ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Posts Tagged ‘meaning

Detroit Bankruptcy: What it means?

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Detroit pitching for high profile bankruptcy evoked nostalgia, given that I was part of the investment bank, which was one of the high profile bankruptcies of the 21st Century. I have only read of the Russian default of the old, but seeing an entire city go bankrupt in our times, is entirely different.

Detroit is more significant as it was the boom baby, the once-mighty motor city and the pillar of American economy. The situation is also symbolic of declining manufacturing might of US (barring the Weaponry).

How does bankruptcy work for a city?
When a firm goes bankrupt, the assets are sold off and creditors paid off on basis of debt seniority. If Detroit goes bankrupt eventually, it may have to fire public employees. May have to sell off its properties, which includes government offices, public schools, parks and whatever city owns (not the private property). Legally speaking all of it might happen. But since it’s a city, with humanity and politics involved, it might not come down to this.

Newly appointed Emergency Manager of Detroit Kevyn Orr, has put together a plan to save the city. It can be read here. I have tried to summarize the plan and what holds for Detroit in the future.

How bad is the situation?
Population has declined from 1.8mil in 1950 to under 0.7mil in 2012, showing clear signs of decay. Unemployment rate has shot up from 7.3% in 2000 to 18.6% in 2012. Total number of employed people has gone down from around 350k in 2000 to 275k in 2012.

City tried by increasing taxes which resulted in businesses leaving and people migrating. Though tax %age got higher, the quantum of tax kept shrinking. To quote from the plan, “The City is currently levying all taxes at or near statutory maximum rates.”

Reduced security spending over last 10 years resulted in 40% job cuts in Detroit Police Dept. This has led to DPD’s response times getting extremely high. Crime rate has become highest in its population category. Add to this, ageing police cars and fire equipment.

Lack of maintenance has left 40% street lights non-working. Almost all public parks have been shut down (317 open parks around 5 years ago). Public transport has taken a beating due to unmaintained buses. Around 40,000 buildings have turned into dangerous structures sans repairs.

Estimated debt has ballooned to 18billion dollars. Citi has already deferred interest payments to creditors and contribution to pensioners. Bonds have no value anymore. Credit rating has plummeted from A in 2003 to CCC in 2012 (Courtesy Fitch Ratings)

Why is the need for bankruptcy?
It’s not exactly bankruptcy but protection from creditors till city restructures itself. In other words since Detroit does not have money to pay creditors and pensioners, it has to take some legal recourse to save itself from lawsuits demanding the same.

To quote from the plan, “The City cannot stabilize or pay creditors meaningful recoveries if it continues to shrink. Since the City will not generate sufficient cash to pay all liabilities, alternatives have to be considered. Need to reform the City government operations to improve efficiency and reduce costs.”

What’s in store post bankruptcy protection?
Well if City wants it can just deny paying its liabilities and no one can sue. It won’t be able to raise money by bonds and other resources as no one will be ready to lend. City will most surely increase Tax Rate forcing the remaining businesses to consider moving out of the city. It will further fire city employees to reduce operating costs, thereby shooting up unemployment rates.

How the future seems bleak is summarized by the following quote from the plan, “Where cost savings or service improvements can be achieved, the City will explore potential outsourcing of functions.”

For all I can say, its Gotham time for Detroit. Hope it finds its own Bruce Wayne.

Written by arpitgarg

July 19, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Shahrukh Frooti Ad: Meaning of Lyrics

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I saw this latest Frooti advertisement featuring Sharukh and simply fell in love with the music, lyrics and concept. Lyrics, though hummable are not entirely clear in meaning.

Aamaletiya stavin crata pile pila,
Aamaletiya merlucchiya pile pila,
Inlorpotamanta tora tut tut tiya,
Less so less in nina amichiya strala,
Aamaletiya stavin crata pile pila – 4
Aameletiya merlucchiya…

I assumed these lyrics are not garbage and tried to de-cypher. What I saw is they are a mix of Japanese, Spanish, Swedish, Hindi, Italian words.

Beautiful and lovely mango, to us highly starving people, you will act as pile of batteries to recharge,
Beautiful and lovely mango, you are partly wicked, you will act as pile of batteries to recharge,
We are salivating greatly agreed, from unpleasant fighting people, we become happiest person in the world,
As it is getting over, like a little girl, it is emitting eternal love,
Beautiful and lovely mango, to us highly starving people, you will act as pile of batteries to recharge – 4
Beautiful and lovely mango, you are partly wicked…

Aam: Hindi, Mango
Letiya: Urban Lingo, Beautiful person, lovely heart
Stavin: Short for starving
Crata: French, might/strength
Pile: Spanish, batteries
Pila: Italian, Pile
Mer: An affix meaning “part”, used in chemistry
Lucchi: Hindi, wicked
Lor: Singapore Lingo, Agree
Pota: Uraban Lingo, Salivating
Manta: Spanish, Great Size
Tora: Japanese, Quarrel
Tut-tut: Urban Lingo, Disapproval
Tiya: Urban Lingo, Happiest person in the world.
Nina: Spanish, Little girl
Ami: Italian, Love
Chiya: Japanese, Eternal
Strala: Swedish, To radiate light

Disclaimer: This is just my view. Chances are, this might be entirey wrong.

Written by arpitgarg

April 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Confusingly Chaotic

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During the college farewell, a batch mate of mine asked, “So, where do you see yourself, 10 years from now?” I did what I do best, excuse myself with the sheepish smile. I never had to answer myself this question before. I mean I did schooling coz everybody do. There was no vision or so called planning that went into it. I went for JEE coz that’s what was “the hottest” at the given time. I opted for Computers for no other reason.

I remember a discussion with friends over dinner, “Why they opted for the particular engineering stream?” For most of them the criteria was Rank. I mean come ‘on, if 80 out of top 100 rankers (and more) are opting for Computer Science, that doesn’t mean all of them have such deep interest in it that they would have perished without it Or that the ones who didn’t get it were never interested in it. So let’s get one thing into perspective. What your interests are doesn’t matter during the cut throat competition in a developing world.

I took the job hoping to rise up the ladder along the normal path. As it was about to happen, the elastic snapped. The economic bubble burst and the condition of uncertainty in jobs might have led to the current thought process. Did I really want to be a software developer when I grew up? Was that my dream? If no then am I doing what I never wanted to, 5 days a week 9 hours a day, just to enjoy the weekends of my life. Has my life contracted to mere weekends?

This takes me back to the concept of civilized living. When was the concept of “work” proposed? Who proposed it? Why we followed it? We live on a spherical ball, don’t know where are we coming from, don’t know what’s inside the sphere, what’s outside the view. Just going on working through the week to enjoy the weekends. Working through our youth to enjoy the old age. Something doesn’t seem right. The concept seems flawed. It’s too mechanic, too un-human.

Maybe it’s this mechanics in our life that lead us to a peaceful timely death. Or the chaos would have had us much before.

Written by arpitgarg

January 27, 2009 at 10:59 am

Terrorism Apologist: What does it really mean?

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Recently I was having a discussion with my friends over Mumbai terror attacks. It started from Taj, moved over to the usual Pak bashing to Jehadi terrorism to the sensitive topic of role of Indian Muslims. One suggestion was a stern action against the terrorists wiping out each and every sleeper cell in the country. It supported a free hand to security agencies to do what needs to be done. It was countered by equally deft argumnet that not all Muslims are terrorists and that terrorism has no religion. No sooner was this statement made than there was an off-cut remark about us being terrorism-apologists. I was very much intrigued with the term terrorism-apologist. I tried to Google it out but it seemed to be a relatively new term and not much could be found. I found few articles in which this term was used. No exact definition was found though.

From the articles and reports in which it was used, lets try and find the real meaning of the term terrorism-apologist.

During war on Iraq too, this term “terrorism-apologist” was much in circulation in US. There was a professor at UT-San Antonio who was termed a “terrorism-apologist” in an article. My understanding of the term goes something like this, terrorism-apologists don’t try and justify the terror attacks as the term might suggest. It’s clearly not their intention. What they do is raise some social issues in the support of the terrorists. According to them, it’s we who have made them terrorists (coz agar hum naa hote, toh yeh terrorist bhi naa hote waala funda), so it’s we who are to apologize for making a terrorist out of them. Let’s be fair, they don’t defend and justify the work of terrorists, they try and defend the terrorists instead. They invoke the cause and effect theory as an argument.

To quote the professor from the said article, “It is rejection of U.S. and British policies in the Middle East, not Islam, that has promoted terrorism against America…95 percent of Middle Easterners are Muslims…it is only natural that those opposing the United States and Britain in the region would be Muslims. In India, they would have been Hindu; in Latin America or Northern Ireland, they would have been Catholic.”

Their arguments that, “Islam does not preach terrorism” and “Not all Muslims are terrorists” is well respected and not much disputed, but usually they tend to overdo themselves, create a ruckus thereby posing as a hindrance to the security forces.

I found once such example in India recently. A leading lady from Bollywood tried to connect terrorism with the poor and illiterate state of Muslims, “Injustice to Muslims is the foundation of terrorism”, she commented. To quote her further, “Do you know what percent of Islamic population is living below the poverty line? It’s 40%…There are certain segments of the society which have not got its due, whether you agree or not…When people are poor and have no where to go, they have no choice but to turn into radicals…”.

Ideally her views should have created mixed feelings. However given the backdrop of Mumbai attacks, there was an outrage against her comments and she needed to tender an apology. One may find her to be a terrorism-apologist. After all, Naxalism and Terrorism are two different phenomenons. Let’s not try and mix them. Those who mix them may be termed terrorism apologists.

Some say that this whole idea is nothing but a figment of imagination of the right wing people. But again the issue is open for contention. Maybe next up for discussion should be Naxalism v/s Terrosim for us to get a clear answer to our Holy Grail.

Written by arpitgarg

January 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm

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