, which means there's a disconnect somewhere. And I mean, in Bangladesh, it's often talked about how there is a policy knowledge ecosystem that informs the public and shapes their accountability and expectations, and also informs policymakers at the other end of that spectrum. How does a country build and nurture that? Especially, how does knowledge of, whether it is knowledge of economics, whether it is knowledge of society and other programs, how it transmits to the key decision makers, and influence some of the actions or policies, or regulations, that are taken? How does that happen?Akhtar;Okay, so you mentioned the sort of the ecosystem linking policy and knowledge in Bangladesh. We have an ecosystem, I wouldn't say it always functions very well. And we do have many instances where people in government feel that the

Nothing is Foreign
From stardom to service: BTS's military dilemma

Nothing is Foreign

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2022 27:33


In many ways South Korean boy band BTS is exceptional. The group sells out stadiums around the world, and adds about $3.6 billion USD a year to their home economy. But in one crucial aspect, each of its seven members is completely ordinary. Like every young man in South Korea: they must enlist for mandatory military service before they turn 30. Last week, the oldest member of the group, Kim Seok-jin — better known as Jin — started his deployment in the county of Yeoncheon, near the North Korean border. This week on Nothing is Foreign, we pull apart all the different arguments in the debate over BTS, Korean conscription, and using K-Pop idols as the ultimate diplomatic emissaries. Featuring: Michelle Cho, professor of East Asian studies at the University of Toronto, BTS fan.

Banking on KC
Harry S. Campbell: Practicing Get Real Leadership

Banking on KC

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2022 27:22


On this episode of Banking on KC, Harry S. Campbell, a business executive, speaker and author joins host Kelly Scanlon to discuss the keys to the three levels of Get Real Leadership: leading yourself, leading people and leading your business. Harry S. Campbell is a senior executive with a strong record of success over three decades, including president for two Fortune 500 companies, co-owner of an award-winning small business and CEO/board member of an Internet start-up. He has driven exceptional people and business results in organizations of 25 to 3,500 employees in a broad range of industries—from consumer-packaged goods to telecom to sports marketing to digital media. Harry is known as an identifier, a developer and a motivator of exceptional talent at all levels of the organization. Campbell's views on leadership and business management were forged at Procter & Gamble, where he worked in brand management on notable products such as Crest, Pepto-Bismol and Metamucil. While with P&G, Campbell was hand-picked to be a founding member of the P&G/Wal-Mart Customer Team based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In 1992, he moved from consumer-packaged goods to the telecom sector when he joined Sprint, where he served in several leadership roles before being appointed president of the multibillion dollar Consumer Long Distance unit in 2002. His final role with Sprint was leading the Emerging and Mid-Markets business unit. From 2005-2009, Campbell led the Consumer Markets division at Embarq, a spin-off from Sprint, and now known as CenturyLink. As president of the Consumer Markets division, he was responsible for nearly half of Embarq's annual revenue and an organization of 3,000 employees. His group provided marketing, sales, service and operational support for a full line of communication and entertainment services to 4 million residential customers in 18 states. Campbell's other senior management experiences spanned two distinctly different small businesses. He was president/CEO (and member of the board) of uclick, a digital syndication company that packaged and distributed branded content, comics and word games on the Web. It represents more than 110 features such as Garfield, Dear Abby, FoxTrot and Doonesbury. He was also co-owner/EVP of a sports marketing agency recognized as the 1998 Business of the Year by the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Campbell recently retired after five years as the CEO of Durrie Vision, a world-class refractive eye surgery center, to focus on maximizing his charitable donations via speaking and writing books, including “Get-Real Leadership,” “Get-Real Culture,” and “Get-Real Mindset.” Campbell holds a bachelor's degree in East Asian history and economics from Vanderbilt University  and an MBA with a concentration in marketing from Indiana University's Kelley Graduate School of Business. He is active in several local charities and serves on the board of Head for the Cure, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising money to help cure brain cancer. Country Club Bank – Member FDIC 

She Thinks
Miles Yu: Why Are Chinese Protestors Risking Their Lives?

She Thinks

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2022 23:11


On this week's episode, Miles Yu joins to discuss the ongoing tension in China and the rise of the Chinese protestor. We talk about reasons why people are putting their lives on the line to defy the China regime: is it all about the zero-COVID policies instituted by President Xi Jinping? We also focus on President Biden and his administration's response to the Chinese protestor. Has the narrative, or lack thereof, been a help or a hindrance? What does effective diplomacy look like?Miles Yu is a senior fellow and director of the China Center at Hudson Institute and co-host of its new China Insider podcast. He is also a professor of East Asia and military and naval history at the United States Naval Academy. During the Trump administration, he served as the China policy adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In that capacity, he advised the secretary on all China-related issues, helped overhaul U.S. policy toward China, and participated in key U.S. government interagency deliberations on major policy and government actions with regard to China and other East Asian countries.--She Thinks is a podcast for women (and men) who are sick of the spin in today's news cycle and are seeking the truth. Once a week, every week, She Thinks host Beverly Hallberg is joined by guests who cut through the clutter and bring you the facts. You don't have to keep up with policy and politics to understand how issues will impact you and the people you care about most. You just have to keep up with us. We make sure you have the information you need to come to your own conclusions. Because, let's face it, you're in control of your own life and can think for yourself. You can listen to the latest She Thinks episode(s) here or wherever you get your podcasts. Then subscribe, rate, and share with your friends. If you are already caught up and want more, join our online community. Be sure to subscribe to our emails to ensure you're equipped with the facts on the issues you care about most: https://iwf.org/connect. Independent Women's Forum (IWF) believes all issues are women's issues. IWF promotes policies that aren't just well-intended, but actually enhance people's freedoms, opportunities, and choices. IWF doesn't just talk about problems. We identify solutions and take them straight to the playmakers and policy creators. And, as a 501(c)3, IWF educates the public about the most important topics of the day. Check out the Independent Women's Forum website for more information on how policies impact you, your loved ones, and your community: www.iwf.org. Subscribe to IWF's YouTube channel. Follow IWF on social media: - on Twitter- on Facebook- on Instagram#IWF #SheThinks #AllIssuesAreWomensIssues Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Sounds Heal Podcast
Sounds Heal Podcast with Susy Schieffelin and Natalie Brown

Sounds Heal Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2022 44:59


Susy Markoe Schieffelin is an internationally recognized sound healer, yoga teacher, and mentor. After years struggling with anxiety, addiction, and depression, her life was transformed when she discovered the therapeutic benefits of sound healing, reiki, yoga, and meditation. After her own healing and recovery, she felt called to help others experience the power of these practices. She began training and eventually left her career in marketing and luxury lifestyle management to create The Copper Vessel, which aims to help people live their happiest, healthiest, most radiant lives. She wants to help people heal and open their hearts to a new understanding of self-love. She is also the founder of Sound Healer's Academy, a sound healing certification program. Along with her experience with healing modalities, Susy holds a double degree in East Asian studies and religious studies, is a certified yoga instructor, and a Usui/Holy Fire II Reiki Master. She has studied many forms of meditation and mindfulness, including transcendental and Vipassana meditation, kundalini yoga, breathwork, and sound healing. Her mission is to help others find healing, balance, and lasting recovery by tapping into the inner peace, light, and vibrational harmony that exists within us all. https://thecoppervessel.com/ Natalie Brown: http://www.soundshealstudio.com http://www.facebook.com/soundshealstudio.com http://www.instagram.com/nataliebrownsoundsheal http://www.youtube.com/soundshealstudio Music by Natalie Brown, Hope & Heart http://www.youtu.be/hZPx6zJX6yA This episode is sponsored by The Om Shoppe. The OM Shoppe & Spa offers a vast array of Sound Healing and Vibrational Medicine tools for serious professionals and for those ready to make sound and vibration part of their ongoing lifestyle. Call them today or visit them at http://www.theomshoppe.com. If you are ever near Sarasota, Florida, do consider stopping in and visiting with them or enjoy a luxury spa treatment such as sound healing, energy work, massage, vibroacoustics or hypnotherapy.

Inside The War Room
Life after the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

Inside The War Room

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 12, 2022 55:20


Links from the show:* Politics and Society in Contemporary China* In the Same Breath* E Larus Consulting* Josh Chin on the Chinese Surveillance State* Connect with Ryan on Twitter* Subscribe to the newsletterAbout my guest:Elizabeth Freund Larus Ph.D., is Founder and President of E Larus Consulting LLC, and Professor Emerita of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Mary Washington. A Fulbright Scholar and Taiwan Fellow, she specializes in East Asian political, economic, and security dynamics.Dr. Larus draws on more than 30 years of experience with the Asia-Pacific. She is author of the books Politics and Society in Contemporary China and Economic Reform in China, as well as dozens of book chapters, articles and online commentary on Chinese politics, Taiwan politics, China-Taiwan relations, US in Asia, and security dynamics in the Asia-Pacific. She regularly contributes her insight to international media outlets, such as the Financial Times, Fortune magazine, CNBC, BBC, CGTN America, Channel NewsAsia, and Indus News. Get full access to Dispatches from the War Room at dispatchesfromthewarroom.substack.com/subscribe

Rebel Educator
68: Taking Initiative with Ella (Yi Xiu) Wang

Rebel Educator

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 9, 2022 19:49


Known as Ella Wang, but named Yi Xiu, Ella is an East-Asian immigrant who has faced many struggles including language barriers, financial difficulties, low self-esteem, discrimination, and a loss of identity. The one thing that never changed was her passion for traditional instrumental music. It's what motivated her to keep improving and believing in the present and the future. Today, with a combination of hard work, a supportive network, and a hint of luck, she has become an accomplished international musical performer, speaker, and social entrepreneur. She hopes to share her experience in order to empower others!   Join us to learn more about Ella's experience as an English language learner navigating the school system, her passion for traditional Chinese music, and how it allowed her to shape her learning and motivation.     IN THIS EPISODE, WE DISCUSS: Ella's school experience as an immigrant and English language learner. How school systems can better support English language learners. Ella's passion for traditional Chinese music and how it shaped her learning style and work ethic. The benefits of self-directed learning and intrinsic motivation.   RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE: Connect with Ella on LinkedIn Learn more about Rebel Educator, explore our professional development opportunities for educators and students, and check out our project library Visit us at UP Academy to learn more about our personalized and inclusive learning environment Connect with Tanya and UP Academy on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram and learn more about her journey here     Check out my book Rebel Educator: Create Classrooms Where Impact and Imagination Meet: amzn.to/3AcwlfF   Enjoying the show? Leave us a rating and review and help more people find us! bit.ly/RebelEducatorApplePodcasts   We'd love it if you could take a few minutes to fill out this survey to let us know how we can bring you the best possible content:  forms.gle/JcKHf9DHTZnYUmQr6    Interested in being on the Rebel Educator podcast? Fill out this form and we'll reach out to you if we think you'd be a great fit for an upcoming episode. forms.gle/zXR2KGPK3WEmbrRZ6    Want to learn more about opening your own UP Academy? Check out the Rebel Educator Accelerator: www.rebeleducator.com/courses/the-accelerator   MORE ABOUT THE REBEL EDUCATOR PODCAST: In each episode of the Rebel Educator podcast, I deconstruct world-class educators, students, and thought leaders in education to extract the tactics, tools, and routines that you can use as teachers and parents. Join me as we discuss how to shift the classroom, the learning environment, the mindset, and the pedagogy, to resist tradition, reignite wonder, and re-imagine the future of education. This podcast is dedicated to all of the educators who work thankless hours to make our next generation the best it can be.  It was designed to begin conversations on how we can redesign education for the future of work and the success of our students.  It is meant for teachers, students, administrators, homeschoolers and anyone who interacts with and teaches youth.

The Korea Society
National Identity Affirmation and Trust in Korea, Japan, and China - 2022 Sherman Family Korea Emerging Scholar Lecture with Eunbin Chung

The Korea Society

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 9, 2022 63:10


November 28, 2022 - Join us for the Sixth Annual Sherman Family Korea Emerging Scholar Lecture! Eunbin Chung, Assistant Professor at the University of Utah and the 2022 Sherman Family Korea Scholar Lecture awardee, will address National Identity Affirmation and Trust in Korea, Japan, and China from a unique perspective. Legacies of conflict and distrust have made it difficult for East Asian countries to form regional institutions and overcome security dilemmas. Chung's research questions two conventional wisdoms related to these regional dynamics: 1) that distrust among states can be overcome through cultural convergence and appealing to a shared identity (such as the "European" identity developed through the creation of the EU) and 2) that strong, inward-focused national identities exacerbate inter-state distrust and conflict. Chung asks, Is this true? Do distinct national identities really impede international trust? Chung's research advances the concept that trust not only can be built among nations when each affirms its own distinctive identity, but that this approach may be more effective than embracing common identities across different countries. Dr. Katrin Katz, the inaugural Sherman Family Lecture Award recipient and Van Fleet Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Society, describes Chung's argument as “breaking new ground in tackling some prevailing beliefs regarding the relationship between national identity and levels of inter-state trust and conflict. Dr. Chung's work entails a hopeful message for East Asia and beyond: that emphasizing the favorable and distinctive traits of one's own country need not lead to antagonistic relations with neighbors.” Come hear more about Chung's fascinating research on advancing productive dialogue in the region. Aram Hur, Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri and our 2021 Sherman Family Lecture, awardee will introduce the lecture. The annual Sherman Family award and lecture, now in its sixth year, aims to grow U.S. thought leadership on Korea for a new generation. The award is presented across disciplines and to emerging thought leaders, from doctoral candidates to junior professors and respective research or non-profit professionals. The award is made possible through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Sherman and family. You can view the presentations of former award winners at the link below: https://www.koreasociety.org/policy-and-corporate-programs/item/1392-2020-korea-emerging-scholar-lecture-awardee-announced Video version of this lecture with presentation slides can be seen at the link below: https://youtu.be/CvgZgVYTMt0 For more information, please visit the link below: https://www.koreasociety.org/policy-and-corporate-programs/item/1627-sherman-family-korea-emerging-scholar-lecture-2022

Dawn of an Era of Well-Being: The Podcast

That which haunts us will always find a way out. The wound will not heal unless given witness. The shadow that follows us is the way in. – RumiDeepak Chopra is a veritable one-man institution, with over ninety books to his credit, several of them making the New York Times bestsellers list. He is also fonder of The Chopra Foundation and Chopra Global. We at “Dawn of an Era of Well-Being: The PODCAST” are proud to count Dr. Chopra among the contributors to the book, Dawn of an Era of Wellbeing: New Paths to a Better World by Ervin Laszlo and Frederick Tsao (SelectBooks, ISBN 978-1-59079-515-6) for which he penned both the Foreword and the article, “Human Well-Being and the Pathless Path”. As you will hear, Dr. Laszlo and Dr. Chopra have a long history of collaboration, and similar aims of elevating human consciousness through the vectors of science and spirituality—as does our co-host, Frederick Tsao, from a markedly East-Asian point of view. Our discussion with Deepak will continue an overarching theme across this podcast, of harmonizing such supposed dichotomies—science and spirituality, East and West, etc.—and demonstrating how their very existence is more a matter of perception than of reality. And how a stronger awareness of the perception is part of the path to higher consciousness and the condition of Well-Being. To quote Dr. Chopra from his chapter in Dawn of an Era of Well-Being:  Morality and spirituality add meaning to human existence, and the one thing human beings cannot tolerate for long isn't poverty—but a meaningless life. If we cut to the quick, all models for achieving well-being are fatally flawed by using the reducing valve. When infinite possibilities are squeezed down into a few possibilities, advocated for our own good, the price is too high. Instinctively, children rebel when a parent says, “It's for your own good,” and the same is true when we are faced with formulas for well-being.Join us today for a very special episode of our podcast as Frederick Tsao, Ervin Laszlo, and our moderator, Alison Goldwyn take a close look at the human condition with the extraordinary Deepak Chopra. Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book and national bestseller, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books), unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his latest book, Total Meditation (Harmony Books, September 22, 2020) will help to achieve new dimensions of stress-free living and joyful living. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com

Asian Women for Health
Episode #28: The Healing Power of Personal Narrative & Kidney Health Advocacy

Asian Women for Health

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2022 37:40


Do you know Asians are at higher risk for kidney disease? At the age of 17, Sabrina Lu Qiao was diagnosed with a rare, autoimmune kidney disorder called Minimal Change Disease (MCD), which affects the filtering capacity of the kidneys and can increase one's risk of developing Nephrotic Syndrome.* In this episode, Sabrina recounts how common teenage angst was exacerbated by the side effects of steroid treatment, including water weight gain, body dysmorphia, and emotional distress. She tapped into the healing power of personal narrative and testimony that led her to advocate and share her story with fellow patients and communities. As a passionate writer and journalist, Sabrina draws on her lived experience to inform and empower others along their health journeys. She also reflects on the ways her cultural identity continues to inform her personal growth and resilience. * Source: https://nephcure.org/livingwithkidneydisease/ns-and-other-glomerular-diseases/understanding-minimal-change-disease/ (Dec 2022) MORE ABOUT SABRINA: Sabrina Lu Qiao is an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in journalism. She is currently pursuing an MFA in nonfiction writing at Columbia University, where she also teaches creative nonfiction writing. Her reporting often focuses on subcultures, while her personal writing explores patient identity within Chinese culture and feminism within East Asian culture. She is at work on a manuscript about the Chinese Cultural Revolution and is an avid proponent of the Manhattan ferry system. RESOURCES: Nephcure - https://nephcure.org/connect/ (a supportive community of patients, their loved ones, doctors, researchers and other medical professionals bound by a common goal: discovering better treatments and a cure for rare, kidney diseases caused by Nephrotic Syndrome) Inspire – https://www.inspire.com (a resource hub with information on specific diseases as well as access to experts and patient stories for anyone seeking to learn more) National Kidney Foundation - https://www.kidney.org/treatment-support SABRINA'S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: Website - https://sabrinaluqiao.com Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/sabqiao/ *DISCLAIMER* The information on this page is not intended or implied to be a substitute for individualized health care, professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this podcast is for general information purposes only.

The Kathryn Zox Show
Cornelius Grove PhD

The Kathryn Zox Show

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2022 0:30


Kathryn interviews Author Cornelius Grove PhD.Since 1970, students from East Asia have outscored their U.S. counterparts on every international student comparative test. Every test over 50 years; no exceptions. “Why is this always true?” asked Dr. Cornelius Grove. Now he has answers. Immersing himself in hundreds of research reports concerning East Asian children's learning advantages, he uncovered the historical and cultural factors behind East Asians repeated successes. Dr. Grove explores the ways East Asian parents instill in their children a receptiveness to the formal learning process and explains the values underlying the parents' mindset He gives us an outline for action for American parents who deeply value academic learning. Dr. Groveholds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Johns Hopkins and a Doctor of Education from Columbia. He has had a decades-long fascination with the cultural factors that affect children's ability to learn in school.Kathryn also interviews Author Shelby Scarbrough.Soon we'll be gathering with friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues for holiday celebrations. We want to find joy in the holiday, but one conversation leads to another and soon people find themselves talking about triggering topics like what, or who, was on the ballot or other hot-button issues. Former International Protocol Officer Shelby Scarbrough knows how conversations can quickly escalate and soon you need to diffuse the situation, with the understanding that 'sometimes people cross the line'. She shares with us tips on how to take a civil approach to confrontation with friends, family, or neighbors as well as advice on how you can appreciate someone's passion and views and respect their perspective. Shelby began her career in the White House as a member of President Ronald Reagan's advance team, where she helped coordinate such landmark events as the Reagan-Gorbachev Moscow Summit.

The Kathryn Zox Show
Shelby Scarbrough

The Kathryn Zox Show

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2022 0:30


Kathryn interviews Author Cornelius Grove PhD.Since 1970, students from East Asia have outscored their U.S. counterparts on every international student comparative test. Every test over 50 years; no exceptions. “Why is this always true?” asked Dr. Cornelius Grove. Now he has answers. Immersing himself in hundreds of research reports concerning East Asian children's learning advantages, he uncovered the historical and cultural factors behind East Asians repeated successes. Dr. Grove explores the ways East Asian parents instill in their children a receptiveness to the formal learning process and explains the values underlying the parents' mindset He gives us an outline for action for American parents who deeply value academic learning. Dr. Groveholds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Johns Hopkins and a Doctor of Education from Columbia. He has had a decades-long fascination with the cultural factors that affect children's ability to learn in school.Kathryn also interviews Author Shelby Scarbrough.Soon we'll be gathering with friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues for holiday celebrations. We want to find joy in the holiday, but one conversation leads to another and soon people find themselves talking about triggering topics like what, or who, was on the ballot or other hot-button issues. Former International Protocol Officer Shelby Scarbrough knows how conversations can quickly escalate and soon you need to diffuse the situation, with the understanding that 'sometimes people cross the line'. She shares with us tips on how to take a civil approach to confrontation with friends, family, or neighbors as well as advice on how you can appreciate someone's passion and views and respect their perspective. Shelby began her career in the White House as a member of President Ronald Reagan's advance team, where she helped coordinate such landmark events as the Reagan-Gorbachev Moscow Summit.

The Embodiment Podcast
454. What you can't say about yoga - with Jambo Truong

The Embodiment Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2022 52:45


Yoga teacher and bodyworker Jambo joins me to talk Ayaveda, accupuncture, The Boys of Yoga, face reading, Forest Yoga, body dysmorphia, what “feels right”, trauma, yoga bodywork, anatomy, what you can't say, what we hold in the body, selfies in yoga, yoga in Asia, and more. A fast-paced bromantic thought fest. Websites: jambodragon.com   jds.jambodragon.com As a multi-disciplinary practitioner, with experiences of East-Asian medicine styles and a fascination with orthopaedic diagnostics, expect to experience a balanced approach of science and magick with Jambo. Jambo teaches the classical framework of Forrest Yoga and adds his unique approach of kinesiology to enable further understanding of the biomechanics and somatic experiences within the practise of yoga.Arm Balances' as well as 'The Anatomy of Standing Poses for Effective Hip Opening' are what is often seen. Although these workshops sound heavily based on poses, he believes that the foundation for physical and emotional growth walks side by side. The yoga mat is a safe arena to explore the areas we are working towards as well as the places we are afraid to meet. This safe space is deliberately generated so that we can walk with full integration. All of our gifts and the shadows that we need to snuggle up to. You may also enjoy episodes: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-embodiment-podcast/id1284562064?i=1000502921160 https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-embodiment-podcast/id1284562064?i=1000495101504  

A.R.'s Tales (aka The A.R.T. Podcast)
Eps. #127 | Multi-Genre

A.R.'s Tales (aka The A.R.T. Podcast)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2022 35:08


This week we're saving cats with Jamari Wright, Author of “Redeeming the Cat: 10 Save the Cat Anthology Short Stories”! . . . Jamari Wright, American Air Force Officer, Japanese Speaking-Brit, who loves to tickle the piano keys, and whose being is punctuated by his strong faith in God, are a few of the contradictions making Jamari unique. Jamari possesses a B.S. in Neuroscience, and an M.A. in International Relations concentrated on East Asia. His first book is an anthology collection of short stories to get his “genreless” fix. Instead of genre, Jamari focused on the theme of redemption from different POVs.  . Jamari is in a passionate love-affair with his wife Victoria. If he is not behind the keyboard preparing his next story, you can find him on the basketball court or travelling the world with his beautiful wife.  . Jamari's brand of stories aims to encourage and lift up. The next step of his writing journey is developing a Light Novel Series capitalizing on his passion for and knowledge of East Asian culture.  . Check out his work through the links below: . Jamari' Links INSTAGRAM - @jamariwright07 TIKTOK - @jamariwright902 WEBSITE - www.Facebook.com/jamariwright007 AMAZON - https://www.amazon.com/Jamari-Wright/e/B0BLHXP78S/ref=aufs_dp_fta_dsk . . . For more of A.R. Mirabal, visit "www.Neotino.net". There you'll find galleries of all our art, a store for current and soon-to-be-released merch and books, as well as some free short stories and a contact page for our services. . A.R.'s Links: ALL LINKS - linktr.ee/AR_Mirabal INSTAGRAM - @ar.mirabal TIKTOK - @ar.mirabal TWITTER - @a_r_mirabal

New Books Network
Viren Murthy, "The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future" (Routledge, 2022)

New Books Network

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 59:58


Drawing on a wide range of texts and using an interdisciplinary approach, The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future (Routledge, 2022) by Viren Murthy shows how Chinese and Japanese intellectuals mobilized the past to create a better future. It is especially significant today given a world where, amidst tensions within Asia and the rise of China, East Asian intellectuals and governments constantly find new political meanings in their traditions. The essays illuminate how throughout Chinese and Japanese history, thinkers constantly weaved together nationalism, internationalism, and a politics of time. This volume explores a broad range of subjects such as premodern and early modern attempts to conjure a politics of Confucianism, twentieth-century Japanese Marxist interpretations of Buddhism, and Japanese and Chinese endeavors to imagine a new world order. In sum, this book shows us why understanding East Asian pasts are essential to making sense of ideological trends in contemporary China and Japan. For example, without understanding Confucianism and how modern intellectuals in China grappled with this body of thought, we would be unable to make sense of the Chinese government's current promotion of the Chinese classics. This book will interest students and scholars of political science, history, Asian studies, sociology, and philosophy. Viren Murthy is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a transnational historian of Asia, and his research focuses on Chinese, Japanese and Indian intellectual history. His particular areas of study concern critiques of capitalism and modernity, and he is also interested in postcolonialism and Marxism. Shatrunjay Mall is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He works on transnational Asian history, and his dissertation explores intellectual, political, and cultural intersections and affinities that emerged between Indian anti-colonialism and imperial Japan in the twentieth century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/new-books-network

New Books in East Asian Studies
Viren Murthy, "The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future" (Routledge, 2022)

New Books in East Asian Studies

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 59:58


Drawing on a wide range of texts and using an interdisciplinary approach, The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future (Routledge, 2022) by Viren Murthy shows how Chinese and Japanese intellectuals mobilized the past to create a better future. It is especially significant today given a world where, amidst tensions within Asia and the rise of China, East Asian intellectuals and governments constantly find new political meanings in their traditions. The essays illuminate how throughout Chinese and Japanese history, thinkers constantly weaved together nationalism, internationalism, and a politics of time. This volume explores a broad range of subjects such as premodern and early modern attempts to conjure a politics of Confucianism, twentieth-century Japanese Marxist interpretations of Buddhism, and Japanese and Chinese endeavors to imagine a new world order. In sum, this book shows us why understanding East Asian pasts are essential to making sense of ideological trends in contemporary China and Japan. For example, without understanding Confucianism and how modern intellectuals in China grappled with this body of thought, we would be unable to make sense of the Chinese government's current promotion of the Chinese classics. This book will interest students and scholars of political science, history, Asian studies, sociology, and philosophy. Viren Murthy is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a transnational historian of Asia, and his research focuses on Chinese, Japanese and Indian intellectual history. His particular areas of study concern critiques of capitalism and modernity, and he is also interested in postcolonialism and Marxism. Shatrunjay Mall is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He works on transnational Asian history, and his dissertation explores intellectual, political, and cultural intersections and affinities that emerged between Indian anti-colonialism and imperial Japan in the twentieth century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/east-asian-studies

Inside The War Room
The State of US/China Relations

Inside The War Room

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 61:26


Links from the show:* George H. W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations* Connect with Ryan on Twitter* Subscribe to the newslettersh China FoundationAbout my guest:David J. Firestein is the inaugural president and CEO of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations (Bush China Foundation) and a founding and current member of the Foundation's Board of Directors. He is based in Austin, Texas.Prior to joining the Bush China Foundation, Mr. Firestein was the founding executive director of The University of Texas at Austin's (UT) China Public Policy Center (CPPC) and a clinical professor at UT's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Before moving to UT, Mr. Firestein served as senior vice president and Perot Fellow at the New York City-based EastWest Institute (EWI), where he led the Institute's track 2 diplomacy work in the areas of U.S.-China relations, East Asian security and U.S.-Russia relations; Mr. Firestein, who held EWI's lone endowed chair, remains one of the longest-serving senior executives in EWI history.A decorated career U.S. diplomat from 1992–2010, Mr. Firestein specialized primarily in U.S.-China relations. Among the honors he garnered during his diplomatic career were the Secretary of State's Award for Public Outreach (2006) and the Linguist of the Year Award (1997). Toward the end of his State Department career, he served as an elected member of the Board of Governors of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), the union and professional association of the United States Foreign Service; in this capacity, he represented and worked to advance the interests of several thousand State Department constituents. He also served as the elected president of the large community associations of the U.S. embassies in Beijing and Moscow.Mr. Firestein is the author or co-author of three books on China, including two China-published Chinese-language best-sellers, as well as a large number of China-focused monographs, policy reports and articles (and publications on non-China-related topics). As a writer, Mr. Firestein broke new ground in a number of ways:  in the mid-1990s, he became the first foreign citizen to have a regular column in a People's Republic of China newspaper and the first foreign diplomat (and perhaps the first foreign citizen) to publish an original book in the country, among other milestones.  He is a prolific public speaker and frequent commentator in the U.S. and Chinese media. The Voice of America's Mandarin Service wrote in 2016 that Mr. Firestein is “one of the world's best non-native speakers of Mandarin Chinese”; early in his career, he interpreted for dozens of top-level U.S. and Chinese leaders and officials. (Mr. Firestein also speaks Russian.)In the years since he left the State Department, Mr. Firestein has produced path-breaking Capitol Hill testimony, thought leadership and scholarship on a wide range of topics, including U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, U.S.-China trade, the role of national exceptionalism as a driver of major international conflict, the value of government, U.S. public diplomacy in the wake of 9/11 and the use of contemporary country music as presidential campaign communication. Numerous incumbent and former U.S. secretaries of state and national security advisors from both sides of the partisan aisle—along with multiple other incumbent and former U.S. Cabinet members, members of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. combatant commanders and other prominent U.S. figures—have lauded his contributions and achievements in the area of U.S.-China relations.In recent years, Mr. Firestein periodically has been invited to brief significant swaths of the U.S. investment community, including via the 20-20 Investment Association and the Pacific Pension & Investment Institute, which together represent well over $30 trillion under management, on China and U.S.-China relations.Mr. Firestein currently serves on the boards of directors or advisors of over a dozen foreign affairs-focused, business-focused, China-focused and Texas-focused U.S. non-profit organizations. Of particular note, he is one of the few Americans who is concurrently formally affiliated with two different U.S. presidential legacy entities (the Bush China Foundation; and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, where he serves on the Dean's Advisory Council). He is also the only non-profit executive ever elected to the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of Business, Texas' influential chamber of commerce. And he is a member of the founding, and current, Board of Directors of the U.S. Heartland China Association, where he serves as the inaugural chairman of the policy committee.Mr. Firestein was a member of the graduate faculty of The University of Texas at Austin for a total of four academic years, most recently from 2017 to 2019.  He was also the first foreign diplomat ever to teach courses and coach debate at MGIMO (now, MGIMO University), Russia's premier foreign affairs training ground.A native of Austin, Texas and current resident of the Austin area, Mr. Firestein holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and two master's degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, as well as various advanced training certifications from the National Foreign Affairs Training Center of the U.S. Department of State. Get full access to Dispatches from the War Room at dispatchesfromthewarroom.substack.com/subscribe

New Books in Chinese Studies
Viren Murthy, "The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future" (Routledge, 2022)

New Books in Chinese Studies

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 59:58


Drawing on a wide range of texts and using an interdisciplinary approach, The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future (Routledge, 2022) by Viren Murthy shows how Chinese and Japanese intellectuals mobilized the past to create a better future. It is especially significant today given a world where, amidst tensions within Asia and the rise of China, East Asian intellectuals and governments constantly find new political meanings in their traditions. The essays illuminate how throughout Chinese and Japanese history, thinkers constantly weaved together nationalism, internationalism, and a politics of time. This volume explores a broad range of subjects such as premodern and early modern attempts to conjure a politics of Confucianism, twentieth-century Japanese Marxist interpretations of Buddhism, and Japanese and Chinese endeavors to imagine a new world order. In sum, this book shows us why understanding East Asian pasts are essential to making sense of ideological trends in contemporary China and Japan. For example, without understanding Confucianism and how modern intellectuals in China grappled with this body of thought, we would be unable to make sense of the Chinese government's current promotion of the Chinese classics. This book will interest students and scholars of political science, history, Asian studies, sociology, and philosophy. Viren Murthy is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a transnational historian of Asia, and his research focuses on Chinese, Japanese and Indian intellectual history. His particular areas of study concern critiques of capitalism and modernity, and he is also interested in postcolonialism and Marxism. Shatrunjay Mall is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He works on transnational Asian history, and his dissertation explores intellectual, political, and cultural intersections and affinities that emerged between Indian anti-colonialism and imperial Japan in the twentieth century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/chinese-studies

New Books in Intellectual History
Viren Murthy, "The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future" (Routledge, 2022)

New Books in Intellectual History

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 59:58


Drawing on a wide range of texts and using an interdisciplinary approach, The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future (Routledge, 2022) by Viren Murthy shows how Chinese and Japanese intellectuals mobilized the past to create a better future. It is especially significant today given a world where, amidst tensions within Asia and the rise of China, East Asian intellectuals and governments constantly find new political meanings in their traditions. The essays illuminate how throughout Chinese and Japanese history, thinkers constantly weaved together nationalism, internationalism, and a politics of time. This volume explores a broad range of subjects such as premodern and early modern attempts to conjure a politics of Confucianism, twentieth-century Japanese Marxist interpretations of Buddhism, and Japanese and Chinese endeavors to imagine a new world order. In sum, this book shows us why understanding East Asian pasts are essential to making sense of ideological trends in contemporary China and Japan. For example, without understanding Confucianism and how modern intellectuals in China grappled with this body of thought, we would be unable to make sense of the Chinese government's current promotion of the Chinese classics. This book will interest students and scholars of political science, history, Asian studies, sociology, and philosophy. Viren Murthy is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a transnational historian of Asia, and his research focuses on Chinese, Japanese and Indian intellectual history. His particular areas of study concern critiques of capitalism and modernity, and he is also interested in postcolonialism and Marxism. Shatrunjay Mall is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He works on transnational Asian history, and his dissertation explores intellectual, political, and cultural intersections and affinities that emerged between Indian anti-colonialism and imperial Japan in the twentieth century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

New Books in History
Viren Murthy, "The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future" (Routledge, 2022)

New Books in History

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 59:58


Drawing on a wide range of texts and using an interdisciplinary approach, The Politics of Time in China and Japan: Back to the Future (Routledge, 2022) by Viren Murthy shows how Chinese and Japanese intellectuals mobilized the past to create a better future. It is especially significant today given a world where, amidst tensions within Asia and the rise of China, East Asian intellectuals and governments constantly find new political meanings in their traditions. The essays illuminate how throughout Chinese and Japanese history, thinkers constantly weaved together nationalism, internationalism, and a politics of time. This volume explores a broad range of subjects such as premodern and early modern attempts to conjure a politics of Confucianism, twentieth-century Japanese Marxist interpretations of Buddhism, and Japanese and Chinese endeavors to imagine a new world order. In sum, this book shows us why understanding East Asian pasts are essential to making sense of ideological trends in contemporary China and Japan. For example, without understanding Confucianism and how modern intellectuals in China grappled with this body of thought, we would be unable to make sense of the Chinese government's current promotion of the Chinese classics. This book will interest students and scholars of political science, history, Asian studies, sociology, and philosophy. Viren Murthy is a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a transnational historian of Asia, and his research focuses on Chinese, Japanese and Indian intellectual history. His particular areas of study concern critiques of capitalism and modernity, and he is also interested in postcolonialism and Marxism. Shatrunjay Mall is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He works on transnational Asian history, and his dissertation explores intellectual, political, and cultural intersections and affinities that emerged between Indian anti-colonialism and imperial Japan in the twentieth century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/history

The Chinese History Podcast
The Maritime Kingdom of the Zheng Family: An Interview with Professor Xing Hang

The Chinese History Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2022 54:26


The fall of Beijing in 1644 did not immediately put an end to the Ming Dynasty. For almost half a century, Ming pretenders and loyalists in the south warred with the Manchus. One of the most prominent Ming loyalist factions was the Zheng family regime based in Fujian and Taiwan. Founded by the pirate-merchant Zheng Zhilong, the enterprise reached new heights under his son Zheng Chenggong, better known as Koxinga, who is best known for driving the Dutch out of Taiwan. This regime carried out the pro-Ming, anti-Manchu banner until it was finally defeated by the Qing in 1683. Joining me to talk about this fascinating regime is Professor Xing Hang of Brandeis University. He will cover the history of the regime from its rise to its fall, how it became so powerful, how and why Koxinga took over Taiwan, as well as what Ming loyalism meant to the Zhengs.  Contributors Xing Hang Professor Xing Hang is an Associate Professor of History at Brandeis University and a scholar of China and of the East Asian maritime world. His first project is about the Zheng organization in Taiwan, its role in seventeenth century East Asian maritime trade, and how it defined its legitimacy, and he has published extensively on the topic. His research on this topic has also greatly informed his more recent project, which is on Chinese communities in Southeast Asia from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first centuries.  Yiming Ha Yiming Ha is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His current research is on military mobilization and state-building in China between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, focusing on how military institutions changed over time, how the state responded to these changes, the disconnect between the center and localities, and the broader implications that the military had on the state. His project highlights in particular the role of the Mongol Yuan in introducing an alternative form of military mobilization that radically transformed the Chinese state. He is also interested in military history, nomadic history, comparative Eurasian state-building, and the history of maritime interactions in early modern East Asia. He received his BA from UCLA and his MPhil from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Credits Episode no. 16 Release date: November 28, 2022 Recording location: Boston, MA/Los Angeles, CA  Transcript (proofread and punctuated by Lina Nie) Bibliography courtesy of Prof. Hang Images Cover Image: Painting of Zheng Zhiling (in green robes) and his son Zheng Chenggong by Dutch painter Pieter van der Aa (Image Source) 17th century portrait of Zheng Chenggong, also known as Koxinga (Image Source) Maximum extent of Koxinga's territories in the late 1650s/early 1660s. Red shows areas under his direct control, while orange shows his area of influence. (Image Source) Birth rock of Koxinga, in Hirado, Japan. (Image Source) Koxinga worshipped in a temple in Tainan. (Image Source) References Andrade, Tonio. Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China's First Great Victory over the West. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011.   Andrade, Tonio and Xing Hang, eds. Sea Rovers, Silver, and Samurai: Maritime East Asia in Global History, 1550-1700. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2019.   Cheng Wei-chung. War, Trade and Piracy in the China Seas (1622-1683). Leiden: Brill, 2013.   Clulow, Adam. The Company and the Shogun: The Dutch Encounter with Tokugawa Japan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.   Ho, Daphon David. "Sealords Live in Vain: Fujian and the Making of a Maritime Frontier in Seventeenth-century China." PhD diss., UCSD, 2011.   Keliher, Macabe. Out of China: Yu Yonghe's Tales of Formosa: A History of Seventeenth-century Taiwan. Taipei: SMC Publishing, 2003.   Shephard, John R. Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier, 1600-1800. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993.   Struve, Lynn. The Southern Ming, 1644-1662. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984.    Wills, Jr., John E. "Maritime China from Wang Chih to Shih Lang: Themes in Peripheral History." In From Ming to Ch'ing: Conquest, Region, and Continuity in Seventeenth-Century China, edited by Jonathan Spence and John Wills, 201-238. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.   Wong Young-tsu. China's Conquest of Taiwan in the Seventeenth Century: Victory at Full Moon. Singapore: Springer, 2017.  

Steamy Stories Podcast
Life As A New Hire: part 9

Steamy Stories Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2022


Oh My God! All their clothes vanished. What was I to do?By FinalStand. Listen and subscribe to the podcast at Steamy Stories.Living every moment like it is your last is less attractive tomorrow.(Still Wednesday)Katrina had left for wherever she snuck off to - I suggested to Aya it was a game room, Aya suggested it was as torture chamber - only to return when the next turn of the screws came. I was informed I had a visitor coming up by the name of Libra Chalmers plus a guest. Quickly enough they appeared. The guest turned out to be Brooke Lee.“Who are these two?” Aya glibly spoke as the two Vassar girls walked into the room.“Hello Libra,” I greeted my almost date from last night. “Hello Ms. Lee,” I said to Brooke.“It’s Brooke,” Brooke smiled at me - she was hungry and scenting around for something remarkably like me.“I’m happy to see you - oh - this is my guardian and protector, Aya Ruger,” I made the introductions. “No lie, Aya has been keeping up with my workload while I’ve been on ‘light’ duty. Aya, this is Libra Chalmers and Brooke Lee, both from Vassar College. Brooke is Trent’s friend and Libra had mercy on me Tuesday night and kept me from being a 'fifth’ wheel.”“I’m actually Trent’s fiancé,” Brooke corrected.“Fascinating,” I lied. Oh fuck, that was NOT good.“Cool. I’m happy to see the both of you, but what brings you to my office today?” I continued.“Well, I showed up to ask for Trent and Libra asked for you,” Brooke gave a sly smile.“The thing was,” Libra picked up the tale, “they were looking up Trent, but the front desk knew exactly who and where you were - so we came here first.” My mind was busily working out how to pull Aya aside to give her a friendly warning when Katrina waltzed in.“Ladies, this is my boss, Katrina Love, Head of Executive Services for Havenstone,” I plastered a smile on my face.“Katrina, this is Brooke Lee and Libra Chalmers. I met them Tuesday night,” I kept things simple. Doom was impatient.“Brooke is Trent’s fiancé,” Aya chimed in gleefully. She wasn’t being malicious. She just didn’t know any better. Katrina had been in the process of giving some congenial nods.She stopped and turned on a dime. Damn it.“Really?” Katrina’s interest was piqued.“Yes,” Brooke beamed. She brandished her engagement ring in Katrina’s face. Better yet, Katrina 'ooh'ed and 'aah'ed then spun on me.“Cáel, I didn’t know Trent was engaged,” Katrina pierced me with those lethal ocular devices.“Yeah, I bet you didn’t,” I groaned. “I only found out a moment ago.” Trent had lied on his dating survey - slash application to Havenstone. They kinda/sorta made damn sure we had no external female attachments. It meant less bodies to dispose of if things went wrong.I couldn’t understand how they missed it then a curious custom/lifeline reared its ugly head.“Brooke, that’s your 'promise’ ring, right?” I probed. “I’m sure Trent would get you a bigger rock for the actual engagement.”“Yes,” Brooke confirmed. “We’ve decided to make the official engagement when our families take the Christmas Holiday at Hilton Head.”How could I express to Brooke that Christmas with Trent at Hilton Head was a rapidly vanishing dream? Katrina resumed her stroll to her desk.“Katrina,” I started my appeal. My argument was going to be that 'promise’ rings didn’t really count even though I knew her omission on his survey/application was bad enough already. Brian was different. If he chose to 'follow his career’, she’d shed the prerequisite 17 tears and happily get on with her life. Girls like Brooke came looking and that wouldn’t do.“No,” Katrina didn’t even turn around. When she got to her desk, the phone calls began. Brooke was starting to realize something had happened. I gained a level of importance that extended beyond my bedroom sexpertise.“Cáel, is something wrong?” Libra took my hand in hers.“Trent may have neglected to mention some things during his job interview,” I explained.“Like?” Libra was getting concerned.“Like the existence of Brooke,” I answered. See, if Trent had written down his acquaintance to Brooke, Havenstone would have investigated her in the same way they investigated my mentor, Dr. Kimberly Geisler. She had admitted to the length, depth and termination of our affair.The issue of her teaching me anything besides sex had never come up.“What?” Brooke grew indignant. Not with Trent, but with me. See, I was still a peon in her eyes and casting dispersions on her guy, who she knew and trusted.“Brooke,” I sighed, “did any Havenstone personnel talk to you about Trent?”“No,” she admitted.“Every single woman I was ever with was questioned about me and my relationship to them,” I explained. “Trust me; that was a really long list.” Libra had the answer to that confusion. She pulled out her phone and got a busy signal - that would be Havenstone’ now-active jamming devices.“What’s the number?” I asked Libra. She was momentarily annoyed - then suspicion kicked in. She gave me the number. Caller ID indicated it was Marla, Libra’s sister. I gave the phone up.“Marla,” Libra began, “did anyone from Havenstone Commercial Investments ever talk to you about Cáel?”“Ummm, is he in trouble because of what I said?” Marla asked.“What did you say?” Libra eyed me.“I said he was a total asshole who broke my heart and given the opportunity I wouldn’t mind watching he die a painful death,” she confessed. “Only later did I realize I missed him and felt sorry about what I said.”“Do you know if they talked to any of his other former girlfriends?” Libra inquired.“I am absolutely sure they talked to at least one other person,” Marla mumbled. Her Aunt.“Who? I need to talk to them,” Libra continued.“That wouldn’t be wise,” Marla responded. “Suffice it to say they didn’t give a glowing review either.” Libra hung up and gave me back my phone.“Cáel, do you have a problem with women?” Brooke glowered at me.“Yes, there are so many of them,” I shrugged. “That seems to be my main issue.”“Cáel, how many women have you been with?” Libra mused.“Around 200,” I acceded.“200! Holy Shit!” Libra gasped. Out of the blue,“Of those, how many have dumped you for cheating only to come back to you later?” Katrina postulated.“Around 40,” I recalled.“That’s my Daddy!” Aya crowed proudly.“What?” Brooke boggled.“Not what you think!” I insisted. “Not what you think!”“Aya is my niece,” Katrina explained. “Cáel is not her biological father. He is her friend, paternal guide and guardian.”“Aya and I are in negotiations about me eventually marrying her mother, but I have assured her that is years and years off,” I added.“Cáel is not my real Daddy,” Aya clarified. “He lets me pretend that he is.”“Besides Cáel, does that 200 include the past month?” Katrina diverted the conversation.“Well…200 as in closer to 200 than 300,” I grinned weakly.“How did you graduate?” Libra followed along.“I have a lot of stamina,” I pointed out. Tessa Carmichael glided into the room.“Brooke Lee?” she greeted the not-here-for-me girl.“Yes? Do I know you?” Brooke was getting nervous and snippy.“I’m Tessa Carmichael, Director of Human Resources for Havenstone. I handled the final interview process for Trent Grant,” she smiled with deceptive warmth. She was furious. I could tell, having a long history with women in such moods.“Is that Lee - L-E-E?” Tessa continued.“Yes, what is this about?” Brooke persisted.“You and Mr. Grant are in a long term relationship?” Tessa asked next.“Answer my question,” Brooke snapped. Thankfully Tessa wasn’t Elsa.“Trent lied on both his initial application and then twice in the interview process,” Tessa relayed calmly.“About dating me?” Brooke was confused.“We will explain in a moment,” Tessa smiled and patted Brooke on the upper arm.Brooke and Libra were more poised than I believed was warranted. Suddenly, I peeled back eleven days of experience and realized they assumed that Aya’s presence was some sort of armor against violence. Whoops. Olympia Shore entered the room followed by Trent. Bright yet careless, he immediately clued in on the crisis.“Brooke…” Trent mumbled. Olympia shut the door once Trent was too far inside to run.“Trent, what is going on? They say you didn’t list me as an acquaintance and somehow that’s important,” Brooke grumbled.“I - um - I can explain,” Trent was addressing…the room?“Be at peace, Trent,” Tessa took over. This was her job and her fuck-up. “We only need your assurance that your relationship with Ms. Lee was terminated before you signed your contract with Havenstone Commercial Investments.” Trent was looking for the right answer that would make everyone happy, but there wasn’t one.Had he warned me yesterday that Brooke was his lady, I could have warned Brooke to NEVER come here. Trent hadn’t done that because it would have necessitated him explaining to Brooke that he had denied her existence in order to get a cushy job. Trent had deluded himself into thinking he could have it both ways, probably because lying had always worked before.“I think there has been a misunderstanding,” Trent began. The most important thing in the world to Trent was Trent and he could outfox these backwoods feminists. “I am willing to submit my resignation immediately over this unfortunate mistake.” That was a feint. Sadly, the important ladies had zero faith in his words and had already decided his fate. Moron.“All we need is for you to verify your relationship, Trent,” Tessa remained congenial.“I said I will quit,” Trent asserted. Trent was probably curious why his concession wasn’t working the way he’d planned.“It is not that simple,” Tessa sighed. “You see, when you submitted your final work contract, numerous people co-signed your accounting of events. These people will now be subject to severe criminal, financial and civil penalties.”“What?” Trent gulped. “What do you mean?”“Trent, we gave you a substantial signing bonus plus benefits and salary. Those people who verified your application are liable for fraud. That would be two of your professors, the Dean of the School of Economics at Carnegie-Mellon, your father, uncle, both the current and previous fraternity presidents and a State Senator.”“You can’t…that won’t fly. My family and those organizations have lawyers and they’ll fight this in the courts for years,” Trent rallied.“Because they all want fraud cases hanging over their heads,” Tessa looked at Trent as if he was an unruly schoolboy. “You, of all people, should appreciate how aggressive our Financial Investigative department can be.”“They are going to crawl over all the finances of everyone who we bring suit against. It will be a very public fight that we will gladly bring to the press. Professors will lose their jobs, election campaigns opened to public scrutiny and your personal banking - and everyone they have financial ties to - will be equally targeted.”“If you want, your termination papers are on the way. We have already contacted Legal, who are preparing briefs to file with the District, State and Federal Courts,” Katrina simmered.“Trent,” Tessa closed in for the kill, “if you state to us here and now that you are not now in, or plan to pursue a relationship with Ms. Brooke Lee, we can keep this indiscretion in-house.”That was the crux of the matter. At this point Felix and I would have fallen on our swords, admitted to the lie and stood by the lady. Felix was an asshole, but he was a 'face the world on his own terms’ asshole. I admired that about him. Brian and Khalid would have evaded, leaving Brooke to swing in the breeze, because that was the kind of men they were - they had a Life Plan and no silly emotional attachment was going to slow them down.Trent proved to be the latter type of 'man’.“I decided to not continue a romantic entanglement with Brooke some time ago,” he blatantly lied. The sharks in the room nodded politely. Brooke’s mouth opened in outrage. Libra was rallying to Brooke and I was rallying to them both.“Look, it is a 'promise ring’, not an engagement ring,” Trent created excuses. My arm wrapped around Brooke constricted painfully enough to distract her from Trent’s cowardice so she focused on me.“Wait,” I whispered. “Please wait.” My eyes must have projected my warning of caution.“So,” Tessa nodded sagely. “Your romantic relationship with Ms. Lee ended some time ago - say a year - and you were so past the relationship you forgot to include it on your list critically important people to be interviewed; the list you created and your sponsors signed off on.” Run, Trent! Sense the trap and make a break for the door. Go down swinging like a man!“Yes,” Trent gratefully agreed. Chicken-shit. What mattered here was Trent, followed distantly by Trent’s family name, buddies and academic mentors. I was willing to bet it was facing his family’s disappointment was the deciding factor for Khalid. Sure, he had an ego. We all did, but Khalid was equally proud of his parentage and racial background.He’d even had an ancestor in the 54th Massachusetts regiment in the Civil War. His ego had gotten him in trouble and he’d taken responsibility. Poor bastard. The girl was irrelevant. He’d have gladly bought his way out of the trouble if he could. Havenstone knew his weaknesses and dialed up the pressure until he acquiesced.“Trent!” Brooke squawked. Trent got points for hutzpah.“Brooke,” he patiently regarded his discarded baggage, “it has been over for some time. College is over and I let you know we had to move on. Please, it is time for you to let go.” Brooke’s mouth fell open and a tear streaked down her eye.“So Trent, Ms. Brooke Lee’s absence was more a matter of a well-established emotional detachment, not a personal oversight. We believe you,” Olympia agreed.“That would be correct,” Trent jumped on the life preserver offered by his boss.“I disagree,” Katrina stood up angrily. Nice acting. I would have believed it if I hadn’t already figured out the script.“Katrina, Trent is an indispensable member of MY team and his progression is something I am paying close attention to,” Olympia protected her body-shaped sperm dispenser.“No,” Tessa joined the attack.“I’ll take responsibility for this,” Olympia challenged her associates. “I’ll have Trent relocated to our East Asian section so he’ll no longer be a worry for you two.”They even used the word 'relocate’ and Trent was still grinning like a Christmas Elf on the 26th of December. Idiot.“Trent, how about we get you out of this poisonous atmosphere for a year, or two, and move you to a place where you can shine?” Olympia asked her victim.“That would be great, Olympia,” Trent’s relief came through. Cowardly, selfish shmuck.“Well, this meeting is over,” Olympia declared. She took Trent by the arm and led him out of Katrina’s office. I resisted the impulse to request Trent tell Khalid 'hello’ for me. Brooke turned to Libra, leaned into her and started sobbing.Why all the drama? Now Brooke and Libra, outsiders and long term associates of the vanished, could testify that Trent WILLINGLY threw himself off the face of the Earth. Khalid’s relocation might someday be a problem. No one would come looking for Trent after Brooke and Libra got done with him socially - and it was all self-inflicted, the ignoramus.It was all about loyalty here at Havenstone. My steadfast loyalty to Katrina, paid for in blood, was why I was still running around with the knowledge I possessed. For all my numerous, obvious flaws, there was a sliver of my personality they could identify with. Stepping in front of Leona wasn’t solely a matter of bravery.They acknowledged I was brave for doing it, yet the factor that mattered to them was that my bravery’s source was my loyalty to Katrina and her house. No one assumed I was suicidal - there was confidence that Tessa and Katrina would have screened for that, even though the majority of the Amazons didn’t like what they were doing.Khalid had let his balls outweigh his reason. Trent hadn’t shown physical cowardice; he was probably martially proficient. His flaw was a weakness of character. He saw every organization as nothing more than a vehicle for his personal advancement. In the rest of corporate civilization, that wasn’t so bad, but he wasn’t in the sane, morally-compromising, big business world.He was in Havenstone. They tossed a truckload of money his way, lured him away from other promising offers to reel him - all of us - in. They expected honesty (from us lowly males), loyalty to their company and devotion to their cause even though they had no intention of telling us what it was for some time. Fair - it wasn’t.“Katrina?” I got my boss’s attention.“Take the rest of the day off, Cáel,” Katrina responded. “Aya, you will be staying with me tonight. Cáel you need to be at Medical 11:00 pm.”“Thanks Katrina,” I nodded her way. I retrieved my crutches, gave Aya a kiss on the top of her head, another on her forehead, sealed with her hug.By the time we reached the elevator, Brooke was transforming from shell-shocked to righteously pissed. HE (whose name it wasn’t safe to mention) had the temerity to dump HER. She was going to socially BBQ his ass with the hidden benefit that ole Trent was about to be incommunicado for the next few months.“Cáel, what just happened?” Libra asked softly. “Who do you really work for?” Suddenly that little 'corporate confidentiality’ discussion I had with Trent had a new, sinister implication.“That bastard dumped me in front of a bunch of strangers!” Brooke seethed. If there was any doubt, I am a bastard too.“It was worse than that,” I consoled Brooke. “He lied about your intimacy so he could get this job.” I didn’t bring up the crap I went through because I didn’t matter in her world.“Did you lie about anything?” Libra asked.“I didn’t describe any of my relationships, but I did list everyone I had contact with,” I answered.“Why would they do something so bizarre?” Libra hugged Brooke.“I haven’t seen inside the minds of Human Resources, yet I get the feeling that Havenstone is a very closed system. Personal loyalty, honesty and accountability all rate highly with them. Havenstone doesn’t worry about personal embarrassment. The only people who are going to know are their staff and they don’t use such things in inter-office politics,” I explained.“How did you get a job here anyway?” Brooke snapped. She meant was, how did a knuckle-dragger like me get the same business opportunity as Brian, Felix, Khalid and Trent? She was lashing out in anger at the closest male - my background and name were irrelevant. I had nailed girls like this all the time. Anger leads to poor decision making which leads to her hectic hunt for her clothes in my domicile sometime after us having sex.“I proved to be just as good, if not better, than every other candidate,” I glared right back. Brooke didn’t want me apologetic, joking, or silent. She wanted me to be a strong, solid and unyielding. Why? Trent had just shattered the bedrock of her future and she was desperately seeking any foundation to set down on. It could be temporary, but had to be quick.“I don’t see how that is possible,” Brooke glared. Brooke was used to being pampered and catered to. It was her birthright.“That’s the difference between you and me, Brooke,” I met her stare. By Brooke, I meant Trent and we both knew it.“I have fought for everything I’ve earned and if I’ve learned anything it is to appreciate my good fortune.” Meaning women. The supposition was that I would never have undervalued, or abandoned, a woman as wonderful and complete as Brooke. I could see the mathematical calculations going on behind Brooke’s eyes.She was working out how many drinks she’d have to take before she could justify to the rest of the world she was drunk when I fucked her…while she got to full enjoy the experience. Oh…was I with Libra? Not only can guys not trust me with their girlfriends, girlfriends can’t trust their girl friends around me either.I’ve had girlfriend’s roommates invite me over to rendezvous with my girl only to discover my girl was busy…but the roommate wasn’t. Maybe I’m not a pig. Maybe I’m an amoeba - thoughtless and all-devouring.“Let’s go out for some drinks,” Libra suggested. Oh, I was having a three-way. Wait!“Maybe you could call Marla?” I looked to Libra. “Honestly, I don’t know either of you that well and she could help fill in some of the gaps?” Translation: Can we please make this a four-way?“Good idea,” Libra blushed slightly. Yay me! It turned out that Marla could be with us in an hour.The bar scene was dead - it wasn’t even five pm yet - so Libra put in an order for some liquor from a delivery service - huh? Libra asked me what I wanted to drink. I said I only drank moonshine, or, if that wasn’t available, turpentine. She promised me some aged Scotch. Libra and I sat patiently in the taxi ride to Libra’s place as Brooke bitched endlessly.I think what impressed Libra the most was my ability to engage Brooke successfully while she spat venom over the entire spectrum of all things 'Trent’. Men, college, Carnegie-Mellon, fraternities…Brooke heatedly ask if I was a frat-boy. I inquired if Beer Drinking Clubs counted and she chuckled. She jumped right back to the 'bitchy’, but we’d crested the wave.We three were working through the uncertain status of who would/should do what to who as we sat around Libra’s apartment. Added to that was Libra and Brooke using every tentacle of social media to castrate and castigate Trent. Trent made some half-assed counterattacks (he was on his way to the airport), his 'bros’ rallied to his cause, Brooke’s sorority rallied to hers, and billions of electrons died for no real purpose except to feed two people’s impassioned egos.“Cáel, could you get the door?” Libra requested. Since the two ladies were going full-blown agro on their phones and I was merely crippled, I hobbled to the door of Libra’s posh crib. It was Marla. I opened the door and her eyes rounded in surprise.“Cáel,” she mumbled. Her eyes flicked down, took in my bulge, my limp then followed me inside.“Is the leg - okay?” Marla asked. Libra waved while she kept talking. Brooke didn’t even do that much. I doubted Marla wanted an in-depth medical report.“It’s strong enough,” I grinned hungrily. That’s what she wanted to know.“Good,” she exhaled happily. She dropped her bag, leapt on me, her legs wrapping around my waist, her arms linked behind my head and her tongue darted into my mouth to play with mine.I staggered back while my hands cupped each of Marla’s jean-clad ass cheeks and began to knead them. Her crotch throbbed against my hard-on. Marla was quickly making these precious little throttled moaning noises heralding her sexual need. I was peripherally aware of the conversation in the room dying down.“I want to fuck,” Marla panted. Misinterpreting that was nearly impossible. Cleverly, I had done an earlier reconnaissance, spotted the bedroom while pretending to look for the bathroom. There was also a nice sofa in the entertainment room, just in case, plus the kitchen counter was at a fuckable level. I turned and limped to Libra’s bedroom carrying an encircling Marla.Since I wanted to fuck all three, I didn’t bother kicking the door shut. Erotic sound effects were fine. Leaving the door open was a magnet to their voyeuristic carnality. Soaking up Marla undressing was a cornucopia of information too. She wanted aggressive coitus, was soaking wet from masturbating on the drive down, and was expecting my ultimate effort.This was a combination of 'I’m lonely and it is your fault’ sex and 'make-up’ sex. I stole a glance at Libra’s bedside clock. Marla jumped backwards onto the middle of the king-sized bed. I pursued her as rapidly as my wound would allow. This didn’t even take a Year One effort from me. I pushed her down, she kissed the hell out of me, hands grasping my ears, and I sent my fingers after her pussy.My two fingers had trouble in their penetration - she’d been abstaining from sex for a while. I managed to scoop out some juices and rub them all over her clitoris. I really do have a gift for memorizing the sexual details of every woman I’ve encountered. It is a real pity there isn’t a Nobel Prize for that. There should be.At 58 seconds, Marla howled. She always had good lungs. I followed that up by pushing her arms over her head while she was still coming down from her climax. I rained down butterfly kisses on her triceps, just how she liked it. She was humping up against me and whining piteously as I kept working her over.“Cáel,” she moaned. “Fuck me, fuck me, I’ve missed you so much.” What can I say? A buddy once suggested that if I was less exciting in the bedroom, my ex’s might not hurt me so much. I laughed and asked him 'that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun now would it?’ I’m an idiot. Wait, let’s change it up - I am a passionate masochist.“Not yet, Marla,” I kissed her.“No,” she wailed. “Fuck me then we can do that…please?”“Do you forgive me?” I teased her. Marla bit her lip and looked away. She was still humping away like a bunny.“No,” she whispered.“You don’t have to,” I murmured. “Condom.” I worked down her body, getting a nice face full of her muff while I blindly sought out my pants, retrieved a line of condoms - I was really shocked to learn that most guys don’t walk around with ten at a time - tore one packet open and slipped it on.I do the 'one handed condom blindfolded’ act a lot - a whole lot. I rocketed back up her body, hooking her left leg as I rammed straight at her womb. Marla howled, first in surprise and pain then in orgasm number two. Marla was missing me far more than I had anticipated. She was so freaking sensitive. As her vibrations died down, I rolled us over so that Marla was on top.“Oh fuck yeah,” she panted. “Better than I remembered.”“Marla, are you okay?” Libra inquired from just out of sight. Marla began her rendition of bull-riding on my lap.“Ah - ah - ah - I’m so wonderful,” Marla laughed. “Thanks for finding Cáel for me. God, I’ve missed this dick.”“I didn’t find him for you, Little Sister,” Libra griped. “He’s my date.” Now I was a date.“Who - who do you - like better - Cáel?” Marla panted. I began strumming her clit.“I’ve never slept with Libra, Marla,” I informed her. I didn’t want to touch the word 'comparison’. If I was that callous, I might miss this chance to fuck Brooke. Libra was a given.That wasn’t my ego talking. If you want to nail an older sister, nail her younger sister. Marla’s antics were simply adding the audio-visual aids to make all of this a foregone conclusion.“Sorry,” Marla kept riding me hard while looking over her shoulder. “I found him first. He’s mine.” I used her distraction to put my other hand on her right nipple and massage it.Marla’s nipples didn’t need much biting, or even sucking. They were lively all on their own.“But you dumped him,” Libra strode into the room. Brooke stood in the door. “So he’s fair game.” Before you insult my masculinity for lying there and being treated like property by three stuck-up babes, do remember I was definitely fucking them all before eleven o'clock tonight.You go be He-man if you like. By soaking up a few irrelevant insults, I was going to exceed 300 fantastic ladies before the Amazons killed me and I was still going to go out like a true male of the species. Better yet -“We are making up,” Marla insisted.“Marla, hold on,” I intervened. “We aren’t here so I can fix things with you.” During the 'make up’ period, take the blame for the failure of the relationship - that leads you to sex, trust me. “Trent turned out to be a total Tool. He dumped Brooke instead of manning up and admitting he’d lied on his application. It’s only a damn job and there thousands out there. What a shmuck.”Balancing act time. I wasn’t one of 'them’ so insulting one of their social class was a dicey endeavor. You counter that with the fact that Trent had behaved like a douche, Brooke wanted the whole damn world to know she was a prize worth fighting for and finally doubling-down on Trent not being a man worthy of her affections. Low and behold, there was a man in front of her willing to prove that Trent wasn’t a real man - me!“I don’t want to have sex with you,” Brooke declared while enthralled with Marla’s buttocks bouncing up and down on my cock, which was visible half the time. Marla tossing her head around in the throes of passion was a nice touch. Between her gyrations, vaginal and clitoral stimulation and her nipple coaxing, Marla let out a soprano high note that damn near ruptured my inner ears.My current paramour collapsed on my chest. Libra came over and sat on the bed, level with my chest. Brooke was now halfway in the room - definitely convinced she wasn’t having sex with me while rubbing her tingling thighs together and certainly not getting wet. (Yeah, right.)“Mmmm,” Marla sighed. “You are the best guy I’ve ever been with, Cáel.”“Why in the hell did I ever screw us up?” I groaned. I knew why. Her aunt was sexy. I was lucky Marla never caught me banging any of the customers/other girlfriends in her shop. I repeat, girls love it when you take the blame. Brooke especially was getting into it. Marla was living proof I was emotionally unhealthy to hang around. To get around that, I had to be a bit of a sap.“Me neither,” Marla kissed my chest.“What did he do?” Libra pressed her sister. At this point, outrage is a good thing. See, this clears the board of any unanswered questions that can be deal-killers later.“He slept with Aunt Jeannine,” Marla kept raining down little kisses on me.“What!” Libra howled. “Why didn’t you say anything before now? Cáel, did you put my aunt down on your little sex survey?” Bringing out the broom.“It was too painful,” Marla started licking up my/our sweat off my chest. She was hiding her pain well.“Yes, I put her down on the application. Honesty is important in any relationship,” I gave Libra sad eyes. Honesty? From me? I can’t recall all the times I’ve looked into a girlfriend’s tearful gaze and said 'No, I’m not seeing anyone else. I only have eyes for you.’ I learned that 'only have eyes for you’ was a nice add-on when I turned 19. Hell, I’ve used those lines on three different girls in one night.What can I say? I wanted to keep having sex with them.“If you were seeing Marla, why did you sleep with Aunt Jeannine?” Libra groaned.“I was bitter, angry and self-destructive,” I 'confessed’. No, I was horny and she was a gorgeous, accessible Milf. Somewhere in the de-clothing process she threw out there that Uncle Whomever might be cheating on her. Worked for me.“Do you regret that now?” Libra asked.“Would you cheat on her again?” Brooke seethed.“I regretted when I hit on Jeannine,” I admitted. “Marla didn’t deserve that.” Marla purred like a cute, happy kitten. “Would I cheat this time?” I let that hang out there.“Yes…yes I would and that’s why I don’t want to give Marla and me another try until I’m a somewhat more reliable lover for her,” I sighed.“But why!” Brooke screamed. She was starting to cry - again.“I’m me, Brooke,” I shrugged. “Not only can I not say 'no’, I can rarely say 'maybe later’.”Humor, blame acceptance (I’m a dog) and yet 'not my fault because slutty girls hit on me’.“How can men be so heartless?” Brooke choked back another sob.“There are good guys out there,” I assured Brooke. Libra edged closer. Brooke moved to the edge of the bed. I reached behind my back, grabbed a pillow and put it on my lap.See, by covering up my crotch I was being considerate of Brooke’s sensibilities, proving, despite EVERY other piece of evidence indicating I was out for sex, I was only here for moral support.“You approached your relationship with honesty and clear intentions. Trent wanted nothing more than to use you to pad his portfolio,” I continued.“Face it, you’re beautiful, smart, cultured and have the best education,” I said. I hadn’t a clue how good Vassar was, or how well Brooke had done there. Also, call attractive women beautiful; they like the boost. Call beautiful women smart; it is not a complement they normally get. “You were the perfect choice.” Brooke was eating it up.“I’m not the perfect choice?” Libra nudged me.“You are from New England, Libra. Trent is from New York and was looking for a Southern girl to make himself look more cosmopolitan,” I appeared deeply serious. That bit was total bullshit. I had no clue about the geopolitics of the top 1%.As far as I knew about Trent, he was already too inbred with all the New York families, so a girl from Virginia was a safe bet for children with the appropriate number of fingers and toes. To be fair, Brooke was better looking than Libra, or Marla, but nothing short of torture would make me say that.“Yeah,” Libra mused, “Trent was always so superficial about that - but never in front of you Brooke,” she added.“I hate that I’m only finding all these horrible things about him now,” Brooke screwed up her face. She sat on the bed, was clearly uncomfortable - with the comforter - and then pushed farther onto the bed until she was next to my strategically placed pillow. Whatever animal I am identified with, the general consensus is that I’m a terribly lucky member of the breed.Marla spotted Brooke’s move and decided that a little bit of demarcation was in order. She snaked a hand und the pillow and began stroking my phallus. Marla was my bed-buddy. We had a history. She was also the youngest and the little sister of one of the other combatants. Rich, pretty, petty girls don’t share well - why should they?The doorbell rang. That would be the liquor store that made home deliveries…I had clearly been living in the wrong part of the world most of my life.“Marla, go get the door,” Libra commanded. “It is a delivery.”“Why?” Marla protested. “I’m the only one naked.” What was I then? Wearing a pillow?“Consider it a tip for the delivery boy,” Libra teased her sister wickedly. “Or, would you rather stay in a hotel tonight?” Marla muttered 'bitch’ as she slipped to the foot of the bed then left. It was time to hasten the undressing process.“I need to go to the bathroom and…clean up,” I told Libra.“Right around the corner,” she smiled. I brushed against Brooke as I left, pillow in place, and limped down the hall. The delivery boy wasn’t a problem. It was a girl, around 160 cm and 44 kg - a little thing with a hand truck and a case of whatever.“Hi,” she waved shyly.I had to wonder why she wasn’t more freaked out about a man wearing a pillow edging out of one room and down the hall. The look I was getting wasn’t your normal reaction. I felt really bad for myself that I’d never get promoted to a lifestyle what would allow this thing to be common place. Wait - my cock had something to say; reality and cranium be damned.“Hey Sexy,” I smiled at her. “When do you get off work?”“Dammit Cáel, I’m standing right here!” Marla snapped. The girl looked from the naked chick who was signing for the order then back to me - the almost naked guy.“Ah…this might not be a good time,” the deliver girl hesitated.“I know this looks bad, but nothing is going on. I have a girl who is a friend and her guy dumped her today so we’re just doing a little commiserating,” I perjured myself.“I didn’t drive like a maniac down here for only one round of sex, Mister,” Marla announced.“Oh - okay then,” she turned to Marla. “I’m sorry about your break up…Ms. Chalmers.”“Ms. Chalmers is my sister,” Marla stared at the girl somewhat impatiently.“Well then, I’m sorry for your sister’s unfortunate romantic entanglement,” the girl backpedaled.“My sister didn’t get dumped. It was her best friend, Brooke,” Marla explained.The service girl looked back at me, somewhat in awe.“How many women do you have back there?” she motioned to the bedroom.“Two,” shouted Libra. “Now give me my tequila. I want to be drunk before I fuck this guy.”“Aaahhh,” Delivery girl looked even more confounded. “Is there a problem?”“Ah, no. I’m simply not in their social class…and I sort took her little sister’s virginity,” I said.“That would be me,” Marla glared at the plebian - the one who wasn’t me.“And her aunt,” I completed.“At the same time?” the girl gasped.“No…” my interest was piqued by that vision though.“No!” yelled Marla. “He’s fucking me - again, and my sister and her best friend tonight. Don’t you have somewhere you need to be?” she stared at the working stiff.“You don’t look like the average boy-toy,” D-Girl was clearly taunting Marla now.“I’m not. I’m property of a tribe of Amazons who use me for target practice,” I joked. Oddly enough, it was the truth but I didn’t expect her to believe that. “These are just some chicks I met at a bar - expect for Marla. I met her at college where she schooled me to a whole new level of ecstasy.” That made Marla smug and happy.“You - go,” Marla barked to D-Girl. “Where are you going?” she questioned me.“I need to go to the bathroom,” I told her.“Fine, but don’t go jumping out of the window like you did last time I saw you,” Marla warned me.“Wow…we are on the seventeenth floor,” I sighed. “I really don’t want you to scream and throw books at me yet I think plummeting to my death would still be my primary concern.”“Fine,” D-Girl shrugged. “I’m going.” She rolled her hand-truck to the door. Before Marla could shut it. “Nice to meet you…” Having a rather unique name rocks. I’ve been warned that come Paternity Suit time, it won’t be nearly so cool.“Cáel Nyilas,” I waved good-bye. “N-Y-I-L-A-S.” Marla slammed the door shut then put her back to it.“You are reprehensible,” she gave me the sultriest purr. Yeah, I was a bad, bad boy and those three were going to spank me with their kitties to put me in my place. Life can be thankless, demanding and unrewarding at times…I’m sure that will happen to me eventually. I stumped off to the bathroom, dropped my (unused) rubber in the trash, washed up, didn’t find lube but massage oil would do for tonight and returned to the bedroom.Oh my God! All their clothes had fallen off! What was I to do? Libra was in the middle, Brooke was closest to me, and Marla was unhappily on the far side of Libra. All were resting their upper backs and heads against the headboard. Brooke was drinking 'my’ Scotch, Libra had her tequila, leaving Marla with a Bordeaux.I put the pillow down by the foot of the bed, slipping my oily lubricant underneath the pillow. That was for later. I crawled/pulled myself