Saturday, August 25, 2007

Apocalypse Now 一念天堂,一念地獄

17th Aug07 was the ultimate judgment day, investors were caught in between polar (of the US sub-prime mortgage financial crisis vs. New policy of mainlanders free to trade Hong Kong stock through designated bank in Tianjin) and experienced the deepest V curve (or point fold) ever unfolded in Hong Kong stock trade. At the point where you saw the world was about to fall apart with some flickering lights surrounded by darkness, you doubted whether those lights were hallucination suffered from previous deep plunges or signs from angels in revelation. In the midst of vanishing world vs. the possible point of return, full of agony and unbearable suffering, an ultimate decision had to be made “to buy or not to buy”. Neither data nor analytical studies were available to support your decision, was a simple yes/no answer coming from your primordial instinct… Result - “You buy you win big, you sell you regret for as long as you are down and out in the stock market”

Due to the sub-prime mortgage financial crisis, the stock market worldwide had been in turmoil since the beginning of the month, but nothing compare with such apocalyptical atmosphere on 17th Aug07.

In the morning, Hang Seng Index (HSI) dropped from 20,600 to 19,995 which was the yearly range of increase for 2007. After lunch, the plunge began, starting at -300 points and within 15 minutes it dropped further 600 points with a total daily drop of 1286 points. While the world seemingly came to an end, the point folds began, and within an hour HSI shot up 600 points and closed at 20,387.13. Daily fluctuation ranged from 19,386.72 - 20,761.31

The first part of the apocalypse was conducted by the foreign hedge fund managers who started pulling out money from Hong Kong which led to the landslide. The second part was the taking over from china investors (as rumors say) that levitated us to higher grounds of hope. Since then, the following week, every morning had an open bid of +10% for those who wanted to re-enter the game, a kind of ecstasy pills for empathy, love, heightening self-awareness to an aftershock from last Friday. The stock market then turned into a Russian roulette, every bet you placed was a step closer to another possible landslide, but the enjoyment of near death experience made one to overcome the aftershock awareness and seemingly to live life twice!

The event reminded good slave of the movie “Killing Fields & Deer Hunter”. The pulling out of American troops and the taking over by the communist, the heightening of the apocalyptic atmosphere where life turned into betting chips, no room for any thoughts, we live for every moment in life through yes-no, winning-losing, life-death intermingles together …

For architecture, professionals have been simple-minded in accepting given data for distribution of the architectural program. Neither are the sources being investigated nor are the intentions of such data revealed to public being questioned. Curves or bar charts are simply drawn to extrapolate the future growth and resulting programs portend to accommodate future needs. Architects have been fed by developers with pseudo data, while being part of the propagandizing campaign, work produced are made believe to serve the public needs.

However for smart investors, they treat data in a very different manner - data revealed are considered as psychological aspect of the public. A reflection of intentions, of people in power desire for the future and the way they want the public to desire the same accordingly. The apocalyptic atmosphere, heaven and hell experiences, the heightening of human emotions are all artificially created delusions of a controlled future. Investors postulate the future by interpolation, the filling up of the gap in between now and the speculate intentions of those in power. The more polar forces lead to chaos, the more certainty for investors to make future by seeing what’s behind those pseudo data.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

An Islamic puzzle

Good slave was in Malaysia (being one of the popular resort for the Islamic community) enjoying the vacation hot spot with strangers from the Far East. While taking the plane from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur, good slave encountered an Islamic puzzle which kept good slave pondered along the trip. Since the global business works with generic models, the puzzle intrigued good slave for its spatial/mathematical implications to our supposedly highly efficient-base/protocol system, a kind of gems affection that resulted in a 20 minutes of delay.

The puzzle as follows –
- The seating arrangement of the economy class is a minima/maxima model of efficiency. Accommodations, circulation spaces, human bodies and luggage are all intertwined within the same formula of efficiency in “filling” up with the volume.
- When bodies and machines become intimate, it will be inevitable to have physical contact among bodies (whether to be sitting or maneuvering inside the plane).
- According to the Sharia Law, one would not touch women whom are not his "mahram" (guardians).
- So, when the plane is filled up with good followers of Allah Almighty and non-Muslim, the situation becomes difficult. Some Muslim couples will be seated in between non-Muslim males, and some non-corporative-non-Muslim males may consider consumer rights are more important than respecting other’s culture and refuse to switch seats.

Then how do we solve the puzzle without any segregation among Muslims and non-Muslims? Good slave is sure that such confusions are common and figures may become astronomical once we add up the total time of delay worldwide. Shall we avoid even number of seats per roll? Or Non-Muslim male shall get the window seats? How do we balance out the efficient packing models to avoid delay of flight?

The distancing among bodies and bodily movement vs. efficient programming has been an age-old question for architects. However, at current years, we are very fascinated with global generic models that we seem to intertwine with the organic and the non-organic under the name of efficiency. The delay in flight schedule reflects the distancing among human bodies and their postures defines the generic models and the “otherness” is always a good gem in fine tuning of the system.

p.s. while sitting in the plane waiting for the situation to be resolved, a westerner next to good slave was concerned about the Islamic women being forced to cover up the body in public (accord with Sharia Law). However, in good slave opinion, our women are no better since everywhere we are bombarded with images imposed by the media of how women shall “expose” their body in public (with having less dress), every parts of the body has a required measurement along with a price tag to achieve those standard (either by plastic surgery, laser treatment, botox, slim fast diet). Is this taming of the male gaze as in Manet EduoardLe Dejeuner sur l’herbe or simply capitalization of women’s body?