Racing Day

In the end, it came down to a couple flags. And the “hippies” edged out the “frat boys” to take the $1 million.

Regardless of who I wanted to win, I nearly wet my pants over the last two countries they raced through. I had a blast just remembering my own trip to Thailand, and my couple trips to Japan. I’ve been to the intersection in Shibuya many times already, and the scene of people swarming is etched in to my head forever. On at least three occasions over the past five years I’ve met Kien underneath those ginormous displays where the two story Starbucks is located. Seeing all the inanity that is Bangkok, and the thrill of interacting in those foreign cultures, leaves me wanting more.

Yeah, I can’t wait to go back…


No Lie

Watching the last episode of Amazing Race, with the great shots of Thailand, reading some e-mails about travel to India and other parts of Asia, and just keeping abreast of the latest news has me dying to return to the region.

No lie, it’s just not as cool here…


Sad Day

One of the more prolific Flyertalk posters, and an all around friendly, good-natured guy, Vincent (aka vincom) died at the age of 21 last week. I had the good fortune to meet up with him at the Continental events down in Houston over the past two years, where he was often one of the youngest yet most outgoing among the attendees. From all the posts on Flyertalk by those who have met and interacted with him over the past few years, it’s clear he’ll be missed by his family, friends, and those goof-ball Flyertalkers.


Elections in Singapore

Singapore went to the polls last week amid questions about how big a showing the opposition parties would make as they fielded candidates in more districts than many years prior. While the ultimate showing (82 of 84 seats returned to the party in power) was on par with the previous election, excitement did seem to be increasing for a change in government, especially among the younger generations.

Tym, a 32 year old Singaporean, spent the past week attending some political rallys and commenting in general on her experiences as the electioneering process continued.

While our own elections here are often on the dry side, with gerrymandering, entrenched incumbents, and political parties that seem out of touch, it’s so easy to forget that in some places with elections you don’t really have a choice. Add to that the sense of being watched and recorded when attempting to assemble to hear divergent views, and it’s a strong reminder that we really do have certain freedoms here we so easily and often take for granted (and don’t take advantage of!).


Social Justice

I stumbled on a BBC article from 2002 while reading something else forgettable this morning. When I read this, though, I thought to myself how much less jaded people would be overall if we adopted a similar structure here in the US.

Anssi Vanjoki, 44, has been ordered to pay a fine of 116,000 euros ($103,600) after being caught breaking the speed limit on his Harley Davidson motorbike in the capital, Helsinki, in October last year.

Harley Davidson motorbike
Mr Vanjoki is a Harley Davidson enthusiast
Police say he was driving at 75 km/h (47 mph) in a 50km/h (31 mph) zone.

In Finland, traffic fines are proportionate to the latest available data on an offender’s income.

I could likely count the number of people who don’t take our current traffic violation system as a giant revenue generator for local governments on one hand. If we had this kind of system, two things would happen. First, violations would likely drop because the punishment is actually significant. And second, people might begin to feel the system is less corrupt overall.

But here in the heart of capitalism, this would never fly, so we don’t have to worry.