Thoughts on quirky news and life in Buenos Aires and Washington, DC

The East is red, the sun is rising/From China comes… Pissy?

Cheblogudo tries to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to international hip hop trends (having covered, by way of recent example, the rise of non-dollar denominated rap lyrics).  And since the nineteenth congress of the Chinese Communist Party is grabbing world headlines this week, what better time to have a closer look at hip hop with Chinese characteristics?  Reuters listened to some of it:

In his baseball cap and baggy yellow t-shirt, the rap star Li Yijie – better known by his stage name “Pissy” – is an unlikely face of China’s strait-laced ruling Communist Party.

Let’s pause right there – I’m not sure if that’s a tribute to R. Kelly, but “Pissy” is probably not the best stage name.  Moving on…

His group, Tianfu Shibian, has won fans and the support of the party’s youth league with songs like “Force of Red” and “This is China” that chime with President Xi Jinping’s nationalist vision of China and its place in the world.

We’ve heard something like that before.  But Pissy takes it to a whole new level.

“We need to stand up and say: Why can’t younger folks be more patriotic?” he said during an interview in Beijing.

“We need to step into this system,” he said. “If the post-1990 generations don’t enter the system, what is our country going to do?” said Li.

Beijing has the same idea.

Here’s one example:

“Force of Red” attacked Tsai Ing-Wen, the president of Taiwan, an independently governed island that Beijing considers a renegade province.

“There’s only one China, HK, Taipei, they are my fellas,” ran the lyrics of the song in English, along with expletives aimed at Tsai and her government: “Far away from us you forget how to act. Even dogs know to come home with a thankful bark.”

The music video went viral, racking up more than 7 million views on the band’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo feed and catching the attention of the Communist Youth League, a training ground for elite cadres within the 90-million-strong Communist Party.

I know you’re asking yourselves (among many other questions): how will it play in Peoria Malaysia?


Headline of the week: “Need Fresh Hairy Crabs? There Are Rival Apps for That. Alibaba and compete to deliver hairy crabs fast and alive to customers as China’s fresh-food delivery war heats up”

Read all about it in The Wall Street Journal.

Dubai International Airport security to use face-scanning virtual fish

The Telegraph reports:

Dubai International Airport is doing away with security counters next year and introducing virtual fish to verify your identity instead. Yes, you read that right.

Instead of waiting in line for security kiosks or e-gates, passengers will be able to walk through a virtual aquarium tunnel in which 80 in-built cameras will scan their faces. The role of the fish? To capture the passengers’ attention – and thus their biometrics.

But there’s a catch (or two):

The first “biometric borders” will appear by late 2018 at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3, with other terminals being fitted with them by 2020.

You’ll have to be pre-registered to pass through the tunnel, with 3D face-scanning kiosks set up at locations around the airport to do so.

So the fish aren’t actually “replacing security checks” as The Telegraph’s headline claims, but will apparently provide a backstop to less entertaining scanning kiosks elsewhere in the airport.  If you’re in Dubai in late 2018, make sure to let us know if that really improves your airport security experience.


Ezeiza International Airport, Buenos Aires, Argentina.  There are no virtual face-scanning fish here, just reminders that Argentinian airports are stuck in the year 2000 and are damn proud of it, thank you.  Photo: Cheblogudo


Indian men stabbed and beaten for wearing mustaches in caste-based feud

If you thought India’s culture war over “open defecation” was bizarre, get a load of this:

Low-caste males in India’s western Gujarat state have been attacked for wearing moustaches, prompting the Dalit to launch a social media campaign in support of growing whiskers.

The crusade was initiated in the state capital, Gandhinagar, after one young Dalit man was stabbed and others beaten up by Rajputs.

Police said the assailants objected to their moustaches, which they believe are the sole preserve of their upper-caste martial clan.

“One of the attackers told me that I cannot become a Rajput by just growing a moustache” Krunal Maheria, one of the teenage victims, told NDTV news channel.

“When I ignored him, he beat me with a stick.”

The Telegraph has the full story.


Ireland gets flak for Che Guevara stamp

Did you know Che Guevara had Irish ancestry?  The Irish post office apparently did.  BBC reports:

An Irish stamp marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara has aroused the ire of Cuban-Americans.

The stamp features the iconic image of the Argentine-born revolutionary by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick.

Many consider Guevara a mass murderer who should not be honoured, US-Cuban journalist Ninoska Perez told RTE.


[Che Guevara] was the son of a civil engineer with Irish roots, Ernesto Guevara Lynch.

The stamp’s first day cover carries a quote from his father: “In my son’s veins flowed the blood of the Irish rebels.”

Cuban Americans aren’t the only ones who have objected.  The Wall Street Journal weighs in today in an editorial titled “Ireland Falls for a Lousy T-Shirt:”

We can understand how untutored Dublin undergrads might wear one of those T-shirts with Che’s face for social cachet in coffee shops. But on an Irish national stamp?

The struggle for Irish independence was about equality under the law, property rights and political self-determination. Guevara represents none of that. He hailed from an upper-middle-class family and became a Marxist revolutionary who murdered an unknown number of political opponents during and after the 1959 Cuban revolution.

Despite sharing a first name, Cheblogudo is not a fan of Che Guevara or his ideology and hopes that foreign government endorsements of him (including by the Cubans) will soon end up in the proverbial dustbin of history, just like those stupid t-shirts.


Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez in the hall of fame at Casa Rosada (the Argentinian presidential palace) in October 2014, when it was still the home of fellow traveler Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.  Her successor Mauricio Macri got rid of both portraits.  Photo: Cheblogudo

Escaped convicts arrested in Canadian escape room

Isn’t it ironic?

Kelsie Laine Marie Mast, 23, and Samantha Faye Toope, 20, jumped over the fence of the Edmonton Institution for Women and got away, reported the CBC.

The fleeing convicts weren’t found again until Tuesday when they wandered into Sidequests Adventures, Inc., an escape room business where participants are given a set amount of time to develop strategies and solve problems to get out of a confined space […]

Moments later a police officer entered the business and asked if the escaped prisoners were in an escape room. He then called for backup and proceeded to arrest them.

UPI has the full story.

All you need is love

When government lawyers find love, the result may be a strongly worded warning letter.  A baked goods manufacturer which listed “love” as an ingredient on a granola label has received this from inspectors at the Food and Drug Administration:

Your . . . products are misbranded . . . because . . . the labels fail to bear a complete list of all the ingredients by common or usual name. . . .

Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient “Love”. Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name. . . . “Love” is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient.

Read it in full on the FDA website. Hat tip: The Wall Street Journal.