I guess once a blogger, always a blogger.
Last week I posted a movie review, and today I am have decided to write an end of year Mobi-Babble.
I have decided that in 2017, while I will not get back to full time blogging on my old scale, I will try to put out a blog post every now and then – maybe a film or book review, or a Mobi-Babble, or maybe a new article series, “Tales from Tainted Paradise”, in which I write about events across Thailand that have either amused me or, occasionally, shocked or saddened me.
So here it is, my Yuletide blog.
2016 – What a bloody year!
Nobody can claim that 1016 wasn’t a tumultuous year. One way or another, it has been a year that most of us would prefer to forget.
For me, and no doubt many, there are probably three events which stand out head and shoulders above the rest – namely, Brexit, the rise and rise of Trump, and the appalling, massacres in Syria.
Strange to say, but our dear departing US President Obama has had his hand in all three.
Yes, even Brexit. Who can forget that at the height of Brexit campaign fever, that the good President Barrack visited ‘Call me Dave ‘ in Downing Street. When he emerged through the doors of number Ten to meet the throng of reporters, hand in hand with Davey-boy, he told us that if we voted ‘yes’ to Brexit, we would have to get to the back of the queue.
Note it was a ‘queue’ not a ‘line’ (as the Yanks normally say) we would have to get to the back of – as he had been well coached by Dave and his remain team.
Now I’m not for one moment suggesting that this statement alone was instrumental in creating what turned out to be the ‘protest’ vote to end all protest votes against the establishment, but it certainly didn’t help.
I do not wish to go over the old ground as to the reasons why so many voted yes, (see my blog, What The Hexit!), but there is little doubt that many of the Brexiteers did indeed vote for Brexit as a protest.
Many –especially across the Northeast, hadn’t slightest notion of the economic implications of such a vote. In fact, many have since admitted on air, that if they could have their vote over they would have voted to remain.
But it’s too late for that, and it’s probably going to take years before we realize the full implications of Brexit. In the meantime, our ‘Sceptred Isle’ is going to continue to stumble along in limbo, with no one knowing from one month to the next what the end result will be, and not even whether it will be a hard Brexit or a soft Brexit or maybe a combo Brexit.
We will eventually succeed in putting this sorry affair behind us and Britain will probably emerge stronger and better nation without the EU. We little Englanders are used to having our backs to the wall and coming up with solutions.
But it is going to take a generation – least 20 years – and I for one will be long dead and gone before the halcyon days dreamed about by Farage and his Brexiteers are finally achieved
As for Trump – well there is not a shadow of doubt that the political situation which prevails in the USA was ripe to spawn such a person.
Readers know I have never been a fan of Obama.
I acknowledge his tremendous skill as an orator, his likable personality, and his integrity and honesty – as much as its possible with any politician.
But quite frankly, he has been so much hot air – one could say he’s just all mouth and trousers. I am convinced his 8 years in the White House will go down in history as one of the worst two-term presidents in US history. As these final weeks play out, it is looking most unlikely that he will leave any legacy of note behind him
Things could have been so different. For his first term, he had the complete control of Congress (both houses) and he was well positioned to do some great things – but, unfortunately for my friends across the water he was a man of straw and he couldn’t even stand up to the left-wing forces within his own party – let alone the outside world.
His only action of note was to pass the totally divisive, partisan Obamacare, which has been almost universally derided. His claims at the time that “you can keep your doctor”, “keep your health plans “and the “costs will not increase” has become the stuff of jokes on comedy circuits across America.
That Obamacare will in some way be repealed or at least be drastically changed there is little doubt; along with all the countless presidential ‘orders’ he made during his second term when he was obliged to “rule by decree” after he lost his majorities in Congress.
Not only will Obama go down as being one of the weakest presidents on the international stage, his pursuit of extreme left wing policies and his politically correct leftwing legislation that has thrown thousands of people out of work and disrupted people’s personal lives did not go down at all well with his electorate in middle America. The blue collar workers deserted the democrats in droves.
The richest and most powerful country on the planet has 50 million of its citizens on food stamps and suffers daily deaths from gangland killings in no-go areas of cities like Chicago. But Obama and his cronies were more concerned with establishing transgender bathrooms and taking states to court if they refused to comply. Crazy ain’t it.
I could go on and on, but you know the story. It has been Obama’s abject total failure to bring about the promised changes that swept Trump to power on a tide of populist optimism that has germinated the rise and rise of Trumpism.
The Democrats were – and still are – so blind to public opinion and how they have alienated Middle America, that they actually believed they could nominate someone like crooked Hilary, (and make no mistake she is crooked, very crooked), a woman who has been corrupt for decades and doesn’t have a caring bone in her body. They thought that she would easily retain the White House for them.
Quite frankly even if they had gone for a less high-profile candidate, without all the messy baggage that Clinton brought to the stage, I imagine that Trump would have still won, but it might have been a much closer run thing.
And don’t tell me all about Clinton winning the popular vote. If you remove California from the equation, Trump won the popular vote by a landslide. California – the land of Hollywood luvvies, the obscenely rich, and where a majority population are Latino – ain’t the USA.
Trump might surprise us all and be a great president; the world certainly needs one, so I hope so. The omens are not good – but who knows? Trump may achieve much where Obama achieved zilch. But nobody, not even his closest advisors, really know what he may do. We shall just have to wait and see.
Remember Aleppo, that town in Syria that one of the candidates for the presidency of the USA had never heard of?
The town where over half a million innocent civilians have been massacred. The town where the USA was ostensibly involved in helping the forces opposed to Assad.
For weeks now I haven’t able to listen to or watch the massacres that occur on a daily basis, perpetrated by the war criminal, Assad, and his Russian ally, Putin.
I am so disillusioned with the western world and it’s total inability to do the right thing.
The fate of Syria and over half a million who have died was cast on the day that Obama did not follow through on his infamous ‘red line’ warning. Assad used chemical weapons; he killed and maimed thousands, and Obama did sweet FA – nothing.
Once Putin got a whiff of Obama’s reluctance – some may say cowardice – to become involved – then it was all over, bar the shouting and the genocide.
Putin judged correctly that no one would stop him moving in and becoming the major player in the Syrian conflict.
Obama was shown to be totally toothless, and as a result, generations of Syrians have been wiped from the face of the earth, and many more will suffer a similar fate before this nightmare reaches an end. As I write this blog, there is some semblance of a cease-fire, but I will be very surprised if it lasts for any length of time.
Can you blame Trump for his derision towards the United Nations?
When the US ambassador at the UN recently asked the Russians, “Are you truly incapable of shame?” The Russians just smiled.
Well that’s the world at large – now what about the world of Mobi?
Sadly, it hasn’t been a great year on the Mobi-front. It’s been almost a year since I tried to earn a living by taking up contract writing.
In the early days, a trickle of work flowed in, which started to increase over the months. So by the time my daughter and family came to visit in August, I was reasonably confident that with a bit of luck, I might eventually be able to earn enough to make ends meet.
Unfortunately, the first blow in my survival was struck when the aftermath of Brexit caused a huge devaluation of the pound. This had the unfortunate effect of reducing my meager UK state pension by over 10%
Then, although I initially enjoyed a couple of months of okay earnings, by October, my work had all but dried up.
Since then, it’s been a real struggle. There is one great guy in Bangkok who provides me with a regular weekly blog to write, but apart from that, there hasn’t been very much to get excited about.
A couple of weeks ago I picked up another job, which paid fairly well, and there are two follow-ups jobs from that source which I will do in January, but right now there’s not much else on the horizon.
I have decided to concentrate on the US markets, as they pay better and obviously, there is more work on offer. But it is really hard to find new clients who will give me a try. All I can do is plug away, keep applying for jobs and see what comes up.
My lovely wife, Lek is fully aware of my situation and we are now making contingency plans, as my savings are nearly all gone.
We have agreed on two courses of action. The first is that Lek will try to find work this month as a contract house cleaner. She will try this on a part time basis and see how it goes.
But first she has to find some customers, so if anyone out there needs at their house cleaned then please let me know. Lek is quite experienced at this kind of work, as when she was younger she used to work as a hotel room cleaner, so she knows the ropes.
The second step we have agreed on is that if things don’t improve very soon, I will have to go back to the UK, for several months – possibly for good.
There are many reasons for this, but suffice to say, if I go back I will get my state pension upgraded and I will have free access to the UK healthcare system, which is currently closed to me as I am a non-resident. I have many chronic medical conditions, including heart problems that are not being attended to in Thailand because I simply can’t afford it.
This is a heart breaking decision for me, as I have no idea if and when I will ever be able to come back again, but I think I can make a better fist of looking after my family from the UK than I can by staying here in Thailand.
I am hopeful that if I am in the UK, it will give me better access to writing work. The die is truly cast and unless I suddenly get a dramatic increase in my earnings over the next few weeks, it will soon be bi-bi to the Land of Smiles.
I should explain to my more recent readers, that it is now almost 4 years since I lost 90% of my savings, (including my private pension), in an Australian investment scam, which left hundreds of people across the world, like me, in dire financial straits.
Ever since that fateful day in March 2013, the clock has been ticking and I always knew this day would come – and it hasn’t been exactly been a picnic waiting for it.
But who knows what 2017 may bring? I must all remain optimistic. Maybe I will win the lottery….
As for my valued readers, I do hope that 2017 turns out to be a great year for all of you. From time to time, I will be making the occasional blog post, to update you all of my take on world events, and also events nearer to home.
Happy New Year everyone!