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Daily Archives: August 20, 2022

Quiet Quitting: The Phenomenon of Young Professionals Rejecting the Idea of Going Above and Beyond in Their Careers

躺平 in the Western World

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In Pictures: 1966 Triumph TR4A IRS

The car was sold for US$50,000 in February 2022

Source : Bring A Trailer

Chart: Americans Spend Much More on Pharmaceuticals

Source : Stastista

China Takes Steps to Support Some Property Developers, Boost Demand in Economy

Clare Jim wrote . . . . . . . . .

China will guarantee new onshore bond issues by a few select private developers to support its embattled property sector, sources said on Tuesday, while the state planner said it would boost economic demand and speed up infrastructure projects.

News of the planned state support for some better-quality private developers saw the Hang Seng mainland properties sub-index rise by as much as 10% at one point, before profit taking pared gains.

Policymakers have been trying to stabilize the sector that accounts for a quarter of the national GDP after a string of defaults among developers and a slump in home sales.

The property sector’s troubles and weak consumption have weakened a nascent recovery in an economy that has been hobbled by strict COVID-restrictions.

Bleak data for July showed that the world’s second-biggest economy unexpectedly slowed and property investment fell at the fastest clip this year.

And on Tuesday, officials from the state planner gave assurances that policies would be geared to boosting economic demand in “a strong, reasonable and moderate manner” and infrastructure construction would be accelerated in the third quarter of the year.

Yuan Da, a spokesperson at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told a news conference that policy banks would grant more credit and more special local government bonds would be issued.

Homebuyers, and existing owners looking to improve their home, would also receive support, Yuan said.

There are also expectations for a cut in the loan prime rate later this month, which could give some relief to mortgage holders.

On Monday, the central bank unexpectedly cut the rate on 400 billion yuan ($59.33 billion) of one-year medium-term lending facility (MLF) loans to some financial institutions by 10 basis points (bps) to 2.75%.

THE SELECT FEW

Addressing fears that developers regarded as financially sound could also be impacted by the malaise gripping the property sector, four sources with knowledge of the matter said regulators have asked state-owned China Bond Insurance Co Ltd to provide guarantees for bond issuance by Longfor Group and CIFI Holdings.

Two of the sources said Longfor has already sold 3-year and 5-year medium term notes totalling up to 1.5 billion yuan ($220.80 million) with a guarantee from China Bond Insurance.

China Bond Insurance Co will provide “full amount, unconditional and irrevocable joint liability guarantee” to these medium-term notes, sources told Reuters.

Financial information provider REDD first reported the plan to provide guarantees for new bond issues by a few select mainland bond issuers on Monday evening.

Its report said policymakers had drawn up a list of half a dozen developers regarded as financially stronger, including Gemdale Corporation and Country Garden Holdings, whose bond issues would receive guarantees.

REDD also said policymakers were considering asking state investors to subscribe for new notes issued by developers. The issuers would have to provide collateral for the state guarantee but the use of proceeds would be flexible, it said.


Source : Reuters

Explicit Content

Suzannah Lipscomb wrote . . . . . . . . .

What follows will be explicit because it is about expletives; it may also seem offensive, because it is about how words have become so.

I stumbled upon this question as a historical consultant for a new drama set in the 16th century, when I needed to assess whether certain curse words in the script would have been familiar to the Tudors. The revelation – given away in the title of Melissa Mohr’s wonderful book Holy Sh*t – is that all swear words concern what is sacred or what is scatological. In the Middle Ages, the worst words had been about what was holy; by the 18th century they were about bodily functions. The 16th century was a period when what was considered obscene was in flux.

The most offensive words still used God’s name: God’s blood, God’s wounds, God’s bones, death, flesh, foot, heart, arms, nails, body, sides, guts, tongue, eyes. A statute of 1606 forbade the use of words that ‘iestingly or prophanely’ spoke the name of God in plays. Damn and hell were early modern variations of such blasphemous oaths (bloody came later), as were the euphemistic asseverations, gad, gog and egad.

Many words we consider, at best, crude were medieval common-or-garden words of description – arse, shit, fart, bollocks, prick, piss, turd – and were not considered obscene. To say ‘I’m going to piss’ was the equivalent of saying ‘I’m going to wee’ today and was politer than the new 16th-century vulgarity, ‘I’m going to take a leak’. Putting body parts or products where they shouldn’t normally be created delightfully defiant phrases such as ‘turd in your teeth’, which appears in the 1509 compendium of the Oxford don John Stanbridge. Non-literal uses of these words – which is what tends to be required for swearing – like ‘take the piss’, ‘on the piss’, ‘piss off’ – all seem to be 20th-century flourishes. For the latter, the Tudors would have substituted something diabolical – ‘the devil rot thee’ – or epidemiological – ‘a pox on you’.

But the scatological was starting to become obscene. Sard, swive and fuck were all slightly rude words for sexual intercourse. An early recorded use of the f-word was a piece of marginalia by an anonymous monk writing in 1528 in a manuscript copy of Cicero’s De officiis (a treatise on moral philosophy). The inscription reads: ‘O d fuckin Abbot’. Given that the use of the f-word as an intensifier didn’t catch on for another three centuries, this is likely a punchy comment on the abbot’s immoral behaviour.

Frig and jape were also on the cusp of offensiveness. Randle Cotgrave’s 1611 French-English dictionary translates the French fringue as ‘to lecher or lasciviously frig with the tail’ (tail was a euphemism for penis). Cunt was also starting to move from being the most direct word to describe a part of the anatomy into obscenity. Shakespeare makes jokes in Hamlet about ‘country matters’ in which he clearly means (as the next line says) what ‘lie[s] between maids’ legs’. Bugger remained a non-explicit word for anal sex.

Today many of these words have an admirable grammatical flexibility for which the Tudors had no clear substitute. For a phrase to express unfortunate circumstances that seem impossible to overcome (‘we’re fucked’), the Historical Thesaurus of English tells us that they would have proclaimed themselves to be ‘in hot water’ (first use 1537), ‘in a pickle’ (1562), ‘in straits’ (1565) or, in the most extreme predicament, at one’s ‘utter shift’ (c.1604). To ‘fuck up’ or spoil something, they’d have used ‘to bodge’ or ‘to botch’. To say something was codswallop, baloney, bollocks, they’d have gone with trumpery, baggage, rubbish or the wonderful reduplicating terms that appear in the 1570s and 80s: flim-flam, fiddle-faddle, or fible-fable.

But, holy words aside, if you really wanted to offend someone in the 16th century, you’d call them a whore, knave, thief, harlot, cuckold, or false. They still cared more about a reputation for behaving badly than how to describe the behaviour itself.


Source : History Today

China’s New Pro-Birth Plan: Give Families What They Need

Li Xin wrote . . . . . . . . .

Over the past few years, China has moved from a one-child policy, to a two-child policy, to three.

But young families are going in the other direction: Most say they plan to have only one child, and a growing number say they don’t plan to have children at all. The birth rate hit a record low in 2021.

As the country ages, many fear it’s on track to become a nation of retirees. Policymakers have tried to encourage people to have more children with incentives including tax breaks and increased paid family leave. But many young families say the cost of raising a child remains far too high.

It seems policymakers were listening. Seventeen Chinese agencies jointly announced Tuesday a raft of new measures to encourage families to have more babies, addressing issues from day care to workplace discrimination. The announcement also refers to reducing “medically unnecessary abortions,” in a move that has rights advocates worried.

The group, led by the National Health Commission and the National Develop and Reform Commission, said the guidelines will support people in the whole cycle of starting a family from “marriage and childbearing to childcare and education.”

“This guideline shows that the focus of China’s fertility policy has shifted from control to support,” Ren Yuan, a professor at Fudan University’s Population Research Institute in Shanghai, told Sixth Tone. In addition to simply regulating the number of babies, the state is “shifting its focus to offering relevant services and support, and addressing specific difficulties people encounter when planning to have babies,” Ren added.

Deng Shuang, a Shanghai-based mom of a six-year-old, considered having a second child when her son entered kindergarten three years ago. But she decided not to, rather than “going through the hard times all over again and a major lifestyle change.”

The full-time mom lives in a 90-square-meter apartment with her husband and son in suburban Shanghai. “We would need a bigger apartment if we got a second child, not only to accommodate the baby but also for my in-laws to live with us to take care of the baby,” she told Sixth Tone. “That would mean more financial pressure for my husband, who’s the only bread earner in the family now,” she added.

“I would choose to have a second child if the costs are lowered. I guess it all depends on how effectively these plans are implemented, ” Deng said.

The 36-year-old didn’t seek a job after giving birth to her son because babysitting and home chores took all of her time. Even though Deng had more time after her son went to kindergarten, she still couldn’t get a full-time job because kindergartens end at around 4 p.m., too early for most workers to finish their jobs.

Yan Li, a doctor in suburban Shanghai, went back to work shortly after her first child was born. Now mom to a six-year-old and a two-year old, Yan lives under the same roof with her husband, two sons, and her in-laws in a 100-square-meter apartment. She relies on her own and her husband’s parents to take care of the children while she’s at work.

Yan and her husband bought a second apartment last year, tripling their monthly mortgage payment.

“I never regret the decision to have a second kid because I love my sons, but we sure are under more pressure,” she said.

“A shortage of infant care and child care services in the public service system increased the burden on Chinese residents. The accompanying higher cost for infant and child care in turn limits the population’s childbearing behavior,” Ren Yuan wrote in a March article.


Source : Sixth Tone