How the Chinese Operate

If you liked my series on how the Chinese treat dogs, then you will love this photo essay on human rights and how they treat a mentally ill person. Here the person holds a boy hostage:

A negotiator is sent next door to assess the situation:

The negotiator makes contact with the person:

The negotiator resolves the situation in 30 seconds:

Hostage situation over:

Another social problem solved:

I guess when you have a couple of billion people in your country, the most expendable commodity is human beings.

Unique Retirement Home

Most people take a plane to see sun, sand and beach. What if you lived in a plane at the beach? Check out this recycled retirement home.








I would call this extreme recycling. It is a heck of an Airstream mobile home -- literally.

Thank God Spring Break is Over

You know that we have had spring break here in the tropics. The beaches, nightclubs and hotels were full of nubile, drunken teenagers having sex on the beach. The amazing thing is how many packets of unopened condoms that I find on the beach. It is as if they come prepared, then lose them in sand. It makes me wonder.

If you are a parent and have had a teenage child come to the Bahamas on spring break, let me be the first to congratulate you on becoming a grandparent. As well, I have a whole pile of condoms for sale -- cheap. Never been used.

On Baby Pigeons and Ghetto Pants


I thought that I had figured it out. I thought that I had solved a mystery that has been plaguing mankind ever since man has accreted together and lived in clumps in cities and towns. For where ever man has gathered, he (and she) have been joined by rats and pigeons.

Now mind you, my theory is that pigeons are flying rats. They are the street grifters of the avian world. They hang around city sidewalks, begging for your spare change -- payable in popcorn, french fries, bits of your sandwich or scraps of bread. Seagulls have elevated this to a fine art, by specializing entirely in McDonald's food. They are the fry guys in terms of human food consumption.

The Europeans and especially the French were masters at creating cuisine out of all creatures large and small. Pigeons did not escape their attentions. If you drive through France, you will see pigeonniers all over the place. They are pigeon houses. They were kept for two purposes, communications and food. Before the invention of the telegraph, France had an communications network of homing pigeons that carried messages up and down France. It was like a primitive internet, and the information packets were strapped to the bird legs. The elegant part was that not only was it an information delivery service, but it was food delivery as well. Once you got the message, you ate the delivery mechanism.

The pigeons in Europe are bred for food. They are served wholesome grains, fine herbs and flies that have not visited manure piles. Here in North America, eating a street pigeon would taste like a garbage pie.

But the big mystery plaguing mankind, is: Where are all the baby pigeons?? Think about it. Have you ever seen a baby pigeon? I haven't. You see a mother duck and baby ducks. You see mother and child in the robin family. You don't see a mother pigeon with a parade of baby pigeons, teaching them to walk the sidewalks, avoid traffic and beg for food. Do pigeons hatch full grown, already supplied with begging skills?

I thought that I had found the answer. I took a picture of my first ever baby pigeon (above). I nearly filled the whole memory card with pictures of the thing. After the 100th frame, I suddenly realized that this was no baby pigeon at all. It was a baby dove. The mystery continues.

One mystery that has been solved for me, is the mystery of ghetto pants. Why do ghetto dwellers wear their pants below their bum and around their knees. Well, the photo below solves that mystery:




And finally, I also have a musical offering that is quite quite moving. I was doing some Youtube research on Paul Simon. I came across Paul Simon in Africa. On stage, they sung the national anthem of Africa to close the concert. You will see Paul Simon singing with African superstar Miriam Makeba. The song is N'Kosi Sikeleli Africa -- or God Bless Africa. It is an amazing musical experience.






Using Beer To Advertise the Bible

Only in the Bahamas. There have been online ads all over the place. Three bottles of beer are shown with the headline "What is better than a Beerfest?". When you click on the link, the beer bottles are X-ed out and it announces that Biblefest beats Beerfest. But wait, don't send money yet. You can win free phone cards and get Subway sandwich refreshments. Get footwashings and foot longs in one stop. Kind of like a modern re-mix of the Sermon on the Mount juxtaposed with the Loaves and Fishes miracle. I am sure that there will be a table selling DVD's and CDs the sermons and music, along with John the Baptist Steak Knives and Dead Sea Scrolls Shower Curtains.

This is in a land where most of the population earns less than $25,000 per year, yet the preachers drive Bentleys and fly private jets. One church has its own subdivision development and issues its own debit card. Not only are the moneychangers in the temple, they are now running it. You have churches with names like Our Lady of Perpetual Investment and the Offshore Hedge Fund Tabernacle.

The most interesting thing about this whole ad campaign, is the amount of money they spent on it. It appears in Google ads, on Facebook, and Lord knows where else. They will have to charge admission and take up a collection to fund this and recoup there advertising dollars. But I would like to examine the "truth in advertising" element of this ad campaign. Now if you gave me a crayon, and a cardboard box to make one sign, all that I would have to do, is roughly scrawl "Free Beer Beerfest" and everyone at the Biblefest and most of the population of Nassau would come out. That's a fact Jack.

Doesn't any see the tastelessness of peddling eternal salvation by using bait and switch tactics with beer? If they wanted to be historically accurate, they should have used wine.

Bridge to Paradise

I am a regular on the bridge from Nassau over the harbour to Paradise Island. I have walked it many times. My Bahamian friends were amazed when I started to walking to work. It was about three miles down to the bridge, across the harbour and on to the office. The only time that I didn't do it was in the heat of the summer.

Bahamians are a car-bound people. They drive to the bathroom. The Quiznos here had the only drive-thru in North America. The way that a Bahamian woman calls her kids to dinner is "Get in the car!". I know an executive at KFC, and he tells me that Bahamians will even go through the drive-thru for the side orders to accompany what they cook for Sunday dinner. So when I tell them that I regularly cross the bridge on foot, they are amazed.

The breezes are great at the top of the bridge. There is always a slight breeze even on the calmest of days.

The other day, I was crossing the bridge, and was inspired to capture an ants-eye view for posterity.


Today's musical offering is from Mozart. A day without Mozart is like a day without sunshine. And a day without sunshine, is like ... ummmmm .... night !

And here's a Little Bit of Night Music -- literally Eine Klein Nachtmusik.


Found Money (sort of)

I was snorkeling on Golf Ball beach. The water was a bit roily. As the waves rocked my body back and forth, I discerned an object about three feet below the surface, moving with the waves. It was an American twenty dollar bill.

I put it in my bathing suit and dried it out on the black portion of my fin. I thought that it was a perfect metaphor for the state of the American dollar.

I am just wondering if I have enough of the bill to get its cash value. On this tropical island, I might be able to get a loaf of bread for $20 ... or a package of bubble gum.

Friday -- The Dead Skin of My Life Today

In Bill Bryson's book, "A Short History of Nearly Everything" (scroll down for the Cosmological Cabbage Book Review ), he tells of how the human being is loaded with scads and scads of dead skin and it falls off every day feeding a plethora of mites and small bugs.

Like dead skin, these are the bits falling of my life this Friday morning. First of all, Sheryl Crow is coming to the Bahamas. If the price of admission is not the equivalent of a few carats of brilliant diamonds, I think that I will go. When cyclist and Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was dating Sheryl, I thought that he was lucky to park his bike in her rack.


Secondly, I came across the rat trap pictured below on Paradise Island. It was empty of it's poisoned bait. I was worried about what ate all of the poison. The only thing that rat poison doesn't hurt, is rats. They use it as a digestive and a spice.



And I couldn't help but feel sorry for this lady who has lost her dog. One minute she was getting ready to inhale a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, and the next minute her pooch was missing.
I guess the lesson here is that crack kills.

I was walking along Paradise Island Drive yesterday, and spied a smallish centipede that someone had thoughtfully squashed on the sidewalk. If you are allergic to their venom, they can be lethal.


And finally, I love the ingenuity of the ghetto fire detector.
So that is how my Friday is shaping up. It is just a usual day in Paradise. I have a luncheon meeting that could mean nothing, or mean that I have an incredible business opportunity in front of me that would be a dream of mine. It is just the dead skin of my life in the tropics.


Amateur Liquor Hour

I have always been fascinated by making liquor. At a very young age my parents used to let me make wine under the sink at home. I made it out of whatever was handy. I made it from dandelions, sugar, whatever I could get my hands on. I remember my grandfather, who had a particular appetite for intoxicating beverages once tasted my dandelion wine, and looked appreciatively at my father and said "This is good". It had the potency of rocket fuel. It unfortunately tasted like diesel waste, but everyone in my family drank for effect, and not for gourmet tastes.

So, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you will remember when I made my coltsfoot liquor out of an emergent spring flower that is technically a weed, but not in the colloquial sense. Here is the graphic:

It was intended to compete with J├Ągermeister. I never did get production past the amount that you see in the above picture. I thought that the taste needed a bit of work until I came across amateur liquor in my friend Yve's collection. It is pictured below:
It is called Gentiane de Jura. Gentiane is French for gentian, a herb which is pictured on the bottle. Gentian is the basis of Angostura Bitters. It's that stuff that comes in a small bottle with an oversized label, and has more pucker power than Sour Babies dissolved in witch hazel and quinine laced tonic water. Jura is a region of the Alps in France and Switzerland.

The label on the bottle looks like it was printed on a home computer. It probably was. The concoction was made without the benefit of a formal distillery, inspection, annoying government interference in the production of alcohol and any sort of mechanization. It is truly amateur liquor.

If you translate the label, the statement is that there are 12 virtues of this stuff. It is an aperitif which stimulates your appetite. The next virtue is that it is a carminative. This is the scientific term for a medicinal fart suppressor. The third virtue is a depurative. This means that it removes impurities from your body fluids such as blood. Technically then, it should make itself disappear from your body.

Moving on, another virtue is that it is a digestive. After you eat a big meal, you take a shot of this and it aids digestion (and suppresses gas, and acts as Drano for your veins). This scientific wonder is also a febrifuge, which means that it combats fevers. Now we are definitely moving from the Pepto Bismol realm to the pharmaceutical realm.

Continuing on down the list, it says that the stuff is also a refresher. What it refreshes is not exactly clear, but presumably the liver is not part of the body parts that are refreshed. Related to the refresher, is the reconstituter. I think that this is like Geritol, a blood strengthener for old folks, except that it is 40 proof. You would think that Popeye the Sailor Man would switch from spinach to this stuff. Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.

The next virtue and benefit of Gentiane du Jura is that it is a salivaire or saliva inducer. This is supposed to aid digestion because saliva has enzymes to break down food. Do not order this on the first date. The last thing that the putative, future love of your life wants to see, is saliva flowing and you drooling like a Golden Retriever being shown filet mignon.

The list continues. This amateur liquor is a stimulant, stomach quieter, tonic and vermifuge. Vermifuge is the technical term for something that kills worms inside you. (Make your own joke here).

So there you have it. This amateur liquor is a boon to mankind, and if there is no false advertising, it should win the Nobel Prize in Medicine. I tried a little taste of it. It gave me a hot flash, and I thought that I was having a heart attack.

Book Review: A Short History of Nearly Everything

Books that are significant to me sometimes arrive at my doorstep in different ways. The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil, which whetted my appetite for Artificial Intelligence was given to me by my daughters for Christmas. Total Recall by Gordon Bell has the basis of my current business venture in Nassau. It was given to me by the Lovely One for Christmas last year. My latest read came to me in a different way as well.

Just before I had returned to Nassau, I took a walk with my friends Danny and Danielle in the emerging spring countryside in the hills of Quebec. Lying on the side of the road, was a discarded book, thrown out of a car window. I picked it up. I riffled through it, and it looked readable. Since I had a plane ride coming up, I figured that I would read the book on the plane.

The book was originally published in 2003. It is by one of my favourite authors, Bill Bryson. The title is A Short History of Nearly Everything. In very readable terms, it is a narrative of humankind's science journey from the Big Bang to where we are today. It gives the history of Darwin, Einstein and other science luminaries in a highly readable form. The book is actually a page turner, and I enjoyed it extremely.

A Short History of Nearly Everything integrates the stories of discoveries in chemical, physics, biology and cosmology. It is like the Discovery Channel in book form. Each chapter is fascinating and it illuminates and explains science like I have never read before. Yet it never gets technical and is highly readable.

If you ever seen this book in a library or on a bookshelf, pick it up. It is an enjoyable read, and you won't regret it.

Tourist Scene Tourist Seen 14 - On Incontinence

One nice thing about living in a tourist resort, is that one can go down to Marina Village at Atlantis, and listen to the live bands for free. When I take a break, I sometimes do that. I sit on the long, winding, white concrete bench in front of the luxury yachts, and listen to the band at the Bimini Road.

I had my camera with me, because a regular feature of mine on this blog is Tourist Scene Tourist Seen, where I turn the cameras on the tourists and photograph them.

So I am sitting there listening to the band when a tourist couple sits beside me. All of a sudden, I notice a yellow liquid flowing from out from under the woman, and down the white bench. I couldn't believe my eyes.

There are clean public washrooms all over the place at Marina Village, and yet this woman went when the spirit moved her. Then she got up and behaved as nothing happened. Your intrepid reporter caught the images for posterity.




I could not believe the audacity. One cannot Depends on the propriety of the tourists. Have they no shame?

If you want to see the rest of Tourist Scene Tourist Seen, please click HERE!


As a perfect accompaniment to this blog entry, the musical offering today is Water Music by George Friedrich Handel.




The Ghetto Senator From Fox Hill

The Parliament had its opening session in the Bahamas. The House of Assembly was full of pomp and circumstance. Governor General AD Hanna demitted office and a new Governor General, Sir Arthur Foulkes was installed. The chief justices were their in their robes and judicial wigs. The Vice Regal had his regalia. The President of the Senate wore the robes and woolen wigs as a symbol of her office. Everyone wore their badge of office or their finest clothes.

Except for the ghetto Senator from Fox Hill. Her name is Dr. Jacinta Higgs, and she wore a Halloween costume to the opening of Parliament.
Check out the hat and the gloves.

It was said that this outfit was custom made for her. I think that her milliner was the Mad Hatter who smoked crack. Some people have no shame or sense of propriety -- especially if you are a ghetto senator.

Consumer Alert -- DO NOT BUY CIGARS IN NASSAU, THE BAHAMAS

My friend Yves is a cigar aficionado. We were idly chatting and I asked him about cigars and where he bought them in Nassau. He told me that most of the cigars in Nassau were fakes. It was shocking. Then he provided me with a link. You can find it yourself. Open a Google browser and type in "Fake Cuban Cigars in Nassau". You will get a whole bunch of references.

Cigar Aficionado Magazine has an article where they state that 95% of the Cuban cigars sold in Nassau are fakes. They are sold to unsuspecting cruise ship tourists who get off the ship and want to enjoy the forbidden fruit of a Cuban cigar. Due to the embargo, Americans are not allowed to possess Cuban tobacco products. They get off the ship, and immediately they are accosted by street hustlers, taxi cab drivers and others who offer to sell them Cuban cigars. The sellers have authentic looking cigar boxes, and the cigars have impressive bands. However, true cigar cognoscenti know that the details and size of the bands are wrong. Most of the cigar frauds are cheapos rolled in the Dominican Republic. Apparently one way to tell is if the wrapper has large veins (which signifies a cheap wrapper).

The illicit business is alive and well. I have been accosted on Paradise Island by people offering to sell me Cuban cigars, weed, crank, snow or sex. This is in addition to the fake Rolexes, Louis Vuitton bags, and fake luxury goods. There is also a thriving trade in pirated CDs and DVDs. It is the shame of the Bahamas, because the country is a signatory to the Berne Copyright conventions, and yet the fakes are sold right in front of the police directing traffic.

So if you like cigars, and are visiting Nassau and you want to try the real thing, where do you go? The only place that you can be assured of not getting ripped off is the Havana Humidor downtown and at Atlantis, and Graycliff -- a hotel, cigar factory and restaurant in Nassau. Otherwise your money will go up in smoke.

Denizens of the Atlantis Aquarium


The maid was cleaning the house yesterday, and the vacuum cleaner was noisy. I couldn't work, so I took a stroll down to the Atlantis aquarium. It is just a five minute walk from the house, and it doesn't cost money to get in.

These are a few snaps of the denizens there.

On another note, everyone did it. Among them are Bruce Willis and the Drifters. For the musical offering today, this is the best ever version of "Under the Boardwalk" by John Mellencamp.



Dillies Almost Ripe

I can't believe it. I found a dillie tree, or sapodilla tree, and with fruit on it. And further, the tree is in a public place where I can get some of the fruit. And it is within walking distance from my house.

I love dillies. When they are ripe, they taste like pumpkin pie and ice cream sprinkled with sugar. You can actually taste the nutmeg overtones in the fruit. It is an amazing tropical fruit. What is more amazing, is that this is the tree that gives chicle -- the sap that is the base of chewing gum. That is where they get the word Chiclet for the popular brand of gum.

I was walking home from the bank machine yesterday, and decided to not take the direct route back home, and I came across this dilly tree. I won't even give any clues, because it will be stripped bare if I do. One can pick green dillies and wait for them to ripen. You can bet that I will visit it often in the next few weeks.

The Slumbering Sailor

I was on the harbour bridge. Immediately below me was a mailboat called "The North Cat Island Special II". The back of this mailboat is flat vertical. The front of it has a ramp like a ferry to carry cars. In the back, there is an opening where the lifeboat is stowed. A sailor was settling down for a nap in the lifeboat. A perfect hiding place from the captain. I wouldn't want to be on that mailboat in an emergency. Look at the crates and junk in the lifeboat.




Today's musical offering comes from the oldest pop star in Europe.


The Unknown Thingie II

I have a fascination with objects that I have no idea what they are. In a previous blog entry, I told of a story that I read of a person who collected mysterious unknown objects, and got rid of them when he found out what they were. He once found an object so intriguing and the mystery of it was so intellectually stimulating, that when someone told him what it was, he was devastated to the point of suicide. I am dying to find out what this is, but not to the point of dying.

I was walking along the beach a couple of days ago, and this caught my eye. It was washed up.

The above is the view from one side. Here is the other side:


This is the side view:

It seems to be made of some sort of plastic compound. It also seems to be part of something that the wave broke up. It is a part of a cell phone? Does it come from a boat part? I don't know. If you do, please leave a comment. I am thinking of trying it out as a spaghetti measurer. Whatever it is, it is a "holey" object.

Are there any guesses as to what this is?

An Anonymous comment said: It's a skateboard riser, it goes between the board and truck.
I think that he may be right !!!

Navigating Remote Computer Through a VPN

The handliners fishing in the Nassau Harbour


This entry has nothing to do with the picture. The picture is just eye candy. This is a tech tip. I am doing this blog entry mainly as a reminder to myself and anyone else who finds themselves in the same predicament. You connect to a remote host via VPN. You connect, your password is accepted and then what? You want to navigate around the remote host. How do you do it? Google is no help. At least I couldn't find it. And I forgot after I successfully did it many times in the past.

The way you do it, is this way. First connect the VPN. Once you are connected successfully, you can navigate. Here is how. Let's suppose that the IP address of the remote host is 192.168.2.5. Open up the "My Computer" window. In the address bar, where you see the directory listing, type; \\192.168.2.5\c$

That gets you the C: directory of the remote host and you can click through the navigation from there. I always forgot how to do this, and now when I google VPN navigation, I will get this entry.

Started Collecting Again

I've done it! I've started collecting golf balls again. The last time I did this, I got up to 3,500 golf balls. I gave a lot away to family and friends. Some of our friends in Scotland put 6 of the Ocean Club imprinted golf balls on e-Bay and got a fairly considerable sum for them (in British pounds). The bulk of them went to Captain Dave from North Carolina who is incidentally a yacht captain, but in this case, he is currently employed as a first mate on a luxury yacht owned by a billionaire.

Yesterday, when I began collecting, I did not have my mask and snorkel. I got them all by just wading. What really ticked me off, is that two of them were stolen balls. They were from the practice range at the Ocean Club. I am a bit of a golf purist, and one does not steal golf balls from the club. It is okay to use the 5 toed wedge and give your ball a kick for a better lie. It is okay to shave a stroke off your score because a bird flew by and distracted you. It is okay to take a few mulligans because you are testing the aerodynamics of an unfamiliar situation. But it is not okay to steal balls from the practice range and use them in a game of golf.


The reason why they will steal and use practice balls, is that the 17th hole is a risk/reward type of hole. The gold tees have you tee off on a bend in the beach. You have to carry the ball over the beach, and drive it far enough to reach the fairway again. It is a testosterone hole. Many men have greater levels of testosterone than of golfing ability. That is why I find so many golf balls. But it is the wimpy, cheap cowards who steal the practice balls. They know that they don't have what it takes to drive the fairway over the beach, and they are too cheap to try it with a real ball so they steal the practice balls. These people disgust me.

On another note, I see that the recession is still in place. I found a genuine autographed Jack Nicklaus ball on Golfball Beach. When I found it, it was worth $190 on eBay.
Then the price jumped to about $700 discounted to $539. It has been at that level for a year. So I will hang on to it, and wait for the recession to be over. Maybe in a few years, it will be worth a thousand or so.

And today, I have a music offering as well. In my first year of university, I used to listen to the French language stations from across the river in Quebec. I used it to improve my French, which at that point consisted of a single word -- "Cinquante" which is Fifty. It was the name of a Labatt's beer. One of the songs on the hit parade at the time, is the song below.




(thanks to Yves who found this for me)

A Music Critic

I took the above photo in Marina Village. The steel drum band was playing. I didn't notice until afterwards, the kid in the corner of the picture. Is he being critical of the music?



And speaking of music, this is my morning music today:




Bottle Brush Flower and Tree


Spring has come to the Bahamas as well as the rest of the world and all sorts of things are in bloom. The bottlebrush trees all along East Bay Street are starting to bloom. The flowers look like those brushes that are used to clean bottles. Come to think of it, I haven't seen a bottlebrush in about 20 years.

Here is my Sunday morning music as I write this:

The Half Life of a Feral Kitten on Paradise Island

Greyface is a bully. He is the meanest son-of-a-bitch on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. He is a tomcat. He beat up our feral kitties on a regular basis. He would make his rounds around Paradise Island just to terrorize the other cats. Any female cat in heat, he would claim, and sire another load of kittens. His matings could be heard across half the island. The kitties would be bloody after an encounter with Greyface.

On the way to Cabbage Beach, there was a litter of Greyface's kittens. They have his distinctive head shape which is angular and quite unattractive for a cat. The staff from the Atlantis laundry and water recovery plant nearby feed the kittens. One of them is pictured above. They are as skittish as all get out. They are wild to the core, just like their sire.

I am going to switch gears for a minute, and introduce the concept of half-life. Half-life is the period of time it takes for a substance undergoing decay or destruction to decrease by half. The name originally was used to describe a characteristic of unstable atoms (radioactive decay), but may apply to any quantity which follows a set-rate decay or destruction. The original term, dating to 1907, was "half-life period", which was later shortened to "half-life" sometime in the early 1950s. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

I once worked with a bunch of ingenious engineers who would just for fun, calculate the half life of the flies that would hatch in a window on a warm day in the winter. I am sure that you have seen this. The sun shines brightly and soon the window is full of buzzing flies. A couple of hours later, the flies are dying like ... well .... flies. There bodies are strewn all over the window sill. The guys would calculate the half life of the flies (the rate at which half of them would be dead) and it would be something like 5 hours.

It struck me that the kittens of Paradise Island have a high mortality rate and indeed they demonstrate a half life. The batch of kittens that the above pictured one belongs to came from a litter of 4. Six months later (now), there are just two left. I thought that I was making a huge contribution to science by discovering that the half life of the kittens is six months. In six months, there were exactly half of the kittens. I was quite proud of my achievement.

Enter my friend Yves. He pointed out to me that my calculations were erroneous, because a cat has nine lives. If there were two cats left after six months, then that means that in the short period of time, they plowed through 18 lives. The calculations were a little more involved. The cats were born in October, which was 180 days duration. There is serendipity in that number because it is easy to divide it by 18, which is the number of lives that the cats went through. When you do so, you get 10 days. So I can positively state that the half life of a Paradise Island kitten is 10 days per life per cat or 10 days/life/cat. In terms of hours, this works out to 240 hour-life-cats.

I fully expect a Nobel Prize in science for discovery this piece of knowledge. Winning a Nobel Prize would be the cat's meow, especially for this.


Asue -- An Strange Way to Bank

I was perusing the online newspaper, and I saw the ad above put out by RBC or the Royal Bank of Canada based in Nassau. Canadians reading this blog will know the Royal Bank as a staid conservative, large institution. They would be surprised to know that they run an Asue here in the islands.

The Black population in the Bahamas is largely of West African origin -- specifically Yoruba. Some of the customs came across the ocean with them when their ancestors were stolen from Africa. An Asue is one of them.

If you google asue, you will see a reference to it as a Yoruba style lottery. It is nothing of the sort. It started out as a poor man's banking mechanism. Let us suppose that a person needs $100 real quick. That person is unbanked and does not have access to credit. The solution was to form an asue. He found 10 people to kick in 10 dollars. Then he took the first "draw" of $100 dollars. Everyone in the Asue kicks in $10 a week for ten weeks and every single person gets a draw of $100. It is almost like an accelerated savings plan. In its original sense, it is a net-net game with no winners or losers or profits.

So how and why would the staid Royal Bank get involved with an asue? Well, one of the biggest issues with joining an asue, is if someone welches or cannot pay their weekly or monthly contribution. Once they get their draw, they stop paying into it, and the poor people at the end of the list get shafted.

With the Royal Bank as the asue-maker, they have access to the person's bank account and assets, so the incidence of default drops dramatically. What does the Royal get out this? Silly, they are a bank. They get profit and fees. They charge a fee to hold the asue. There is no risk for them, because it is not a credit function. They just make money for holding the wallet.