I have been saddened by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, as well as the looming possibility of radiation catastrophe. Yesterday a three-hour fund-raising telecast hosted by the Taiwan Broadcasting System brought in NT$114 million (US$3.8 million) for victims of the recent earthquake in Japan. Like other relief money, this fund will later be exchanged into Japanese yen for the philanthropic purpose. The speculators however had already been on the move to pre-buy Japanese yen, in the hope of selling them at a higher price to those in need of the money for relief. It prompted the central banks of the G9 to sell Japanese yen to support the currency.
It reminds me of the beginning sentences in chapter two of Tao Te Ching, which says:
By asking people to pursue a moral life
you also teach the gratification of being vice
By asking people to do good
you also teach the benefit of being bad
We certainly live in a world in which there are people who like to take "the benefit of being bad", in particular doing it anonymously, like the currency speculators!
In recent days, I also witnessed an act of "gratification of being vice" fully televised in broad daylight. I am talking about the frantic buying up of salt in part of Mainland China and Hong Kong, under the groundless rumor that the consumption of common salt can prevent radiation and the equally groundless one saying future supply of salt will be radiation contaminated. Surely some are for their innocent gratification of continuing their savory meals (as one old lady said, "how can I cook a good meal without salt!"), where others take this "golden" opportunity to pocket a few bucks from speculating, like selling their RMB1 pack of salt at 50 over the internet!
PS1: For my full rendition of Chapter 2 of Tao Te Ching, please click HERE.
PS2: After the authority explained the irrelevancy of stocking salt, people who purchased loads of salt suddenly released that they stood at a loss (or at least they can put their money to better usage or other speculation). Yesterday, as reported in the news, there were many people who crowded supermarkets and grocery stores Shanghai and Canton Province requesting to sell their salt back to the shops! It was reported to have intense arguments with the shops and even cases out of control that necessitated reporting to the police! Lao Tze （老子) certainly had good foresight.....sigh!