Returning home in Bangkok

Today I appreciated the notion of home in a deeper way.  I am in Bangkok at this time.  When I come home to Bangkok for teaching at Ramkhamhaeng University my home away from home is SC Park Hotel in Bangkok.  It is located in the heart of massive urban sprawl with an interesting presence of many Thai Muslims in the local community of hurrying Buddhists.  But all religions step aside for the crass and continuous commercialization palpable in this deep city.  Plastic christmas trees with fake santas and muzak snowflakes are everywhere these days in shopping-crazed Bangkok.

Finding a casual and serene place to stay that prioritizes peace and quiet is and has always been my goal.  The Atlanta is near all the great Arabic restaurants in Bangkok, and The Atlanta is great and affordable too but it is way too far away from the University.  SC Park has a peaceful vibe, an excellent restaurant but no bar.  There is a calm pool with very nice open garden that clouds the noise.  This hotel is close to the Institute for International Studies where I am teaching.  Lots of pros and a few cons.  But I digress.  I ventured and strayed away from home.  I stayed out of curiosity at a different hotel this time.  A fine looking place from the exterior, a good location, and an appealing online presence.  I imagined an even better situation so I bought the lotto ticket and it failed.

After a fitful night of restless sleep on a peculiarly odiferous pillow and a poor to mediocre breakfast offering, I worried and wondered if I had made a mistake in my adventure away from home.  Then I noticed details as I walked through the dark hallways and corners.  Soon thereafter I was convinced to return my Bangkok home for the same price but an exponentially greater feeling of contentment and productivity.  It’s all in the details.  I feel better now.

Is America declining?

Is America declining?  This is a question that we are compelled to consider.

READ HERE

According to the Brookings Institution, here are the arguments in favor of America as a place of positive growth, not decline:

  1. First of all, it is difficult to determine at present whether the difficulties faced by the United States during and after the international financial crisis will be long-term or not.
  2. Second, the stability and influence of the American political system, ideology, and value concepts have indeed been greatly affected in the 21st century, with the impact of two wars, high consumption, and a major financial crisis.
  3. Third, the United States remains the world leader in scientific and technical strength but there has been no change in the strength, status, and influence of the American capability for innovation and its global competitive power. In science and technology, higher education, culture of innovation, military strength, world politics, and security, the United States is still ahead of the rest of the world. According to recent statistics,
  4. Fourth, it is evident that American companies remain very competitive on a micro level, just as the economy as a whole is on a macro level. In recent years, even though the U.S. economy was not performing very well, far more companies in the global top 500 came from the United States than from any other.
  5. Fifth, the advantages of the United States are even more obvious in terms of soft power. No other countries in the world, including Europe and Japan, can compete with the United States or be on the same level as the United States in terms of soft power. Both the financial crisis and the lack of strength in the economic recovery after the crisis so far have not made the United States lose its fundamental advantages in hard power and soft power. The United States is still the most powerful and the most influential country in the world, and it is also the only superpower in the world.
  6. The current difficulties facing the United States may last a while, or they may be resolved in the next few months or years. Either way, no signs of overall and fundamental decline in the United States have yet emerged, to say nothing of an “irreversible decline.

There are several arguments that America is in decline.

One major problem facing the United States is the problem concerning the capability and competitive power of its manufacturing industry. The percentage of the United States’s share of global manufacturing has dropped over the last several decades, and has lost its leading position in some fields.

A second problem is the problem concerning the health, stability, and quality of relevant service industries, such as finance. The United States has already become a post-industrial economy and society. The main part of its economy is the service sector.

A third problem is the problem of wealth and income distribution and sustainable development. \

Since 1980, the actual income of ordinary workers in the United States, including the middle class, did not increase even though the economy was growing and profits were increasing during the same time period. It seems that the fruits of economic development were carved up by a few capitalists and entrepreneurs. Consequently, society in the United States has become more unbalanced, and the gap between rich and poor has been seriously enlarged, a trend which for many was illustrated during the recent financial crisis, when a few senior executives from some companies with huge losses were awarded “bonuses” that were as high as several millions or tens of millions of dollars.

A fourth problem is the problem of fiscal and trade deficits. The government, Congress, Federal Reserve System, and all walks of life in the United States have realized that the huge fiscal and trade deficits are a serious problem that affects the country’s economic development. In 2010, the fiscal deficit in the United States was US$1.3 trillion, or roughly 9 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and equivalent to 35 percent of government outlays that year.[3] Based on international standards and compared to the figures of relevant developed countries, such as Japan, this number is not the highest, and may not even be too high.

A fifth problem concerns military spending and international strategy. Just as debt service takes a large share of U.S. government spending, so does spending on military affairs, foreign wars, and foreign interference.

A sixth problem is the problem of population size and structure.

The rise and development of China and India in the last several decades has once again proven to the world that a certain size of population is still one of the basic factors for productivity and economic development. At the same time, the experiences across the whole world also have proven that population growth alone cannot generate positive effects for economic development either. Instead, it should also be accompanied by improvement of population quality at the same time, including education, skills, income, and consumption. In that case, population growth can generate active effects for economic development.

A seventh problem is the problem of social culture and value concepts.

Relevant social movements that started to appear in the 1960s in the United States, such as the anti-war movement, human rights movement, hippies, and sexual liberation, not only brought active progress in relevant areas, such as democracy, freedom, and human rights, but also caused many social problems, including the expansion of personal desires and power consciousness, and a decline in a sense of duty among parts of society; many feel that discipline has become lax, and the will of the people to learn new things and work hard has become weaker (it should be noted that this trend is lamented in a number of countries, not just the United States). Work, learning, efficiency, capabilities, and skills have dropped, and American students are falling behind their counterparts in many countries on certain standardized tests.[8] Also, the service level of the service sector has dropped, efficiency is not high in certain fields and services, and the competitive power of some areas in society is not strong enough. All of these are directly related to people’s cultural concepts and values.

What are FOUR SECTORS of the economy?

What is the service sector?

Benjamin Franklin’s 13 steps to moral perfection (based on an 18th century concept of self that is no longer an ontological precept in our skeptical times)

One of my all-time heroes, Benjamin Franklin, was 20 when he designed a list of 13 virtues that he felt could lead him to moral perfection.

This is an interesting read about Franklin’s virtues.  CLICK HERE

Personally, I appreciated the usefulness of the chart illustrating Franklin’s virtues in comparison with Bushido and Aristotelean virtues.

I think we have given up on the Enlightenment ideal of moral perfection, but at least it’s worth some consideration!  Here’s the list:

  1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation. Avoid extremes.
  10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
  11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

 

Konnakkol Music

TO AM304 Students

This week some of you expressed interest in the music that was being played before class.

It is called Konnakkol and the recording I played was from the Karnataka College of Percussion.  I will try to play more examples of the College’s recordings in the future.

If you want to know more about Konnakkol then be sure to click here and here

Is there a way to include Konnakkol as a form of multimedia?

Have a pleasant weekend.

My reflections on Monsanto, the havoc and the rumors

Recently I have been reflecting deeply about my previous work experience many years ago for the giant corporation called Monsanto.  In 1994, a personal time of underemployment and high risk taking by myself, I found a way to be paid for making an educational and promotional documentary in the mountains of central Mindanao island in the Philippines.  For me, at that time, this was a good thing and I was happy it was happening.  My job was to produce a documentary about the herbicide, Roundup, as it was being used in a commercial reforestation project in Bukidnon province in the southern Philippines.  I availed of scholarly and scientific research they gave me at the time (1994) to develop a creative short video for the sales and promotion purposes of Monsanto’s offices in Singapore.

Fast forward to now–Now that the current lawsuit is happening against Monsanto and I am able to see other perspectives and information, I am deeply concerned about the weakened ethics of my previous professional work for that company.  I can’t undo the past but I can reflect upon its meaning so that I can learn, reflect and change.  I don’t know right now what is the right answer or most wise response, but I am questioning what happened and what I did at the time, albeit unknowingly..

I was convinced in 1994 that it was OK to use Roundup in commercial forestry and other agro–businesses, so I wrote and produced a good video for them at a bargain rate because I believed in the product and its purpose, plus I wanted to work on location in Mindanao.  No other video producer in their right mind would venture into Bukidnon as I did at the time.  I took my gear and gladly ventured there.  Monsanto paid me to live my dreams.

I worked on the Monsanto project in 1994.  I never imagined Roundup in a retail or household setting and to this day I remain convinced that glyphosate, when used in moderation, is basically OK for its primary purposes in the killing of weeds.  I don’t believe it causes an unreasonable risk beyond what any other chemical poison would pose.  I wouldn’t drink or inhale the stuff but there were rumors that it would be safe to do so.  Regardless of rumors, it is a weed killer and not a beverage.  There is a gap in my understanding of the current case against Monsanto.and how that 289 million dollar amount was arrived, but I understand the threshold was to prove that Roundup was a contributing factor.  They guy describes it blowing in his face as part of his job–his employer should be crucified!.

In the current case it sounds like a typical example of labor exploitation by government and corporate entities, where employers subject workers to unsafe or uncontrolled risks.

I need to post this article for my future reference

https://modernfarmer.com/2014/03/monsantos-good-bad-pr-problem/

Is Gross National Happiness a form of GDP?

I am learning about Gross National Happiness as the guiding philosophy of Bhutan, so that search probably led me to this amazing long term chart of GDP.  I guess we in the USA are on an upward trajectory and nearing highs in terms of GDP.  What does GNH have to do with GDP?  Is this the end, are we at a high or top?  Just like happy folks will do, please enjoy the happy days of GDP highs while it lasts.

180726082100-chart-state-of-the-economy-gdp-growth-780x439.jpg

My estimate is for a jump to the upside over time and we will experience all new highs, in terms of GDP.

In the West we equate rise of GDP in terms of happiness.  But I am learning and interested in Gross National Happiness which is a different measure.  I suppose a strong GDP makes me happy in some ways.  It’s good to be happy. So GNH and GDP are symbiotically related.

 

Labor exploitation in Palos Verdes Estates: Where is a Union when you need one?

A revolving door is a common phrase to signify a repeating pattern of random hiring and firing of workers. Oftentimes a revolving door is enshrouded in secrecy and all kinds of unfairness.  I am referring specifically to the problems facing a nonunion high school baseball coach at Palos Verdes High.  That coach is facing the revolving door.  However, this coach’s particular problem appears over and over in all sports in all schools where there are “Parents with Resources.”

I am riled up about a revolving door for several high school baseball coaches at PVHS, but quickly my thoughts critique an even larger problem, statewide in scope, a bad situation facing all nonunion employees of school districts.

The fact is a revolving door for sports coaches at PVHS and beyond.  This fact is entirely and indisputably bad for male and female student athletes.  It must be changed.

The revolving door starts at PVHS with a lack/absence of a Grievance procedure for disgruntled parents.  “Get a lawyer and make threats,” that is the process, now.  PVHS makes itself vulnerable to “Parents With Resources” by cowering to unilateral complaints about whatever can be contrived, followed by threats to cajole the weakling school district (PVPUSD), followed soon thereafter with the coach being “leg go.”  The story is repeated over and over at PVHS, in many sports for many years.

No truth, no fairness, no rights, nothing in writing, possibly ruining a young coach’s career as well.  It’s a reflection of poor management at the most basic level AND it is very damaging to the advancement and growth of student athlete learners.

Palos Verdes Unified School District is one of many districts that are big exploiters of highly-qualified “walk on” labor statewide, and PVHS is an example of due process denied for all nonunion coaches.  “Parents with resources” are the problem, nurtured by weak leadership.

PROPOSED SOLUTIONS:  A proper and relevant Grievance procedure is lacking at PVPUD, with nil procedures for all parents to follow at PVHS (and beyond).   The solution requires that top administrators not succumb to the noisiest parents with resources.  Grievance procedures would ensure fairness and protect the District as it tries to achieve understanding and resolution of a complaint.  I recommend the following steps:

1) Parents and Students fill out a basic form that contractually promises their willingness to submit to in-house arbitration of disputes at the outset;

2) Parents and Students are compelled to put their complaint in writing and the accused coach is compelled to respond to the complaint;

3) Parents and Students are compelled to face each other.  Transparency should be the norm and intended to protect all parties from unfairness.  The accused coach has the right to face his/her accusers who are witnesses against him/her; and

4) PVPUSD Administrators from top to bottom need to be stronger and smarter in protecting its workers.  Listen to the majority and Do what is right and fair.  Have a process that is simple and transparent.  These are the best solutions I can propose.

CONCLUSION

I am interested to make noise that makes PVHS and PVPUSD a better place to work and learn.  Right now there’s a destructive revolving door for nonunion coaches.

Sign the petition and join 200 other parents, coaches, student athletes, and teachers who demand equal rights for nonunion coaches at PVHS and in high school programs throughout California.  Please make a statement or pose a question.  Thanks.

SIGN THE PETITION

Online marketing an independent documentary

This website is a very good example for students of independent filmmaking as a well-done example of online marketing and promotion.

http://www.theentertainersmovie.com/

I would like to know more about the ragtime style of piano-playing after seeing the various clips.  I love what the left hand is doing with those amazing bass lines.

Original music for a student film

FYI
The Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program at the Seattle Film Institute is still accepting submissions of student made films for free original scores.
We are looking for student made films of any genre or length to provide original music to through the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program.  This service, which includes a score recorded by professional musicians in a world class recording studio, is offered for free to student filmmakers.  It is an opportunity for our Masters students to use the skills learned during our program and collaborate with directors to produce custom music for any style of film.  The music is licensed to the filmmakers free of charge for use within their films in any and all media and for any promotional use (trailers, etc.) in connection to those films.
WE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTIONS.
The submitted films must have been made as part of an educational program.
To have your film considered for our next recording session we would need picture lock by Sunday May 20th.
To have your film considered for our last recording session we would need picture lock by Thursday June 7th.
For additional details about the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program please visit our website at: http://www.pnwfilmmusic.com
To fill out a film submission form, please go here:  https://www.sfi.edu/student-film-music-scoring-request-form

 

For any other questions feel free to contact me directly.
Thank you,

Sammy Applegate
Film Composer/PNWFS Program Assistant Director
Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program
Seattle Film Institute
3210 16th Ave W. 
Seattle, WA  98119
 
(800) 882-4734 // (206) 568-4387

The beginning of the story

This is a very useful video by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) about the struggle and importance of the story’s beginning–creating the foundation for the rest of the story.  I am very interested in the experience of writing and developing a story, asking myself, what does it feel like to write?  Writing is purely mechanical unless it is aligned with creative problem solving and lateral thinking.  Fun!

On the journey to writing a screenplay

These days I am fully committed to researching and writing a screenplay about desertion and rebellion and everything amok during the Philippine-American War, during the general time frame of 1898-1910, although the end date could allude to what follows in  the 1920s, 30s and beyond.  I have found some wonderful characters in a deeply reticulated chain of conflicted situations, and I feel passionate about the project.   In writing this screenplay I am pondering many difficult and unknown areas of thinking (for myself) about story structure, anti-hero characters, forgiveness, and complex interweaving of story lines.  I came across Billy Wilder’s ten rules–in my plebian words, “make them pay attention and make them care.” Here are Billy Wilder’s ten rules — old fashioned but mighty fine.

  1. The audience is fickle.
  2. Grab ’em by the throat and never let ’em go.
  3. Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.
  4. Know where you’re going.
  5. The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.
  6. If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.
  7. A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.
  8. In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they’re seeing.
  9. The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.
  10. The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then—that’s it. Don’t hang around.
 It’s a deep journey but that’s the reward.

Website to app

TURNING A WEBSITE INTO AN APP

An app doesn’t need an internet connection to work, which means your mobile app can always be opened in exotic locales where internet may be unreliable or unavailable.  We, Americans, must not forget perhaps half the world’s population never made or received a phone call.  Many areas have not been mapped or developed.  The internet is a privilege for the minority.

Bangkok, Museum of Floral Culture

 

 

For future reference in Bangkok:

Museum of Floral Culture

This is one of Bangkok’s gorgeous surprises.
The creation of Thai floral artist Sakul Intakul, the museum is for flower and nature lovers and those with an interest in Thai flower culture. It features exhibits of important floral cultures from civilizations across Asia such as Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Laotian and Balinese/Indonesian.
It’s housed in a beautifully preserved, 100-year-old teak mansion with colonial architecture. Lush grounds have been transformed into an impeccably landscaped Thai-meets-Zen-style garden.
The Museum of Floral Culture, 315 Samsen Rd. Soi 28, Yaek Ongkarak 13, Dusit, Bangkok 10300 Thailand, +66 2 669 3633

Tape is gone, but it lives on!

A useful writing that explains the absence of audio tape stock.  CLICK HERE

“Recording on tape enforces a musical process, McTear explains. Band members must play together, recording all at once, instead of editing and manipulating sounds so perfectly that they’re perfectly boring.”  I love this approach to musicianship and recording arts.

The reel story of what happened to tape

A Bloom Refresher

I use Bloom’s Taxonomy for the benefit of students in my classes.

I don’t know why the Taxonomy that Bloom et al developed seems to be kept in secret from students? Tell me why so few students are acquainted with Bloom et al?

I share the Taxonomy with my students and encourage them to apply the concept of action verbs in their individual learning, applying the concept of action verbs to scriptwriting, photography, interviewing, video production, and other creative inquiry and activity.

HERE is a useful list of verbs and a hierarchy of learning consistent with Bloom’s theory of learning.

 

TV Program Production in Bangkok

This is Project 1 for my class in TV Program Production at Ramkhamhaeng University in Bangkok.  I think it’s unique and useful that students are asked to apply their creative and technical skills in digital media production for the benefit of a NGO in Bangkok.  Nice synergy with the integration of theory and practice, application of ethics and values for social development, and a meaningful opportunity for professional development.

 

Applying for a Radio or TV Broadcast Station in California and Thailand

I am comparing the processes and systems for setting up a radio station in Los Angeles, California, and Bangkok, Thailand

Federal Communications Commission USA

Thailand 1

Thailand 2

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