January 1, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

May I wish you all a peaceful 2015; our world is troubled with conflicts and violence; we need to work towards peace in family, community and society.

Here is another round of for your perusal:

  1. The two major international auction houses—Sothesby & Christie’s—report that their sales in Hong Kong have gone down in 2014 by a third. Why are expensive arts, jewellery and other rich man’s collection items loosing steam in that region? It turns out that the recent crackdown against corruption in China is one of the main causes for this slowdown. The market for such items is still booming in India; implication that corruption is still on ‘full steam’?
  2. The world-wide trend of oil prices going down by nearly half in the past 2-3 months has different meanings for different folks. The state of Alberta in Canada has been managing a surplus budget for more than a decade, largely on the back of oil and gas boom; now, it is talking about belt-tightening and taxation. Russia, Iran and Venezuela are finding it difficult to sustain their global ‘megalomanias’ in the face of rapidly declining oil revenues. The new government in India is just lucky to be able to get this ‘gift’ without making any effort towards it?
  3. Over the past decades, holiday seasons for us all as children in northern India have been spread over two periods; the first is the month between Navratra/Dushehra/Dewali in October/November; the other is a fortnight over Christmas/New Year. Given the diversity of cultures and calendars in India, new year amongst various parts of the country and communities takes place throughout the year; literally from mid January (Sankranti) to end of November (Sikhs celebrate on Guru Nanak birthday)—Shivaratri, Basant Panchami, Bihu, Bahai, Budha Jayanti, Eid, Onam, Pongal, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc etc. So, what is the fuss? Good governance promise should be taken on all New Year days—almost all the 365 days in India?
  4. The debate on growing inequality in all countries need not be merely an esoteric intellectual exercise. In many centres of wealth around the world, the growing numbers of hungry and homeless are a testimony to this phenomenon. In the wonder city of Seattle, the large numbers of men and women can be seen ‘begging’ for some food in chilly winter nights; they are young and old, white and non-white. Why such phenomena in wealthy Seattle (the home of Boeing, Microsoft & Starbuck)?
  5. It is interesting to watch how the world celebrates the onset of New Year on January 1. In Pacific Northwest of America, the onset of midnight of New Year comes after most of the world has already welcomed it. Three things seem to be part of all celebrations—fireworks, food & drinks, and company of other people. Isn’t this a natural human practice in all societies and cultures? Get friends and family together, organise food and drinks, and enjoy with lights (all kinds of lights). So, let 2015 be a year when we strive to work towards all people having food and loved ones to celebrate light-of-life!

Best regards
Rajesh Tandon