What’s going on in Hong Kong?

Oh man… what a week it has been.  After Morey’s tweet in support of Hong Kong creating such a backlash, Blizzard, not wanting to be left behind, bans a Hearthstone player for his support of Hong Kong.  And then… Apple, also not wanting to be outdone, acquiesces to Chinese demands and pulls apps from the iTunes store.

What’s with all the news in Hong Kong?

Vox has a really good article.  But here’s my summary…

A little background if you don’t know where Hong Kong is… it’s located in the southern part of China.  It was an important entry point into the “China Market” as well as a financial center back when Hong Kong was under British rule.  Since the British handover in 1997 back to China, the “one country, two systems” was Communist China’s temporary stop-gap measure to appease the capitalistic and democratic opponents of a communistic government.  In essence, this system allowed separate economic and governmental sovereignty within Communist China.  In my opinion, this incompatible system is really at the crux of these protests.

A few years ago, the Yellow Umbrella movement was a political protest movement that protested Communist China’s “meddling” with HK government affairs.  In summary, it was opposition to the Chinese Communist Party selecting the candidates that the HK population would then vote and appoint to the HK legislation.  In short, it very subtly bypassed the HK Basic Law which was “guaranteed” for 50 years post handover.  I’m not sure this ever fully got “resolved” but looking back, this was the Communist party’s initial skirmish to “test the waters” on HK sentiment probably paving the way for future political schemes.

Fast forward to 2019, Hong Kong has new protests.  These protest were originally against an extradition bill in the HK legislature and has now morphed into more demands mainly to try to protect and define the language behind the idea of “protest vs riot.”  Admittedly, it’d devolved into a situation where protests, counter-protests, government plants to incite protester violence, and government collusion with HK Triads.  It’s not going to end well for Hong Kong.

But here’s a possible solution that a friend of mine mentioned.  Would HK people be opposed to this solution?  Chinese Communist Party grants universal suffrage to all HK people allowing them to vote for any legislative candidate. Any law passed by the legislature must be approved by the Communist Party before coming into law.

The Morey Tweet

I wonder what the general American populace thinks about the NBA after it initially censored the “Morey Tweet.” Is this a case of where a company lost sight of what it’s values are?

Should you be worried that a foreign government has that much influence on a company?

Should the American government be worried?

Verve Coffee Roasters

September’s Angels Cup (yes you read that correctly!) comes from Verve Coffee Roasters.  These beans comes from Rwanda’s Karongi region.  I haven’t had many beans from Rwanda so I’m excited.

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The smell of the beans is amazing.  I get subtle floral and nutty aromas when I open the bag.  Making my latte, I get hints of berries and chocolate with every sip.  Sometimes I get a hint of nuts in the aftertaste but it’s really subtle.  I’m not sure why the nutty flavor comes and goes.  Thoughts?

I’ve also noticed that sometimes the espresso concentrate is too watered down and when mixed with the milk loses it’s normal latte punch. I’m weighing water in proportion to how much the grinds weigh and adding enough milk in proportion to how much espresso concentrate I extract.

American Factory

This Netflix documentary about a Chinese glass manufacturer Fuyao Glass opening up a factory in US is fascinating.  Aside from the “alternative translations” peppered throughout the documentary, it’s a socio-economic lesson about the various forces at work in a manufacturing setting.

To start, Fuyao took over an old GM manufacturing plant in Dayton, OH that closed during the great recession.  If you recall, the great recession hit the car industry pretty hard.  It forced car manufacturers to lay off workers which caused a ripple effect that affected many communities that supported the automotive industry (think tires, leather/tannery, carpeting, electronics, and other smaller car parts manufacturing) as well as the workers (think restaurants, hair salons, grocery stores, and places to spend discretionary income).  Unfortunately, many of these manufacturing sites were also located in the Midwest due to the close proximity to Detroit, MI.  After all, Detroit is the “car capital of the world.”  The situation was so dire that the US goverment did negotiated a deal to bailout the car makers.  If you’re interested in some more reading, try this link or this link.

But this documentary is fascinating to me because it tries to present this factory from both the Chinese management perspective and the American workers/middle management perspective.  If you strictly look at the two perspectives, there’s definitely a cultural clash between the Chinese and Americans.

There are a few scenes about the documentary that I thought was interesting to point out…

  • In one scene where the management workers were wondering if American’s can work overtime… and the room erupted in laughter.  I assume the assumption was that you couldn’t get the American’s to work overtime without more pay.  In China, the workers work 12 hours shifts and through the weekend.  Part of what makes China such an enticing place to set up manufacturing shop is the work “ethic” (I can’t think of a better word).  Given how pay is much lower than the average American pay, one can see why China has become the manufacturing country of the world.  What do you think will happen if the Chinese government starts mandating certain expectations of working hours and pay?  
  • A scene where an American worker commented how he saw a Chinese worker dump chemicals into the drain and acting as if the laws didn’t apply to them.
  • In another scene, a conversation between an American supervisor and a Chinese counterpart really highlighted another difference that working only 8 hours per shift is an ingrained work culture from. 
  • Finally someone had made a comment that the difference between American workers and Chinese workers was that American’s only care about the pay.  I don’t know if that’s true.  In China, many Chinese workers are leaving their homes and taking these manufacturing jobs because the pay and opportunities are better.  Many leave their families behind for this opportunity knowing that a better life comes from better pay.  Is that not a reason as to why Americans work?  They find jobs where they get better pay.  I don’t know if the Chinese manufacturing workers find their jobs any more meaningful than American manufacturing workers.  Furthermore, I think any worker will gravitate to jobs that pay more.  So I don’t think the comment is accurate.

This last scene however got me to think about how satisfying Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs is a factor that companies need to consider when it comes to employee satisfaction.  How you meet these needs is as important as what these needs are… because everyone has needs they need to be met.

S&W Craft Roasting

July’s Angels Cup comes in a very nondescript black bag. No design, no fancy logo.  You have to look at the bag carefully to realize that they are from this S&W Craft Roasting.  If you go to there website, it is one of the plainest/simplest websites relative to many of the other roasting companies that I’ve linked. These beans comes from the Cibao Region of the Dominican Republic.  The “Red Caturra” is apparently an Arabica varietal.

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Opening the bag, I’m greeted with a familiar aroma that I first encountered when I ordered the Geisha beans.  It’s that aroma of an over ripe apple and fermented(?) yogurt smell.  It wasn’t as strong as one of the Geisha beans but that smell is pretty evident.

Making my latte, the aroma of that fermented(?) smell persisted in the flavor as well.  I’m curious what chemical causes that smell and taste.  Despite this, the apple and maybe a slight berry flavor carries into the latte.  The chocolaty smoothness of the latte makes up for the aroma.

Wild Gift Coffee Roasters

July’s Angels Cup comes from Wild Gift Coffee Roasters.  The beans come from Peru from a region called Chirinos District in Cajamarca Province.  I think this is one of the first beans I’m trying that come from Peru.

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Opening the bag, I’m greeted with a wonderful aroma of berries and floral scents.  Grinding the beans releases a strong caramel and nutty aroma that overpowers any floral and berry scents.  Once I make the latte however, there is a balance between the chocolate, caramel and berry flavors.   There’s a faint floral taste as well too but it’s really subtle and lingers at the back of the tongue very quickly before it’s gone.

The latte is so smooth though that I tend to drink this really quickly.  Every latte I’ve made, I’ve finished within 3-5 minutes after making it.  In comparison, I will tend to sip some lattes.  I’m not sure what makes certain latte’s sip-able vs drinkable.