Mongolia

Mental Health Break

Bitter Aussies moaning about our FTA with China

Australia is in the grip of a debilitating wind down of their economy after the mining boom popped. I’ve always said that Australia had a two track economy, one in the bush based around minerals and mining and the cities. The two are not as inter-related as many suspected.

The cities have been struggling for some time, while the bush boomed. Then it all came crashing down and the minerals sector caught up with the rest of Australia.

Things are not good for their economy.

Our economy is growing, but the Aussie commentators still attempt to bring us down to their level.

Uppity Kiwis feeling boastful about their dollar approaching parity with the mighty Aussie might do well to stick to rugby for their kicks. Their China-driven boom is coming to an end as quickly as Australia’s. And they have less to fall back on when it does.

Meanwhile, reports of Gina Rinehart going long on dairy farms could prove as reliable a warning as many another billionaire diversifying outside his or her area of expertise.

The New Zealand economy’s resurgence has owed much to China’s demand for milk products and getting in early for a comprehensive free trade agreement with the Middle Kingdom.

Trouble is, China has been busily investing and encouraging others to invest in increased and globally diversified milking. Just as iron ore miners have ramped up production both from existing provinces and new projects from Africa to Mongolia, New Zealand’s farmers are facing increased competition from South America to Russia and all points in between, including Australia.

People have got to eat.

This time last year I was in Uruguay, a country that, in several ways, is the New Zealand of South America. It’s small, agricultural, relatively peaceful (the lowest murder rate of the continent), has a similar population of 3 million or so and a large diaspora, manages to perform disproportionately well in its chosen football code, is socially advanced on several levels (gay marriage, legalised marijuana) and has ridden cows to posterity, courtesy of Chinese demand.

Chinese investment in Uruguay is obvious and remarked on by the locals: Chinese cars on the roads, new buildings sporting Chinese brands. And Uruguay is just one small corner of the global market China has been developing as a source of commodities and consumers. It’s been doing that developing both as a matter of Beijing policy and individual entrepreneur’s search for opportunities.

Read more »

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

Perhaps Gareth Morgan should take note of this

Gareth Morgan famously rode his motorcycle through the Potemkin villages of NOrth Korea, proclaiming the whole country to be enlightened and not as reported outside of the country.

The man is an idiot. There is ample evidence of the lack of freedom and deprivations suffered by the people of North Korea under the Kim regime.

Yeonmi Park spoke to Australia’s SBS about her defection from North Korea.

I lived in North Korea for the first 15 years of my life, believing Kim Jong-il was a god. I never doubted it because I didn’t know anything else. I could not even imagine life outside of the regime.

It was like living in hell. There were constant power outages, so everything was dark. There was no transportation – everyone had to walk everywhere. It was very dirty and no one could eat anything.

It was not the right conditions for human life, but you couldn’t think about it, let alone complain about it. Even though you were suffering, you had to worship the regime every day.

I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear. A classmate’s mother was punished in a public execution that I was made to attend. I had no choice – there were spies in the neighbourhood.

My father worked for the government, so for a while things were relatively OK for me compared with some others in North Korea. But my father was accused of doing something wrong and jailed for three years. He being guilty made me guilty too, so whatever future I had in North Korea completely disappeared. I could no longer go to university, and my family was forced to move out of Pyongyang to the countryside on the border close to China.

After a few years, my father became very sick with cancer and he came out of jail for treatment. During this time, we decided to leave North Korea.

We had to cross a frozen river in the middle of winter to sneak across the border into China. I was very scared – not of being caught but of being shot. If they see someone escaping, they don’t ask, they just shoot them.  Read more »

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

Some people deserve everything they get

Some people are born stupid, others…well..they work very hard at it.

A Chinese New Zealander who entered China illegally to see his elderly parents claims he was detained, chained and tortured for five days before being deported to Auckland.

Nick Wang, 52, a former Wellington- based Chinese newspaper editor, believes he has been black-listed by Beijing and said his application for a visa to visit his homeland had been declined 18 times in the last 10 years.

Desperate to see his sick 88-year-old father and 85-year-old mother one last time, he changed his name by deed poll to Whakakingi Danzangiin Gonpo – but still failed to get a visa under his new passport identity.   Read more »

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.