Current podcasts – 2018

I like to listen to podcasts while doing something else – gardening, cooking, exercising.  I cover a number of topics – politics, technology, films, health, current affairs, history, German etc. Here are most of the podcasts I currently keep up with – but I don’t listen to any particular podcast if the topic doesn’t interest me. They are very loosely separated into categories:



The Dusty Den – book and film reviews – only broadcast occasionally – film and TV reviews from the UK, but covers US too



Langsam Gesprochene Nachrichten – Deutsche Welle – – comes with the script so you can read along

Was heißt das auf Deutsch – songs with English lyrics translated to German

DeutschTop-Thema – various themes in German, covered in two or three minutes – short teaching podcasts

News des Nachrichtens – from Berlin about Germany but in English – I met the podcaster in Berlin once

Radio Spaetkauf – from and about Berlin but in English – – I once attended the live podcast in Berlin

Slow German – every couple of weeks or so, covering one theme for a few minutes



Healing with Jennifer Daniels – now on Republic Broadcasting

Kick it Naturally – natural approaches to solving health problems



The Dangerous History Podcast – fantastic history podcast – but much is US based – long running political, health, history etc. podcast



Gadget Lab podcast – from Wired Magazine US – from Wired Magazine UK – from PC Pro magazine – UK

Reply All – US – idiosyncratic topics – sometimes really interesting, sometimes I skip it



News in Slow Japanese – and full speed, too – a few minutes on a specific topic

Disrupting Japan – in English – Tokyo based, in English, talking to start-ups


POLITICS & NEWS – Japan based, excellently researched politics, news, history

NovaraFM – far left UK broadcasts, but some more moderate coverage, too

Project censored – another mostly left wing leading podcast, that advocates no censorship

Free Man beyond the Wall – right oriented freedom podcast

Liberty Weekly Podcast  – right oriented freedom podcast

Brexit Central – mainly anti-Brexit

Brexit Podcast – pro-Brexit – right oriented freedom podcast –  – right oriented freedom podcast – right oriented freedom podcast – right oriented podcast – right oriented freedom podcast

Democracy Now – far left extremists – yesterday they were pushing marxism. Best are interviews with musicians, which they occasionally have.



SBS en español – from Australia, short podcasts on various topics

Radio Nacional de España – Nómadas –

News in Slow Spanish – weekly or so

Duolingual Podcast – a series of podcasts in both English and Spanish



Eschaton – eclectic, but interesting

The Mind Renewed – from the UK, sometimes also political or religious – from Baltimore, sometimes ecological, music… – from Australia – politics, too

Don’t waive the wave


In Malaysia they are trying to phase out signing when you use a credit or debit card, in favour of using a PIN number. But below a certain figure, RM250 in Cold Storage, for example, you can just wave your card over the reader to pay.

As there are CCTV cameras everywhere – some that would see the number you punch in if you use a PIN, I would prefer to use the wave payment instead, as it would be more secure. Alternatively, check around for CCTV cameras first to see if you can input the PIN securely.

But don’t forget to use cash – if you don’t use it you’ll lose it as banks (and their governments) would prefer to go cashless – then everyone is a captive customer, and they’ll be able to charge you for having an account instead of paying you interest.  And, of course, it gives governments almost total control over you, as if you don’t cooperate, they simply freeze / confiscate your electronic money – and you won’t be able to buy or sell any more – including useful things like food.

If the duty free status of Langkawi is important to you for your retirement or trip there – rules have changed

From the beginning of this month – November 2016 – the Malaysian government has tightened rules on duty-free purchases in Langkawi and other duty-free islands.

As a resident in Langkawi, or as a visitor, it is now less attractive.  You are restricted in the volume you can purchase, and where you can purchase duty-free.  It appears, for example, that eating at a restaurant you will have to pay duty for wine etc.  with your meal.  If you want to use a car you have purchased duty-free on the island on the mainland you will have to pay a very high bond, apparently.

Overall, apart from making me less likely to visit Langkawi again, it doesn’t really affect me, living in Penang as I do.  If you think it might affect you please check yourself, as I have only briefly read about it and don’t know the complete details.


Keep an eye out for GST mistakes

Keep an eye out for GST mistakes. To illustrate, it is easiest just to tell my story.

Before I start, let me just say I bear no ill-will towards Cold Storage for this incident. Mistakes happen. The government has forced huge costs on businesses (and thus consumers) by making them unpaid tax collectors, and businesses would have wanted to keep their costs in implementing this as low as possible.  Mistakes are likely.

I only wanted to buy coconut oil, glanced at the price, picked it up and went to the checkout.  I paid in cash, and when I received the change, as I vaguely remembered the price, thought I had been overcharged.  So I queried this with the cashier, and she showed me the price on the receipt.  She had given me the correct change according to the receipt.



Something seemed wrong, so I returned to the shelf and photographed the price and GST rating there.

price and GST rating of 0% on shelf

price and GST rating of 0% on shelf

The price on the receipt was RM64.91 ex-GST, but the price on the shelf was RM64.89.  Now, the government has decreed that the price indicated must include GST.  So the proper price should be as shown on the shelf.  And GST was added, by mistake, to a slightly different price for the product.  This is three mistakes.

As is usual here, you explain the problem to one staff member, they go and get another staff member – and you have to explain all over again.  Then they go and get another staff member, and you start again from the beginning and explain it all again.  The shelf photo I had taken  made it easy for them to understand. So, the fourth staff member gave me a huge form to fill out, I said, as usual, I’d only fill out my name and phone number, and then I got my RM3.90 back in cash.  And they apologised nicely and shook my hand.

As much as possible I try to avoid buying products that have GST on them, so for me this was the main point in this exercise once I had found the mistakes.

One week of GST

I’m not a big shopper.  But in one week of normal shopping, buying the odd thing, eating out or having a drink, I notice how much more most things cost.  This is, of course, due to the 6% GST, but also due to retailers and establishments hiking their prices in addition.  I can understand this to an extent, as a business being a tax collector for the government incurs accounting, handling and software costs which would have to be passed on to the customer. Thus the cost to the customer is presumably in excess of the 6% GST.

However, it seems to me some of the price rises are greater than these extra costs would justify.  At Eurodeli the other day the 3 drinks for RM39++up until now has become 2 drinks for RM40++.  ++ was 10% service charge and 6% government tax.  The new ++ is 10% service charge and 6% GST. One drink increased from RM13 to RM20.  The same deal has disappeared from the Tree Top Bar.

But at Daiso, where everything was RM5, each item is now RM5.30 – so 6% more – no price gouging here, just straight addition of GST.

I’ve been admonished that my blogs on GST are one-sided. What about the price drops?  Well, if you buy a car, on some models you may save RM100 or a little more.  If you buy a Merc. you might save considerably more.

Another friend wrote in a comment that this extra tax was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and expats are leaving for other countries.  Namely Indonesia, the Philippines and Europe.

Reading the US “Money” magazine recently, I spotted an article on retiring abroad.  They quoted monthly costs for living in some other countries – Malaysia USD$1,500, Ecuador USD$1,500, Malta $2,000, Mexico $2,200 – that’s all I remember.  They also recommended renting, as opposed to buying, so I assume this amount includes rent.

Just looking at Malaysia, where $1,500 buys RM5,400, I think this is hardly realistic.  And the USD is much higher than it has been for a while. The magazine appears to be aimed at  middle class Americans.  Renting a condo of a suitable standard would cost at least RM4,000 alone. Even if they lowered their standards they’d have to pay RM2,500 for rent.  Then, renting a car long-term. And normal living costs.  I think they would have to really cut back to live on this amount. It is certainly not impossible, but they would have to live quite differently from what they are used to.

It’s been a while since I was in Malta or Mexico, so I have less of an idea of living costs there, but I doubt the figures for Malta are realistic, too.  So as much as I hate yet another tax, and the suddenly increased cost of living, I am not moving.  If you are footloose and renting, without too many possessions, it may be worth the trouble.