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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Links I Liked

1. Ask not what a person's weakness is, ask what keeps him up at 2am.

2. The Economist apparently overstates the U-bend link between age and happiness. Poor form from them. The incident vindicates my new approach to reading stuff online: trust journalistic pieces less, trust blogs more. via EconJeff.

4. Who would've thought the crane game in arcades manipulates your chances of winning?  Anyone know whether slot machines work the same way? I've always had the feeling. Herein lies the key to making money.

5. Since when have we started talking about "development?" Martin Ravallion from the World Bank visualizes his answer using Google's new N-gram tool.

Lottery of Life

It's a good reflection piece for the season. More here. HT to Chris Blattman

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Top and Worst Foods in the Philippines the eyes of a tourist. And the number 1 worst food turns out to be... *drum roll please*... the Jollibee burger:
Unleash the God's of war I might as well have spat on the Filipino flag as condemn the Jollibee burger to being the worst food in The Philippines. Why? Jollibee has permeated its way into Pinoy national pride as much as the Queen of England is revered in the UK. It's a shame then that the tiny salty dry meat pattie smothered in a mix of translucent warm ketchup with additional cold thick mayonnaise, and (if you are lucky) a single withered piece of lettuce lying under some shiny plastic cheese slice that's then sandwiched between two stale sickly sweet buns could well be voted the national food of The Philippines!
...for some reason Jollibee won’t make its ingredients public, nor its exact meat source (100% beef can mean anything, how’s the BSE testing in The Philippines these days?), nor its environmental policy. Yes, it’s very cheap food. But at what cost...
One question I often encounter here in the US is what's Filipino cuisine like. Is it curry based like Indian food? No. Is it spicy as Thai is? Not really, but it does have a lot of spices put into it. To add to the difficulty, there are many kinds too, and I am often left with my cop out description that it is oily, unhealthy, but yummy.

I really wonder why, inasmuch as we have many Filipino migrants abroad, our food hasn't gained recognition in the same intensity as  Indian, Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese cuisine. We have good food is the thing. Is it a problem of marketing to foreigners? Where are our migrant entrepreneurs?

How can we promote our food better to internationals? Perhaps talking to foreigners is the best way to get an answer. Travel blogs are a good place to start. And I wish the tourism board takes this into account.

Okay so now I am craving sisig, lechon manok, and isaw.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The UN Security System

The United Nations now offers your home the same security that countries have enjoyed for years. If your house is broken into, they will send unarmed observers to watch the burglars and then spend months debating the appropriate nonbinding resolution.

In case you haven't seen, this was from a while back. Hilarious. I've not had as much time to blog due to school commitments but winter break seems a great time to get back to it.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Seriously, a National Pet Day

Well aren't we the entitled. This just in from the Wall Street Journal: "Some analysts say Mr. Aquino will likely face pressure to move some holidays around or add additional ones to appease Filipinos with the means to enjoy their full slate of holidays."

Furthermore, "there is also the risk of further holidays being voted into law. Bills pending in the country's Congress could create as many as eight new holidays, including a new National Pet Day, a day to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year and another to commemorate Mr. Aquino's parents."

Great. Let's have a day off for our pets.

Today's Greatest Force for Development?

Is it microfinance? Is it conditional cash transfers? Below is a slide from David Mckenzie's presentation a month ago on migration and development. Just saying, for all the coverage these other development programs get...

Now if only we could harness the potential of that blue bar on the right even more for developing countries. The data is from David's working paper here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Migrants score the goals that get the Philippines past Vietnam

And yet another reason why you need not live in the Philippines to contribute to your home country. Chris Greatwich and Phil Younghusband score the goals that secure our historic 2-0 win over defending champions Vietnam in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Wait a minute - Greatwich and Younghusband. Are those even filipino names, you say? Both are half filipino. Greatwich lives and coaches in the US while Younghusband lived in England all his life, and played with Chelsea, prior to moving back "home" recently. Wikipedia notes that "early in 2005, the Philippine Football Federation was alerted to Younghusband's eligibility by a mysterious gamer who allegedly found out about their lineage via playing Football Manager. He and his older brother, James, were eventually called up to the South-East Asian nation's football squad, amidst much fanfare."

We are increasingly getting more and more players into the national team who do not live and play in the Philippines. The same is true for our men's basketball team. It's probably the best strategy for winning. Our best players comprise of people who are abroad, lived abroad.

I will not go so far as to say that this means a good way to develop the Philippine economy is to let our best and brightest go abroad, but what I will do say is this: perhaps the most efficient way to make our Philippine team competitive is to let our brightest young stars go abroad, train there, and play there.