Sunday, December 11, 2016

Donald Trump and East Asia

Photo by Gage Skidmore
What will the election of Donald Trump mean for East Asia?

Let's look at some of the areas where he probably, if not already, will get himself involved in.
  • Trade, the Economy and and Trade Deals >> He will probably scrap the TPP
  • Taiwan-China issue >> Phone call with Madam Tsai will not be his last move
  • Role of China in East Asia (e.g. expansion in the South China Sea) >> Let's see
  • US positioning in East Asia (e.g. military basis and security role)  >> The generals will probably not accept any hand-sitting
  • North Korea >> Expect strong rhetoric, but I doubt this will result in much more than Twumping (a conflagation of Twitter and Trump), which is really more from the to-be-built media- and entertainment wing of the White House.
The outcome and perspective of all of these naturally depends on who is making the analysis (e.g. the view from Singapore will be quite different from China), but generally it's quite clear that Donald Trump cares little for the long-term prosperity of most of the souls in East Asia -- although I would be happy to stand corrected if you can prove otherwise -- and that he might turn down a great possibility for further cooperation to instead turn the trans-pacific relationship into a mercantile, zero-sum game, and generally hostile environment in favor of winning favor back 'home'.

Most of the topics require skilled diplomacy, but that is surely not his strong suit and with an apparently penchant to choose either ex-generals or 'deal makers' (e.g. Tillerson), it's clear that the US-East Asia relationship is subject to significant changes in the coming four years.

Better buckle up and get ready for a dramatic and action-packed presidency, as Donald Trump exerts his influence on East Asia.

Looking forward to your comments.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hong Kong Protests: Possible End Games

It's the 5th night and there are still thousands of people camped out.... As the "Occupy Central" protests in Hong Kong carry on, I'm speculating about the possible short- and long-run outcomes.

One thing is clear: China will not accept any loosening of their grip on Hong Kong as it could trigger similar movements in other parts of China. Let's imagine that the protests trigger political reforms in Hong Kong and a step closer to full democracy....... No , highly unlikely.

Another possible outcome is the opposite end-game whereby China will assert a tighter grip on the political scene in the entrepôt. It could be with more Chinese-mainland representatives in HK or perhaps police and/or armed forces. But provided that Beijing recently attempted - but obviously failed - to reform the political scene with the new election rules (from a panel decision to having Beijing  pre-approve all candidates), this would not be consistent, and I cannot see the benefits of  a flip-flopping Beijing.

So my guess is that the most possible solution for Beijing is to maintain the status quo in the long run but find a quick-fix to get the city back up and running. Such a quick fix could be either by removing the Chief Executive  Mr CYLeung , or perhaps make confusing promises that could defuse the situation.

The chants if the protesters this evening are at lease calling for Mr Leung to resign and might be the outcome..... For now.......

At least they haven't occupied the Chek Lap Kok airport yet.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

GE cements leadership position in Vietnamese wind market with MOU for new project

Just as we mentioned Vietnam yesterday, GE is close to another project win in the upcoming market:

The project will be in the province of Dak Lak.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vietnam Wind Farms

Been wondering how many wind farms there are in a Vietnam?

Check this out:

Looks like GE has the most, with a few Fuhrlanders and three Vestas V80s.

A shame there are not many more: Vietnam had terrific kite surfing.

Source: USGOV

October in East Asia

October in Asia is around the corner.

Christmas music will ostensibly start playing at the supermarket.

Possible types of October weather:
Japan: nice
Korea: Dry but nice
China: Polluted, National day and nice
Taiwan: Typhoons, National Day and nice
Thailand: Chulalongkorn Day and nice
Singapore: Humid and Nice
Malaysia: Hot, humid and nice
Vietnam: Woman's day and nice

October is not a bad time  to travel in Asia but watch out for:
- Typhoons
- Gazillion of tourists from China during the first week of October.
- Silly Christmas music

Monday, December 02, 2013

Giving Christmas CDs for Christmas

I always find it hilarious when people buy Christmas CDs for friends or family for Christmas.

Is it because they were given the CD the previous year and want to get rid of it?

Can't be! Otherwise there wouldn't be so many Christmas CDs sold every year.

Unless, of course, all Christmas CDs are unwrapped prematurely before Christmas eve (day) since people just can't wait to hear more of the same Christmas music

Can't be because then people would run out of ideas for Christmas gifts, since giving Christmas CDs continues to be such hot business….

Unless, of course, you're in Singapore where Christmas is a wonderful season that usually starts pretty much around the of Halloween (October), where Christmas CDs are blasted through the speakers of most malls, stores and restaurants.

Can't be!  …. No, it's true. Christmas is an important part of Singapore, where you can see fake snow, which feels wonderful when it touches your sweaty brow...

Unless, of course you're giving Christmas ornaments to your friends or family for Christmas (which is actually quite common in Denmark), which is another activity that can easily translate to the "passing-on-of-the-gift" since no one remembers what they gave other people the previous year.

Can't be! I always take note of what people give me for Christmas to avoid giving the same thing back the following year.

Ahh. Christmas the most wonderful time of the year.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Opinion: Bulkhead travel on B777 (with Toddlers)

Don't you love it when people step on your toes?
Well, that's what happened to me on a recent AA flight and probably to thousands on other airlines as well.

On a recent flight from Buenos Aires to Miami, we were sitting in the bulkhead on an American Airlines B777 flight. In the economy class sections, there was no way of getting to the other aile on this flight, except for passing through the galley, or of course, one of the two bulkhead rows. Some flights have an aile in the middle in an area which is also used for the galley, but on this jet this area was used for crew sleeping quarters. As a result, many a passenger accidentally stepped on my toes (I usually take off my shoes on flights as my feet tend to swell).

The bulkhead does not allow passengers for bag space (except for in the overhead compartments) since there is only a wall ahead of us, so we had to put our toddler's toys and various bags with snacks, books, etc. on the floor. When he was sleeping on our laps (which is also an important substitute to a crying baby), it was also inconvenient if people bumped into him during their travails across the bulkhead row. So this made it extra inconvenient for people with kids, in addition to the normal annoyance of people wandering across our already limited space.

So my strategy was to block off the entire row by telling people politely, while our fellow bulkhead passengers followed through by telling people from the other direction.

As we neared our destination, a more aggressive passenger asked for me to move while I was on the floor picking up toys, as he needed to get through to the other aisle. I told him directly, that this wasn't an aisle (camino), only to be abruptly corrected by the AA flight attendant passing through who told me that he was entitled to pass through the aisle if the galley was blocked (which only is a temporary phenomenon that we all know from single aisle flights). This was not the answer I had hoped to hear, and I think this is an awful solution for an airline.

Firstly, let's analyze why most people use the bulkhead as an aisle:
1) To use the toilet on the other aisle as people often don't have the patience to wait for the single toilet in the middle section (flights without the sleeping section usually have more toilets in the middle).
2) Visiting friends or family at the other end of the cabin. A good reason, which we can all understand.
3) Kids playing. Also a good reason, since especially boys usually have ants in their pants and parents appreciate the time they can go out and burn some energy.

So what should the solution be?

In theory, the airlines should ensure there is a cross-aile connecting the two parrallel ailes in order to ensure that people can be brought together.

BUT going through the bulkhead rows is NOT the optimal solution: it only annoys passengers sitting in the bulkhead who -- as mentioned -- don't have the luxury of bag space in the seats in front of them. Furthermore, airlines like to put families with children in this row.

SO the airlines need to make space for a hallway/aisle somewhere in the middle. BUT this probably means 5-7 fewer seats on that given flight, which in turn would hurt the bottomline of already cash-strapped airlines.

In conclusion, we thus have three options:
a) Slightly higher ticket prices (as a result of removing seats)
b) Ticked-off bulkhead passengers.
c) Getting rid of the crew sleeping area

.... why do I have the feeling that option B will prevail, and I can continue whining indefinitely ????

Having unrested and edgy flight attendants is certainly to noone's benefit.

Do you have a good solution for this?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

East Asia Map from Ksiom

Thanks to Ksion for bringing us this great topographical map of East Asia (link to Wikipedia article)

동아시아의 지형도.
Bản đồ địa hình khu vực Đông Á

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Maps of East Asia

Picture by Ksiom
And an old one from 1770:

Airport Updates: Your new blog for what is happening at airports around the world

Stop by and see what is new at airports around the world.

This week we are following the Grimsvotn volcano eruption and what it means for airport and air travel.

See you there!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hue Airport To Close Down from mid-May to mid-June

Hue airport (known locally as Phu Bai Airport) in Vietnam will be closed from May 13 to June 16 for runway maintenance.

In the meantime, you can fly to Danang.

Or ask your all-resourceful travel agent or HR department. Im sure the latter will not help you.


Fly from Malaysia to Pyongyang

BusinessWeek writes this week about the opening of a new route between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang, DPRK (North Korea).

Although chartered flights have been operating on the route for years, this is the first time that regular scheduled flights will initiate on the route.

What is surprising, is that the article mentions that the airline already flies to a bunch of countries (e.g. Switzerland and the Czech Rep.) and that Air Koryo has its own website!

Link to article:
Link to Air Koryo:

East Asia Map

Friday, April 01, 2011

Nutbars A'Plenty in the World

We have invented the internet, microwave, sliced bread, what have you.

But on a near daily basis, the world still seems to demonstrate just how messed up we are.

Just look at the Koran story from Florida and the subsequent turmoil in Afghanistan:


There are too many nutbars out there!