Breakfast Notes #25 (Infowars, Leisure, Revolution)
Good morning friends.
This is the first advertisement for my newsletter. Just kidding.
Many of us in Singapore are probably excited about taking our masks off on 29 March, which totally makes sense. But, can you make sense of this year's budget, the upcoming changes to GST and where Singapore is heading towards? If you don't, fear not - I have just the weeknight, geek night celebration for you.
I would like to share with you that I will be moderating a dialogue with Terence Ho this coming Tuesday, 29th March, at 630PM at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. If you would like to come through, please hit me up and let me know. It's totally free.
If not, you can check this video I made on Youtube to celebrate the good old days of MTF.
The Infowars Are Raging
In June 1941, a group of British soldiers parachuted into a Nazi-controlled French airfield with Tommy guns and hand grenades, overpowered the guards and destroyed about 30 planes. The team members returned safely to Britain via torpedo boats, alongside 40 German prisoners in tow. It was published in reputable newspapers like the New York Post and the Baltimore Sun.
By now, you should have guessed it was nothing but a fib. Yet, it was a lie that worked. It had helped sway American public opinion about its entrance into World War II.
You might be tempted to think only autocrats and dictators lie through their propaganda. But, remember, it was the MI6 that came up with the lie above. The truth is that in times of conflict, states will always deploy lies.
When we study the Russia-Ukraine War in ten or twenty years, we will be stunned by how intense the information wars were. For now, the next time you hear about Xi Jin Ping knowing about Putin's invasion plan or bio-lab facilities, remember to take your pinch of salt.
Leisure As A KPI
Isaac Watts, the hymn writer and British theologian, once said, 'Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do'. This adage reflects our modern cultural mindset of 'grind' and 'hustle', which would explain why so many of us view our weekend Netflix binging as a guilty pleasure.
What if we saw leisure differently? Consider Bertrand Russell's point,
The wise use of leisure, it must be conceded, is a product of civilization and education. A man who has worked long hours all his life will be bored if he becomes suddenly idle. But without a considerable amount of leisure a man is cut off from many of the best things.
The fact that we have leisure reflects abundance, that we can afford to take our minds off work for a while. It ought to be something we celebrate as citizens because it reflects well on our nation's progress.
If I were the King of Singapore, I would decree mandatory leisure hours, where for five hours a week, a resident is banned from working on the job so that they could pursue the finer things in life.
Who knows what seeds of arts, sciences, sports and philosophies would germinate in this time?
How Nuclear Weapons Work
The scary thing about nuclear weapons is how far they have progressed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Revolution is Lagging
In September 2021, El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender. Many thought that it would reduce costs and speed up payments. Yet, in March 2022, El Salvador’s Bitcoin revolution has lagged.
A survey released by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of El Salvador reported that 86% of the businesses surveyed had not conducted a transaction using Bitcoin and only 3.6% of business owners had benefitted from it.
For many businesses that adopted cryptocurrencies initially, they are running back to cash. After all, if the currency loses value, businesses will watch their profit evaporate. And boy, did bitcoin crash in the past few months.
As President Bukele should soon find out that there is a difference between a calculated risk and a gamble. The policy lesson I learned continues to ring true- not all that shines is gold.
Thank you for reading!
May the Sun Shine Upon Your Face,