Thursday, May 21, 2020

People still do not get it.

So this pandemic has only gotten worse. Of course, as the number of deaths and new infections starts to "flatten out" or reach a curve more and more nations are making plans to reopen. The main driver is money. Governments can not keep printing money or people will lose trust in the financial systems
Currencies will crash, and chaos will follow.

Here in Iksan, we had a close call when a Korean man visited a number of gay bars in Itaewon. Thousands of Koreans were present and about 30-40 foreigners were there as well. Of course, the government focused its attention on foreigners.  Here in Iksan, this results in some restaurants not allowing foreigners to enter. This happened to us. The lame excuse was they ran out of ingredients. Of course, we did not buy the story but we left anyway. No need to create a scene. However, in the foreign community people are still gathering. The public sees this. If just ONE infection results we will be blamed again. Then many of us will lose our jobs and end up in limbo. So we will be keeping a low profile for one more week.

Ok, it is time to start class. Bella is looking at me....OMG. I have to go now!


Thursday, May 07, 2020

Stupid gets even more STUPID

Oh, America, land of the brave. Also land of the incredibly stupid and arrogant. It has been awhile since I have updated this blog. My work schedule changed so the breaks I had before are now filled with classes. Of course, this is a good thing.

So why is America or rather Americans stupid? Just look at how they are handling the coronavirus pandemic the entire world is suffering through. People are not listening to stay at home orders. Thousands are protesting in the streets. Some outside of hospitals that causes gridlock and patients can not get into the ER fast enough. Americans do not like being told what to do. SO STUBBORN. SO STUPID. The USA has the highest number of fatalities from this outbreak than any other nation on Earth. Actually, China might have similar numbers they are just lying to the world.

As of right now, there have been 74,809 deaths from this virus. There are 1.2 million sick at the moment. Looking at the number of recovered versus those who have died...26% have died. So if the number of new cases suddenly stopped tens of thousands more will still die.

Yet Americans are still wanting to go back to "normal" life. The daily number of deaths is almost 2000 a day during the week, while on weekends it falls to 1100 to 1500 deaths. Those numbers are for each DAY.

When America went to war and perhaps twenty soldiers died in a was considered a terrible loss. People got angry saying "bring our troops home". This when perhaps in a year the US would lose 300-400 troops to hostile action (IED's). People were in an uproar. When the twin towers fell and 3000 souls were lost...Americans went to war. This pandemic is a biological war. We can win by following government guidelines and using common sense. Wear a mask, carry hand sanitizer with you when leaving the house. Allow the government to track your movements and report it to the public so if you are sick people can stay away from that area. South Korea did it right after getting it wrong with SARS, then MERS. Heck, I remember when SARS hit we were encouraged to shut down the academy. My boss at the time...shut down only the elementary and middle school classes.

My current boss did it right. It sucked because I was not under contract so I would not receive 70% of my wages. But I sucked it up and stayed home. I did not venture very far from home. South Korea mainly has imported cases that are intercepted as soon as they enter the country.

Most Americans are not stupid, they are listening and following government directives. It is a small number of asshats that can make it so terrible for the larger wiser population. Those protestors should pay a fine if they want to go out and practice freedom of speech. UGH. I really worried about Micheal.


Thursday, April 02, 2020

Masks Immunity and draconian methods..OH MY!

Wow, the Coronavirus has spread through the United States so fast that people's heads are spinning.  At first, Americans were told STOP BUYING TOILET PAPER AND MASKS. Then it was social distancing. Then is was reluctantly shutting down large portions of the country.

You see masks are not effective due to how non-medical personnel uses them. First, a mask needs to have a TIGHT seal. That seal must not be broken. If it is...get a new mask. You can not reuse masks.
So while masks can be effective they are not because we need at least a few masks per person per day. I see people walking with their masks below their nose. Ok, I am not a saint. When I work I also can not help removing my surgical masks (not really useful at compared to the n95 masks) at times. I also have a limited number of masks, so I reuse mine as well.

People are looking to China and Korea ( a few countries did well with containment as well) and think they are model systems to be used. Actually, China you can not trust what comes out of that country. However, they were harsh and brutal from what I have seen and heard about quarantine and containment. People had their homes blocked with bars to prevent people from moving and spreading disease. People on the streets who tested positive were rounded up and even placed in a box to be taken to quarantine. When the media were filming in areas of Wuhan one of the worse hit zones reported by China; people shouted from windows "It's fake! It is not true!"

However, China appears to have contained the virus, as has Korea. How? Measures that would have Americans killing each other in heartbeat. In China, they used advanced facial recognition, drones, and social media to track and warn others of infected persons locations, and where they went. Korea tracked people and like China quarantined clusters of people. It worked. In the USA people would have major issues if their personal information was put on public display. People scoffed at using masks. Americans and Europeans acted like this was just a "flu" not understanding what immunity really means.

If you are not immune to an antigen it can cause unexpected reactions within your immune system. In some coronavirus patients, people had massive immunological responses. So massive that it led to autoimmune behavior. So, in humans, the immune system goes while and wipes out healthy tissue as well as infected cells.

Botton line? Use masks (do not put 100% faith in them BUT USE THEM they act as a barrier). Washing hands, and using sanitizers when in public often. Stay at home if you can. This stupid social distancing movement where people "hang out" a few meters from each other is so dangerous!

ok I have class!


Friday, March 27, 2020

Second hand cars....

I usually drive second cars. Large luxury sedans are my favorite. However, the term luxury is kind of stupid because all cars can come with options that used to be "premium". Instead ill just say that I prefer large sedans with engines over 3liters displacement. I should say that I am very excited about electric cars. Ev's are the future.

But back on the thing with second-hand have things changed. For 3-5 thousand dollars in Korea and America, you can get some really nice options to choose from. Suv's, trucks, minivans and so on.

Browsing bobedream which is a large South Korean second-hand car website you can see what I mean. Very nice cards that just 4 years ago were nearly 10k USD, are now 3k. The main reason? Actually, there are more than just one reason. It is always good to have an experienced car mechanic as a friend. I told my friend I wanted to buy an Equus. He said it was a good choice to just avoid the v8 engines from a certain year. They need repeated rebuilds of the engine. When I buy a second-hand car the number one thing I am prepared to have rebuilt is the transmission. When buying the car I look very carefully for oil, coolant, and transmission leaks. Knowing that certain models need gaskets replaced or have certain issues helps when choosing a car.

20 years ago the cars you could buy were basically trash. After 5 years you would have to junk them. Now, these cars if lightly driven as many Korean cars tend to be (unless it was a taxi or rental car) modern cars can last a very long time. They can also "look modern" for quite some time as well.

It is so funny when I hear people complain about mileage when they work 2-3 kms from home at the most. Many companies even provide transportation for employees.

Today people can really drive what they "want" to drive rather than what they "can only afford".
I still say second-hand cars are the best due to cars depreciating in value very very rapidly.

A friend of mine has 2 cars a small EV, and another gasoline one. A perfect example of the options that are available today.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

When it pours...

On a personal note, my family's life has been quite stable. We are back to work normally since last week. However, the world especially Europe and the United States has seen a HUGE jump in the number of infected people. My friend and I talked about this at length. We both came to the same conclusion, it would rip through the States.

Now it is.

People need to take heed that in a country like America people's movements are not going to be tracked as well as they have in Korea. My friend and boss Paul feels strongly in that the wearing of masks and washing of hand,  this is what prevented the spread of infection in Korea. I disagree. Korea has done something that they did on a smaller scale during the MERS outbreak. They tracked citizens very very closely. Shut down their social networks and quarantined them. Some simply stayed home. The main thing...people listened to the government! They followed orders..mostly. A few people did get through but they were tracked down very quickly. Masks make people feel more secure. But against virus particles they are useless. Especially when the virus can survive in droplet form for so long. You would need to wear a n95 mask AS well as a face shield.

I know that if there is one sick child it will spread quickly but it will be contained. America needed to to start tracking the first patients right away. Now it is too late.

ok gotta class!

Stay safe!


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Locked in for one more year!

It has been quite a while since I have updated this blog. This update is going to be a doozy. I promised a friend last year that I would stay in Korea for one more year. But due to the corona virus outbreak it looks like even if I wanted to leave for India this year...I'm locked down! An outbreak like this immunologically speaking means it will be around for a long time, as we do not have a vaccine, and it takes nearly a year or more to one develop the vaccine then more time is needed for distribution of said vaccine. This is all well good provided that the damned thing does not mutate. So we are looking at a virus that kills 15% of persons aged 60 and up. It is lethal because we have no immunity to this. I was waiting for something like this to happen. Actually, years ago when I studied microbiology, immunology, and cellular biology; I wondered what if we have a "Spanish influenza moment". Actually, influenza outbreak did not start in Spain. Spain had a free press that actually reported on the real effects of the pandemic at that time. Other nations covered it up until it was too late.

So here we are. In the bible God told man to spread out and become many. We have become many, but we have not "spread out". Kind of makes sense seeing the numerous outbreaks we have seen all over the world year in and year out. As of writing this the virus has infected FAR MORE than the 200000 cases that have been "recorded". The nations of the world today are doing the same thing that was done back in 1918 to the early 1920's. They are falsifying reports, under reporting, or filing patients under other illnesses to protect their markets.

The United States has done a terrible job with this outbreak. First telling Americans that they have to pay 1200-1500 dollars to get tested. Right away a large portion of the population will not report to hospital just to get hit with another bill.

Hong Kong gave each citizen 1200 dollars to spur the local economy. Seems kind of counter productive. A family suddenly finds that they have over 5000 bucks to spend...should they go shopping or should they stay at home. LOL

Anyways we are locked in for actually it little over a year because of this outbreak. I am very worried as we have older members in our families. Italy is especially hard hit at this time.

Oh I also lost 3 weeks of work due to this. Staying at home and basically doing nothing work ok in the short term. Long is tough.


Thursday, February 20, 2020

The writing is on the wall.

I have worked in South Korea for 20 years. Over this time I have seen many things come and go. Now it is time for the cram schools, private coaching institutes to shutdown. Families can no longer shoulder the burden of paying for these schools. Back in the day you could teach the same kid for six years with out interruption. Things were more stable at that time. Usually both parents were working. I would say more than half of the students had both parents earning money.

Then the recession hit, and free trade agreements. In addition to salaries staying roughly the same while commodities grew in price. The housing market put so many people into debt. Of course that is good for a system that survives on debt. However, it really placed a strain on families trying to budget money for private classes.

In the course of 3 years I have seen 3 schools fold (I know the owners). According to another friend of mine who is in the know; many others are struggling...hard, and still failing. You see right now in South Korea people are pushing for having more free time. There are academies opening that teach soccer, indoor rock climbing, even Lego academies. The main thing is you learn something and have fun while learning it. English, Math, and multi subject academies are BORING. They also require students to study as if they are at a 9-5 job. There is very little fun, or time to just be a kid.

Where I am at currently is no different. Students have loads of work to take home. Actually, these days what we see is that once students move to middle school a large number quit. This was not always this way. Usually, those students would study at later and later times. They would quit in large numbers when they went to high school. At that time a number of them would take weekend classes. I used to teach these classes. However, today these schools are under pressure from parents who are struggling to hold on to jobs to fill students time needless homework.

The end result, family fights at home as kids start to crack under the pressure. I know this because they tell me. Parents after some time realize that it is too much. So this issue is two fold. One hand people can not hold jobs for 30-40 years at time. The number of really good stable jobs is dropping. On the other hand kids are cracking under the pressure.

What is needed is a major change. How about teach a language, or subject in way that kids are actually excited to come back the next day. When they see that class is over they sigh because they were having so much fun. I have done this over the years. When you have the support of owner of the school you can do some really amazing things.

What will take down these academies? Small study rooms will. They are EVERYWHERE. I am pretty sure that perhaps in 6 months time they will be cracked down on by the education department. This will cause 2 things to happen. The study groups will go underground or new regulations will be passed, and some of these study rooms will have to get licenses and register with the department of education.