6-2, 6-2

Paused for a month, I played really well today (no doubles … but not sure if my waiter’s tray is gone …), although started off with 0-2 in the first set.

It rained a little but we’re able to continue and finish our game.

Best of all, I’ve the homemade dumplings for dinner -:)

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Messi sits out game in Hong Kong, triggers China’s ideological paranoia

Messi’s mess in Hong Kong

Soccer star Lionel Messi sits out game in Hong Kong, triggers China’s ideological paranoia, 2024.2.14

The recent furor surrounding Lionel Messi‘s absence from a soccer game in Hong Kong provides a striking illustration of China’s deep-seated ideological paranoia and a tendency toward political schizophrenia.

At the heart of this controversy lies the Chinese Communist Party‘s profound suspicion of the international community, rooted in a belief of a pervasive and coordinated conspiracy aimed at undermining the communist government. This mindset propels the Communist Party to interpret even the most minor incidents as evidence of a grand scheme against it, often leading to exaggerated and absurd reactions that serve to justify its paranoid worldview — and its aggression and belligerence.

On Feb. 4, the Argentine-born international soccer star Lionel Messi was in Hong Kong with his team, Inter Miami, for a match with a Hong Kong team. Mr. Messi, however, stayed on the substitute bench throughout the game due to what the visiting team’s doctor described as an injury. The disappointed Hong Kong fans discovered that Mr. Messi nevertheless played for 30 minutes in a soccer match in Tokyo a short while later.

Suddenly, this minor sports incident involving Mr. Messi has been seized upon by the Chinese government’s extensive propaganda machine as a symbol of an alleged vast international conspiracy. Mr. Messi‘s decision not to play in Hong Kong has been construed as a move orchestrated by myriad forces, each with its own historical and ideological significance to China.

First, the reaction to Mr. Messi‘s absence cannot be disentangled from the Chinese leaders’ profound loathing of the recent political developments in Argentina. Argentina’s shift from a long-standing alignment with left-wing political forces toward the free-market stance championed by the newly elected president, Javier Milei, has been a source of contention for the Chinese government.

Mr. Milei’s explicit rejection of socialism and his opposition to Argentina joining the BRICS pact, a coalition seen as an alternative to Western economic dominance and which China aims to lead, represents a direct challenge to China‘s influence. Mr. Messi, as a global icon of Argentine identity, has thus become an unwitting participant in this ideological battle, with his not playing in Hong Kong interpreted as a deliberate act of defiance and a statement against China‘s political ambitions.

Second, the narrative constructed around Mr. Messi’s club, Inter Miami, further exemplifies the extent of the Chinese Communist Party‘s ideological paranoia. Chinese state media announced that the Florida-based soccer club is an anti-communist front organization with collaboration with the CIA.

The Global Times, an official Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece specializing in international affairs and anti-U.S. fanaticism, published a hit piece on Feb. 8 entitled “Messi’s Soccer Club Bosses Have Ties to the CIA,” alleging the father of two of the club’s three owners, brothers Jorge and Jose Mas — the other owner is the retired British soccer star David Beckham — was recruited by the CIA after he fled to Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

The Global Times concluded that “It’s highly unlikely that Messi’s snub to Hong Kong and China was his personal decision. It’s most likely that he acted according to instructions given to him by his bosses (fathered by a CIA agent).”

Thus, Mr. Messi’s absence from the field is framed as part of a broader anti-communist agenda, suggesting a level of international collusion that borders on the fantastical. Such claims reflect the Chinese government’s tendency to view world affairs through a lens of ideological confrontation, where every action is seen as part of a larger battle against communism.

The case of Japan serves as another layer in this complex narrative, with Mr. Messi’s participation in a game in Tokyo following his absence in Hong Kong sparking further speculation and conspiracy theories. Hu Xijin, the Chinese Communist Party‘s most notorious and noxious propagandist, tweeted on Feb. 6: “Why didn’t Messi play in Hong Kong or participate in the handshake with HK chief executive? And why did he smile, run freely and looked fit in Japan?”

The Communist Party‘s reaction, demanding an explanation and apology from Mr. Messi, underscores a sensitivity to perceived slights and a readiness to interpret individual decisions as politically motivated.

Moreover, the incident touches on the sensitive issue of Hong Kong and its status in China‘s political framework. In 2017, upon request, Mr. Messi sent an autographed photo to one of his biggest fans, the jailed 2010 Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo via one of Liu’s friends in Hong Kong. China was deeply paranoid about this and regarded Mr. Messi’s action as dangerous and subversive. On Feb. 7, Regina Ip Lau Suk Yee, a leading Chinese Communist Party proxy in Hong Kong, angrily wrote, “Messi should never be allowed to return to Hong Kong. His lies and hypocrisy are disgusting.” She continued, “Hong Kong people hate Messi, Inter-Miami, and the black hand behind them, for the deliberate and calculated snub to Hong Kong.” The vilification of Mr. Messi, based on his perceived support for human rights reveals the lengths to which the Chinese Communist Party is willing to go to suppress dissent and maintain its narrative of unity and strength. All in all, the uproar over Lionel Messi‘s not playing in a soccer game in Hong Kong encapsulates the communist worldview as the real force that animates China‘s political system. An entrenched ideological paranoia and a propensity for political schizophrenia characterize such a worldview. The Chinese government’s reaction to this incident reveals not only its deep-seated fears of international conspiracy but also the complex interplay of geopolitics, ideology and individual agency that shapes its engagement with the world. It serves as a perfect illustration of the ideological absurdity at the heart of China‘s political landscape. With it, an international superstar is now an international supervillain against the socialist motherland of China. • Miles Yu is a senior fellow and director of the China Center at the Hudson Institute. Copyright © 2024 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission. Please read our comment policy before commenting. Click to Read More and Vie

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Messi’s mess

The first time I heard of Messi’s Hong Kong trip was from a friend’s posting on WeChat on Feb 6:


Six days later, I made a post about Messi after the Super Bowl when Taylor Swift’s bf Travis Kelce team Kansas City Chiefs won it, the second time in a row:

昨天Super Bowl Taylor Swift 霉霉男友队赢了
另外一个煤 因没出场 还在发酵
前几天的留言还多是 不请他代言之类的
[偷笑][捂脸] 人家稀罕吗?
能加入🇺🇸队的 都是半退休的 has been

他选了🇺🇸 钱是最少的

Seriously, is this worth the commotion in China? A has been soccer star didn’t play, so what? Was his appearance written into the contract (no matter what he has to? or unless he’s injured?)? If so, it’s a legal dispute. If not, – like you didn’t pay for his appearance, then what’s the hell did you expect him to play?!?

Here are some coverage:

Today, I saw this great article (below), that I agree in many ways; and it made me thinking of an incident, more than quarter of century ago: In late 1990s, our village decided to hold fancy dinner party with next village on lunar Chinese new year. It was a great idea. For $100 per head, we got dress up, wine and dine. A few older couples used this opportunity to show case their ball room dance skills …

At that time, people from mainland was the minority. For some reason, one of the organizers loved me, dragging me everywhere to her social events. Dancing? Call Irene; singing? Call Irene; yoga at her home, call Irene. Big social event? Get Irene …

大眼李哥: 站住别动! 我是中国人民的感情 2024-02-15

































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2024-02-15 09:32:32

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2024-02-15 09:22:22

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Paddle board @ Copacabana

Rio de Janeiro

Sunset at Copacabana Beach.

Watching over the sunset from the Fort, I saw the paddle boarders. It was 6:40 when I got to an outfit who was willing to rent me one. The first one to the southern most won’t do it – it’s too late.

The water is relatively calm. By then, all the paddle boarders have returned. I was the only one out there. Shortly after, I saw a huge turtle to my left. Then I began to dream a killer whale swims under neath of my board -:)

I returned a little after 7. Thanks for renting me a board.


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Pool at Sofitel

The swimming pool at Sofitel is bit small and can certainly use some cleaning. The moldy tiles or the grout is pretty disgusting.

There is a full time staff watching over the gym, sauna room, and the pool. They/he bring drinks to the pool side.

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Gabriela Sabatini played here

Sabatini (1970-; 1985-96; $8,785,850) was born in Buenos Aires. She played two finals, won US Open in 1990, and lost Wimbledon (1991), both against Steffi Graf. Her highest ranking was #3, reached 1989.

On the bus tour we saw two red clay tennis camps. She lost 5 French Open doubles SF (1985, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992) and 3 final (1986, 1987, 1989) at Paris’ Roland Garros.

The youngsters play well

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6-1 w/ Golfer

I’m a little deflated on getting rid of my waiter’s tray when serving. I know all the theory and tried to do the right thing. BUT unable!

Tell me, why do I want to get rid of the waiter’s tray?

The iffy weather ruined our regular lineup. I ended up practiced for an hour then played doubles with Golfer, vs Matt and Sally. We won 6-1 without a double – the third time in a row. But I’m not too happy. I’d rather lose, with doubles but with correctly motion!

In the video, I’ve

  • hammer grip
  • holding up the racket – salute/birthday hat position
  • swing … why do I change back to waiter’s tray?

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… is there a game, and where?

Waking up not knowing if I’ve a game and where to play. Senior moment. But glad I clear all that up and how up on time.

🎾 6-0, 6-2, no double (w/ Hope & Al; Kurt) – my second game in a row without a double fault; and my first serve % is high [跳跳][玫瑰]… but but but … the waiter’s tray may still be there

老年痴呆 醒来不知咂回事儿 不记得有没有🎾打 在哪儿打

🏊 气温50多度 水温 77 爽

他说每次游一小时 [强]

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Windy; no double

A very windy day due to tornado, one other tennis group canceled but we soldiered on. 5-0, 5-4, 2-5. No double fault, which I’m very happy. I thought I did good with hammer BUT the waiter’s tray is still there!!!

On one of my down the T serve in the second set, even I thought was about to go out but it landed inside – most likely due to the strong wind. Both opponents called it out. Although I protested but I proceeded to take the 2nd serve. One lesson, never call a line before the ball actually landed.

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Lazy susan do over; kiln

I’ve done a turntable (rotating tray) mix and match but don’t like what I made. So today I made it again … the 2nd set of lazy susan, with Potter’s Choice Dark Green PC-45 glaze.


… and lay the pieces into the kiln:

… my first lazy susan pieces, Potter’s Choice Seaweed PC-42 glaze:


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