Saturday, May 28, 2016

Unconventional arguments on why we should leave the EU (3)

Actually, for some personal reasons (see the other post) I'm not exactly in the mood of writing, moreover most common arguments have appeared everywhere. So this is perhaps my last post on this subject...

The pro-leave side usually resort to sentiment, while the pro-remain side usually relies on tangible advantages like cost to the economy etc. Which is all very well, we can decide ourselves which is more important. But those tangible advantages given - especially when you hear them from young people (who are a lot more pro-EU) - show that they have little concept of priority. We are talking about a once-in-a-lifetime decision, it's about World War III and some such (if you believe them), and these young people are saying, "I want to remain in EU because it is easier and cheaper to travel for holidays." What's wrong with you people?

Another main argument to support staying in the EU from those people seems to be that, the EU enforces a lot of things like CO2 emissions, workers' rights, etc that are "good", and they would otherwise not happen under a Tory government. Which may well be true, but why don't you try to achieve those things via national politics - vote for Labour, Greens, etc at local and national elections? And if you cannot succeed in getting them to power, through a democratic process, maybe the rest of the public don't actually share the same opinion as you? Their idea seems to be that, since those things are "morally right", they need to get it from whoever can offer them, whether it is the EU, or some dictator, or some green alien about to enslave humans. The concept of a "nation" to them worths less than getting through airports quicker or cheaper flights.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What I experienced throughout this fairytale season (2)

The first big hurdle

December comes the first tough fixture period: 14/12 CHE, 19/12 EVE, 26/12 LIV, 29/12 MNC, the first point where people expected us to crumble. I would have been more than happy had we got 3-4 points out of these 4 games. It turned out we got 7!

Before the Chelsea game I was so praying them not to sack Jose Mourinho before it. Fortunately they didn't, and our win proved to be Jose's last game at Chelsea.

We were then top of table, 2 points clear. It was also at this point that Gary Lineker made his infamous tweet. He didn't know that, but it seems HKGolden's 賭 J is very powerful indeed...

And after beating Everton, we are guaranteed top of the table at Christmas. A fan phoned-in to a radio programme and said:

"My son turned to me and looked me in the eye and said: 'Dad, dad, amazing, absolutely amazing.'

Then a series of lacklustre result follows, including a 0-2 defeat to Liverpool, clinging on to a 0-0 draw with Man City, yet another goalless draw with Bournemouth, and even a 1-1 draw with Villa (!). But this slump still left us in a position better than people had expected. In this period Vardy had a surgery, and I suspect the transfer window must also have caused some instability as well. But somehow we were still near or at the top of the table - still quietly.

The second big hurdle

We had three big matches in February: 2/2 LIV,  6/2 MNC, 14/2 ARS.

I was very pleased to see us lose out in the FA cup replay. Had we won that, we would have a 5th round FA cup match a few days before the LIV match. As it turned out, we had 10 days rest, while LIV played 4 matches in 10 days (or something like that). We then beat LIV 2-0, thanks to a wonder goal from Vardy.

At this point the neutral fans all begin to root for us. Like this one

6/2 MCI 1-3 LEI
This was the day history will remember; the day when the rest of the world suddenly realises that it might actually happen. Not just because of the successive wins, but because of the manner in which we dispatch away these opponents so convincingly. There were articles pondering (still joking) what might happen if this miracle, just for once, did happen. Gary Lineker wrote a moving article, describing it as "quite possibly the most unlikely triumph in the history of team sport", and that he has never "wanted something to happen more in sport in my entire life."

But for us it was the start of the agony. It was the point where we started to fear, that this might turn from the greatest miracle in sporting history to the biggest flop in sporting history.

As it turned out, it was just like 2 seasons ago when we were promoted to the Premier League: flying under the radar for half of the season, and by the time the rest of the world realised, it was already too late to catch us.

Next time: the home straight...

Mid-life crisis

Well, the inevitable is, finally, about to descend onto me. After years of dragging on, this new "leadership team" is now acting extremely swiftly (you have to admire how they patiently set the whole thing up, with everything in place before delivering the final punch - more on that in the future if I have the chance to write about it.) I knew it will happen one day, but when it arrives it is so sudden.

It is something that has always been at the back of my mind, but I refuse to accept, and it is now too late for me: if you know you are in a wrong career, leave early. (I don't know how I survived the REF two years ago. But even then it was already too late.)

At least it was after the good moments. We won the Premier League, man! (I always worried that this good news would be spoiled by bad news like this one, or some far worse ones.) It is the best thing that could ever happen to this city, so there is nothing more to look forward to.

We'll know how bad it goes in a few months' time. Perhaps it won't be the worst possible outcome. Perhaps it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. In the meantime, I probably will stop blogging for quite a while after I finished the EU articles and the Leicester City articles... not that anyone cares.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Unconventional arguments on why we should leave the EU (2)

Speaking in London, the prime minister said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of so-called Islamic State in Iraq, "might be happy" in the event of a Leave vote in June, remarks which Mr Johnson said were a "bit too much". 

I knew it! The Hong Kong left plastics' argument of 退聯邊個最開心 will find its way to the EU referendum debate!

Just to give you some background, the "left plastics" in HK often criticizes strong, violent protests against communist China because they "give excuses" for the Chinese government to further suppress political opposition, and the Chinese government would be "pleased" to see that happen. The same logic was applied to the separation of many higher education student unions from the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS). After the awakening to localism of most university students and student bodies, they want to separate from HKFS. Then they dished out this argument saying that the disbanding of HKFS will only make the Chinese government happy.

Various counterarguments have been put out. But put it back to the context of IS and EU referendum:

(1) You do or not do things because they are right or wrong, not because they would make someone else happy.

(2) How do you know IS would be happy? Do you think like them?

(3) Seriously, IS wouldn't care, they want to destroy all of you anyway.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What I experienced throughout this fairytale season (1)

The universe is big, it's vast and complicated, and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.
- The Doctor, The Pandorica Opens


Nigel Pearson was sacked. Just like everyone else, I thought it was a bad decision, and an unfortunate one ( I wrote last year: "... it would be sad to see him go particularly if it is for non-footballing reasons..." which proved more prophetic than I thought!) But, as pointed out in HIGNFY, if not for this sex scandal, none of the rest of the fairytale would have happened!

My reaction to Claudio Ranieri's appointment was just like everyone else's: uninspiring. But I was kind of not bothered because my feeling was that it didn't matter too much who that was, we would probably still struggle. I didn't see why bookie's are all so sure that we will go down though. Yes, we will be in a relegation battle (for some periods if not the whole of the season), but the end of last season showed that this team is not so bad. Under a new manager with a honeymoon period, picked up a few wins early on and we would have built some points base that may prove crucial at the end.

Week 1, LEI 4-2 SUN

Thanks to a rubbish Sunderland team, we were (due to goal difference and goal scored) top of the league after the first week of the season. At that time I wrote on my facebook:

We are top of the Premier League! For a day at least...

Little did I know where this would lead us to...

Week 2, WHU 1-2 LEI

We continue to be top of the league after another win. Schmeichel should have been sent off, instead it was their goalkeeper who was sent off. We could easily have lost 1-2 otherwise. This was also the first of many games where we got favourable refereeing decisions (and for WHU, one of the many decisions against them throughout the season.)

Never give up

What followed was a long string of coming from behind, either scoring minutes after the opponent scored, or minutes from the final whistle, to pull back from losing to get a draw or even a win. Examples include 0-2 against Villa (!) but winning 3-2, and 0-2 against Stoke and drawing 2-2, and the same against Southamption. It was as if we couldn't play until we were two goals down. Our inability to keep clean sheets became a talking point - the pizza.

We were growing confidence, perhaps too much, and in-between these games we lost 2-5 to Arsenal, the first loss in the league.

We were still finding the best lineup. I was particularly concerned about how the new players were to be integrated: you don't want to see what many managers do, namely, putting all the new players in the team just because they are big signings; at the same time I was worried that just sticking those new players on the bench, which seems to be what Ranieri was doing, would demoralise them.

It turned out that he was incorporating them very slowly. Fuchs, for example, slowly replaced Schlupp through a period of both playing (with Schlupp as left wing and Fuchs LB). I was somewhat sad to see Schlupp eventually replaced (even though that was because of injury), he played well last season - but it was probably a good idea as Fuchs were perhaps more defensive minded.

Other positions were similar. Kante, for example, was only a substitute (!), unthinkable these days.

We continued to win quietly, with attention turned to Vardy's 11-game goal streak. After week 13's win against Newcastle, we were again top of the table, but no one was alarmed.

to be continued...

Next time: The first big hurdle CHE - EVE - LIV - MNC