Gangnam Style

I have a smattering of thoughts I want to express here, and cannot think of a more suitable title. I guess the general theme is the cultural divide from the Cold War. I use Gangnam Style as the title since it is a representative, and also it’s occurred to me that it’s better for attracting attention/marketing. It is or at least was the most viewed video on YouTube after all.

Why am I suddenly reminded of Gangnam Style? Well, yesterday somebody spoke of that Crazy Rich Asians movie that just came out, that’s in a couple weeks time gotten $86.6 million box office already, almost thrice the $30 million budget. After searching online, I learned it’s based off a novel of the same name by a Singaporean-American of Chinese descent from, predictably, quite a prominent family in Singapore. I had already learned of it, as it has been everywhere online for a few weeks, though I didn’t pay much attention to it. I was quickly reminded of an anecdote involving Gangnam Style, which is also Asian. As for the name, Gangnam is this important, wealthy district in Seoul, or something like that. It is Korean for 江南 (jiangnan), which means south of the river, I believe.

What is the anecdote? My smart as fuck Russian friend in math raised in America who identifies strongly with the Soviet era has a younger brother nowhere near as smart as him who plays video games all day. On the car, he would keep singing Gangnam Style. My friend got so annoyed with that he said,

From now on, sing that again, and I’m going to sing back No Motherland Without You, Comrade Kim Jong-il.

I have listened to Gangnam Style by the way, and my reaction was like, “how the fuck did this trashy culture-less music video in Korean become number one on YouTube? What the fuck is going on with the taste of the current generation?” I guess it’s also impressive, that South Korea can produce a video music this viral, in their own language. Korean drama is also a big thing. Samsung and Hyundai too. Koreans (in the South) are both technically and culturally innovative.

Reminds me of my unusual ABC (actually born in America) friend who’s sympathetic to the North. He said some things about them which surprised me. Now, most Chinese in my parents’ generation I’ve encountered were from relatively humble backgrounds, often first in their family to attend college. He’s an exception though. He told me that his father’s family used to own a four story building in Tianjin that he’s visited. During the war, it became Japanese barracks. After the Japanese left, they got it back, but four years later, they ended up sharing it with a bunch of poor people. He told me his grandpa was about to go study in Britain, but the Japanese invasion disrupted that plan. His mother’s dad were also highly educated in STEM, and occupied a relatively high up position there. Ironically though, he really surprised me by saying a bunch of stuff in Chinese in the likes of what you hear from people during the Mao era or nostalgic for it, like how back then people didn’t need to buy a home, because the state provided one. I concluded that he, who has spent his entire life in America, must have learned all that from his parents.

As for North Korea, I told him about how some Korean was telling me about how there’s this map of lighting of world, in which South Korea is super bright while the North is almost completely dark, which exception of a glimmer from Pyongyang, which just goes to show the sheer economic disparity in level of development. His response was,

Or maybe because while the South Koreans are being worked to death, the North Koreans are sleeping.

Inside Facebook office, there’s an analogous display.

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In this one, China is also entirely in totalitarian darkness. 😉

On DPRK, that guy was also like,

In a situation of war, the South Korean soldiers are not going to fight to the death to preserve the interests of their capitalist masters.

I spoke of how American and South Korean media talks about how the North’s army is extremely weak and ill-equipped now. Like their pilots don’t even have enough fuel to do sufficient training. On that he was like,

That’s not how the American and South Korean armies staging military exercises think.

I was like “lol okay.”

A few days ago, I finally learned of Erich Honecker and his wife Margot Honecker, who were the General Secretary and Minister of Education of East Germany respectively. They both pretty much got screwed after reunification. Erich escaped a criminal trial out of poor health to reunite with his wife in South America, who had sought asylum in Chile through the Chilean Embassy in Moscow. Margot died in 2016 and defended the GDR till her death. I had known before of the predecessor of Honecker, Walter Ulbricht, but not that he also had training Moscow from the 20s on as part of the German Communist Party. Not a surprise though, after the war, the Soviets pretty much planted those types in positions of power in East Germany. The system they established certainly had some political influence, they trained communists from all over the world, setting up schools just for that. The Comintern was certainly quite an effective political organization. Many of the old Chinese revolutionaries had that background too. I also learned of Egon Krenz, a top East German politician who actually travelled to China in 89 to thank Deng Xiaoping on behalf of the regime for using force to suppress the student protests, who subsequently published some books sympathetic to the GDR.

I’ve read before that there is quite a bit of East German nostalgia, with the so-called Ossis still being culturally different, of course, I’m not qualified to judge. In any case, it’s probably safe to assume that the stuff we hear in English about East German and the Stasi should be taken with a grain of salt. Victor’s justice after all, those part of the Stasi (an equivalent of Department of Homeland Security really), along with just about everyone high up in the East German regime, were politically disgraced after reunification.

More generally, I can sense how the political outlooks and ways of doing things still vary widely, and the legacy much persists today. The political rhetoric employed is markedly different, needless to say. Also, how those former socialist countries do those military parades, which would be naturally viewed in American mindset as distasteful and totalitarian, the style of dictatorship. Many from former those states also think that, especially ones who emigrated to the “free world,” also eventually grow to think that. They’ll say stuff like “waste of money.” An uncool way to “show how good we are.” I once said С днем победы to a Russian friend raised in America and he was like,

It’s stupid to celebrate the deaths of so many people.

My response was

So you’re saying that it’s basically, “we beat the Nazis, we saved Europe, we saved the world, we’re the best!”

And he was like, “pretty much.”

In the American political narrative, that stuff is almost always portrayed as people taking part in that not because they want to but because they have no choice under a totalitarian regime. An easy way to be dismissive of course. Expectedly, I find this perspective rather problematic. I’ve heard enough times the likes of “I like China, just not the Chinese government,” and “Remember that the Chinese people and the Chinese government are not the same thing.” The reality is that a government of a country is made up of a subset of its people, with the percentage depending on degree of government affiliation, not to mention that a government is necessarily influenced by its people, so it’s entirely unrealistic to speak of a government and its people as entirely separate.

I’ve also seen some liberal Russians here poke fun at Iosif Kobzon. They’ll say,

Oh, everybody hates Kobzon.

and

He’s ridiculous. Super pro-government. And he’s not even Russian you know, he’s actually Jewish. He’s ridiculous.

When the government routinely organizes those concerts where they sing those songs about the Red Army and crowds clap along, those guys find it either ridiculous or revolting. The thing is that the system gradually normalized that kind of activity to the point where people in that environment don’t find it strange and even enjoy it.

I do wonder how much of one’s preference on this spectrum is heritable versus shaped through experience. Necessarily, experiences shape one’s tastes and views but it is genes which largely determine how people respond to experiences more or less imposed on them as well as which ones they actively see out.

On the Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore

I had the great pleasure of catching up in person with a friend doing math PhD in something algebraic geometry-ish at a top school. We had dinner at an Indian restaurant. He asked me what I thought of the upcoming meeting between Trump and Kim in Singapore. It’s something that I hadn’t been paying attention to really, though I was aware of it, and I didn’t really have any opinion.

As of today, the meeting is over. I saw an article about it from Washington Post. Apparently, Trump agreed to halt US-South Korea military exercises, exactly what the Chinese government proposed ahead of the summit, likely in the personal meeting between Xi and Kim well before that, wants to eventually pull out US troops from South Korea, and professes more of less the attitude that though China is violating sanctions on DPRK that it agreed to, there’s nothing that can really be done. It’s impressive that DPRK has manage to resist for so long. America with its might has done so much to try to bring it down with economic sanctions and exclusion from much of the international community, thereby rendering its reputation as a pariah state. The people running DPRK, like them or not, are survivors. They, as a puny little country, managed to develop nukes despite economic sanctions and the crisis resulting from the decline and ultimate collapse of their former puppet master or patron (or whatever you choose to call it), the USSR. Their having nukes (and also being next to China, which America dares not to mess with too much) allowed the Kim dynasty to not end up like Saddam or Gaddafi. They must have felt that with the USSR gone and China’s viewing them as an obstacle towards its international integration that they really needed the nukes to preserves themselves. Though people also say that their long range artillery, with Seoul, where like half of South Korea’s population and economy is, within reach, they have enough to deter a military attack against them. What did they really get from nukes? Some more bargaining chip, because they figure they can always get more by pretending to denuclearize. I can’t blame them really. Anyone will go to the extremes when it’s a matter of survival. If you try to starve a dog to death (but can’t, strictly speaking), he’ll just become a ferocious wild one in order to survive, and that’s exactly what DPRK has done.

This must be quite a blow to the neocons and American supremacists who are so keen on American world domination. Hate to tell them that by now, they’ve probably missed their chance. The way things are going right now, in a decade, South Korea could even become a PRC ally; they will once it’s in the interests of those in positions of power there to do so. What can America provide them? A guarantee that those people currently on top can stay on top. They do that foremost by providing defense against a possible DPRK invasion. I’m skeptical still that US will actually move forward with pulling troops out of South Korea; the ROK elite probably won’t like that, unless those with conciliatory attitudes towards their northern counterparts take over, which could happen. I know little about what the popular opinion is there. I do have Korean friends who tell me that there, if you actually sing a DPRK song in public, you will definitely be arrested, because there really is something to fear. There is quite a history of that there. It is well-established that during the Korean War, after the DPRK first invaded, Syngman Rhee ordered massacres of those perceived as disloyal to his regime. Even in the 80s, when the ROK was already doing much better than the DPRK, there was the Gwangju Uprising, which is like a South Korean Tiananmen Square. Of course, to justify its suppression, it was easy for the government to label the protesters as agent of the enemy regime. Contrary to impressions given by the American media, the South Korean position has been somewhat precarious too, and America has been willing to really invest there. There are even nuclear weapons deployed in South Korea, not just American soldiers stationed there. It’s an ally that is seen as vulnerable and too valuable to lose. Over the years, people have always been asking how long the DPRK can hold on. Now could it be that it is the ROK that will struggle to hold on, at least if remaining a staunch American ally is an absolute must? In some being ROK has being an American lapdog almost as a definitive characteristic, more so than on the other side, with the DPRK’s having had two larger powers bid for its loyalty during the Cold War, and with its more being on its own afterwards. The ROK leadership is seen as more spineless (or less able to hold on their own) than the DPRK leadership, having had America’s military presence directly at home with themselves in the subordinate position ever since the Korean War, whereas the Chinese People Volunteer Army, that basically saved the DPRK regime, left not long after the armistice was signed, though it still maintains a defense treaty that guarantees military protection. Much of that is because China, being so poor and backwards at that time, had scarce resources and enough to deal with at home, while America was, and still is, a very rich country plentiful in resources. Of course, there is also that the American elite seems so much delusional with regard to their own exceptionalism and fanatic about their domination of the world. Unfortunately for them, their efforts have been really backfiring in recent years, with the rest of world’s having caught up and increasingly reluctant to take their orders, which they are now much more capable of resisting. The British Empire possessed the same attitude, and one, from this, gets the feeling that this intent for world domination is much more in the Anglo-Saxon genes. Saxon has association with German, and yes, the Germans produced a Hitler, but it’s reasonable to say he was mostly a reactive force, with Germany’s having been shamed in the Versailles Treaty. The Brits were the pioneers of industrialization, and also the pioneers of colonialism and imperialism (if one discounts the earlier Spanish). The British Empire and its derivative America are arguably also the most fervent about spreading their religious and ideological faith. God, freedom, and democracy. They are also arguably the most delusional there.

The reality with the British Empire and with America is that they were pioneers in many ways, giving them the first mover advantage, but eventually had difficulties competing with the latecomers, who were in many ways more competent. Though economically and technologically, the Anglos may have fallen behind their competitors in certain aspects, the cultural presence established by their earlier victories last much longer. Like it or not, they have been relatively successful at getting the rest of the world to accept and embrace their so called cultural values, through a combination of merit, trickery, and intimidation. They are also arguably the most narcissistic, domineering, and historically scurrilous. They led in terms of their science and technology, with that the merit side. In terms of the lengths to which one deceives and coerces, they led much more. People observes how obscenely rich and powerful individuals, in their business, are cutthroat to the extremes. They will screw over another when it is in their interest to do, meaning of course that they can get away with it. They will engage hypocritically in philanthropy and whatnot to buy their reputations and establish a facade of charity. Analogously, the Anglo world has done this massively with its cultural imperialism of which blatant historical falsification and political deception in the media are the essential ingredient. Some other countries wanted to and tried, to some degree or another, to stop them, but lack the aggressive disposition and material power to do so. Economically and militarily, the Anglo world is of course guilty of displacement of the natives in America and Australia, and even to this day, the UK holds on to the Falkland Islands. Culturally they have been successful; this, along with America’s worldwide network of military bases, which America is increasingly lacking in its ability to economically sustain, are held as socially acceptable, the social norm. This might change though, but it will take a while.

America’s main competitors are China and Russia. Of the two, China is much more threatening. These are countries which have resisted the Anglo political and cultural system to this day, especially China, which is much harder to conquer, out of a combination of its size, competence, and alienness of culture, as a civilization that developed more or less independently from the rest of the world over millennia. The elites of the USSR basically sold out their country to America, whereas the Chinese communist elites managed to resist that. America and Britain had other competitors too, most of all Japan, but Japan was mostly tamed after WWII, and even with its economic and technological rise afterward, it could not escape the confines of the war legacy that it refuses to face. Germany is similar, but its attitude towards its war crimes is the antithesis of Japan’s. This is largely because the countries and peoples which suffered most from Nazism were the ones to destroy it. On the other hand, Japan was defeated by America and the Soviet Union, not by China, who was too weak at the time, though China did play a major role in sinking more of their resources, particularly human resources, which were the main bottleneck, quantitatively, for Japan, as a small nation that had tried very hard and only half-succeeded at playing the game of world imperialism that it entered in too late.

As much as I respect the accomplishments of the Anglo world, I much dislike the what I would call the domineering hypocritical sore loser mentality that this culture tends to channel and accept into their elites. When they are winning, they are arrogant and nasty. When they lose, they tend to do so in a very pathetic way. They are utterly lacking in self-critique and try to force blame on their adversaries. They have plenty of really talented, good people, but they are not very good at letting those people have a say on the important decisions. Since the title of this article is about the Trump-Kim summit, I’ll certainly say that America was quite a sore loser during the Korean War, which I won’t explain, because it is too obvious. This is objective reality; I’m not saying this because I am Chinese. Those anti-communist Chinese in Taiwan and Hong Kong who deny this are ridiculous, and the Anglo world world is just so keen on using such people as tools for sabotage against the real Chinese, except they keep on failing so miserably at it, making a fool of themselves. They are increasingly losing credibility.

Those in HBD will point out differences in temperament between East Asians and whites, which explain differences in social outcomes in individuals and the collective societies of which the individuals are constituents. There is the perception that East Asians are far less aggressive, which is a negative for maverick creativity, enough to offset the IQ advantage enjoyed by East Asians. There are of course some who claim that East Asians have lower variance in IQ explains the putative dearth of East Asian geniuses, though there is hardly any real evidence for this. This is exemplified by how the Chinese historically have been a relatively inward looking people. They made plenty of practical inventions, most notable of them papermaking and gunpowder that were transmitted to the West via the Silk Road, but were grossly lacking in fundamental theoretical contributions to science. Even now, China in foreign policy is relatively passive. There were plenty of crazy Chinese communist radicals, but that was a reactive mechanism of a society under crisis. I don’t see this changing much soon, though as China becomes more powerful and advanced, she will become more confident and care less about what the rest of the world, especially America, thinks. She may even go all out to change international norms to its liking, maybe in another generation. I myself am somewhat of a meek person by nature, but I can also be quite aggressive in certain ways. Like, I don’t uphold any fake ideal of freedom and human rights that Anglo culture so unabashedly and delusionally (perhaps with ulterior motives) promotes; discipline and “totalitarianism” (also call in a lack of American-style PC) certainly are very useful and necessary when defined appropriately in the right context. I am aggressive enough to not buy into much of the BS America sells, culturally and ideologically. If certain groups do a lot of damage, objectively, then it’s definitely a very good idea for them to be rendered irrelevant, by force if necessary. If certain objectively flawed ideas are promoted for the interests for some scumbags, then people absolutely SHOULD organize to resist them instead of standing idly. To me, a malicious person feigning charity is much worse than a very self-interested person who is open about what he wants.

I actually feel like China and Chinese in general could be, and probably should be, much more aggressive at getting their voice out and calling out the BS aspects of America. They shouldn’t be so accepting of it. They need a little more arrogance. And the more economically and technologically powerful and advanced China becomes, the more justification there would be for doing that. Before, China was so far behind that it could not claim much credibility, but that has changed vastly, especially over the past five years, with the trend being much on China’s side. If people don’t feel comfortable doing that, maybe they should work out more to increase their testosterone and confidence. Maybe they can find the genes for that and select for it to remedy the natural ethnic defect. Is this justified? Of course. Even many actually smart white Americans believe this would be better for the world. Quoting someone else, and not to be taken too literally,

A world run by Chinese or Japanese is one where they’d be rich and on top but mostly leave others alone, except to get money from them.

A world run by whites is one where half want to conquer and half want to help.

A world run by Jews is one where they’d systematically extinguish any hope of ending it.

Corresponding with me, Ron Unz concurred, without ever seeing this statement to my knowledge. His words are the following:

Naturally, the Verbal skew among Jews is a significant factor. But personally, I think a much bigger, relatively ignored factor would be what might be called the “Fervency/Fanaticism/Aggressiveness Quotient,” and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Jewish mean were something like 115 or even 120. Meanwhile, the East Asian mean might be down around 85 or 90, which has major social impacts.