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Banks, us and money… April 27, 2009

Posted by @Karen_Fu in bank, change.

Instead of changing the banks, maybe we need to change the way we manage money. The ripple effect coming from banks is affecting everyone. Recent news have reaffirmed my thoughts on personal financial management as well as how businesses should run. And I do believe the whole banking industry will get a lot worse before it gets better.   Many times over, I believe that most of the troubled banks in contrast of the auto industry would need to just go bust or downsize for the main reason that it is not sustainable for them to continue hanging on on a distressed note. From a consumer level, the problem arises mainly from greed and spiraling credit debt. From a business point, it is all about triming down greed and triming down failing business sectors and derive new ways in borrowing and lending. We need to change the way service is delivered to customers. That includes handling materialism in an optimal way (since eliminating materialism is impossible and also impractical). Credible lending to useful investments that are ethical and healthy. Basically we need to wind back to basics of saving and buying responsibly. Borrowing to live well on one hand improves the living quality in the short term. But it fails in the long run. Debt on good paying investments, which will pay itself after the selling is more than fine. But sadly this is not the case. I have personally witnessed many people who are spending way beyond their means. Just recently, one local man in his late 60s was paying his credit cards’ debt at a foreign bank’s self banking loby. I was there to deposit and he was there trying to figure out how to pay through the automated machine, which was entirely in English. My eyes popped as I saw the few statements he had in his wrinkled hands — all mounting to a scary sum of US$16000 that month ! And he was not a well-off person to start off with. Maybe he was paying for his family, but I thought that kind of bills is really unncessary. Perhaps the current financial turmoil is a good time to clean the entire market and start anew.  I have posted some thoughts on ‘credit’ and ‘products’ over on my other blog about it. I think consumption does need changing. It is a matter of how brave we are to change. It doesn’t mean a cut in living quality. But a cut on things that we really do not need and spare some time and effort on those areas that we need to keep us soulfully and physcially healthy. It makes a lot more sense if we could sit down quietly and recount what is supposed to go out of our lives and what is supposed to be included. If we care to face the deal and make the necessary adjustments, we actually do not need to fear if the banks do fail. Then life would be more in control with a way more wholesome and debt free !


My other blog that mentions about credit and product.

The Stress Test on Banks

New York Times on Banks liquidity

Here’s a stupid way to fix the banks: Change the rules!

OT post: Blogs In multiple languages April 16, 2009

Posted by @Karen_Fu in Uncategorized.
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OT post here: updated Daring To Change with the function to be translated into different languages. I’ve done this to my other 2 blogs (‘minphf design blog’ and ‘Design is thoughtful living’ as well.

The Translation Widget is found on the right hand column of this blog right under ‘recent post’. Enjoy !

The design of a national suit – a change for an ideal society April 8, 2009

Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, design.
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Zhong San Suit (picture extracted from wikimedia.org)

When I was writing about Sun Yat Sen, it came to me that he had also designed the Zhong San  Suit (中山装 zhōng shān zhuāng ). The garment was based principally on his ideals for a prosperous and harmonious society, documented in his ‘Three Principles of the People” (三民主义sān mīn zhǔ yì)

The early form of the suit  had a closed stand collar and centre-front buttons. The design has since changed significantly over the years to symbolise the new age of revolution for the People’s Republic of China.( 中华人民共和国 zhōng huā rén mīn gòng hé guō)

The patriotic significance of the Sun Yat-sen suit was actually a Western and Japanese influenced style, most likely to be influenced by his early years of study/living in the US and Japan. While there are sources that specifies that the design has some German influence. The overall garment is tight-fitting with the four pockets representing the main ideals of government working ansd serving the people’s 3 basic needs of race,power and livlihood. (民族 mínzú  ,民权 mín quán,民生  mínshēng ) the Four Cardinal Principles cited in the classic Book of Changes and understood by the Chinese as fundamental principles of conduct:
Propriety (礼 lǐ); Justice (义yì ); Honesty (廉lián ); Shame (耻chǐ)

The five centre-front buttons were said to represent the five powers of the constitution of the Republic (民国mín guó) and the three cuff-buttons to symbolise the Three Principles of the People – Nationalism-Democracy – People’s Livelihood

He ascribed the idealism of a harmonious society through his design of the suit where the people has the greatest power to keep the government in check. In this sense, he was a great revolutionist and the father of not only modern China but the father and saviour of all Chinese -someone who rose to the politics not because he wanted the power, but to save the people from a failing dynasty that demoralise the entire race for at least more than 2 centuries of humilation and defeat.

The figure below on the right illustrates Dr Sun Yat Sen’s own handwriting of his ideals for the people through an upright and serving government :

extracted from: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Chinese calligraphic work of San Min Zhu Yi to the students and colleagues of Huangpu military school, that was led by Generalissimo Jiang Kai Shek.

San Min Zhu Yi, wu guo suo zong,
Yi jian minguo, yi jin Datong.
Zi er duo shi, wei min qianfeng,
Su ye fei xie zhuyi shi cong.
Shi qin shi yong, bi xin bi zhong,
Yi xin yi de, guan che shi zhong

brief history and personal thought on Dr Sun Yat-sen (Sun Zhongshan, Sun Yixian or Sun Wen; lived during the period of 1866-1925, Cantonese) His 1st wife, Lu Mu Zhen; his 2nd spouse Song Qingling (Hainanese, former surname is Han.)  is a creative person whose patriotism and courage led him to go ahead to raise needed funds, people et cetra to overthrow the Qing dynasty(1644-1911) Something that was seemed as an impossible task from a poor and inherently passive peasant boy. In that sense of a character, he was rare. He had the bare guts to fight for what he belived was the right; and not because he had wanted anything of fame and fortune ,which he had none even at the time of his death. He had been risking his life  as a fugitive ; and if you would consider his persistent bombings and assassinations of the Qing political figures, you could even count him in as a ‘terrorist’. But I must clarify that I am no supporter of terrorism, for it only fuels more terror in the end. I suppose that during his time and urgency he had to resort to these ways to overthrow a feudal and failing government.