Tag Archives: poor

luxury, cars

16 Apr


Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

the colourful pens that i have in my flat that i use. i just love these fat pens and their colours.

london 4.28am 7.8C cloudy saturday 2016

i slept last night at 10.30pm and so woke up around now and usually i will browse the internet for about an hour and then go back to sleep. so i happen to come across a post by mr money moustache about his test drive of a tesla which he used to cross country.

i have heard of that car of course, an all electric car, and of its founder, elon musk (the name itself is an attention getter)but did not know it is also self drive as well, nor that the company have installed a lot of charging stations all over america, and they are all free to charge as they use solar energy. it is a very interesting post that makes me aware that the era of the electric car may come quicker than i thought possible. 

but what make me take note is something he said in another post, which he linked to , and it is this

Lower-income people can lose their envy of the rich by learning that a life of constant luxury is not any better than a life of simplicity punctuated by the plentiful novelty that Life automatically invents for us. And rich people can lose their slavery to their own wealth by learning that seeking out constant luxury is like listening to a radio where someone flips from one station to the next every few seconds. Listen to the whole damned song! Then listen to the whole album, and if you can handle it, try making some of your own music! link

what he said about luxury is very true. it is only fun right at the beginning. 

though his analogy to listening to the whole music may not be all that accurate. haha. it is more fun to just listen to one song in the album, rather than the whole album, it is that novelty again… it is fun only at the beginning and for that one time.

listening continuously to a album by the same band or singer is only great if it is a best of compilation of his songs. 

though, i had a look at my picture of the pens, and realise that i get a lot of joy when i use them, though i have to admit i get even more joy when i chose a different one to write with and thus ring the changes. and it is correct that the rush is just for the first initial short period each time… so his thesis that the big rush of pleasure is only at the beginning holds true. 

eating well has nothing to do with if u are rich or poor

6 Dec

london 12.31pm,13.9C cloudy sunday 2015

i saw the heading of her article saying it is hard to eat well when you are poor, and did not read further as i thought that is not true. i did not bother to comment on it as i thought i shall not harp on it.

i dont know where we get this belief that eating well is hard when you are poor.

in the past, poor people have never considered only the rich eat well. people who dont have much money know how to cook and use everything around them to make great meals and lack of money have never been a barrier to having great meals. do u know that oysters, eels were  poor man’s food? i can still remember eating eels and mash with liquor  (its really mashed peas) and so cheaply too. it was in the 80s. now there are no such food anymore. 

also in the past it is true poor people dont eat a lot of sweet things, because those were luxuries that only the rich can afford. now everyone and his mother eat too much sweet things.

just yesterday i was at a shop in oxford st that shows free films as part of their promotion. they are a soap shop that makes the soap looks like sweets. and they were giving away popcorn and lots of sweets of all types. even i was tempted to ask for it, until i realise i dont really eat them.

i have not bothered to eat sweets for a long time now. dont know when it began but it is easy for me as when i was a kid i never was given any sweets so i never did get into the habit of putting sweet things in my mouth.

it is a tragedy , to my way of thinking, to give children sweets.  but i bet no one else thinks so. so much so that children now are given sweets as a treat. it is giving them a lot of trouble in their future. if u want to kill someone with kindness, give them sweets. 

 but now people have lost that skill of cooking from scratch and with anything to hand;  and rely on manufactured foodstuffs for their meals. that is why this reporter can say such a thing and not be laughed out of court. however this morning i read in the letters column of some people who deign to reply to her



social problems.

27 Sep

london 8.52am cloudy 12.4C sunday 2015

today i got this in my email box from the londonist, and it contains some interesting london news.

London news

there is this constant conflict of interest between those who want to make money out of property and those who just want an affordable place to live in. and people will be kicked out if the land they sit on is more valuable than the buildings that are there.

i was recently in ampthill, a small village but with a large mostly empty cemetary, on a hill. so the dead have a nice view haha. and there are fields round it with cows and horses but right next door to it a developer has built a small village of new houses. my friend told me the church was just over the hill, in the valley, and this is its church grounds.

so even in this small village the hand of the property developer lies heavy. ampthill is about 40miles from london and coming back we saw the other lane going out of london chock a block with traffic , not moving at all. it was a friday but i think this jam occurs every working day.  i see in future poor people will be pushed out , and this willhappen more and more. the dead seem to have more rights than the poor. at least in ampthill, where they occupy a nice site on a hill.

it has a huge waitrose right by the village. unusual that this village welcomes such a big supermarket. but i think it is now a dormitory town and not so much a village anymore. its high street has not many shops lining it anymore. they have all been turned into houses.

what to do about  all the poor being pushed out? i dont know. a socialist type of govt might help but once u have all your social housing full, those living there will block other poor people from accessing it, and you are back to square one. and building more social housing in out of the way places where the land is cheap wont find any of the poor wanting to go there where there are no jobs, no schools, etc to be had.

tiger mom tax

7 Sep

london 6.29am monday 2015

quote: Last year, a White House report on “Big Data” cautioned that the “algorithmic decisions raise the specter of ‘redlining’ in the digital economy – the potential to discriminate against the most vulnerable classes of our society under the guise of neutral algorithms.”unquote.

this is in context to an article called the tiger mom tax. interesting read, which says even in poor areas, the asians there are quoted higher prices for the princeton review’s online SAT tutoring.

i first heard of it via this link propublica.org which gives more examples of discrimination pricing. worth clicking on it.

we are all aware that pricing is different if u shop in poor neighbourhoods than in rich ones. that is why i go across the river to vauxhall to shop in the tesco there, rather than in pimlico. there is an added factor, where smaller express convenience tesco shops are more expensive than the big tesco supermarkets. or why i go to brixton and shop there for my garlic and ginger and chilli. we all know that if we shop in kensington , or knightsbridge, prices will be higher.  but we dont expect that to happen in an online store… but this article suggests dont be too sure of it. haha.

even now we are used to ryanair pricing, where prices are adjusted to how often you visit that site, or how many people are buying at that time. so looks like the trend is there, to use algorithms to change the prices according to many factors ,including sex, race, etc. even if they say they dont discriminate according to race, sex etc. it is just that their behaviour can influence the algorithm, and more men may do something that females dont, and the algorithm will use that to determine the price to charge. or in this case of tiger mom, asians are more likely to use the tutoring services and willing to pay more too.

how to combat that? no one is saying, because maybe there is no answer. this thing just cannot be won, and we just have to suck it up. it looks like you just cannot beat that algorithm. just by typing in your name will pick you out for discrimination. it seems if u type in an asian name, you get the asian prices. its gone beyond just your ZIP code showing wealthy areas that determine the prices. some wealthy areas got low pricing. it is the individuals there acting by buying, that skews the algorithm.

at least in brixton, i would like to think that i am not charged extra for looking chinese, but maybe that is because i have been shopping there for ages and i know the prices. maybe if i were a chinese tourists things might be different. who knows right? perhaps after all, there is this discrimination happening all the time in this world. it is subtle and maynot be noticed…

i got all this from a wordpress reader feed. in it, it gives some way of fighting back, via the law, fight it in court.

quote; Because disparate impact theory is results-oriented, it would seem to be a good way to challenge algorithmic bias in court. A plaintiff would only need to demonstrate bias in the results, without having to prove that a program was conceived with bias as its goal. But there is little legal precedent. Barocas and Selbst argue in their article that expanding disparate impact theory to challenge discriminatory data-mining in court “will be difficult technically, difficult legally, and difficult politically.” unquote.

The Most Efficient Way to Save a Life – The Atlantic

18 Jun

The Most Efficient Way to Save a Life – The Atlantic.

if ever u have wanted to give to charity but not sure which charity to give to, nor how effective that charity is, or even whether that charity might be the victim of ‘doing good and unintended consequences’, this article might answer you.

the author has to decide whether to give to save lives, or to improve lives. he decided to save lives. i myself would prefer to improve lives. like that deworming charity he mentioned which deworms children and improves their school attendance. rather than a charity that gives textbooks…

there is a charity called givewell, that evaluates other charities to see how effective they are.

They have four broad criteria, in Hassenfeld’s words: “effectiveness” (does the charity make a difference?), “cost-effectiveness” (how much difference does the charity make per dollar received?), “room for funding” (can the charity use your donation in the near future?), and “transparency” (is the charity forthcoming about its spending and its results?). Its top-ranked charities for this year include GiveDirectly, a radically simple approach to sending no-strings-attached cash to extremely poor households, and the Against Malaria Foundation, which distributes insecticide-treated malaria nets in sub-Saharan Africa.

the givedirectly is the one that appeals to me, sending no strings cash to extremely poor households. u might say that can be abused, and it might be ‘giving a person a fish , instead of teaching him to fish scenario’… but i feel money directly to a very poor household can be 1000% effective for that household. the potential for fraud is there, but the charity has rated them very highly so they are keeping on top of it.

What’s The Cereal Killer Café Actually Like? | Londonist

14 Dec

What’s The Cereal Killer Café Actually Like? | Londonist.

they received a lot of publicity when a channel 4 video went viral showing the owner abruptly stopping the interview when he was asked how can he justify charging £3.20 when there are so many poor people in the area.

it was a provocative question, and of course quite illogical, otherwise every shop will have to close if they can only price their goods to cater to the lowest earners.

the owner wasn’t trained in public relations, and why should he after all he is busy trying to set up a business , not answer provocative questions from tv interviewers.

from this article it seems to have been good publicity, because the public knows that shops are never catering to the poor.

it seems it is £2.50 for a small bowl, £3 for a medium bowl, and 20p extra if u ask for premium milk. from the picture the medium bowl looks quite large.

personally i think cereals are the devils food, so full of suger, but even i am tempted sometimes to eat them. and they are very expensive for what they are even if u buy the box from the supermarkets.

i eat porridge for breakfast and porridge is very cheap, which was pointed out by a lady who wrote a report on poverty, where she mentioned one of the causes of the poor being poor is because they do not know how to cook. she got a lot of criticism for it, but she is correct.of course. but nowadays we are so politically correct we cannot say such a common sense thing without someone scolding her for mentioning it.

i read somewhere someone saying one charity visited a poor family, with the children malnourished and found loads of pasta on the shelves given to the mother. when questioned the mother  said she had no idea they can be made into food, as she gets her spaghetti from cans.

more ruminations

11 Dec

london thursday 2014

i got 2 letters from premium bonds containing a cheque each for £25. each month there is a draw for prizes ranging from £1million downwards to £25. so this month i got £50. rather a nice surprise. £295, that is the total amount i got from dec2013 to now. is that a good return for £15,000 of bonds? 1.97% rate of returns.

well i dont know where to put the money anyway so it has been sitting in there for years. i must say i dont really care about making my money get the best interests or invest in the best returns. too lazy.

i enjoy the thrifty life. i was reading an article which tells of the billionaire estrange wife of the founder of google about how she would drink the free company -provided carrot juice till she turned orange. anything which is free she must have it and use it uncontrollably. that i thought was a bit extreme. just because it is free does not mean you have to over do it. that is being greedy. so even rich people can be like so greedy too. in fact, i would say that is quite prevalent amongst the rich. it is amazing how stingy rich people can be. perhaps that explains why they are still so rich. haha.

just look at this case of this lawyer who threatened all kinds of legal consequences on this chinese take away in boston. all for a miserable $4. 

but anyway, i enjoy not being rich. i can understand her when she said in the interview in the times newspaper that she missed those times when they were not that rich. 


27 Sep


its a pleasant life i lead. this morning i went to the library to read the saturday papers. there dont seem to be so many eastern europeans in the library this morning. i wonder what happened to them. do you think they are all on holiday back to poland? or is the govt’s efforts to get them to go back bearing fruit. haha. they hang around here because they can charge their mobiles/smartphones. nowadays even the poorest beggar has a smartphone. its no wonder so many want to smuggle themselves into uk.

there is an article in today’s paper … the uk to continue to pay benefits to czecks and slovaks  who argues that those  citizens have paid their national insurance and so are entitled to benefits even though they are in a different country.

if the uk is forced to pay out, it would mean the uk govt will have to bring in laws to change that and it will affect the brits living in uk. what it might mean is more of the locals here who are british born and bred will find more restrictions placed on how and when they can receive benefits. the poor here will be the ones who will bear the brunt of these eastern europeans coming here for the govt will realise that the conditions for benefits are too lenient. and they will tighten the conditions to get them, and ordinary british poor people will be the ones affected as they will find it harder and harder to get or maintain those benefits. well, blame those immigrants. or rather reform of the benefits system is long overdue and this immigrant influx taking advantage of it merely highlights its excesses and form a catalyst to have it changed. 

As you can see, i am going to argue that it is high time the lenient way the benefits system is implemented is curtailed.

it is the same arguement that will be applied to the illegal entry of people, nevermind the poles who are at least legitimate and legal to come in. because so many are trying to get into the uk in the mistaken belief (or maybe not so mistaken after all,it seems) that the benefits system is so good here, the govt will have to enact rules to curtail who can receive them and put a limit to the amount and the time they can get them.

of course the alternate way is to leave the EU.

this problem of countries trying to curb economic migrants from their shores is endemic all over the world.

look at australia’s solution. haha. they bung the boat people in nauru… and then they sign an agreement for cambodia to take them by paying the cambodians.

i dont really have an answer to this as i can sympathise with the refugees who want to find a better life. the trouble is if they leave their country, their country will sink even further down into anarchy and strong man rule. at the same time i am understanding of host countries who do not want welcome these economic refugees.

a lovely day

4 Aug

london monday 2014

Many will be working today and some may be looking out at the fine weather and wishing they are out there. imagining themselves sitting in the sun and enjoying it. whereas here i am, all the time in the world and i am not sitting out in the grass bathing in the sun. hmm. why? i ask myself too, and wonder am i missing something?

i walk about in the sun, chosing to walk on the sunny side of the street, but i have noticed that i do so when it is in the early morning, as i walk to the library at about 9.30am. but later in the day, i find myself gravitating towards the shadowed side of the road.

I have to make a conscious effort to keep to the sunny side.

this makes me realise that just because a bit of something is good, a lot of it need not be better. well, i know that allready, so i should correct myself and say it reminds me rather than make me realise … 

and that is something that the world do not realise. that you hear of something that the world values, in this case the leisure time to sit out in the sun… and you put a high price on it. because so many work and can never do it. and you hear of these people spending a huge amount of money taking the plane to fly to places with the sun, and spending a fortune. and you dont appreciate that u allready have got all this … you can sit in the sun all day, and it is free… but u dont appreciate it. you think it is not worthwhile… because u have not spend thousands of £s to get it. the world do not value something that it can get free, but put a big price to it and they all want it… fight for it even. and there is a twist to this… you begin to feel u should value it, but then realise that it is not really that valuable, the sun is not all that great to sit in it… especially if there is a lot of it and it is very strong, and can burn you. so now u not only can pay a lot of money to get it, but it is not really very good for you .

like chocolate.

I saw in my wordpress reader a quartz article showing a video of some african cocoa farmers given chocolate to eat as they have never tasted the finished product of their harvest. the author laments that he finds it a disgrace that they are unable to afford the chocolate, that they cannot afford to eat the fruits of the end product of their harvest.

i was minded that if u grow something to sell, it is not wise to eat the end product.

i was thinking of heroin producers , the poppy farmers may well be wise to keep clear of the end product of their opium harvest. you might say now, now, that is taking analogy too far, but generally it is wise that producers dont get to be addicted to their products…  or there will be none left to sell.    

the interesting thing about the whole video is this… instead of saying how delicious the chocolate is, the first thing they all say when they taste it, is that it is so sweet. i think they got it right. it is sweet, you never can taste the cocoa in chocolate, because it is so sweet. u can taste cocoa in a drink, but that is only if u make it yourself and not add suger… otherwise a normal shop bought chocolate drink is very sweet and it kills any taste of chocolate. u can never get the taste of chocolate. what  u will like is the taste of sweet. give someone who says they like chocolate a cocoa drink without suger, and i can guarantee that they wont like it.

I have tasted cocoa without suger, i make it myself from cocoa powder, and believe me it is an acquired taste. it is slightly bitter. i enjoy it, as i feel i am getting the real taste of cocoa, but i bet not many will like it.

it is the same with coffee. a real coffee drinker will drink it neat, no suger, and as an espresso. any others who drink it with suger are simply drinking coffee for the suger in it. maybe u will say hang on, that is being rather harsh… harsh but true.

I have a feeling that those farmers are not so deprived after all, at least as far as not tasting cocoa is concerned. they should quietly thank the stars that the west is so brainwashed to value cocoa so much in their sugered drink, that they are willing to pay for the cocoa. And quietly thank the stars that they  have a product that finds ready buyers from the west.

 it seems to be  real easy to grow the fruit, as once the tree is mature it does not seem to take much looking after, and only need to be harvested once a year. they should use the rest of the time to find other work, or enterprises. or seek work elsewhere. then come back once a year at harvest time to get the fruit. and take it as a nice supplement and easy way to make some money. and if they have other sources of income, they wont be so desperate to sell the fruit too any middle man , and can hold out for a higher price.

so that if there is a low rainfall and less fruit, they can hold out for a higher price. and so poor harvest  wont be so devastating to them. there was talk of people getting rid of the cocoa trees and planting rubber, but if i were a cocoa farmer i will hold on, because there will be a shortage of cocoa if they all change to rubber and i should be able to sell my cocoa at a huge price. 

it is the desperate people who cannot hold out for a higher price for their cocoa that is spoiling the market for every cocoa farmer. that is what happens when u are poor, and have no other source of income. that is why low paid jobs are low paid, because there  are too many desperate people who want the job even though it is low paid. if enough people dont apply for these low paid jobs they will have to raise the wage. that is why all those who are waiters or macdonalds servers or lowly paid staff, they are in a market where too many people are willing to work , even though the wages are too low to make a living. those jobs are not a good jobs to seek work in. they are unskilled jobs. which is why it is generally not a good thing to seek work in those. it is better to find some skills and upgrade the kind of jobs you can get. jobs that not many can do, and so u can get higher pay for it.

i am thinking of nurses working for temp agencies… they can get a lot of money for each shift as they are skilled and in demand and there is a shortage. any locum work in jobs that demand is high will be good jobs to go for. look for any jobs where not many people want to do them, either because of unsocial hours or shortage of skills, or even jobs prone to wild swings of demand. if u are starting on the road of working, look carefully at what is in demand and chose those rather than just go for the low skilled jobs that everyone is fighting over.

Why does Wonga even exist? It’s a question no one on the left asks | Zoe Williams | Comment is free | The Guardian

18 Dec

hy does Wonga even exist? It’s a question no one on the left asks | Zoe Williams | Comment is free | The Guardian.

this article came to the wrong conclusion, that it is the fault of low pay.

i think it is the fault of a kind of mentality very prevalent in the west…which is i want it and i want it NOW!

we all think it is only the very poor and desperate who will take up these loans, but it is not so. wonga is very successful, it cannot all be accounted for by the desperate and poor people who cannot get loans elsewhere; many who are working and might be earning a salary that can well cover the minimum costs of their day to day lives, and who can take a loan from their banks, dont want to do so, because of the paperwork, they prefer take out  loans from wonga  because it is hassle free, and  they just dont want to wait till pay day to buy services or goods that they crave. they want it and they want it now.

the article says

The veneer of criticising the corporation – usually Wonga – masks what would otherwise be the straightforward attribution of poverty to stupidity. In this reading, it’s not your fault that you’re at the stupid end of a phenomenally stupid deal; it’s the fault of that cunning organisation. 

and goes on to ask why do these people need these loans, and concluded is it due to low , inadequate pay?

i dont think so. i am sure there will be those cases, but even the well to do, sometimes get cash flow problems, and wonga is a quick answer. it would not surprise me that wonga et al is making such huge profits from these working people who earn an income able to pay back the loan, who dont want to wait to get what they want. perhaps buying in sales where the bargain can be gone if not bought now.

there are lots of reasons why you might need to get hold of money now.

personally i would do without and save up, but that is an old fashioned mind set and shows my age. haha. the young are so used to living on credit, it is nothing to them to be in debt. there is no stigma to being in debt. and the laws are quite lenient to those who are in debt.a bankrupt can be discharged in 2yrs for eg. and credit scoring records are kept for only 6yrs. in fact, if u got a record of borrowing your credit rating is better than someone who never borrows.

what surprised me is that this kindof lending used to be the province of money lenders operating on the shady side of the street. now it is all in the open. how come wonga et al got the license to do so? and the internet makes it international, and lots of people borrowing small amounts (less than £1000) can make for huge profits.

Wonga is a great business model. better than making some product and trying to sell it at a profit. sell money instead. haha.

added. i was thinking in some perverse way it has a lot of logic to it. For eg, let’s say i want £100, so why dont i borrow £115 from wonga, and keep that £15 aside, and spend the £100 . the interest on £115 is £16.35 over 9days.

added. i knew there was a catch. i did not see it at first, but i forgot that you still have to pay back that £100. (correction, pay back that £115). It is really strange, i could see in the website if i borrow £115 i should pay back £131.35. it is clearly spelt out, and yet i chose to not see it. And this is me, who is so careful with money, can be fooled by myself. 

All in all, it really is foolish to borrow money. you can see how easy it is for someone who is naive to think someone is doing this and not making alot of money out of it and you are the idiot who will pay for it. maybe there is some truth to poverty happens to those who are stupid or naive or both.

I am it seems paying them back with their own money…. its a win win… i know there is something wrong there with the logic, but hey, it looks good doesn’t it?

I went into wonga website to get the figures. interesting that they limit my loan to £400 and 31days. so for total strangers, that is the limit. it is like 36%(about £36) interest for the month. so it does not work if u borrow it for that long. 

added 31.12.13 read here about kerry katona,(can’t say i know who she is exactly) talking about her endorsement of a payday loan company. they fired her when she filed for her second bankruptcy. it is rather ironic really that she is endorsing payday loans, and really believe they are ok, and said she will borrow from them if she had to.(this is a case of do the opposite of what she advocates) she gave as an eg if her boiler packed up in winter or your car failed its MOT.  most people would do exactly like as she did, but it goes to show how i think, because i wont borrow money to repair it.  i would rather cope with the cold by wearing warm clothing, drinking hot soup/drinks, eat well, etc rather than repair a central heating which will not only cost me to repair it,  but make me have the heating on and get me to spend even more.If i cannot even afford to repair the boiler, what makes u think i can afford the heating bill!!!

And I would get rid of the car.

i prefer to get rid of that single biggest expenditure and consider it a blessing in disguise that the boiler or car packed up. 

I think having a pay day loan is like you asking the bank for £200 of your own money and that person taking £60 of it and giving you £140 for you to use.  because that is about the interest for 1month’s use of it. If anyone does that u would scream blue murder, but not when a payday loan does it in the name of interest. 

added,maybe she is clever. she filed for bankruptcy twice. she owes the taxman $70,000 .  that means she must have earned at least £200,000 that year. but she  filed for bankruptcy the first time, and dont have to pay it. and she did this twice. I am not saying she did it as a strategy, but if u learn from it,all your debts wiped out … it seems a great way to get a clean slate by using bankruptcy as a way. makes me wonder if i am the sucker for not borrowing money… (just kidding, because i just dont have the temperament for that. )