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The Winter Of My Discontent

Category: , Posted:22 Jan 2014 | 06:00 am

Billy Shakes and I share more than an oft-abbreviated flexi-name. As the tropical winds turn tepid, the shorter days give rise to my own personal winter of discontent.
Writing this column from the comfort of an Airbus, some 38,000 feet above the Andaman Sea, remains fraught with disaster. In this case it's the curse of composing 'hard copy', which requires lead-time and casting your eyes up over that looming thunderstorm onto the limitless horizon. Naturally, you have to imagine it, because the bloody clouds are in the way.
No one wants to be out of date. And while the web provides opportunity for instant gratification and a fast track from hero to zero, print media allows for deeper thought. Too much time on your hands to ponder life's great questions, of course, is never a good thing-Ayn Rand, Adolf Hitler and Deepak Chopra bear testament to just how wrong the results can be.
To be honest, last year's real estate headlines are left roiling in my cluttered subconscious mind. First there were boiling property markets trying to let the steam off and simmer down. Then came the bubble talk, countered by a seemingly limitless rising middle class. Just how much of Asia's half of the world population can afford a condo or maybe a nice little semi-detached townhouse exactly?
So yes, with 2013 behind us, my head is full of dread over what comes next. This is no Midsummer Night's Dream, frolicking around in Adam and Eve garb. It's more like the stark freezing landscape of the Coen Brother's Fargo – a blood trail in the snow leading to a certain dead end.
Somehow everyone on the planet got a little crazy last year, except for me of course, and a few select others (I'm not naming names-even Edward Snowden doesn't have my list). As a human race, we've somehow backtracked to become sheer raving dogmatic lunatics.
It's been said you can't please all the people all the time, but world leaders and warring factions have brought down the house and at the end of the day, it's nearly impossible to please anyone. This includes me, in my drab black and grey attire, endlessly strolling through airports and openly cursing the arrival of Europe's snowbirds who have migrated south.
Meanwhile "glee syndrome" in Asia has continued to inflict careless optimism into regurgitated headlines about the rise of the wealthy masses. Welcome to the C List – cash, credit cards, cars and country clubs-and last but not least, condos.
We've gorged, but not yet pushed back from the table. What about a tasty dessert or a double espresso? But the party killers are lined up outside, waiting for a table to open up. The faces looking in are somehow terrifying – politicians, economists, fanatics. Didn't a Chinese tour bus just pull up in the parking lot? It's like an episode of The Walking Dead with faces pressed against the windows and smoke rising above the growing crowd.
To hell with them all. Billy Shakes and I are heading to the bar for a nightcap. Keep the door barricaded and don't let the riff-raff in.
My horizon for the moment is the bar to order a drink. Predicting what's coming up in 2014 for the whacked-out world of real estate is just too complicated for a self-appointed man of discontent.

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