Predictors of things to come


People in Northern Vietnam scrambled  inside a purportedly sacred Temple after Lunar New Year to seek favor from the gods. Last year, in Cambodia, a similar occasion resulted in stampede and hundreds of deaths on the bridge. In seeking grace, they found their graves.

Our bio-tech century offers different versions for health and happiness. We have our glucose test, cholesterol test and blood pressure test (and a bunch of other shots, among which, malaria – the Gates’ gift to the world). Trees that “glow” in the dark (Party trees?)

I read about a tribe which holds its annual physical by shaking the village tree.

If the elder man could not hold on, he would drop dead, hence, take less subsistence from the common pot. If lived on, he is allowed to hunt in pack.

While the Middle East tribes attempt to “shake up” its entrenched leadership, here at home, there was a NYT op-ed about “Empire at the end of decadence” (which listed a table of nations and their rankings, with the US stood out more in prison population than other categories such as Math and Science scores).

The kids just do time. The incarcerated also do time.

Workers hang on tight, waiting for pension and retirement.

And corporations hold on tightly to their war chests (Apple w/ $1 B in cash).

Home owners buy time waiting for price stability.

(Broken window syndrome i.e. deteriorating neighborhood on down-ward spiral). Fannie and Freddie also buy time but now turn the corner.

And instead of shaking the tree, FICO spits out your scores in minutes, quicker than the time I waited for my blood test results.

What’s your predictors of things to come? Health risks, default risks or out of the favor of the gods?

Higher education and past accomplishments used to serve as reasonable predictors of future success. Instead, we found workers’ mandate benefits, inflation risks and tax risks as reasons for hiring halt  (50+ workers are now out, despite the added value of experience and social skills). W Buffett is an exception, having just learned how to tweet. Jack Ma at 48 feels old.

Former Chrysler CEO released “Where have all the leaders gone”

the year before Wall-Street-sneezes-Main-Street-catches-a-cold debacle. Madoff testified that the “too-big-to-fail” banks had to know  that “it’s too good to be true”.

In software, the Open Source movement enlists users’ input to find and fix the bugs.

Yet the software of our mind, our mentality, remains proprietary, and was “source coded” back in high school i.e. industrial model (burned-and-churned). No wonder we are  ill-prepared for this Experience economy i.e. economy of scale vs economy of (long) tail, more knowledge-intensive than capital-intensive – with social media as pull and not push technology, bottom-up and not top-down. This is a time when our illegal landscapers have cell phones and our stock brokers smart phones, when

Singapore and Macao compete for international gamblers and not Atlantic City ( The only difference between those places are the Fortune-God altars.)

Both East and West need a huge amount of luck as a predictor of things to come. No amount of pushing and shoveling can deter the Cambodian mass who were brought up in that kind of thinking (superstition). But then again, we should also challenge our scientific model (e.g. risk maps and road maps), with all its wiki updates (where were the experts when the bubbles burst, or the Middle East

ignited in spontaneous uprising?) Data deluge?

When it comes to future, the best approach is unthinking (provided all proactive and preventive measures have been taken). Leaders go by their hunches as much as their heads and hearts.The sin of omission (indecision) weighs just as much as the sin of commission.

Plan as if everything is depended on man, and pray as if everything is depended on God (or the gods). P.S. I stayed 10 minutes longer on the treadmill today to influence my own future “outcome”. And I saw a news flash that Paris Hilton hadn’t been that thrilled about her 30th birthday. In today’s socialite circle and 24/7 news cycle, turning 30 would equate to approaching the tribal tree. Hang in there baby! Even the National (supposedly evergreen) Christmas Tree toppled over in this global-warming climate.

That which goes up must come down. I wonder if the shows in Macau and Singapore still open in Japanese, as did Las Vegas’ back in the early 90’s, the Japanese go-go decade. Empire at the end of decadence.

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