Tuần – Week: 22 – 26/03/2021

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Bùng nổ…

Các sự kiện chính – Main events:

Các nền kinh tế đang trỗi dậy, dẫn đầu là Mỹ với sự tăng trưởng mạnh nhất 30 năm, và nhu cầu hàng tiêu dùng bùng nổ đang tạo ra áp lực lớn lên các chuỗi cung ứng vốn đã căng thẳng, với một loạt gián đoạn thương mại nghiêm trọng; thêm vào đó, sự cố tắc nghẽn ở kênh Suez càng dẫn đến nguy cơ thiếu hụt hàng hóa trầm trọng hơn và đẩy giá lên cao.

Vấn đề không chỉ dừng ở chuỗi cung ứng, tài chính đầu tư cũng phải đối mặt với nhiều vấn đề khi “nếu tiếp tục giảm thì lãi suất sẽ quá thấp khiến dòng tiền chảy sang các kênh đầu tư khác rủi ro hơn. Điều này một mặt khiến thanh khoản hệ thống ngân hàng khó khăn hơn, một mặt khiến dòng vốn không đi vào sản xuất kinh doanh nên khó kích thích tăng trưởng kinh tế lâu dài“, chuyên gia cho biết.

Mobile Money – một hình thức tiện dụng mới nhưng liệu có rơi vào thế khó khi được cho là “sinh sau đẻ muộn”. Được thí điểm khi 70% người dân đã có tài khoản ngân hàng, Mobile Money dù khuấy động thị trường nhưng dường như vẫn chưa tạo nên xu hướng mới hay cuộc cách mạng thanh toán ở Việt Nam.

Tại sao nó ảnh hưởng – Why were it affected:

Vụ tắc nghẽn kênh đào Suez do một tàu container khổng lồ mắc kẹt tại đây hôm 23/3, xảy ra sau vụ hỏa hoạn tại một nhà máy của công ty sản xuất chip ôtô hàng đầu thế giới ở Hitachinaka, phía đông bắc Tokyo, vào cuối tuần trước làm trầm trọng hơn tình trạng thiếu hụt đang gây bức xúc nhất trong ngành công nghiệp ôtô, nơi các nhà sản xuất trước đó đã buộc phải cắt giảm sản lượng do nguồn cung chất bán dẫn hạn chế. Tuy nhiên, những khó khăn trong việc đảm bảo nguyên liệu thô và các yếu tố đầu vào khác gần đây càng làm các gián đoạn cung ứng tồi tệ. Giá lạnh vào tháng trước ở Texas đã gây ra tình trạng mất điện hàng loạt khiến các nhà máy tạo nên khu phức hợp hóa dầu lớn nhất thế giới đóng cửa. Nhiều nhà máy đến nay vẫn chưa hoạt động lại. Trong khi đó, Fed dự báo nền kinh tế Mỹ sẽ phục hồi nhanh hơn so với dự đoán của các quan chức vài tháng trước. Họ cho rằng chiến dịch tiêm chủng Covid-19 và hàng nghìn tỷ USD kích thích tài chính sẽ thúc đẩy kinh tế Mỹ tăng trưởng nhanh nhất trong hơn 30 năm qua. Tất cả những điều này tạo ra áp lực chồng chất lên chuỗi cung ứng toàn cầu, vốn được các công ty đa quốc gia dựa vào để sản xuất mọi thứ, từ xe đạp đến đồ nội thất.

Từ đầu tháng 3 đến nay, một số ngân hàng đã điều chỉnh tăng lãi suất tiền gửi với khách hàng cá nhân, mức tăng khoảng 0,1-0,5%/năm nhưng vẫn giữ nguyên lãi suất tiền gửi với khách hàng tổ chức. Đặt trong bối cảnh lạm phát có dấu hiệu tăng trở lại, nhiều dự báo trên thị trường cho rằng mặt bằng lãi suất có thể tăng lên trong thời gian tới, đặc biệt là khi các hoạt động kinh tế sôi động, cầu tín dụng tăng lên. Ngoài ra, lạm phát tăng do giá dầu có xu hướng tăng trở lại, giá hàng hóa thiết yếu cũng đang tăng do cầu tiêu dùng phục hồi. Do dịch bệnh, một số mặt hàng trở nên khan hiếm, ví dụ như container hay dịch vụ logistic cũng nẩy giá lên, dẫn đến mặt bằng giá hàng hóa tăng. “Một số nước đã bắt đầu dự kiến không giảm lãi suất nữa mà tăng dần lãi suất có lộ trình“, TS. Cấn Văn Lực, chuyên gia tài chính ngân hàng chia sẻ bên lề một tọa đàm gần đây.

Mobile Money được nhắc đến như một hình mẫu thành công khi được triển khai từ hơn chục năm trước và tạo nên cuộc cách mạng thanh toán tại một số nơi mạng lưới ngân hàng chậm phát triển như Kenya, Zimbabwe, Indonesia… Tại Việt Nam, Mobile Money được khai sinh khi đã có 70% người trưởng thành có tài khoản ngân hàng. Các phương thức thanh toán khác như thẻ ngân hàng, ví điện tử, QR Code by VnPay… cũng ngày một phát triển nhanh chóng; do đó, theo đánh giá của một vài chuyên gia, giúp người dùng có thêm sự lựa chọn, nhưng Mobile Money khó làm nên cuộc cách mạnh thanh toán như đã từng ở một số nước. Khác với các nước chậm phát triển vào chục năm trước, các hình thức thanh toán trực tuyến đã phát triển đa dạng tại Việt Nam. Thanh toán không dùng tiền mặt ở Việt Nam đang ở giai đoạn tăng trưởng tích cực. Thống kê của Ngân hàng Nhà nước cho thấy, số lượng và giá trị giao dịch thanh tính đến cuối tháng 10/2020 qua kênh di động tăng mạnh 125% so với cùng kỳ năm trước, với tổng giá trị giao dịch gần 9,6 triệu tỷ đồng. Số lượng giao dịch thanh toán qua Internet đạt gần 374 triệu giao dịch với giá trị đạt hơn 22,2 triệu tỷ đồng (tăng 8% về số lượng và 25% về giá trị). Nhìn chung, Mobile Money đã bỏ lỡ thời điểm tốt nhất để tiếp cận với người dân.

Xu hướng chính – Key trends:

Một loạt các khảo sát trên khắp thế giới được công bố hôm 24/3 cho biết, các nhà sản xuất đã báo cáo việc kéo dài thời gian nhận nguyên liệu thô và các nguyên liệu đầu vào khác. Tình trạng tồn đọng sản xuất gia tăng và giá đầu vào tăng mạnh. Công ty dữ liệu IHS Markit cho biết các CEO tại Mỹ đã thông báo sự gián đoạn nguồn cung nghiêm trọng nhất kể từ khi bắt đầu khảo sát vào năm 2007. Các công ty cũng báo cáo tăng trưởng sản lượng chậm hơn do thiếu nguyên liệu để đáp ứng các đơn đặt hàng mới. Tại Mỹ, có những dấu hiệu cho thấy tình trạng thiếu hụt đang ảnh hưởng đến các nhà máy, khi sản lượng của họ tăng với tốc độ chậm nhất trong 5 tháng. Một phần lý do là thiếu nguyên liệu thô, trong khi các đơn đặt hàng mới tăng với tốc độ nhanh nhất trong gần 7 năm. “Tôi không nói rằng gián đoạn nguồn cung nhất thiết là rủi ro cho sự phục hồi, chỉ là chúng sẽ hạn chế tạm thời mức độ phát triển của nền kinh tế“, Andrew Hunter, Nhà kinh tế cấp cao của Mỹ tại Capital Economics, bình luận. Các nhà kinh tế và ngân hàng trung ương nói rằng tình trạng thiếu hụt có thể chỉ diễn ra trong thời gian ngắn. Việc mở cửa trở lại các dịch vụ có đón khách và các dịch vụ khác khi các chương trình tiêm chủng đang tiến triển có thể sẽ chuyển hướng chi tiêu của người tiêu dùng khỏi các hàng hóa có nhu cầu đặc biệt cao, chẳng hạn máy tính xách tay và các thiết bị điện tử gia đình khác. “Sẽ có tăng trưởng chậm hơn một chút và có thể là một số áp lực tăng giá nhẹ“, Chủ tịch Fed Jerome Powell cho biết hôm 24/3. “nhưng đó chỉ là tạm thời.

Lãi suất trên thế giới đang có xu hướng tăng, do áp lực lạm phát năm nay có thể cao hơn. Năm ngoái lạm phát toàn cầu chỉ khoảng 2% nhưng năm nay theo dự báo của Ngân hàng Thế giới cũng như Citibank, lạm phát toàn cầu khoảng 2,5%. Ngoài ra, lãi suất thời gian vừa qua đã xuống mức rất thấp khiến dòng tiền dịch chuyển giữa các kênh đầu tư, trong đó có sự dịch chuyển dòng tiền sang kênh bất động sản, chứng khoán và tiền kỹ thuật số. Điều này dẫn đến rủi ro bong bóng tài sản hình thành và lớn hơn trên toàn cầu. “Tại Việt Nam, chúng tôi cũng dự báo áp lực lạm phát có thể cao hơn so với năm ngoái; khoảng 3,5-3,7%, cao hơn so với mức 3,2% vào năm ngoái. Do đó, NHNN cần phải điều hành thận trọng lãi suất“, TS. Cấn Văn Lực nêu quan điểm. Vị chuyên gia này cho rằng, không nhất thiết phải tiếp tục giảm lãi suất vì mức lãi suất huy động và cho vay hiện nay đã rất thấp. Và lãi suất cũng không phải điểm nghẽn của tín dụng vì tín dụng cũng đã tăng 12-13% trong năm qua, cao hàng đầu khu vực. Nếu tiếp tục giảm thì lãi suất sẽ quá thấp khiến dòng tiền chảy sang các kênh đầu tư khác rủi ro hơn. Điều này một mặt khiến thanh khoản hệ thống ngân hàng khó khăn hơn, một mặt khiến dòng vốn không đi vào sản xuất kinh doanh nên khó kích thích tăng trưởng kinh tế lâu dài. “Chúng ta cũng nên đảm bảo chênh lệch lãi suất huy động – cho vay ở mức khả quan (hiện nay khoảng 2,5%/năm). Đây là mức trung bình thấp so với khu vực (khoảng 3%)”, ông Lực nói thêm.

Một chuyên gia trong lĩnh vực trung gian thanh toán đánh giá, mạng lưới ngân hàng ngày càng rộng lớn, chưa kể sắp tới cũng sẽ có quy định về đại lý ngân hàng có thể giảm bớt lợi thế về mạng lưới rộng khắp mà Mobile Money đang có. Các tiện ích thanh toán qua tài khoản ngân hàng hoặc ví điện tử đã phát triển đa dạng và đầy đủ, do đó không còn dư địa nhiều cho Mobile Money. Các ví điện tử với lợi thế người đi trước cũng đã gây dựng được hệ sinh thái khách hàng riêng đi kèm thói quen tiêu dùng. Trong khi đó, hạn mức giao dịch của Mobile Money chỉ bằng 10% ví điện tử sẽ là vấn đề với những người thường xuyên chi tiêu và mua sắm ở khu vực thành thị. Việc phải đến tận điểm kinh doanh (nếu không có tài khoản ngân hàng) để nạp tiền vào Mobile Money cũng là một trở ngại với người dùng. Hơn nữa, với các nhà mạng, việc nộp tiền mặt vào điểm kinh doanh cũng phát sinh các chi phí quầy, két, bảo vệ và độ trễ của dòng tiền. Với những người dùng chưa quen với thanh toán điện tử, các nhà mạng sẽ phải bỏ ra nhiều công sức và chi phí hơn để giáo dục người dùng. Ngoài ra, họ cũng khó lòng triển khai một mình mà cần sự phối hợp của các đơn vị trung gian thanh toán để phổ cập tới cả người dùng và điểm bán hàng.

Cái gì tiếp theo – What comes next:

Sự phục hồi sản lượng của các nhà máy trên toàn cầu bắt đầu vào tháng 5/2020 và sản lượng đã quay trở lại mức trước khi bị phong tỏa vào tháng 12. Sự phục hồi này nhanh hơn nhiều so với hậu quả của cuộc khủng hoảng tài chính toàn cầu trước đây. Tốc độ phục hồi cũng dường như đã khiến nhiều nhà sản xuất và nhà cung cấp của họ không trở tay kịp; có thể thấy qua các đại lý ôtô tại Mỹ thưa thớt xe do tình trạng thiếu phụ tùng ảnh hưởng đến quá trình sản xuất; kết quả là người mua phải trả nhiều tiền hơn, chờ đợi lâu hơn và có ít mẫu hơn để lựa chọn. Trong khi đó, chi tiêu của người tiêu dùng Mỹ cho hàng hóa đã tăng gần 10% trong tháng 1/2021 so với một năm trước đó. Trong 6 tháng qua, nền kinh tế châu Âu đã phát triển theo hai hướng. Trong khi sản xuất mở rộng với tốc độ ngày càng nhanh, hoạt động trong các lĩnh vực dịch vụ lại giảm. Đến tháng 3/2021, ngành sản xuất của châu Âu chứng tỏ sức mạnh vượt trội, bù đắp cho sự sụt giảm của dịch vụ, tạo tiền đề cho tăng trưởng chung. Ở hầu hết nền kinh tế khác, phục hồi cũng đang diễn ra, với sản xuất phục hồi mạnh hơn dịch vụ. Điều này phản ánh thực tế là hầu hết hàng hóa có thể được tiêu thụ với tương đối ít nguy cơ lây nhiễm, trong khi một loạt các dịch vụ dẫn đầu bởi khách sạn và giải trí vẫn có rủi ro. Nhà kinh tế Veronica Clark của Citi cho biết áp lực về giá đã tăng lên ở Mỹ trong bốn hoặc năm tháng qua, khi các gói cứu trợ được tung ra. Giá tiêu dùng tăng và dự báo tiếp tục tăng, khả năng góp phần gây ra lạm phát rộng hơn, có thể khiến Fed tăng lãi suất. Tuy nhiên, nhiều nhà kinh tế cho rằng Fed sẽ ít chú ý đến áp lực giá tạo ra bởi sự gián đoạn chuỗi cung ứng gần đây. “Họ sẽ không tìm lý do để thắt chặt chính sách tiền tệ. Ngay bây giờ, họ đang tìm lý do để không thắt chặt“, Joshua Shapiro, Nhà kinh tế trưởngtại công ty tư vấn Maria Fiorini Ramirez, đánh giá lạm phát chỉ là tạm thời.

Tuy nhiên, Mobile Money vẫn được dự báo sẽ khuấy động nhẹ thị trường thanh toán, trong bối cảnh các ông lớn viễn thông đang thể hiện rất rõ tham vọng lấn sân làm thanh toán. Chủ tịch của một công ty vận hành ví điện tử top 3 thị trường cũng cho rằng, dù sinh sau đẻ muộn, Mobile Money vẫn sẽ tìm được thị trường “ngách” và chiếm một phần đáng kể trong lưu lượng thanh toán hằng ngày nếu có chiến lược tốt. Lợi thế của Mobile Money so với các phương thức thanh toán khác là có thể đăng ký mà không cần gắn với tài khoản ngân hàng. “Đó là điểm cộng lớn. Trên thực tế qua quá trình chúng tôi triển khai, việc gắn tài khoản ngân hàng với ví điện tử là một rào cản với người dùng“, chủ tịch của ví điện tử này đánh giá.

Dấu hiệu rủi ro – Risk signals:

Cuộc chơi thanh toán trên thị trường vẫn chưa ngã ngũ mà còn phụ thuộc vào hướng đi đúng đắn và linh hoạt của từng bên để thích nghi với từng thời điểm khác nhau, nhưng, ít nhất nó sẽ mang lại nhiều sản phẩm và dịch vụ tốt hơn nữa cho người dân, kích thích sự cạnh tranh lành mạnh trên thị trường.

Chia miếng bánh thị trường…

xxx – npl

<Week …>

Booming…

Main events:

Economies were emerging, led by the United States with the strongest growth within recent 30 years, and booming consumer goods demand were putting pressure on already strained supply chains, with a series of serious disruptions of trade; In addition, congestion incidents in the Suez Canal led to the risk of the shortage of goods exacerbating and pushing up prices.

The problem was not just the supply chain, investment finance also faced many problems when “if the interest rate continues to fall, the interest rate will be too low, making the money flow to other investment channels riskier. On the one hand, it makes banking liquidity more difficult, on the other hand, it is difficult for capital flows to go into production and business, so it is difficult to stimulate long-term economic growth,” said the expert.

Mobile Money – a new convenient form but was it in a difficult position as being said “late born“. Being piloted when 70% of people already had a bank account, Mobile Money, despite stirring up the market, did not seem to create a new trend or payment revolution in Vietnam.

Why were it affected:

The Suez Canal blockage caused by a giant container ship stuck on March 23, after a fire at a factory owned by the world’s leading car chipmaker in Hitachinaka, northeast of Tokyo, last weekend had exacerbated the most pressing shortages in the auto industry, where manufacturers had previously been forced to cut production due to limited supplies of semiconductors. However, recent difficulties in securing raw materials and other inputs had compounded supply disruptions worse. Last month’s cold in Texas caused massive blackouts that caused factories that had made up the world’s largest petrochemical complex to shut down. Many factories had not yet to re-operate. Meanwhile, the Fed predicted that the US economy would recover faster than officials expected a few months ago. They argued that the Covid-19 vaccination campaign and the trillions of fiscal stimulus would boost the fastest US economy in more than 30 years. All of this put pressure on global supply chains, which multinationals rely on to make everything from bicycles to furniture.

From the beginning of March until now, numbers of banks had adjusted to increase deposit interest rates for individual customers, an increase of about 0.1-0.5% per year, but kept the deposit interest rates remained for institution customers. In the context that inflation showed signs of rebound, many forecasts on the market believed that the interest rate level may increase in the coming time, especially when economic activities were exciting, credit demand increased up. In addition, inflation increased because oil prices tended to increase again, essential goods prices were also increasing due to recovery of consumer demand. Due to epidemics, some goods become scarce, such as containers or logistic services, also raised prices, leading to an increase in commodity prices. “Some countries have started to plan not to reduce interest rates anymore, but gradually increase interest rates with a schedule“, TS. Can Van Luc, a finance and banking expert, shared on the sidelines of a recent seminar.

Mobile Money was mentioned as a successful model when it had been deployed more than a decade ago and created a payment revolution in some places such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Indonesia … In Vietnam, Mobile Money was born aswhen 70% of adults had a bank account. Other payment methods such as bank cards, e-wallets, QR Code by VnPay … were also developing rapidly; therefore, according to some experts, it helped users to have more choices, but Mobile Money was difficult to make a strong payment revolution as it had been in some countries. Different from underdeveloped countries ten years ago, online payment methods had diversified in Vietnam. Cashless payments in Vietnam were in a positive growth phase. Statistics of the State Bank showed that the number and value of payment transactions as of the end of October 2020 via mobile channels had increased sharply by 125% over the same period last year, with a total transaction value of nearly 9.6 million billion. The number of payment transactions via the Internet reached nearly 374 million transactions with a value of more than 22.2 million (up 8% in volume and 25% in value). Overall, Mobile Money missed out on the best time to reach the people.

Key trends:

A series of surveys around the world published on 24/3 said that manufacturers had reported extending the time to receive raw materials and other inputs. Production backlog increased and input prices rose sharply. The data firm IHS Markit shared US CEOs reported the most severe supply disruption since the beginning of the survey in 2007. Companies also reported slower output growth due to a lack of raw materials in responding to new orders. In the US, there were signs that the shortages had been affecting factories, as their output increased at the slowest pace in five months. Part of the reason was the lack of raw materials, while new orders grew at the fastest pace in nearly seven years. “I’m not saying supply disruptions are necessarily a risk for recovery, they just temporarily limit the level of growth in the economy,” said Andrew Hunter, Senior Economist of America at Capital Economics commented. Economists and central banks said shortages would be likely to last for only a short time. The reopening of pick-ups and other services as vaccination programs evolve may divert consumer spending from particularly high-demand goods, such as laptops and other home electronics. “There will be slightly slower growth and possibly some slight upward pressure,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday. “But, that’s just temporary.

Global interest rates were on an upward trend, as inflationary pressures this year may be higher. Last year, global inflation was only about 2%, but this year, according to forecasts of the World Bank as well as Citibank, global inflation would be about 2.5%. In addition, interest rates recently fell to a very low level, causing cash flow to move among investment channels, including cash flow to real estate, securities and digital money. This led to the risk of an asset bubble forming and growing globally. “In Vietnam, we also forecast inflation pressure could be higher than last year; about 3.5-3.7%, higher than 3.2% last year. need to carefully operate interest rates,” TS. Can Van Luc stated his point of view. This expert said that it was not necessary to continue lowering interest rates because the current deposit and lending interest rates were exceptionally low. And interest rates were also not the bottleneck of credit as credit had also risen 12-13% in the past year, the region’s leading high. If the interest rate continued to decrease, the interest rate would be too low, making the money flow to other investment channels riskier. This, on the one hand, made the liquidity of the banking system more difficult, and on the other hand made it difficult for capital flows to go into production and business, so it was difficult to stimulate long-term economic growth. “We should also ensure that the deposit-lending rate gap is at a good level (currently about 2.5% / year). This is a low average compared to the region (about 3%),” Mr. Luc added.

An expert in the field of payment intermediaries assessed that the increasingly large banking network, not to mention the coming time, there would also be regulations on banking agents that could reduce the advantage of the wide network that Mobile Money having. The convenience of payment via bank accounts or e-wallets had been diversified and completed, so there was not much room left for Mobile Money. E-wallets with the advantage of a pioneer had also built up a separate customer ecosystem with consumption habits. Meanwhile, Mobile Money’s transaction limited of only 10% of e-wallets would be an issue for people who regularly spent and shopped in urban areas. Having to go to the business point (if there was no bank account) to top up Mobile Money was also a problem for users. Furthermore, with carriers, cashing into the point of sale also incured counter costs, safes, security, and cash flow delays. For users who were not familiar with electronic payments, operators would have to spend more effort and cost to educate users. In addition, they were also difficult to deploy alone but need the coordination of payment intermediaries to reach both users and point of sale.

What comes next:

The global factory production recovery started in May 2020 and production returned to the level it was before the blockade in December. This recovery was much faster than in the aftermath of the prior global financial crisis. The speed of recovery also seemed to have kept many manufacturers and their suppliers on track; It could be seen that car dealers in the US were sparse due to the shortage of spare parts, affecting the production process; as a result, buyers paid more money, waited longer, and had fewer samples to choose. Meanwhile, US consumer spending on goods rose almost 10% in January 2021 from a year earlier. In the past 6 months, the European economy had developed in two directions. While manufacturing was expanding at an increasingly rapid rate, activity in the service sectors had decreased. By March 2021, the European manufacturing industry showed outstanding strength, compensating for the decline in service, creating a premise for overall growth. In most other economies, recovery was also taking place, with manufacturing rebounding stronger than services. This reflected the fact that most goods could be consumed with relatively little risk of infection, while a range of services led by hospitality and entertainment remain risky. Citi economist Veronica Clark said price pressures had increased in the US over the past four or five months, when bailout packages were launched. Consumer prices rose and were forecasted to continue to rise, potentially contributing to broader inflation, possibly prompting the Fed to raise interest rates. However, many economists believed the Fed would pay little attention to the price pressures created by the recent supply chain disruptions. “They are not looking for reasons to tighten monetary policy. Right now, they are looking for reasons not to tighten,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief economist at consulting firm Maria Fiorini Ramirez, assessing inflation was only temporary.

However, Mobile Money was still expected to slightly stir the payment market, in the context that the telecommunications giants were clearly expressing their ambition to encroach on the field of payment. The chairman of a top 3 e-wallet operator also said that, even if born late, Mobile Money would still find a niche and account for a significant portion of the daily payment flow as if having a good strategy. The advantage of Mobile Money over other payment methods was that it could be registered without having to be tied to a bank account. “That is a big plus. In fact, through the process we implement, attaching a bank account to e-wallet is a barrier for users,” said the chairman of this e-wallet.

Risk signals:

The settlement game in the market was not over yet, it also depended on the correct and flexible direction of each party to adapt to different times, but at least it would bring many better products and services to the people, stimulating healthy competition in the market.

Sharing the market cake…

xxx – npl

Share – Hiểu về tâm lý đàn ông là tặng phẩm đính kèm sau khi một người phụ nữ hiểu rõ quy luật tâm lý của chính mình — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

(981 chữ, 4 phút đọc) Vì chưa hiểu mình nên bạn mới cần người có tính cách phù hợp, để rồi thời gian trôi, bạn lại khẳng định người ấy chẳng hợp với bạn chút nào.

Hiểu về tâm lý đàn ông là tặng phẩm đính kèm sau khi một người phụ nữ hiểu rõ quy luật tâm lý của chính mình — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

Khi yêu, đàn ông không hẳn nhất quán với lời nói và hành động như bạn nghĩ

Phần lớn phái mạnh đều thừa nhận rằng họ rất thẳng trong suy nghĩ, không vòng vo, không cầu kỳ, không tiểu tiết. Mọi thứ với họ đều đơn giản, trắng-đen rõ ràng. 

Nhưng vấn đề là họ nói, còn hành động có giống với những lời đã nói ra hay không mới là thứ mà phụ nữ phải cẩn trọng.

Cứ thử làm cuộc khảo sát nhỏ về những tình huống nảy sinh với những người mà bạn từng quen xem, liệu khi bạn không hào hứng, tỏ thái độ vô tư, hời hợt với người đàn ông của bạn, anh ấy sẽ phản ứng ra sao?

Nếu người ấy thật sự yêu bạn, anh ấy sẽ nổi đóa. Nếu yêu nhưng chưa đủ nhiều, anh ấy sẽ đặt lên bàn cân giữa việc nên hay không nên đầu tư cho mối quan hệ này. Nếu chỉ đang tìm hiểu, anh ấy sẽ im lặng, tự mình đi đến kết luận ngay rằng: “Cô ta không hề hứng thú với mình.”

Cho dẫu một số nghiên cứu tâm lý chỉ ra rằng đàn ông không thích người phụ nữ của mình hiện diện quá thường xuyên, nhưng không có nghĩa anh ta thích đối mặt với những khoảng trống trải khi vắng bạn, đâu đó họ vẫn thích sự ràng buộc. 

Sự thật về tâm lý của đàn ông

Cũng như phụ nữ, không hẳn đàn ông nào cũng có những suy nghĩ giản đơn. Khác với dạng người thẳng thắn nhưng lại cẩu thả trong quan điểm, với những người đàn ông thông minh, suy nghĩ của họ phải cực kỳ thấu đáo, họ cẩn trọng trước mọi lời mình nói ra và có những quyết định sáng suốt. 

Cũng vậy, trong tình yêu, một người đàn ông thông minh thường là người rất nhạy ở khoảng phóng chiếu cảm xúc của bản thân lên đối phương. Điều đó có nghĩa, bạn không cần nói ra nhưng anh ta vẫn sẽ hiểu suy tư của bạn đang cất giấu, từ đó có những hành động chữa lành giúp bạn. 

Ở người đàn ông này họ có năng lực thấu cảm, tâm trí và tâm thức nhất quán, dù kiệm lời, nhưng vẫn bạn sẽ luôn cảm nhận sự ấm áp từ anh ấy. Chẳng có rắc rối nào bị đè nén ngoại trừ bản thân người phụ nữ đòi hỏi quá nhiều từ một người đàn ông mà không nhận thức được tại sao tâm mình lại khởi phát những ham muốn như vậy.

Ngược lại, khi nói đàn ông suy nghĩ thật đơn giản, anh ấy bao giờ cũng thẳng thắn, thiết nghĩ chỉ dành cho những anh chàng đang chưa hoàn thiện về mặt nhận thức.

Vì tâm trí anh ấy còn đang bối rối, tâm thức chưa vững vàng, khi mâu thuẫn xảy ra, làm sao anh ta có đủ lập luận thuyết phục được bạn. Giới hạn về mặt ngôn từ cũng là giới hạn về mặt tri thức. Cách thuận tiện nhất, anh ta chỉ biết phản ứng lại theo cảm xúc của bạn. Anh ta không thực sự hiểu cảm xúc của mình, làm sao anh ấy có thể đồng cảm cho trạng thái cảm xúc mà bạn đang có đó.

Anh ta giận giữ với đồng nghiệp của mình nhưng không rõ lý do gì anh ta lại giận giữ, anh ta nhầm lẫn cơn giận của mình là do người khác mang đến chứ không phải cái bản ngã của anh ta bị chà đạp, thế thì khi bạn nổi cơn thịnh nộ với anh ta, làm sao anh ta phân tích được nguồn cơn khiến bạn mất kiểm soát đây. Anh ta bất lực. Và thế, anh ta sẽ kết luận rằng bạn là kẻ rắc rối, phiền phức. 

Suy cho cùng, tâm lý của đàn ông không hẳn là điều phụ nữ cần tìm hiểu, thứ thật sự cần phải quán chiếu mỗi ngày là tâm lý của chính người phụ nữ ấy.

Vì sao?

Khi bạn thật sự tường tận mọi ẩn khuất tâm lý của mình, với tâm lý đàn ông, không còn là nan đề. Ngay từ đầu, bạn sẽ chẳng nhầm lẫn trong việc chọn người đàn ông có tích cách tuyệt vời với người đàn ông, mà ở họ, bạn bỗng thấy mình tuyệt vời.

Vì chưa hiểu mình nên bạn mới cần người có tính cách phù hợp, để rồi thời gian trôi, bạn lại khẳng định người ấy chẳng hợp với bạn chút nào.

Nếu người đàn ông của bạn làm nhiều hơn nói, bạn vội vàng kết luận họ là người đáng tin cậy, để rồi anh ta quá tập trung vào hành động của mình, quên mất việc phải nói những lời ngọt ngào mà bạn muốn nghe, bạn lại cảm thấy bơ vơ, không nhận được sự quan tâm từ anh ấy. Nhu cầu kết nối bằng lời nói là thứ khiến bạn thất vọng. 

Hoặc khi bị thu hút bởi lối duyên dáng của một gã đàn ông mồm mép không bao giờ ngơi nghỉ, đến lúc tình yêu tắt lịm cùng cơn gió, kết quả thực tế của anh ta không làm bạn hài lòng, bạn lại tìm bên ngoài một ví dụ để gán cho người đàn ông của mình là kẻ ba hoa, vô dụng…

Dù là tình huống nào đi chăng nữa, để không rơi vào bế tắc, tâm lý của người cần tìm hiểu phải là chính bản thân bạn trước tiên. Hiểu về tâm lý đàn ông là tặng phẩm đính kèm sau khi một người phụ nữ hiểu rõ quy luật tâm lý của chính mình.

Tác giả: Lê Duyên

Share – Bẫy tâm linh thường gặp – Sự trốn tránh trách nhiệm cuộc sống — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

(1291 chữ, 5 phút đọc) Chúng ta thường nhầm lẫn giữa việc từ bỏ những tham vọng, ham muốn với chuyện từ bỏ những trách nhiệm. 16 more words

Bẫy tâm linh thường gặp – Sự trốn tránh trách nhiệm cuộc sống — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

Bất cứ hành trình nào cũng có những khó khăn, ngay cả hành trình rèn luyện tâm linh. Mới nghe đến tu tập tâm linh thì có lẽ ai cũng nghĩ đó là một gì đó cao siêu. Nhưng sự thật là, rất dễ để mắc phải những điều sai lầm và đi chệch khỏi con đường đến Sự thật nếu bạn không ý thức và cẩn thận. Có rất nhiều cái bẫy giăng ở đó, những cái bẫy đội lốt tâm linh, nhưng bản chất chỉ là những yếu đuối và ảo tưởng của con người, đôi khi nó là một chỗ ẩn nấp tinh vi của BẢN NGÃ – thứ mà những người rèn luyện tâm linh đang cố gắng làm chủ nó, thay vì bị nó thao túng.

Một cái bẫy tâm linh phổ biến mà gần đây tôi quan sát được chính là thói trốn tránh và thoái thác khỏi những trách nhiệm của đời sống. Người mắc phải bẫy này thường dùng những tư tưởng tâm linh, Đạo lý để ngụy biện cho sự sợ khó khăn, lười lao động cũng như mong muốn dễ chịu của mình. Những ngụy biện này theo kiểu “tiền không phải là tất cả nên tôi không cần kiếm tiền”, hoặc “tôi tâm linh nên tôi không cần phải phát triển bản thân”, hoặc là “tôi không làm vì tiền, tôi chỉ làm vì đam mê nên tôi không cần làm những công việc chân tay khó nhọc để kiếm sống.”

Ngay cả bản thân tôi cũng mắc phải những kiểu ngụy biện tâm linh kiểu này. Giống như khi còn trẻ, tôi nhận thức được rằng tiền không thể khiến tâm hồn hạnh phúc, nên tôi đâm ra khinh rẻ đồng tiền và phán xét những người lao đầu vào kiếm tiền. Hay khi tôi phải đối mặt với những thứ tôi không thích làm, nhưng cần thiết, tôi chống cự nó và chỉ chăm chăm vào những công việc tôi thích và cảm thấy dễ chịu. Tất cả những kiểu nhận thức này đều thiên lệch và một chiều, trong khi cuộc sống thực tế thì nhiều khía cạnh hơn vậy.

Mỗi chúng ta đều là một thành phần của xã hội, hoặc ở cấp độ nhỏ hơn, một thành phần của gia đình. Khi nào ta còn sống trong đó, khi đó ta vẫn có những trách nhiệm thế tục cần hoàn thành. Chúng ta vẫn phải đi làm kiếm tiền, làm những công việc chúng ta không thích để có thể nuôi sống chính mình và bản thân, đảm nhiệm những công việc khó chịu miễn nó là công việc cần thiết phải làm.

Chúng ta nói rằng chúng ta “tâm linh”, chúng ta thoái thác những việc đó, dẫn tới chúng ta là gánh nặng của xã hội và làm những người xung quanh khổ cực. Rốt cuộc, chúng ta nghĩ mình là tâm linh những lại đi ngược lại tâm linh. Vì mục đích cốt tủy của tâm linh chính là hướng người ta đến sự giác ngộ, thoát khỏi khổ đau của chính mình và giúp đỡ những người xung quanh giảm thiểu khổ đau của chính họ.

Chúng ta thường nhầm lẫn giữa việc từ bỏ những tham vọng, ham muốn với chuyện từ bỏ những trách nhiệm. Thật sự từ bỏ trách nhiệm không giúp chúng ta từ bỏ được những ham muốn. Đôi khi từ bỏ hành động lại chính là đang củng cố cái bản ngã ham muốn sự dễ chịu của chúng ta. Nơi thật sự mà chúng ta cần từ bỏ là từ trong tâm, như việc chúng ta làm tất cả mọi thứ nhưng chúng ta không dính mắc vào điều gì, chúng ta làm vì sự yêu thương đối với chính mình và mọi người khác chứ không phải vì thành quả của nó. Đôi khi chúng ta khổ cực và khó chịu, nhưng nếu điều đó là có ích và cần thiết thì chúng ta vẫn phải làm nó. Khi chúng ta đã từ bỏ được tất cả những tham cầu ích kỷ bên trong mình, thì dù có làm bất cứ điều gì, có dính dáng tới tiền hay lợi ích hay không, thâm tâm chúng ta cũng sẽ bình an và thanh thản.

“Từ bỏ luôn nằm ở tâm trí, chứ không phải đi vào rừng sâu hay nơi hẻo lánh hay thoái thác những trách nhiệm của mình. Điều chính yếu là tâm trí không hướng ra ngoài mà hướng vào trong.” — Ramana Maharshi

Việc thực hành tâm linh là cần thiết, khi chúng ta tìm về cội nguồn bản chất của chính mình. Nhưng hãy luôn nhớ rằng, chúng ta vẫn đang mang thân xác của một con người, chịu những luật tác động của tự nhiên. Chúng ta vẫn phải ăn, tắm, ngủ, làm việc sinh hoạt như một người bình thường. Chừng nào ta còn trong một “cuộc chơi”, buộc chúng ta phải tuân theo luật, trừ khi chúng ta có khả năng vượt lên trên những quy luật đó. Trong cuốn sách triết học kinh điển Kỳ thư Kybalion có lời khuyên cho những người tu tập tâm linh rằng:

“Hãy luôn đặt tâm trí của bạn vào ngôi Sao, nhưng để cho đôi mắt trông chừng bước chân sao cho không bị ngã vì cớ đăm đăm nhìn lên trên” – Kỳ thư Kybalion.

Đặt tâm trí vào ngôi Sao chính là hướng đến những mục tiêu tâm linh cao cả, nhưng ta phải luôn trông chừng bước chân vì ta sẽ bị ngã nếu ta quên đi ta vẫn mang lấy thân xác của một con người, đang chịu sự chi phối của quy luật của Tự nhiên. Bản chất của chúng ta là vô ngã và tuyệt đối, nhưng khi bước vào trò chơi cuộc đời, chúng ta có những vai diễn riêng. Đó là vẻ đẹp của cái hình tướng, vẻ đẹp của nhị nguyên, vẻ đẹp của khía cạnh âm tính luôn biến đổi chuyển động của Thượng đế. Có một giai thoại thú vị giữa hai vị thầy tâm linh Alan Watts và Ram Dass như sau:

[Về chuyện tu tập tâm linh của mình, Alan Watts thường nói với tôi “Ram Dass, Thượng Đế nằm trong những hình tướng này. Thượng Đế không phải chỉ là vô hình tướng. Cậu đã quá nghiện sự vô hình tướng.”
*Tôi đã phải học cách coi trọng kiếp đầu thai của mình. Tôi phải coi trọng việc làm một người đàn ông, một người Do Thái, một người Mỹ, một thành viên của thế giới, một thành viên của cộng đồng sinh thái, tất cả. Tôi phải biết được cách làm điều đó – làm sao để hòa hợp được với gia đình mình, làm sao để coi trọng bố tôi. Tất cả những điều này là một phần của nó. Đó là cách tôi đến với Thượng Đế, nhìn nhận sự khác biệt của mình. Nó là một cú xoay chuyển thú vị. Điều đó mang những người tâm linh trở lại vào thế gian.] — Ram Dass *

Cuối cùng, hành trình tâm linh chính là sự hòa hợp giữa cái thiêng liêng với cái thế tục. Nếu Chân lý bạn tìm kiếm đi ngược với thực tại bạn sống, có lẽ đó không phải là Chân lý. Chân lý là cái giải thoát bạn, nó không phải là thứ kìm hãm bạn.

“Chân lý không phải là lý thuyết, không phải hệ thống triết lý tư biện, không phải sự thông tuệ. Chân lý là sự tương ứng chính xác với thực tại” – Pramahansa Yogananda

Tác giả: Bá Kỳ

Ẩm thực – One Major Side Effect of Eating Eggs, Says Science

By REBECCA STRONG

Full link: https://www.eatthis.com/news-major-side-effect-eating-eggs/?utm_source=nsltr&utm_medium=email&utm_content=news-major-side-effect-eating-eggs&utm_campaign=etntNewsletter

Eggs are a lot healthier than you think—here’s why.

fried eggs sunny side up yolk

This probably isn’t news to you, but eggs just may be the most affordable, versatile, convenient form of protein. Not only are they loaded with antioxidants, essential minerals, and amino acids, they also boast fat-fighting choline, bone-strengthening vitamin D, and brain-boosting vitamin B12. Studies have shown that eggs can increase your energy, support your immune system, reduce inflammation, protect your eyes, and enhance the appearance of your skin and hair—and that’s only a few of their many superpowers. Honestly, is there anything eggs can’t do? But whether you enjoy them fried, scrambled, or hard-boiled, there’s one major side effect of eating eggs that you should know about—and it has to do with your cholesterol profile. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now)

Research findings on eggs’ impact on cholesterol is pretty confusing. Some studies have suggested that they may increase your risk of heart disease by raising your cholesterol levels. Other studies have indicated that eating half a dozen eggs a week has no negative effect on cholesterol whatsoever. So, which is it?

Here’s the short answer: Eating eggs regularly can affect your cholesterol profile—but not necessarily in a negative way.

2019 JAMA study revealed that eating an average of just three to four eggs per week was associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). For each additional half an egg consumed daily, the risk of CVD went up by 6%. But here’s the caveat: As Harvard Health points out, not only was the effect observed quite modest, but this study was observational in nature, and therefore can not prove that eating more eggs actually caused the elevated risk of CVD. The Harvard Chan School of Public Health noted that multiple previous studies have demonstrated that low to moderate egg intake is not linked to a higher risk of CVD in generally healthy people.

As you may or may not know, there are both good kinds of cholesterol (HDL) and bad kinds (LDL). One large egg has 212 milligrams of total cholesterol. However, according to Harvard Health, eggs have been shown to raise the good kind. LDL cholesterol is considered bad because these particles have a tendency to block artery walls with their fat molecules (whereas HDL can actually get rid of the fat that clogs arteries). However, as Harvard Health reports, bigger LDL particles are less likely to raise your risk of heart disease than smaller ones. And remarkably, eggs can increase the size of LDL particles, thus shrinking your risk of cardiovascular problems.

Research has also shown that LDL cholesterol is far more inflammatory and generally harmful when it’s oxidized, thus building dangerous plaque in your arteries. But as it turns out, not all eggs are created equal. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that when hens are fed with a diet that’s low in omega-6 fatty acids—in other words, lower in soy, maize, sunflower, and safflower and higher in wheat, barley, and milo—they produce eggs that may cause less oxidative damage. Likewise, a 2008 study by the same lead researcher revealed that eggs high in omega-3 fatty acids caused 30% less cholesterol oxidation than eating eggs higher in omega-6s.

The consensus seems to be this: Choosing eggs that are high in omega-3s could help to minimize health risks from ingesting more cholesterol. And unless you already have high cholesterol or diabetes, have had a heart attack, or are otherwise at high risk of CVD, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy eggs on the reg. According to the Mayo Clinic, most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week without increasing their risk of heart disease. In fact, a 2018 study found that eating up to one egg per day can actually lead to a lower risk of heart disease. If you’re really concerned about your cholesterol levels, you can also nix the yolks—egg whites still contain a notable amount of protein without any of the cholesterol.

Ẩm thực – Introducing ‘Food Grammar,’ the Unspoken Rules of Every Cuisine

By EMILY MONACO

Full link: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/do-italians-eat-spaghetti-and-meatballs?utm_source=Gastro+Obscura+Weekly+E-mail&utm_campaign=5b2f06fb84-GASTRO_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_02_02&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2418498528-5b2f06fb84-70327933&mc_cid=5b2f06fb84&mc_eid=df51e46713

Technically, spaghetti and meatballs is bad grammar.

Normal to Americans; perplexing to Italians.
Normal to Americans; perplexing to Italians. JASON LEUNG/UNSPLASH

SERVE SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS TO an Italian, and they may question why pasta and meat are being served together. Order a samosa as an appetizer, and an Indian friend might point out, as writer Sejal Sukhadwala has, that this is similar to a British restaurant offering sandwiches as a first course. Offer an American a hamburger patty coated in thick demi-glace, and they’ll likely raise an eyebrow at this common Japanese staple dubbed hambagoo.

Each of these meals or dishes feels somehow odd or out of place, at least to one party, as though an unspoken rule has been broken. Except these rules have indeed been discussed, written about extensively, and given a name: food grammar.

Yes, much like language, cuisine obeys grammatical rules that vary from country to country, and academics have documented and studied them. They dictate whether food is eaten sitting or standing; on the floor or at a table; with a fork or chopsticks or with fingers. Like sentence structure, explains Ken Albala, Professor of History at the University of the Pacific, a cuisine’s grammar can be reflected in the order in which it is served, and a grammar can dictate which foods can (or cannot) be paired, like cheese on fish, or barbecue sauce on ice cream.

Japan's fruit sando takes sandwiches in a sweet, new direction.
Japan’s fruit sando takes sandwiches in a sweet, new direction. SASIYAN

A culinary grammar can also provide insight into how an assortment of ingredients becomes a meal, much like how a jumble of words becomes a sentence. Many American diners imagine dinner as a plate with a protein, a vegetable, and a starch, followed by a sweet dessert. But for Cantonese diners, writes linguist Dan Jurafsky, author of The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu, a meal is a combination of a starch, such as rice or noodles, and another element, usually meat, vegetables, or a combo.

“Describing this in English requires the awkward word ‘non-starch,’” writes Jurafksy. The Cantonese word for this, sung, 餸, is so pervasive that “the word for ‘grocery shopping’ in Cantonese is mai [sung], or ‘buying sung,’ since the starch is a staple that would already be in the house.”

Grammars can even impose what is considered a food and what isn’t: Horse and rabbit are food for the French but not for the English; insects are food in Mexico but not in Spain. Moreover, just as “Hey, man!” is a friendly greeting for a buddy but maybe not for your boss, foods may not be suitable in all grammatical contexts. “A Frenchman would think it odd to drink white coffee with dinner and an Italian probably would resent being served spaghetti for breakfast,” writes Claude Fischler in “Food, Self and Identity.” By the same token, rice is appropriate for breakfast in Korea but not in Ireland.

While a culinary grammar is far easier to grasp than a linguistic one, according to Albala, it’s no less impervious to rule-breaking, especially when a dish appears in a new country that imposes a different grammar. But while breaking the rules can perplex some diners, it can also lead to delicious slips of the tongue.

A woman makes fortune cookies—adopted by Chinese restaurants in response to Americans' expectations of dessert—at Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in San Francisco.
A woman makes fortune cookies—adopted by Chinese restaurants in response to Americans’ expectations of dessert—at Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in San Francisco. MERITT THOMAS/UNSPLASH

Consider the adjective “hungry” in English, a concept conveyed with the noun hambre in Spanish. By imposing Spanish grammar on the English sentence, you get the phrase: “I have hunger.” Pretty, maybe, but odd. Similarly, someone attempting to recreate a foreign cuisine may find that their native grammar sneaks into their conception of the meal. As a result, trying your home food abroad can prove disorienting: Parisian restaurants may serve a hamburger with a fork and knife; a Japanese restaurant serving yoshoku, or “Western food,” might place croquettes and cabbage rolls in a bento-like box along with tiny portions of pickled vegetables and miso soup. In China, explains Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, rice is served after the main and before the soup, making the American-Chinese tradition of serving white rice alongside the main seem as odd to Chinese diners as an English-speaker hearing a foreigner say “old silly fool” instead of “silly old fool.”

Such pairing woes are pervasive in the mistranslation of culinary grammars. In Italy, pasta and rice dishes are served before meat rather than alongside it; in Italian-American restaurants, however, fish is often perched on risotto, and meatballs take their starring place atop spaghetti in the eponymous classic.

The mistranslation “really upsets people,” says Albala. “They just don’t know what to do with it.” (To wit: there’s a whole genre of YouTube video devoted to it.)

Such “mistranslations” are perhaps nowhere more evident than in chain restaurants offering an idealized vision of a foreign land. In his semiotic analysis of the Italian-American restaurant chain Fazoli’s, Davide Girardelli, a communications researcher and faculty member at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), identifies color codes (red, white, and green) and other stereotypes of “the basic structure of the myth of Italian food in the United States” as strategies to make the restaurant seem more Italian to American diners. But much like someone speaking English with a fake Italian accent, something about the Fazoli’s experience just doesn’t ring true.

Restaurants like Fazoli’s at once denature Italian food and lock it in time. In these spaces, much like on Ocracoke Island, where locals still speak a version of Elizabethan English, cuisines become divorced from the natural progression back home. At Fazoli’s, writes Girardelli, “Italy is depicted as a place inhabited by huge and fertile families, a country that is ‘frozen’ in a rural preindustrial reality, where the produce is still handpicked and delivered to the closest market.”

Such devotion to a now-defunct tradition, says Albala, can have strange repercussions on a cuisine taken out of its homeland. “Sometimes it becomes ossified,” he says. “It stays the same, because people think, ‘Oh, this is the way the recipe is made, it has to be done this correct way.’ Whereas back in the home country, it’s evolved and changed already.”

But bringing a culinary grammar into a new setting can also result in the creation of interesting, new dishes. And just as some languages, like English, are super elastic, welcoming neologisms easily, while others, like French, are less manipulable, some cuisines are more welcoming of culinary novelty than others.

“Japanese people will take anything and make it theirs,” says Albala, citing shokupan, a Japanese white bread that’s even sweeter and softer than American Wonder Bread. Other examples include the aforementioned hambagoo, a bunless burger served with a thick demi-glace, or Napolitan, which sees Italian spaghetti stir-fried with vegetables and ketchup.

Many such adaptations arise in response to grammatical needs, such as the Western expectation of dessert, which led to the adoption of fortune cookies, originally Japanese, in American-Chinese restaurants. The same holds for the 18th-century invention of Indian mulligatawny to satisfy the British desire for soup, or the crunchy fried noodles served as a pre-meal snack at some Chinese restaurants in place of bread.

Ordering a samosa as an appetizer is similar to a British restaurant offering sandwiches as a first course.

Today, in the West, diners craving “authenticity” may shy away from these adapted foods, but in the past, such adaptation was expected and even encouraged. Much like the denigration of regional languages such as Breton or Basque, commonplace in the early half of the 1900s, many “exotic” cuisines were once transposed on the local grammar in order to make them more palatable. Mukta Das, food anthropologist and research associate at the SOAS Food Studies Centre, notes that from the 1950s, many Indian and Chinese restaurants adopted a grammar of the British High Street by adopting “fine dining concepts (table service from liveried wait staff, table cloths, napkins, a full set of silverware and glassware etc).”

Today, overzealous diners rebuffing these attempts can risk erroneous over-correction. Despite Thai people eating with a fork, for example, “Americans expect chopsticks in Asian restaurants,” says Lee, “so restaurants in America use chopsticks.” And much like linguistic false friends (such as embarazada, Spanish for pregnant, not embarrassed, or jungli, which means wild in Gujarati, not jungle), the meanings of some foods may not come across to outsiders.

“You don’t really understand a culture unless you speak their language,” says Albala, “and I think the same thing is true of a cuisine, when you’re born into it and doing it all the time and understand all those weird, unwritten rules.”

But when someone who is, in essence, culinarily bilingual attempts these adaptations, exciting discoveries abound. Elis Bond, the Franco-Caribbean chef behind Paris’ critically acclaimed Mi Kwabo, marries pan-African cuisine with contemporary European techniques, riffing on the conviviality of one large dish to pave the way, instead, for a procession of modern small plates. In marrying African flavors and a French grammar, Bond has managed to create something that pleases both locals and members of the African diaspora with the deftness of a mother-tongue translator.

Chinese food has adapted to local tastes around the world, with distinct dishes emerging in the United States, India, South America, and beyond.
Chinese food has adapted to local tastes around the world, with distinct dishes emerging in the United States, India, South America, and beyond. DIGITAL-FOTOFUSION GALLERY / ALAMY

From pan-African tasting menus to fortune cookies, these creative mistranslations or adaptations can become, in turn, their own canon: “Western food” has returned to America, with yoshoku restaurants arriving in New York; the American iteration of Polish bagels has, in turn, been reimported into Europe; General Tso’s chicken, an American invention, has become a beloved Chinese-American dish the world over.

“There are a lot of people who will go to like the Middle East and crave General Tso’s chicken,” says Lee. “It kind of settles into a set of expectations and culinary traditions; it does gel into its own thing.”

After all, asserts Albala, cuisine is “fabricated, like any canon. Like any language.”

“I think it’s silly to ever think that a cuisine or a language is ever going to stop,” he continues. Referencing dictionaries and grammar textbooks, he adds, “The minute you write that stuff down, it’s already changing. And new words and new dishes and new ways of putting things together… it’s going to happen whether people want it to or not.”

Ẩm thực – We Asked People Who Lost Their Taste to COVID: What Do You Eat in a Day?

By Jenny G. Zhang

Full link: https://www.eater.com/2021/2/5/22267667/covid-19-loss-distorted-taste-smell-anosmia-parosmia-symptom-food-diaries?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NATIONAL%20-%202521&utm_content=NATIONAL%20-%202521+CID_ed9676d739437c058b5994e188570e7d&utm_source=cm_email&utm_term=WE%20ASKED%20PEOPLE%20WHO%20LOST%20THEIR%20TASTE%20TO%20COVID%20WHAT%20DO%20YOU%20EAT%20IN%20A%20DAY

After recovering from the novel coronavirus, some things don’t taste like they used to — or like anything at all

inceSince the early onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the loss or distortion of smell and taste have emerged as one of the telltale symptoms of COVID-19, with an estimated 86 percent of mild cases displaying signs of olfactory dysfunction. In many cases, patients cannot perceive smells (known as anosmia) — and with it the nuances of flavor inextricable from aroma — or any kind of taste (ageusia). In others, the dysfunction eventually manifests as warped senses of smell and taste (parosmia and parageusia, respectively), rendering previously familiar scents and flavors rancid, like being assaulted with the overwhelming stench of rot, feces, and chemicals.

This unsettling loss or distortion is temporary for most, with the majority of patients regaining their senses within weeks of recovering from the disease. But some do not. Claire Hopkins, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon who campaigned to have anosmia recognized as a symptom of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, said that 10 percent of patients continue to suffer from a loss of smell.

Losing the ability to smell as before presents practical dangers; after all, that is the sense we use to tell if something’s burning, or if there’s a gas leak nearby. But there’s also the more mundane question of how to get through each day, each meal, each bite without quite knowing how food will taste. For anosmia and parosmia long-haulers, particularly people who love to cook or eat, an act that once brought joy is now, at best, a flavorless chore, or at worst, a gag-worthy gamble. When things no longer taste like they used to — or like anything at all — how does one recalibrate eating and drinking?

To find out, Eater interviewed five COVID-19 survivors who have continued to experience a loss or distortion of taste, some for months on end. Here’s everything each person consumed on a recent day and how it tasted.

The following interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Photo collage of a mouth and a cookie.

Jonathan Jarrell, 42

Location: Atlanta

Occupation: Attorney

Experiencing primarily: loss of smell/taste

For how long: 4 months

MORNING: I didn’t have much of a breakfast other than coffee with oat milk. I got a sense of the depth of coffee, but not the flavor. I got a handheld milk frother for Christmas, and I’ve been using that to enhance the airiness in the oat milk, so I can get a sense of creaminess as opposed to straight black coffee.

AFTERNOON: For lunch, I had a homemade sandwich: turkey, roast beef, and gouda on rye. I had more mustard than usual on there, so I got some of that horseradish tang. With the gouda, I was hoping to be able to get some of the smokiness. Unfortunately, I guess it was too subtle, so that ended up being more of a “just eat it to get the nutrients.” I haven’t noticed a suppressed appetite, so unfortunately that has not been a silver lining of this, but I’m being mindful to keep up with the nutrient intake.

Later I had a honeycrisp apple. I could get a bit of the sweet-sourness out of that, together with the crunch. And then I had a bag of cheddar Sun Chips; absolutely no flavor, but the crunch was satisfying. I’m paying attention more to textures than I did before because — aside from the nutrition, or outside of going for something super spicy to feel the physical sensation of the burn — it’s the only way to derive any sort of interaction or enjoyment with food.

I typically drink water throughout the day. I have been drinking more sparkling water just to get some effervescence from the bubbles.

DINNER: I had homemade three-bean chili that I loaded with crushed red pepper and hot sauce so that I could get some burn. I also threw in cheese to melt to get some creaminess. The texture was nice because some of the beans were more al dente, and together with the meat — which was softer in texture — it provided a nice contrast. I also had a green salad. I have found myself adding salt to my salad these days. That’s one of the things that I can derive some pleasure from, if something’s really salty.

After dinner I had a chocolate chip cookie. I stuck it in the microwave to get some kind of meltiness. I got the sense of sweetness, but not the flavor from behind the sweetness. But with the gooeyness from warming it up, it was nice texturally. And then I had some almonds. One of my go-tos has been smoked almonds. They’re salty and smoky, which I can get a sense of, as well as crunchy.

Photo collage of dates.

Meema Spadola, 51

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Occupation: Postpartum doula

Experiencing primarily: distorted smell/taste

For how long: 6-8 months; experienced loss of smell/taste after contracting COVID-19 in March 2020 before senses recovered for a time, then became distorted

MORNING: I had my espresso with foamed milk, even though coffee is disgusting to me now. I do not enjoy the taste. But I have a cup of coffee almost every morning. It’s like ritual, right? I enjoy the process of making it, and the warmth, and the caffeine. So I keep doing it, and I keep hoping that it will taste good to me at some point. I feel like I’m using my imagination when I eat, trying to use my memory of how things smell and taste to recreate the experience, because otherwise I would not want to eat.

I had plain yogurt with granola. I don’t think I’ve been eating any fruit at all, so I made myself eat a clementine. It smelled a little weird. Lime is better than lemon, and oranges and clementines are also better than lemon, but lemon smells really blegh. At their best, the distorted smells smell very chemical and fake. Fruit smells to me like NyQuil. To try to eat an apple is as if I’m eating an apple marker or an apple scratch-and-sniff sticker. At its worst, things smell rotten, like propane gas or feces.

AFTERNOON: For lunch I had roasted sweet potatoes with plain cooked kale and this ginger-miso-carrot dressing that I made. I regretted that I had followed the dressing recipe and put in sesame oil, because the sesame smelled like it was totally off. The miso was also funky. In the real world, I would say, “Oh no, there’s something wrong with it, I think the miso is past its date,” but it was a fresh tub of miso. Things smell and taste as if they were forgotten in the fridge.

EVENING: Dinner was chicken thighs with lime and ginger, white rice, and avocado. I try to cook with the things that don’t smell horrible to me — like ginger does not smell horrible to me, so ginger shows up in a lot of food I make now. Even so, most meat smells bad to me as I’m cooking it, and I was like, “This smells weird, this smells gross,” but my family was like, “No, it smells amazing. This chicken is the best ever.” It tasted okay to me, but not great.

There was also green salad with carrots and tomatoes. Onions are just horrific now — the worst — so no onions in our salad.

And I had a few dates for dessert.

Photo collage of mouths and a cheese plate.

Nina Zilka, 32

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Occupation: CEO of skincare brand Alder New York

Experiencing primarily: distorted smell/taste

For how long: 10 months

MORNING: I made breakfast for me and my husband: toast with sharp cheddar and spinach. I made an egg for him and no egg for me. Eggs are really bad for me right now, which is a bummer because I love eggs. The smell is really hard. But cheese has been delicious the whole time; it’s one of the only things that tastes the way it always has. I used to try to eat pretty plant-based, but I’ve completely given up on that with COVID. I’m worried about getting enough vitamins with all the different vegetables and fruits tasting bad, but I eat spinach with basically every meal I can because it still tastes delicious to me.

I also had coffee with a splash of almond milk.

AFTERNOON: I was going upstate to stay at my business partner’s place with my husband, so I grabbed a bagel spread from around the corner to eat on the drive up. Cream cheese still tastes delicious. I didn’t used to be so carb- and dairy-heavy, but now that’s a big part of my diet.

Photo collage of a whisky ginger with a lime in a glass.

Later I had a Pink Lady apple. Apples are one of my favorite foods, but I couldn’t eat them during COVID. For two months they tasted disgusting, and the smell was unbearable. It feels a bit like Russian roulette, where one day something I’ve loved will become unbearable. But my husband had one recently, and I took a bite and was like, “Wait, this tastes the way it used to taste.” So now I’m going a little crazy on apple chips and Pink Lady apples.

EVENING: At 6 p.m. we had whiskey gingers. I used to drink wine, but I can’t right now because with its complexity, I never know if I can handle it.

For dinner, my business partner made us Mongolian tofu with rice and bok choy. They put scallions on theirs, but right now anything with onion smells putrid to me. It smells dangerous, like biologically: “Don’t eat this thing, this is a dangerous thing for you to eat.” I had to leave the room while they were slicing the scallions, it’s so bad. It’s frustrating because I used to be — I hate the term “adventurous eater,” but that’s part of living in New York. But even now, with the Mongolian tofu and rice and bok choy, I probably couldn’t have eaten that with the spices in it even a couple months ago.

Photo collage of a mouth, a plate of spaghetti, and a plate of lo mein.

Robin Tanner, 27

Location: Atlanta

Occupation: Copy editor and retail worker

Experiencing primarily: loss of smell/taste

For how long: 2 months

MORNING: At 8:15 a.m. I drank a Gatorade Bolt24, tropical mango flavor. I never liked mangoes (too sweet), but I couldn’t taste anything in this bottle. I needed the electrolytes; I was trying to get my energy back after lying in bed for two weeks.

For breakfast, around 10:40 a.m., I had lemon-basil linguine with parmesan, along with a glass of ice water. I thought that the combination of basil and lemon would catch me and I would taste something, but I couldn’t taste them. There was a little cheese there, and I could almost taste the butter — but maybe that’s more memory than taste because I’ve made this recipe so many times. I’ve gotten more picky about textures and using food that’s going to cook better, so we used fresh linguine noodles instead of dried. It was more expensive, but I still got something out of eating it.

AFTERNOON: I had SweeTarts Ropes. The cherry flavor used to be my favorite, but I can’t really taste them anymore. A coworker got this for me to see if the new rainbow flavor made a difference. Looking at the combination of flavors, I thought that it would be a shocking taste with a familiar texture, and that kind of dissonance should trigger something, but it didn’t really taste like the flavors it was supposed to. It tasted like how cheap cleaning products smell. I had just one and was like, “This isn’t even worth it.”

EVENING: Dinner was fried rice mixed with lo mein. I couldn’t really taste any individual or composite flavors. It was mush in a bowl with a few vegetables in there — like plain cereal, but wet. It just kind of filled me up. I ate about two-thirds of this bowl. Usually I do more of like a beef and broccoli dish, but I haven’t had much appetite for protein. Since I can’t taste anything, eating just feels more like something I have to do instead of something I look forward to.

For dessert, close to midnight, I had Haribo Happy Cherries, another favorite candy. I could smell the cherry flavor, but I couldn’t taste anything. It was just gelatin in my mouth.

Photo collage of a Manhattan, from a top-down perspective.

Todd Macaluso, 40

Location: Queens, New York

Occupation: Property manager

Experiencing primarily: distorted smell/taste

For how long: 10 months

MORNING: My morning started with half an apple, sliced. It tasted a little funny at first, kind of like there had been some chemical cleaner on the knife when I cut it. The apple was sweet — I never really lost the sweet or salty taste buds — but I didn’t get much more than fiber and sugar. Biting into certain apples, they don’t taste as good as they used to.

I also had a Kirkland nut bar with cocoa drizzle and sea salt. Coffee accompanied the nut bar; I make a press with Peet’s coarse ground Cafe Domingo, one tablespoon of raw sugar, and a “bloop” of cream. I’ve heard of other people having problems with coffee, and thank whoever I’m not one of them. Coffee remains delicious.

AFTERNOON: Lunch was a sandwich: toasted oat-nut bread with hummus, ham, turkey, lettuce, and aged cheddar. A few weeks ago, I went to make a liverwurst sandwich, only to realize they use onions to make liverwurst. It didn’t smell right, it didn’t taste right, it was just awful. Anything containing onion is repulsive. I’m discovering basically everything has onion or onion powder in it, which sucks. It’s challenging, cutting something that’s a staple ingredient out of your diet.

EVENING: Prior to dinner, I made a cocktail, Maker’s Mark Manhattan. I shook in too much bitters, but it did the trick. After COVID, I couldn’t drink. Just one cocktail or glass of wine, and I felt a little feverish, like I was sick again. That was like six months without a drop of liquor. The feeling has lessened somewhat, enough that I can mix a drink now and again.

We ordered sushi for dinner. Standard fare, a nine-piece with a tuna roll. I added a futomaki roll and a peanut-avocado roll. It was all good, but I think I used to enjoy it more. I’m not sure how best to pinpoint my taste and smell loss, but it’s good enough to let me get by. The ginger, however, was funky. I have this clear memory of what pickled ginger is supposed to taste like, and now when I bite into it, it’s very different, and not in a good way.

After dinner and getting the little one to bed, we had Twinings berry herbal tea with honey. It’s my nightly reward.

Kungfu – The Secrets of Immortality

By Justin Lee Ford 

Full link: https://blackbeltmag.com/martial-arts-for-health

Old Martial Artist
cdn1.i-scmp.com

…Or At Least A Long & Healthy Martial Arts Career

Ok, let me start by saying this: I’m not yet at the age where my birthday candles outnumber the calories in my cake.

Heck, I still have a full head of hair in its proper place and the ability to touch my toes with ease.

Consider this simply a personal essay, a glimpse into my perspective on training for longevity. Whether you are young or already quite advanced in your years, you are likely reading this article because you love your craft, your martial art.

I’ve met martial artists who stepped away from teaching because they were discouraged by their aged body’s inability to do what it once could. Thankfully, I’ve also met older martial artists who were capable of leaping into the air and landing with healthy joints, easily outperforming skills that athletic twenty year olds often still struggle with.

Even if you are currently injured or living an extremely sedentary lifestyle, please remember this one phrase: “Even if you can’t do everything, you can still do something.”

Don’t. Stop. Moving.

No matter what, you are still going to keep growing older. It’s up to you to take control of the direction your life is moving towards and to keep fine tuning the parts of your health that can easily degrade.

The first step? Tailor your training for long-term success!

Timing Over Speed

Conor McGregor Quote
Law of the Fist

“I’m sorry, teacher! My dog ate my homework!”

We all know that Rover wasn’t actually that hungry for the extra fiber. Depending on how gullible your teacher was, your excuse might have worked once or twice. It’s unlikely it worked the eighteenth time though.

Speed works in a similar way. It’s an excuse. Mind you, it’s a legitimate excuse that can work for awhile, however it won’t save your booty forever.

Rather than only trying to move quicker or initiate an action sooner, strive to also understand the rhythm of a fight better and to insert your own movements in the appropriate place.

Your hits don’t just need to be unseeable, they need to be unstoppable or unexpected. Time your movements to land as your opponent is in a vulnerable moment (for example, they are now committed to a movement and unable to adjust).

Speed is good to have, but timing is reliable to have.

Structure Over Strength

Strong Old Man
mamblahg.files.wordpress.com

I’m sure you have heard all kinds of technical bits and pieces to improve how you move. Boxers learn how to relax their deltoids and activate their lats at the correct moment of a punch. Kung Fu practitioners learn to open up from the kua (roughly speaking, “the inguinal fold”) when using a horse stance.

The purpose behind this is to maximize your capabilities. If you execute a movement with excessive tension, it may be easier to perform the movement in some ways, however you severely detract from its efficiency and effectiveness.

When these attributes go down, you are likely to try even harder, potentially compromising your personal safety and also health.

It is easy to rely on strength and vigor to get you through a situation. If you can outweigh the person and force him into a losing position due to a strength advantage, you can feel like an amazing champion. After all, you just showed him that you were superior (at least in some egotistical way)!

Problem is, strength eventually degrades. Even simply getting a bad night of rest will decrease your strength capabilities. If we are truly trying to train intelligently and with thought put into our future, we will want to also develop the more universal and long-lasting attributes. In this case, rather than solely working on strength, strive to also gain a better understanding of body structure.

Practice aligning your body in a manner that will help you accomplish your goals in the most efficient way possible. Rooting your stance down properly and maintaining the proper

tension/relaxation dynamic throughout your body will go a long way for you and your lasting career as a martial artist.

Making The Days Count

Martial Arts Morning
Biomedical News & Health Blog

Here’s a tip for athletes and entrepreneurs: time is like a gas in a container, it will automatically adjust to its allotments. If you give yourself all day to take care of a task, it’s very possible you will take all day to finish it.

Unfortunately, that’s just how us humans work.

Dedicated time is a must if you are serious about investing in yourself. It isn’t about how little you sleep, it is about how much you get done while awake.

Humans are more resilient than many at first think, however you still need to account for recovery. Many people who subscribe to the idea of hustling hard forget about the important aspect of recovery. Injuries from an ambitious athlete often stem from under recovering more often than from over training.

Strive to understand your art and the movement patterns you consistently train, then look for the gaps in your general fitness that may be overlooked. You are seeking to develop body symmetry, training pushing motions in addition to pulling motions. Be sure to exercise your left and right sides as well as the front and back of the body equally.

I’m sure that you have heard the saying that no two martial artists are the same. The same can be said for you if you were plucked from two different moments of your life. Who you are and how you move (be it by limitations or preferences) is different at twenty, thirty, and forty years old.

Accept where you are currently and understand what you truly desire to achieve. Once you have a grasp on these two personal markers, you can adapt your training to truly help you maximize your results for a lifetime.

“The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” Muhammad Ali

Kungfu – Chokehold Survival: Tactical & Legal

By Jim Wagner 

Full link: https://blackbeltmag.com/choke-self-defense?utm_campaign=BBM%20FY21&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=117238895&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_FymBn1uNdvu7qqj1fDjne3K6TdaWIWKrlHf9oI5jVu-KVOm_z-41FNiZhFhmoXEQ_PHfyKUafrJi80Ev-1PTwl0OdTg&utm_content=117238895&utm_source=hs_email

Womens Self Defense
cdn.athlonoutdoors.com

Answer these two questions.

1. An attacker puts you into a headlock. What legal level of force are you permitted to use?

A) Controlling force.

B) Reasonable force.

C) Deadly force.

D) None of the above.

2. An attacker is choking you. What legal level of force are you permitted to use?

A) Controlling force.

B) Reasonable force.

C) Deadly force.

D) None of the above.

The answer for both questions is C) Deadly force. That’s because both situations are identical.

I posed two questions, and now we’re going to look at two related topics: self-defense and the legal issues concerning the neck area.

Whenever someone puts you into a choke hold, and a “headlock” is a choke hold from the side, you must apply, what I have labeled, the ABCs of Chokehold Survival.

A – is for Airway Priority. When someone puts his or her hands around your neck and squeezes hard, or he or she wraps their arm around your neck to apply enough pressure to cut off your air supply, then indeed getting air is your first priority. By “air” I mean both the airway and the blood vessels going to and from the brain carrying the oxygen, for you need both to survive. Cutting off your air supply is enough to justify using deadly force, and that’s because it can take as little as three seconds for you to pass out if your carotid arteries are squeezed enough to prevent blood flow, such as with a Carotid Chokehold or Carotid Restraint Control Hold. Once you are unconscious the attacker can finish you off. Another possibility is that It takes less than a second to crush the larynx, commonly called the voice box, which can lead to suffocation.

B – is for Break the Hold. Since you only have less than a second to survive a chokehold, assuming you’re in the worst-case scenario with your esophagus being crushed, you must use the most effective, hard-hitting, technique you can in order to “break” the attacker’s hold from your throat or neck. The technique you use depends entirely on the position of the attacker, for a choke can come from four different directions: from the from, from the rear, from the right side, or from the left side. However, no matter what technique you use, you’ll only get one attempt at it. This means you must bring your chin down hard, turn the head and shoulders as a unit to reduce the direct pressure on either the carotid artery or throat, and pull or push the attacker’s hands or arm off your neck before attempting anything else.

C – is for Counterattack. Once the attacker’s hands or arm is removed, or rendered less effective, you must strike the attacker to make him or her stop their attack, which may include deadly force (the amount of force that may result in serious injury or death). After all, the attacker was trying to kill you – literally. When someone tries to cut off your air or blood supply, that is attempted murder.

Choke Defense

Photo: A male instructor is “choking” a female student in my Women’s Survival course in Solingen, Germany. It is her first time experiencing this type of attack, without any prior instructions from me, and her instincts tell her to open up her airway. However, she did not succeed, because she does not have the strength to strip the attacker’s hands off her throat, and she just wasted precious seconds. After this photo was taken, she was taught how to properly trap the attacker’s hands to reduce the pressure to her neck, while at the same time rotating her body to make the attacker lose balance in order make him release the grip or render it less effective. Afterwards came the counterattack and escape.

Now for the legal issue. When the police are questioning you, don’t make the mistake of stating that the attacker put you into a “headlock.” Sure enough, the arresting officer, and then the judge later on, is going to think, My brother used to put me in a headlock all the time, but I never killed him to get him off of me.

Words are powerful, and sometimes certain common terminology we use can be detrimental when giving a statement. No, you were not just wrestling around with someone, but you need to clearly state, “Officer, he had his arm around my neck, squeezing with all his might, which was cutting off my air! I couldn’t breathe! I thought I was going to die! I had to get him off of me, and so I…”

If you say that, which is the truth, then that is a mental picture anyone can understand.

SWAT Training

Photo: I am coaching a SWAT officer in my SWAT Defensive Tactics course in Los Angeles, California using the jump start command, “ABCs of a Chokehold!” to help him survive the attacker’s chokehold. The police officer cannot afford to pass out, or else his own gun can be taken and used against him. He did manage to get out of the chokehold, but his helmet made it more difficult. This is why I have my students train with their equipment on. Train as you fight.

Collection – 5 technology trends for 2021

By GLENN REES

Full link: https://www.intheblack.com/articles/2021/03/01/technology-trends-2021?utm_source=exacttarget&utm_medium=email&utm_term=INTHEBLACK%20Opt-In&utm_content=FEATURE+%7c+5+technology+trends+for+2021&utm_campaign=INTHEBLACK+-+Edition+04+-+25+March+2021+-+Opt+In_24-March-2021

Unily can improve experiences for both customers and employees.
Unily can improve experiences for both customers and employees.

What do the latest tech trends mean for the year ahead?

Every year, research firms like Gartner and IDC help businesses understand the latest technology trends with their annual predictions for the year ahead.

This year, for example, IDC predicts that investment in digital transformation in the Asia-Pacific will accelerate to the extent that 65 per cent of the region’s GDP will be digitalised by 2023.

How should businesses change in response to the transformation, and what digital technologies should they invest in? Gartner’s Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021 offers some pointers. Here are five of the top trends.

An “anywhere operations” model

One thing the pandemic has taught us is that place and proximity may not be as important as we once thought. As a result, Gartner says, companies need to shift to an “anywhere operations” model.

This is an IT operating model “designed to support customers everywhere, enable employees everywhere and manage the deployment of business services across distributed infrastructure”.

“However, it’s not as simple as just operating remotely,” the firm adds. “Digital should be the default at all times. That’s not to say physical space doesn’t have its place, but it should be digitally enhanced.”

Provide a “total experience”

Power BI provides better and easier access to information and insights.

Power BI provides better and easier access to information and insights.

Many organisations try to first provide the best customer experience possible and then think about improving the experience they offer employees and other stakeholders.

However, Gartner advocates taking a holistic approach by creating a “total experience” for everyone.

“Tightly linking all of these experiences – as opposed to individually improving each one in a silo – differentiates a business from competitors in a way that is difficult to replicate, creating sustainable competitive advantage,” the firm says.

This can help companies adapt to and even “capitalise on COVID-19 disruptors, including remote work, mobile, virtual and distributed customers”.

Gartner provides the example of a telecommunications company that, during the pandemic, introduced several digital and in-store initiatives. These included a new appointment system that guided customers through a check-in process, along with more digital kiosks for contactless interactions.

“The result was a safer, more seamless and integrated overall experience for customers and employees,” the firm says.

Strive for “hyperautomation”

Zoho One allows you to digitise more processes and better engage employees.

Zoho One allows you to digitise more processes and better engage employees.

While many organisations are keen to automate business processes where they can, they often do so in a piecemeal way. Instead, Gartner argues, it should be a comprehensive strategy that the firm calls “hyperautomation”.

“Hyperautomation is the key to both digital operational excellence and operational resiliency,” the firm says.

With this strategy, “businesses automate as many business and IT processes as possible using tools like artificial intelligence, machine learning, event-driven software, robotic process automation and other types of decision process and task automation tools”.

This does not mean implementing a patchwork of unconnected technologies. Instead, organisations should aim to digitise everything, so they can “automate tasks, processes and orchestrate automation across functional areas”.

The key word here is “orchestrate”, which, in IT terms, means to coordinate automated processes across various connected systems.

Adopt a “cybersecurity mesh”

Bitrix24 offers a variety of tools that can enable staff to work from anywhere.

Bitrix24 offers a variety of tools that can enable staff to work from anywhere.

Traditional cybersecurity systems were designed to protect the old “perimeter” – the office network.

Following the sudden shift to remote working in 2020, companies are looking for new solutions that protect systems and data outside that network, too.

According to Gartner, businesses are increasingly taking a distributed architectural approach called “cybersecurity mesh”.

“Cybersecurity mesh essentially allows for the security perimeter to be defined around the identity of a person or thing,” the firm says. It enables “any person or thing to securely access and use any digital asset, no matter where either is located, while providing the necessary level of security”.

The result is more “scalable, flexible and reliable cybersecurity control”.

Become an “intelligent composable” business

Tableau offers better and easier access to information and insights.

Tableau offers better and easier access to information and insights.

The pandemic has also driven home the importance of being agile and able to adapt to sudden market, economic and societal changes. To achieve this state, organisations need to become “intelligent composable” businesses, according to Gartner.

“Composable” is an IT term that typically refers to a flexible system with components that can be assembled in a variety of combinations to satisfy specific requirements. Gartner extends this concept to a business being able to adapt and “fundamentally rearrange itself based on a current situation”.

However, this may require both digital and organisational transformation. First, companies need to provide staff with “better access to information” and to “augment that information with better insight”.

Second, they need to be able to “respond quickly to the implications of that insight”. That means increasing “autonomy and democratisation across the organisation”, enabling people to quickly react instead of being bogged down by inefficient processes.

Which solutions?

What does this all mean for businesses? For a start, it may mean adopting new technology solutions including:

  • conferencing and collaboration platforms such as Google Workspace and Bitrix24
  • digital workplace solutions such as Kissflow and Zoho One
  • digital engagement platforms such as Salesforce and Unily
  • “no-code” automation tools such as Zapier and Microsoft PowerApps
  • identity and access management solutions such as Okta and OneLogin
  • data analytics and visualisation tools such as Microsoft Power BI and Tableau

Ultimately, however, the key is to think more strategically about technology. This means choosing solutions that will not only solve specific business problems, but that are also flexible and can align with your broader strategies across the business.

Collection – AI-powered decision making for the bank of the future

By Akshat Agarwal, Charu Singhal, and Renny Thomas

Full link: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/ai-powered-decision-making-for-the-bank-of-the-future?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck&hdpid=b28e9a1e-b64b-4be4-b5d3-10470b96c23c&hctky=2618809&hlkid=cac4d2e1c59944c08c8f684d35c897e0#

Banks are already strengthening customer relationships and lowering costs by using artificial intelligence to guide customer engagement. Success requires that capability stacks include the right decisioning elements.

The ongoing transition to digital channels creates an opportunity for banks to serve more customers, expand market share, and increase revenue at lower cost. Crucially, banks that pursue this opportunity also can access the bigger, richer data sets required to fuel advanced-analytics (AA) and machine-learning (ML) decision engines. Deployed at scale, these decision-making capabilities powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can give the bank a decisive competitive edge by generating significant incremental value for customers, partners, and the bank. Banks that aim to compete in global and regional markets increasingly influenced by digital ecosystems will need a well-rounded AI-and-analytics capability stack comprising four main layers: reimagined engagement, AI-powered decision making, core technology and data infrastructure, and a leading-edge operating model.  04:06AudioListen to this article

The layers of the AI-bank capability stack are interdependent and must work in unison to deliver value, as discussed in the first article in our series on the AI bank of the future. In our second article, we examined how AI-first banks are reimagining customer engagement to provide superior experiences across diverse bank platforms and partner ecosystems. In the current article, we focus on the primary AA/ML decisioning capabilities required to understand and respond to customers’ fast-evolving needs with precision, speed, and efficiency. Banks that leverage machine-learning models to determine in (near) real time the best way to engage with each customer have potential to increase value four ways:

  • Stronger customer acquisition. Banks gain an edge by creating superior customer experiences with end-to-end automation and using advanced analytics to craft highly personalized messages at each step of the customer-acquisition journey.
  • Higher customer lifetime value. Banks can increase the lifetime value of customers by engaging with them continuously and intelligently to strengthen each relationship across diverse products and services.
  • Lower operating costs. Banks can lower costs by automating as fully as possible document processing, review, and decision making, particularly in acquisition and servicing.
  • Lower credit risk. To lower credit risks, banks can adopt more sophisticated screening of prospective customers and early detection of behaviors that signal higher risk of default and fraud.

As banks think about how to design and build a highly flexible and fully automated decisioning layer of the AI-bank capability stack, they can benefit from organizing their efforts around four interdependent elements: (1) leveraging AA/ML models for automated, personalized decisions across the customer life cycle; (2) building and deploying AA/ML models at scale; (3) augmenting AA/ML models with what we call “edge” capabilities1 to reduce costs, streamline customer journeys, and enhance the overall experience; and (4) building an enterprise-wide digital-marketing engine to translate insights generated in the decision-making layer into a set of coordinated messages delivered through the bank’s engagement layer. In the full report, downloadable here, we examine each of these interdependent elements and their applications in detail.

The rapid improvement of AI-powered technologies spurs competition on speed, cost, experience, and intelligent propositions. To remain competitive, banks must engage customers with highly personalized and timely content to build loyalty. Personalized offers with tailored communication delivered at the right time through the customer’s preferred channel can help banks maximize the lifetime value of each customer relationship and reinforce the organization’s market leadership. To achieve these benefits, banks must build AI-powered decisioning capabilities fueled by a rich mixture of internal and external data and augmented by edge technologies. The core technology and data infrastructure required to collect and curate increasingly diverse and voluminous data sets is the topic of the next article in our series on the AI-bank capability stack.

Landscape – The complexities of China’s CPTPP entry

Author: Choong Yong Ahn, Chung-Ang University

Full link: https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2021/03/26/the-complexities-of-chinas-cptpp-entry/?utm_source=subscribe2&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=postnotify&utm_id=339236&utm_title=The%20complexities%20of%20China%26rsquo%3Bs%20CPTPP%20entry

Chinese President Xi Jinping made global headlines at the APEC summit held on 20 November 2020 by announcing that China was considering joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which came into effect in December 2018. The news came amid a likely reconfiguration of the Asia Pacific trade landscape due to unabated trade tensions between the United States and China and the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) just five days prior.

Two feeder ships and a barge feeder ship are busy with loading and
unloading at the Dapukou Container Terminal in Jintang Town, Zhoushan Port,
Ningbo City, east China's Zhejiang Province, 19 February 2021 (Photo:
Reuters/Oriental Image).

Significantly deviating from former US president Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, the Biden administration is returning to global governance by reviving multilateral institutions, including the Paris Agreement, the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Biden administration’s pivot back to Asia might see the United States revisit the CPTTP, after mending urgent domestic affairs, including public anti-globalisation sentiments.

The United States has lost a great deal of its leadership credibility in Asia when it comes to safeguarding the liberal trade order. Despite the United States withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the deal was salvaged laboriously under Japan’s leadership with the remaining key members either dropping or compromising on some sensitive items in the final agreement. 

In addition to China, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan have also expressed interest in joining the CPTPP. Major signatory economies of the TPP and RCEP are also members of APEC. If every country interested in an expanded CPTPP, including China, were to commit to the high standards of its clauses even with a raised re-entry bar, it would help create progress toward APEC’s long-cherished goal of creating a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), identified as a goal by APEC leaders as early as 2004. 

Seven of the eleven CPTPP members, including Japan and Australia, are intersection economies also belonging to the RCEP. China’s entry into the CPTTP in the absence of the United States could be viewed as creating an advanced ‘RCEP-II’, provided that the clauses signed in ‘RCEP-I’ are upgraded to closely match those in the CPTPP chapters. An expanded CPTPP, with a re-joined United States and newly joined China, alongside other wishful entrants from RCEP, could lead to an FTAAP. It should be welcomed as an ideal building block toward the stalled WTO quest for multilateralism with the most-favoured nation principle.

But in reality, China’s entry into the CPTPP is more complex. If partner countries disagree on the key components of a ‘level playing field’, efforts toward economic integration are unlikely to bear fruit. There are several sticking points for new entrants into the CPTPP, especially China. This includes the prohibition of state subsidies for state-owned enterprises, investor–state dispute settlement, intellectual property rights over biological products, labour conditions for government procurement, data free flows and localisation restriction and digital trade. 

The picture of enhanced free trade becomes more complex and unrealistic when transparency standards for the implementation of the free trade pact and strategic security elements for the Indo-Pacific are considered. Some of these points have been embraced in the EU–China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) in principle concluded on 30 December 2020, allowing the European Union enhanced market access in China. Still, China’s CAI commitments fall short of the high standards in the CPTTP.

The TPP was originally designed by the United States to counter China’s assertive rise. In response, China became enthusiastic about concluding RCEP, originally perceived by ASEAN and Japan to rival the TPP. If these twin motivations for regional hegemonic leadership remain unchanged, the United States and China are unlikely to be in the same expanded CPTPP boat. With a possible return of the United States to the CPTTP on the horizon, the United States and other major TPP signatories are likely to screen new members while writing reinforced trade rules. The CPTPP would then become more politically like-minded.

Given this politico–economic dichotomy, China’s entry might be a long shot. Some experts claim China is motivated by a domestic reform agenda, referencing CPTPP’s high standards. But it remains to be seen how China carries out its domestic reforms to meet CPTPP entry requirements. Amid the challenging and unpredictable circumstance, an early conclusion of the China, Japan and South Korea (CJK) trilateral trade agreement — under negotiation since 2012 despite intrinsic trilateral acrimonies — could help expedite a convergence of the two mega deals. CJK leaders already committed to realising a ‘free, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment’ at the Chengdu Trilateral Summit in 2020.

Many RCEP economies are experiencing their worst economic downfall since the Great Depression due to COVID-19 and want to avoid being forced to side economically with the United States or China in the years to come. Only once the two major powers collaborate can urgent global issues like the ongoing pandemic and climate change be effectively dealt with. 

To bring them together, the regional ‘constructive powers’ belonging to both the CPTPP and RCEP should raise their collective voice to safeguard a deeper, rule-based, regional free trade order and serve as honest brokers. In due process, major trading powers in the Asia Pacific should be non-assertive, non-unilateral and non-treacherous. And for any sustainable and large FTAAP in the Asia Pacific, mutual trust is key.

Choong Yong Ahn is Distinguished Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies, Chung-Ang University.

Note – Blooloop’s Weekend News Roundup

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Evermore Park and Taylor Swift drop lawsuits against each other
Hong Kong’s new tourism app uses AR at historical sites
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Event Network welcomes 10 new partnerships
Dr Ellen Stofan of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
Magic on the menu: transforming the F&B experience
Alton Towers shares first-look images of Gangsta Granny: The Ride
Walt Disney World testing facial recognition technology
State Museum of Baden to feature Tinder-style app, My Object
Miral’s Yas Island going contactless through FacePass facial recognition
Semnox Solutions software helps GameTime increase revenue
Christie launches Mirage SST-6P RGB pure laser projection system
Flip Out brings life to the retail sector
A new era for the leisure and entertainment industry
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Cloward H2O looks back at successful Mohegan Sun project in Connecticut

In depth

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Note – Investopedia: The Market Sum: Change of Season

By Gordon Scott

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Image courtesy GettyImages/zoranm

1/ 

Markets Remain Calm as Inflation Data Soothes Fears 

Investors closed out a quiet trading session in a relatively quiet week and did so bringing the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) to the highest closes yet. The glaring inconsistency between the performance of those two benchmarks and the erstwhile market-leading Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) is not to be underestimated. While it is true that one year ago this industry captured the imagination of investors who saw technology as the answer to social isolation, this industry is now being eschewed for the likelihood that its best days are behind it for a while. 

While that may be a temporary condition and part of a normal sector rotation, it could just as easily be a warning flag for investors that not everything about the markets is as calm as it may seem right now. Some news outlets reported that data from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed that inflation remains low. But that did little to actually dampen the behaviors spurred by fears of inflation. That’s largely because the CPI number itself is only part of the full story.     

Chart courtesy TradingView

2/

Fed Data Trends Reveal Origin of Inflation Fears 

Data in the chart below from the St. Louis Federal Reserve website helps explain why investors’ fears about inflation are strong and persistent right now. The chart shows a simple comparison of three measures over the past eight years. 

The upper panel in the chart shows that the CPI is certainly rising during the past year, but on a pace that remains generally similar to the previous five years. This pace remains below 3% annually. However, the second panel shows that the most recent annual change, modest though it may be, is in the upper tenth percentile of all readings over the past eight years. 

The CPI is not the only Fed indicator analysts watch for signs of inflation; the other is the 10-year breakeven inflation rate.

This chart is included in the lower panel below. The current reading on this indicator, a deeper technical expression of inflation expectations, is that the possibility for inflation is the highest it has been in nearly eight years. This level of concern for coming inflation has led many investors to seek out alternative ways to grow investments. 

Chart courtesy St. Louis Federal Reserve

3/

Not Just Speculation Driving Cryptocurrencies 

While many still deliberate about cryptocurrencies’ mass adoption, the market has spoken, and its message is clear. Investors do want the benefits of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology as a hedge against inflation.  

The battle between speculators over how much that hedge is worth is still being pitched 24-7 in a new-fangled market with lots of promise and hope for the future. Reminiscent of the dot-com era, and the bundling of mortgage-backed securities a decade later, cryptocurrency technologies are filled to the brim with notions of “it’s different this time.” So why isn’t anyone afraid that the rapid rise of Bitcoin is this millennium’s equivalent of the Dutch tulip bulb market bubble
 

The answer may be as simple as the fact that people are just that scared of inflation, whether the data says it is mild or not. It may be that even in the middle of all the cryptocurrency speculation, investors really are worried about all the worldwide central bank intervention that has been creating undeniable economic influence over the past decade. 

The chart below compares the three leading cryptocurrencies right now: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Cardano (ADA). The latter (shown first on the chart) is an interesting entity because it has come on strong only in the past year or so. In fact, its price performance over just the previous six months alone is nearly seven times as large as the other two—and they have increased by over double in that span. 

To understand the importance of Cardano’s rise in popularity, it helps to know a little about the technology behind the coin

In a nutshell, the whole point of Cardano is to increase the stability of the cryptocurrency marketplace. Perhaps the biggest benefit of that outcome would be the use of cryptocurrencies as a true hedge against the dilution of purchasing power inherent in fiat currencies that manifest creeping inflation. 

Chart courtesy TradingView

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What to Expect Next Week

On the U.S. economic calendar, we’ll be watching home prices, consumer confidence, and unemployment numbers.

Home prices have jumped over the past year as demand for houses rocketed when many Americans left cities for suburbia amid pandemic lockdowns. We’ll find out if the trend continued last month as the Federal Housing Finance Committee and S&P Dow Jones Indices both release their respective housing price indexes.

We’ll also get a read on consumer sentiment from The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. This monthly report details consumer attitude, buying intentions, and expectations for inflation, stock prices, and interest rates. Now that stimulus checks have been released, it’s important to know what consumers plan to do with them.

Plus, all eyes will be on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ nonfarm payroll employment report out Friday. This will tell us whether the recovery for the labor market is keeping good pace. In February, U.S. employers added 379,000 jobs as they gained confidence in the economic recovery and started bringing more workers onto their payrolls. Economists expect that number to jump in March to 655,000.

Next week’s earnings announcements will include Chewy, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and McCormick & Co. Here’s how major asset classes and Bitcoin have performed so far this year.

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Note – McKinsey: What is a car? The auto industry is busy answering that question

This week, how tech is transforming the auto industry, including an insider view from a leader at Volvo Cars. Plus, HR’s role in pushing organizations forward and a former US chief performance officer on the skills necessary to thrive in our constantly churning era.
illustration of a car
Computers on wheels. Anyone who has bought a new car in the past few years knows they are more software than hardware. In fact, technology is transforming every facet of the auto industry, from the way cars are made and how they run to how they are bought and sold. As disruptive new players and services materialize, a modern mobility ecosystem has emerged as well, built around end users’ needs and preferences. These shifts were going on before the COVID-19 crisis, but the pandemic has underscored how integrating business and technology delivers value. Here’s what you need to know about the biggest trends propelling the industry:
Connected cars. Connectivity and the explosion of the Internet of Things mean that automakers can offer a more seamless, personalized ride. Although fully autonomous cars could be a decade or more away, advanced driver-assistance systems now use automated technology to make grinding commutes easier. Through the use of sensors and cameras, safety features detect blind spots, help drivers maintain a safe distance from other cars, and automatically apply emergency braking.
Steel and software. Another big industry shift is the increasing emphasis on software in auto manufacturing. Many of these disruptive mobility trends, including autonomous vehicles, connectivity, electrification, and shared mobility, depend on cutting-edge software to improve vehicle performance. The industry’s strongest software developers report roughly three times greater productivity and throughput, and six times higher quality, than the lowest performers. What’s more, poorly designed software could lead to recalls, while driver safety might be compromised by malicious cyberattacks. Yet less than half of the R&D executives in a McKinsey survey said they were prepared to shift operational tactics to develop the necessary expertise in software development.
Customer experience. Our research shows that consumers are keenly interested in connected-car features. In a survey on future mobility trends, nearly 40 percent of respondents said that they would switch brands for a better connected-car experience. The use of connected-car data also represents an important opportunity. We identified nearly 40 use cases that could represent up to $400 billion in value by 2030, including adding in-car entertainment options and using data to help fleet operators manage vehicle maintenance.
Done with dealerships? Digital channels are becoming more important for buying cars—a change that the pandemic has greatly accelerated. Our consumer surveys indicate that at least a third of customers in Asia, Europe, and North America prefer to use digital sales channels, such as a company’s website or mobile app, when purchasing a car. Automakers have revealed new digital sales tools that take shoppers through each step of the car-buying process, from selecting a vehicle to applying for financing to home delivery of the new car. That makes haggling over dealership prices a thing of the past.
Online shops are always open
In 2020, e-commerce as a share of total sales grew more than threefold in the US and nearly fivefold in Spain and the UK. About 75 percent of first-time users of digital channels said that they will continue using them even after the pandemic is over, according to our global surveys of consumer sentiment.
Year-over-year growth of e-commerce as sharet of total retail sales, percentage points exhibit

The papas join the mamas

exhibit: Black actors get fewer chances to break out

the Shortlist

McKinsey & Company

Note – Fisher: How Closed Is the Reopening Trade?

By Fisher Investments Editorial Staff

Full link: https://www.fisherinvestments.com/en-us/marketminder/how-closed-is-the-reopening-trade?fiut=p

A chart collection of sectors and industries most pundits assume are very reliant on reopening the economy raises the question: How much reopening isn’t baked into stock prices now?

During value’s bursts of outperformance since vaccine news broke last November, talk of the so-called reopening trade—a market rotation from industries that benefited from the lockdowns to those that suffered—has frequented headlines. So it is presently, as value categories enjoy another moment in the sun. Many, many investors see this as lasting. But markets tend to anticipate widely watched factors like this. Today, fairly few seem to acknowledge just how much reopening is already reflected in stock prices. In our view, a tour of charts of the most reopening-related categories should give proponents pause and raise the question: Exactly how much reopening is left for markets to weigh?

The reopening trade essentially presumes increasingly widespread vaccinations will drive investors to dial up expectations for profit growth among the industries hardest hit by lockdown. Those are generally economically sensitive value stocks. But, more specifically, we refer to the Airline industry, Hotels, Restaurants and Leisure firms and the Energy sector. The lockdowns designed to quell COVID’s spread devastated all of these. All would likely benefit from reopening in a major, major way relative to growth-oriented firms—some of which were COVID winners.

But here is the thing: Pretty much everyone knows that. In investing, anything widely expected is likely already reflected in stock prices to a very large degree. So, with that, consider Exhibits 1 – 4, which plot the cumulative percentage change in global value stocks and each of the three categories noted above since 2020’s pre-pandemic market peak.

Exhibit 1: Global Value Stocks Since 2/19/2020

Source: FactSet, as of 3/18/2021. MSCI World Value Index, 2/19/2020 – 3/17/2021.

Exhibit 2: MSCI World Airline Industry Since 2/19/2020

Source: FactSet, as of 3/18/2021. MSCI World Airline Industry, 2/19/2020 – 3/17/2021.

Exhibit 3: MSCI World Hotels, Restaurants and Leisure Industry Group Since 2/19/2020

Source: FactSet, as of 3/18/2021. MSCI World Hotel, Restaurant and Leisure Industry Group, 2/19/2020 – 3/17/2021.

Exhibit 4: MSCI World Energy Sector Since 2/19/2020

Source: FactSet, as of 3/18/2021. MSCI World Energy Sector, 2/19/2020 – 3/17/2021.

Now, of course, this is all past performance, and past performance never predicts.[i] But reviewing this does raise an important consideration for investors buying into the reopening trade. None of the industries indicated here have recovered at an economic level. Many still confront a variety of lockdowns, demand issues and virus-related headwinds. Yet despite this, markets have seemingly anticipated a recovery, starting initially last summer and really accelerating in the fall. They are, in our view, moving on expectations and opinions of what lies ahead. They are anticipating the future for these value categories based on a plethora of theories, headlines, opinions and forecasts. Perhaps March’s Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Fund Manager Survey captures these best. It showed a record margin of respondents in the series’ 14-year history expect value to outperform growth over the next 12 months. Add that to a plethora of headlines championing reopening as a key market inflection point and others touting value for its typical early bull market leadership and it seems clear the reopening trade isn’t sneaking up on anyone.

Unless one tries arguing markets are completely inefficient and the charts above reflect an upturn based on some other factor, it seems inarguable to us that reopening isn’t already significantly priced into these stocks. So the question now for value bulls is, to what extent do they reflect the future? Fully, partially or excessively? Additionally, and crucially, what lies beyond the reopening trade?


[i] Not only a fun compliance disclosure, a fundamentally true statement.

FISHER INVESTMENTS ® MARKETMINDER DIGEST

Note – DealStreetAsia: The Week That Was

From artwork and digital videos, to Jack Dorsey’s 15-year-old autographed tweet, and a “digital home” set in what looks like Mars, the alternative, alternative asset known as a non-fungible token (NFT) is making headlines and bewildering many. 

Just this week, Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, sold his first tweet ever for the Ether equivalent of $2.9 million. ‘Mars House’ went for the value of $500,000; a picture of a New York Times column about NFTs went for the equivalent of $560,000, and sparked yet another article by the columnist about NFTs.

The surge in interest in the digital assets has been attributed to various factors, including a rise in the price of cryptocurrencies, as we noted in last week’s newsletter.

It remains to be seen if these digital assets will hold or appreciate in value; are we going to see an accompanying rise in investment in blockchain or cryptocurrency companies by alternative asset investors?

For now, special purpose acquisition corporations (SPACs) have continued to draw investor interest.

One of China’s biggest private equity firms, Hony Capital, has filed to list a $300 million SPAC in New York. Hony Capital Acquisition Corp will seek  tech-enabled companies in the healthcare and consumer sectors in China, or a regional firm with growth potential in the mainland. 

In Indonesia, pay TV company MNC Vision Networks is merging its streaming business and other units with Malacca Straits SPAC, which raised $144 million in a July IPO. 
New funds
Alt asset managers are back on the fundraising trail. 

Temasek Holdings-backed Vertex Ventures has launched its third master fund earlier this year, to deploy into its network of six funds with investments spanning the globe. Vertex Master Fund III is targeting to raise $800 million; its predecessor raised $730 million in 2019.

Another Temasek-backed fund, Openspace Ventures, is set to hit the first close of its $300 million opportunities fund. This comes shortly after its raised $200 million for its third early-stage fund.

Separately, seed investor Wavemaker Partners is raising its fourth Southeast Asia-focused fund. The Singapore and LA-based VC is targeting to take in $120 million from LPs including International Finance Corporation, which is proposing to invest $10 million in Wavemaker SEA Fund IV, according to a disclosure.

In India, midmarket private equity firm Gaja Capital is set to secure the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as an LP with a $25 million commitment. Gaja Capital is raising $400 million for its latest vehicle, which will invest in 12 to 15 companies in a range of sectors.

On the whole, private fundraising has been lacklustre in the pandemic year of 2020.

In its latest report on the private equity landscape, Bain & Co noted that Asia Pacific-focused funds raised a third less than in 2019, and more than half less than the prior five-year average.  

In the VC sector, tech startups in Southeast Asia raised roughly $8.6 billion in 2020, down slightly from the year before. But what is of concern, according to DealStreetAsia’s research, is that just a paltry 16.5% went to companies led by women entrepreneurs.

All’s not lost – women founders say they are noticing more support from accelerator programmes and other parts of the ecosystem in the region. Indeed, amid fundraising challenges, the seed investor is often the most important one for the entrepreneurs, says theAsianparent founder Roshni Mahtani in an interview.
Deals in the works
Among the notable deals reported this week were Philippine live streaming app Kumu, which is understood to be raising $15 million in a Series B round, with participation from a strategic investor. That is significant progress from its earlier Series A round, which raised about $5 million, just a year ago in April 2020.

In a piece of tech alumni news, an edtech startup founded by former Gojek executives has raised seed funding from a clutch of VCs led by Singapore’s Teja Ventures. Binar Academy targets professionals in the digital sector. 

Meanwhile, after a difficult year, some co-living startups are making a go of it. 

In Indonesia, Flokq has acquired local rival Yukstay, marking the first consolidation in the sector in the country. Other VC-backed players include Mamikos, Rukita, and RoomMe, as well as budget hotels OYO and Reddoorz.

Meanwhile, Singapore-based Hmlet is believed to be raising a $25 million round led by EDB investment arm, sources tell DealStreetAsia. The funding will comprise mainly convertible notes, and pegs the startup at a $200 million valuation.

Hmlet last raised $40 million in July 2019, but the company is believed to have burned through cash quickly. It laid off nearly 10% of its staff in February last year, and has since adjusted its business model to be “asset-light”, involving revenue-sharing with landlords.

Finally, exits have been hard to come by for investors, as noted in Bain’s report.

This week, we reported that the owners of Vietnamese drug producer OPV Pharmaceuticals JSC have been seeking a 100% sale since the third quarter of 2020. The company is 65% owned by Malaysia-based private equity firm Navis Capital Partners, which invested in September 2012.

Elsewhere in healthcare, Quadria Capital Partners picked up a minority stake in Indonesia-listed hospital group Mediloka Hermina. The acquisition, made progressively through share purchases on the open market, was opportunistic, Quadria Capital’s Abrar Mir told DealStreetAsia. Mir said the company was ‘undervalued’, trading at a discount to its peers in the region. 

Overall, however, asset prices remain high in a market flush with liquidity. Where are the opportunities for investors?

Till next week,
Michelle TeoManaging Editor, DealStreetAsiaeditor@dealstreetasia.com

Note – AngelList: Public education

Coursera prepares edtech’s biggest IPO

Coursera

As Coursera prepares the biggest edtech IPO in years, the entire industry is watching for clues for where the industry will go post-pandemic. (It’s being called one of “most anticipated capital events” of the last few years in education tech.)

The Mountain View, California-based company was founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors. Its 77M global users (or “learners”) access online courses and degrees from top universities, a business that boomed during the pandemic. 

The company filed with the SEC to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “COUR.” Depending on who’s doing the math, the company’s target price range of $30 to $33 could value it somewhere between $2.4B (its October valuation) and $5B

Coursera’s public debut is considered an industry bellwether in a space that saw explosive growth during the COVID pandemic. The company’s filing also offers the best picture yet of how companies plan to turn MOOCs (massive open online courses) into profitable companies—industry watchers noted the company’s impressively low acquisition cost of under $2k per learner and the growth of its consumer segment.

Coursera is far from the only game in town. EdX (they’re hiring), which built its name around free Harvard-MIT computer science courses, has grown to 35M users. Another, Udemy (they’re hiring), claims the “largest global marketplace for teaching and learning online” and recently raised another $50MUdacity (they’re hiring), one of the last notable edtech IPOs, just launched a cybersecurity school.

Indian edtech giant Byju has grown to 80M users and raised $1B last year as the pandemic accelerated the adoption of online learning services in India. The company is fundraising again.

Funding and acquisitions

Hopina London, UK-based virtual experience platform, raised a $300M Series C co-led by Andreessen Horowitz and General Catalyst. The company also acquired video hosting provider Streamable and video technology company Jamm. Hopin enables brands and communities to create all-in-one live video experiences. Through its platforms, attendees can learn, interact, and connect with people from anywhere in the world. 

Sivoan 8-month-old Y Combinator alumnus that’s building “debt as a service,” raised a $5M seed round. The company’s API allows companies to access debt funding and lend money to their communities and is working with 100 companies, including Uber, in its customer pipeline.

Weee!a Fremont, Calif.-based ethnic e-grocer founded in 2015, raised a $315M Series D led by DST Global. The company offers specialty products and essentials with a focus on Asian and Hispanic communities. Weee! serves 14 regions in the U.S. and aims to expand to 30 more cities by 2024.

AngelList Logo

Note – Bloomberg: The Weekly Fix: Traders With Terrible Timing; Late-Night Gains

Traders Are Bad at Timing


As it turns out, bond traders are pretty terrible at timing the Federal Reserve. While that sounds like a diss, it’s also the entertaining conclusion of a Bloomberg News article that examined the past 13 years of money-market derivatives. Since 2008, markets have consistently priced in a more aggressive path of Fed rate hikes than what ultimately happened. Consider the situation in late 2008: traders were already bracing for several hikes in the years ahead, according to data crunched by JPMorgan Chase & Co., but policy makers held off on tightening until 2015.

Amusingly, that experience then left traders behind the curve when the Fed liftoff really got going. The central bank hiked a total of seven times between the start of 2017 through the end of 2018, leaving traders scrambling to keep up.

These history lessons cast a new light on one of the narratives that’s emerged from this year’s bond selloff — that the market will somehow force officials into hiking rates earlier than current Fed projections, which have the central bank on hold through 2023. Nearly a quarter-point of tightening late next year was priced into swaps and futures as of Thursday, while three increases of that size were reflected by the end of 2023.

“The market has its pricing and perceptions, and what happens can differ from that and has,” Alex Roever, head of U.S. rates strategy at JPMorgan, told Bloomberg News. The market has been testing the Fed by “trying to push further forward the first hike. But Fed officials don’t seem to be having any of it.”

A quick look at U.S. financial conditions helps explain why. Financial conditions are a grab-bag measure of different strains across asset classes, from stocks to credit spreads to sovereign bonds. Notably, they’ve barely budged, even as long-term borrowing costs shot higher this month and equity markets wobbled. Rather, the Fed’s policy stance is still decidedly accommodative.

“Overall financing conditions for households are still low and easy. Even though rates have risen, they are coming off a low level. Spreads are still tight. Overall, equities are near all-time highs,” said Priya Misra, the head of U.S. rates strategy at TD Securities. “So the Fed’s probably looking at that and seeing no reason to get concerned about rising rates.”

In any case, the bond market is perhaps starting to take Chairman Jerome Powell at his word, which has remained — throughout four separate speaking engagements this week — that the Fed won’t put away its toolkit until the economy is “all but fully recovered” from the coronavirus shock. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields have pulled back to about 1.65% from a March high of 1.75%.

“As we’ve repeatedly argued, if markets do give credibility to the Fed’s average inflation targeting and maximum employment goals, yields could slide considerably further,” Bespoke Investment Group analysts wrote in a note this week.

Making Money While You Sleep


The overnight rally is a well-documented phenomenon in U.S. equity futures, but not as much of a thing in Treasuries — until now, maybe. A Credit Suisse report this week noted that since early March, Treasuries have been rallying during Asian trading hours, only for yields to retrace higher during the typical U.S. session. Through March 23, 10-year Treasury yields dropped nearly 10 basis points between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. in New York, before rising roughly 25 basis points between 2 a.m. and noon, according to the bank.

Bloomberg

Bloomberg

The late-night gains may be an early sign that after Japanese banks sold 1.4 trillion yen ($12.8 billion) of long-term foreign debt in February, appetite may be picking back up. That’s good news for bond bulls, given that Japanese investors are the largest overseas holders of Treasuries. While it’s unclear to what degree Japanese investors will reload their long-U.S. fixed income positions after Japan’s fiscal year-end, Treasuries have become “increasingly attractive” as rate volatility levels off, according to Credit Suisse strategist Jonathan Cohn.

“I think it’s fair to say that there may be some incremental demand for duration coming through from Asian buyers given the timing of the recent moves, as well as both the stabilization in rates and volatility,” Cohn said. “Definitely a theme worth monitoring going forward as potentially tapping the brakes on the relentless sell-off.”

Which leads neatly into a favorite topic: currency-hedged Treasury yields. Hedging costs for foreign bond buyers — which are heavily determined by short-term rate differentials — collapsed over the past year after the Fed slashed rates to near-zero last March. Prior to that emergency cut, overseas investors faced deeply negative yields in the U.S. bond market after protecting against FX swings. 

It’s a story best told by numbers: in March of last year, a hedged Treasury note yielded minus 1.5% for yen-based buyers. It now stands at about 1.3% — down slightly from a peak of about 1.4% reached earlier this month, which was the highest since late 2015. That compares to about 0.08% for similarly dated Japanese securities. That premium — especially in light of tumbling Treasury turbulence — could soon lure yield-hungry investors back to U.S. bonds. 

Junk Is Jumping, But No One Wants It


High-yield bonds are in an interesting spot. The primary market has been on fire lately — a late Thursday offering from Carvana Co. pushed total quarterly issuance to a record $139.6 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That edges out the previous high of $139 billion set in the second quarter of 2020, after the Fed’s announcement of its credit market backstop thawed a market effectively frozen by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Less than a year later, the pace is even more furious as vaccines find arms and the U.S. economy reopens. The resulting rise in inflation expectations and Treasury yields has fueled a rush of “FOMO” (fear of missing out) borrowing, with companies eager to borrow at rates that are still ultra-low.

The secondary market looks similarly hot. February saw the average yield on U.S. junk bonds fall below 4% for the first time ever, turning the “high yield” moniker into a bit of an oxymoron. Yields have since edged up to about 4.3%, which is still well below the decade average of 6.4%, Bloomberg data show.

However, the flow show doesn’t match the euphoria. Investors pulled roughly $1.4 billion from junk-tracking mutual funds and exchange-traded funds in the week ended March 24, reversing a $410 million inflow from the prior period, according to Refinitiv Lipper. All told, high-yield funds have posted outflows in eight of the last 11 weeks. Typically one would expect inflows to follow performance, but ultra-tight spreads might be keeping portfolio managers on the sidelines even as fundamentals brighten.

“Many allocators think about spread and don’t find spreads relative to historic norms appealing. I think this is missing the forest for the trees,” said John McClain, a portfolio manager at Diamond Hill Capital Management. “High yield is very much supported by record high equity prices. The quality of high yield is as high as its ever been so these companies are generally in a far better position to payback debt, i.e. low default rates going forward.”

Like most things in bond markets right now, the discrepancy also boils down to concerns about duration — or an asset’s sensitivity to interest-rate changes. That’s fueled demand for ultra-short loan ETFs, which have negligible duration risk relative even to high yield bonds, which are generally less vulnerable to rate run-ups than high-grade peers. Additionally, because loans have floating rates, they actually stand to benefit from rising rates.

Loan ETFs have attracted $3.3 billion in inflows so far this year, with the $3.8 billion SPDR Blackstone Senior Loan ETF (ticker SRLN) on track for a 26th consecutive week of inflows. SRLN is hanging onto gains of 0.2% in 2021, while the $21 billion iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (ticker HYG) and the $15 billion iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (ticker TLT) have dropped 0.7% and 13%, respectively.

“Even though high yield isn’t nearly as rate sensitive as investment-grade, there’s still duration,” said David Schawel, chief investment officer at Family Management Corp. “As rates started to go up and high yield fell a little bit, investors started to swap in levered loans or get out altogether.”

Bonus Points

The elite salvage team could need days — or even weeks — to prise out the giant container ship that’s blocking the Suez Canal

Goldman CEO vows to better protect junior bankers’ Saturdays off

Carcinogen found in widely available hand sanitizers Americans snapped up over past year 

Bloomberg

Info – The State of the Multi-Billion Dollar Console Gaming Market

Full link: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/multi-billion-dollar-console-gaming-market/

With over 2.7 billion gamers worldwide in 2020, the video game industry is undergoing a renaissance. Billions of dollars are pouring in as transformations occur on multiple fronts, including in mobile, PC, and console gaming markets.

For gamers in the latter category, there comes a monumental time when the cycle flips the page to the next generation of consoles. We are now at that pivotal moment, with the Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5 set to launch on November 10 and 12, 2020, respectively.

How will this generation of console games fare relative to past iterations, and which target demographics will be driving future sales?

There Can Only Be One

Xbox and Nintendo have put up a respectable fight, but the history of gaming console sales point to an extended era of PlayStation dominance.

In fact, PlayStation sits quite comfortably on the top of the podium, with the PS2 alone experiencing greater sales than both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One combined.

Historical game console unit sales

Over time, Sony has only widened the gap between themselves and the competition. The spread in unit sales between PS3 and Xbox 360 ended 1.6 million in favor of Sony. In the following product cycle, Sony achieved only further dominance, with the difference between PS4 and Xbox One sales now sitting at 63.7 million units.

Looking ahead, unit sale estimates for the PS5 range from 120-170 million and the new console is set to outperform Xbox again—in line with past trends.

Game Console Sales Galore

Gaming revenues have gone unscathed despite a pandemic, a retraction in economic activity, and the tightening of budgets for households in 2020. This trend could well be a result of video games growing as a form of stay-home entertainment.

console game revenue forecast

On an annualized basis, global video game console revenues are to hit $51 billion in 2020 and reach past $60 billion in the next two years.

An Attractive Disconnect

It’s clear there is significant buzz around the new consoles, but here’s another perspective that highlights their allure to consumers.

Video games possess an attractive disconnect in that they are an entertainment cash cow for gaming companies, yet gaming products also happen to be a huge cost saver for the consumer relative to other platforms and devices.cost of gaming compared to other entertainment

The average cost per hour for gaming services is much cheaper than the cost of a book and even more competitive relative to the cost of entertainment giants Netflix and Spotify.

An Evolving Landscape

Consoles have transformed to being about much more than just gaming. They now take front and center in people’s homes as a centralized hub for all things entertainment. For both the Xbox One and PS4, half of all gamers use their consoles for non-gaming activity.

game consoles usage

Another more notable form of transformation is the identity of the gamer itself. The classic portrayal of teenage boys engaged in Super Mario after school in their parents’ basement has all but dissipated.

In addition to older male users, there’s now a significant emergence in female gamers. In the U.S., women surpass men in both the 36-50 and 51-65 age cohorts. Furthermore, age demographics show a higher usage amongst men in the 36-50 age group, relative to the 10-20 cohort.

Age of gamers

A Bright Future

There are reasons to expect the next generation of console gaming to be the greatest yet.

PlayStation has momentum on their side, and a slew of new gamers exist today that will continue to help transform the market.

With a more digitally connected world, this new era will see gamers that play and compete with one another from all four corners of the globe. For gamers, this will be a thrilling experience—and for companies, a potentially very lucrative one.

Văn – 34/52: tối giản

Tối giản…

Tôi vốn chưa bao giờ nghĩ về nó cho tới khi đọc tác phẩm “Nghệ thuật tối giản” của tác giả Dominique Loreau, thực ra đó là quyển sách tôi mua tặng vợ, nhưng tôi lại trở thành độc giả say mê khi vô tình giở trang đầu tiên…

Từ thời còn đi học, năm 14 tuổi tôi đã bắt đầu đi làm – tôi kiếm tiền từ những việc phù hợp như đi dạy, dịch báo; thỉnh thoảng lại còn đi đánh quán, nên không cảm thấy nặng nề về tiền nong vì kiếm cũng không tệ vào thời đó; phần vì ít tuổi không quan tâm, phần vì không có nhu cầu gì ngoài café và ít sách vở nên thường đưa bố hết; trong thâm tâm, tôi cũng hiểu là kiếm tiền không dễ, nhưng quan trọng hơn cả, tôi cũng chẳng thấy phiền về việc đó; tôi chẳng có nhu cầu gì thực sự, không vì lý do gì cả…

Hồi đó, ở nhà bố con tôi chẳng có “tài sản” gì đáng kể: một cái TV cũ nhỏ đen trắng, một cái đầu CD Walkman cũ rỉ, hai cái xe đạp, 3 cái ghế, 1 cái bàn cũ… chúng tôi còn không có cả giường – nằm đệm vì cả hai bố con đều ghét nằm giường… Mẹ tôi trong một dịp khi ra thăm tôi cũng cảm thấy “xót xa” vì “cảnh bần hàn, thiếu thốn” của chúng tôi… nhưng tôi lại chẳng thấy vậy, đơn giản vì

không mấy ai hiểu được những thời khắc mà tôi yêu thương và mong chờ nhất chính là cuối mỗi tuần, bố con tôi dành thời gian cùng nhau đi café, đi xem triển lãm tranh, hay đi xem phim… hoặc thích nhất là được bố đưa đi chơi Nintendo ở các quán game, nơi ông sẵn sàng kiên nhẫn đứng xem và đợi tôi vô tư chơi hàng tiếng đồng hồ…

cũng bởi vậy, cho dù cái giá có cao bao nhiêu chăng nữa, thì tôi không bao giờ nhận dạy hay làm bất cứ việc gì vào cuối tuần… Cuối tuần là của riêng hai bố con tôi…

Cái “tài sản” chiếm nhiều không gian nhất trong nhà là… sách, và chỉ là sách mà thôi… có thể nói, chưa bao giờ bố con tôi đắn đo trước cám dỗ của một quyển sách hay… cho dù nó chính là nguyên nhân gây ra cho chúng tôi cơ man nào phiên toái mỗi khi dọn và chuyển nhà…

Cho tới tận nhiều năm sau này, khi tôi đã già, tôi vẫn không thể thay đổi nếp sống đó; vẫn như thời còn đi học, tôi vẫn vậy, có gì dùng nấy… có khác chăng, sau mười mấy năm, vật dụng của tôi chỉ thêm máy tính xách tay và điện thoại thông minh để làm việc và giải trí… bên cạnh cây đàn và sách… – một gánh nặng bố đã “chuyển” lại cho vợ của tôi… cùng với thói quen duy trì không làm việc cuối tuần để dành cho gia đình, hoặc hưởng thụ một quyển sách hay…

Giờ bố đã không còn bên tôi nhưng bố đã để lại cho tôi một di sản lớn, đã hình thành tính cách của tôi. Nay tôi đã hơn 20 năm trong ngành tài chính kế toán – đã theo nghề của ông nội, nhưng, nhờ bố tôi mà tôi đã trưởng thành và luôn giữ được là chính mình…

điều quan trọng hơn cả, tiền và vật chất tuy quan trọng và phải nỗ lực vất vả để làm ra, nhưng tận cùng, nó cũng chỉ để phục vụ cuộc sống – là phương tiện sống chứ không phải mục tiêu sống; ví như, tiền chỉ có thể mua một máy nghe nhạc đắt tiền, nhưng không mua được việc thưởng thức một bản nhạc hay; tiền có thể mua được sách nhưng không thể mua được trải nghiệm nội dung; tiền có thể mua được đồng hồ, nhưng không thể mua được thời gian bên cạnh người thân; hay, tiền có thể mua thuốc nhưng không thể mua được sức khỏe và sự an tĩnh trong tâm hồn…

cuộc sống còn ẩn chứa vô vàn điều đẹp đẽ và hấp dẫn hơn tiền bạc và vật chất… những thứ không thể dùng tiền bạc, vật chất thuần túy đánh đổi được…

Bố đã giúp tôi những bước đầu tiên đi tìm mục tiêu và ý nghĩa thực sự của cuộc sống: sự tự do, trải nghiệm và con đường kiếm tìm hạnh phúc và sự bình an tĩnh lặng trong tâm hồn…

Tối giản phải chăng là điểm tối ưu của sự cân bằng mà cuộc sống luôn cần duy trì?

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NPL

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