Deep Reflections

It’s the last 10 blessed nights of Ramadan. I want to take this opportunity to reflect upon my life, goals and dreams.

The meandering path that I have tread upon, the struggle against the heavy currents, the deep desire to constantly improve, learn more about myself and increase in knowledge. Through the practise of martial arts the main lesson that I have learnt is that by going to the first principles, we can see how different paths in life are similar. Through reflection I have been able to seek these similarities in many different fields and sciences, the principles hold through time. Principles are universal and those who deny it, they are deluded within the realm of their ego and self-esteem. Humility and open-mindedness are traits to possess when seeking knowledge, it will help develop critical thinking, analytical thinking and a mindset that questions before you start following anything blindly.

I am reading a psychology book which talks about the minds of masses. Throughout history we can delve into this study and see how many events of the past have been shaped because of these factors, perhaps I will write all of this in another blog post. For now, let me stick to discussing my reflections, goals and dreams.

One of my dreams in life is to eradicate poverty and child abuse. I know it’s idealistic to believe that all vices can be eliminated completely. However, I want to do what I can within my capacity and I want to achieve this through education. Hence, one of my main dreams from a younger age has been to establish an educational institution which is self-sustaining and once set-up it can function with minimum injection of additional capital- be that through any public or private means.

What I want that educational institution to be like? I have spent many hours in the past years thinking over it and I can say that the more I think and visualise it, the clearer the image of this institution becomes. It’s just an idea that I have shared on many other platforms before, not yet implemented on my part. However, there are many institutions around that have implemented many aspects similar to my thinking. I have learnt a lot by looking at these different institutions and how they function. One such institution is Zaytuna. If you read my blog, I would suggest you donate to them because for 1) educating and teaching others is an ongoing charity unlike other forms of charity which once given gets a set reward and 2) Zaytuna is one of those institutions that instil the principles in its pupils that help them succeed in whatever field they want to pursue afterwards. How do they do that? Through teaching the first principles, by developing the minds of the pupils enabling them to think for themselves; it grants them the ability to make sound judgement, utilising good morals and values. Through teaching them rhetoric and grammar, through teaching them the skills of effective communication, through eloquence.

I haven’t had the opportunity to study there and hence my words cannot describe their system the best way. However, what I would like to add to this is that, if you’d like to get to know the Islamic teachings through traditional way, not what the Mainstream media portrays what Islam is. E.g. Islam was the first religion to grant women equal rights, the first wife of Prophet pbuh, was a businesswoman, a source of comfort for him, a friend, who shared the responsibility of the household together. By getting to the correct teachings you can perhaps come to change your views about Islam, whether you follow its teachings or you don’t. The best way to remove animosity towards one another is by taking interest in others. Real interest that shows the real morals and values of the community, the people, the nation, the society.

I think prejudice, judging others and forming opinions without properly knowing others is the wrong way to get to know someone. It is an easy way for closed-minded people to stay within their comfort zones and live inside the bubble of their ego. We should especially be bursting these bubbles in these times, we have so much free time. Let’s take this opportunity to learn about ourselves and others. Reflect within and learn to see the goodness in others. If we look at others with faults, that’s all we will ever find. To expand on this, when we look at others with faults, we really are just extending our own subconscious on others. That’s a deep thing to ponder over.

For those of you who know me personally or are at least acquainted with me, I would like to request that you kindly donate what you can towards Zaytuna. If you wish to see more helpful muslims as your neighbours, as your friends, as community leaders who lead as good role models, as loving and caring members of the society then please donate. The institution runs with the help of donors and you can be part of providing good education, which becomes a means of an ongoing reward for yourself and anyone on whose behalf you donate, be they your deceased loved ones or those who are alive and close to you.

In my next few posts, I will perhaps talk a bit more about the educational institution that I want to build. It’s my long-term goal, if and when I have the capacity to follow this path. I will also talk about the mind of the masses and how to understand it. I perhaps being one of those deep thinkers, and who isn’t easily swayed by trends and someone who likes to call themselves a non-conformist (as in my name as the author), you can understand why I would lean towards reading such deep books. Anyhow, to end this blog, I would like to say, don’t fall into the trap of knowing-it-all and don’t fall into the trap that you’re worthless. Rather have a balanced approach, stay humble, stay curious, curiosity towards learning, not being nosy in other people’s matters or curiosity that leads to hate and envy. To create a harmonious society, I firmly believe that we all should strive to better ourselves individually, and then, only then extend that help forward. That said, this tells me that it is time for me to stop writing and look within myself to better myself. Look within, what’s within is what’s reflected outwards. See the funny thing about delusional people is that, they themselves don’t ever realise that they are deluded. The irony! Hmm, I still have the habit of being spontaneous when I write, just typing my mind out loud, perhaps it is my strength. With time, I will start writing articles with better research process. I am fairly new with this blog so I focus on consistency because I love writing. I started loving it more by sharing more and writing more often. You develop a passion by engaging in the arts. The art of writing has now become my passion, I know there is always room for improvement. The grammar, the sentence structure, how I articulate my thoughts, so much more to improve on. With time and years to come, I will seek to improve. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Feel free to share this and help raise funds for a good cause.

Until next time,

Keep safe

Restarting the Economy

How to Restart the Economy and Ease the Lockdown Measures?

Covid-19 pandemic has caused a global depression within a few months. There is no cure currently as of this writing or a vaccine. The only viable option available to remove these economic sudden stops and bring back productivity and normalcy is to design a way to stop the spread of the virus transmission.

Thus far, the governments and various health departments have issued self-isolation measures, lockdown measures, advice on PPE such as N95 respirators and surgical masks, hand sanitisers, washing the hands with soap for minimum of 20 seconds to dissolve the virus. But the measures have not been enough to stop the contagion and rise in number of deaths globally. Here is a snapshot of the global pandemic via John Hopkins University

There is a case in every continent, and those who initially flattened the curve such as Singapore and South Korea and China are reporting new cases. The second wave and reinfection are what is preventing those countries from a return to normal. To be precise, pre Covid-19 normal.

Furthermore, what we know so far from the researchers is that even if vaccine is developed, the vaccine fades away and the risk of infection remains once it does. We are coming dangerously close to a time, where only the healthy population survives and the others slowly inch closer to death. This is a stark reality when you look at the number of deaths and how quickly it has spread globally. The first cases were reported some say in December, some say in November, the bottom line however, is that in Four Months, the global cases stand at 2.9M, the deaths at 203.5K.

There is no consistency in measures and response either, different policy makers have taken different approaches. Some who responded earlier, limited the number of fatalities, others who were slow to respond and hoping for herd immunity have witnessed an exponential rise in number of cases and deaths. In previous wars, military heroes and political heroes emerged. In this new war, it is the doctors and nurses fighting the invisible forces of the universe.

The health damage is not limited to covid-19 fatalities, the mental health, domestic abuse, paedophilia, sexual and physical abuse is creeping and gripping upon those who are vulnerable. Here is an article by FT related to this subject; The Hidden Health Costs of UK Lockdowns. This is not just a UK phenomenon. The bigger risks are developing countries.

The reason I am mentioning this is because everything is very much connected to the global financial system. Economic failures, risks and unemployment in the developing world where many are daily labourers face unprecedented risks. This economic collapse of demand and work is creating ripples and affecting the mental health.

Economic Impact

To understand the global monetary system and how it is currently shaping, have a read of this thread by Raoul Pal of Real Vision. Flight to dollars has caused a shortage of dollars globally, everybody wants to hold the reserve currency because 55% transactions occur in dollars globally. The stock market has seen outflows in trillions of dollars since the spread of pandemic.

The travel and tourism industry has come to halt with forecasted business travel spend revenue loss in billions of dollars. According to data by Statista, China is projected to lose $404.1 bn, Europe is projected to lose $190.5 bn, with the rest of the regions bringing the forecasted total to $810.7 bn. The actual numbers will be much worse because it is difficult to quantify the impact of coronavirus and the extension of lockdowns with each milestone.

Here is a look at US Non-Farm Payrolls for the month of March. April’s data will be released on the 1st Friday of May given no delays. The US economy lost 701 thousand jobs in March, much worse than market expectations of a 100K cut, reflecting the effects of the coronavirus and efforts to contain it. It is the first decline in payrolls since September of 2010, but the figures were not as bad as those seen in 2008 as the number excludes the last two weeks of March when unemployment claims surged by nearly 10 million. About two-thirds of job losses occurred in leisure and hospitality, mainly in food services and drinking places. Employment also declined in health care and social assistance, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction via Trading Economics.

I think the next couple of months are going to look terrible,” White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told reporters. “You’re going to see numbers as bad as anything we’ve ever seen before.” Reported 26thApr20, 15:33 BST.

The US economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, less than market expectations of a 22 million cut, and after declining by 870K in March. It is the largest drop ever, bringing the employment to 131 million, its lowest level since February 2011, due to the coronavirus pandemic and consequent restrictive lockdown restrictions imposed such as business closures. Job losses were widespread, with the largest 7.7 million decline occurring in leisure and hospitality. Almost three-quarters of the decrease occurred in food services and drinking places (-5.5 million). Employment also fell in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry (-1.3 million) and in the accommodation industry (-839,000). The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down by 45,000 to +230,000, and the change for March was revised down by 169,000 to -870,000. With these revisions, employment changes in February and March combined were 214,000 lower than previously reported. [Trading Economics]

I do not think any amount of economic data justifies the message I am trying to convey. The reality is not yet fully quantifiable. Looking at the April NFP data, some of the quantifiable impact can be seen. Although investors such as Ray Dalio and others iterate that this was a likely outcome, coronavirus is the cause for the effects which would have inevitably taken hold of the global economy. He is right, the global economy would have come to this point because of some other cause. However, what can we do to address current issues? What can the people with wealth and money do to address this issue? Call me a cynic but, is that best that they can do? With vast resources in possession, the best minds, tech available? I am sure they are equally dumbfounded at their own powerlessness when faced with the forces of universe. We have already witnessed negative oil prices, the futures for May WTI Crude oil contract settling in negative territory for the first time in history. What more are we waiting for before we kickstart the economy? Yes, it is a dangerous approach and majority are against it because everyone fears the virus, the risk of reinfection and the burden on the health and medical facilities. However, we leave many bigger problems unaddressed, if we do not find an alternative to a new normal. A normal amidst the pandemic and a post-pandemic normal. Politicians are weaponizing the pandemic in US to smear at each other’s inadequate responses.

I am addressing this document as a proposal to put out an alternative solution. It seems a viable option, effective in theory to stop person to person transmission of the virus. It can be an effective way of easing the lockdown measures while researchers and scientists work hard at finding a cure and developing a vaccine. And as we know thus far, vaccine is not the ultimate solution. I am sure the people involved in inventing and designing these measures are doing their best and I wish them the best of luck, considering they are really putting the heart of the world before anything else.

General Election 2019 possible paths

In my previous post, I spoke about a low probabilistic, however, a positive outcome that could result from the upcoming UK Dec 2019 General Election.

Since writing that post, there have been further developments which one has to keep in account before believing the polls, be it MRP poll! I have spoken about the economics. In this article, I will share more insights on the Elections and what impact they could have!

Once again, I am merely providing information via studying history, ideologies, markets and economies. I am doing it, so you can make better informed decisions.

The General Election 2019 UK:

The figure shows the statistics by age group of the number of voters who have registered from 29th Oct to 26th Nov 2019.

A total of 2.5m voters who registered are aged under 34. The surge in applications is important to note because the younger public is more inclined to vote Labour. The reason is because of 2nd referendum, NHS and climate change policies.

The biggest issues on the minds of people in Germany are shown in the infographic below

Environment is currently the most important issue. Compare this to the issues facing UK, survey released Aug 2019 in the figure below.

What can change since Aug 2019, when Brexit was the biggest issue facing UK? Not much right? Because, Brexit is still the biggest uncertainty facing the whole country, economy and people. However, though, after revelations from Jeremy Corbyn about the NHS and how in the case, Conservatives win a majority, it will most likely end. The end of NHS made a loud impact, which if not notable from the Aug 2019 infographics, will be notable now, because 84% of the UK’s public views that NHS should be run by government and not SOLD to private companies. The surge in voters representation since Nov 22 leading up to Nov 26 shows, how important the issue of NHS is to UK’s population. A lot has been revealed, the leaked trade negotiations with the US which, mainstream media failed to bring to the public’s eye, was made evident by Jeremy Corbyn.

The poll results from MRP:

#GE2019

seat projection, MRP model: CON: 359 LAB: 211 SNP: 43 LDEM: 13 via

@YouGov

Given the size and methodology of the MRP poll I think people shouldn’t read too much into this. Survey was conducted last two weeks and since then, gap is narrowing. A lot has happened in the two weeks including iTV debates, Corbyn’s interview on BBC, US-UK secret trade negotiations brought to light! The projected margins of victory are below 5 per cent in at least 67 seats predicted to be Conservative.

Indeed, this statement stands true when you just look at how many people who registered are under 34 and the surge of applications in the last few days.

What is also interesting is Labour’s performance in the last two general elections! This general election might just converge the gap further or perhaps even tip it in their favour.

Given the narrow margin last election, it sure is a tough call. All the above information is just a quick summary into the elections to date including the previous post.

Markets and Economy:

Let’s suppose Conservatives win a majority in the upcoming election. A likely outcome given the Brexit issue! What then? PM Boris then gets his deal approved by 31st Jan 2020. UK comes out of the EU and has till Dec2020 to negotiate a trade deal, which is highly unlikely as evident from the shambles going back till referendum. This increases the odds of UK then, exiting with No deal Brexit! Voilà, the US comes in picture as they have been pushing for a no deal Exit as evident from Trump’s remarks and revealed documents. NHS goes private! Food labels go haywire and we are eating GMOs, lab grown and chemically enhanced meat, beyond meat takes over! Jokes aside, if I ever wanted to go vegetarian again, I would much prefer cooking fresh! Or even vegan, there are better options for vegans too, am sure, although I don’t know much about veganism!

GBP will have an initial reaction or even a short-term strength, until the end of 2020 when it starts coming under pressure.

What about in the case of Labour in power? Let’s suppose that too, initial reaction will be GBP negative, as spending will increase, and taxation will change, and new labour deal will have to be negotiated. Given that, a lot of groundwork for EU trade deal has already been done, Labour will implement their changes into the Theresa May’s negotiated deal within 3 months. Which then strengthens the sterling. However, referendum will then be the major factor as the vote will be put back to the public. The pound and markets won’t react much in my view to it, as both options, either to stay in EU or come out with the deal, will not create any further uncertainty. The public will be satisfied, as in this referendum they make a better-informed decision. Be it leave or remain!

These are just possible paths and obviously nothing can be said with certainty. Weigh out the probabilities, and as events unfold, clarity emerges.

Conclusion:

To conclude this, I would like to add some deep thoughts here. What we have to understand is that most of our actions and behaviours are subconscious! Some perhaps even unconscious. To unlearn it all is a huge task, and for that you really have to take a dive within yourself.

The campaign being run by conservatives currently is rooted in causing divisions between populace, with the help of mainstream media. What the people don’t realise is that, if the conservatives win the majority. The wealth gap will widen further, the values gap will further widen. The masses will be further polarised, it’s not apparent from the offset, but if you project yourself into the future and try think of all the scenarios occurring, keeping in mind at the same time, what is happening around the world. It will become evident that the likelihood of internal and external conflicts will increase in odds in the coming decade. 

If you read history and how conflicts arise, what conditions and values reside at that time, it will become apparent to you all that, we are living in sensitive times. There’s a lot of conflicts, hate, a huge disproportion of the rich and the poor. Rising protectionism, the model of globalised economy is increasingly deteriorating. These all conditions were very similar before the start of world war 2. As humans, we can learn from our past mistakes. Let’s not repeat history. I am not implying that a war full of conflict will start tomorrow or doomsday is approaching us, rather let us learn from history and let it not repeat itself!

Everything at the same time is so connected, that the ripples travel across oceans and lands. They cause metaphoric earthquakes, division, discord, dissent! We are living in such times ! We have to wake up from the slumber. 

We have to learn to think independently. We are bombarded by media, tv and so much of other stuff in the world and education itself don’t really help individuals to think for themselves.  I am no conspiracy theorist, neither am I trying to preach it that way. 

I want you all to be pragmatic, empathetic and learn to appreciate that we all have more in common. 

I know very little, but the little that I know has fueled this passion to increase love between human beings. Inspired me to chase my dreams, reform the education system, create equal opportunities. In order to work towards this, I simultaneously have to ensure that the future generations inherit a safer and habitable world. 

Hopefully, this sets me forward to start blogging away from politics too and start writing about how we can unlearn what we know and start to accept that there is a great deal of unknowns. When we appreciate this, we will also become less judgemental, less stereotypical and less envious.

The real change starts within, whatever the results of elections, don’t let it turn you spiteful to one another or breed further hate and division.