Friday, 22 February 2019

Debt is money; Money is debt!

The Web of Debt
(The Shocking Truth About Our Money System And We Can Break Free)
Ellen Hodgson Brown, JD.

I grew up confused. On one hand, I was told to live within my means, to balance my income to my expenditure and to ensure that there is always something for savings. Being in debt was frowned upon. On the other hand, on the other side of my family, living on credit was a way of life. Nothing wrong to borrow, they would say. Even nations take huge loans.

In the modern world, it seems that one is deemed to be rich by his assets but the properties are leveraged by debts. In other words, he is only as rich as much as he can pay the interest on his debt. Money begets money and the poor get poorer. The divide between the haves and the have nots becomes more apparent as the days go by. One small hiccup in this set-up and the house of cards comes down crumbling.


 Nations that have secured high amounts of loans apparently have a higher credit rating on their credibility. Even our former premier was gung-ho in announcing that credit rating was so good that we can go on borrowing and borrowing; he did not talk about paying back!

That is what the world has come to. It is deeply intertwined in a web of debt. Money was initially utilised in change for goods, services and creativity when barter exchange proved problematic. It was working fine until international trade and imperialism came to the picture. P
aper money used to be redeemable for gold, hence its value was the value placed by the people on the amount of gold it was backed with. 

The British Colonial masters decided on the value of money as the King printed it, deciding on its inherent value. The American colonies started printing their own money, which irked the British and that eventually led to the American Revolution. The Boston Tea Party and American Independence were all about money and taxes.

Over the years, there have been numerous attempts to control the value of money. In ancient times, tally sticks were used as a way to record money borrowed. Later, gold and silver were used to fix its value. Banks in past actually cheated by circulating more paper money than the gold they had to back them. Basically, the political game was who gets to control this issuance of money. Problems started creeping in when bankers started owning gold. They fixed the value of gold. Speculators who trade gold encourage transborder movements of this precious metal which then devalues the currency of a country. Its buying power then declines.

By the end of the 19th century, there was a call to take charge of the supply of money in the country. Bankers were usurping all the nation's wealth and were keeping the hard working general public in poverty. There were calls to clip the wings of these giant conglomerates. Unfortunately, things only got worse in 1913 with the establishment of the Federal Reserve Act.  The issuance of currency became the responsibility of a select group of bankers whose sole purpose of existence is not national interest but the profit of its shareholders. These bankers, with their tentacles of bankers across the Atlantic, were profiteers who had no qualms in profiting from both sides of the warring factions. In fact, war is essential for their existence as it generates income. 

The Federal Reserve is not quite 'federal' in its role. It is owned by an exclusive club whose activity is anybody's guess. Neither do they have any 'reserves' to save the nation from catastrophes. Its President decides the direction of the monetary system of the nation.

Over generations, the unholy unions of unscrupulous businesses and corrupt politicians have been balanced by the nationalistic spirit and the desire to do the right thing. Traditionally, printing of money has been viewed as dangerous which could lead to inflation. In practice, however, many US Presidents have shown that judicious issuance of Greenback has saved the nation from collapse. Lincoln did it to pay debt and win the Civil War. 

As it stands now, the world lives on credit. The Federal Reserve prints fiat money with nothing backing its value. They do not need to do it as the US dollar is backed no longer by gold or silver but by a piece of paper printed by them. Fractional banking, venture (vulture) capitalism, currency attack, off-shore banking, derivatives trading have brought populations to its knees. Nations' currencies are devalued and interests need to be paid in US Dollars. If they default, more loans are given. Citizens are taxed to pay for this.  People are enslaved through compound interests. They have to resort to double incomes and find means to tighten their belt further.

One of the founding fathers of the USA, John Adams, said that there are two ways to conquer a nation. One is through the sword and the other is through debt. This second option seems to be the modus operandi of the Cabal these days. The unholy union of political leaders and bankers spells danger to the country but resistance is just futile. A socialist minded, people-centric troublemaker leader would just be replaced easily. There is enough wealth to satisfy the needs of the people but not its greed. There is always another person anytime ready to sell his soul to the hydra-headed monster.

Traditional economics suggest that the market forces will balance up the supply and demand conundrum. Modern economists, however, posit that the state needs to meddle to put things straight. In the post 1929-depression period, timely intervention by Roosevelt through infrastructure development and de-pegging of the dollar.

Conventional teaching tells us, from the experiences of Japanese Banana Notes, the post-WW1 Weimar Republic and Sokarno's Indonesia, that printing of money can bring about hyperinflation. There are instances too of countries who temporarily solved their monetary woes through this manner. It makes perfect sense for the state to print money for services. Instead of raising prices, it would increase productivity especially when employment opportunities are available.

The web of debt is made up of petrol, bonds, bankers and corrupt politicians. They create enticing Ponzi schemes to lure promising leaders of the rich nations to loans and investment plans. They would also rush to open up their currency markets to enable speculated manipulations. These countries, in time to come, would be strapped of cash. These same vultures will send their own agents via IMF and World Bank to further impoverish them with one-sided recovery packages to get the debtors to sink further into the quicksand of helplessness.

The author, through the 500 over pages of the book, highlights how the monetary mafia creates havoc in many countries around the world. She also discusses how many nations, including Dr Mahathir of Malaysia, have come up with ways to reduce the dependence on using US Dollars in international trade. One of the suggestions includes fixing currencies to particular 'basket of commodities'.


Word of appreciation to Prof Dr Ahamed Kameel Mydin Meera

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

It is all staged?

The Little Drummer Girl (Miniseries; 2018)

Shakespeare said that the world is a stage and that we all mere actors playing our roles. It is true. The things that are allegedly happening at this very moment are actually staged and real actors play the part.

This is the premise of this confusing spy saga which is based on John le Carre's novel of the same name. 

It tells the tale of a clandestine Israeli spy agency that, through its covert activities, nips troublesome anti-Israeli resistance at its bud. To infiltrate through the enemy lines, university students, activists and actors are recruited to act out their roles wholeheartedly. This indoctrination process is so intense that participants lose their grip on what is reality and what is not. They are sometimes needed to play the part of double-crossing agents. Their interaction with the 'enemies' open their realisation that the people on the other side of the divide have their point of view which also makes sense. 

The realisation may sometimes be too overwhelming that the actors may be knocked off their rocker.
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For us, the spectators, the citizens of the world (i.e. the stage)are fed with a particular narrative as determined by the director. The director referred to here is that power that controls the media. They would decide the storyline, who is the good guy and who is the villain. They try to skew the people's mindset by emphasising what matters and what is newsworthy. The lure of romance and the captivating drama of Hollywood, new world order is put forth.

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Saturday, 16 February 2019

Something about blue gold...

Credit: topdocumentaryfilms.com
We all know the drill - that up to 70% of our body is filled with water; that 70% of the Third Rock from the Sun is covered by water and that it is the elixir of life. We also accept oxygen and hydrogen molecules could be alien visitors who landed on Earth via meteorites that reached here.

Scientists agree that water is indeed a strange chemical. With its composition, it should be in a gaseous state, not liquid as it is. Unlike other solids, water in a solid state is less dense, encouraging lifeforms to live and prosper under an iceberg. Capillary action ensures that water reaches the highest leaf of the giant redwood and the minuscule of the body organs.

I will not do justice to the WhatsApp that my childhood friends and I share if I do not divulge some of the new things that were brought to my attention through them. Water has memory. Having been around for so long on this planet, it only makes sense. The same water molecule that was drunk by a dinosaur must be traversing in our bodies right now. It is said that information of contact with materials is kept trapped within spaces within molecular bonds in electromagnetic energies.

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French immunologist, Jacque Benveniste, in the 1980s tried to show to the world, that anti-IgE antibody, even when diluted to very minute undetectable levels, still evoked a response in the body when exposed. His findings were allegedly suppressed as it tends to support homoeopathic medicine where medications are given in very low doses to prevent ailment. No proper explanation could be given to this unique discovery. It is subsequently shot down and labelled as a hoax.

In came Nobel laureate, Luc Montagnier, who had a hand in the discovery of the HIV virus. He replicated Benveniste's findings and went one step further. Montagnier posited the idea that water has memory and its information is stored within the ring of water molecules. Diluting HIV viruses incrementally to an undetectable level, in a peer-reviewed study, he proved that water has the memory of having had HIV in the more concentrated mixture through electromagnetic measurements.

It gets more technical after that. Using a telephone line, the electromagnetic information of the water is transmitted to another location and through transduction process (PCR), he managed to recreate the HIV virus on the other side!

All these may sound Greek to most of us, but to the scientists, this is a great challenge what the practitioners of the classical sciences have come to believe. It opens the floodgates of quantum physics and other realms of the unknown. It is a paradigm shift in how we have come to understand science. Interesting.

To complicate things further, now a Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto, has shown that the appearances of water crystals when exposed to different chantings, music or human emotions are different. Are they telling that our body, which is predominantly made of water, will react differently when exposed to different environments? Are they hinting that holy water has healing powers? Does chanting and recital of mantra serve a higher function that we, ignoramus fools are too simpleton to comprehend?


BBC clip on Water


2014 Documentary on Water Memory

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Thursday, 14 February 2019

Do the thing you do!

Uncle Hooi at his best © The Star
I remember the barrages of concerned pep talks from my family members when they discovered that I, at the tender age of 43, slowly started indulging in competitive distance running. In not so many words, they were obviously trying to tell me that I would just drop dead by the roadside to be found by passersby as if I were just roadkill.

Another old friend, obviously overweight and looking much like Peter Griffin of the 'Family Guy' fame was even generous enough to offer free anaesthetic services as and when I need a knee replacement. 

As a last resort, my family went ahead and gave me a 'stress test - CT angio' combo as a birthday present on my 50th birthday. When the cardiologists gave a clean bill of health after silently cursing under his breath for wasting his precious time from his more deserving patients, they essentially gave up and let Nature take its course. 

This must have been what Fauja Singh must have gone through when he took up serious running at the age of 89. I can imagine how people would have mocked him. How people can be cruel with their words... 
"Living on borrowed times, and he is asking for trouble!"
"What is he doing? Should be playing with his grandchildren."
"He should be making peace with his Maker, not running around like a young bloke"
Uncle Hooi (pic above) is a regular feature at the place my friends and I frequently run on Sunday mornings. Starting his solo run as early as 5 in the morning, without fail, at a steady pace, he would cover a distance of 20km effortlessly at his springy age of 82. He must have been ridiculed behind his back for missing all those late Saturday banters and parties that last till the wee hours of Saturday night- Sunday morning. He must have been labelled as a party pooper for precisely the same reasons.
Fauja Singh, 107, Turbaned Tornado
Photo courtesy santabanta.com.

Others mean well and say things that they think would make change for the better. They feel that it is their God-sent duty to do so. At the end of the day, everybody has to use their God-given faculties to decide what is best for them. When we falter or make a wrong decision (immaterial whether it is in accordance to their advice), they have nothing to offer but sympathy, maybe crocodile tear and perhaps, words of comfort that God works in mysterious ways.

Some enjoy the attention of being sick and like to immerse in the sympathetic display by the loved ones. Others use their disability, perceived disability or faked ailments to garner a soft spot. And a few convince others that they are indeed sick to give their two cents' worth advice, to sell their products, to gaslight them down or just to have a conversation going. For them life is so mundane, they need to irritate someone.


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Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Pulau Talang Talang sedia berlepas...

Found it floating around the social media, WhatsApp specifically.

PULAU Talang Talang sedia untuk berlepas (Pulau Talang Talang is ready to depart),” the voice booms over the public announcement system. This is quickly followed by two short blasts of the ship’s horn. Almost immediately, the entire vessel starts to shudder as its powerful engines below deck effortlessly nudge the submerged propellers to life.

Fortunate to get a choice position right next to the metal railing at the upper deck bow, I join the dozens of excited holidaymakers and regular commuters in enjoying the scenic landscape that lay in front of us as the ferry slowly glides towards Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda, our disembarkation point on Penang Island.

Apart from enjoying the fresh and invigorating sea breeze blowing in our faces, quite a number of my fellow passengers also start taking selfies and wefies with the imposing city skyline forming an irresistible backdrop. At the same time, the smell of freshly baked bread wafting in the air successfully attracts quite a number of hungry passengers to the snack shop just a few steps away from me.

BIRTH OF THE FERRY SERVICE

Everyone on board seems to be having a whale of a time as there’s practically nothing to dislike about this iconic ferry service that first started to take root in its most basic form sometime between 1893 and 1894. The inaugural regular service was initiated by a local entrepreneur, Quah Beng Kee who, together with his four brothers, worked under the collective name, Beng Brothers.

The siblings descended from a well-established Straits Chinese family headed by their China-born father, Quah Joo Moey who immigrated to Penang in the middle of the 19th century. Beng Kee, born in 1872, was educated in Penang Free School and Roberts’ College in Calcutta, India. He married the daughter of Chew Choo Im, the Chinese Kapitan of Deli in Dutch-ruled Sumatra and had five sons and two daughters.

The Beng Brothers’ service operated between Kedah Pier on the island and Bagan Tuan Kecil Pier in Butterworth. Apart from this main route, they also provided transportation services to other nearby areas like Teluk Ayer Tawar, Bagan Ajam, Bagan Luar, Simpang Empat, Bukit Tambun and Kuala Kurau. As motorised vehicles were yet to make their appearance at that time, the fleet only consisted of three large steamers and seven smaller steam launches.

BUSINESS EXPANSION

A few years later, in 1897, Beng Kee bought out his siblings’ shares in Beng Brothers and began operating the ferry service under his own company, Guan Lee Hin Steamship Company. When his business prospered in tandem with growing passenger and cargo demand, Beng Kee made the decision to convert his concern into a limited company and named it the Eastern Shipping Company Limited.

Besides maintaining its lucrative local ferry service, the Eastern Shipping Company Limited extended its activities by running ships regularly between Penang and ports in other parts of Malaya, Sumatra, Siam (today Thailand) and Burma (now Myanmar).

While keeping a close watch on his expanding shipping venture, Beng Kee also made his fortune by exporting copra from his Penang estates in Glugor and Sungai Nibong. He also dabbled in iron works and owned the Penang Foundry.

The onset of the First World War in 1914 witnessed the Straits Settlements Government requisitioning all local steamers including those belonging to the Eastern Shipping Company Limited. Thanks to the limited effects of the war on Malaya, the authorities released the vessels back to their owners by the end of that same year.

It was business as usual for Beng Kee until 1922 when he accepted a lucrative offer from Singapore’s Straits Steamship Company Limited to take over the ferry service between Kedah Pier and Bagan Tuan Kecil Pier. The new owners’ tenure, however, proved to be short-lived as the venture changed hands once again when the Penang Harbour Board gained control on Dec 1, 1924.

TRANSPORTING CARS AND PASSENGERS

At that time, the Penang Harbour Board was aware of the exponential growth of cars in Malaya, and it was just a matter of time before service to transport vehicle across the Penang Straits was needed. It conducted a study of the harbour and found that the water depth during low tide at the Bagan Tuan Kecil Pier wasn’t sufficient for the ferries transporting motor vehicles to operate efficiently and safely.

This revelation resulted in the construction of the Church Street Ghaut Pier on the island and Mitchell Pier on the other side. By early 1925, the transportation of cars using decked-in lighters towed by launches were initiated. The trial service was so successful that a steam ferry vessel, aptly named Seberang, built by the Singapore Harbour Board was put into service late that same year to transport both motor cars as well as passengers.

By the beginning of 1928, the number of passengers and vehicles using the ferry service had increased to the extent that vessels with higher carrying capacity became a necessity. An order for two larger steam vessels was subsequently placed with the Singapore Harbour Board.

NEW VESSELS ARRIVE

Contracts for extension work on both piers were also awarded, and the work was completed before the new ferries, Tanjong and Kulim, came into service in early 1929. Together with Seberang, the fleet provided uninterrupted half hourly services during daylight hours.

The number of passengers and vehicles using the ferry service continued to increase annually in the first half of the 1930s. By 1937, it became evident that the older Seberang could no longer accommodate the burgeoning vehicular traffic. Seberang was sold off after the Singapore Harbour Board delivered a new vessel named Bagan in 1938.

The three vessels continued to serve the company well and contributed enormously towards Penang’s economic growth. Things, however, began to take a turn for the worse when the winds of war started blowing towards Malaya in December 1941.

CHAOTIC WAR PERIOD

Just as the Japanese Imperial Army was making its way across neighbouring Kedah, a strategic decision was made to scuttle Kulim within the boundaries of Penang Harbour while Tanjong, whose engines were already damaged, was sunk by gunfire in the same area. The sinking of both vessels was necessary to prevent them from falling into the hands of the advancing enemy.

Only the relatively new Bagan was spared a watery grave. The British War Office used it to transport evacuees to Singapore, and from there on to Sumatra. Unfortunately, Bagan was captured during the final leg of its journey and was used by the Japanese to support their war effort in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).

These unlucky string of events left Penang without any proper ferry services during the Second World War. To maintain a connection between the island and the mainland, the Japanese authorities operated an irregular service using a wooden motor ship for passengers and decked-in lighters towed by launches for vehicles.

“Look! There’s something in the water!” a middle-aged gentleman near me suddenly hollers while excitedly gesturing towards the water surface. I crane my neck to have a closer look, wishing for the most remote possibility that he’d discovered the long-lost wreckage of Kulim and Tanjong. Alas, the mysterious object turns out to be a common jellyfish swimming slightly below the water surface.

SERVICES REINSTATED

Returning my sights to the distant horizon, I’m in time to see another ferry glide past in the opposite direction. The regular service that we enjoy today is indeed a far cry from the haphazard ferry schedule experienced soon after liberation in September 1945. During that time, the returning British forces tried their best to reinstate the popular ferry services by reassigning four Z-type tank landing crafts for cross-strait transportation.

The situation improved further after the Penang Harbour Board was reconstituted in April 1946. Bagan, which was recaptured by the Allied forces during the closing days of the war, returned to Penang where it was quickly put back into service.

To improve service further, two of the military landing crafts were given simple modifications at the Bagan Dalam slipway. Renamed Senangin and Lidah, these two vessels teamed up with Bagan to meet the essential needs of passenger transport.

The remaining two tank landing crafts, however, underwent extensive reconstruction at the Bagan Dalam slipway. They were each given an entirely new passenger deck that boasted of higher standards of convenience and comfort. Called Talang and Tenggiri, the two vessels formed part of the post-war fleet that managed to keep up with the growing cross-strait traffic until the mid-1950s.

COMPLETE MAKEOVER

The number of vehicles carried by the ferry service in 1946 was nearly 247,000, but a decade later, the number almost tripled to 711,000. Keen to maintain this phenomenal growth momentum, the Penang Harbour Board hired consulting engineers, Bruce White, Wolfe Barry & Partners, London in 1953 to examine the possibility of increasing capacity as well as plan an entirely new set up to replace the existing ferry service once it reached the point of saturation.

The study revealed that the existing fleet was outdated and had to make way for a new generation of ferries endowed with greater power, capacity and manoeuvrability while equipped with separate passenger and vehicle decks. The consultants also recommended building new terminals, each with double berths, on both sides of the Penang Strait so that service frequency could be increased beyond 15 minutes.

Accepting the recommendations, the Penang Harbour Board put in place plans in early 1955 to help achieve its ultimate service frequency of five minutes. To make this feat a reality, contracts for new double-ended ferries with end-loading capabilities for faster vehicular embarkation and disembarkation times were awarded. The one for a single prototype was assigned to the Singapore Harbour Board while Cheoy Lee Shipyard in Hong Kong received an order for four vessels.

A NEW DAWN

The prototype, named Penang, was delivered in May 1957. Apart from its many revolutionary new features, it retained the old styled side-loading capability so that it could still be used at the existing piers while awaiting the completion of the new ferry terminals.

“Excuse me. Please move aside,” the voice of the attendant jolts me out of my reverie. Looking around, I realise that the ferry has already reached its berth. The attendant swings the railings apart as soon as the hydraulic drawbridge is in place and in that instant, everyone starts to surge forward.

While walking through Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda, I pause momentarily to turn back the hands of time to Sept 24, 1959. On that historic day, this terminal was simultaneously declared open together with Pengkalan Sultan Abdul Halim on the mainland. The opening heralded a new dawn for the ferry service in Penang.

By the 1970s, the ferry service’s exponential growth eventually became its own undoing. Second Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak mooted the idea to build a bridge linking the island to the mainland to ease the frequent traffic congestion at the ferry terminals.

The ferry service lost its prominence on Aug 3, 1985, when the Penang Bridge was officially opened by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his capacity as the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia at that time.

Even though it’s the slower alternative to reach Penang, many were heartened by Transport Minister Anthony Loke’s recent comment to retain Penang’s iconic ferry services. Loke announced plans to improve services by introducing catamarans and upgrade existing ferry terminals. With these novel ideas in the pipeline, there’s definitely better days ahead for the Penang ferry service.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Life... shades of greyness...

Roma (Mexican, Spanish; 2018)
Written, Produced and Directed by Alfonso Cuarón.

At first impulse, it looked like it was going to be draggy long-paused 'arty' movie. Set in the tumultuous times of the early 1970s Mexico, the story is shown in black and white against a background akin to a neorealist style with long takes and long pauses.

I
t looks like a reminder that history has a bad habit of repeating itself. If now, we have a citizen elected President peaceful ejected by his own in Venezuela, maybe soon to be replaced by a US back figurehead, in the late 60s and 70s Mexico, the situation was about the same. In Mexico, however, the US supported President was hated by his people. The opposing peasants and university students were labelled as communists and were systematically killed by the ruling government. 

The family who eats together stays together.

This film, however, has nothing to do with political injustice or revenge of the bygone era.
The story starts telling about the life of a maid, Cleo, an indigenous woman, who works in the middle-class household in the small town of Roma in Mexico. 

In the first quarter, in a slow build up, it dawns upon us that everything is not right between the man and woman of the family. Antonio, a doctor, the husband, is leaving the wife, Sofia, and their four kids for his mistress. Cleo gets pregnant after being introduced to her fellow worker's relative.

What builds up slowly eventually morphs into a fountain of genius in storytelling and cinematography.       
                                                                                                                           
In the second half of the movie, the storyteller tells us how Sofia, Cleo and the kids build an everlasting relationship that lasts a lifetime. Cleo loses her child, in the midst of the chaos that is happening in the country and the household. In spite of all the adversities, the family comes out strong with Cleo becoming like a second mother to the children. 4.8/5


In one frame, poetically, much is told about marriage - which is nothing than just a declaration of private intentions. On the left is a happy couple celebrating their wedding with much pomp and splendour. What waits in their future, nobody knows. In the centre, just below the pincer of the giant crab statue, is Cleo, an indigenous housemaid who had an unwanted pregnancy from casual contact with a  date who refuse to take responsibly. In the end, as if like Nature making what seems like the best decision for her, Cleo delivers a stillborn. She never wanted the baby anyway. Then on the right is Sofia with her four children. Her marriage ended when her husband walked out on her, for another lady. Sofia and Cleo end up bringing up the four kids. Is the storyteller telling us that you do not need a man to bring up a family? It was semi-autobiography about his childhood anyway. That is a reality.

There are biological differences between the genders. Everyone is fitted to perform specific biological duties. Each gender should complement the other; not compete with the other.
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[N.B. Is it a coincidence that a film with Mexico in the plot and an indigenous Mexican actor in lead role is nominated for 10 Academy Awards at a time when the government services have shut down in anticipation of building a wall against the caravans at the Mexican border? It is the highest foreign with the most top nomination since 2000's 'Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger']


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Sunday, 10 February 2019

No place like home!

The Wizard of Oz (1939)


Even though 'The Wizard of Oz' (the film) based on the 'The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz' (the book in 1895) played important roles in many people's childhood, I was always under the impression that it was one of those silly children stories that one can do without. Of course, the soundtrack of the movie, especially 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' kept ringing in everyone's ears to remind that the right time will come one day or was it a message just to keep the crybabies quiet?

Now they tell me that 'The Wizard of Oz' was satire through and through. Subtly hidden behind the outrageous storyline was the fight of the Populist Party in the 19th century USA against their monetary system. In 1895, there was an economic depression that affected most of the typical Americans. Part of the reason for that money was pegged to gold. The Populist Party, under the auspices of its leader William Jennings Bryan, a two-time Presidential candidate, campaigned for usage of silver and gold in their monetary policy. There was a fear of usage of Greenback to create fiat money. Gold was at risk of being controlled by bankers. 

The author, L. Frank Baum, was a journalist and a member of the Populist party. He bought over a Republican Party newspaper. To keep its readership (Republicans) happy, he wrote about many of the Populist agenda in a concealed manner. His book in 1900 'The Wonderful World of Oz' was one excellent example. 

Just like the 'Grimm Tales' which portrays living conditions in Germany and 'Alice in Wonderland' of Victorian times, 'The Wizard of Oz' is an allegory to the monetary system and of the American dream. It was all about people power, having a vision and finding it in your own backyard. 

In the 1890s, America had a severe recession. Farmers lost their land to greedy bankers. Industry workers lost their jobs. People were generally disillusioned. 

Dorothy, the average American, is blown off in her house in Kansas (Populist's stronghold) to Munchinland (short, dark, funnily dressed people - probably immigrants). Her house lands on the Witch of the East (Wall Street) and killing her. She is threatened by the Witch of the West (Rockefeller in Cleveland, West to NY). The kind Witch of the North is Populist Party who helps Dorothy with the silver slippers to pave the Yellow Brick Road to meet The Wizard of Oz. The silver denotes the silver that the party is campaigning for; The Yellow Brick Road being the Gold standard. To flaunt their spanking new Technicolour abilities, the filmmakers decided to substitute the silver slippers to scintillating red ruby ones. The Witch was the West is hellbent on removing the silver sandals.

Accompanying Dorothy in her journey are The Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. The Scarecrow needs a brain. It refers to the farmers who have the knowledge but lack the confidence to stand on their own. The Tin Man, referring to the workers in industries, need constant oiling (need oil money to keep them working) needs a heart because he has been dehumanised by modern machinery. He used to be made of wood but was soon replaced. He needs the heart to be human again. The Cowardly Lion refers to Bryan, the voracious speaker who does not have the guts to push his agenda all the way to Washington (Emerald City in the story).

The symbolism goes on and on. Oz refers to how gold is measured; oz being abbreviation to the ounce. The Wizard of Oz seemed like an unapproachable guy, but he ended up being a lovable guy controlled by buttons and gadgets behind the curtain. These complicated things denote the intricate contraptions devised by the bankers to entrap the people, and The Wizard (maybe the President) is dancing to their tune.

The take-home message here is that everything is there is the USA. It is up to the people of all level to grip it and chase their American Dream.