Tuần – Week: 23 – 28/11/2020

<For English version, please scroll down…>

Tăng trên ngưỡng 1.000 – câu hỏi là trong bao lâu…

Các sự kiện chính – Main events:

Phiên hôm ngày 26/11 là lần đầu tiên trong năm 2020, VN-Index đóng cửa trên 1.000 điểm. Thị trường giao dịch trong trạng thái giằng co mạnh quanh ngưỡng tâm lý này, với sắc xanh – đỏ đan xen trên đồ thị.

Sở giao dịch chứng khoán TP HCM (HoSE) đã đề nghị các công ty chứng khoán cho ý kiến về kế hoạch tăng đơn vị giao dịch lô chẵn từ 10 cổ phiếu hiện tại lên 100 cổ phiếu. Hiện tại, HoSE đang giao dịch với khối lượng tối thiểu là 10 cổ phiếu và bội số của 10. Tuy nhiên, nếu thay đổi khối lượng lô chẵn được thực hiện, nhà đầu tư sẽ giao dịch tối thiểu từ 100 chứng khoán và bội số của 100 – VAFI phản đối vì cho rằng ngăn cản sự phát triển của thị trường.

Hôm 25/11, ví điện tử còn non trẻ trên thị trường là PayMe đã “chào sân” giải pháp chuyển nhận tiền ngay trên khung chat (giao diện trò chuyện) các mạng xã hội phổ biến như Facebook, Instagram, Viber… hay còn gọi là Social Payment, tức hình thức thanh toán qua các nền tảng mạng xã hội, bắt đầu hình thành tại Việt Nam với những tay chơi đầu tiên.

Tại sao nó ảnh hưởng – Why is it affected:

Nhịp tăng gần đây phụ thuộc phần lớn vào nhóm bluechip nhưng vai trò dẫn dắt không thuộc về duy nhất một mã nào. Nếu như nhịp phục hồi từ đầu quý II được dẫn dắt bởi nhóm cổ phiếu ngân hàng, bất động sản, bán lẻ thì trong hơn một tháng gần đây, dòng tiền xoay sang nhóm vật liệu xây dựng, dầu khí. “Như phiên hôm qua, HPG đang trong vai trò dẫn dắt bị bán mạnh, giảm hơn 5% nhưng rõ ràng thị trường vẫn giữ được. Còn trước đây, nhóm cổ phiếu dẫn dắt bị chốt lời thường kéo theo sự sụp đổ của chỉ số“, ông Nguyễn Thế Minh, Giám đốc phân tích Công ty chứng khoán Yuanta giải thích. Việc “xoay tour” giữa các cổ phiếu trụ trong VN30 giúp thị trường giữ được xung lực, ngoài ra cũng tạo sự lan tỏa sang các nhóm cổ phiếu vốn hóa thấp hơn nhưng cùng ngành. Lãi suất gửi tiết kiệm liên tục giảm, kênh đầu tư trái phiếu chững lại khiến chứng khoán đang trở thành một trong những lựa chọn sáng. Thanh khoản những phiên gần đây duy trì trên ngưỡng 10.000 tỷ đồng, cùng số lượng tài khoản mở mới tiếp tục tăng kỷ lục phần nào cho thấy sức nóng của thị trường.

Dự kiến, các thành viên thị trường sẽ có nửa đầu tháng 12 để chỉnh sửa hệ thống. HoSE sẽ mở hệ thống giao dịch cho các công ty chứng khoán kết nối và thử nghiệm từ 16/12 đến 22/12. Thời gian triển khai lô 100 cổ phiếu dự kiến trong tháng 1/2021. Nếu kế hoạch này được thực hiện, khối lượng giao dịch theo lô trên cả hai sàn niêm yết HoSE, HNX và thị trường UPCoM sẽ đồng bộ là 100 chứng khoán. Ngay sau thông tin HoSE dự kiến thay đổi lô giao dịch, Hiệp hội các nhà đầu tư tài chính Việt Nam (VAFI) đã lên tiếng phản đối quyết định này vì cho rằng điều này sẽ “ngăn cản sự phát triển thị trường chứng khoán“. Theo VAFI, lô giao dịch tối thiểu 100 cổ phần đã được áp dụng khi HoSE đi vào hoạt động cách đây 20 năm, nhưng sau đó đã phải thay đổi vì bộc lộ nhiều lực cản: “Chủ trương lần này tăng 10 lần quy mô lô giao dịch tối thiểu có thể do ý muốn của một số công ty chứng khoán, nhất là với các công ty có phần mềm giao dịch chưa tốt, chưa được nâng cấp hiện đại“, văn bản của VAFI viết.

Trên thế giới, hình thức cho phép chuyển nhận tiền ngay trên các giao diện trò chuyện (chat) của mạng xã hội không mới, gọi là “Social Payment”. Theo Investopedia, Social Payment là hình thức thanh toán ngang hàng (P2P), khởi xướng bởi PayPal và hàng loạt đơn vị như Venmo, Snapcash, Google Wallet, Apple Pay và Twitter Buy. Cách thức hình thức thanh toán qua các nền tảng mạng xã hội này thật ra đã được ví điện tử ZaloPay triển khai từ đầu năm nay. Theo đó, ví điện tử này cho phép người dùng chuyển tiền ngay trong đoạn hội thoại trên Zalo. Việc chuyển tiền đơn giản như gửi một tấm ảnh, với vài nút bấm. Bước đi khác biệt so với hàng chục ví điện tử trên thị trường này giúp ZaloPay duy trì lợi thế cạnh tranh nhất định. Bởi ZaloPay phần nào tận dụng nhiều hơn từ tập khách hàng đến 100 triệu người dùng Zalo. Trong một sự kiện hồi tháng 8/2020, đại diện ZaloPay cho biết, nhờ tính năng chuyển tiền trong khung chat, tăng trưởng lượng giao dịch của ví này lên đến 300%. Đó cũng là giai đoạn giao dịch tại điểm bán của các ví điện tử bị ảnh hưởng vì Covid-19.

Xu hướng chính – Key trends:

Đánh giá về triển vọng thị trường, các chuyên gia cho biết áp lực trong ngắn hạn là có, nhưng trung hạn, ngưỡng 1.000 điểm không phải rào cản lớn. Sự phục hồi của một số nhóm ngành, như bất động sản khu công nghiệp, trong những tháng cuối năm hay các thương vụ thoái vốn lớn năm tới sẽ là động lực cho thị trường. Ngoài ra, một chất xúc tác khác là dòng tiền của nhà đầu tư cá nhân, đặc biệt là những nhà đầu tư F0, vẫn đóng vai trò quan trọng.

Đề nghị nâng quy mô lô giao dịch, nếu được thông qua, sẽ gạt bớt hàng vạn lệnh giao dịch nhỏ đi từ các nhà đầu tư mới, các nhà đầu tư nhỏ lẻ và vô tình buộc họ phải chấp nhận “đánh bạc” thay vì đầu tư rèn luyện kỹ năng. Theo đó, với những cổ phiếu có thị giá trên 30.000 trở nên, nếu lô giao dịch tối thiểu 100 cổ phiếu, VAFI cho rằng rất có thể các nhà đầu tư nhỏ không mua được cổ phiếu, không tạo được danh mục ít nhất 5 mã.

Tại một số quốc gia, các công ty công nghệ thanh toán hay thậm chí là vài ngân hàng cũng triển khai tính năng Social Payment. Ví dụ, từ 2 năm trước, người dùng nếu có tài khoản MasterCard có thể chuyển tiền cho nhau thông suốt tại khoảng 100 quốc gia ngay trên Facebook Messenger. Tại Mỹ, Venmo là một trong những dịch vụ thanh toán P2P phổ biến nhất, cùng với Zelle và Square Cash. Nền tảng này ban đầu được hình thành từ ý tưởng giúp người dùng mạng xã hội vừa trò chuyện và chia các hóa đơn cùng nhau. Giá trị giao dịch qua Venmo liên tục tăng qua các năm. Tại Việt Nam, thị trường Social Payment bắt đầu nhen nhóm nhờ một số yếu tố. Thứ nhất, các hệ sinh thái mạng xã hội ở Việt Nam ngày càng phát triển, hình thành những cộng đồng chat đủ lớn cho Social Payment. Chỉ riêng Facebook đã có 50 triệu người dùng. Các mạng xã hội quốc tế khác như Twitter, Google, Instagram có tổng cộng khoảng 40 triệu người dùng. Trong khi đó, riêng các mạng xã hội của Việt Nam, theo số liệu của Bộ Thông tin & Truyền thông, có 65 triệu người dùng và dự kiến đạt 90 triệu vào năm nay.

Cái gì tiếp theo – What comes next:

Nhóm phân tích Công ty chứng khoán Bảo Việt (BVSC) cũng đánh giá, vùng cản quanh 1.000 điểm sẽ tạo ra áp lực điều chỉnh trong ngắn hạn, nhưng dòng tiền sẽ không rời khỏi thị trường. Cùng quan điểm, SHS cho rằng VN-Index có thể tiếp tục đi lên để hướng dần đến vùng kháng cự tiếp theo trong khoảng 1.000-1.030 điểm (đỉnh tháng 11/2019). Tuy nhiên, áp lực bán trong vùng kháng cự này sẽ gia tăng và khiến thị trường rung lắc mạnh, nên thời gian tới có thể điều chỉnh trở lại. Lý do là nhà đầu tư tham gia thị trường trong giai đoạn hiện nay vẫn giữ tâm lý thận trọng, dùng đòn bẩy thấp vì lo ngại những biến cố bất ngờ như Covid-19 quay lại.

Thương mại điện tử trên mạng xã hội (Social Commerce) đang bùng nổ. Năm 2018, quy mô thị trường này tại Việt Nam đạt 5,9 tỷ USD. Năm 2019, theo báo cáo “Conversational Commerce – the next gen of E-com” (BCG & Facebook), 45% người dùng Đông Nam Á cho biết họ mua sắm online lần đầu qua cuộc trò chuyện với người bán. Việc trao đổi thông tin hàng hóa và “chốt đơn” qua chat đang được ưa chuộng do tính tức thời, tương tác và cá nhân hóa cao. Các hình thức như trả lời tự động (chatbot) hay livestream bán hàng cũng đang thịnh hành. Tuy nhiên, hạn chế của chúng là khâu thanh toán. “Hầu như thanh toán qua Social Commerce là COD (trả tiền mặt khi nhận hàng). Vì vậy, yêu cầu đặt ra là số hóa và tự động hóa được toàn bộ quy trình“, ông Lê Hoàng Gia, cho rằng Social Payment chính là yếu tố còn thiếu đó. Ngoài ra, các ví điện tử cũng đang có xu hướng phân chia vai trò và phân khúc, với Social Payment được xem là “đại dương xanh“, còn ít người khai thác. Trong khi MoMo phát triển theo hướng “siêu ứng dụng” tập trung vào trải nghiệm thanh toán online lẫn offline đa dạng cho người dùng cuối; thì các ví khác như Moca, ZaloPay, VinID, ViettelPay, AirPay… dựa vào hệ sinh thái người dùng sẵn có, lần lượt là Grab, Zalo, VinMart, Viettel và Shopee. Do vậy, để tránh “chạm trán” với “đại gia” và không có sẵn hệ sinh thái, các tân binh tìm lối đi riêng là điều dễ hiểu. Trong khi SmartPay hướng đến giải pháp thanh toán cho khách hàng tiểu thương, có thế mạnh ở thị trường nông thôn thì PayMe chọn lối “ví điện tử mở” cung cấp giải pháp cho các hệ sinh thái doanh nghiệp và Social Payment; do đó, Social Payment ở Việt Nam có thể phát triển vào 6-7 năm tới, khi hiểu biết của người dùng về thanh toán trực tuyến tốt hơn.

Dấu hiệu rủi ro – Risk signals:

VIệc phát triển và ứng dụng công nghệ là một bước tiến lớn, tuy nhiên, bản thân tâm lý khách hàng cũng là một rào cản. Không phải người nào cũng sẵn sàng dùng mạng xã hội chuyển tiền cho nhau, đặc biệt là lúc lừa đảo mất tiền qua những đường link lạ gửi trong giao diện chat còn phổ biến.

Thực và ảo…

xxx – npl

<Week …>

Climbed up above 1000 – Question was how long…

Main events:

The session on November 26 was the first time in 2020, VN-Index had closed over 1,000 points. The market traded in a strong psychological struggling level, with green – red colors mixed on the graph.

The Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE) had asked securities companies to comment on the plan to increase the parity-lot trading unit from 10 current shares to 100 shares. Currently, the HoSE was trading with a minimum volume of 10 stocks and multiples of 10. However, if an even lot volume change was made, the investor would trade a minimum of 100 stocks and multiples of 100 – VAFI objected because it would prevent the development of the market.

On November 25, the fledgling electronic wallet in the market, PayMe, “launched” a money transfer solution right on the chat frame (chat interface) on popular social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Viber … also known as Social Payment, a form of payment via social networking platforms, began to take shape in Vietnam with the first players.

Why is it affected:

The recent rally largely depended on the blue-chips but the leading role did not belong to only one ticker. If the recovery from the beginning of the second quarter was led by stocks of banking, real estate, and retail, in more than a month, the cash flow turned to construction materials, oil and gas. “Like yesterday, HPG in the leading role was sold strongly, decreased by more than 5% but clearly the market could still hold. Previously, the leading group of stocks that were taken profit often led to the collapse of the market index“, explained Mr. Nguyen The Minh, director of analysis of Yuanta Securities Company. The “tour circulation” between the key stocks in the VN30 helped the market keep momentum, in addition created the spread to the groups of stocks with lower capitalization but in the same industry. Savings deposit interest rate continuously decreased, bond investment channel slowed down, making securities become one of the bright choices. Liquidity in recent sessions remained above VND 10,000 billion, and the number of newly opened accounts continued to rise to a record, partly showing the heat of the market.

Expectedly, market members would have the first half of December to edit the system. HoSE would open a trading system for securities companies to connect and test from December 16 to December 22. Expected implementation time of batches of 100 shares was expected in January 2021. If this plan was implemented, the trading volume in batches on both the HoSE, HNX and UPCoM market would synchronize at 100 securities. Immediately after the news that HoSE planned to change the trading lot, the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI) objected to this decision, saying that this would “prevent the development of the stock market“. According to VAFI, the minimum trading lot of 100 shares was applied when HoSE was in operation 20 years ago, but then had to change because it showed many resistance: “This policy increased by 10 times the scale. The minimum trading lot can be decided by some securities companies, especially those with poor trading software, not modernly upgraded “, written by VAFI.

In the world, the form of allowing money transfer right on the chat interfaces of social networks was not new, called “Social Payment“. According to Investopedia, Social Payment was a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment method, initiated by PayPal and by a number of entities such as Venmo, Snapcash, Google Wallet, Apple Pay and Twitter Buy. This form of payment via social networking platforms had actually been deployed by ZaloPay e-wallet earlier this year. Accordingly, this e-wallet allowed users to transfer money right in a conversation on Zalo. Transferring money was as simple as sending an image, with a few buttons. The step that had been different from dozens of e-wallets in this market helped ZaloPay maintain a certain competitive advantage. Because ZaloPay somewhat made use of more from the customer base to 100 million Zalo users. In an event in August 2020, a representative of ZaloPay said that thanked to the money transfer feature in the chat frame, the wallet’s transaction volume increased to 300%. It was also during the point-of-sale period of e-wallets affected by Covid-19.

Key trends:

In terms of market prospects, experts said that the pressure in the short term was yes, but in the medium term, the threshold of 1,000 points was not a major barrier. The recovery of some industry groups, such as real estate in industrial zones, in the last months of the year or major divestments next year would be the driving force for the market. In addition, another catalyst was the cash flow of individual investors, especially F0 investors, still playing an important role.

The proposal to increase the trading lot size, if approved, would remove tens of thousands of small trading orders from new investors and small investors and accidentally forced them to accept “gambling” instead of investing in skills training. Accordingly, for stocks with a market value of over 30,000 or more, if the lot had a minimum trading volume of 100 shares, VAFI thought that it was very likely that small investors could not buy stocks, could not create portfolios of minimum 5 tickles.

In some countries, payment technology companies or even some banks had implemented the Social Payment feature. For example, from 2 years ago, users who had a MasterCard account could seamlessly transfer money to each other in about 100 countries right on Facebook Messenger. In the US, Venmo was one of the most popular P2P payment services, along with Zelle and Square Cash. The platform was originally formed from the idea of ​​helping social media users chat and spliting bills together. Transaction value through Venmo had continuously increased over the years. In Vietnam, the Social Payment market started to rekindle thanks to a number of factors. Firstly, the social network ecosystems in Vietnam were increasingly developing, forming chat communities large enough for Social Payment. Facebook alone had 50 million users. Other international social networks like Twitter, Google, and Instagram had about 40 million users. While accounting on Vietnam’s social networks alone, according to the Ministry of Information & Communication, had 65 million users and were expected to reach 90 million this year.

What comes next:

Research team Bao Viet Securities Company (BVSC) also assessed that the resistance around 1,000 points creates correcting pressure in the short term, but the cash flow would not leave the market. With the same point of view, SHS believed that the VN-Index could continue to move up to gradually move towards the next resistance zone in the range of 1,000-1,030 points (peak of November 2019). However, the selling pressure in this resistance zone would increase and cause the market to shake strongly, so it might correct again next time. The reason was that investors participating in the market in the current period had been still cautious, using low leverage because they feared that unexpected events like Covid-19 would return.

Social commerce on the social network (Social Commerce) was booming. In 2018, the size of this market in Vietnam reached USD 5.9 billions. In 2019, according to the report “Conversational Commerce – the next gen of E-com” (BCG & Facebook), 45% of Southeast Asian users said they had shopped online for the first time through chat with sellers. The exchange of goods information and “closing the deal” via chat was gaining popularity due to its instantaneous, interactive and highly personalization. Forms such as automatic reply (chatbot) or sales livestream were also popular. However, their limitation was the payment stage. “Almost payment via Social Commerce is COD (paying cash on receipt). So, the requirement is to digitize and automate the whole process,” said Mr. Le Hoang Gia, was that missing factor. In addition, e-wallets were also tending to divide roles and segments, with Social Payment considered a “blue ocean“, with few miners. While MoMo developped in the direction of “super application” focusing on diverse online and offline payment experiences for end users; Other wallets such as Moca, ZaloPay, VinID, ViettelPay, AirPay … relied on the available user ecosystem, respectively Grab, Zalo, VinMart, Viettel and Shopee. Therefore, in order to avoid “encounter” with “giants” and without the availability of ecosystems, it was understandable that recruited find their own way. While SmartPay aimed at a payment solution for small business customers, having advantages in the rural market, PayMe choosed an “open e-wallet” to provide solutions for enterprise ecosystems and Social Payment; therefore, Social Payment in Vietnam may grow in the next 6-7 years, when users’ understanding of online payments was better.

Risk signals:

Technology development and application was a big step, however, customer psychology was also a barrier. Not everyone was willing to use social networks to transfer money to each other, especially while money scams through strange links sent in chat interfaces that were still popular.

Actual and virtual…

xxx – npl

Share – Nếu bạn nhạt nhẽo thì hãy nhạt nhẽo một cách duyên dáng — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

(1591 chữ, 6 phút đọc) Tôi biết trong đầu bạn đang chạy ra dòng chữ “Con điên, nhàm chán mà đòi duyên dáng.” Không sao, tôi không buồn bạn đâu vì tôi biết bạn vẫn còn thắc mắc thêm một vài câu sau như “Cơ mà bằng cách nào mới được chứ?”

Nếu bạn nhạt nhẽo thì hãy nhạt nhẽo một cách duyên dáng — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

Đợi đã, có gì không đúng ở đây rồi? Sao lại là nhạt nhẽo? Phải là cái gì đó như cuốn hút hay quyến rũ mới hợp lý chứ? Nhưng nếu logic như vậy thì cần gì bàn luận với nhau nữa. Thật đấy, tôi không đùa đâu. Hãy giả vờ nhạt nhẽo trước khi bạn trở nên nhàm chán thật sự trong mắt người khác. Tôi đã rất đắn đo khi đặt ra nghi vấn có vẻ mâu thuẫn này để tìm ra hướng giải quyết cho những ai vẫn đang loay hoay định vị giá trị của bản thân mình.

Bạn chưa từng nghĩ mình sẽ trở nên cuốn hút đám đông hay ai đó thì thầm vào tai bạn rằng “Sao mày chán vậy, nói chuyện nhạt như nước ốc ấy?” Đừng vội chạnh lòng vì có thể bẩm sinh bạn là kiểu người chán thật sự. Không, tôi không có ý định bỡn cợt bạn, chỉ là tôi muốn an ủi và động viên bạn hãy nhìn vấn đề một cách thực tế để từ đó chúng ta sẽ cùng nhau tìm giải pháp chữa trị cho căn bệnh nguội lạnh này. Nếu lỡ nhàm chán thì hãy trở nên “nhàm chán một cách duyên dáng”.

Bạn đang nghĩ tôi đang đùa ư? Hay bạn đang lăn tăn về ý tưởng này?

Thôi được, tôi biết trong đầu bạn đang chạy ra dòng chữ “Con điên, nhàm chán mà đòi duyên dáng.” Không sao, tôi không buồn bạn đâu vì tôi biết bạn vẫn còn thắc mắc thêm một vài câu sau như “Cơ mà bằng cách nào mới được chứ?”

Có lẽ lòng bạn đang nảy sinh hoài nghi. Thế thì tôi phải giải thích thêm một điều rằng tôi biết được điều này vì bản thân tôi đã từng trải qua một khoảng thời gian u tối và lắm rắc rối khi bị chê cười như vậy đấy. Tôi không thể và cũng chưa bao giờ có ý định cải tạo lại giá trị của mình để trở thành người ăn nói khéo léo và thu hút. 

Tôi chán ghét bản thân mình, đêm nào tôi cũng thao thức, trằn trọc về sự tẻ nhạt của bản thân. Thậm chí tôi ước rằng mình có thể sống mà không giao du hay trò chuyện với bất kỳ ai để khỏi phải mặc cảm tính cách của mình. 

Và rồi nhiều năm trôi qua, tôi không cố tình cải thiện kỹ năng nhạt nhẽo của mình đâu các bạn à, thề đấy, nhưng không hiểu vì đâu mà sau này một vài người lạ khác bước ngang cuộc đời tôi, hét thẳng vào mặt tôi rằng “Mày nói chuyện có duyên thật đó Duyên.” 

Tôi tên Duyên, phải, lý ra ngay từ khi đẻ ra tính cách của tôi phải bị áp đặt bởi cái tên chứ, đúng không? Ấy thế mà nó đối lập hoàn toàn khi bạn bè và người nhà tôi nằng nặc lót thêm chữ “VÔ” bất chấp nỗi tủi hờn trong lòng tôi. Tôi ứa gan, tràn đầy lòng hận thù các bạn à, nhưng không dám phản kháng bởi tôi nhận thức được mình nói chuyện vô duyên thiệt. Haizz, thật xấu hổ khi thổ lộ điều này với các bạn , biết sao được cũng vì sự kiện này mà tôi muốn chia sẻ với các bạn mà. Thế cho nên nếu lỡ chúng mình có duyên gặp trực tiếp thì các bạn đừng đề cập đến chuyện quá khứ này nhé, đâu có hay ho gì đâu nhỉ? 

Các bạn cứ thoải mái xoáy sâu vào để lấy cớ cải thiện cho sự duyên dáng của mình nhé. Tôi sẽ không ngại vấn đề đó đâu trừ khi bạn đem chuyện tôi ăn nói vô duyên ra làm tiền đề bảo vệ cho sự vô duyên thật sự của các bạn (Nghiêm túc đấy).

Tôi từng đọc và nghiệm đi nghiệm lại câu nói đại loại như thế này: “Giả ngu là một nghệ thuật, đó là cảnh giới cao nhất của sự thông minh trí tuệ.” Hoặc bác Lê Thẩm Dương cũng từng khẳng định rằng “Thông minh mới giả ngu chứ ngu sẵn rồi không cần nữa.” Tôi hoàn toàn ngã quỵ trước sự thâm thúy của các bậc thầy này. Khi liên hệ với thực tế, cụ thể với những người mà bạn tiếp xúc hàng ngày trong cuộc sống, rất hiếm khi bạn nhận biết được một ai đó đang giả ngu bởi họ lồng ghép vào đấy cả sự chân thành. Tuy nhiên, chúng ta thường có xu hướng tìm cách nhận định họ ngu thật. Cũng hợp lý thôi bởi thành phần mang tính chất giả vờ rất hiếm mà thành phần nửa vời rất đông. Ai cũng mong được công nhận giá trị và khi giá trị thực sự được công nhận thì ta lại bị vây quanh bởi những “hiệu ứng xu nịnh” khiến não bộ của ta bị đánh lừa bởi những lời tán dương mà quên mất việc kiểm soát thái độ duy trì giá trị ấy. 

Vậy nên để đạt đến cảnh giới của trí tuệ cần phải mất rất nhiều thời gian và cần ý thức được khiếm khuyết của bản thân. Dựa trên ý niệm về câu nói này tôi muốn áp dụng trong trường hợp của sự tẻ nhạt. Tôi mạn phép phân cấp trong bài này thành ba loại người tẻ nhạt đáng chú ý nhất hiện nay. 

Đi từ thấp đến cao sẽ là “tẻ nhạt tầm thường”, “tẻ nhạt bình thường” và cuối cùng là “tẻ nhạt khác thường” mà tôi dùng bằng cụm từ mĩ miều “nhàm chán duyên dáng”.

Bạn sẽ dễ dàng nhận thấy một người tẻ nhạt tầm thường và bình thường lẫn trong đám đông với những biểu hiện căn bản như:

  • Luôn ít lời và tiết kiệm nụ cười: Nhiều trường hợp còn phớt lờ buổi trò chuyện bằng cách tập trung vào công việc riêng của họ như: chơi game, lướt web… khi được nhắc đến tên, người tẻ nhạt thường đưa ra vài ba lời phủ nhận. Hoàn toàn không chủ động cân nhắc và bàn luận cùng số đông. Vì vậy mà họ cũng không hiểu được quan điểm của người khác.
  • Phức tạp sự nghiêm túc dưới mọi tình huống: Người tẻ nhạt thường dành phần lớn thời gian để nghiên cứu thông tin và kêu ca mọi thứ khi có cơ hội.
  • Không thường xuyên đổi mới bản thân: Bởi lẽ họ không hứng thú về việc người khác nghĩ gì về mình và cũng chẳng quan trọng chuyện hình thức khi những thời gian rảnh rỗi họ chỉ muốn một mình, không muốn đi chơi.
  • Phản hồi thông tin bằng một cách duy nhất và luôn lặp đi lặp lại: Họ thiếu vốn từ vựng và kiến thức để mô phỏng ý niệm và cảm xúc của bản thân khi cần. Từ đó hạn chế khả năng pha trò hoặc không biết cách làm mọi người cười.
  • Một điểm đáng lưu ý để phân biệt giữa 3 nhóm người tẻ nhạt:
  • Tẻ nhạt tầm thường:  Luôn mang trong mình nguồn năng lượng tiêu cực. Ngoài việc không thấu hiểu quan điểm của người khác, bản thân họ cũng không ý thức được mong muốn của chính mình, tức không nhận thức được hành vi và suy nghĩ của mình là lệch lạc. Thường xuyên so sánh với người khác để tự nâng cao hay hạ thấp bản thân mình.
  • Tẻ nhạt bình thường: Trên đà nhận thức được sự nhàm chán và kém hiểu biết của bản thân. Mong muốn cải thiện và ra sức nỗ lực cải thiện từng ngày. Có dấu hiệu thay đổi ở cách nói chuyện và bàn luận một vấn đề. Luôn mang những kiến thức mà mình vừa thu thập được ra làm chủ đề khi có cơ hội. Còn khi gặp những câu chuyện vượt ngoài vốn kiến thức đang có họ thường im lặng và lơ đãng. Không tập trung lắng nghe cùng mọi người hoặc tìm cách tua nhanh ý kiến của người khác.
  • Tẻ nhạt khác thường: Sở hữu nét mặt lạnh lùng, nghiêm nghị. Họ chế ngự cảm xúc và những biểu cảm trên gương mặt rất tốt. Sử dụng ngôn ngữ hình thể để diễn đạt quan điểm trong một số trường hợp. Họ cố tình lơ đễnh vào những hoạt động khác nhưng vẫn lắng nghe câu chuyện của người khác và ngầm quan sát hành vi của người nói hoặc người mà họ để ý. Không đưa ra bất kỳ ý kiến hoặc tranh cãi đến khi cần phải đúc kết vấn đề và rời đi. Nhóm người này rất hiếm, thường rơi vào vị trí lãnh đạo hoặc làm công việc độc lập không thích sự náo nhiệt ồn ào và xu nịnh. Tuy nhiên, họ biết cách điều khiển cảm xúc của đối phương để đạt được lợi ích cá nhân, tập thể khi cần. Điều đó khiến những người xung quanh thường e dè và không lường trước được hành vi của những người tẻ nhạt khác thường vì bản thân họ là người nhiều tri thức, luôn thấu hiểu được bản thân thực sự muốn gì.

Giờ thì bạn và tôi cùng liên hệ xem mình thuộc nhóm người nào để từ đó nâng cấp sự tẻ nhạt của mình lên một tầm cao mới nhé.

Tác giả: VRSP

Share – Ẩn sâu trong nỗi sợ cô đơn là ham muốn thoát khỏi cô đơn — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

(1119 chữ, 5 phút đọc) Tôi thú nhận rằng tôi chẳng hề thích sự nhàm chán của chính mình. Tôi thích được trò chuyện, được chia sẻ, được lắng nghe ai đó nói và được ai đó nói rằng mình thật thú vị.

Ẩn sâu trong nỗi sợ cô đơn là ham muốn thoát khỏi cô đơn — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

Không cần hoài nghi gì thêm nữa, tôi tin mình là kẻ bị nguyền rủa phải chịu đựng cô đơn. Dù rằng tôi có nhiều hơn một vài cách để tìm thấy ai đó, bên họ và tỏ ra thấu hiểu nhau, nhưng, tôi vẫn miễn cưỡng chọn một mình, bởi ai đó vẫn thường hay bảo nỗi sợ cô đơn thường lớn hơn cả việc cô đơn. 

Tôi không thể nào dối trá hơn những lúc tôi bảo rằng mình luôn ổn và rằng sự quan tâm từ đối phương chỉ mãi làm tôi thấy bất an. Thích có ai kề bên nhưng lại chẳng thể cảm nhận được sự gắn bó; thích ai đó hiểu mình những chẳng mấy khi chân thành phát biểu; muốn được quan tâm nhưng thẳng thừng từ chối lời thăm hỏi… Giá như tôi thẳng thắn hơn với cảm xúc của bản thân, tôi có thể thoải mái thừa nhận rằng việc tôi lẩn tránh cảm giác gắn bó và phụ thuộc cũng bởi tôi sợ rằng một ngày nào đó đã quen với cái cảm giác được nuông chiều, được che chở thì khi cuộc đời buộc tôi phải rơi vào cảnh lẻ loi, tôi sợ mình sẽ mãi chết chìm vào cái ký ức tươi đẹp đó. 

Ngọn nến không thể cháy mãi xuyên đêm, khi tiệc tàn, sáp đã tan, chuyện tình cũng sẽ tắt lịm theo cùng ánh sáng. Cái vẻ thinh lặng chết tiệt của bốn bức tường mới thực sự là kẻ thắng thế khi ôm trọn vào lòng bóng đêm của sự cô độc như cảnh báo rằng: Nếu tôi nếm trải cái khoảnh khắc thăng hoa ấy của tình yêu tôi sẽ phải nhận lãnh giây phút lụi tàn của chúng.

Nhưng tôi ghét một mình. Phải, tôi thú nhận rằng tôi chẳng hề thích sự nhàm chán của chính mình. Tôi thích được trò chuyện, được chia sẻ, được lắng nghe ai đó nói và được ai đó nói rằng mình thật thú vị. Chỉ nghĩ đến việc lầm lũi trên con đường mòn thênh thang lạnh lẽo, cuộn tròn trong đống chăn cũ kỹ vào mỗi cuối tuần, thao thức trước những buỗi tối dài miên man cũng khiến tim tôi rệu rã. Bởi, nhu cầu được chú ý, được tán dương, được bình phẩm khiến tôi phát điên. Chúng khiến tôi mắt kẹt với cái ham muốn được kết nối, dẫu cho đó không phải là cách hay để tôi có thể tìm thấy chính bản thân mình.

Tôi hoàn toàn không chấp nhận việc bị ai đó giễu cợt rằng mình là kẻ bị cô lập và nếu đó không phải là một lựa chọn thì dám chắc tôi đã dính phải lời nguyền xuẩn ngốc nào đó rồi cũng nên. Nó khiến tôi trông thật tệ hại. 

Ngay cả định mệnh cũng đã khước từ tôi. Thật khủng khiếp khi cảnh huống lẻ loi, muộn phiền của tôi thường nhân lên gấp vạn lần khi phải chứng kiến cảnh những con người ngoài kia đang ôm ấp hạnh phúc với một nữa còn lại của họ, những khoảnh khắc mà với tôi chỉ là một phân đoạn được sắp đặt trong những câu chuyện ngôn tình được nhào nặn bởi những con người, hơn ai hết,tận sâu đáy lòng, họ biết rằng mình cũng đang bất lực trước thực tại cô đơn của bản thân.

Liệu rằng cứ mãi ôm lấy nỗi sợ này có khiến tôi an toàn hơn không? Nếu tôi đủ dũng cảm gạt bỏ nỗi sợ, ở lại cùng một mối quan hệ thân mật, tôi sẽ bớt cô đơn hơn chăng?

Phải thử để biết câu trả lời. 

Trong một thoáng ngần ngại, tôi nghĩ mình nên mở lòng với một ai đó, họ có thể là một mảnh ghép giúp lắp đầy những khoảng trống thinh lặng. Thế đấy, như cơn mưa rào tưới mát một mảnh đất khô cằn nứt nẻ, tôi những tưởng mình sẽ bỏ lại nét u buồn của quá khứ để tận hưởng những chuỗi ngày đầy sức sống cùng với người bạn mà nếu mọi sự được an bài, chúng tôi có thể trở thành người bạn đời của nhau về sau. 

Nhưng đấy là chuyện của tương lai. Tôi nghĩ mình cần làm tốt câu chuyện ở thì hiện tại. Cùng đối phương chia sẻ và tích lũy những khoảnh khắc ngọt ngào, đáng nhớ và bằng lý tưởng của mẫu hình bạn gái tuyệt vời, tôi sẽ cố trở nên thấu cảm đối phương, tạo cho anh ta cảm giác bình yên khi cả hai bên nhau.

Tôi nhớ hôm đó là một buổi chiều mưa rả rít, với hai trái tim non trẻ đang cùng chung một nhịp đập thì hẳn đấy phải là một buổi chiều đẹp tựa như tranh. Một cặp đôi đang yêu thì chỉ cần như thế là đủ để tận hưởng cái vẻ bình yên giản dị để rũ bỏ những lo toan vật chất thường ngày. Ngồi cạnh nhau, thả hồn trước điệu buồn quyến rũ của mưa và trong một phút bồi hồi, ký ức chợt hiện về, tôi buộc miệng cất lời “Hôm nay là ngày giỗ của một người anh mà em rất quý.” Trong một phút im lặng, anh thu lại ánh nhìn xa xăm, cùng vẻ mặt trầm tư, tôi gần như xúc động trước sự tập trung của anh. “Anh nghĩ mình cần thêm thắt một chút chiêu trò cho chiến dịch quảng bá sản phẩm mới sắp tới.” Anh trả lời.

Khoảnh khắc nhận được câu trả lời khiến tôi gần như lạc lõng hoàn toàn. Hệt như cách mà bạn cố gào thét trước một đoàn tàu lửa đi ngang qua và không một ai ở đầu bên kia đường ray nghe thấy ngoài tiếng rền như sấm phát ra tự sự ma sát giữa bánh xe và đường ray.

Như mọi khi, anh đã không lắng nghe câu chuyện của tôi. Và tôi dám chắc rằng cảm giác đó còn tệ hơn cả việc mình độc bước trên còn đường rộng thênh thang phủ đầy bóng tối hiu quạnh.

Thế đấy, tôi đã tham vọng yêu để được yêu, quan tâm để được quan tâm. Thật tệ khi phải thừa nhận chúng luôn luôn là một điểm khởi đầu thường cho ra kết quả sai lầm. 

Rõ ràng, ngay từ đầu tôi đã bỏ qua tính nghịch lý của cùng một vấn đề, ẩn sâu trong nỗi sợ cô đơn chính là ham muốn thoát khỏi cô đơn và đó mới chính là thứ khiến ta mãi cô đơn. 

Tác giả: VRSP

Ẩm thực – 24 Ways to Get Rid of Bloating in Less Than 24 Hours

BY EAT THIS, NOT THAT! EDITORS

Full link: https://www.eatthis.com/stop-belly-bloat-fast/?utm_source=nsltr&utm_medium=email&utm_content=mailing_name&utm_campaign=etntNewsletter

Get rid of bloating and look visibly slimmer in a matter of hours with these simple tricks.

Womach clutching bloated belly

How many times can you recall having a bloated belly while trying to squeeze into a tight-fitting pair of jeans? It’s particularly annoying if you watch what you eat and exercise. Belly bloat is often to blame, but luckily, it can be temporary. Experts share the common reasons for a bulging stomach along with their tips for how to get rid of bloating.

Why do you get a bloated stomach?

Bloat sneaks up on you in surprising ways, depending on what you eat, certain habits you have, and even from select medical conditions.

Certain foods can cause digestive distress, some eating habits can cause you to take in more air, and certain medical conditions can cause your body to retain water.

These steps will show you how to get rid of bloating.

When you want to shrink your stomach as quickly as possible, you’ll want to rely on these digestion-promoting methods that can help you get rid of your ballooning belly in just 24 hours. We’ll help you identify which habits and foods can help reduce bloating, bringing your digestive system into balance and revving up your metabolism in the process.

There will be no more squeezing into your favorite pair of jeans anymore when you follow our 24 tips for how to get rid of bloating—see results in less than 24 hours!

1

Only drink water or tea.

filling water
Shutterstock

When people are bloated, they tend to skimp on water because they think it will make their bloating worse. Since water retention is the body’s way of holding onto fluid so it doesn’t dehydrate, the opposite is true. Drinking lots of water (and skipping dehydrating booze) signals the body that it no longer needs to hold onto every last drop to stay hydrated. “Fluids, specifically water, are absolutely key for optimal digestion,” says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition.

2

Take an Epsom salt bath.

Woman pouring epsom salt into bath
Shutterstock

Relaxing in any tub is always nice, and adding two cups of magnesium-rich Epsom salt may help deflate your belly more effectively by pulling excess water out of your body. Your body will absorb the magnesium, which is an electrolyte, which can help displace the extra water your body is retaining. To avoid dehydration, only do this ritual once a week.

3

Eat a banana.

Woman eating banana
Shutterstock

Bananas are packed with potassium, a nutrient that helps regulate fluid balance to flatten belly bloat. (It’s just one of the amazing benefits of bananas!) The potassium offsets the effects of sodium in your diet, which is a common cause of water retention. And bananas won’t just help you beat bloat overnight; An Anaerobe study found that women who ate a banana as a pre-meal snack twice a day for 60 days experienced a 50 percent reduction in bloating.

4

Avoid certain veggies.

High and low fodmap food examples
Shutterstock

Even though they’re filled with health-promoting nutrients, foods that are high in FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) also contain sneaky belly-bloaters that may be contributing to your ever-clinging food baby. The culprit is poorly absorbed carbohydrates and sugars. When your body ferments these carbs in your gut, it produces gas, which causes bloating. Avoid foods like…

  • White onions
  • Artichokes
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage

5

Don’t chew gum.

Doctor holding chewing gum for weight loss
Shutterstock

Not only does chewing gum cause you to swallow tummy-bloating air, many gums also contain sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and xylitol. Because these sugar alcohols are not absorbed by your body, they can cause discomfort and bloating, according to a Clinical Nutrition study.

Eat This! Tip: If you need to have something to chew on, go for an organic gum variety like Glee gum or Simply gum instead. They’re still low-cal, but they don’t use those sweeteners that’ll make you puff up. If that makes you cringe, then you’ll definitely want to see the most horrifying things found in food!

6

Eat dinner early.

Woman eating salmon
Travis Yewell/Unsplash

Intermittent fasting is increasing in popularity because of it’s science-backed weight loss benefits. For most of us, not eating for 16 hours in a day doesn’t seem like an appealing prospect. But here’s a secret: You actually fast every night, while you’re asleep—that’s why they call the first meal of the day “breakfast.”

The longer you can stretch out that period of fasting, the fewer calories you’ll take in. The fewer calories you consume, the less opportunity you have to eat something that will bloat your stomach. Cut off food intake by 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. at night, and delay breakfast a little further into the day. Make sure you have at least 12 hours between your last meal tonight and your first meal tomorrow. You’ll give your digestive system time to recover, and deflate your bell

Another method is to eat the bulk of your calories before 3 p.m. You’ll be more likely to have a flatter stomach than your splurge-at-dinner peers, says a 2013 International Journal of Obesity study.

7

Have a high-protein breakfast.

High protein keto breakfast of bacon and eggs
Shutterstock

Once you have awakened your digestion, start your day of eating with a burst of protein. We all get distracted or busy through the day, but a high-protein breakfast will prevent surprise mid-morning or early afternoon energy crashes that leave us reaching for a quick jolt of energy via ultra-processed foods that are high in bloat-inducing ingredients like excess sodium.

Eat This! Tip: Add a morning protein shake or a breakfast of eggs and nut butter waffles. The goal: don’t leave the house without first loading up on at least 15 grams of protein.

8

Make ginger tea.

Sliced ginger and ginger root on wooden cutting board
Shutterstock

A sluggish digestive system equals a slower metabolic rate. Wake up your innards by starting the morning with a cup of ginger tea. This fast-friendly drink will help improve the digestion and elimination of your food, according to a 2000 study, and is a key part of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea CleanseAnother reason for your bloated belly is inflammation, which is often brought on by spicy foods, dairy and chemical additives. According to numerous studies, ginger, traditionally used to ease stomach pain, blocks several genes and enzymes in the body that promote bloat-causing inflammation. Not a fan of ginger? There are plenty of other teas that make great bloating remedies.

Eat This! Tip: Boil 1/2 tsp grated ginger with 1 cup of water and pour into a cup with your favorite tea bag.

9

Eat several small meals.

Snack handful nuts
Shutterstock

To keep your metabolism revving throughout the day, focus on small, protein- and fiber-packed snacks or small meals every 3 to 4 hours. You will not only burn more calories eating a series of smaller meals, but also avoid the afternoon crash and end of the workday slump. (Make sure to eat that first protein-packed meal; skipped breakfasts leave many of us grabbing for more food than we really need.)

Eat This! Tip: Use your smartphone or computer to remind you of these intervals. Some go-to healthy snack ideas include:

  • Apple with peanut butter
  • A handful of nuts and berries
  • Hummus and veggies
  • Yogurt and granola

10

Eat slowly so you don’t gulp air.

Couple sharing dinner
Shutterstock

When you finally get home after a long day, you’re totally famished — we get it. But that doesn’t mean you should scarf down your dinner in a hurry. Eating too quickly causes you to swallow excess air, which can lead to uncomfortable gas and bloating. Slowing down the chewing with your mouth closed, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect. Fight off the urge to vacuum your entire meal by snacking on something like a small piece of fruit or an ounce of nuts on your way home. Then, after you’ve settled in, sit down and have a leisurely supper.

11

Skip your morning coffee.

woman holding coffee pot and mug
Shutterstock

As much as we love the benefits of coffee, drinking it when you’re trying to shrink your belly in 24 hours is a no-no. “Consuming beverages that are high in sugar or caffeine can not only be dehydrating, but in some cases can add to excess calorie intake, too,” explains Smith. When your body is dehydrated, it will hold onto water, which causes excessive bloating.

12

Skip the straws.

juice box

Just like sucking in air by inhaling your meals can cause you to feel puffy, sipping through a straw can cause you to take in extra air and experience a bloating.

13

Avoid beans.

different beans on wooden spoons
Shutterstock

Many beans, including soybeans, contain oligosaccharides. These are nondigestible sugar molecules that the body can’t break down entirely. With nowhere to go, these oligosaccharides hang out in the where they ferment, causing gas and bloating of the stomach. It should be easy to avoid beans in just 24 hours, but make sure you’re on the lookout for other sources. You probably don’t think “beans” when you unwrap a protein bar, but a lot of them include protein isolate derived from soybeans—something many people find just as gas-inducing as the musical fruit.

14

Eat more fiber and avoid refined flour.

White bread on wooden cutting board
Shutterstock

Foods made with white flour like white bread, white pasta, and white rice are relatively low in fiber and may cause you to get a little, uh, backed up. “Choosing whole grains can help with this,” says Smith. A simple switch from white bread to whole wheat or from white rice to brown will keep things moving along smoothly.

High fiber foods that are free of indigestible fibers mentioned before include:

  • Whole grain bread
  • Acorn squash
  • Nuts
  • Carrots
  • Berries (blackberries and raspberries)
  • Chia and flax seeds

15

Avoid greasy foods.

Slice of pizza with grease
Shutterstock

Foods that are high in grease or are really fatty, like a McDonald’s breakfast, can cause gastrointestinal upset. While some fats are great for your gut, like omega-3s found in fish or nuts, these fats don’t interact with your body the same way. Stuff like fast food often contains high levels of unhealthy fats like saturated and trans fatty acids that cause an inflammatory response in the body, meaning your body wants it out!

16

Hold off on drinking alcohol.

Woman refusing to drink alcohol
Shutterstock

Alcohol can directly damage the digestive tract and research has also found it to mess with the good bacteria in your gut. But more importantly for when you’re trying to shrink your stomach in 24 hours, alcohol inhibits digestion, as well. “Alcohol inhibits digestion and causes dehydration, causing the digestive tract to slow down—which results in constipation,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN. When you drink alcohol, your body switches to processing the alcohol out of your system first before digesting any food, which can leave you with a bloated stomach. It may be tough, but avoid the hard stuff during this day.

17

Take a walk.

Couple on an early morning walk
Shutterstock

Instead of lounging around after supper, head outside for a 15-minute nighttime stroll—it’s a great way to get things moving again when you are feeling backed up and bloated. And if you regularly experience constipation, consider making walking part of your nightly routine. And if you tend to toss and turn, check out these tips for how to get better sleep.

18

Cut out dairy.

Woman holding up an outstretched hand saying no to a man offering her a glass of dairy milk
Shutterstock

Dairy can be very bothersome to the belly because many adults naturally produce less of the necessary digestive enzyme lactase as we get older. If you consume dairy products pretty regularly, try cutting them out for 24 hours (and maybe even beyond this day) and see how your body reacts.

19

Avoid sweeteners—real and artificial.

Honey in bowl next to bowl of sugar packets
Miki Kitazawa/Unsplash

We didn’t say these 24 hours were going to be sweet! “Foods that are processed with added sugars, particularly with artificial sweeteners, can be seriously upsetting to the intestinal tract and can cause gas and bloating for many,” says Smith. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners like sugar alcohols are part of that group of poorly-digested FODMAPs, that will only cause your belly to bloat more.

RELATED: The easy guide to cutting back on sugar is finally here.

20

Take time to meditate.

Woman meditating
Shutterstock

The older, wiser, less-bendy sister of yoga, meditation is an amazing activity that people can reap major rewards from. A 2014 study in Eating Behaviors found that individuals who meditate are less likely to overeat or give in to emotional eating—and this is key if you want to stay on track with your anti-bloat plan over the next day. To get started, unroll a yoga mat or sit on a carpet in a sunny room (east-facing if possible) and take five uninterrupted minutes thinking about something that you’re grateful for.

21

Go to sleep early.

woman sleeping in bed with eye mask
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Getting a good night’s rest will help keep your energy levels high the next day as well as make it easier for you to keep a smart eating plan. According to a University of Wisconsin study, people who get more sleep have reduced ghrelin and increased leptin levels. These two hormones work together to help control your appetite throughout the day, making sure you don’t overeat. To get rid of bloating, get a good night’s rest to keep you from overeating the next day.

22

Eat small portions.

Meal prep containers
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Eating large portions can leave you feeling inflated, which isn’t what you’re looking for at the end of your 24-hour debloat period. Eat slowly and put your fork down between each bite. A good rule of thumb is to eat until you’re about 90 percent full and then call it. You can also practice portion control by portioning out your meals ahead of time.

23

Search for low-sodium foods.

Salt shaker
Shutterstock

Good for the tastebuds, but potentially bad for the stomach, high-sodium foods may lead to water retention and temporary weight gain. When you overload your system with sodium, your kidneys can’t keep up; sodium that would otherwise be flushed away has to sit in your bloodstream, where it attracts water, causing increased blood pressure and bloating. When it comes to how to get rid of bloating, your first step should be to assess how much sodium you’re eating per day.

You can cut back on sodium with these tips:

  • If you tend to eat at fast-food restaurants a lot, switch to low-sodium fast food orders.
  • Use spices to season food instead of solely relying on salt.
  • Swap canned foods to fresh or frozen products.
  • Skip out on processed meats and replaced with grilled or baked, lean protein.

24

Eat diuretic, electrolyte-rich foods.

Honeydew melon
Shutterstock

Honeydew melon has a diuretic property that fights water retention. Its high potassium levels help displace sodium, flushing excess water from your system and acting a natural electrolyte replacement. Honeydew is just one of the best foods that beat bloating!

Ẩm thực – Overwhelmed by How to Help the Restaurant Industry? Make a List.

by Erin DeJesus 

Full link: https://www.eater.com/21578524/how-to-help-the-restaurant-industry-make-a-list-start-ordering?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NATIONAL%20-%20112320&utm_content=NATIONAL%20-%20112320+CID_cdaff282cc8d85114a39c377d81dbe41&utm_source=cm_email&utm_term=OVERWHELMED%20BY%20HOW%20TO%20HELP%20THE%20RESTAURANT%20INDUSTRY%20MAKE%20A%20LIST

Think of all the places you want to survive and start ordering

Budae jjigae dish as seen from above.
Budae jjigae at Han Oak in Portland, Oregon
 Dina Avila/EPDX

Supporting restaurants, if you have the financial means, feels more important now than ever before. As a second (or third) wave of shutdowns rolls out throughout the country, many businesses are closing yet again, this time with the added financial burden of a year’s worth of frantic pivots and the emotional burnout it’s caused. That feeling of helplessness we as restaurant lovers all feel is likely a mix of frustration that the federal government is still failing to provide any meaningful aid to small business owners, coupled with the nagging knowledge that our weekly $25 take-out order of khao soi and pad see ew is likely a drop in the bucket in terms of what that restaurant really needs to survive.

We’re all trying to support restaurants in our own ways, and honestly, the love we have for the industry as a whole is making the effort to “support restaurants” seem like a vague and unending battle. During the first wave, I mostly mobilized to support the spots in my immediate neighborhood — the places I walk by with the dog daily, the ones whose patios I’m mostly likely to populate once this is all over. As the months passed, a few to-go and delivery spots were added to the mix, and now, when dinner time rolls around, I’ll usually hit up the same three or four restaurants over and over. The reflex is a shortcut, a way to avoid thinking long and hard about patronizing a restaurant in terms of “who to show support to tonight” when the options are overwhelming and the need particularly pressing.

That said, I felt a minor tinge of actual agency earlier this week by sitting down and doing what a lot of people do when they’re overwhelmed: I wrote out a list. The list of restaurants (more than 20, all over town) represents the hypothetical closures that would leave me the most bereft, and I’m committing my support to them these next few months. I think of it as a personal Eater 38 of sorts, a reminder of what exactly about my city’s local restaurant scene feels most necessary, or comforting, or essentialto me. In a time when our social media feeds are full of new menus, new pivots, new appeals for support, my new to-do list is a way to concentrate all that energy into something that feels slightly less paralyzing to me as a consumer. And it’s a way to break free from the delivery and takeout rut I’m currently in by literally reminding me of what else is out there.

Because now that the next wave of closures is here — and after months and months of heartbreaking closures, both permanent and temporary — it’s time to be more strategic, and less reliant on our “defaults” when it comes to showing financial support. Writing a physical list was a good exercise to consider the places that I’ve missed, or that I fervently want around when out-of-town guests come back, or that feel like such a part of the fabric of the community that I can’t imagine what the neighborhood would be like without them. My list of restaurants still includes some of my regular go-tos, plus places that I haven’t been to since the pandemic hit due to sheer laziness or lack of social occasions that would bring me there normally; some are in neighborhoods I haven’t even visited in the past eight months. Unfortunately no one without an unlimited bucket of cash (or, cough, actual political power) can save all the restaurants. But it feels like doing something, at least,to commit on paper to patronizing some, for as long as I can.

Ẩm thực – Cook Like an Ancient Mesopotamian With the World’s Oldest Recipes

BY JESS ENG

Full link: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/mesopotamian-recipes?utm_source=Gastro+Obscura+Weekly+E-mail&utm_campaign=680981d7e2-GASTRO_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_06_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2418498528-680981d7e2-70327933&mc_cid=680981d7e2&mc_eid=df51e46713

Age-old cuisine, from soup to sweets.

Mesopotamian recipes often called for lots of alliums.
Mesopotamian recipes often called for lots of alliums. JESS ENG

HISTORIAN JEAN BOTTÉRO CONCLUDED HIS 2001 article, “The Oldest Cuisine in the World: Cooking in Mesopotamia,” with an insult of sorts. “I would not advise trying to incorporate their culinary tradition, just as it stands, into our own,” he wrote, speculating that a modern eater would not enjoy the garlic-heavy, salt-light dishes that people ate nearly 4,000 years ago.

But ever since, chefs around the globe have attempted Mesopotamian recipes, the oldest on record, in their home kitchens. Nawal Nasrallah, an Iraqi scholar and and cookbook author, has written about adapting the ancient recipes for modern kitchens. Nearly a decade ago, Laura Kelley, founder of the blog The Silk Road Gourmet, organized an ancient Mesopotamian cooking challenge. More recently, an interdisciplinary team from Yale and Harvard whipped up a Mesopotamian feast in 2018. All three endeavors had the same source material: a set of four ancient clay tablets in the Yale Babylonian collection.

Within the Yale Babylonian Collection, the tablets offer an edible link to the past.
Within the Yale Babylonian Collection, the tablets offer an edible link to the past. COURTESY OF THE YALE BABYLONIAN COLLECTION. PHOTOGRAPH BY KLAUS WAGENSONNER.

The tablets provide substantial evidence for a haute Mesopotamian cuisine. 4,000 years ago, the Mesopotamian region, which includes present-day Iraq and parts of Syria and Turkey, was already an established hotbed of innovation, encompassing the first cities, writing systems, and even the first recorded cuisine. Early scribes impressed wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets with reed styluses. Applying this method to the recipe tablets, scribes recorded culinary routines using Akkadian, an ancient Semitic language. Scholars estimate that three of the four recipe tablets originated around 1730 BC, and the fourth around 1,000 years later. Unfortunately, little is known about their origins, except that Yale added them to their collection in 1911, in a purchase of therapeutic and pharmaceutical texts.

For decades, their contents had historians stumped. In 1933, curator Ferris Stephens interpreted them as recipes for medicine. In the 1940s, curators Mary Inda Hussey and Albrecht Goetze came to the same conclusion, although Hussey later suspected that the tablets communicated more than just medical recipes. Nearly 40 years later, when Bottéro began retranslating the tablets for his research on Babylonian cooking, he found that the tablets were stamped with dozens of ancient Mesopotamian recipes.

With modern ingredients and appliances, making Mesopotamian food takes some imagination.
With modern ingredients and appliances, making Mesopotamian food takes some imagination. JESS ENG

After Bottéro’s initial discovery, historians continued to uncover surprising patterns. Portions of the tablets have either broken off or eroded with time, but astute translators identified both long and short recipes along with titles for individual recipes. While a few ingredients have ambiguous translations, Nasrallah has identified striking similarities between Mesopotamian and modern Iraqi recipes. “Some of the ingredients are unidentified, which is frustrating, but I do see similarities to what is being used in Iraq nowadays,” she says. “Such in the case of the herb erishtu, which I believe to be what we call today rashshād, pepper grass.”

The most complete of the tablets contains 25 recipes: 21 meat dishes, three vegetable-meat dishes, and one vegetarian dish. One of its simplest recipes, Bottéro notes, consists of only two lines: “Meat broth. Take some meat. Get the water ready. Add some fat. Some … [the word is lost], leek and garlic pounded together, and plain shuhutinnu.

Though the recipes are short, with limited instructions and no measurements, they all call for multiple ingredients and likely took hours to prepare. To this day, why ancient scribes recorded these particular recipes remains a mystery. However, the expensive cuts of meat, elaborate techniques, and various seasonings could mean that chefs prepared these dishes for special occasions.

<img src="https://assets.atlasobscura.com/article_images/75866/image.jpg&quot; alt="Ancient worshippers once offered <em>qullupu
Ancient worshippers once offered qullupu to the goddess Inanna. JESS ENG

To sample flavors from the oldest cuisine in the world, today’s chefs must read between the lines. The recipe for meat broth doesn’t even specify what meat to use. However, census records from the time mention fowl, sheep, and cattle. When it comes to the unknown ingredients, consensus on their translations is rare. In the case of the broth, the jury is out on whether shuhutinnu is an onion, an herb, or a root vegetable. With all these varying translations, it’s impossible to argue for one interpretation with complete certainty.

Beyond Yale’s tablets, additional Mesopotamian dishes appear in records on food rituals and upon archaeological artifacts. Mesopotamians not only fed themselves, but also assembled elaborate dishes for their gods. Sweets, which made their way into popular traditions and rituals, incorporated honey and date fruits. Mesoptomian pastry chefs crafted recipes for qullupu, a sweet date-filled cookie, and mersu, a date and pistachio candy. Ancient texts reveal that ancient Mesopotamians offered qullupu to the Sumerian goddess Inanna during the New Year and Spring Festivals.

Bottéro may not have endorsed Mesopotamian cuisine, but cooks today keep making it, using complex spices, unique textures, and diverse flavors while tipping a nod to the original texts. No matter what, there will be a few inconsistencies. Today’s versions can’t incorporate the same ingredients, use the same cookware, or utilize the same cooking techniques as 4,000 years ago. But you can still try for a taste of ancient Mesopotamia in your modern kitchen with recipes for meat broth and mersu. For a challenge, try searching the Yale Babylonian collection for the tablet recipes yourself, and cook up your own interpretation of Mesopotamian cuisine.

<img src="https://assets.atlasobscura.com/article_images/75865/image.jpg&quot; alt="Don't know what <em>shuhutinnu
Don’t know what shuhutinnu is? Don’t worry. No one else does either. JESS ENG

Meat Broth

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours

8 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 cup leeks, sliced
1 1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1 lb beef chuck roast
3 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste (or go without, as the Mesopotamians did)

1. Prepare the Vegetables and Meat

Slice the carrots, garlic, and leeks. Using a mortar and pestle or a spoon, grind the leeks and garlic together in a mixing bowl. Set aside. Cut the beef into large one-inch cubes and season with salt and pepper, if you wish. Drizzle oil in a wide-brimmed pot, before adding the meat and browning lightly on both sides.

2. Start the Soup

After the meat has browned, turn the stove to medium heat, and add the carrots and mashed garlic and leeks. Quickly transfer three cups of water to the pot. When the pot starts bubbling, turn the stove to low heat.

3. Sit Tight!

Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for two hours, with occasional stirring. Before serving, skim off the beef fat with a strainer and flavor with salt and pepper to your taste.

<img src="https://assets.atlasobscura.com/article_images/75867/image.jpg&quot; alt="Making <em>mersu
Making mersu takes less than an hour. Not bad for a 4,000-year-old recipe. JESS ENG

Mersu

Servings: 12 mersu balls
Prep Time: 45 minutes

1 cup dried dates
2 cups pistachios, raw
1 tbsp butter, melted

1. Prepare the Dates and Pistachios

Cut the dried dates into halves and transfer to a medium bowl. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the dates and cover with tin foil or a lid. Let the dates sit for 30 minutes. In the meantime, shell 2 cups of pistachios and grind the nuts into a fine powder using a blender. Set aside.

2. Mix the Ingredients

When the dates are ready, drain the water (leave a little water for easier mixing) and add a cup of pistachio powder and the melted butter to the bowl. Using a fork, potato masher, or mortar and pestle, grind the ingredients into a smooth mix.

3. Roll the Balls

Using your hands, roll the mix into 12 balls and coat each ball with the remainder of the pistachio mix. If you prefer smaller candies, you can make around 18 balls. Transfer the rolled mersu to the fridge to chill before serving.

Stoic – This Is Our Duty

That nice, warm feeling you have right now? That fullness? From the food you stuffed yourself with, from the wonderful meal you had with your family?

It’s important that you realize not everyone is feeling that right now.

In fact, they may well be feeling the exact opposite. While you sit here with a Thanksgiving hangover, they’re feeling pangs of hunger. You’re wondering if you’ll ever eat again, and they are, in a very different way, thinking the same thing.

This pandemic has not just taken hundreds of thousands of lives. It’s also wreaked enormous devastation on families, on businesses, on people who were already struggling. And now? Now they are broken.

Nearly 1 in 8 households in the United States is experiencing food insecurity, and almost 19% of children aren’t getting enough food to eat. You might be thinking: So what? Stoicism is about focusing on what’s in my control, why should I let some slow-moving humanitarian crisis kill my sleepy tryptophan vibe?

Because, as Marcus Aurelius wrote, those suffering humans are us, and we are them. To allow harm to come to them—through indifference, through callousness—is to allow harm to come to ourselves. It’s why the most magnificent moment of Marcus’s reign was the day he decided to sell off the palace furnishings to keep Rome going—to help those in need. Hierocles was a Roman Stoic who spoke of “circles of concern.” Our first concern, he said, was our mind, but beyond this was our concern for our bodies, for our immediate family, then our extended family. Like concentric rings, these circles were followed by our concern for our community, our city, our country, our empire, our world. The work of philosophy, he said, was to draw this outer concern inward, to learn how to care as much as possible for as many people as possible, to do as much good for them as possible.

Oikeiôsis—this was the Stoic’s affinity for our fellow human beings. It was our obligation—our duty, they said—to help them. To serve them. To illustrate those virtues of courage and justice toward and for and through them.

So today, on a day when under ordinary circumstances people would be lining up to get a deal on a flat-screen television or gorging on leftovers while they post photos on social media, let us instead put our energy towards helping the less fortunate. The pandemic is not in our control. Government policy is at best only something we barely influence. But we can keep people from going hungry. We can alleviate someone’s worry and fear. We can put food on their table.

Better yet, we can do this together. Daily Stoic is raising money for Feeding America. We’ve donated the first $10,000, and we’d like your help in getting to our goal of $20,000—which would provide over 200,000 meals for families across the country. Together we can make a small dent in a big problem. We can’t alleviate everyone’s suffering or struggle, but for the people we can help—the difference is huge.

So let’s do it. Let’s be good Stoics today.

Collection – Think fast: How to accelerate e-commerce growth

By Arun Arora, Julien Boudet, Michael Bucy, Hamza Khan, Kate Smaje, Rafael Montilla

Full link: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/think-fast-how-to-accelerate-e-commerce-growth?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck&hdpid=4e9d8932-4765-45bd-8c63-13ae02815e53&hctky=2618809&hlkid=26198dfecf8c4aabbb900c630cdb78d7#

The most critical tools in successful e-commerce expansion are customer-centricity and a test-and-learn mindset.

It’s been more than six months since the onset of the pandemic. Most companies have completed at least a partial shift to digital in response to overwhelming customer demand. To make that shift sustainable, they now need to carefully examine technology, physical infrastructure, talent recruitment and deployment, and other systems—and this needs to happen at speed. Digital leaders, in fact, run four times faster than their peers in terms of performing key managerial functions, such as engaging with data and sharing results of test-and-learn activities, particularly as they relate to customer service.

Testing and learning

Our research shows that more than 50 percent of companies whose revenue growth is in the top 10 percent are more effective than their industry peers at testing ideas, measuring results, and executing changes to products, services, and ways of working. A prerequisite of successful testing and learning is an acceptance of failure as the cost of uncovering new knowledge. Recent McKinsey research shows, in fact, that respondents at successful organizations are more than twice as likely as their peers elsewhere to strongly agree that employees are rewarded for taking an appropriate level of risk.1 Digital natives have this mindset as part of their DNA and support it in three ways.

Embed learning

A culture of learning has to extend to every corner of an organization, but it starts with leadership. At top-performing companies, senior leaders continuously scan for new tools and practices that can accelerate performance, taking the time to learn a new solution at least monthly, compared with quarterly at slower-moving companies. They also take steps to spread knowledge. When Procter & Gamble set about building a digital culture, the consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) giant, founded in the 19th century, started with learning. It created an array of platforms, programs, and training modules to broadcast knowledge and extend training throughout the organization. Its Digital Genius Academy, for example, aimed to upskill everyone in the company in online sales and marketing fundamentals. Another program paired middle and senior managers with digital-subject-matter experts, who were usually junior, to ensure knowledge traveled both up and down the hierarchy.

Reward experimentation, even when it fails

A cornerstone of digital culture is the ability to continuously improve and innovate. Teams are empowered to test, learn, and improve without the need for a cumbersome approval process, allowing them to test new go-to-market approaches, improve the e-commerce platform, or even get new products to market first. Incentives need to be in place to support this approach. At ShopRunner, for example, executives are asked in their reviews to describe recent failures. If the failures hadn’t cost the company money, the executives didn’t get their bonuses.2 Incentives include providing employees with ownership and decision rights. Atlassian, an Australian enterprise-software company, hosts quarterly ShipIt Days, in which employees have 24 hours to work on anything innovative they want, provided it relates to an Atlassian product, and then present the work to the company. The company also allows employees to spend 20 percent of their time developing their own innovative ideas.

Build learning skills

The best companies approach learning with the same focus and discipline as they do e-commerce. As top-performing companies set goals for new growth strategies or sales channels, they create a deliberate program to anticipate the needed skills and capabilities and a strategy for developing them. In practice, that comes down to a comprehensive learning program tailored to individual needs, such as just-in-time e-learning modules and company-wide academy programs, as well as targeted hiring. New hires who can bring new skills and mindsets can be instrumental in embedding learning as well as jump-starting the development of new capabilities.

Rapid-reaction operations

Truly digital players have fully integrated e-commerce and digital sales with the rest of the value chain. This allows them to quickly react to new customer demand, adapt existing offerings, introduce new products and services, and deliver them to customers fast.

Doing this well starts with being able to spot opportunities quickly. That requires good data and a commitment to using it. Nearly half of the best-performing companies in a recent McKinsey survey, in fact, collect and analyze customer data at least weekly, compared with just 16 percent on average. Companies then need to have the operational flexibility to move quickly to go after those opportunities. Take Vistaprint, a global e-commerce company that produces customized marketing materials for small businesses. Driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, in late March, Vistaprint supported a local fire department in Ontario, Canada, in developing face shields for frontline workers. By early April, after this successful run, it had reconfigured its Ontario manufacturing site and produced its first 3,000 shields for the Ontario health system.3 Learning from the experience, it has now scaled its mask-making operations, offering customized, stylish face masks globally.

Agility in operations and supply chain has a cumulative strategic advantage. By the time a competitor shows up with a me-too product, the first mover will have rolled out scores of improved versions and already established a solid go-to-market approach. We found that during the crisis, many companies were able to make changes to their e-commerce front-end capabilities but struggled to adapt their logistics to support the surge in demand.

Walmart, known for its ubiquitous big-box stores, has invested heavily in digital operations over the past decade. Its digital process has been put to the test during the COVID-19 crisis. When its 45 online fulfillment centers were pushed beyond capacity, the retailer turned its physical stores into mini warehouses, which allowed the company to expand its “ship from store” offer to 2,500 retail locations.

These tasks are never “done.” It’s important to continually monitor and measure results and push for improvements.

Action focused on delighting customers

One reason that focusing on the customer accelerates a business’s pace is that it helps to provide clarity and focus about what is needed and cuts down on doing things that don’t add value.

Successful digital innovators treat customer satisfaction as a primary business goal. In practice, that means investing heavily in analyzing and mitigating any customer friction points and embracing a zero-defects mentality. How do they do that? The best companies intimately understand their customers’ experience, focus on the details of what their customers really want, and layer in data to fill out the picture. To drive this focus, they use data and analytics to synchronize the e-commerce experience with physical stores, social media, inside sales, customer care, and other customer-facing channels, making it seamless for the customer to shift among them.

A good example of this focus on what the customer wants is Best Buy, a US consumer-electronics retailer. When COVID-19 hit, customers could no longer come to Best Buy stores, but they were still shopping online and wanted their products quickly. So, in just 48 hours in March, Best Buy built and rolled out a contactless curbside pickup service that has since been extended to 1,000 stores. The effort included everything from new staging areas in the stores to new roles for sales associates. Best Buy’s US online sales increased more than 250 percent, and about 50 percent were fulfilled via curbside pickup.4

For businesses today (both B2C and B2B), omnichannel has become a cornerstone of great customer experience. According to McKinsey’s COVID-19 US consumer-sentiment survey, 40 to 65 percent of consumers intend to continue using contactless services, such as buy online and pick up in store and curbside pickup, even after the crisis is over.

How to make the change

Becoming a fast-moving e-commerce company requires a lot of things to happen at most large companies. However, we have found that executives should focus on getting three things right.

Understand what good looks like

As simple as this may seem, many executives have real trouble knowing what excellence is in the digital realm. Even for the most experienced executives, it is crucial to step out of the day-to-day, look outside the organization, and reimagine the business. That can happen in many ways, from setting up an internal group of experts, or “tiger team,” to review the business independently to visiting top-performing companies to see how it’s done. One large consulting firm decided it needed to move away from using a cost-plus pricing model to becoming a digital-enabled solutions provider. This involved a hard look at what other forward-thinking firms were doing to serve their customers and what actions the company would need to take in order to carry out the internal shift.

Be comfortable testing your way to the answer

Even when a company has a vision of where it wants to go and what good looks like, leadership may find it difficult, even impossible, to chart a direct path to get there. In digital, so much is unknown that traditional planning—sizing up a potential opportunity and developing the capabilities to seize it—isn’t possible. This is where a test-and-learn mindset is most valuable. By creating a safe place for line leaders to “test the ground” through small pilot programs and learning from their success or failure, leaders can course-correct until the best path forward becomes clear. When done well, this begets an iterative cycle of testing, learning, and planning—for example, developing a series of A/B tests or testing minimum viable products in the marketplace.

Because executives are uncomfortable with uncertainty and unfamiliar with the idea of testing their way to a plan, however, they often either starve the effort of the necessary resources or recklessly throw money and time at it without any guardrails. The test-and-learn approach is most effective when it has some basic disciplines combined with the appropriate investment and freedom to fail and succeed.

Walk in your customer’s shoes

Most executives will say that their companies are customer-centric, but often the reality is that business pressures, stakeholder demands, and market forces are top of mind. Even when leaders do commit to trying to better understand the customer (think Undercover Boss), they generally just end up experiencing the employee’s perspective, not the customer’s. For example, visits to the front line to listen to customer complaints or serve customers in stores may provide a window into employee–customer interactions, but they fall short of developing deep customer insights.

Instead, we’ve found it’s much more eye opening to analyze individual customer journeys in depth for one to two hours with six to eight company leaders. This allows executives to really question each step of the process and understand what the customer is experiencing. At one company, executives listened to a single interactive-voice-response (IVR) experience and learned that it wasn’t until 45 seconds into the call that the customer was able to make the first choice. That simple example with a single customer drove home the nature of the pain point. The team prioritized streamlining the IVR process so that the first interaction could happen within ten seconds.


Any effort to quickly scale e-commerce requires significant resources, from new kinds of talent to data analytics to IT infrastructure. While those resources are critical, we continue to believe that a learning mindset that values speed over perfection, embraces failure as much as success, and empowers team members is even more critical, and you can start the change today. Without that mindset, all the resources in the world will not result in a truly digital organization.

Landscape – Vietnam’s cautious approach to international travel pays off

Author: Hoa Thi Minh Nguyen, ANU

Full link: https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2020/11/25/vietnams-cautious-approach-to-international-travel-pays-off/?utm_source=subscribe2&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=postnotify&utm_id=314742&utm_title=Vietnam%26rsquo%3Bs%20cautious%20approach%20to%20international%20travel%20pays%20off

In September, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh approved the reopening of some commercial international flight routes after being suspended since March. Selected routes to Japan, South Korea, China, and Taiwan were to be reopened from 15 September, and routes to Laos and Cambodia from 22 September.

People apply preventive measures during the first domestic flight,
carried out by Vietnam Airlines to transport tourists stranded in the central
city of Da Nang affected by COVID-19 at the Airport Noi Bai International in
Hanoi, Vietnam on 12 August, 2020 (Photo: Reuters/VNA).

The selection was made based on both the importance of those countries to Vietnam as well as their control of the pandemic at home. At the time, all countries had successfully controlled COVID-19. Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan are leading sources of foreign direct investment, and important trading partners and markets for Vietnam’s labour exports. They as well as Laos and Cambodia also have a significant geopolitical bearing on Vietnam.

The excitement of both passengers and the airlines was short-lived however. All routes were suspended again after just two flights from Seoul by Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air on 25 and 30 September, respectively. The reason was a lack of consistency in quarantine standards — especially those applied to Vietnamese passengers. Japan and South Korea are now experiencing spikes in COVID-19 infections.

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) explained the specific obstacles that brought all flights to a halt again. There was a lack of guidelines by the Ministry of Finance on fees to be collected from check-in passengers. There were also no clear procedures for handing over, managing and supervising immigrants between city and provincial governments and line ministries, with confusion for parties such as enterprises, factories and hotels. Most importantly, there was a lack of guidelines by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on quarantine and testing procedures applied to passengers. And finally, city and provincial governments had not widely announced the list of quarantine hotels, room rates, and their capacity.

The MOT has proposed a solution to address this bottleneck. This requires specific actions and coordination of various competent ministries and agencies and has made substantial progress.

It appears that everything is now ready except for the guidelines from the MOH. A recently released draft of the guidelines classifies passengers into three groups. The first group is Vietnamese passengers and their foreign relatives. The second group is foreigners who are specialists, investors, managers, international students, skilled labour, other designated individuals, and their relatives. The third group is foreigners who come to Vietnam as diplomats or on business for fewer than 14 days.

The main difference in how these three groups will be treated is the quarantine duration they must undergo upon arrival. The first group is to be quarantined fully in centrally isolated areas for 14 days. They have to show evidence of payment made for testing and quarantine services before boarding to avoid the disputes that occurred after the first two flights in September.

The second group can be quarantined for fewer than 14 days in centrally isolated areas, but still have to be quarantined at home until day 14. Both groups should have negative results within 3–5 days before boarding, fill in an electronic health declaration 12 hours before boarding, and install the Vietnam Health Declaration and tracing apps.

Upon arrival, these two groups will be tested immediately for COVID-19 and then tested again on day 14 after arrival. They also have to continue to supervise their health situation, report it via apps, and restrict contact with other people until day 28. The third group does not have to stay in a centrally isolated base, but they have to be tested every three days during their stay.

The MOH says that the draft guidelines are in the consultation process before being issued. When the guidelines will be promulgated is still unknown. The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam will allow carriers to resume their flights as soon as the guidelines are available.

The cautious approach by Vietnam to ‘travel bubbles’ is not an exception. The idea of creating a travel bubble — where two countries with good records of controlling COVID-19 allow people to travel freely without undergoing quarantine — has been well received. But little progress has been made globally. Even when Vietnam resumes commercial flights, it will not create travel bubbles and quarantine periods will not be waived or shortened.

Vietnam clearly wants to maintain its exemplary record of controlling the pandemic, which is critical for its economic recovery. Over the first nine months of 2020, Vietnam’s GDP grew by 2.12 per cent and it is expected to be 2–3 per cent for the entire year, making the country the only major ASEAN economy with positive economic growth in 2020.

Revenue from international flights represents approximately 50 per cent of the total revenue received by Vietnamese carriers. But with COVID-19 under control, demand for domestic flights has surpassed the demand in 2019. With this record, the recovery of Vietnamese airlines’ domestic market is faster than ASEAN peers. It appears that Vietnam’s cautious approach is generating positive payoffs for its economy and airline industry.

Hoa Thi Minh Nguyen is a senior lecturer at the Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

Note – Blooloop weekend briefing: Disney lay offs | WA Museum Boola Bardip | 11 SKIES | Naga Corp | Joe Rohde

Theme parks

Walt Disney World has announced the return of the Park Hopper option, as part of the phased reopening of the resort, beginning in January 2021. Guests will be able to visit more than one park per day again from January 1.

SeaWorld Orlando has released a virtual ride video of its latest roller coaster Ice Breaker, which is opening in spring 2021 after being delayed by COVID-19. Ice Breaker is the first launch coaster for SeaWorld Orlando.

Universal Orlando Resort confirmed that 1,123 team members from its creative division, theme parks, and resorts are facing layoffs due to COVID-19. The redundancies will affect various positions at Universal Orlando.

Joe Rohde, a veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering, announced his retirement after 40 years with the company in a post on Instagram. Rohde served as a creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering. 

Universal Studios Hollywood may be shut in California, but Universal CityWalk has debuted ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Sweets & Treats’, where fans can get a taste of Butterbeer.

Luna Park Sydney has announced a major update with an investment of A$30m in nine new rides, including children’s rides, thrill rides and an anchor coaster called The Big Dipper.

The Walt Disney Company is laying off 4,000 additional cast members, taking the total to 32,000. Meanwhile, Disneyland Paris is remaining closed through February 2021 due to COVID-19.

Museums

The National Gallery has developed a new revenue stream amid COVID-19 by charging £8 for an online tour of Artemisia, an exhibition dedicated to Artemisia Gentileschi. The National Gallery is closed but set to reopen on December 3.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art appointed Lavita McMath Turner as its Chief Diversity Officer, effective from January 2021. She will oversee the museum’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and access plan.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has completed the installation of the only surviving shark model from the 1975 film Jaws. The 25-foot shark model is nicknamed ‘Bruce the Shark’.

Anyang, a prefecture-level city in the Henan province of Central China, started construction on a museum for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Yinxu, also known as the Yin Ruins.

Bath is set to welcome the world’s first attraction devoted to Mary Shelley and her monstrous novel Frankenstein. Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein is opening in spring 2021.

The A$400 million WA Museum Boola Bardip has officially opened in Perth, with new exhibitions and experiences to share stories of Western Australia. Boola Bardip means ‘many stories’ in the Whadjuk Noongar language.

Technology

The Design Museum has announced a virtual tour of Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers in collaboration with Facebook. The online curated tour of the sell-out exhibition costs £7.99.

The Science Museum is opening the refurbished, renamed IMAX: The Ronson Theatre, an immersive storytelling experience, on December 9. It features IMAX 70mm film and next-generation IMAX with Laser.

AREA15 will turn its outdoor event space into a weird and wonderful Christmas experience called Wanderland, opening on November 27. It will boast a huge intergalactic art sleigh, Balanceville, illuminated in hundreds of festive lights.

Zoos and aquariums

Colchester Zoo announced that it will be reopening after the second lockdown on December 2. Pre-booking is essential in light of COVID-19. Colchester Zoo said that all visitors must pre-book a timed ticket online and in advance. 

OMA/Shohei Shigematsu is designing a new underwater sculpture park, snorkel trail and artificial reef for Miami Beach, scheduled to open in December 2021. It will provide a habitat for endangered reef organisms.

Integrated resorts

New World Development has unveiled its HK$20 billion entertainment project 11 SKIES, which will be located at Hong Kong International Airport’s development SKYCITY. It will be a hub for retail, dining and experiential entertainment.

NagaCorp announced plans to build a non-gaming integrated resort (IR), home to theme parks and cultural attractions, called Angkor Lake of Wonder. There will also be hotels, exhibition facilities and F&B.
In depth
Puy du Fou’s Nicolas de Villiers talks global expansion MORE

Digital education at the IAAPA Expo: Virtual Education Conference 2020 MORE

Sharjah Museums: reaching new audiences online and in person MORE

The push for imaginative storytelling MORE

Game engines: why they matter for the future of LBE MORE

Note – Fisher: Why Expiring Fed Programs Is No Emergency

By Fisher Investments Editorial Staff

Full link: https://www.fisherinvestments.com/en-us/marketminder/why-expiring-fed-programs-is-no-emergency?fiut=p

We see little evidence the Treasury’s winding down the Fed’s emergency lending facilities will stymie the economic recovery or this bull market.

The US Treasury made waves last Thursday after deciding not to extend several Fed emergency lending programs. Some disagreed with the decision, including the Fed. With many reactions and analyses politically charged, we urge readers to put political biases aside when assessing the pros and cons of the Treasury’s decision. We aren’t here to argue whether these programs should or shouldn’t continue, as that is a policy debate, and as always, we are politically agnostic. Our analysis is solely to assess the potential economic and market impact of this news. In our view, the expiration of these Fed programs, should that come to pass, shouldn’t imperil the economy or stocks—the recovery doesn’t depend on central bank aid.

Beginning in mid-March, the Fed set up 13 emergency lending facilities to support financial markets and the broader economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. In short, the alphabet soup of programs aimed to:

  • Provide credit to primary dealers
  • Provide liquidity to commercial paper and money market funds
  • Purchase investment-grade corporate bonds and investment-grade corporate bond ETFs
  • Enable and fund securitization of student, auto, credit card and Small Business Administration (SBA) loans
  • Buy state and municipal debt
  • Support small-business lending through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
  • Lend to small and medium-sized businesses and nonprofits

Most of these schemes were originally set to expire September 30, but the Treasury and Fed previously agreed to extend them to December 31. However, per 2010’s Dodd-Frank Act, the Treasury has final approval on any Fed emergency lending program. With year-end approaching, the Treasury extended four of the lending facilities for another 90 days—specifically those backstopping commercial paper and money market mutual funds—and allowed the other nine to expire.

That decision triggered a sharp reaction. The Fed publicly stated it preferred to keep the full suite of measures in place. Others worried the Fed was losing critical tools to combat future market stresses. Several Democratic politicians claimed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s move was a politically driven tactic to hurt the economy before President-elect Joe Biden enters office in January.

But getting beyond the politically tinged debate, a review of the lending facilities’ impact reveals mixed results, in our view. Some programs may have aided certain segments of the corporate debt market. For example, the Fed’s pledge to purchase corporate debt—perhaps particularly “fallen angels” (i.e., bonds that lost their investment-grade credit ratings)—may have quelled fears over a mass inability to rollover maturing debt. However, no counterfactual exists to confirm or disprove this. Would markets have stabilized without the Fed’s March announcement? Based on our research and experience, it seems likely—but perhaps the program sped this along, producing a net benefit. Many pundits also claim the Fed’s extraordinary measures bolstered confidence and boosted sentiment during a turbulent time. Yet we think it is equally possible some of March’s surprise announcements stoked panic by implying the Fed saw imminent financial collapse. Either way, the sentiment effect is hard to quantify.

However, the hard data are more clear-cut—and they show the Fed’s lending facilities were lightly tapped. Under the CARES Act, Congress allocated $454 billion to the Treasury to backstop Fed loans. Mnuchin made $195 billion available for five different lending facilities, including the Main Street Lending Program and the corporate debt-buying programs. Combining the Treasury’s commitment and Fed’s funding, these five facilities had about $2 trillion in lending capacity. Yet as of November 13, the total amount of outstanding loans across these five facilities was about $24 billion.[i] For the Main Street Lending Program, total outstanding loans were just under $5 billion—even though the program had $600 billion available, backed by $75 billion authorized by the CARES Act.[ii] Similarly, the two corporate debt lending facilities have a combined capacity of $750 billion—but the total amount of outstanding loans was $13.5 billion.[iii]

Some experts think the Fed’s announcement sufficiently bolstered investor confidence, so the central bank didn’t have to intervene and purchase as many assets as it offered. Perhaps. But vehicles like the Main Street Lending Program didn’t garner much interest for more straightforward reasons: Banks didn’t have a lot of incentive to lend, and borrowers struggled to meet terms. Consider: At October’s end, the Fed lowered the minimum loan size from $250,000 to $100,000 and changed the fee structure to encourage banks to make smaller loans—illustrative of the program’s issues. We don’t doubt the Fed’s measures helped some, but the numbers suggest lending facilities haven’t been used enough to support claims they are materially bolstering recovery.

That point should help allay fears that removing policymakers’ “support” will upend economic growth. Even beyond this, the Treasury wants the Fed to return unused funds provided by the CARES Act so Congress can re-appropriate them for other COVID relief. While we always recommend taking politicians’ words with a pinch of salt, Mnuchin has been pushing for looser fiscal policy as Congress negotiates another COVID spending bill. The Treasury’s move would free up funds without adding new spending—appeasing many Republican Senators’ objections. Moreover, although critics argue Mnuchin is deliberately hamstringing his successor, the Fed can always request Treasury approval to restart these programs. With President-elect Joe Biden planning to nominate former Fed head Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary, some are already forecasting she will reverse Mnuchin’s decision. We don’t recommend trying to predict what a politician will do, but it is a possibility worth acknowledging today.  

As well-intentioned as the Fed’s efforts may be, these emergency programs aren’t going to help businesses make money if they can’t operate. For all the talk of these programs as “stimulus,” they don’t create or augment demand. They are more of a lifeline for some and a bailout for others. Our view remains the same: The biggest economic boost comes not from the Fed, but from getting back to something resembling normalcy as businesses and people get back to regular lives. Stocks are likely already anticipating that to an extent.


[i] Source: Federal Reserve, as of 11/24/2020. “Periodic Report: Update on Outstanding Lending Facilities Authorized by the Board under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, November 23, 2020.” 

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

Note – DealStreetAsia: The Week That Was

As we close yet another week, we take you through the highlights of DealStreetAsia’s Asia PE-VC Summit 2020 held virtually on November 24-25.

We held 40 sessions over a span of two days, wherein over 70 distinguished speakers from top PE-VC firms and the entrepreneurial ecosystem based in six different markets shared their insights on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the investment landscape, and the road ahead.
Fireside chats
Warburg Pincus managing director and Southeast Asia head Jeffrey Perlman highlighted the improved prospects of Southeast Asian companies listing in the near future.

“We’re hugely convinced of the market size,” he noted, while speaking of portfolio company Converge ICT Solutions, which recently raised $600 million in the Philippines’s second-largest IPO.

Speaking at the summit, Kenneth Gaw, one of the founders of Hong Kong-based real estate investor Gaw Capital, shared that his firm is looking to raise a new fund to build a portfolio of internet data centres (IDC) outside China.

For Singapore-headquartered super app Grab, last-mile logistics, fintech, and merchant services are three key focus areas in 2021, said its president Ming Maa.

“Our ability to go direct to customers, and having the absolute lowest last-mile cost for deliveries is very, very important. And frankly, a payment solution that reaches more consumers than any other. All of that combined together creates a great partnership opportunity with many global companies,” he added.

Meanwhile, Gojek’s transport chief Raditya Wibowo said that contrary to general perception, ride-hailing can emerge as a profitable business for the company. Despite being one of Gojek’s core businesses, ride-hailing did not earlier feature in the unicorn’s pursuit of profitability.

For Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Race Capital, the pandemic has created the best tech investment climate ever. “We have never seen a better time to go do a new technology company ever in history,” said Alfred Chuang, general partner at Race Capital. The firm is aiming to raise up to $150 million for a new fund.

In Singapore, former L Catterton managing partner Ravi Thakran said he is looking to close his two new private equity funds as early as the second quarter of 2021. The funds are GCC Asia Growth Fund, a small-cap investment vehicle that will focus on the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia’s emerging markets; and Asia 3.0, a mid-cap fund with a focus on Japan, Korea, China, Southeast Asia, and Australia.

Speaking on deep tech startupsPaul Santos, managing partner at VC firm Wavemaker Partners, said Southeast Asia is fielding entrepreneurs worthy of competing on the global stage and proving Silicon Valley isn’t the only place investors should look to for innovative ideas. “We believe that B2B and deep tech represent a tremendous, yet undervalued, opportunity in Southeast Asia,” he added.
From the India desk 
Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma highlighted how COVID-19 and growing competition in the Indian digital payments space have thrown new challenges at the firm. He also reflected on the fierce battle between his company and the likes of Google Pay and Walmart-owned PhonePe.

ChrysCapital, one of India’s largest home-grown private equity firms, is scouting for deals in the new economy sector, said its co-founder and managing partner Kunal Shroff. The firm had so far stayed away from investments in the sector but now, Shroff conceded, “it’s just too important for us to ignore.”
Power-packed panels
The opportunity in frontier markets: Markets such as Myanmar, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Vietnam have seen accelerated adoption of digital services due to COVID-19. In order to sustain the momentum, these countries need to address their infrastructure challenges, agreed Navegar managing partner Honorio Poblador IVYGA Capital Ltd managing director Thura Ko Ko and Navis Capital partner David Ireland

The LP Quarter: The case for Southeast Asia: Iesan Tsai, managing director & head of private investments at Kiri CapitalAlexandre Schmitz, managing partner and head of Asia Pacific at Capstone Partners; and Huai Fong Chew, regional lead, East Asia & the Pacific Funds at International Finance Corporation shared how LPs are keen to invest in specific countries rather than regionally as some markets in Southeast Asia have managed to handle the coronavirus crisis better than others.

In yet another session focused on LPs, fund managers reflected on how LPs are likely to back general partners (GPs) who have sectoral specialisation in the post-COVID era. The panel – LP allocation to the Asia Pacific – What has changed – was joined by Andy Wang, partner, primary Investments at Adams Street Partners, and Jie Gong, partner at Pantheon Ventures.

Vietnam: SE Asia’s most resilient and compelling story: Vietnam will soon see investment flows bounce back and present solid opportunities at a fair valuation to investors, said Chris Freund, partner at Mekong CapitalAndy Ho, managing director & chief investment officer at VinaCapital; and Niraan De Silva, managing director & executive board member, VNLIFE and VNPAY.

Will PE chase pandemic-proof bets in SE Asia’s largest market? In Indonesia, the pandemic has opened up new sectors for investors to target, said panellists Sunata Tjiterosampurno, co-chief investment officer and member of the investment committee at Northstar GroupStefanus Hadiwidjaja, managing director at Creador; and Rachmat Kaimuddin, CEO of homegrown unicorn Bukalapak.
In other news
Vietnam-based distress-focused investment firm IDS Equity Holdings led a consortium to acquire a 51 per cent stake in Ocean Group (OGC) and 22.3 per cent in OGC’s subsidiary Ocean Hospitality (OCH). Based on the current capitalisation of both firms, the deal size could be around $50 million for OGC’s majority stake and $20 million for OCH shares.

Meanwhile, in Bangkok, e-commerce enabler aCommerce is scouting for M&A options to foray into Vietnam and Malaysia, said its group CEO and co-founder Paul Srivorakul. The company has set aside $30-50 million for M&A activities in these two regions.

In Indonesia, lending app Kredivo secured $100 million in debt financing from Victory Park Capital (VPC). The financing marked Kredivo’s largest deal with a credit provider as well as VPC’s first transaction in Southeast Asia.

In yet another development in the archipelago, BRI Ventures’s new fund secured capital from Grab and other investors to make its first close at more than 150 billion rupiah ($10.6 million). The fund has a target corpus of 300 billion rupiah ($21.2 million).

Indonesia’s MDI Ventures has teamed up with fintech-focused VC firm Finch Capital to launch a joint early-stage vehicle with a target corpus of $40 million. The fund, called Arise, will invest in Indonesia-focused startups, particularly those at the pre-Series A stage.

Chinese truck-hailing firm Manbang raised nearly $1.7 billion from investors including SoftBank, Sequoia Capital, Hillhouse Capital, GGV Capital, YF Capital, Tencent, Baillie Gifford, Lightspeed China Partners, All-Stars Investment, Xiang He Capital, and CMC.

In India, used-car platform Cars24 became a unicorn after raising $200 million in its Series E round. The round was led by billionaire Yuri Milner’s DST Global.

In Singapore, Venturi Partners is looking to make the first close of its consumer fund at $8 million in January, its managing partner Nicholas Cator said. “We are in the process of finalising the first close. Things slowed down a bit due to the COVID-19 crisis, which put a pause on in-person meetings.”

That’s all from us in this edition. Stay safe. 
Paramita Chatterjee
Editor, DealStreetAsia
editor@dealstreetasia.com

Note – Bloomberg: The Weekly Fix: Yellen Breaks the Ceiling; The Fed’s Long Game

Madam Secretary

Janet Yellen likes to arrive early to things, according to one profile this week, as well as a Twitter mini-gallery of her poised and almost preternaturally composed in a range of settings — including an airport and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. 

So it’s fitting that she should be the first woman to head the Treasury, though the precedent itself is long overdue.

If confirmed, Yellen will also be the first Treasury secretary to have served as chair of both the White House Council of Economic Advisers and the Federal Reserve. Her extraordinary qualifications augur a tighter coordination between fiscal and monetary policies at a critical juncture.

Emergency programs terminated by the previous administration — including the little-used and much-criticized Main Street facility aimed at lending to small businesses — may need to be rebooted or reworked, so that relief for households and businesses stricken by the pandemic can be stepped up and better targeted. This cooperation would be akin to new dawn after several years of White House attacks on the Fed’s leadership and policies. 

“Yellen will work well with the Fed, which could be useful in the near term in re-establishing the 13(3) facilities and potentially using them more aggressively to support mid-sized businesses and state and local governments in particular,” says Julia Coronado, founder of MacroPolicy Perspectives LLC and a former Fed economist.

“Her nomination not only shatters another glass ceiling, it gets the Administration’s economic policy off on a solid footing.”

Yellen is widely heralded as a dove at a time when the world most needs them. She is best known for making a powerful case for low interest rates to create jobs, writing in a recent op-ed that “when unemployment is exceptionally high and inflation is historically low…the economy needs more fiscal spending to support hiring.”

The dove shorthand is tinged with irony — Yellen presided over one of the Fed’s pivotal hawkish moves, raising interest rates for the first time in a decade after the global financial crisis. (And though the lift-off was long delayed, under the Fed’s revised inflation-targeting strategy it now qualifies as premature.)

And at the Treasury, she’ll likely be pushing an expansive economic policy as the fiscal tone turns more hawkish. A Republican-controlled Senate would turn sharp eyes back on the deficit — which was inflated even before the pandemic by tax cuts that they’ll not want to see repealed.

And borrowing to fund further relief efforts — not to mention the Biden Administration’s planned $2 trillion “Build it Back Better” infrastructure program — probably won’t be as cheap as it was under Yellen’s predecessor. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was able to sell government debt at a record pace at the lowest interest rates in history, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s emergency actions in cutting borrowing costs.

In 2021, the prospect of a vaccine and gradual economic recovery should see the 10-year benchmark rate lift off its lows. But even if this year’s 0.5% was the trough, it’s unlikely to get close to levels north of 2% seen the last time an austerity battle was raging in the U.S. JPMorgan sees the benchmark peaking at 1.3% by the end of the year. As for how fast it gets there, and how much more room it has to rise, all eyes will be on the Fed, for any signs of flinching in its commitment to keep rates rock-bottom for years to come to ensure a full economic recovery. 

That Brings Us to the Fed…

… which doesn’t sound like it’s on the brink of more action.

Markets have been speculating about when the central bank might unveil changes to its asset purchase program, which is currently scooping up $80 billion of Treasuries and $40 billion of mortgage bonds a month. Some of the market’s money has been on the Fed shifting its purchases to longer-dated securities as soon as its Dec. 16-17 meeting. That’s kept alive some bets on a flatter curve — a tough call when it hasn’t held a trend for more than two weeks straight since August.

This week those positions were looking more embattled, and the gap between the two- and 10-year yields widened back out to about 70 basis points. 

New York Fed President John Williams wasn’t stoking expectations with his comments that the central bank’s existing purchases are “serving their purposes really well right now.” He pointed out that fiscal policy “would be most effective in getting us through the next six months.” 

That chimes with the just-released minutes from the Federal Reserve’s Nov. 4 meeting, which suggested that the Committee wants to put some parameters around its asset purchase program — “fairly soon” — before it makes any changes.

That probably means December’s meeting will lay more groundwork, and crucially the contours of an exit strategy that could help the Fed avoid a repeat of the taper tantrum in 2013 (when then-Chair Ben Bernanke’s suggestion that the Fed might soon slow its asset purchases sparked a market frenzy). The majority of FOMC members want the program to be guided by how economic conditions are shaping up.

Of course last week’s strange spat between the Treasury and the Fed, which means some of its emergency facilities won’t be extended into the New Year, may sway policy makers to move faster on additional measures to help the economy. The minutes also reflected concern among “a few” participants that the lower odds of another big relief package mean greater risks to the economy. 

Nevertheless, Bloomberg Intelligence‘s Ira Jersey expects that skew to longer-dated purchases will happen in the first quarter of next year, as the effects of the spiking virus cases and shutdowns weigh on economic data. He and analyst Angelo Manolatos note that the Fed has bought almost $2 trillion of Treasuries since cutting interest rates to 0-0.25% on March 15, and it could buy another $1.2 trillion of long-dated bonds, even before more are issued.

One other thing of note in the minutes — the Fed isn’t about to fall again into a trap of its own transparency. The minutes flagged that the central bank is overhauling its summary of economic projections — the charts that plot policymakers’ best estimates of the path of growth, inflation and the policy rate. The SEP is in for a little fuzzy-ing up, as the projections will have a new diffusion feature to reflect uncertainty — possibly something like what the Brits do with their Monetary Policy Reports. They’ll also be released alongside the policy statement, rather than with the minutes three weeks later.

Vaccine Buzz

Even defining a band of uncertainty might prove pretty tricky as we look into the New Year. One of the biggest recent changes is the encouraging news from three separate vaccine trials, starting with a Pfizer/BioNtech. This highlights the importance of the Fed’s exit strategy, should meaningful advances come sooner than expected to help the world return to some semblance of normalcy.

Advances in vaccine studies are coinciding with a pullback in expectations for further easing from the world’s central banks, our money markets reporter observed this week.

In the U.K., overnight index swaps trimmed the likely drop in interest rates by the end of next year to eight basis points from 12 prior to the Pfizer report. Markets in Wellington have gone from pricing in a move to negative interest rates, to all but erasing expectations for a rate cut by the end of next year. Both central banks appear to have cooled on their flirtation with taking rates below zero. 

Knowing what he knows now about these latest milestones in the pharmaceutical race, BOE’s Chief Economist Andy Haldane said on Monday it’s “tough to know for sure” if he would have voted for the 150-billion-pounds increase in bond buying this month.

That’s yet another twist for investors to consider in the leadup to the final meetings of the year in the U.K, Europe and U.S. 

Bonus Points

China’s bond market poised to reshape the financial world

Inside China’s stunning about-face on climate policy

As the pandemic rebounds, 26 million people in America say they don’t have enough to eat 

Platypuses glow in the dark

You should talk to your plants

Your moment of zen — Rockefeller the Owl is free

Bloomberg

Info – 50 Years of Gaming History, by Revenue Stream (1970-2020)

Full link: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/50-years-gaming-history-revenue-stream/

50 Years of Gaming History, by Revenue Stream (1970-2020)

Every year it feels like the gaming industry sees the same stories—record sales, unfathomable market reach, and questions of how much higher the market can go.

We’re already far past the point of gaming being the biggest earning media sector, with an estimated $165 billion revenue generated in 2020.

But as our graphic above helps illustrate, it’s important to break down shifting growth within the market. Research from Pelham Smithers shows that while the tidal wave of gaming has only continued to swell, the driving factors have shifted over the course of gaming history.

1970–1983: The Pre-Crash Era

At first, there was Atari.

Early prototypes of video games were developed in labs in the 1960s, but it was Atari’s release of Pong in 1972 that helped to kickstart the industry.

The arcade table-tennis game was a sensation, drawing in consumers eager to play and companies that started to produce their own knock-off versions. Likewise, it was Atari that sold a home console version of Pong in 1975, and eventually its own Atari 2600 home console in 1977, which would become the first console to sell more than a million units.

In short order, the arcade market began to plateau. After dwindling due to a glut of Pong clones, the release of Space Invaders in 1978 reinvigorated the market.

Arcade machines started to be installed everywhere, and new franchises like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong drove further growth. By 1982, arcades were already generating more money than both the pop music industry and the box office.

1985–2000: The Tech Advancement Race

Unfortunately, the gaming industry grew too quickly to maintain.

Eager to capitalize on a growing home console market, Atari licensed extremely high budget ports of Pac-Man and a game adaptation of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. They were rushed to market, released in poor quality, and cost the company millions in returns and more in brand damage.

As other companies also looked to capitalize on the market, many other poor attempts at games and consoles caused a downturn across the industry. At the same time, personal computers were becoming the new flavor of gaming, especially with the release of the Commodore 64 in 1982.

It was a sign of what was to define this era of gaming history: a technological race. In the coming years, Nintendo would release the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) home console in 1985 (released in Japan as the Famicom), prioritizing high quality games and consistent marketing to recapture the wary market.

On the backs of games like Duck HuntExcitebike, and the introduction of Mario in Super Mario Bros, the massive success of the NES revived the console market.

Estimated Total Console Sales by Manufacturer (1970-2020)

ManufacturerHome Console salesHandheld Console SalesTotal Sales
Nintendo318 M430 M754 M
Sony445 M90 M535 M
Microsoft149 M149 M
Sega64-67 M14 M81 M
Atari31 M1 M32 M
Hudson Soft/NEC10 M10 M
Bandai3.5 M3.5 M

Source: Wikipedia

Nintendo looked to continue its dominance in the field, with the release of the Game Boy handheld and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. At the same time, other competitors stepped in to beat them at their own game.

In 1988, arcade company Sega entered the fray with the Sega Mega Drive console (released as the Genesis in North America) and then later the Game Gear handheld, putting its marketing emphasis on processing power.

Electronics maker Sony released the PlayStation in 1994, which used CD-ROMs instead of cartridges to enhance storage capacity for individual games. It became the first console in history to sell more than 100 million units, and the focus on software formats would carry on with the PlayStation 2 (DVDs) and PlayStation 3 (Blu-rays).

Even Microsoft recognized the importance of gaming on PCs and developed the DirectX API to assist in game programming. That “X” branding would make its way to the company’s entry into the console market, the Xbox.

2001–Present: The Online Boom

It was the rise of the internet and mobile, however, that grew the gaming industry from tens of billions to hundreds of billions in revenue.

A primer was the viability of subscription and freemium services. In 2001, Microsoft launched the Xbox Live online gaming platform for a monthly subscription fee, giving players access to multiplayer matchmaking and voice chat services, quickly becoming a must-have for consumers.

Meanwhile on PCs, Blizzard was tapping into the Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) subscription market with the 2004 release of World of Warcraft, which saw a peak of more than 14 million monthly paying subscribers.

All the while, companies saw a future in mobile gaming that they were struggling to tap into. Nintendo continued to hold onto the handheld market with updated Game Boy consoles, and Nokia and BlackBerry tried their hands at integrating game apps into their phones.

But it was Apple’s iPhone that solidified the transition of gaming to a mobile platform. The company’s release of the App Store for its smartphones (followed closely by Google’s own store for Android devices) paved the way for app developers to create free, paid, and pay-per-feature games catered to a mass market.

Now, everyone has their eyes on that growing $85 billion mobile slice of the gaming market, and game companies are starting to heavily consolidate.

Major Gaming Acquisitions Since 2014

DateAcquirerTarget and SectorDeal Value (US$)
Apr. 2014FacebookOculus – VR$3 Billion
Aug. 2014AmazonTwitch – Streaming$970 Million
Nov. 2014MicrosoftMojang – Games$2.5 Billion
Feb. 2016Activision BlizzardKing – Games$5.9 Billion
Jun. 2016TencentSupercell – Games$8.6 Billion
Feb. 2020Embracer GroupSaber Interactive – Games$525 Million
Sep. 2020MicrosoftZeniMax Media – Games$7.5 Billion
Nov. 2020Take-Two InteractiveCodemasters – Games$994 Million

Console makers like Microsoft and Sony are launching cloud-based subscription services even while they continue to develop new consoles. Meanwhile, Amazon and Google are launching their own services that work on multiple devices, mobile included.

After seeing the success that games like Pokémon Go had on smartphones—reaching more than $1 billion in yearly revenue—and Grand Theft Auto V’s record breaking haul of $1 billion in just three days, companies are targeting as much of the market as they can.

And with the proliferation of smartphones, social media games, and streaming services, they’re on the right track. There are more than 2.7 billion gamers worldwide in 2020, and how they choose to spend their money will continue to shape gaming history as we know it.

Văn – 16/52: ranh giới… không phải bức tường

Bản năng động vật của con người luôn xác định khoảng cách an toàn, thường đánh giá và phản ứng đối với sự kiện dưới góc nhìn tiêu cực của sự SỢ hãi, giới hạn hay trong nghi ngại… bởi vậy, cái tôi cá nhân thường xuyên phải vật lộn để đối mặt và vượt lên trên sự tiêu cực này để tìm kiếm cơ hội, nhìn nhận vấn đề một cách tích cực hơn… Dẫu biết rằng, con người ẩn sâu trong bản năng chính là cảm xúc, việc nhìn nhận một cách tích cực đòi hỏi phải sử dụng “lý trí” – cái chỉ có thể đạt được một cách khó khăn qua một quá trình, một chặng thời gian luyện tập, học hỏi và trưởng thành…  

Khi sự kiện hay vấn đề nổi lên, việc nhìn xuyên qua “đám mây mù” cảm xúc tiêu cực và khó chịu để vén lên ánh sáng tích cực và của một cơ hội mới… cũng chính là cách mà chúng ta cần ứng xử và trưởng thành; và, đó cũng là cách mà chúng ta bước dần ra khỏi giới hạn mà chúng ta vẫn coi là “môi trường quen thuộc”, “vùng an toàn”…

Mỗi chúng ta đều lớn lên trong mối tương tác với môi trường xã hội xung quanh, dường như không ai có thể tách biệt ra khỏi môi trường đó; cho dù con đường vào đời của mỗi cá nhân rất khác nhau: người thì đi tắt, người thì đi vòng, người thì phải vượt qua các chướng ngại vật, nhưng, tựu chung, chúng ta, tất cả đều tới đích… vì, quan trọng không phải là vạch đích mà chính là hành trình, là trải nghiệm – cái không thể vội vã, hấp tấp…

Bởi vậy, việc so sánh giữa mỗi cá nhân dường như vô nghĩa: chúng ta đã đi bao xa, chúng ta đi nhanh thế nào, chúng ta đã hoàn thành những cột mốc, chặng đường gì – chẳng có liên hệ gì tới thành tựu tính bằng thời gian hay theo từng mốc tuổi sinh học… 

Giá trị cá nhân xây dựng trên cơ sở các trải nghiệm của mỗi hành trình của từng cá nhân – con đường của mỗi người là khác nhau… Nên sự so sánh, tâm lý tự bảo vệ quá khích chỉ là một mặt của phản ứng đối với cảm xúc tiêu cực, và thực chất làm cho giới hạn của “vùng an toàn” trở nên chật hẹp hơn…

Mỗi người thay vì so sánh với người khác nên tập trung vào con đường – hành trình của chính mình: chúng ta đang ở đâu, chúng ta sẽ bước tiếp như thế nào và về đâu…; xây dựng bức tường ngăn cách giới hạn “vùng an toàn” hay “môi trường quen thuộc” làm nơi ẩn náu là điều vô nghĩa khi hành trình của mỗi người là khác biệt, giá trị của mỗi người được tính bằng những công thức khác nhau; do đó, chỉ cần xác định ranh giới cá nhân – khuôn khổ các giá trị cơ bản của mỗi cá nhân được xây dựng trên sự tự trọng, sự tôn trọng và sự “tử tế” trong môi trường tương tác đa chiều với xã hội xung quanh đủ để không “hòa tan, pha loãng” là đủ…

Nỗ lực xây tường ngăn cách trong môi trường tương tác cũng giống như xây tháp ngà mà trổ thêm cửa sổ vậy, nhìn nhận vì vậy còn bị bó hẹp hơn khi tầm nhìn chỉ giới hạn ở nơi ô cửa sổ – mảnh đất nào cho trưởng dưỡng giấc mơ?

Bởi vậy, con đường càng thêm cong queo, méo mó…

Nên,

vạch ranh giới thay vì xây một bức tường ngăn cách sẽ giúp vẫn đảm bảo tính riêng tư của mỗi hành trình trong khi vẫn duy trì tính mở trong tương tác đối với môi trường; nhờ vậy, thúc đẩy thêm quá trình học hỏi, trưởng dưỡng giấc mơ và sự trưởng thành trong mỗi con người…

Đó cũng được coi như một thỏa thuận mềm – một cam kết cho mỗi hành trình, mỗi con đường vậy…

Mỗi khi có cơ hội bước được ra khỏi giới hạn của chính mình, chúng ta cần phải giữ chặt lấy nó bằng cả hai tay, vì,

nới rộng bức giới hạn của chính mình luôn tốt hơn là nhồi nhét, đè nén giấc mơ vào nơi tù túng…

___

NPL

746 từ

Tuần – Week: 16 – 21/11/2020

<For English version, please scroll down…>

Vĩ mô…

Các sự kiện chính – Main events:

Môi trường lãi suất siêu thấp tại châu Âu tạo điều kiện cho Trung Quốc bán lô trái phiếu đầu tiên với lãi suất âm 0,152%. Đợt bán trái phiếu ngày 18/11 đã giúp Trung Quốc thu về 4 tỷ euro (khoảng USD 4,74 tỷ). Samuel Fischer – Giám đốc mảng thị trường vốn Trung Quốc tại Deutsche Bank – một trong các ngân hàng tham gia điều tiết đợt bán này cho biết nhà đầu tư đã đặt mua tới 18 tỷ euro, gồm 3 loại: trái phiếu kỳ hạn 5 năm có lãi suất 0,152%; loại kỳ hạn 10 năm và 15 năm có lãi suất dương, lần lượt là 0,318% và 0,664%. Theo Dealogic, đây là lần đầu tiên Trung Quốc bán trái phiếu lãi suất âm. Điều này có nghĩa khi trái phiếu đáo hạn, nhà đầu tư nhận về ít tiền hơn so với số vốn bỏ ra ban đầu.

IMF đã nâng dự báo tăng trưởng của Việt Nam năm 2020 thêm 0,8 điểm phần trăm so với công bố một tháng trước lên 2,4%.

Tổng cục Hải quan vừa công bố số liệu sơ bộ về tình hình thương mại 10 tháng đầu năm 2020. Tổng trị giá xuất nhập khẩu cả nước đạt hơn USD 440 tỷ, tăng 2,7% so với cùng kỳ, trong đó xuất khẩu gần USD 230 tỷ, còn nhập khẩu hơn USD 210 tỷ. Thặng dư thương mại 10 tháng lập kỷ lục mới gần USD 20 tỷ, chủ yếu nhờ nhóm doanh nghiệp FDI với thặng dư gần USD 29 tỷ, mức kỷ lục từ trước đến nay.

Tại sao nó ảnh hưởng – Why is it affected:

Nhu cầu lớn xuất phát từ việc kinh tế Trung Quốc tăng trưởng nhanh sau khi kiềm chế được đại dịch, và nước này hiếm khi bán trái phiếu niêm yết bằng đồng euro. “Mọi người muốn tăng tiếp xúc với Trung Quốc. Thị trường tài chính nước này vẫn mở, nhưng trái phiếu chính phủ bán ra lại ít. Câu chuyện về kiềm chế Covid-19 và phục hồi kinh tế cũng khiến họ thích thú“, Fischer cho biết. Các giám đốc quỹ đầu tư sẵn sàng mua trái phiếu lãi suất âm, một phần vì họ cho rằng Ngân hàng Trung ương châu Âu (ECB) sẽ tiếp tục mua lại trái phiếu. Việc này cho phép họ bán kiếm lời. Trái phiếu chính phủ cũng an toàn và có thanh khoản cao hơn. Bên cạnh đó, lãi suất trái phiếu Trung Quốc âm nhưng vẫn hấp dẫn các nhà đầu tư châu Âu, vì còn cao hơn so với nhiều nước khác. James Athey – Giám đốc Đầu tư tại Aberdeen Standard Investments cho biết đi vay bằng đồng euro có nhiều lợi ích khác, ngoài lãi suất thấp. “Trung Quốc còn muốn giảm phụ thuộc vào Mỹ và thị trường bằng đôla Mỹ nữa“, ông nói.

Kết thúc đợt tham vấn trực tuyến từ 15/10 đến 13/11 với Việt Nam, bà Era Dabla Norris, Trưởng phái đoàn Điều IV Vụ châu Á – Thái Bình Dương của Quỹ Tiền tệ quốc tế (IMF) cho biết, nhờ kiểm soát được Covid-19, kinh tế Việt Nam được dự báo tăng trưởng ở mức 2,4%, thuộc nhóm cao nhất thế giới. Hồi tháng 10, IMF đã đưa ra nhận định Việt Nam có thể tăng trưởng 1,6%, thuộc số ít quốc gia trên thế giới được dự báo tăng trưởng dương. Theo bà Era Dabla Norris, những chính sách củng cố tài khoá thận trọng trong quá khứ đã tạo điều kiện cho Việt Nam triển khai được những biện pháp ứng phó. Các chính sách tài khoá chủ yếu đi theo hướng hỗ trợ cho các doanh nghiệp và hộ gia đình dễ bị tổn thương. Các biện pháp nới lỏng chính sách tiền tệ và giảm căng thẳng tài chính tạm thời của Ngân hàng Nhà nước đã giúp giảm áp lực thanh khoản, hạ thấp chi phí nguồn vốn và đảm bảo tín dụng tiếp tục lưu thông. Đại diện IMF cho rằng kinh tế Việt Nam sẽ hồi phục trong năm 2021 với GDP đạt 6,5%, lạm phát ở mức 4%.

Số liệu cũng ghi nhận sự chênh lệch lớn giữa nhóm doanh nghiệp có vốn đầu tư trực tiếp nước ngoài (FDI) và doanh nghiệp trong nước, cũng như giữa các thị trường lớn. Tổng cục Hải quan cho biết, xuất nhập khẩu của khối FDI trong 10 tháng đạt gần USD 296 tỷ, tăng 7,4% so với cùng kỳ và chiếm 67% tổng kim ngạch xuất nhập khẩu. Trong đó, khối này xuất khẩu hơn USD 162 tỷ và nhập khẩu hơn USD 133 tỷ. Cán cân thương mại trong 10 tháng thặng dư gần USD 29 tỷ. Về xuất khẩu, các mặt hàng máy vi tính, linh kiện điện tử; máy móc, phụ tùng và gỗ có mức tăng cao nhất. Trong đó, xuất khẩu nhóm hàng máy vi tính, sản phẩm điện tử và linh kiện đạt USD 36,4 tỷ tăng 25%; xuất khẩu máy móc, phụ tùng đạt hơn USD 21 tỷ, tăng 43,3%; xuất khẩu gỗ và các sản phẩm gỗ đạt gần USD 10 tỷ, tăng gần 12%. Ngược lại, xuất khẩu dệt may, giày dép và điện thoại giảm so với cùng kỳ. Giá trị xuất khẩu hàng dệt may giảm hơn 9% còn USD 23,7 tỷ, xuất khẩu giày dép giảm gần 9%, còn các sản phẩm điện thoại, linh kiện giảm hơn 4%. Về nhập khẩu, giá trị nhập khẩu nhóm mặt hàng nguyên phụ liệu dệt may, da, giày giảm 13,5% so với cùng kỳ, nhập khẩu máy móc, thiết bị cũng giảm 0,6%. Trong khi đó, nhập máy tính, sản phẩm điện tử tăng hơn 20%, nhập khẩu điện thoại các loại tăng 3,6%.

Xu hướng chính – Key trends:

Gần đây, Trung Quốc rất tích cực tham gia vào thị trường trái phiếu. Tháng 11 năm ngoái, họ bán trái phiếu bằng đồng euro lần đầu tiên kể từ năm 2004. Tháng trước, nước này cũng huy động USD 6 tỷ bằng trái phiếu. GDP Trung Quốc tăng 4,9% quý III so với năm ngoái, dần quay lại quỹ đạo tiền đạo dịch. Quỹ Tiền tệ Quốc tế (IMF) tháng trước dự báo Trung Quốc là nền kinh tế lớn duy nhất tăng trưởng dương năm nay, với 1,9%. Nợ công toàn cầu năm nay tăng nhanh, do các nước cần vốn để đối phó đại dịch. Moody’s dự báo nợ công của Trung Quốc sẽ lên 185% – 190% GDP giai đoạn 2020 – 2021, tăng so với 167% năm ngoái. Hoạt động kinh tế của Trung Quốc đã phục hồi trên diện rộng vào tháng 10, mở đường cho sự hồi phục nhanh hơn trong quý cuối năm. Cả đầu tư và chi tiêu của người tiêu dùng trong tháng 10 so với tháng 9 đều tăng nhanh hơn cùng kỳ năm ngoái. Trong khi đó, sản xuất công nghiệp – lĩnh vực đầu tiên thoát khỏi sự sụt giảm do đại dịch – vẫn vững chắc. Cụ thể, sản lượng công nghiệp đã tăng 6,9% trong tháng 10 so với một năm trước đó, ngang với tốc độ của tháng 9 và cao hơn kỳ vọng của thị trường về mức tăng 6,5%, theo dữ liệu công bố ngày 16/11 vừa qua của Cục Thống kê Quốc gia Trung Quốc. Đầu tư vào tài sản cố định tăng 1,8% trong giai đoạn từ tháng 1 đến tháng 10, cao hơn mức 0,8% trong quý I và cũng hơn mức 1,6% được dự đoán bởi các nhà kinh tế do The Wall Street Journal khảo sát. Doanh số bán lẻ, thước đo chính về chi tiêu của người tiêu dùng, đã tăng 4,3% trong tháng 10 so với cùng kỳ 2019, cao hơn mức 3,3% của tháng 9, nhưng thấp hơn mức 4,6% mà các nhà kinh tế mong đợi.

Tuy vậy, triển vọng trên vẫn còn đối mặt với nhiều bất trắc như khả năng bùng phát Covid-19 trở lại, quá trình phục hồi toàn cầu chậm chạp, căng thẳng thương mại đang diễn ra và khu vực doanh nghiệp gặp khó khăn… Những điều này có thể dẫn đến tình trạng nhiều doanh nghiệp phải đóng cửa và phá sản, căng thẳng trên thị trường lao động và khu vực ngân hàng. Những bất trắc này khiến việc linh hoạt điều chỉnh quy mô, cơ cấu hỗ trợ chính sách sẽ trở nên rất quan trọng, trong đó, chính sách tài khoá phải đóng vai trò lớn hơn, theo bà Era Dabla Norris. Đại diện IMF cho rằng, trong năm nay, thâm hụt tài khoá nhiều khả năng sẽ nới rộng do thu ngân sách giảm, chi hỗ trợ bằng tiền và chi đầu tư tăng. Do vậy, trong ngắn hạn, hỗ trợ tài khoá nên tập trung vào công tác triển khai, còn trung và dài hạn cần tập trung vào huy động nguồn thu cho các dự án hạ tầng xanh, hiệu quả, đồng thời tăng cường các hệ thống an sinh xã hội và đảm bảo bền vững nợ công.

Trong các thị trường, Việt Nam xuất siêu lớn nhất với Mỹ và nhập siêu nhiều nhất từ Trung Quốc. Với Mỹ, xuất khẩu đạt hơn USD 62,3 tỷ, nhưng nhập khẩu chỉ hơn USD 11,4 tỷ. Với Trung Quốc, kim ngạch xuất khẩu đạt gần USD 38 tỷ nhưng nhập khẩu hơn USD 65,6 tỷ.  Về thị trường, xuất nhập khẩu hàng hóa của Việt Nam với châu Á tiếp tục chiếm tỷ trọng cao nhất (64,2%) trong tổng quy mô xuất nhập khẩu. Trong đó, xuất khẩu đạt USD 113,3 tỷ, còn nhập khẩu hơn USD 169 tỷ. Quy mô xuất nhập khẩu với châu Mỹ đạt hơn USD 91 tỷ, tăng gần 15%; với châu Âu là USD 52,69 tỷ, giảm 4%; với châu Đại Dương là USD 8 tỷ và châu Phi là USD 5,67 tỷ.

Cái gì tiếp theo – What comes next:

Khi nền kinh tế tăng trưởng mạnh, các nhà hoạch định chính sách Bắc Kinh đang xem xét gỡ bỏ các chính sách kích thích phục hồi được đưa ra trong năm nay. Liu Guoqiang, Phó thống đốc Ngân hàng Trung ương Trung Quốc, cho biết chỉ là “vấn đề thời gian” trước khi Trung Quốc rút lại gói kích thích. Cựu Bộ trưởng Tài chính Lou Jiwei đánh giá cuối tuần trước rằng đã đến lúc Bắc Kinh xem xét rút lại các biện pháp kích thích tiền tệ một cách có trật tự. Nhưng theo ông Li, chuyên gia kinh tế của Standard Chartered, Bắc Kinh có thể hoãn dỡ bỏ hoàn toàn các biện pháp kích thích do những bất ổn trong sự phục hồi toàn cầu và rủi ro vỡ nợ gia tăng trong khu vực doanh nghiệp.

Tại Việt Nam, IMF lưu ý Việt Nam nên ưu tiên cho việc giảm gánh nặng tuân thủ đối với các doanh nghiệp tư nhân trong nước, cải thiện tiếp cận đất đai và nguồn lực tài chính, đặc biệt là cho doanh nghiệp vừa và nhỏ, và giảm bớt tham nhũng. Việc thiết lập một cơ chế phá sản riêng kịp thời và nhanh gọn cho các doanh nghiệp vừa và nhỏ sẽ giúp khơi thông được nguồn vốn và hạn chế những trường hợp thanh lý phá sản không cần thiết. Mặt khác, giảm sự mất cân đối giữa cung và cầu kỹ năng lao động, tăng cường tiếp cận công nghệ và nguồn vốn con người cũng sẽ giúp thúc đẩy năng suất lao động.

Dấu hiệu rủi ro – Risk signals:

Tác động của Covid-19 khiến vốn đầu tư nước ngoài 10 tháng tiếp tục giảm so với cùng kỳ, song mức độ giảm đã thu hẹp so với giai đoạn đại dịch phức tạp. Theo số liệu của Bộ Kế hoạch và Đầu tư, trong 10 tháng tính đến 20/10, tổng vốn đăng ký cấp mới, điều chỉnh và góp vốn mua cổ phần của nhà đầu tư nước ngoài đạt 23,48 tỷ USD, giảm gần 20% so với cùng kỳ năm 2019.

Sự tập trung vào một số ngành và đối tượng ở phạm vi hẹp về lâu về dài sẽ đưa nền kinh tế về đâu???

xxx – npl

<Week …>

Macro…

Main events:

The ultra-low interest rate environment in Europe was allowed China to sell its first batch of bonds at a negative interest rate of 0.152%. The November 18 bond sale round helped China earning Euros 4 billion (about USD 4.74 billion). Samuel Fischer, Director of Chinese Capital Markets at Deutsche Bank, one of the banks involved in the sale, said that investors had ordered up to euros 18 billion, including 3 types: 5-year bonds with an interest rate of 0.152%; 10-year and 15-year term types had positive interest rates, 0.318% and 0.664% and 0.664% each. According to Dealogic, that was the first time China had sold negative interest rate bonds. This meaned that when bonds would come due, investors received less money than they originally spent.

The IMF raised its growth forecast for 2020 by 0.8 percentage points compared to announce a month ago to 2.4%.

The General Department of Customs had released preliminary data on the trade situation in the first 10 months of 2020. The total value of import and export of the country reached more than USD 440 billion, up 2.7% over the same period, of which exports were nearly USD 230 billion, while imports more than USD 210 billion. The 10-month trade surplus set a new record of nearly USD 20 billion, mainly thanked to the FDI enterprise group with a surplus of nearly USD 29 billion, a record level ever.

Why is it affected:

The big demand came from China’s rapidly growing economy after curbing the epidemic, and the country rarely selled bonds listed in euros. “People want to increase exposure to China. The country’s financial markets remained open, but government bonds sold little. The story of Covid-19 restraint and economic recovery also delights them,” Fischer said. Hedge fund directors were willing to buy negative interest rate bonds, in part because they believed the European Central Bank (ECB) would continue to buy back bonds. This allowed them to sell for a profit. Government bonds were also safer and have higher liquidity. Besides, Chinese bond yields were negative but still appealed to European investors, as they were higher than in many other countries. James Athey, Chief Investment Officer at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said euro borrowers had had many other benefits, in addition to low interest rates. “China also wants to reduce its dependence on the U.S. and the market in U.S. dollars,” he said.

At the end of the online consultation from October 15th to November 13th with Vietnam, Ms. Era Dabla Norris, Head of Delegation of Article IV of the Asia-Pacific Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that thanked to covid-19 control, Vietnam’s economy was forecasted to grow at 2.4%, among the highest in the world. In October, the IMF said Vietnam could grow by 1.6%, among the few countries in the world that were forecasted to grow positively. According to Era Dabla Norris, prudent fiscal consolidation policies in the past had facilitated Vietnam’s implementation of response measures. Fiscal policies primarily went towards supporting vulnerable businesses and households. The State Bank’s measures to loosen monetary policy and reduce temporary financial stress had helped reduce liquidity pressures, lower capital expenditures and ensure credit continued to circulate. The IMF representative said that Vietnam’s economy would recover in 2021 with GDP reaching 6.5%, inflation at 4%.

The data also recorded a large disparity between foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic enterprises, as well as between major markets. The General Department of Customs said that the import and export of FDI in 10 months reached nearly USD 296 billion, up 7.4% over the same period and accounting for 67% of total import and export turnover. In particular, the block exported more than USD 162 billion and imports more than USD 133 billion. Trade balance in 10 months surplused nearly USD 29 billion. In terms of export, computer products, electronic components; machinery, spare parts and wood had the highest increase. In particular, exports of computer goods, electronic products and components reached USD 36.4 billion, up 25%; exports of machinery and spare parts reached more than USD 21 billion, up 43.3%; exports of wood and wood products reached nearly USD 10 billion, up nearly 12%. In contrast, exports of textiles, footwear and phones decreased over the same period. The value of textile exports decreased by more than 9% to USD 23.7 billion, footwear exports decreased by nearly 9%, while phone products and components decreased by more than 4%. In terms of imports, the import value of textile, leather and footwear raw materials decreased by 13.5% over the same period, imports of machinery and equipment also decreased by 0.6%. Meanwhile, computer imports, electronic products increased by more than 20%, imports of phones of all kinds increased by 3.6%.

Key trends:

Recently, China had been very actively involved in the bond market. Last November, they sold bonds in euros for the first time since 2004. Last month, the country also raised $6 billion in bonds. Chinese GDP increased by 4.9% in the third quarter compared to last year, gradually returning to the trajectory of translation strikers. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) last month forecasted China to be the only major economy to grow positively this year, with 1.9%. Global public debt was rising rapidly this year, as countries needed capital to cope with the epidemic. Moody’s forecasts China’s public debt would be up 185% – 190% of GDP between 2020 and 2021, up from 167% last year. China’s economic activity recovered broadly in October, opening the way for a faster recovery in the year-end quarter. Both consumer investment and spending in October compared to September increased faster than the same period last year. Meanwhile, industrial production – the first sector to escape a decline due to the epidemic – remained solid. Specifically, industrial output increased by 6.9% in October compared to a year earlier, on par with September’s pace and higher than market expectations for a 6.5% increase, according to data released on November 16 by China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Investment in fixed assets rose 1.8 percent between January and October, well above the 0.8 percent in the first quarter and well above the 1.6 percent predicted by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal. Retail sales, the main measure of consumer spending, rose 4.3 percent in October compared with the same period in 2019, higher than September’s 3.3 percent, but below the 4.6 percent expected by economists.

However, the outlook still faced many uncertainties such as the possibility of a Covid-19 outbreak again, a slow global recovery, ongoing trade tensions and a struggling business sector… These could lead to many businesses having to close and go bankrupt, stressing the labor market and the banking sector. These uncertainties made it very important to flexibly adjust the scale and structure of policy support, in which fiscal policy had had to play a bigger role, said Era Dabla Norris. IMF representatives said that this year, the fiscal deficit was likely to widen due to reduced budget revenues, monetary support expenditures and increased investment expenditures. Therefore, in the short term, fiscal support should focus on implementation; while medium and long-term would need to focus on mobilizing revenues for green infrastructure projects, effectively, while strengthening social security systems and ensuring sustainable public debt.

Among the markets, Vietnam exported in supplus to the US and imported in suplus from China. With the U.S., exports reached more than USD 62.3 billion, but imports were just over USD 11.4 billion. With China, export turnover reached nearly USD 38 billion but imports more than USD 65.6 billion.  In terms of markets, Vietnam’s import and export of goods with Asia continued to account for the highest proportion (64.2%) of the total import and export scale. In particular, exports reached USD 113.3 billion, while imported more than USD 169 billion. The scale of import and export with the Americas reached more than USD 91 billion, up nearly 15%; with Europe at $52.69 billion, down 4%; with Oceania at $8 billion and Africa at $5.67 billion.

What comes next:

As the economy grew sharply, Beijing policymakers were considering removing the recovery stimulus policies put in place this year. Liu Guoqiang, deputy governor of the Central Bank of China, said it was only a “matter of time” before China withdrew the stimulus package. Former Finance Minister Lou Jiwei assessed late last week that it was time for Beijing to consider withdrawing monetary stimulus measures in an orderly way. However, according to Li, an economist at Standard Chartered, Beijing could postpone the complete lifting of stimulus measures due to uncertainties in the global recovery and the increased risk of insolvents in the corporate sector.

In Vietnam, the IMF noted that Vietnam should prioritize reducing the compliance burden on domestic private enterprises, improving access to land and financial resources, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, and reducing corruption. Establishing a separate bankruptcy mechanism in a timely and fast manner for small and medium-sized enterprises would help to open up capital and limit unnecessary bankruptcy liquidation cases. On the other behalf, reducing the imbalance between labor supply and demand, increasing access to technology and human capital would also help boost labor productivity.

Risk signals:

The impact of Covid-19 caused foreign investment in 10 months to continue to decline over the same period, but the decrease was narrowed compared to the complex epidemic period. According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, in the 10 months up to October 20, the total registered capital of new, adjusted and contributed capital to buy shares of foreign investors reached USD 23.48 billion, down nearly 20% over the same period in 2019.

Where would a focus on a number of industries and a narrow scale in the long run bring the economy???

xxx – npl

Share – Đừng bỏ rơi em bé tâm hồn — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

(1289 chữ, 5 phút đọc) Khi mang trong mình một đứa trẻ tinh thần nhạy cảm và thuần khiết, chúng ta cũng đang vào vị trí của một người mẹ. 15 more words

Đừng bỏ rơi em bé tâm hồn — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

Có bao giờ bạn cảm thấy chán nản? Có bao giờ bạn cảm thấy bực tức trong lòng? Có bao giờ bạn cảm thấy nhớ mong? Có bao giờ bạn cảm thấy đau khổ dâng lên đến cùng cực? Có bao giờ bạn cảm thấy cô đơn? Cảm thấy lạc lõng? Cảm thấy xấu hổ, nuối tiếc, bồn chồn và hờn ghen? Có bao giờ bạn cảm thấy uể oải? Cảm thấy mông lung, lo âu và bất định?

Những lúc như thế, bạn thường làm gì?

Bạn đè nén những cảm xúc ấy? Bạn vùi lấp chúng bằng những hoạt động giải trí? Bạn tự phán xét chính mình hoặc đổi lỗi cho người xung quanh? Hay bạn chống cự chúng trong một sự gắng gồng đầy đau khổ?

Tại sao tôi lại đưa ra một loạt những câu hỏi như vậy? Hãy cùng đọc tiếp câu chuyện dưới đây.

Bình thường, khi một em bé òa lên khóc, người mẹ đang làm lụng ở ngoài vườn cũng phải vội vã chạy vào. Bà mẹ có la rầy em không? Có quát mắng em không? Có bịt miệng em lại để không nghe thấy tiếng khóc ấy không? Hay là người mẹ xót xa đứa con thơ nhỏ mà ấp ôm vào lòng, đồng thời quan sát xem em bé có đang đói, có đang bị giật mình bởi tiếng động, hay có đang cần được thay tã. Khi mẹ tới và ôm em vào lòng, em bé cảm thấy được an toàn và dần nín khóc. Sau đó khi tinh thần hoàn toàn yên ổn, em nhoẻn miệng cười và u ơ trò chuyện với người mẹ hiền. Đối với em, khi có sự hiện diện của mẹ, bao nhiêu giông bão cũng đều tan biến.

Tâm hồn mỗi người chúng ta cũng như một em bé – thuần khiết, sáng trong và vô cùng nhạy cảm. Mỗi khi bị mất cân bằng, dao động, hay không được cảm nhận sự hiện hữu của ý thức, em bé tâm hồn sẽ kêu khóc. Đó là lúc bạn và tôi sẽ cảm thấy tiêu cực và bất ổn (với bất kỳ hoàn cảnh nào hợp lý với cảm xúc đó.) Tất cả những cảm xúc tiêu cực mà con người cảm thấy có khác gì đâu những tiếng kêu khóc của một đứa trẻ sơ sinh. Khi mang trong mình một đứa trẻ tinh thần nhạy cảm và thuần khiết, chúng ta cũng đang vào vị trí của một người mẹ. Vậy đứng trước những đau khóc của đứa con tâm hồn, bạn nên làm gì?

Câu trả lời đó là dành sự chú ý và quan tâm dịu dàng cho nó. Đây chính là cách thực tập chánh niệm mà những bậc thiền sư hay nói tới. Bất kỳ khi nào nội tâm sa ngã khỏi điểm cân bằng, bất kỳ khi nào tâm trí ồn ào náo động, việc đầu tiên người đó cần làm không phải là trách mắng và đổ lỗi cho thế giới bên ngoài đã gây nên những điều tiêu cực, mà là thu rút sự chú ý vào bên trong chính mình, đồng thời neo đậu vào hơi thở.

“Người nào có khả năng rút các giác quan của mình khỏi các đối tượng của giác quan như con rùa rụt tứ chi vào mai, người đó có ý thức toàn thiện.” — Sri Krishna, Chí Tôn Ca (2:58)

“Trong chánh niệm, người ta không chỉ thư thái và hạnh phúc, mà còn minh mẫn và tỉnh táo. Thiền không phải là trốn tránh, đó là cuộc gặp gỡ thanh thản với thực tại.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

Đa số mọi người không biết được giá trị của việc thực tập chánh niệm là do chúng ta vẫn còn coi thế giới vật chất bên ngoài là thứ giá trị hơn. Không những vậy, một khi không có thói quen hiện diện với nội tâm của chính mình, một người sẽ dễ có xu hướng làm những chuyện không quan trọng khác khi những căng thẳng xảy đến, đó là tranh đấu với những tác nhân gián tiếp đến từ bên ngoài. Lúc này, chúng ta giống như một bà mẹ khi thấy con kêu khóc thì vội vàng chạy ra ngoài đường đuổi theo cái xe tải và la rầy ông tài xế, bảo rằng ông ta nên thay một cái còi xe khác có âm lượng nhỏ hơn để các em bé không bị giật mình. Trong khi người mẹ mải cãi cọ hơn thua với người lạ ở ngoài đường, thì thật tội nghiệp biết bao, em bé ở trong nhà đã khóc đến tím tái mặt mày mà vẫn không có mẹ ở bên dỗ dành.

Chạy theo những hoàn cảnh bên ngoài và cố gắng kiểm soát chúng là một cách chữa chạy rất hao tổn năng lượng và thời gian. Đồng thời hiệu quả nó đem lại cực kỳ thấp, thậm chí nó còn khiến chuyện bé xé ra to, chữa lợn lành thành lợn què, hay đổ thêm dầu vào lửa. Trong khi chỉ với một vài hơi thở đều đặn cùng sự chú ý được bám rễ dần vào bên trong nội tâm, bạn đã giải quyết được hầu hết vấn đề trong hiện tại. Thậm chí nếu thực tập chánh niệm chuyên cần tinh tấn, bạn sẽ càng tỉnh thức và sẽ không làm phát sinh thêm các vấn đề mới.

“Chánh niệm là như vậy – đó là phép màu có thể gọi lại trong nháy mắt tâm trí đang bị phân tán của chúng ta và khôi phục nó trở lại vẹn toàn để chúng ta có thể sống từng phút giây cuộc đời.” — Thích Nhất Hạnh

 Bạn có đang chú ý tới những điều bạn đang chú ý tới?

Có bao giờ bạn để ý thấy rằng sự điềm tĩnh, tận hưởng và hài lòng từ đâu mà ra, nếu không phải từ tâm hồn mỗi người? Nếu tâm hồn không được thường xuyên thăm nom và soi sáng thì chúng ta làm sao có được sự bình an trong đời sống hàng ngày? Một người mẹ luôn bỏ bê vắng mặt với đứa con thơ trong những lúc nó cần nhất thì làm sao nó có thể hạnh phúc?
Chúng ta kiếm thật nhiều tiền để cảm thấy an toàn ư? Chúng ta có được nhiều danh tiếng để cảm thấy mãn nguyện ư? Chúng ta có nhiều thú vui chơi để cảm thấy sung sướng ư? Chuyện này có khác gì một bà mẹ đặt một em bé sơ sinh vào trong chiếc giường dát vàng để mong em bé khỏi khóc? Trưng đầy ảnh em bé ngoài đường để em bé thấy được an tâm? Và tống thật nhiều đồ chơi phát ra tiếng nhạc vào trong chiếc nôi để em bé được thấy thích thú? Không, những lúc bất an nhất, em bé chỉ cần mẹ, cần sự ngọt ngào yêu thương của người gần gũi với em mà thôi. Chỉ khi nào đã có mẹ và cảm thấy hoàn toàn bình an, em bé mới nảy sinh sự khám phá và tò mò với thế giới xung quanh. Còn khi không có mẹ, tất cả những thứ kia chỉ là những mối đe dọa.

Khép lại bài viết này, tôi hy vọng rằng các bạn có thể nhớ lại em bé tâm hồn và thực tập quay về hiện diện với nó, đặc biệt với những góc phần tổn thương, tiêu cực. Vì bóng tối và khổ đau được tạo nên là do sự vắng mặt của bạn. Còn ánh sáng và hạnh phúc xuất hiện là nhờ sự hiện hữu của bạn.

Tác giả: Vũ Thanh Hòa

Ẩm thực – The Worst Foods That Cause Belly Fat

BY DAVID ZINCZENKO

Full link: https://www.eatthis.com/6-foods-that-turn-into-belly-fat/?utm_source=nsltr&utm_medium=email&utm_content=austin-brick-oven-pizza-closing&utm_campaign=etntNewsletter

If you want to tone your tummy, you’re going to want to start by ditching these foods.

baked potato chips

Whether you want it to admit it or not, there are some foods that no matter what, go right to your gut and cause what feels like nearly instant weight gain. And it goes right where you don’t want it. Yes, we’re talking about the dreaded fat that sticks right to your belly. And it’s no secret that shedding that dreaded belly fat isn’t necessarily the easiest.

This type of weight gain is referred to as “deep fat tissue,” and it can even lead to some more serious issues—heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s among them.

Where your body stores calories depends on your hormones, and some unhealthy foods trigger just the exact right hormonal reaction—they hit you in the gut. Literally. So which foods are some of the “insta-belly” culprits? Here is a breakdown of the foods and drinks you might not even realize are causing you to gain unwanted belly fat, but they’re the biggest offenders out there. And while you’re eliminating these foods, be sure you’re trying out these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.

1

White Bread

White bread
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If you’re thinking not all bread is bad, you’re right. It’s highly-refined, white bread that should be avoided when you’re working to lose belly fat. Studies have shown that eating whole grains can actually lower visceral fat deposits in your belly, but eating refined grains leads to more. Looking for more helpful tips? Sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!

2

Diet Soda

Brown soda in a clear glass against a white background
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If you want to get your beach body back, you should cut out sugary beverages and replace them with diet versions, right? Sorry, but that’s just wrong. Many studies have found an association between the consumption of diet sodas and wider waist circumference. What’s more, diet soda drinkers have a higher percentage of belly flab than those who don’t sip the beverage, a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found. Why? Researchers think diet soda drinkers may overestimate how many calories they’re “saving,” and then overeat.

Instead, sip on some white tea. This brew blocks the formation of new fat cells and helps the body break down stored fat, according to a Nutrition & Metabolism study. That means that even when you overindulge, it’s harder for your body to store the excess calories in your body.

3

Fruit Juice

Unhealthy orange juice bottle held in front of fridge
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It’s natural, it’s packed with Vitamin C—what could be wrong? Well, while 100% fruit juice is a better pick than sugary drinks like Sunny D, even the all-natural stuff still packs up to 36 grams of sugar per cup—about the same amount of sugar you would get if you ate four Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. What’s more, most of the sweetness in juice comes from fructose, a type of sugar associated with the development of visceral adipose tissue—yep, that’s belly fat.

Instead, your best bet is to stick with plain ol’ H2O. But there is a way to add some flavor to those cups of water. You can add fresh sliced fruit like oranges and grapefruit. The key, though, is to keep the peels on: citrus peels are rich in the antioxidant d-limonene, a powerful compound that helps flush out toxins from the body and allows it to release stored visceral fat.

4

Rib-Eye Steak

Ribeye steak
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Wait—don’t toss your steak knife at us just yet! Studies show that eating the right cuts of steak can actually help whittle your middle. But rib-eye, along with T-bone and New York Strip, is one of the three fattiest cuts. Researchers of one study found that consuming a diet rich in fatty, fresh red meat is positively associated with abdominal obesity and larger waist circumference.

5

Chocolate

milk chocolate
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Let’s start by making it clear that not all chocolate is bad. In fact, dark chocolate is swimming in health benefits, and according to a study published in Hearteating up to 3.5 ounces of chocolate a day can help lower your risk of heart disease. Plus, it can help reduce belly fat! But it’s milk chocolate that is the problem. Milk chocolate bars are loaded up with sugar and are typically packing a ton of calories. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that the food that was associated with the most with weight gain was chocolate bars. Just be sure to stay away from those milk chocolate bars!

6

Canned Soup

Canned soup
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Again, when it comes to canned soups you’re going to want to want to make sure you’re choosing the right ones. See, there are plenty of soup options that sneak in a ton of sodium, which not only causes belly bloat but actually can increase your appetite and hinder your ability to know when you’re full.

7

Potato Chips

Bag of potato chips
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In the contest to find the very worst possible food for your belly, Harvard researchers believe they have a winner. It’s not just that potato chips are saturated with saturated fat, causing abdominal fat gain. It’s not just that they’re crusted with salt, causing mid-level bloat. It’s not even a pure calorie play—there are plenty of more caloric snacks out there. What makes potato chips so epically bad for your belly is not what they have, but what they lack: the ability to make you feel satisfied. A handful of chips can turn into a big empty bag in no time.

8

Frozen Coffee Drinks

frozen coffee drink with straw

Coffee by itself isn’t bad for your waistline, but if you’re frequently sipping on frozen coffee drinks, then you’ve just met your problem. Most of the time, these high-calorie drinks are packed with sugar and dairy. Plus, a 2017 study published in Public Health found that nearly 70% of coffee drinkers had their cup of Joe with caloric add-ins including sugar and creamers.

9

Pizza

Veggie pizza
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Even if there some veggies sprinkled on top, it’s important to keep in mind that pizza is still in fact, well, pizza. It’s the second biggest contributor of saturated fat to the American diet (just below cheese itself), and most slices serve up half a day’s worth of the artery clogger. Researchers have found that unlike other fats, the saturated variety is the most likely to be stored in the stomach. You’ll really want to avoid any of the unhealthiest pizzas in America, that’s for sure.

10

Low-Fat Pastries

chocolate chip muffin
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Some people see the label “low fat” and think it’s the healthier option. But don’t let the tricky terminology fool you. These muffins and treats are typically loaded up with processed flour, tend to be high in sugar, and can be high in sodium, too. These are all components that add up to packing on the belly fat. No thanks!

11

Yogurt

Flavored yogurt
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Don’t panic just yet! Yogurt is a great weight-loss food as it’s packed with protein, which will help keep you full, and belly-beneficial probiotics. It’s the flavored yogurt that is filled with way too much sugar that is the big offender here. All of that sugar you’re consuming can actually promote unhealthy gut bacteria and by now, you’re well-versed in the fact that eating too much sugar has been linked to weight gain. Be careful of the fruit-at-the-bottom options and be sure to choose any of these best low-sugar yogurts that are approved by nutritionists when your snack craving hits for a much healthier option.

12

Pretzels

pretzels
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Pretzels seem like they’re a better option than potato chips, and we already know chips are a no-go. Sorry to disappoint, but pretzels are just as bad, as they are loaded up with salt. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition even uncovered how salt confuses the biological processes that tell you when you’re full. Essentially, you just end up eating more, which leads to weight gain, and it’ll go straight to your belly.

13

Cereal

Sugary cereal
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Not all cereal is bad, but the sugary, colorful kind you most likely ate a kid? That’s the stuff that will lead to the excess belly fat. Plenty of cereals are high in sugar, yet low in fiber and protein, so soon enough, you’ll feel hungry again. Plus, eating a healthy breakfast every day can help you lose weight quicker. One study found that 78% of participants who lose 30 pounds or more kept the weight off by eating breakfast daily. As long as you’re eating the right kind of breakfast!

14

French Fries

french fries
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Any fat-laden bad carb-fest will make you gain weight, but there’s something almost magical about the effects of fried spuds on your body’s fat-storage system. And by magical, we don’t mean in a good way. See, one longitudinal Harvard study found that people who ate fries regularly gained more than three pounds of body weight every four years; over the course of the study, the french fry eaters gained 13 pounds of belly flab from fries alone!

So what can you have instead? Homemade sweet potato fries that are baked, not fried. A simple swap that will keep that belly fat away.

15

Ice Cream

ice cream
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This one is sad to see, but ice loading up on ice cream every night isn’t going to help you shed that weight—it’s going to caught you to pack more on. And why is that? Well, besides all that sugar you would be consuming, ice cream is a carb-heavy food, and if you happen to eating a lot of refined carbohydrates, this can result in belly fat deposition, Edwina Clark, RD, APD, explained to us in another article. So perhaps it’s best not to eat a pint every night…

Ẩm thực – A Brief History of the Cheese Curl, Junk Food’s Happiest Accident

BY ERNIE SMITH

Full link: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/a-brief-history-of-the-cheese-curl-junk-foods-happiest-accident?utm_source=Gastro+Obscura+Weekly+E-mail&utm_campaign=4bc5cb0b36-GASTRO_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_11_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2418498528-4bc5cb0b36-70327933&mc_cid=4bc5cb0b36&mc_eid=df51e46713

It’s more or less repurposed horse feed.

Cheetos, the brand that took cheese curls mainstream.
Cheetos, the brand that took cheese curls mainstream. MIKE MOZART/CC BY 2.0

They change the color of our skin. They get stuck in our teeth. But for some reason, we can’t stop eating cheese curls, the puffiest snack food ever created.

But these corn-and-powder snacks didn’t just fall like manna from the sky into our bowls, always there for us ahead of our Bojack Horseman marathon.

The story of the cheese curl is one of the more unusual creation stories in snack-food history, starting, of course, in Wisconsin, an agricultural hub that has given us a lot of food innovations over the years. (Three words: fried cheese curds.)

Some of these were intentional, others not, but the accident that made the cheese curl proved hugely fruitful for Flakall Corporation, a Beloit, Wisconsin animal feed manufacturer whose owners later switched gears to producing snack foods, all thanks to the way the company cleaned its machines. The company’s approach to producing animal feed was to put the material through a grinder, effectively flaking out the corn to get as much material as possible from the grain, as well as to ensure cows weren’t chewing any sharp kernels.

“This flaking of the feed is of advantage because it avoids loss of a good percentage of material which otherwise is thrown off as dust, and gives a material which keeps better in storage by reason of the voids left between the flakes, such that there can be proper aeration, not to mention the important fact that flaked feed is more palatable and easily digested by the animal,” the firm stated in a 1932 patent filing.

The grinder did its job, but it wasn’t perfect, and periodically required cleaning to ensure it wouldn’t clog. One strategy that Flakall workers used was to put moistened corn into the grinder. During this process, however, something unusual happened: the moist corn ran directly into the heat of the machine, and when it exited the grinder, it didn’t flake out anymore—it puffed up, like popcorn, except without the annoying kernels.

A 1932 patent for a feed grinder, a process that led to the cheese curl.
A 1932 patent for a feed grinder, a process that led to the cheese curl. GOOGLE PATENTS US1987941A

By complete accident, Flakall had invented the world’s first corn snack extruder.

Edward Wilson, an observant Flakall employee, saw these puffs come out of the machine, and decided to take those puffs home, season them up, and turn them into an edible snack for humans—a snack he called Korn Kurls.

You’re noshing, in other words, on repurposed animal feed.

This state of affairs led to the second patent in Flakall’s history, a 1939 filing titled “Process for preparing food products.” A key line from the patent:

The device preferably is designed so as to be self-heated by friction between the particles of the material and between the particles and the surfaces of contacting metal and to progressively build up pressure during the heating period. Thus the uncooked raw material, having a predetermined moisture content is processed into a somewhat viscous liquid having a temperature high enough to cook the mass and heat the water particles to a temperature high enough for evaporation at atmospheric pressure but being under sufficient pressure to prevent it.

If that’s a little complicated to understand, a 2012 clip from BBC’s Food Factory does the trick.

In the video, host Stefan Gates takes an extruder and connects it to a tractor, making the extruder move so fast that it puffs the corn out in an extremely fast, extremely dramatic way.

Clearly, Flakall had something big. The firm eventually changed its name to Adams Corporation, which helped take some attention off the fact that it was selling a food product to humans that was originally intended for cows.

Flakall wasn’t the only early claimant to the cheese curl throne, however. In Louisiana, a firm called the Elmer Candy Corporation, developed a product eventually called Chee Wees, that they said was the actual first. And later the New York-based Old London Foods came out with its own popular variation, the Cheez Doodle, in the late 1950s.

But the most notable brand that still sells cheese curls wasn’t the first mover, just the one with the best marketing and distribution.

That would be, of course, Cheetos, which came about in 1948. While Cheetos came along later than its competitors, the Frito company’s variation quickly overtook the market, in part because Cheetos had gained national distribution due to the prior success of its namesake.

That company’s founder, Elmer Doolan, worked out a deal with H.W. Lay and Company to market Cheetos to the broader market. It quickly became a massive hit.

The success of Cheetos was so impressive that it played a large role in the merger of Frito with Lay in 1961, as well as the company’s later merger with PepsiCo just four years later.

Cheez doodles.
Cheez doodles. MIKE MOZART/CC BY 2.0

And that success continues to the modern day. Cheetos are by far the most popular brand of cheese curls in the United States: According to Statista, the Cheetos brand had an estimated $969.5 million in sales in 2016, with the next most popular brand being Frito-Lay’s more-upscale Chester’s brand, which garnered up just 7 percent of Cheetos’ total sales.

These days, here are two main varieties of Cheetos—crunchy, the most common kind, and puffed, which only came about in 1971 or so. Each is made through different variations on the corn snack extruder process.

Yet despite the early success of the Cheeto, its mascot, Chester Cheetah, didn’t come about until well after the product’s launch.

These days, Chester Cheetah is trying to goad Beyoncé on Twitter just like every other advertising mascot worth its weight in salt, but there was a time that the cheetah was seen as so impressive that there was chatter it could become a cartoon lynchpin.

In fact, Frito-Lay got pretty far down the road with Fox in turning the mascot, launched in 1986, into a cartoon. Yo! It’s the Chester Cheetah Show, as the toon would have been called, was developed as a potential part of Fox’s Saturday morning cartoon slate. (CBS also considered making the show, but rejected it.)

Problem was, advocacy groups were not happy with the idea for the show, because of the fact that its roots were very clearly as advertising. Action for Children’s Television (ACT) and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) were among the groups that petitioned the FCC regarding the program.

“His only previous television appearances, indeed his entire existence, have been in traditional commercial spots designed to sell a product,” the FCC petition stated, according to the New York Times.

The 1942 patent for the preparation of cheese curls.
The 1942 patent for the preparation of cheese curls. GOOGLE PATENTS US2295868A

ACT noted that it was rare to petition the FCC about a cartoon only in the planning stages, but felt it had to speak up due to what it felt was the unprecedented nature of the idea.

It didn’t help that Kraft was trying to sell Cheesasaurus Rex, its macaroni and cheese mascot, as a TV show around the same time.

Just a few weeks after the controversy blew up, Frito Lay and Fox shelved the idea, with Fox claiming that differences in creative control and long negotiations killed the show—not protests.

“I still believe he’s one of the best characters since Bugs Bunny, and the fact he is associated with a product was irrelevant to us,” Fox Kids President Margaret Loesch told the Times.

Frito Lay spokesman Tod MacKenzie, in comments to the Associated Press, was a bit more honest.

“Since Chester came out in 1986, he’s been wildly popular,” MacKenzie told the AP. “We don’t want to jeopardize the job he’s doing here.”

Cheese puff close up.
Cheese puff close up. TISAY/CC BY-ND 2.0

The book Saturday Morning Censors: Television Regulation Before the V-chip, published in 1998 by Duke University Press, pointed out that while ACT didn’t officially win the case with the FCC—which, during the Bush era, was in no mood to censor a show that wasn’t indecent—the group acted like it did, especially after its efforts also killed off the Cheesasaurus Rex show.

“We feel we have zapped, for the time being, the problem of logos turning into half-hour programs,” ACT President Peggy Charred stated at the end of the controversy.

But you still have to wonder what might have happened if the show got the green light after all this. (This wiki page certainly does.) Would we be eating fewer cheese curls? Maybe more?


Clearly, the cheese curl has come a long way from the days when it was a happy agricultural accident.

But one firm that didn’t see the success of the Cheeto is the firm that was Flakall. Well, at least not directly. Its successor organization is a firm called Maddox Metal Works, which literally makes machines designed to manufacture corn-based foods. Here’s the one for cheese curls.

The company acquired Flakall’s successor company, Adams International, in 1993. It was an acquisition that makes a lot of sense. In the 1950s, Maddox Machine Shop worked directly with the Frito company to build the machinery used to produce the company’s snack foods, and it grew from there.

In Beloit, Wisconsin, there is a Frito-Lay factory—a big one, one that the company has invested millions of dollars into. One that makes extruded snacks.

I’d like to think that a Frito-Lay executive put the factory there because they wanted this story to come full circle.

A version of this post originally appeared on Tedium, a twice-weekly newsletter that hunts for the end of the long tail.

Ẩm thực – The Cost of Reopening a Restaurant in a Pandemic

By Brenna Houck

Full link: https://detroit.eater.com/2020/7/20/21302034/restaurants-bars-reopening-costs-ppe-gloves-face-masks-sanitizer-cleaning-coronavirus-pandemic?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NATIONAL%20-%2072020&utm_content=NATIONAL%20-%2072020+CID_f62a96d4626926397e4b7f20da733588&utm_source=cm_email&utm_term=THE%20COST%20OF%20REOPENING%20A%20RESTAURANT%20IN%20A%20PANDEMIC

During a period when restaurants are facing unprecedented economic pressure, they’re also incurring new and ongoing expenses

Detroit-area restaurants began welcoming customers back into dining rooms and onto patios in June in a bid to curb severe financial losses incurred during three months of dining room closures. But reopening on its own won’t deliver a simple solution to the economic price of the global health crisis: Businesses that already operated on thin margins are now taking on new supply and maintenance costs during the novel coronavirus pandemic, in addition to the mental burdens of protecting the health and safety of customers and employees.

Purchasing face masks, maintaining a supply of gloves and sanitizer, investing in more rigorous cleaning regimens, and restocking kitchens for higher volumes of service are just a few of the costs of doing restaurant business at this pivotal moment. For some, the challenges of replenishing this now-essential equipment are nearly insurmountable.

Restaurants like Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails on Detroit’s east side are having trouble jump-starting dine-in service after several months feeding frontline workers and the homeless. Owner Nya Marshall is currently participating in a crowdfunding campaign matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to help Ivy adjust to the new state regulations for service and bring furloughed employees back to work.

Omar Anani, chef and owner of the award-winning Saffron De Twah in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood, has been serving the community’s frontline workers throughout the pandemic despite closing for business on March 17. As that feed-the-frontlines effort started to wind down, Anani began to refocus his energy on restoring his popular Moroccan-influenced Gratiot Avenue restaurant. It hasn’t been easy.

Saffron De Twah reopened in mid-June for service after a week’s worth of food prep; Anani’s building is simply too small and narrow to make it worth the added cost and work of serving dine-in customers at 50 percent capacity with social distancing. “I would have to bring back servers just for one party at a time, and it just financially doesn’t make sense,” he said in an interview ahead of the reopening.

Two large wooden tables, window seats, and a wood-framed walk-up counter at Saffron De Twah.
Saffron De Twah’s dining room has been closed since the second week of the pandemic in Michigan. The restaurant recently reopened for carryout service but faces substantial new operating costs and can’t use its dining room.

The upfront cost of replenishing his food and equipment was also tremendous. Anani estimated he’s spent between $8,000 and $10,000 to get Saffron De Twah up and running again after the temporary closure. “We’re having to reorder everything,” he said, pointing out that his shelves were mostly cleaned out after several months volunteering for feed the frontlines programs. In addition to having to repurchase food, prices have also increased due to disruptions in the food processing and distribution network. This led to some particular “sticker shock” upon reviewing a recent $2,000 meat order. “We had a meat delivery and my employees looked at the bill and was like, ‘Holy cow! Did we just spend this much money on meat?’” As a result, Anani and his small team have had to make adjustments to the summer menu to cut costs while continuing to offer the items customers have come to expect, like the chicken sandwich and cauliflower shawarma. “Everything right now that we’re doing is completely abbreviated,” he said, noting that Saffron avoided items using beef. “At the end of the day, no one’s going to pay 20 bucks for a dish they used to get for $10.” Things like a zero-proof cocktail program that rolled out last winter have been put on hold. “We don’t have the bandwidth to do them,” he said.“We have to do these things, whether I have five customers or whether we have 50 customers.”

The restaurant is also incurring new costs for equipment like sanitation stations, gloves, and face masks. Anani spent some of the time during the closure redesigning the kitchen to make it safer including adding more sinks. Add to that the cost of replenishing masks and gloves for staff and the bill gets even more daunting. And it’s new costs that aren’t going away as long as the virus is still circulating. Anani sees that, but is still reluctant to raise prices. “I’ve always been very focused on being able to serve our community, which is a community that requires a lower price point,” he said. “We know that some prices are going to have to go up, but if we do have to take them up, I’m very vehemently adamant that we’re only doing it by the bare minimum possible.” The chicken sandwich should probably be raised by $1, he said, but its price will more likely only increase by 50 cents.

Lester Gouvia, owner of Norma G’s Caribbean Cuisine in Jefferson Chalmers, chose to stay open for carryout during the pandemic and avoid some of those high reopening costs. His was among the first restaurants in the city to reopen for dine-in service, a move that he said has been successful thanks in part to the restaurant’s large dining room and patio seating areas. Gouvia was able to get help installing plexiglass dividers between seating areas for relatively little money, but it’s the other now-vital equipment and food costs that add up. “It’s just a constant buying of things you think you need. It wasn’t a heavy hit of this large dollar amount. It was just a consistent spend.”

Things like the price of oxtail and goat have increased. “It may not seem like a lot per pound at the time, but because I’m buying large quantities, yes, the number is there,” he said. So far, he’s avoided increasing prices and is instead focused on controlling his food waste by making sure he and kitchen staff are carefully monitoring portions during food prep.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is another new cost being absorbed by the business. Norma G’s received two cases of free PPE supplies through a program put on by DTE Energy and the city of Detroit. That initial supply helped, but it’s only a matter of time before Gouvia will have to purchase more. Things like gloves are now changed more frequently and used by all staff rather than just those in the kitchen. Each box of 1,000 gloves costs around $50. “You’re going to go through a couple boxes of gloves sometimes in a couple of days. That cost is going to just continue over the course of time,” Gouvia said. He estimates the equipment could add at least $200 to his monthly operating costs. At the same time, the business is operating at a lower capacity. “That’s that’s the catch here,” he said. “We have to do these things whether I have five customers or whether we have 50 customers.”

Chef Mike Ransom, owner of Ima, has been struggling to find his footing, like all restaurant owners in the pandemic. Early on in the dine-in closure period, Ima laid off its entire staff, with the exception of managers, after business declined by roughly 90 percent. Ransom did not want to completely shut down, for the same reasons that Anani pointed to: It costs nearly as much to reopen a temporarily closed restaurant as to open a new one from scratch. However, the lack of staff made it difficult to continue operating all three restaurants, so Ransom elected to temporarily close Corktown and consolidate his workforce. Ima’s management team then had to navigate getting online ordering and delivery set up, options that the business had not engaged in prior to the pandemic.

While Ima was the recipient of a second-round Paycheck Protection Program loan (the only self-identified Black-owned restaurant in the state to receive one), Ransom has mostly avoided spending the money due to the confusing rollout and terms for paying it back. He chose to continue making his rent payments, rather than deferring them until a later date as some landlords had offered. A member of development group Midtown Detroit Inc. generously stepped in to cover the costs of one month’s rent for every tenant in the building Ima’s Cass Corridor restaurant occupies. Ransom said that assistance came at just the right time, and helped the restaurant stay open during the height of the health crisis.“We went from being a healthy business to now being a business that’s just trying to trying to meet our base costs.”

Now that restaurants are starting to reopen, Ransom is cautiously ramping up service again. With the limited space in the original Corktown location’s dining room, management opted to reserve the indoor space for carryout and only offer seated service on the patio. Ransom worked with his landlord to lease additional space on Ima’s corner of Michigan Avenue and expand the outdoor seating. “Ramping up our patios was a cost I didn’t expect to have,” he said. “We were able to sit five picnic tables out there that are still six feet apart. That has been that a big help in push to get people to feel comfortable about sitting outside or sitting at a restaurant and eating again,” he said, adding that many customers right now feel more comfortable in an open-air dining situation than an enclosed space. The Madison Heights restaurant already had a patio and is open for outdoor dining only as well. Cass Corridor was the first location to welcome customers back inside the dining room this week, thanks to its larger space.

Ransom is attempting to hire back staff in proportion to the volume of business the restaurants are doing. When Eater spoke with him in June, the restaurant group was still at between 40 and 50 percent of its normal, pre-coronavirus staff. Ransom says that as of July, Ima is operating at between 60 and 65 percent of normal staff levels and 40 to 45 percent of its normal restaurant volume. Ransom said he and his managers tried to avoid making workers feel pressured to come back by notifying more people than the restaurant needed, so that those who didn’t feel comfortable coming back to work could remain at home. “We wanted to stress the fact that if they weren’t comfortable, we didn’t want them to feel pressured to come back, because then that just adds to the stress level of everybody else,” he said.

Ransom is cautiously optimistic that the restaurant group has made it through the initial economic downturn, but he still worries about the possibility of another partial shutdown. “My biggest fear is, what if there’s another outbreak where they want people to taper off again?” he said. “I’m not going to be able to weather that storm again, because we went from being a healthy business to now being a business that’s just trying to trying to meet our base costs.

Nik Cole of the Kitchen, by Cooking with Que in New Center, has been helping run the restaurant alongside owner Quiana Broden throughout the pandemic. In June, the pair were working to get the business prepped for limited service. “It’s not like we have to completely replace our produce or our groceries, but obviously you have to buy more [in preparation for more traffic],” Cole said. “Just imagine if someone had been closed this whole time, and they have to actually buy all new stuff.” The restaurant also had to balance the cost of PPE as well as hiring and training new employees for the reopening. Items like face masks are costing the restaurant around $600 per case, with 12 boxes per case. The restaurant also invested in contactless thermometers to take employee and customer temperatures, each costing around $150. “We’ve gone through so many more gloves over the pandemic — like so many more gloves — and getting gloves and all that kind of stuff at first was kind of hard. Even now, it’s kind of hard,” Cole said.

Broden says the restaurant spent roughly $1,500 on an initial “top-to-bottom” deep clean and sanitizing of the restaurant ahead of the Kitchen’s patio opening. “And then you also have to keep it up,” Broden said, noting that the restaurant now brings in a company to deep-clean and sanitize every other Monday. “That biweekly fee could be — depending on the size of your location — that could be 300 to 500 bucks,” she said. “Hand sanitizer that might have cost you a buck is now $4 or $5.”

Broden estimates that all the new costs of the pandemic have increased the Kitchen’s operating costs by around 35 percent — a huge amount for an industry known for its slim margins. However, Broden sees the importance of investing in those small measures to create safer service. “I miss serving people on plates,” he said, “but now it’s easier to serve on disposable, because it’s less contact. I always have to look at protecting my team.”

The increased costs do pose challenges, though. Businesses like Broden’s are now operating at 50 percent capacity or less in some cases, meaning fewer opportunities to generate profit. In this respect, the Kitchen has been fortunate. Broden pivoted to offer customers weekly meal prep in November — something she had always resisted. Customers can orders batches of pre-portioned meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When the pandemic hit, the Kitchen was able to place more emphasis on that option for customers as an alternative to cooking and going to the grocery store. Broden estimates that the restaurant has 111 subscribers for its meal-prep service, with options for contactless delivery. The restaurant also bolstered its business by working with local feed-the-frontlines programs to provide health meals to first responders and health care workers.

Now, the Kitchen is looking for other ways to help support its employees’ health and ensure their long-term wellbeing during the crisis. Broden told Eater that since starting the business, she’s been working toward the goal of providing employees with a 401k and health benefits. “Working in the restaurant industry doesn’t have to be crappy. You don’t always have to be sad and depressed,” Broden said. “We all work a lot of hours; when you are working, if you’re doing something that you love, it’s not work.” In June, the company launched a Patronicity crowdfunding campaign with Lake Trust Credit Union to help fund that goal. The project raised $1,170 toward its goal.“You can’t put a price tag on your life”

While financially burdensome for a new business, Broden sees the additional costs from the pandemic as a worthwhile and “necessary” measure to keep people safe. “Even though it may cost more, I always tell people, you can’t put a price tag on your life.”

Cole also hopes that customers patronize restaurants with more understanding for the precarious situation many food industry workers are in, noting that many of them do not have health insurance or paid time off if they’re sick. “I hope patrons really understand how much work we’ve had to do to get open,” she said. “So that if you are uncomfortable in any kind of way eating out, [or] you’re grumpy, you should probably stay at home. For sure if you’re sick,” she added. “Just remember that you’re passing those germs off to us. If you don’t feel good, please stay at home.”