Public outrage, handwringing and vows of defiance by politicians and on social media are widespread following the daylight assassination by homemade gun of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a major political force even after he stepped down in 2020 as the nation’s longest-serving political leader.

“The bullet pierced the foundation of democracy,” the liberal Asahi newspaper, a regular foil of the conservative, sometimes history-revisionist Abe, said in a front-page editorial after the killing. “We tremble with rage.

People offer prayers near the site of the fatal shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Nara, western Japan Saturday, July 9, 2022. Public outrage, handwringing and vows of defiance in media and among political commentators are widespread in Japan following the daylight assassination of Abe. (Kyodo News via AP)

© Provided by Associated PressPeople offer prayers near the site of the fatal shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Nara, western Japan Saturday, July 9, 2022. Public outrage, handwringing and vows of defiance in media and among political commentators are widespread in Japan following the daylight assassination of Abe. (Kyodo News via AP)

Part of the collective fury is because crime is so rare in Japan, where it’s not uncommon to see cellphones and purses lying unattended in cafes. Gun attacks are vanishingly rare, especially in recent years and especially in political settings, though they have happened.

But the shock can also be traced to the setting: Abe was killed near a crowded train station, in the middle of a campaign speech for parliamentary elections, something that Japan, despite a long history of one-party political domination and growing voter apathy, takes seriously.

The clueless leaders who broke the societies and economies of the West are facing their comeuppance. This is an Age of Rage, and it is only beginning.

Boris Johnson, for starters, is a bust. The prime minister who made Brexit happen was knifed by his own Conservative Party. It’s a death by a thousand cuts, most of them self-inflicted.

The most popular prime minister since Margaret Thatcher was fired for turning a blind eye to boozy parties at 10 Downing Street when the rest of the country was under COVID lockdowns, and turning a blinder eye to the buttock-fondling activities of a rogue Conservative MP called, inevitably, Stephen Pincher.

The boozing and bottom-pinching is just local color from the land of Benny Hill. In the big picture, public rage — the force that brought down Boris Johnson — has also paralyzed the presidency of Emmanuel Macron of France, and given Joe Biden the worst popularity ratings since polling began. And the tidal wave of anger is still growing.

Johnson’s colleagues made a pre-emptive strike before Britain’s voters turned on the party as a whole. The French public had no choice but to return Macron to the presidency in April’s elections: He was the least-worst alternative to the ex-fascist Marine Le Pen and the neo-communist Jean-Luc Mélenchon. But in June’s parliamentary elections, the French voted for the fringe parties. Macron, a little man with Napoleonic plans, is now struggling to build a coalition.

President Joe Biden speaks about abortion access during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Friday, July 8, 2022, in Washington.
President Joe Biden’s approval rating crashed to just 30%, its lowest mark yet, on July 9.
AP/Evan Vucci

The American public have another two years of Joe Biden’s masterful leadership to look forward to. But the voters will get the chance to register their disgust in the midterms. They are as sure to massacre the Dems in November as Joe Biden is to forget what he had for breakfast.

Leftists are pleased that the original bad boys of populism are out — first Donald Trump, then Benjamin Netanyahu, now Boris — but there is no normal to return to. The voters trusted their leaders when the COVID-19 epidemic broke out — and their leaders panicked. Elected politicians outsourced the biggest challenge since World War II to the control freaks at the CDC while leaving it to corporate chemists to actually come up with the vaccines.  And the Biden administration still won’t tell us where it thinks COVID-19 came from.

Emmanuel Macron’s restrictions on movement would have brought a gleam to the eye of a Vichy colonel: Not since the days of Marshal Pétain had the French needed an official pass to go beyond the end of the street. At least Macron played the role of dictator with unerring conviction.

Boris Johnson imposed three merciless lockdowns, then broke his own COVID rules. Joe Biden ordered the cruel and pointless masking of children, then ambled about maskless in front of the cameras.

The leaders of the Western democracies proved they neither understood nor cared about the suffering of their peoples. Instead, they mandated government by and for the political class, its corporate patrons and its clients in the pajama class. They printed money faster than ever before, and they handicapped their economies by committing to irrational green energy policies.

The results? The post-COVID economy is a disaster. We have an unnecessary energy crisis, and the credibility of democracy itself is tumbling into an income gap that keeps getting wider. The trust between rulers and ruled has been broken.

France's president Emmanuel Macron arrives at Elmau Castle, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Sunday, June 26, 2022. The Group of Seven leading economic powers are meeting in Germany for their annual gathering Sunday through Tuesday.
France’s president Emmanuel Macron initiated strict COVID-19 regulations during the pandemic.
AP/Martin Meissner

The worst of it is, no one forced our leaders to opt for lockdowns, mask mandates, infant vaccinations, mad money printing and green boondoggles. This was the experts’ ill-informed idea of good government.

Johnson and Biden both turned left after winning office, imposing expensive and unworkable green energy policies, and raising taxes even as they promised to revive their economies. Biden, with his usual integrity, will blame Vladimir Putin or white supremacy when the Democrats lose both House and Senate in the midterms. But it was Biden who campaigned on a promise to kill the carbon-energy industry that, in a success supported by the G.W. Bush, Obama and Trump administrations, had turned the US from an energy exporter to an energy importer.

Tech layoffs have hit almost every region in the world, and Southeast Asia is no exception, with companies like Sea, and JD.ID among those affected. In particular, fintech startups—BNPL, credit and lending, and inventory-holding businesses—are vulnerable, like in other parts of the world.

Glints, one of Southeast Asia’s largest jobs platforms with over 30,000 active job listings per month and 40,000 employers, recently issued a report that shows the situation may not be so dour (even though it probably doesn’t feel that way to someone who just got laid off). There still exists a tech talent crunch, even in Singapore, where most layoffs and hiring freezes have happened because it’s regional headquarters for many international businesses and a startup hub.

“It’s a correction in general. I think what we have seen is that there has been a lot of capital being pumped into the tech industry over the past two to three years in a major bull run. With that, we had a lot of companies that have also expanded rapidly,” said Glints co-founder and CEO Oswald Yeo told TechCrunch.

“Singapore companies seem to be responding the most quickly to the changes in the macroeconomic environment,” he added, “Which is not necessarily a bad thing, because for some of these changes, you want to move quickly,”

Teams that have been hit hardest include operations, financial and human resource departments, plus some sales and marketing teams.

A lot of new hiring will happen remotely, with companies turning to Vietnam and Indonesia, which have both seen less layoffs, for top tech talent. This is fueled in part by the willingness for a decentralized workforce created by the pandemic.

“Together with the cost saving measures because on the one hand, comfort in remote hiring has increased because of the pandemic,” Yeo said. “Then on the other end, there is this need to save costs. So from both a human capital angle and a financial capital angle, a lot of companies are now actually doing more remote hiring. On Glints, for example, we see remote job opportunities has grown by 10 times over the past year.”

In Malaysia, regional companies still hire cross-border, but local companies have shifted back to local hiring. Glints said they do not expect mid- to senior-compensation to drop from current levels, but junior talent compensation might be affected.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has tested positive for COVID-19 and reports experiencing very mild symptoms, his spokesman said Sunday night.

Schumer, 71, is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, spokesman Justin Goodman said in a statement.

The New York Democrat will follow federal health guidelines and quarantine this week while working remotely, Goodman said.

“Anyone who knows Leader Schumer knows that even if he’s not physically in the Capitol, through virtual meetings and his trademark flip phone he will continue with his robust schedule and remain in near constant contact with his colleagues,” Goodman said.

Another new trends is fixed-term, usually one year, contracts, that allow companies to better predict their financial outlook. “Employers are more cautious of committing themselves to permanent contracts with employers,” said Yeo.

“It’s not all doom and gloom in two ways, and there are still positives,” Yeo said. For example, he said there is still disproportionate demand for technology and product talent on Glints, with the ratio in job seekers’ favor.

Layoffs also give startups a chance to build their core teams.

“For companies who are in good position and can afford it, it’s actually a great time to strengthen the bench, shape the management bench and the leadership bench with top management talent because there’s now a little bit less competition for talent.”

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