Batting Raja Cavalli Marci in 2020

The Mani Ratnam Rabbit hole Part 6(a) - Raavan(an)(2010)/ Thalapathi (1991) - The Epic Adaptations - The Antagonist Perspective

𝟭. 𝗥𝗮𝗮𝘃𝗮𝗻/𝗥𝗮𝗮𝘃𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗻(𝟮𝟬𝟭𝟬)
If you retell a story - you write it, tell it, or present it again, often in a different way from its original form. A new account or an adaptation of a story: it could be a retelling of a Roman legend, Greek legend or in this case an Indian legend. Sometimes, in the retelling, something new emerges, something that previously everybody has overlooked.
The essence of Indian mythology is obviously beyond the simple good vs evil trope. If you care to dig deep, there's an interesting story at every step.
We learn our first lessons of right and wrong from epics and it forms the base of our character for the rest of our lives. However, as we grow up, the complexities of the epics we grew up reading and listening to attract our attention.
As grown ups, we realize that it’s hard to departmentalize the aspects of life into boxes of white and black. We look at the epics in a new light and this time, with a little less judgement. One such character of the Indian epic, Ramayana, was that of Raavan, a person whose finer sides had always been less known.
Ravan played his role as a villain, but it was that of a much-needed villain, that brought balance to the equation. There are many people in the world, who still worship him. Thai, Lankan, Buddhist, Indian & several other Asian texts have different versions of Raavan's story.
As legend goes, Ravan was one of the most learned scholars to have ever lived. He had a keen interest in music and was a highly accomplished veena player.
The story goes that after shooting the fatal arrow on the battlefield of Lanka, Ram told his brother, Lakshman, “Go to Ravana quickly before he dies & request him to share whatever knowledge he can. A brute he may be, but he is also a great scholar”. Lakshman sat beside the dying demon-king and learnt from him important lessons in statecraft and diplomacy.
Keeping in theme, Mani Ratnam does it again, presenting anti-establishment narratives through retelling of epics.
(𝘎𝘰 𝘵𝘰 𝘍𝘪𝘭𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘞𝘪𝘬𝘪𝘱𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘢 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 2 𝘧𝘪𝘭𝘮𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘹𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦)
Abhishek as Beera/Vikram as Veeraiya 'Veera' meaning Brave, a gangster in a rural area. He is nicknamed 'Ravan' since he is seen as a hero by locals but as a villain by outsiders.
Govinda as Sanjeevani KumaKarthik as Gnanaprakasam, A forest ranger who has worked in the jungle for 25 years and he helps Dev find Veera's gang. He enjoys joking around. Hanuman served as an inspiration for this character.
Aishwarya Rai as Ragini, Dev's wife who is kidnapped by Veera and kept in the jungle for 14 days. Her character is based on Sita. As per Ramayan Sita is considered an avatar of Goddess Lakshmi. Raagini is another name for Lakshmi.
Vikram/Prithviraj as SP Dev Sharma/Prakash, Superintendent of Police who wants to shut down Veera's crime empire. His character is based on Lord Ram. Dev is an Indian name derived from Sanskrit देव (deva) meaning "God".
Ravi Kishan as Mangal/Prabhu as Singarasu, Veera's elder brother who supervises everything in the gang. He also loves to eat & sleep like the character of Kumbhakarna in Ramayan.
Priyamani as Vennila, Veera's half-sister who wants to marry Velan. On her wedding day, Veera was shot by Dev and the police forcefully brings her to the police station where she is brutally raped. She eventually commits suicide, prompting the events of the film. Her character is loosely based on Shurpanakha.
Nikhil Dwivedi/John Vijay as DSP Hemant & the main perpetrator in Vennila's rape assassination. He is Dev's trusted deputy. His character is loosely based on Lakshman.
(𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘤𝘬 𝘸𝘪𝘬𝘪)
𝐁𝐞𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐰𝐨𝐨𝐝𝐬 𝐀𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐲𝐬𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐲 𝐇𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐝𝐫𝐢
In the era of intellectually lazy film making Raavan is a superior modern exploration of psychological interactions. The reason why it has possibly disappointed the masses is because it is not a kidnap-rescue story or a terrorism story (just like Kannathil Muthamitaal was not a story about the Sri Lankan war; like Roja and Dil Se were not about terrorism). Raavan(an) like the rest of Mani Ratnam's stories is about complex human emotional relationships.
The already much praised visual poetry is apparent all the way through, hats off to Santosh Sivan. What is also true is the effort put into every frame by every actor. The physical effort is also very visible all the way through. Having said that, it is out and out a director's movie.
Mani Ratnam has given his personal twist to the Tamil Dravidian version of the Ramayana. The gist of that version & some parts in the Thai version goes like this - Sita is Ravana's daughter & the destiny is that if they lived together Ravana's entire clan would die; hence Ravana plants Sita in Janaka's gardens to ensure that she grows as a princess that she is; when Sita is living in the forest being constantly attacked by various demons it is to rescue her from a terrible situation that Ravana takes her away - father's love to protect offspring. Perceptions overtake reality, honor overcomes reason and Ravana dies. This is a version that remains unacceptable for most Indians including Tamils.
Using cinematic license with the Dravidian Ramayana threads, Mani Ratnam uses the theme of 'protection' while changing the relationships. Another excellent use of artistic liberty is the reversal of 'Indru poi naalai vaaraai' situation. Bad heroes prevail and good villains perish, makes one wonder if good and evil are really as polarized as we always thought it was.
When the Stockholm syndrome or reverse Stockholm syndrome (Lima syndrome) is denied or portrayed in men or foreigners it would have been acceptable to Indians. But in the case of an Indian married woman and that too a policeman's wife and a forest brigand with its social class differences along with some shades of romance thrown in, is obviously too hot to handle even when implied and anathema when explicit. So understandably the mental resistance to see the film with the usual suspension of disbelief is very high much before the titles are shown. Get over it, grow up and Raavan(an) becomes actually enjoyable.
A particular genre of Indian commercial film consists of uninteresting variations of the formula in which melodramatic metaphorical people hanker after committed yet confused birds right up to the altar, mistaking their exaggerated puppy crushes for love which is spewed out as a psychotic roller coaster of songs, hyper-hormonal dancing, trashed villains and repeatedly predictable endings in international settings. That is enjoyable too, if one wants to switch off from their busy lives and tune into some mind-free movie viewing. The problem is we are used to doing this too often that when a movie is made like it ought to be made we are losing the ability to recognise it.
If you did not like Raavan(an) & are wondering why it did not rock the box office, look into the mirror and not at Ratnam. Raavan(an) is for grown ups.
𝐀𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐥𝐞 𝐛𝐲 𝐒𝐚𝐧𝐣𝐮𝐤𝐭𝐚 𝐒𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐦𝐚 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐭
From the very first scene, Raavan is a visual whirl. In hippy language, trippy. In one of the earliest sequences in the film, Raagini (Aishwarya) is on a boat alone in the middle of a ferocious river when an eagle swoops down. She looks at it, the bird looks at her (a nod to Jatayu bird?). And then she looks up, to where her predator Beera/Veera (Abhishek/Vikram) is staring menacingly at her. Thick, misty air; howling waterfalls; barren trees; pouring rain; gigantic, ancient Vishnu statues surrounded by deep green trees—the forests where the film is shot make for our own natural Na’avi land (from Avatar). The film is a visual paean to Lal Maati, the fictional place where nature is beautiful and inscrutable.
But the technical inventiveness, unparalleled in Indian cinema, is a waste. In stylistic terms, there are some inventions. Visuals convey Ragini’s thoughts in one of the scenes. Intercut between a scene where she is lying inert on a damp, mossy gorge, is a scene of her crying out to her husband, standing by the river, to be rescued. There are a number of scenes like this, where desires, thoughts and imagination get translated into visuals. But how much can visuals speak the creator’s thoughts? Ratnam’s heroes are Santosh Sivan and V. Manikandan, the cinematographers of Raavan.
Set in a forest inhabited by a tribal community, the demon is Beera/Veera. He is a terror. The village is his fiefdom and he is both loved and hated by his people. His foe is the local superintendent of police Dev (Vikram/Prithviraj), who is posted in the district. Ragini, Dev’s wife, is a dance teacher who is besotted with him.
Beera and his band of men are armed goons who are fighting the establishment to avenge atrocities on them. Beera kidnaps Ragini, and Dev’s efforts to rescue her and kill Beera propel the rest of the story. While in the forest, Ragini is defiant, refusing to give in to Beera’s growing interest in her. Ratnam turns the Ram-Ravana-Sita triangle around, giving it a radical twist.
The subtext is, of course, Maoist rebellion. The tribal men are plunderers who, Ratnam suggests, turned violent after years of injustice. The government’s armed forces can’t get to them, although they are shown making constant inroads into the thick jungles. Ratnam has treated the forest with reverence. There are certain rules here, and some logic-defying situations. Human beings here can read thoughts and understand what another human being needs. Often, Raavan is ghostly, vanishing from a place in a fraction of a second.
𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒄𝒂𝒑𝒔 𝒐𝒏, 𝒍𝒆𝒕'𝒔 𝒅𝒊𝒈 𝒅𝒆𝒆𝒑
𝙋𝙖𝙥𝙚𝙧 𝙤𝙣 𝙎𝙪𝙗𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙊𝙪𝙧 𝙀𝙥𝙞𝙘𝙨: 𝙈𝙖𝙣𝙞 𝙍𝙖𝙩𝙣𝙖𝙢’𝙨 𝙍𝙚𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙍𝙖𝙢𝙖𝙮𝙖𝙣𝙖, 𝙗𝙮 𝘼𝙢𝙞𝙩 𝘽𝙖𝙨𝙤𝙡𝙚
Ratnam’s film Raavan depicts the contradiction between the adivasis and the State through the framework of the Ramayana. The film, however, deviates from the message of the Ramayana & raises the disturbing possibility that our myths of morality & bravery are someone else’s stories of rape & conquest.
The recasting of Raavan as the wronged subaltern & Ram as the scheming agent of imperialism brings to mind similar reinterpretations of other Hindu legends by Phule, which completely subvert the orthodox interpretation. In the context of the ongoing struggle between the tribals & the State, one hopes that the movie Raavan might stir this debate up once again.
Ratnam’s Raavan, starring Abhishek , Aishwarya, Vikram, Ravi Kishan & Govinda has received generally bad reviews & was a failure at the box office as well. It also suffers from some flaws such as bad acting & complete lack of attention to details. Yet, from the social & political standpoint the film’s grafting of the Ramayana on the conflict between adivasis & the Indian state is well worth thinking about. In this review we explore this dimension of the movie.
𝐀𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐌𝐚𝐨𝐢𝐬𝐦?
The opening sets the overall tenor with a montage showing police parties being attacked by adivasis even as Beera, the adivasi leader celebrates by playing on the drum. But the narrative really starts with the abduction of Ragini by Beera. Ragini is the wife of Dev, a police officer who is posted as the Superintendent of police (SP) to a place called Lal Mati to deal with the notorious adivasi outlaw, Beera Munda. One assumes that Lal Mati is a district town somewhere in India, since SPs are not posted to villages, but the movie is not clear upon this point. Lal Mati is largely out of police or State control and is run by the writ of Beera, who is shown to be brutal and violent but at the same time to be loved and respected by the locals. One can only wonder if Lal Mati (Hindi for Red Soil) is a reference to the fact that the soil is controlled by the Maoist party. There is no other explicit reference to Maoism in the movie. The first half of the movie passes without the viewers knowing the reason behind Ragini’s abduction. Rather there is some shuttling back & forth between a purported adivasi village & the forest. One need not dwell too long on the authenticity of the adivasi village or for that matter the adivasi song & dance. Suffice to say that these affirm faithfully to a citydweller’s idea of what such villages may look like. Intriguingly the forest is the only substantial location in the entire movie. No city, town or village is shown long enough to create an impression.
Thus the feeling is one of placeless-ness & this perception is complemented by the confused accents. Ravi Kishan, the Bhojpuri movie star who plays one of Beera’s brothers of course does a good job with his Bhojpuri accented Hindi. Further, the relationship between Beera’s adivasi village & the town of Lal Mati is never clarified. Confusion of place is compounded in the second half when Beera’s sister is shown as getting ready for her wedding in a large rural dwelling which is certainly not in the adivasi village and the location of which is not made clear. Instead, most of the script is occupied in developing the relationship between Beera & his captive Ragini. The movie moves to a climax with the police getting the better of Beera & gunning him down to the protestations of Ragini who has begun to see Raavan’s side of the story of the Ramayana.
𝐀 ‘𝐇𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧’ 𝐑𝐚𝐚𝐯𝐚𝐧
Aside from the stunning visuals, the socio-political resonances are strong and it is these I will now explore. The story recasts the highly politically relevant contradiction between the adivasis and the State, as represented by its police force, into the framework of the Ramayana. Almost all the main characters of the Ramayana, viz, Ram, Sita, Laxman, Hanuman, Vibhishan, Kumbhakarna, Shurpanakha & of course the eponymous Raavan, have their counterparts in the script. However the essential message of the Ramayana is turned if not on its head, then at least sideways. Ram is no longer maryada purushottam (the ideal man in complete control of his senses & actions), nor is Raavan the unreconstructed demoniacal figure of popular understanding burned every Dussehra.
Conventionally Raavan has been humanised by citing his devotion to Shiva, his learning of the Vedas or his playing of the veena. Here he is human because he has suffered injustice and oppression at the hands of the State and has decided to fight back. His sister, an adivasi woman who dares to love and seeks to marry a brahmin boy is apprehended in a raid conducted by Ram even as she is getting married. She is later gang raped inside a police station.
Laxman (also called Laxman in the movie), a cop, assists in this “cutting off of Shurpanakha’s nose”. She subsequently commits suicide. Raavan(Beera) who is already a force to reckon with in his community, a king for all practical purposes, seeks to avenge this act and abducts Sita. Independent of this particular aggravation at the hands of the police, Raavan is a rising threat to the State which Ram represents. Beera the adivasi is openly challenging the authority of the police in his neighbourhood. The cop, Dev Pratap Sharma, has been sent to quell this adivasi who is a Munda, the same tribe that claims the famous Birsa among its members. The symbolism is thus simply crammed into the script.
𝐆𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐎𝐧𝐞, 𝐄𝐯𝐢𝐥 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐀𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫
Despite, or perhaps because of its bluntness, the movie challenges some deeply held beliefs on the nature of good & evil in Indian culture. The epics, and in particular the Ramayan still occupy a place of prominence as fables of morality. The Ramayan in its popular version is free even of the moral ambiguities to be found in the Mahabharata. Raavan raises, in very clear terms, the disturbing possibility that our myths of morality and bravery are someone else’s stories of rape & conquest. Our heroes are villains in stories told in other places, not in faraway countries, but in our own heartland. And our villains might just have been people whose only fault lay in not submitting to our rule.
The confusion that we are thrown into as a result of this reversal of viewpoint is clearly (& amusingly) on display in a brief review of the movie I read in the Banaras Times. The author of the review describes Lal Mati as “A town where the word of law is not the police but Beera, a tribal who has, over the years, shifted the power equation of the place from the ruling to the have-nots of the area.” Further, the reviewer notes that the police seek primarily to bring order & not justice. Thus “Dev knows that the key to bringing order to any place is to vanquish the big fish; in this case – Beera.”
At the end of the review, in describing the nature of the fight between Beera and the SP, the reviewer says it is a “fight between good & evil” with good being represented by the SP. The review of the movie’s Tamil version does admit that the lines between good & evil get blurred. That part was left out in the newspaper review. Thus wittingly or unwittingly the reviewer has captured perfectly the dissonance that such a reinterpretation creates. The fight between Ram & Raavan must of course be a fight between good & evil, but it also cannot be denied that Raavan has made the have nots stronger. The message is clear: it is evil to defend the poor & good to defend the rich & the ruling class.
𝐀𝐥𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐇𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬/𝐏𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬
This is of course not the first time that timeless tales have been retold from the opposite viewpoint. In reinterpreting history from the rakshasa point of view Mani Ratnam is in the august company of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, the anti-caste thinker & activist of the 19th century. A retelling of the Ramayana which casts Raavan as the wronged subaltern & Ram as the scheming agent of imperialism brings to mind similar reinterpretations of other Hindu legends by Phule.
𝐁𝐥𝐨𝐠 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐧 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐢𝐛𝐢𝐬𝐤𝐞𝐭.𝐜𝐨𝐦 𝐛𝐲 𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐛𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐚 𝐓𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐤
This Study Of The Characters In Mani Ratnam’s “Villain” Tells You Why It Is A Misunderstood Epic!
How do I start talking about this epic film? To a lot of us, it is very clear that, Ramayan is the underlying theme in Raavan/Raavanan/Villain. But, to a very few, it is not known. But, I realized that, knowing the underlying theme or not knowing it does not affect the experience in any way if you’re not watching it clearly. Raavan is that film which requires a lot of concentration and a lot more serious viewing. Because, in here, more than Ramayan, the 3 characters of Ram, Raavan and Sita are explored. Explored to a greatest extent. Explored in an unexplored format. And explored more than beautifully.
I’m aware of the fact that, this film did not do well at the BO. I’m not even arguing about that. All I want to share is our immature way of looking at a cinema. Raavan, as a film, opened up my mind on how to watch something that is told to me so many times. It actually changed the way I look at films. Because, Raavan has a perspective of MR’s own. He narrated a new story from an old story.
So, the movie opens up with this visual. Veera/Beera standing on a hill top. He pushes a small stone into the river that is flowing underneath.
Intercuts happen between Veera jumping into the water and police people being attacked by Veera’s followers. And immediately Raagini is on a small boat. An eagle lands on Ragini’s boat and Ragini just stares at it. Then, a bigger ship comes closer to this boat & the shadow of that ship is on her face. Her face is occupied by the shadow & the Ship hits the Boat. After she is kidnapped, the very first dialogue she utters to Veera and his people is “Naku nuvvante Bhayam ledu”. Not only that one instance, there are so many scenes in which she says that, she’s not scared of Veera.
Veera holding a gun in out focus and Ragini’s face in the background. Let me tell you the reason for mentioning all this in detail. Raavan/Villain is all about that shadow changing its place from Raagini to Veera, gun changing its position from Veera’s hand to Raagini’s & Veera jumping off the same cliff he was first shown standing. Take a look at these images. (𝘚𝘦𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘭𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘨𝘦𝘴)
MR tried to tell us that, Ram & Raavan are equally powerful. To justify that, he reveals the backstory of both the characters that led them to the opening sequence through intercuts. Dev, driving his jeep goes back to the first day of work in that city. Through his perspective, Veera is established. All the bad deeds Veera had done & his reason to arrest Veera. That 1.5 minute sequence is shot & cut very interestingly. The camera movement is so subtle. When Dev starts off to reveal the crime history of Veera, camera movement is slow. When he goes on with the narrative, camera movement gradually catches up speed. That camera movement alone is enough to establish the intense rivalry between a cop & a criminal. Simultaneously, it establishes, Dev as the good guy & Veera as a bad guy. But, not to forget, both are equally powerful.
In this film, MR did not want to tell Ramayan in that exact setup. He just wanted to talk about the grey side of Ram & White side of Raavan. Though, we all know that it is not true, he still wanted to put forward that perspective. But, why? I think that is what a poet does. Talking about the dark side of the light & the bright side of the night. And after having that clarity, just look at the way he took these characters to the end.
𝐑𝐚𝐦 – 𝐃𝐞𝐯 – 𝐏𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐯𝐢𝐑𝐚𝐣/𝐕𝐢𝐤𝐫𝐚𝐦 :
So, I told you that, MR wanted to explore the dark side of Dev’s character. But, how do we reach the dark side without being really dark? I think, it is possible only by taking that character & dipping him in the white, slight grey and complete grey cups. Because, that way it is gradual. It is convincing. It looks like a story being told. To mark those 3 color cups, there were few scenes. Talking about the white, he is introduced as someone who is strict and sincere at his job. In fact, throughout the film, he’s on duty. Sincere & honest. To add to that, remember the scene where he interacts with the guy who piloted the boat? This one. He asks him about Raagini. He even offers him water to quench his thirst.
But, when the movie flows, he reaches a similar situation where he come across another guy with one hand cut, to guide them to Veera. Just look at the way he behaves with him. His hand was cut and put in the other one. Yet, this “White” Dev will not be bothered about his pain. The first question he asks is about Veera.
See the shift in there? That shift from asking about Raagini to asking about Veera? That shift from white to partial grey? That is what I call as cinematic magic. After this, he goes on to explore the grey part further. To justify his shift to complete grey, there is a scene where he kills the messenger of Veera. That shapes Dev in to a full-grey-man.
Not only this, even the way Veera grows on Dev is so artistically told. Just look at the scene once again. In this, Dev holds the photographs of Raagini & Veera and turns them around. It gradually catches up speed. And finally stops at Veera’s photo.
That brilliantly & poetically reveals Dev’s state of mind. It says that, more than his wife being kidnapped, he is occupied with Veera. Ram is not worried about bringing back Sita in this adaptation. Ratnam tried to see the possibilities in that context. Just took 3 primary characters & put them in the premise of Ramayan set up in this world.
𝐑𝐚𝐚𝐯𝐚𝐧 – 𝐕𝐞𝐞𝐫𝐚 – 𝐕𝐢𝐤𝐫𝐚𝐦/𝐀𝐛𝐡𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐤 :
This character interestingly starts off with a grey touch & converts into almost white. Similar to the graph of Dev’s character, Veera’s graph is also subtle, gradual and convincing. Whenever Dev steps into a grey cup, Veera steps into a white cup. Right before he kills the messenger of Veera, there is this scene. Veera listens to the messenger & is actually ready to let go of his fight/grudge on Dev. That is the only reason for sending that messenger to talk to Dev about the compromise.
Right before Dev inquires about Veera’s stay with Venu, Veera avenges his sister’s death. According to him, Venu was one of the reasons for his sister to commit suicide. So, he believed that it is right to take off Venu’s hand. That is his partial shift towards righteous deeds.
And in the opening sequence of the film, Veera orders his men to attack the police. The reason for it is just his natural vengeful attitude. And abducting someone’s wife makes him completely evil.
This graph of the characters is what Raavan is all about. After we’re told that Veera has shifted to a whiter space and Dev to a greyer space, Mani Ratnam wanted to test our intellect once again. In the climax fight, where Veera’s intent is purer than Dev’s, look at the costumes they wear. To our surprise, Dev wears white and Veera wears black.
𝐒𝐢𝐭𝐚 – 𝐑𝐚𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐢 – 𝐀𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐲𝐚:
More than Ram(Dev), Sita (Raagini) is focused on in the film. After a point, the film seems to be talking about the relation between Raagini & Veera & Dev looks like an outsider. That is a very conscious decision in the writing. In fact, Raagini’s character is more like the thread that hangs between Dev and Veera. It just keeps elongating and turning. As this thread turns and stretches, the rivalry between the persons at the opposites (Dev and Veera) increases.
Raagini is like a catalyst in a chemical reaction. It boosts up the process. Raagini’s character starts off as someone who is devoted to her husband. Fearless. Independent. In fact, the very moment she expresses her fearlessness to Veera is when he starts to develop feelings for her. Her strength is so much that, it seduced the antagonist. When she starts to understand the positive side of Veera, she slowly shifts towards him. It is also very gradual. When Veera expresses his feelings for her on a spinning coracle, notice the costume of Raagini.
She wears a saree of a villager. It marks her shift towards Veera. (There is even a dialogue about the costume in that scene) When, she’s on the verge of loosing the anger against Veera after listening to his story, she goes to a Vishnu statue and asks him for strength. Begs him to give her enough courage to not loose her love towards her husband.
Beauty in that scene is the location and the setup. So, to conclude this character, she shifts from being bold enough to stay strong when she was kidnapped to being scared and sensitive when she’s set free. A strange shift.
I know that I didn’t cover a lot from this epic. I even know that, I wouldn’t be able to cover everything about these characters. Because, Raavan is consciously shaped that way. It is intellectual & constantly questions the viewers’ intellect & perception. It is very easy to be disconnected from anything. But, if you stay connected & understand these kind of films, you grow. Grow as audience. Grow as intellectual person. Grow as human being.
𝐁𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐰𝐚𝐣 𝐑𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐧'𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐥𝐞:
WHEN I HEARD THAT MANI RATNAM WAS SHOOTING an antagonist-centric update of the Ramayana, titled Raavan, in the darkest hearts of distant jungles, I wondered if the attempt was to delineate the villain through his surroundings, like how the untamed moors are a manifestation of Heathcliff’s uncivilised inner life. As it turns out, it’s more an excuse to allow the cinematographers to run riot. No one, really, walks into a Mani Ratnam movie expecting a mumblecore aesthetic, but even by his skyscraping standards, Raavan is a spectacle – perhaps too much so.
If there’s a movie that Mani Ratnam could have gone mumblecore with, it’s this one, a psychologically driven art film dressed up as glitzy, plot-motivated commercial cinema, with fussed-over Sabyasachi costumes on a heroine who’s never allowed to look anything less than breathtaking. Even her bruises are beautiful. It takes real effort to pull your eyes away from the sparkling surface and peer deep into the narrative, which reimagines the Ramayana in an intriguingly idiosyncratic fashion.
At first, you wonder what more can be done with this musty epic. There have been metaphorical extrapolations like Lajja, which dealt with multiple Sita figures strewn throughout the journey of a repressed Sita-figure rediscovering herself. Then there are the more literal adaptations like Neelkamal & Khalnayak. In the former, a chaste wife is suspected of infidelity, chased away while pregnant, and forced to take refuge at the feet of a holy man until the helpful Hanuman played by Mehmood engineers a deliverance. And Khalnayak had monkeys surrounding the hero and villain locked in mid-fight, along with a proto-feminist Sita who went after Raavan in order to nab him for her Ram. Pinjar, too, dealt with the gradual easing of anxieties between a hapless victim and her abductor, a Raavan who wasn’t a mythological moustache-twirler so much as a life-sized human being whose only blemish was being painted in grey shades.
So when we enter Raavan, it’s with the question whether Ratnam is going to do, again, what worked so winningly in Thalapathi, where he retold the Mahabharata without actually reimagining it. It was a straightforward interpretation situated in the modern day. Raavan, too, has its share of parallels with its source material – an exile based on the number fourteen, the villain’s sister being hauled up by the nose, a bridge connecting protagonist and antagonist, the lovable sidekick-monkey (cheerfully played by Govinda, and named Sanjeevini Kumar) who even rattles off couplets styled like the Chaleesa. And once again, Ram (a scowling Vikram, who doubtless had more opportunity to flex his acting chops in the Tamil version, as Raavanan) casts unjustified and uncharitable doubt on Sita-Ragini’s chastity, when she’s attired in virgin-white, no less.
But this Ram – named Dev (like the deity that he is), & employed as an SP (like the upholder of dharma that he is) – isn’t beyond torturing an armless man to extract information about his abducted wife’s whereabouts, or shooting a messenger of peace in the back after guaranteeing non-violent negotiations. No wonder the latter scene plays out in the dark of night, as befits the deeds of demons, witnessed only by a mute moon. Beera, on the other hand, is introduced with the sun shining over him, and even when he kidnaps Ragini, it’s in broad daylight (as opposed to the skulking maneuvers of a villain). The fight on the bridge may have these adversaries in their mythical colours – Ram in white, Raavan in black – but the narrative doesn’t paint them so conveniently.
Like Ram Gopal Varma did with his Sarkar films – trusting that we know the overall arc of the Godfather saga & therefore do not need to be shepherded through minutely detailed plot points – Ratnam abandons a linear this-happened-then-that-happened story in favour of flavourful highlights that simultaneously replay and reinterpret what we already know. How does Dev, in his quest to annihilate Beera, sniff out the location of the wedding of Beera’s sister (Priyamani)? Or how does Sanjeevini wend his way to Ragini in the midst of her armed captors? These are questions that need no answers. Ratnam knows that we know the answers in our heads, and this liberates him to pursue a level of narrative abstraction we haven’t witnessed since the first half of Dil Se.
Because of this approach, the outside-world issues that usually gnaw at us in this director’s films – like the political environment of the town of Laal Maati (Red Earth) – cease to matter. Ragini wonders if Beera is Raavan or Robin Hood, & that’s all we need to know, that this villain is for the exploited & against the establishment. There’s little use pondering if the redness of this earth is an indication of Beera’s communist-Maoist leanings, because the story unfolds at an abstract-mythic level. The more urgent subtext is that of the moral victory of the uncivilised over the civilised. The educated Dev is more savage than the unlettered jungle dwellers – even Sanjeevini, with his halting English, seeks a peaceful resolution to the conflict, while Dev prefers to let his gun do the macho talking.
Ratnam hasn’t completely broken away from the homey style we’ve come to associate with him. An interlude with Beera, his sister and her fiancé is a typically endearing example of fleeting characters being established with colourful brushstrokes and too-quippy dialogue. And there are several moments so loaded with pointed detail that they reveal themselves only upon looking back – the rape victim who refuses to uncross her legs even after she reaches home, the poetic justice of a tragedy in water being avenged by an abduction in water, a bird’s eye view of Ragini turning out to be a literal bird’s eye view (and Ragini being associated, later on, with this bird; “chidiya ki tarah phadphada rahi hai”), or the whisper of a kinky sex life in the case of Dev and Ragini, whose bedroom is walled with mirrors.
Further familiarity comes from the invocations of images from earlier Mani Ratnam movies – the rains, the mirrors, the cigarette-smoking hero, the gargantuan statue in the wilderness (from Kannathil Muthamittal), the man slinging along huge fish (Aayitha Ezhuthu), the song sequence of boisterous revelers in the rain (Nayakan), the trauma of rape leading to terrorism (Dil Se), the camera swooping madly around a triangular formation of characters (from Thiruda Thiruda; what are the bets that the Jimmy Jib operator ended up with a six-pack after the Raavan shoot?), the song sequence featuring a spouse in an abandoned cottage dreaming of a loved one who dances with children (from Roja), and indeed, the plot of Roja itself, only gender-reversed this time around, the husband setting out in search of the kidnapped wife.
But these totemic images apart, Ratnam, in Raavan, doesn’t set out to pleasure his audience in ways we expect him to. There are, naturally for a story of this nature, the derigueur masala moments, like the whistle-worthy scene where Dev burns holes in a newspaper image of Beera and his merry men – but the other must-haves of commercial cinema are glossed over. Ratnam stages AR Rahman’s songs as if they were perfunctory pit stops along the way. Ratnam is not terribly interested in genre thrills either. The action sequences are equally perfunctory, a hazy clutch of hyper-edited movement that registers at a corner of the eye.
Even the drama is free of detonations. You expect the abduction to be a frantic set piece, & instead, it’s a serene image of boats colliding on a lake. You expect Dev to come home & find his wife missing & go crazy with worry, & instead he receives the news over a walkie-talkie and signs out grimly, betraying not a flicker of emotion. (In fact, were it not for the snappy happier-times flashback, with those kinky mirrors, we might have wondered about the kind of marriage that Dev and Ragini had, and the stunning climax hints at more domestic trouble.) Even Hanuman’s withdrawal from Lanka (namely, Laal Maati) isn’t through a flaming circus act but a lengthy stretch of grown-up conversation.
The most interesting aspect of the narrative, however, is the way it holds back information in favour of later-on revelations that reshape our earlier experience. When we first see Beera, he has a plaster on his throat, but only later do we realise that this wound is a marker of how recent a tragedy was, a fact never spelled out in words. When a gold watch is given to someone, or when his hand is subsequently chopped off, or when a policeman is tonsured and tortured, we are outraged on their behalf, until later events inform us that they may well have deserved their fates. With commercial cinema, the expected style of narration is to establish a tragedy first, get the audience to empathise, and then punish the wrongdoers so that we can rejoice in their being brought to well-deserved justice. But here, our emotions are constantly confounded. Heroes turn villains at the bat of an eyelid, while villains display stoic reserves of heroism.
The equally unexpected love triangle is set up in one deft visual. Dev holds out a photograph of Ragini to tribals, asking if they’ve seen her. And slowly, he slides out a photograph of Beera that was hidden behind Ragini’s. Beera, now, has literally come between Dev and Ragini, and his thawing towards his victim is amongst the most extraordinary passages of Raavan. Ranjha ranjha echoes in the background – not the sprightly love song from the soundtrack album, but a lovelorn dirge that sounds as if rendered by a meth-addict whose fix has just kicked in. Over the refrain Jal jaa jal jaa ishq mein jal jaa, Beera is inflamed by Ragini’s attempts to escape – at one point, his hands hover over her chest until sense prevails.
And she responds too, for in the next scene, she’s attired like one of them. She asks to be set free, but her request, now, is a statement, not the scream from before. Even she seems unconvinced. That’s why Ragini seeks reassurance that Dev still loves her, that the mere idea of him is still worth hanging on to in the presence of this new attraction in her life. When Beera says that he saw a picture in Dev’s tent, she looks at him expectantly, and her face falls when he says it was his picture. (The line, however, is hilarious: “Raja ke tambu mein rakshas ka photo.”) And later, when Sanjeevini appears just as she’s discovered that her husband may have contributed to her plight, she reacts not with happiness but hesitation. “Woh khud kyon nahin aaye?” she asks Sanjeevini. That’s what she wants to know first, why Dev did not come to claim her.
But elsewhere? Imagine Toshiri Mifune in a Noh-styled Kurosawa drama imbued with the gesticulations of a silent-film scoundrel, and hissing like a rattlesnake making furious love to a tambourine – and you have the general idea. (Bachchan’s scenes are often shot with a jittery camera, possibly to highlight how unhinged he is, but this only accentuates how off-putting the performance is.) If the attempt was to be crowd-pleasing in the mythical (or even masala) sense while staying true to character, he might have looked closer at costar Ravi Kishan, who plays Beera’s loyal brother. The latter, with half the effort, achieves twice the effect.
(𝑫𝒐 𝒘𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑨𝒔𝒌𝑩𝒓 𝑺𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒌 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒅𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒍𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒂𝒍𝒚𝒔𝒊𝒔)
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗧𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗮𝗽𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗶 𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗹𝘆𝘀𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗰𝗸 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝟲(𝗯)
𝙇𝙞𝙣𝙠𝙨:
  1. AskBr Session on Raavan(an) | Baradwaj Rangan | Film Companion - https://youtu.be/TQv8fA9XcVo
  2. Raavan(an) | Review by Baradwaj Rangan - https://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/review-raavan/amp/#aoh=15940408373049&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s
  3. Raavan(an) | Blog post analysis by Prabhala Tilak - https://chaibisket.com/mani-ratnams-villain-a-misunderstood-epic/
  4. Raavan(an) | Paper on Subverting our epics analysis by Amit Basole - Search on Google for PDF
  5. Raavan(an) | Livemint Article by Sanjukta Sharma - https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/1lSkgWsdkgB53UFNBXWqpO/Raavan--The-demon8217s-doomsday.html
  6. Raavan(an) | Behindwoods Analysis by Hemadri - http://www.behindwoods.com/features/visitors-1/raavanan-mani-ratnam-13-07-10.html
submitted by anoceandrop to bollywood [link] [comments]

Bully regrets beting whit me..

Sorry for bad English and formatting
OK so I go to school and our exam are going on my classmate we will call raja Is a total a-hole to other students Bullying stealing cussing you name it And is know for cheating on every exam I should point out that he loved his own Hair maby because thay wher Slightly brown hair every one in my class as black Hair.
The only reason he is not caught by the teacher is because No one dares to call him out because of this he broke someone's hand one's and so till this day no one Messes with him.
As ever other exam he was cheating He cheated every small thing from My classmate but is was not the brightest student and he had no other choice to either write his copy his paper get passing marks or fail.
Latter that day he told his friends "I am not passing this exam no matter what I do i didn't wrote anything and started gaining sympathy from his friends"
Which pissed me off.
Because I knew for a fact that he was going to pass because he cheated.
I don't know wher it came from but I said "hahaha funny right because I clearly saw you copied answer from friend"
Raja:what is fuck is you're problem man I would never copy from that dumbass you have as a friend yours.
Me:Oooo yea that what about a bet raja
Raja:what bet.
Me:If you don't pass the exam I shave my head and if you pass the exam you have to your head. deal.
After a solid 2-3 minute silence
Is awfully confident he spoke
Raja:DEAL
This news spread like wild fire I was a bit worried because the confidence he shouted deal honestly startled me I don't care about my hair that much and I had to cut my hair really short anyway so no worries.
It took the teacher a good week or two correct the answer sheets
Finally the teacher has the results The judgement day arrived It took the teacher a good week or two correct the answer sheets
everyone was just waiting for this The passing mark is 30/100
Than he said raja 29 marks
Everyone looked at me and started making fun of me calling me Bala Bala Bala Bala (a famous Indian song)
Than the teacher was like da fak And said because of the project work you get extra 5 marks everyone stopped chanting BALA BALA BALA
The look on his face was hilarious I wish I took a picture of it
We gave him 2 weeks of time to shave his head
And the cherry on the cake is our school does not allow any sort of cap NO MATTER WHAT.
even though I clearly doubt it that he will shave his head ah at least I can tease his for a while and have some good laughs at it.
submitted by not_numan to pettyrevenge [link] [comments]

Creating the Modern Javanese Economy (P:art IV)

The Modern Javanese Identity (Part III)

CREATING THE MODERN JAVANESE ECONOMY

When one looks at the Indonesian economy, one has to split the Indonesia economy into three categories, you have resource rich provinces, non-resource rich in the outer islands and provinces on Java. The dichotomy of the Indonesian economy rest with resource rich provinces and Java. As we saw during the resource boom from 2005-2014, when there is a spike natural resource prices, it increases the value of the Rupiah, and makes labor intensive exports on Java less competitive. Although, the overall impact on the economy on Java is minimal, because Java's economy isn't just dependent on labor intensive manufacturing.

SUHARTO'S REPELITA V, REPELITA VI AND EARLY REFORMASI (1987-2003) UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Previously I did a post comparing Jokowi's economic policies to that of Suharto. This post will be more comprehensive than that post, by going into the historical context for reasoning behind Jokowi's economic policies. Basically Jokowi's economic policies are aimed at recapture the direction Indonesia was heading toward from 1987-1997, while at the same time implementing policies
The Indonesian government has developed policies address the first issue like keeping low government deficits and current account deficit. For the second issue, both the SBY and Jokowi have developed social policies like Program Bantuan Operasional Sekolah (SBY). Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Sosial Kesehatan (SBY), Kartu Indonesian Pintar (Jokowi), Kartu Indonesia Sehat (Jokowi).
However, what Indonesia has struggled with is moving along the same economic trajectory of the period between 1987-2002 which was growth based on manufacturing and industrialization. Much of this growth in manufacturing and industrialization was focused on Java, particularly West and East Java.
In 1987, manufacturing made up 17% of the economy, it peaked at 32% in 2002, and now its 20%. In contrast, Thailand went from 24% in 1987, peaking at 31% in 2010, dropping to 26% in 2018.
What are Repelitas?
During the Suharto era, the Indonesian government through the MPR would draft a GGHN (Garis-garis Besar Haluan Negara). This would last for 25 years. Every five years, the MPR would produce the Rencana Pembangunan Jangka Menengah Nasional (RPJMN). From the RPJMN, government departments with Bappenas as the coordinator would produce a Pelita or Repelta **(**Rencana Pembangunan Lima Tahun). The Repelita began in 1969 and Indonesia had completed a full 25 year cycle with Repelita V ending in 1994. Here is a list of the five Repelita.
In 1994, the Indonesian government embarked on the second GBHN or Long Term Plan.
The Repelita were replaced by national medium term development plans in 1999.
NOTE: The planning and project implementation under Suharto was very centralized, it was even more centralized than the Soviet Union. Almost every project had to go through Bappenas in Jakarta. Even regular road maintence would fall under the Development Budget (Anggaran Pembanguan) not Routine Budget (Anggaran Rutin). So how it worked is say the Department of Public Works (DPU) in Limbo wants to build a road, the regional office of the Department of Public Works (Kantor Wilayah), assuming the feasibility study (which usual was a separate project in itself) had been done. They would send the project proposal to Department of Public Works in Jakarta, they would modify it, than send it to Bappenas. Bappenas would determine whether the road fit within the development plan. If it did it they would send a proposal to Department of Finance. Because the system was so centralized, I heard stories where DPU project manager in the regions would send photos of completed projects in his progress report, even though construction hadn't even started.
This is where some of the notions of Javanese Imperialism comes from. Almost all the DPU engineers in 1970-80s were from Java or Sumatra. They would live in their own project housing, and if it was a foreign funded project along with the foreign expats. A Javanese engineer working on a World Bank project would often have more contact with the expat staff than the locals.. If they had money they would try to send their kids for schooling on Java. In those days, even good schools in some of the outer islands were really bad. For some of the more specialized construction task they would bring in workers from Java.
Why were Repelita V different from the previous Repelita?
Repelita I until IV were straight forward, because it was based on oil and gas revenues powering Indonesia's development. That was the logic in 1969, and it became more pronounced when the Oil price spiked after the OPEC embargo in 1974.
When the Oil price slumped in from US$30 a barrel in November 1985 to US$10 a barrel in July 1986, sent the Indonesian government scrambling. Even though Indonesia is a oil importer, the price of oil is still important because Indonesia still gets some of its revenue from oil and gas royalties. The cost of subsidies for gasoline work to counter some of the benefit from a rise in oil price. In the early 1980s, royalties from gas and oil made up 70% of the Indonesian government budget (p4)
The drop in the oil price led to liberalization of the Indonesian economy in 1986. While the oil price was dropped from US$40 in 1980 to US$30 in 1985, as you can see the drop was gradual compared to sharp drop in 1985. From the period from 1983-1986, the Indonesians tried to plug the current account deficit by imposing import restrictions, trying to boast non-oil exports, by devaluing the Rupiah in 1983. What did the 1986 Liberalization entail?
The aim of these reforms was to reduce cost in what had become a high cost economy. The impact of these reforms was impressive
The impact of these deregulation series were very impressive. It generated a very strong response from the private sector as indicated by the boom in private investment, rapid growth in non-oil exports, employment, labor productivity and output. This deregulation series have also affected to the structural changes in the economy. The share of oil in total GDP declined from 28 percent in 1980 to only 11 percent in 1993. The share of agriculture in non-oil GDP, which was as high as 55 percent in 1965, declined from 23 in 1985 to about 18 percent in 1993. At the same period, the non-oil manufacturing sector, on the other hand, increased its share from 11 percent to 19 percent, which is larger than that of agriculture share on GDP.
From a Javanese perspective, what was important, was the Indonesian government scaled down the transmigration program.

Repelita III 1979-84 Repelita IV 1984-89 Repelita V 1989-94 Repelita VI 1994-99 Repelita VII 1999-2000
Target (families) 500,000 750,000 550,00 600,000 16,235
Families actually moved 535,000 230,000 n/a 300.000 4,409
No. of people 2,469,560 1,061,680 n/a 1,500,000 22,000
As you can see from the table above, in Repelita V, the transmigration program was paused, only to resume in Repelita VI. However, Repelita VI numbers were still smaller than the levels between 1979-84.

JAVA'S COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

Java's competitive advantage is its large population crammed in a very small geographical location and its people.
GEOGRAPHY
Java has a population of roughly 150 Million crammed in 138,793 km2. The only place in East Asia and Southeast Asia that would rival Java in terms of concentration of population is the Yangtze River Delta, or what the Chinese call the Jiangnan (South Bank of the Yangtze River Delta). The Yangtze River Delta has a population of about 140 Million. From the Tang Dynasty to the late 19th century, the Yangtze River Delta to the middle of the 18th century, Yangtze River Delta was the richest region in the world. Even the Pearl River Delta, China's export hub doesn't come close to matching the population characteristic of Java. Guangdong, the province which Pearl River Delta is a part of, has a population of 110 Million spread out in an area twice the size of Java.. In addition, the Yangtze River Delta and especially the Pearl River Delta, population figures are inflated by migrant workers who's villager are located in other provinces. Guangdong resident population is 80 Million.
In Southeast Asia historically, Java was the population center of the region. Until the 1800s, Java had a 30-40% of Southeast Asia population.. However, until the 1980s, it was still less populated than both the Yangtze and Pearl Delta. In1800, Java had a population of 3-4 Million compared to China's population of 300 Million. In Southeast Asia, no other region can match Java's population traits. Luzon has a population of 60 Million, Mekong Delta about the size of Central Java only has a population of 17 Million, the Red River Delta in North Vietnam has a population 23 Million over 15000 km2, Jabotabek has a population of 32 Million in an 6300 km2.
Why is Java's population characteristic a competitive advantage? Paul Krugman's, currently a columnist for the New York Times, explains it in his work on the importance of location in dictating trade patterns. For this he won the Nobel Prize in 2008. The basis of his work was his paper which he wrote at MIT in 1991 titled Increasing Returns and Economic Geography. This is what he said
obvious in retrospect; but it certainly took me a while to see it. ... The only good news was that nobody else picked up that $100 bill lying on the sidewalk in the interim
He summarize it very simply in his introduction to his paper
This paper develops a simple model that shows how a country can endogenously become differentiated into an industrialized "core"and an agricultural "periphery." In order to realize scale economies while minimizing transport costs, manufacturing firms tend to locate in the region with larger demand, but the location of demand itself depends on the distribution of manufacturing. Emergence of a core-periphery pattern depends on transportation costs, economies of scale, and the share of manufacturing in national income.
It really boils down to the first two aspect, the economic of scale and transportation cost (a component of transaction cost). Also a larger population back in a small area allows for greater specialization
For non-Economist, I will give you an example. Say you decide to build a factory in West Kalimantan which has a population of 5 Million spread out over a 147,000 km2. You will quickly run into problems, you have a hard time finding technicians and suppliers. Just say you find a supplier, but he is 4 hours drive away from your factory, this increases you transportation cost. Whereas if you were to put the factory in Central java, you have an easier time finding technicians, given its population of 35 million located in an area of 32,000 km2. You find 4 suppliers located only 15 minutes away.
PEOPLE
As I explained in my previous post, Why Prabowo-Sandi Lost: Caught by the Javanese Tsunami, the Javanese and the Balinese are a visual people. I will give you some example, some anecdotal and other with historical references..One of Clifford Geertz later works, that was much debunked by other scholars was Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth-Century Bali he argues that Bali of the 19th century was not a hydraulic state (ie controlling the population through irrigation: or oriental despotic, but a Theatre state were ower served pomp, not pomp power. Geertz argued that it could be applied to all of the Mandala state of SEA, Java, Siam, Khmer and Burma. Because the state was a Theater State, the society produce a lot of artisans and craftsmen.
You could make the argument that also applies the Javanese particularly in the period from Treaty of Giyanti in 1756 until the start of the Java War in 1825. The Treaty of Giyanti split the Mataram Sultanate between the Sultan of Surakarta and the Sultan of Yogyakarta. The rivalry between Jakarta and Yogyakarta starts after the Treaty of Giyanti, and the most intense expression of this rivalry was in the arts. The period from 1755-1825 is considered the high point of Javanese culture, its during this period Serat Centhini is finally completed.
The one area were the Javanese are well known for is wood working and carpentry. This skill was evident since the 1300s. The large ships of the Majapahit Navy were built in Jepara ( Charting the Course of Early Modern Southeast Asia by Anthony Reid, "The Rise and Fall of Sino-Javanese Shipping). In the 19th century, Javanese carpenters were sought after. The King of Siam, Chulalongkorn, brought back Javanese carpenters and craftsmen during a trip to Java in 1896 to help build his palace
The woodworking tradition continues to this day. One of the industries that Central Java, beside textiles, wants to get Chinese manufacturers to invest in, is Furniture Manufacturing. The reason is because it its barrier to entry are high compared to low skilled manufacturing like garments. Even in China, the export furniture industry is located in Dongguan, a town located in center of the Pearl River Delta. The reason for this is the best carpenters in China are Cantonese. The Cantonese are also known as skilled goldsmiths and wood carvers. Because of the trade war, BKPM and Central Java are even more aggressive in trying to get furniture manufacturer in China to move to Indonesia in particular Central Java. BKPM is explicitly targeting factories in Dongguan.
BKPM bermitra dengan asosiasi manufaktur mebel Indonesia untuk roadshow di kota Dongguan di China. Kota itu pusat industri mebel di China," ujar Kepala BKPM Thomas Lembong, Jakarta, Rabu (30/1/2019). "Kami fasilitasi pabrik mebel dari China ke Indonesia. Khususnya ke Jawa Tengah," sambung mantan Menteri Perdagangan itu.
Its the reason why there are very few Cantonese people in Java, because since Java had their own carpenters, silver smiths and woodcarvers. Most of the Cnatonese people on Java are involved in the restaurant trade. another speciality. Nearly all the big Chinese banquet halls in Medan, Singapore, Surabaya, Jakata are run by Cantonese people. Bakmi Gajah Mada is owned bya Cantonese family.
NOTE: The skills set that comes with furniture making and wood carving can be applied to other industries like toy manufacturing. Dongguan is also the center of China's toy industy, responsible for 50% of China's toy production. Hong Kong used to be the tou manufacturing capital of the world, but in the 1980s they moved over to Dongguan. Even more so than furniture manufacturing, toy manufacturing is an industry that is very difficult to duplicate, but once a region is able to develop a manufacturing cluster it can stay there for decades. Toy manufacturing is very involved, there are sourcing specialist, marketing people and toy designers. Indonesia is also targetting the toy industry in China, with Central Java as its main destination.
What Cultures Are More Suited For Factory Work?
Right now in Asia with the trade war going on, its really a contest of picking the least ugly. The labor markets in Vietnam is already very tight. Thailand has long has labor shortages, many of the factory workers are Cambodia and Burmese. The education and development levels aren't as good as Indonesians or native Thais.
This is going to be controversial topic, but I feel people ignore it their a peril. Some of it will be based on anecdotal accounts, others will be more historical / academic research. It will be general overview, and I won't restrict my examples from Indonesia, or Southeast Asia, but draw from examples in the Middle East and Africa.
What factory owners want is regimentation and routine. They want societies were people are easily regimented and stick to routine. A civilization influences its culture. A farmer would be more suited for factory work than nomad. Outside of this example, it becomes more complicated. A civilization with a long history of sedentary farming and a government that collects taxes from its inhabitants will develop a culture more suited for regimentation and routine required to work in a factory floor. Prior to the 19th century, the most densely populated regions of the world were Western Europe, South Asia and East Asia. For example, the reason why the Dutch were able to colonize Java was because in 1800, the population of the Netherlands was 2 Million vs 3-4 Million for Java., but the VOC could draw in human resources from the rest of Protestant, especially adjacent German states. The German states had a population of about 20 Million, roughly double the population of Southeast Asia.
There is the colonial myth that people in the tropics were lazy, because of the climate. In my opinion it has more likely had to do with population density, which allowed and required rulers in densely populated areas to organize the population to extract more resource from them for infrastructure or war. They created institutions to extract resources from the population and to manage them. People ask which comes first culture or institutions, it depends. These institution subsequently had an impact on the culture. In Europe and China prior to the 1800, they had a long history were rulers taxed the populace through taking a % of their crops and corvee labor. In Indonesia, particularly outside Java, prior to colonialism, taxation systems were primitive, were not onerous, and didn't tax production preferring to raises income through taxing trade. This is from the Indonesian Directorate General of Taxation
Meskipun kemudian masyarakat mendapat imbalannya berupa jaminan keamanan dan ketertiban dari raja. Perlu dicatat bahkan pada masa itu beberapa kerajaan seperti Majapahit, Demak, Pajang, dan Mataram mengenal sistem pembebasan pajak. Terutama pajak atas kepemilikan tanah yang biasa disebut tanah perdikan. Biasanya pembebasan tersebut diatur dalam beleid yang dituangkan baik dalam prasasti ataupun dicatat dalam kitab kesusastraan. Ketika masuk era kolonialisasi oleh Belanda dan bangsa Eropa pajak mulai dikenakan.
In contast, in Imperial China the main source of taxation was the land tax. It could range from officially 3-4% (unofficially more) during Qing Dynasty, or as high as 25% during the Tag Dynasty. Peter Carey in his article Changing Javanese Perceptions of the Chinese Communities in Central Java, 1755-1825 explains why the Dutch and Javanese Sultan instituted a system of toll booth to tax trade was because they didn't have capacity to do land surveys to tax farmers at the source of production (ie land tax)
In Java, and by extension Indonesia,the area were demand for forced labor services was most intensive near the centers of feudal power Yogyakarta and Surakarta. The colonial Cultivation System was an intensification and extension of this system throughout the island of Java.

WHY MANUFACTURING IS STILL IMPORTANT?

Manufacturing and industrialization is important to develop a country's economy, because that is how the West and later on Japan and South Korea developed initially. As the World Bank economist point in this article in an Indian news site . For a country like India to bet on services is risky, because such a theory hasn't been proven yet.
Further arguments are made that with automation and 3D Printing, that the demand for cheap labor will decline or manufacturing will be localized. China has automated some of its manufacturing jobs, but for the vast majority of manfacturers its too expensive and/or not suited. You get articles, where they said that Dongguan spent US$57 Million on automation last year Dongguan is a US$100 Billion economy, easily 60% of it is in manufacturing.
At one point a decade ago, some people thought that India could depend on IT services, but no serious Economist would hold such a view, given how small the overall demand for IT services worldwide is US$ 1.1 Trillion, much of that isn't exported, compared to a total world GDP of 88 Trillion.

HOW WAS THE PERIOD FROM 1987-2003 DIFFERENT?

For the Javanese economy, the period between 1987-2003 can be chareacterized byt emergence of industrialization and growth of the manufacturing sector particularly in West and Eats Java. What makes this special, it was the first time since the colonial period that the Indonesian government was playing to Java's compariative advantage, its large densely packed population
In late 19th century colonial Southeast Asia, Java was its technological and modern jewel. Earlier I mentioned, King Chulalongkorn visit to Java in 1896. His main purposes wasn't to buy wood carvings and batik, but to examine Java's modern administration ,agriculture and infrastructure. He also visited India, Malaya and Singapore for the same purposes. The trip in 1896 was the second of three visits, the other two being in 1871 and 1901.
However, in my opinion, the 1990s' industrialization push on Java was in my opinion half hearted for three reasons.
What is interesting during this period is that commodity prices were very low from the late 1980s to about early 2000s, but the Indonesian government still continued with transmigration and extensiveroad building in the outer islands. In 1997, Suharto had proposed a scheme to develop 1 Million HA for planting rice in Central Kalimantan

WHY DID INDONESIA JAVA DE-MANUFACTURIZE?

As I explained in the previous paragraph, Indonesian, namely Java, started to deindustrialize (or demanfacturize) starting from 2003, There are four reasons for the decline in manufacturing
The first two reasons are most likely not strong reasons, since Manufacturing in Thailand as % of its economy didn't start dropping until 2010. Most Asians currencies were strong against the US dollar during from 2003-2014. The last two reasons concerning wages are the main factors. A paper produce by researchers working for the Ministry of Research and Higher Education concluded
Comparative advantage in Java seems to be in lower-skilled firms and those less intensive in energy use. Low-tech, less skill-intensive, and medium-size firms reported the highest average TFP. Low capital-intensive firms, mostly those employing higher skills.
On the third issue of rising minimum wages, regional government in Jakarta, Central Java and West Java have fixed the increase to the rate of nominal GDP growth. The minimum wage in Jakarta is about 5% higher than the minimum wage in Surabaya

PERFORMANCE IN REBUILDING ITS MANUFACTURING BASE

While I think Jokowi's infrastructure splurge in the other islands, outside Sulawesi, had a large political element, the reality is the Jakarta election of 2017 cost Jokowi about 2.5 years. From October 2014 to October 2016, Jokowi launched 14 reform packages, and only two in the remaining years in office.
Manufacturing as a share of the economy is still slowly dropping, and recent reports show its growing slower than the overall economy. Manufacturing grew at 3.54% vs 5,05% for the overall economy. The indonesian government realizes how important manufacturing is.
However, among Indonesian politicians and government officials, there is a strong calls to spread development outside Java, even setting up manfacturing outside Java.
“Our manufacturing industries are mostly located on the island of Java, so we create all our logistics plans based on that location, which raises logistics and transaction costs,” Edi said during a seminar on the manufacturing industry at Bank Indonesia (BI) headquarters on Monday.
The economic reasoning doesn't make much sense for two reasons, on an equity perspective, java's contribution to the economy is 55% of GDP, which is inline with its population of 57%. In Central Java, its share of the GDP is much smaller than its share of the population. Secondly, it undermines the benefits of economies of scale you get from geographic concentration. When the Indonesian government proposed establishing more industrial zone on Java,this was response by some economist.
People bring up Morowali Industrial Estate in Central Sulawesi/ as an example of industrial development outside Java. The only reason why investors invest in Moroiwali is its located near a large nickel deposit, and the Indonesia government ban on the export of nickel ore. I think Jokowi has the right approach by trying to increase the value added of some of the exports like Palm Oil and Coffee.
Central Java Leading the Way
Five years ago I posted an article in the Financial Times titled Indonesia pushes Central Java as Asian low-cost manufacturing hub. Central Java is now the third largest recipient of both domestic and foreign investment after Jakarta and West Java, beating out East Java. Up until the 3rd quarter of 2019, foreign investors (PMA) have invested 32 Trillion Rp (about US$2.5 Billion. It could easily end up over US$3 Billion for 2019.In 2014 it was only US$222 Million. Remember 2019 is an election year, in 2020 it would be even higher.
What Central Java was missing before was Industrial Parks and Energy, the Indonesian government remedied that by opening larger Industrial Parks notebly the Kendal Industrial Park in 2016. The Kendal Industrial Park at full capacity is 2700 HA, almost 6 times the size of the second biggest Industrial Park in Central Java, A month ago there was a Chinese furniture manufacturer that was ready to invest, but needed 2000 HA
The Central Java government has been very aggressive in trying to attract foreign investment. They streamline the permit process. Going from US$200 to US$3 Billion in 5 years is very impressive. On a per capita basis they have been able to get about 1/2 the investment Vietnam got in 2018 (Vietnam got about US$ 18 Billion)

MISSING AND SEIZING OPPORTUNITIES: CHINA, INDIA AND BANGLADESH

I am going to diverge and talk about how other countries, can neglect their core economic engines, and how others can seize it. Its not unique to Indonesia. I will start with China.in 1980s. During the beginning of the reform period in 1980s, Guangdong, because it was close to Hong Kong opened up first. Shanghai really didn't open up until the early 1990s. I been to Guangzhou and Shanghai in 1987, and Guangzhou was ahead of Shangahi. Even though the Yangtze River Delta was the core economic region in China, certain factions in Communist Party at the time didn't trust Shanghai amd Shanghaiese. They top Chinese leaders like Deng Xiaoping felt it was too politically risky to open up Yangze River Delta. In contrast, Guangdong was the pheriphery, and there was less of a risk. The skyline of 1987 Shanghai was the same as it was in the 1950s.
While some Indians might not agree with this assassment, I think the main reason why India hasn't developed as quickly as China, is she has neglected what was traditional been her core population and economic center - Ganges Plain and Ganges River Delta. This area includes states like West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh If you look at the population density map, these states represent the dark red portion in Northern India. The Ganges River flow through these states. These states have a combined population of 550 Million, najung up almost 50% of India's population. They are among the poorest state in India, with per capita incomes 1/3 to 1/4 that of national average of US$2000. Outside of West Bengal, the female literacy in these states on averege about 50%.. They have an acronym to describe the last four states, its BIMARU, which means sick in Hindi. The fertility rate in BIMARU states is abut 3-4 vs 2.1 for Indian average.
Calcutta in West Bengal was the capital and economic center of British India until 1911, when the British moved the capital to New Delhi. While Bombay was starting to gain over Calcutta, Calcutta was still India's major commercial until the 1930-40s.. There are a lot of theories as to why Calcutta declined, Beginning of the 20th century, economic activity shifted from East to West in India, toward the Arabian Sea. If you look at FDI Indian receives the bulk of it goes to states in Western part of India
Bangaldesh's per capita income used to be 50% of India's a decade ago, by next year its per capita GDP will most likely exceed India's In the past it was common for Bangladeshi too cross over illegally into India to find work, and the Indian Border Guards had a shoot to kill policy. What Bangladesh has been able to do is to use its otherwise poor geography to its advantage. Its a densely populated country with a population of 164 Million packed into an area the size of Java. Bangladeshi primary industry is garment production for export. Its the second largest garment exporter in the world after China.
submitted by annadpk to indonesia [link] [comments]

AdoredTV, Intel and AMD

Watching the latest AdoredTV video you get the sense that he is somewhat intrigued over the prospects of Intel and their grand new vision of integrating CPU, GPU, AI and FPGA all on the same package. He posits that Intel is the only player with all these components and with deep pockets making them a formidable adversary. He hints at a potentially challenging future for AMD with a rich, powerful resurgent Intel.
But I believe he is missing the mark entirely and jumping off the AMD bandwagon too soon (probably an emotional response to disappointment over the leaks and perception of being used/abused by AMD).
IMO his analysis bodes very well for AMD for the following reasons:
  1. I look at Intel’s strategy as a desperate attempt to maintain revenues and margins (and stock price). As we have seen with Intel’s latest 50% price cut (which comes after last years 50% price cut), Intel can no longer compete in high power PC and Server. The only way they can differentiate from AMD is adding AI and FPGA on package. This strategy gives them a product line where they can again achieve 60%+ gross margins. (It also assumes there will be no AMD/XLNX collaboration which I would bet there will be.)
  2. The market for integrated AI and FPGA is currently small. Thus Intel is creating a new market rather than defending its existing market. If this is truly the case then it means that Intel is conceding permanent market share to AMD in traditional PC and Server. This is obviously great news for AMD.
  3. For the next 2 years, despite the Intel price cuts, AMD does not have to cut their prices. They are still cheaper than Intel while still being higher performing. So it seems Intel is willing BUT unable to mount a true price war. This is GREAT news for AMD.
  4. What would have been concerning to me would be if Intel had focused on some new fab tech or uarch which would allow it to reestablish a 20% performance edge over TSMC/AMD. They didn’t which is great news for AMD.
  5. It will take many, many years (if ever) for mainstream users to need integrated AI and FPGA chips. So while AMD may not have a directly competing product in this space they do not need one in order to make billions in traditional markets.
  6. IMO the Intel strategy as Adored laid out is defensive in nature and one born of desperation. It is one of showing the Street a shiny new toy to distract it from the earnings crush that is happening behind the scenes. Intel’s only hope is that the traditional datacenter TAM grows dramatically to offset its loss in market share and pricing power.
  7. Intel’s vaunted $12B R&D budget will be under extreme pressure as they have amassed numerous white elephants which have yet to turn a meaningful profit and investor patience will be thin. If management wants to keep their jobs and enrich themselves they will cut R&D to shore up the financials and spin it as operating efficiency.
  8. It seems to me that this new Intel vision has the fingerprints of Raja all over it. He is first and foremost a salesman who creates great hype but comes up short. This seems destined to be yet another one if those instances.
  9. Bottom line Adored is painting a far too rosy picture for Intel. The integrated packaging strategy would be a new market which will take time to develop. It will also be a small portion of the overall market likely relegated to low power applications (see APU vs dGPU). But most importantly it signals that Intel does not have a way to defend its primary markets from AMD and so they are off to create a new one.
submitted by bionista to AMD_Stock [link] [comments]

PCPer's Response to the Recent Ethical Concerns and Accusations

(Had to repost as Reddit picked a thumbnail from a CNN story as the correct image for this post. Sorry! This link here to our PCPer logo is to prevent mobile apps from grabbing the CNN link still.)
Hi hardware fans. It's been an eventful couple of days in the offices and home for me (and Allyn). A video from YouTube channel AdoredTV was posted late Thursday night (US eastern time) that directly attacked our credibility, which has been taken down, reposted, and taken down again. In all honesty, we tend to have a policy of not responding to verbal accusations online, because if we did, that's all anyone that writes reviews would ever do.
This one was more impactful though. We were called out directly by name (me and Allyn) and some very specific statements were made against our reviews on pcper.com and our new company at shroutreseach.com.
Most importantly from my point of view was that I woke up on Friday morning to find that I had been sent pictures of my home (and my office) from Google Maps along with my address from random viewers of this video. Obviously when you start to get into areas of personal and family safety, things get ratcheted up quite dramatically. With recent events (a swatting resulting in a death on Dec 30th) showing that sometimes crazies on the internet can in fact do crazy things when incited, I was legitimately worried about my wife and daughter.
Jim at AdoredTV initially agreed to take the video down in an email exchange after I expressed those safety concerns. But after he didn't think I addressed all the points his video accusations covered in the response that I sent him (that will be included below), he re-posted it. After some more emails back and forth, he took the video back down as of Saturday morning.
At this point, I wanted to make sure that the response to his video that I sent him was public, so that the readers and viewers of both of our content can make their own decision.
In the end, I agreed to make edits to the FreeSync story/video that he brought up. These are reasonable points from him that would have simply required an email or phone call to address at the outset. We also added a disclosure statement to the end of our Intel 900P review in regards to Shrout Research. My statement of honesty in our review remains, but in order to be more transparent, the disclosure was added.
It's worth noting that not 48 hours before the original posting of AdoredTVs video, our team had been debating not about putting disclosures on the stories, but what the exact wording of them would be. This was prompted by a question sent in to our mailbag series our desire to be honest about things. This is still going to happen, but we are finalizing what that global statement will be.
I do think its important to note that despite the intent to paint it as such, there really are no black and white answers to this. Some will say that I should release financial statements. Some will say this is more than enough. I anticipate that he will still have some issues with our process, as will others. I accept that. We will continue to do what we think is best.
You'll find below a complete copy of an email exchange between Jim at AdoredTV and myself. It's a long read, one that I think is important in its entirety for those concerned about these allegations, but I've also prepared this more succinct list of our responses to the major issues.
(Times in the email reference a "current time" of about 10pm ET. Copy and paste is funny in Gmail.)
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 9:46 AM (12 hours ago)
to jim Do you have time to chat quickly today? Saw the video, I have lots of questions, many concerns, but most importantly a request. I can call you direct or on Skype, etc.
Jim P <*********> 12:38 PM (9 hours ago)
to me Hi Ryan.
Sorry I'm out all weekend and I'm actually not in my own place right now (I'm in Scotland but live in Sweden) and getting peace and quiet isn't very easy anyway. I might be available to talk a bit on Monday but if you have a request that needs dealing with sooner, feel free to shoot it to me and obviously I'll listen.
Regards,
  • Jim
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 1:18 PM (8 hours ago)
to Jim Jim,
I'm a little disappointed that you would be willing to post a video with those kinds of accusations without contacting me for input but unwilling to spend 15 minutes on the phone or Skype with me to address it. Although not your intent, we are at the point now of viewers of your content reaching out to me with pictures of my house on Google Maps with my address, as well as my office. Obviously with the recent occurrences in the world, and as the father of a two year old, this is something we take exceedingly seriously. I'm worried that your video and comments, though I disagree with almost all of them, are going to be used to cause more harm than you had intended.
I have a list of corrections and inaccuracies, as well as comments surround some of your concerns, that I am preparing. But I would greatly appreciate some assistance in controlling this situation.
AdoredTV 1:29 PM (8 hours ago)
to me Hi Ryan,
I just got back from the dentist and I'm currently at my sister's house in Scotland. It's dinner time here also. Tomorrow we celebrate my sisters birthday at another venue. What do you want me to do to help? Should I unlist the video? I'm willing to do that for now though it'll blow over in a couple of days anyway. Be aware that if I don't like your response to my points in the video, I wasn't joking when I said I left out more than I put in. I will not be manipulated, consider my offer to unlist the video the final chance of avoiding a real escalation. Regards,
Jim
Jim P 1:32 PM (8 hours ago)
to me Not sure if my previous response got through, resending...
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 1:42 PM (8 hours ago)
to Jim Jim,
I appreciate the offer to make the video unlisted. However, because the video will still be viewable from any number of sources with the URL, I think making it private would be more appropriate.
I plan to send you my responses and comments in private, or on a call, in order to address your questions and concerns in a way that does not endanger anyone's family. I understand that you may choose to take these emails public, and that is fine as I am not trying to hide anything. This can be an "on the record conversation" but the goal is to discuss in private, to understand each others points, without putting anyone else at risk.
Jim P 1:51 PM (8 hours ago)
to me I will make the video private, for now. And I will also write a tweet.
We'll talk later.
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 1:51 PM (8 hours ago)
to Jim Thank you for that. I will follow up with my comments today.
AdoredTV 5:12 PM (4 hours ago)
to me It's rapidly approaching end of day in Kentucky, Ryan. One more hour then the video goes public again. Cheers,
Jim
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 5:37 PM (4 hours ago)
to AdoredTV Hi Jim,
I saw your video posted on Jan 25th about me, Allyn Malventano, PC Perspective, and Shrout Research. While I think your intentions are earnest, I have some serious concerns about the accusations that are made and the facts of your story.
First, I think it is worth noting again that creating this kind of content without requesting input from the accused seems incredibly inflammatory and unfair. As you point out the code of ethics of journalism many times in your video, there are multiple references to “right to reply” that should exist during or at the same time. This opportunity was not given to us.
Second, the impact of your commentary, true or not, has the potential to cause harm to me, my team, and my family. Having already received pictures of my home and my address from viewers of your video, and with the recent events that have occurred around the world, I am now genuinely concerned about the safety of my family. Also in that code of ethics is a section on humanity: “Journalists should do no harm. What we publish or broadcast may be hurtful, but we should be aware of the impact of our words and images on the lives of others.”
The beginning of your accusations of bias on PC Perspective starts with our article on the first FreeSync monitors from 2015. The crux of your argument is that our team, including Allyn and myself, determined that FreeSync was the cause of the ghosting we saw on the display, though others indicated it was not a result of FreeSync, but rather the panel or integration itself. Our assertion at the time would have been that because FreeSync was the “certification brand” of this display, that in the end, regardless of the root technical cause, AMD and the FreeSync team were ultimately responsible. Our original story even details our inability to nail down the root cause of the problem.
*The question now is: why is this happening and does it have anything to do with G-Sync or FreeSync? NVIDIA has stated on a few occasions that there is more that goes into a VRR monitor than simply integrated vBlank extensions and have pointed to instances like this as an example as to why. Modern monitors are often tuned to a specific refresh rate – 144 Hz, 120 Hz, 60 Hz, etc. – and the power delivery to pixels is built to reduce ghosting and image defects. But in a situation where the refresh rate can literally be ANY rate, as we get with VRR displays, the LCD will very often be in these non-tuned refresh rates. NVIDIA claims its G-Sync module is tuned for each display to prevent ghosting by change the amount of voltage going to pixels at different refresh rates, allowing pixels to untwist and retwist at different rates.
It’s impossible now to know if that is the cause for the difference seen above. But with the ROG Swift and BenQ XL2730Z sharing the same 144 Hz TN panel specifications, there is obviously something different about the integration. It could be panel technology, it could be VRR technology or it could be settings in the monitor itself. We will be diving more into the issue as we spend more time with different FreeSync models.
For its part, AMD says that ghosting is an issue it is hoping to lessen on FreeSync monitors by helping partners pick the right components (Tcon, scalars, etc.) and to drive a “fast evolution” in this area.
Source: https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Displays/AMD-FreeSync-First-Impressions-and-Technical-Discussion/Gaming-Experience-FreeSync-*
You then bring up the fact that after we did discover that a firmware fix occurred (after our review), we posted a completely new article four months after our review recognizing the changes and improvements. There is a fair point to be made that we should have gone back to the original story and updated it with links to the new story. However, by doing a follow-up story and posting it in the same channels as the original (main site, video, Twitter, etc.) we believe we did due diligence here.
*In an industry that constantly changing with new hardware reviews, firmware updates, and even software and driver changes, keeping up with it is difficult. Extremely difficult. We will continue to find ways to do it better.
Any claims we made in comments or forums that panels in the competing G-Sync and FreeSync monitors were identical are false, and our error. But in our originally story, where articles are edited and curated, we state clearly that they shared the same “specifications”:
It’s impossible now to know if that is the cause for the difference seen above. But with the ROG Swift and BenQ XL2730Z sharing the same 144 Hz TN panel specifications, there is obviously something different about the integration.
Source: https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Displays/AMD-FreeSync-First-Impressions-and-Technical-Discussion/Gaming-Experience-FreeSync-*
Should comments and forum posts have been more accurate? Yes.
You also mention our frequent streams with NVIDIA’s Tom Petersen as a source bias in our content. While we definitely have hosted Tom in our offices many times, the invite has always been open for any vendor we work with to co-host a live stream to talk to our audience. AMD has taken us up on these offers on seven specific instances:
· [https://www.pcper.com/news/Graphics-Cards/Live-Review-Recap-AMD-Radeon-HD-7970-GHz-]Edition(https://www.pcper.com/news/Graphics-Cards/Live-Review-Recap-AMD-Radeon-HD-7970-GHz-Edition)
· https://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/PCPer-Live-Interview-AMDs-Richard-Huddy-June-17th-4pm-ET-1pm-PT
· https://www.pcper.com/news/Graphics-Cards/PCPer-Live-AMD-Radeon-Crimson-Live-Stream-and-Giveaway
· https://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/PCPer-Live-Radeon-RX-480-Live-Stream-Raja-Koduri
· https://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/PCPer-Live-AMD-Radeon-Crimson-ReLive-Discussion-and-RX-480-Giveaway
· https://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/PCPer-Live-AMD-Radeon-Crimson-ReLive-Discussion-and-RX-580-Giveaway
· https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/AMD-Radeon-Software-Adrenalin-adds-game-overlay-mobile-app-wider-API-support
We probably have done more interviews with Tom than with AMD or any other vendor, but this is not indicative of anything other than NVIDIA’s desire to communicate with our audience slightly more frequently.
Next, you discuss the RX 480 power issue and indicate that PC Perspective’s stories were inflammatory and without merit. I would point out that not only did AMD acknowledge and fix the issue, but we were not the first media outlet to show the problem. Tom’s Hardware actually reported the problem first, and we linked to them in our first story on the topic. We worked with AMD to supply them with our data as we got it, to solicit input before, after, and during the story writing.
Another point brought up in your video is that PC Perspective appears to be willing to work behind the scenes with some companies to help fix problems and potential issues, but not with AMD. That is factually incorrect. We have worked with AMD in many instances, providing information before product releases, to help them fix problems.
Examples include our Frame Rating / FCAT testing, where we shared data, opinions, and insights with AMD months before the release of the first public story. On the Ryzen latency “ping test” we also sent information to AMD before publication to ask for input and feedback. When Ryzen motherboards were having significant issues at launch we worked with them and partners on updates and BIOS improvements in the background before reviewing those products. The facts are that we work with every company on the same level.
On the issue of AMD using an Amazon.com link that included our affiliate code, the first time I was aware of that was when the link and screenshot Anandtech’s Ryan Smith tweet was sent out. I never had any conversation with anyone at AMD about including it, or why it was there even after the fact. It was not something we asked for, expected, or benefitted from. A search of our Amazon.com affiliate data from July through today shows exactly zero Vega Frontier Edition cards sold on our account, from links on our articles or from AMD’s website.
Now let’s address the Shrout Research side of your story. Shrout Research was started in October of 2016 to allow us to offer services that we were being asked for from companies already, but separated from the PC Perspective website. It is probably fair to say that we have not been as open as we could or should have been about how this works.
But it is crucial to recognize that were not hiding this company or its relationship to me. The company and my position there is listed on my Twitter profile. We often link to ShroutResearch.com in stories posted on pcper.com. We have discussed Shrout Research on the podcast. I have answered questions about the company in mailbags from user-submitted questions. It is listed in my pcper.com profile page. Most (probably all) stories posted on MarketWatch or similar sites list my relationship to both companies. We link to the Shrout Research white papers (including the 900P paper) in some PC Perspective stories.
To address specific problems you have noted, I’ll start with the 900P paper and review. You claim that our test suite for the 900P review on PC Perspective was created for the Intel work done with Shrout Research. This is not true. The first review to use Allyn’s Latency Percentile performance testing methodology was with the launch of the Samsung 960 EVO in November of 2016 and research of this new testing process was first shown with the 950 PRO review in October of 2015. The 900P review was using this same testing method.
Furthermore, the testing that was showcased in the Shrout Research 900P white paper and the review differ greatly. You assert that the review on PC Perspective is simply a copy of the testing and work done on the research side, however looking at the paper and the review shows that isn’t the case. Benchmarks and analysis of applications like AS-SSD, CrystalDiskMark, Anvil, Photo Mechanic, and Houdini are in the paper, but were not used in the review. The data presented in the review is based on Allyn’s custom testing capabilities, of which only two small results are part of the white paper.
The testing for Shrout Research and PC Perspective testing of the 900P was done on different systems as well. The review data was gathered on our standard PCPer storage testing platform and the Shrout Research data was gathered on a platform that Intel specifically requested we configure. The review on PCPer used retail drives, the testing for Shrout Research was using engineering samples. Even more, the performance of the data results that do overlap are actually LOWER in the review on PC Perspective as they were tested on a different platform than the one used on the white paper. The results on PC Perspective and Shrout Research are not copies.
The concern over using hardware and devices received through Shrout Research arrangements for the review on PC Perspective is valid. Honestly, we didn’t see the harm (at the time) to include the second capacity of the 900P in our review as it presented more information to the reader. Was this unfair to others in the media? Probably. Have we seen numerous other exclusives come to websites (including us) over the years that weren’t fair to the media? Yes. Are samples often sent out differently from site to site? Absolutely. See the RX Vega launch most recently and many storage reviews that send different capacities and sets to reviewers.
If you follow PC Perspective at all, you know that we were going to publish a review on PC Perspective of the 900P regardless of the existence of the white paper or our arrangements with Intel. And our opinion of the product would not be have been swayed. Our agreement with Intel was to vet and evaluate the 900P so it could get an idea of how the device stood in the market and how it might be received in the public. The white paper was only to be written if Intel thought the results from our testing were positive in their eyes, however the fee Shrout Research was paid was the same regardless of whether or not the paper was produced.
Shrout Research currently works the biggest, and most competitive, companies in the high-tech world, including Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Arm. We have done similar work for others on this list, in particular AMD. We have done evaluation of hardware prior to media and public device availability, to advise and showcase the performance as our team sees it. In those cases with AMD, which began in March of 2017, AMD used the reports internally and decided to not request a public paper from Shrout Research.
If any of these companies saw me, or Shrout Research, or anyone on our team as unreliable or capable of bias, they would have no reason to work with me, especially on the Shrout Research side. Instead, the 18+ years of work that I have under me and the positive results I have produced in terms of relevant, honest, and useful content leads them to partner with us to help make their products, messaging, and companies better.
As I said at the beginning, nothing about Shrout Research is hidden or was attempted to be secretive. Should we have been more explicit in some disclosures? Yes, clearly. Should we have been stricter in how product was shared between the two entities? Probably. It’s something we had honestly discussed just this past week, and this story further necessitates the need for it.
At the end of the day, the trust of the reader and the companies that work with us is paramount and the only thing that keeps us going. There will always be some individuals that don’t like us or have insurmountable distrust of us for some reason; it’s been that way for literally the last 18 years of my life. But I know that we attempt to treat every company equally, treat every product equally, and every situation equally.
Many people feel a sense of distrust around paid advertising on hardware sites. I obviously disagree that running ads for a company inherently means you are going to be biased towards them, and I have built and sustained PC Perspective on that very point, a similar application of trust must be applied here. If readers and viewers were able to trust our reviews for ASUS motherboards, despite running ASUS advertising on our site, or our videos on EVGA graphics cards despite running EVGA advertising on our site, then I feel that readers should continue to trust us as Shrout Research moves forward.
Here is a list of the companies that we have worked with on the advertising side in the last 10 years:
· AMD
· Antec
· ASUS
· BFG
· Cooler Master
· Corsair
· Crucial
· Diamond
· Drobo
· ECS
· Enermax
· EVGA
· FSP
· Galaxy
· Gigabyte
· Intel
· Logitech
· MSI
· Newegg
· NCIX
· NVIDIA
· OCZ / Toshiba
· Samsung
· Seasonic
· Silverstone
· Thermaltake
· Tiger Direct
· Western Digital
· XFX
· Zalman
There have been years where AMD is our biggest sponsor; several in fact. There are years where Logitech has been. ASUS is generally one of our biggest sponsors. The point I want to make here is that if you didn’t trust us before, there is little I can do to change that. But if you did trust us before, I think we have proven ourselves over the course of many years that the trust is warranted.
And for clarity, the companies we have worked with through Shrout Research:
· AMD
· Arm
· Intel
· NVIDIA
· Qualcomm
I believe that work that you do, despite our differences, is incredibly important to keeping people on their toes and maintaining sanity. I don’t believe that you have correctly portrayed the work we do or how we operate.We aren't perfect, I am not perfect. I don't believe any of us have ever made that claim. But I do know that you have taken our work and intent out of context.
If you still have to have a video calling us out for our practices, I obviously can’t stop you. But I would request that you fix the factual errors in your video. That includes the FreeSync story, the assertion that we don’t work with AMD prior to posting stories (including the ping testing and the RX 480 power), the affiliate link on AMD’s website, the lack of differences between the 900P white paper and the review, and that we have not been forthcoming (at all) about the existence and relationship of Shrout Research and PC Perspective.
I don’t consider this list of points exhaustive, by any means. I didn’t have time to re-watch or transcribe your video in order to dive into details on each and every point. Should something specific come to mind you want me to answer, let me know. If you have other question or problems with how we do things, or how we appear to be doing things from an external view, I’ll gladly answer them.
AdoredTV 7:14 PM (2 hours ago)
to me Thanks Ryan.
I feel you have raised some valid points however it's not nearly enough for me to keep the video private. Specifically, you failed to address the major points regarding conflict of interest and the "FreeSync vs G-Sync Ghosting Comparison" video, both of which have still not been rectified.
Can I again point to the EJN's article where it clearly states...
  1. Accountability A sure sign of professionalism and responsible journalism is the ability to hold ourselves accountable. When we commit errors we must correct them and our expressions of regret must be sincere not cynical. We listen to the concerns of our audience. We may not change what readers write or say but we will always provide remedies when we are unfair.
I will have a closer look on Monday to see if you have remedied these faults before continuing with the rest of your response. Regards,
Jim
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 7:20 PM (2 hours ago)
to AdoredTV Okay. Can you expand for me the points about the comparison story and video that you believe are still concerning? Is it that we have not updated the video and text of the write up to reference the later story?
AdoredTV 8:02 PM (2 hours ago)
to me Hi Ryan.
Sure I'll expand on these points. 1) I see no reason why you would not have rectified your error with the "FreeSync vs G-Sync ghosting" video, given what you have had pointed out to you today. That is literally a 5 second edit to the title which you chose to ignore.
2) The Optane review still looks the same - that is there is still nothing advising the reader of any potential conflict of interest. I'm sure you're aware of all the FTC regulations regarding this subject - but please...neither of us has any desire to go down that route I'm sure. - Jim On a personal level - When your changes are complete, it would likely be beneficial to point them out on social media. You will gain far more from these two small actions than your current course ever will - and by that I mean you will regain respect from your viewers. My bet would be you'd also find it all very liberating, because pride is a terrible thing. It's very late here and this has taken up much of my day so forgive me as I have to retire to bed.
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 8:16 PM (1 hour ago)
to AdoredTV Honestly, I was planning to include links and updates, but, I didn't want it to look like I was doing something manipulative before we had some to some kind of resolution. I agree these are 5-second edits, and I say in my rather long feedback note that I thought it was a reasonable request. You instead immediately posted the video back up, which I didn't think would occur without the dialogue.
The same applies to the Optane review - not wanting to change ANYTHING on the site as it would look like we were trying to change things out from under you, or the community. I assure you that my lawyer and I have gone over the regulations in this country for disclosure before starting the company, we are know what the bounds of "legal" and "moral" are. Also, do you not think AMD/Intel/NVIDIA/Qualcomm/Arm have lawyers that vet every relationship like this? If I was breaking the law, they would never have me working with them.
Are you going to keep the video up, even if these edits occur? What about your claims of correcting content that is known to be incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate? That seems to violate the rule, does it not, with all of the information you have had sent your way?
AdoredTV 8:39 PM (1 hour ago)
to me If you had simply rectified or even given the indication that you were open to rectifying both issues then sure I would have taken that under consideration. There was nothing to suggest that either move would be made. As it was, you basically just regurgitated a bunch of text from your reviews which I've already read. This stuff doesn't translate very well across the Atlantic. I made the video private on good faith Ryan. I was the one who offered to unlist it, then I agreed to make it private on your suggestion. I did what I could reasonably be expected to do to help you but you didn't take the chance. These past hours have been filled with me fighting my own viewers over claims of weakness, selling out or other nonsense like legal threats forcing me to take it down. I spent the last 6 hours fighting my own viewers because of this.
I didn't have to deal with any of that but I did...because I gave you the chance. I was hoping for a real show of accountability and this is what your readers want to see too. Please just apologise Ryan - make a statement, show that you've removed/changed the title of the FreeSync Video and updated your Optane review. I promise you that I will not gloat - in fact I'd be far more likely to applaud you for it. If that is done by the time I wake tomorrow, I'll put the video private again. I need to sleep, it's 1:30 here.
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 9:21 PM (43 minutes ago)
to AdoredTV It is done. The point of the initial email was to have a discussion and clarify things. I'm disappointed that you would repost the video even after the concerns I brought up about some of the rash notes and emails I received.
Here is the video with updated title and link to the updated story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ylLnT2yKyA Here is the FS story with link at top of first page: https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Displays/AMD-FreeSync-First-Impressions-and-Technical-Discussion/Gaming-Experience-FreeSync- The bottom of this page discloses the specifics of the Intel 900P paper and review: https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Storage/Intel-Optane-SSD-900P-480GB-and-280GB-NVMe-HHHL-SSD-Review-Lots-3D-XPoint/Conclusion
I will likely post a thread on reddit to bring up the points that I brought up to you in the long email, since that information is already out there and in the public. No mal-intent intended to you there, just making sure the points I sent you are public.
Jim P 4:43 AM Saturday
to me Thanks Ryan.
I've decided to skip the party today and get a video out on this topic and to clarify what happens next, so that this can be avoided in future. I will put the video private at the same time. Regards,
Jim
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 10:39 AM Saturday
to Jim While I am sorry for you to miss your family event, I appreciate the removal of the video and whatever update you might have.
I will be posting our comments and thread here to reddit sometime this morning.
Congratulations, you reached the end!
Again, thanks for reading and for giving us a chance to state our position.
submitted by inappropriatecontext to hardware [link] [comments]

PCPer's Response to Recent Events

EDIT: Sorry for posting the same topic twice. Ryan had to issue a fix as he explains below.
(Had to repost as Reddit picked a thumbnail from a CNN story as the correct image for this post. Sorry!)
Hi hardware fans. It's been an eventful couple of days in the offices and home for me (and Allyn). A video from YouTube channel AdoredTV was posted late Thursday night (US eastern time) that directly attacked our credibility, which has been taken down, reposted, and taken down again. In all honesty, we tend to have a policy of not responding to verbal accusations online, because if we did, that's all anyone that writes reviews would ever do.
This one was more impactful though. We were called out directly by name (me and Allyn) and some very specific statements were made against our reviews on pcper.com and our new company at shroutreseach.com.
Most importantly from my point of view was that I woke up on Friday morning to find that I had been sent pictures of my home (and my office) from Google Maps along with my address from random viewers of this video. Obviously when you start to get into areas of personal and family safety, things get ratcheted up quite dramatically. With recent events (a swatting resulting in a death on Dec 30th) showing that sometimes crazies on the internet can in fact do crazy things when incited, I was legitimately worried about my wife and daughter.
Jim at AdoredTV initially agreed to take the video down in an email exchange after I expressed those safety concerns. But after he didn't think I addressed all the points his video accusations covered in the response that I sent him (that will be included below), he re-posted it. After some more emails back and forth, he took the video back down as of Saturday morning.
At this point, I wanted to make sure that the response to his video that I sent him was public, so that the readers and viewers of both of our content can make their own decision.
In the end, I agreed to make edits to the FreeSync story/video that he brought up. These are reasonable points from him that would have simply required an email or phone call to address at the outset. We also added a disclosure statement to the end of our Intel 900P review in regards to Shrout Research. My statement of honesty in our review remains, but in order to be more transparent, the disclosure was added.
It's worth noting that not 48 hours before the original posting of AdoredTVs video, our team had been debating not about putting disclosures on the stories, but what the exact wording of them would be. This was prompted by a question sent in to our mailbag series our desire to be honest about things. This is still going to happen, but we are finalizing what that global statement will be.
I do think its important to note that despite the intent to paint it as such, there really are no black and white answers to this. Some will say that I should release financial statements. Some will say this is more than enough. I anticipate that he will still have some issues with our process, as will others. I accept that. We will continue to do what we think is best.
You'll find below a complete copy of an email exchange between Jim at AdoredTV and myself. It's a long read, one that I think is important in its entirety for those concerned about these allegations, but I've also prepared this more succinct list of our responses to the major issues.
Unfairness to FreeSync: We have made the edits/updates that the AdoredTV video called out. We believed at the time that our new article on the topic was adequate due diligence. While it is impossible for any outlet to update all published articles or videos every time something changes, we recognize that this was an important issue and we will try to do better about updating published content when appropriate. As for the FreeSync panel debate, the text of our review stated that the panels shared the same “specifications,” not that they were the same panels. However, in comments related to the article, we did state that the panels were the same. That was our error and we apologize. General bias against AMD: We have worked with AMD for many years and have spoken with them both on and off the record countless times. The claims in the video that we did not convey pre-launch product concerns to AMD are false. PCPer was also not the first or only outlet to draw attention to the RX 480 power draw and Ryzen latency issues, and we worked extensively with AMD for months in advance of the release of our Frame Rating/FCAT testing. As for perceived bias, we treat all companies and products with respect and fairness, and it has never been suggested by the companies we cover that the reality is otherwise. Radeon Affiliate Link: The first we heard about our Amazon affiliate tag being present in a link at the Radeon website was when Ryan Smith of AnandTech tweeted about it, as shown in the AdoredTV video. We have absolutely no idea how that link got there, and we received zero commissions or sales data on the Vega Frontier Edition as a result of it. Due to the fact that the affiliate tag present on the Radeon page is incorrect (it has an extra %20 at the end), we’re not even sure if it would have been credited to our Amazon account had someone inadvertently used it. But we reiterate that there is absolutely no arrangement, official or unofficial, that called for our affiliate link to be placed on AMD’s website. Shrout Research & The Intel 900P Review: Intel hired Shrout Research to conduct testing of the 900P and produce a white paper for public release if the results were positive. We have conducted similar testing for many other companies, including AMD, and in most cases the information we provide is kept private for internal use at those companies. We also wrote a review of the 900P at pcper.com, with the timing of the release of both pieces dictated by the 900P embargo date. Contrary to the claims in the video, the review and the white paper were not the same. Separate testing was performed on different platforms, although one of the drives (the 480GB model), which was provided by Intel for the white paper, was also used in the review. In short, the tests performed were different, the results were different (in most cases lower in the pcper.com review), and Intel was not given pre-release access or control over the content of the review. Disclosure: While we did not try to “hide” anything as was suggested in the video (Shrout Research, named after me, has a public website, twitter account, and has been mentioned and published often on our podcasts, weekly mailbag videos, on my Twitter account, and in my freelance writing bio), we failed to disclose the nature and extent of Shrout Research’s relationship with Intel on the 900P review at PCPer. That was our error. We will rectify this by adopting a complete disclosure policy for all reviews going forward, which will clearly state not just relationships related to Shrout Research, but also the terms of our review, any related advertisers, and any other potential conflicts that may appear. It was never our intent to deceive, and we still stand fully by the content of the 900P review, but we will attempt to do better about proper disclosure going forward. 
(Times in the email reference a "current time" of about 10pm ET. Copy and paste is funny in Gmail.)
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 9:46 AM (12 hours ago)
to jim Do you have time to chat quickly today? Saw the video, I have lots of questions, many concerns, but most importantly a request. I can call you direct or on Skype, etc.
Jim P <*********> 12:38 PM (9 hours ago)
to me Hi Ryan.
Sorry I'm out all weekend and I'm actually not in my own place right now (I'm in Scotland but live in Sweden) and getting peace and quiet isn't very easy anyway. I might be available to talk a bit on Monday but if you have a request that needs dealing with sooner, feel free to shoot it to me and obviously I'll listen.
Regards,
Jim 
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 1:18 PM (8 hours ago)
to Jim Jim,
I'm a little disappointed that you would be willing to post a video with those kinds of accusations without contacting me for input but unwilling to spend 15 minutes on the phone or Skype with me to address it. Although not your intent, we are at the point now of viewers of your content reaching out to me with pictures of my house on Google Maps with my address, as well as my office. Obviously with the recent occurrences in the world, and as the father of a two year old, this is something we take exceedingly seriously. I'm worried that your video and comments, though I disagree with almost all of them, are going to be used to cause more harm than you had intended.
I have a list of corrections and inaccuracies, as well as comments surround some of your concerns, that I am preparing. But I would greatly appreciate some assistance in controlling this situation.
AdoredTV 1:29 PM (8 hours ago)
to me Hi Ryan,
I just got back from the dentist and I'm currently at my sister's house in Scotland. It's dinner time here also. Tomorrow we celebrate my sisters birthday at another venue. What do you want me to do to help? Should I unlist the video? I'm willing to do that for now though it'll blow over in a couple of days anyway. Be aware that if I don't like your response to my points in the video, I wasn't joking when I said I left out more than I put in. I will not be manipulated, consider my offer to unlist the video the final chance of avoiding a real escalation. Regards,
Jim
Jim P 1:32 PM (8 hours ago)
to me Not sure if my previous response got through, resending...
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 1:42 PM (8 hours ago)
to Jim Jim,
I appreciate the offer to make the video unlisted. However, because the video will still be viewable from any number of sources with the URL, I think making it private would be more appropriate.
I plan to send you my responses and comments in private, or on a call, in order to address your questions and concerns in a way that does not endanger anyone's family. I understand that you may choose to take these emails public, and that is fine as I am not trying to hide anything. This can be an "on the record conversation" but the goal is to discuss in private, to understand each others points, without putting anyone else at risk.
Jim P 1:51 PM (8 hours ago)
to me I will make the video private, for now. And I will also write a tweet.
We'll talk later.
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 1:51 PM (8 hours ago)
to Jim Thank you for that. I will follow up with my comments today.
AdoredTV 5:12 PM (4 hours ago)
to me It's rapidly approaching end of day in Kentucky, Ryan. One more hour then the video goes public again. Cheers,
Jim
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 5:37 PM (4 hours ago)
to AdoredTV Hi Jim,
I saw your video posted on Jan 25th about me, Allyn Malventano, PC Perspective, and Shrout Research. While I think your intentions are earnest, I have some serious concerns about the accusations that are made and the facts of your story.
First, I think it is worth noting again that creating this kind of content without requesting input from the accused seems incredibly inflammatory and unfair. As you point out the code of ethics of journalism many times in your video, there are multiple references to “right to reply” that should exist during or at the same time. This opportunity was not given to us.
Second, the impact of your commentary, true or not, has the potential to cause harm to me, my team, and my family. Having already received pictures of my home and my address from viewers of your video, and with the recent events that have occurred around the world, I am now genuinely concerned about the safety of my family. Also in that code of ethics is a section on humanity: “Journalists should do no harm. What we publish or broadcast may be hurtful, but we should be aware of the impact of our words and images on the lives of others.”
The beginning of your accusations of bias on PC Perspective starts with our article on the first FreeSync monitors from 2015. The crux of your argument is that our team, including Allyn and myself, determined that FreeSync was the cause of the ghosting we saw on the display, though others indicated it was not a result of FreeSync, but rather the panel or integration itself. Our assertion at the time would have been that because FreeSync was the “certification brand” of this display, that in the end, regardless of the root technical cause, AMD and the FreeSync team were ultimately responsible. Our original story even details our inability to nail down the root cause of the problem.
*The question now is: why is this happening and does it have anything to do with G-Sync or FreeSync? NVIDIA has stated on a few occasions that there is more that goes into a VRR monitor than simply integrated vBlank extensions and have pointed to instances like this as an example as to why. Modern monitors are often tuned to a specific refresh rate – 144 Hz, 120 Hz, 60 Hz, etc. – and the power delivery to pixels is built to reduce ghosting and image defects. But in a situation where the refresh rate can literally be ANY rate, as we get with VRR displays, the LCD will very often be in these non-tuned refresh rates. NVIDIA claims its G-Sync module is tuned for each display to prevent ghosting by change the amount of voltage going to pixels at different refresh rates, allowing pixels to untwist and retwist at different rates.
It’s impossible now to know if that is the cause for the difference seen above. But with the ROG Swift and BenQ XL2730Z sharing the same 144 Hz TN panel specifications, there is obviously something different about the integration. It could be panel technology, it could be VRR technology or it could be settings in the monitor itself. We will be diving more into the issue as we spend more time with different FreeSync models.
For its part, AMD says that ghosting is an issue it is hoping to lessen on FreeSync monitors by helping partners pick the right components (Tcon, scalars, etc.) and to drive a “fast evolution” in this area.
Source: https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Displays/AMD-FreeSync-First-Impressions-and-Technical-Discussion/Gaming-Experience-FreeSync-*
You then bring up the fact that after we did discover that a firmware fix occurred (after our review), we posted a completely new article four months after our review recognizing the changes and improvements. There is a fair point to be made that we should have gone back to the original story and updated it with links to the new story. However, by doing a follow-up story and posting it in the same channels as the original (main site, video, Twitter, etc.) we believe we did due diligence here.
*In an industry that constantly changing with new hardware reviews, firmware updates, and even software and driver changes, keeping up with it is difficult. Extremely difficult. We will continue to find ways to do it better.
Any claims we made in comments or forums that panels in the competing G-Sync and FreeSync monitors were identical are false, and our error. But in our originally story, where articles are edited and curated, we state clearly that they shared the same “specifications”:
It’s impossible now to know if that is the cause for the difference seen above. But with the ROG Swift and BenQ XL2730Z sharing the same 144 Hz TN panel specifications, there is obviously something different about the integration.
Source: https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Displays/AMD-FreeSync-First-Impressions-and-Technical-Discussion/Gaming-Experience-FreeSync-*
Should comments and forum posts have been more accurate? Yes.
You also mention our frequent streams with NVIDIA’s Tom Petersen as a source bias in our content. While we definitely have hosted Tom in our offices many times, the invite has always been open for any vendor we work with to co-host a live stream to talk to our audience. AMD has taken us up on these offers on seven specific instances:
· [https://www.pcper.com/news/Graphics-Cards/Live-Review-Recap-AMD-Radeon-HD-7970-GHz-]Edition(https://www.pcper.com/news/Graphics-Cards/Live-Review-Recap-AMD-Radeon-HD-7970-GHz-Edition)
· https://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/PCPer-Live-Interview-AMDs-Richard-Huddy-June-17th-4pm-ET-1pm-PT
· https://www.pcper.com/news/Graphics-Cards/PCPer-Live-AMD-Radeon-Crimson-Live-Stream-and-Giveaway
· https://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/PCPer-Live-Radeon-RX-480-Live-Stream-Raja-Koduri
· https://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/PCPer-Live-AMD-Radeon-Crimson-ReLive-Discussion-and-RX-480-Giveaway
· https://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/PCPer-Live-AMD-Radeon-Crimson-ReLive-Discussion-and-RX-580-Giveaway
· https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/AMD-Radeon-Software-Adrenalin-adds-game-overlay-mobile-app-wider-API-support
We probably have done more interviews with Tom than with AMD or any other vendor, but this is not indicative of anything other than NVIDIA’s desire to communicate with our audience slightly more frequently.
Next, you discuss the RX 480 power issue and indicate that PC Perspective’s stories were inflammatory and without merit. I would point out that not only did AMD acknowledge and fix the issue, but we were not the first media outlet to show the problem. Tom’s Hardware actually reported the problem first, and we linked to them in our first story on the topic. We worked with AMD to supply them with our data as we got it, to solicit input before, after, and during the story writing.
Another point brought up in your video is that PC Perspective appears to be willing to work behind the scenes with some companies to help fix problems and potential issues, but not with AMD. That is factually incorrect. We have worked with AMD in many instances, providing information before product releases, to help them fix problems.
Examples include our Frame Rating / FCAT testing, where we shared data, opinions, and insights with AMD months before the release of the first public story. On the Ryzen latency “ping test” we also sent information to AMD before publication to ask for input and feedback. When Ryzen motherboards were having significant issues at launch we worked with them and partners on updates and BIOS improvements in the background before reviewing those products. The facts are that we work with every company on the same level.
On the issue of AMD using an Amazon.com link that included our affiliate code, the first time I was aware of that was when the link and screenshot Anandtech’s Ryan Smith tweet was sent out. I never had any conversation with anyone at AMD about including it, or why it was there even after the fact. It was not something we asked for, expected, or benefitted from. A search of our Amazon.com affiliate data from July through today shows exactly zero Vega Frontier Edition cards sold on our account, from links on our articles or from AMD’s website.
Now let’s address the Shrout Research side of your story. Shrout Research was started in October of 2016 to allow us to offer services that we were being asked for from companies already, but separated from the PC Perspective website. It is probably fair to say that we have not been as open as we could or should have been about how this works.
But it is crucial to recognize that were not hiding this company or its relationship to me. The company and my position there is listed on my Twitter profile. We often link to ShroutResearch.com in stories posted on pcper.com. We have discussed Shrout Research on the podcast. I have answered questions about the company in mailbags from user-submitted questions. It is listed in my pcper.com profile page. Most (probably all) stories posted on MarketWatch or similar sites list my relationship to both companies. We link to the Shrout Research white papers (including the 900P paper) in some PC Perspective stories.
To address specific problems you have noted, I’ll start with the 900P paper and review. You claim that our test suite for the 900P review on PC Perspective was created for the Intel work done with Shrout Research. This is not true. The first review to use Allyn’s Latency Percentile performance testing methodology was with the launch of the Samsung 960 EVO in November of 2016 and research of this new testing process was first shown with the 950 PRO review in October of 2015. The 900P review was using this same testing method.
Furthermore, the testing that was showcased in the Shrout Research 900P white paper and the review differ greatly. You assert that the review on PC Perspective is simply a copy of the testing and work done on the research side, however looking at the paper and the review shows that isn’t the case. Benchmarks and analysis of applications like AS-SSD, CrystalDiskMark, Anvil, Photo Mechanic, and Houdini are in the paper, but were not used in the review. The data presented in the review is based on Allyn’s custom testing capabilities, of which only two small results are part of the white paper.
The testing for Shrout Research and PC Perspective testing of the 900P was done on different systems as well. The review data was gathered on our standard PCPer storage testing platform and the Shrout Research data was gathered on a platform that Intel specifically requested we configure. The review on PCPer used retail drives, the testing for Shrout Research was using engineering samples. Even more, the performance of the data results that do overlap are actually LOWER in the review on PC Perspective as they were tested on a different platform than the one used on the white paper. The results on PC Perspective and Shrout Research are not copies.
The concern over using hardware and devices received through Shrout Research arrangements for the review on PC Perspective is valid. Honestly, we didn’t see the harm (at the time) to include the second capacity of the 900P in our review as it presented more information to the reader. Was this unfair to others in the media? Probably. Have we seen numerous other exclusives come to websites (including us) over the years that weren’t fair to the media? Yes. Are samples often sent out differently from site to site? Absolutely. See the RX Vega launch most recently and many storage reviews that send different capacities and sets to reviewers.
If you follow PC Perspective at all, you know that we were going to publish a review on PC Perspective of the 900P regardless of the existence of the white paper or our arrangements with Intel. And our opinion of the product would not be have been swayed. Our agreement with Intel was to vet and evaluate the 900P so it could get an idea of how the device stood in the market and how it might be received in the public. The white paper was only to be written if Intel thought the results from our testing were positive in their eyes, however the fee Shrout Research was paid was the same regardless of whether or not the paper was produced.
Shrout Research currently works the biggest, and most competitive, companies in the high-tech world, including Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Arm. We have done similar work for others on this list, in particular AMD. We have done evaluation of hardware prior to media and public device availability, to advise and showcase the performance as our team sees it. In those cases with AMD, which began in March of 2017, AMD used the reports internally and decided to not request a public paper from Shrout Research.
If any of these companies saw me, or Shrout Research, or anyone on our team as unreliable or capable of bias, they would have no reason to work with me, especially on the Shrout Research side. Instead, the 18+ years of work that I have under me and the positive results I have produced in terms of relevant, honest, and useful content leads them to partner with us to help make their products, messaging, and companies better.
As I said at the beginning, nothing about Shrout Research is hidden or was attempted to be secretive. Should we have been more explicit in some disclosures? Yes, clearly. Should we have been stricter in how product was shared between the two entities? Probably. It’s something we had honestly discussed just this past week, and this story further necessitates the need for it.
At the end of the day, the trust of the reader and the companies that work with us is paramount and the only thing that keeps us going. There will always be some individuals that don’t like us or have insurmountable distrust of us for some reason; it’s been that way for literally the last 18 years of my life. But I know that we attempt to treat every company equally, treat every product equally, and every situation equally.
Many people feel a sense of distrust around paid advertising on hardware sites. I obviously disagree that running ads for a company inherently means you are going to be biased towards them, and I have built and sustained PC Perspective on that very point, a similar application of trust must be applied here. If readers and viewers were able to trust our reviews for ASUS motherboards, despite running ASUS advertising on our site, or our videos on EVGA graphics cards despite running EVGA advertising on our site, then I feel that readers should continue to trust us as Shrout Research moves forward.
Here is a list of the companies that we have worked with on the advertising side in the last 10 years:
· AMD
· Antec
· ASUS
· BFG
· Cooler Master
· Corsair
· Crucial
· Diamond
· Drobo
· ECS
· Enermax
· EVGA
· FSP
· Galaxy
· Gigabyte
· Intel
· Logitech
· MSI
· Newegg
· NCIX
· NVIDIA
· OCZ / Toshiba
· Samsung
· Seasonic
· Silverstone
· Thermaltake
· Tiger Direct
· Western Digital
· XFX
· Zalman
There have been years where AMD is our biggest sponsor; several in fact. There are years where Logitech has been. ASUS is generally one of our biggest sponsors. The point I want to make here is that if you didn’t trust us before, there is little I can do to change that. But if you did trust us before, I think we have proven ourselves over the course of many years that the trust is warranted.
And for clarity, the companies we have worked with through Shrout Research:
· AMD
· Arm
· Intel
· NVIDIA
· Qualcomm
I believe that work that you do, despite our differences, is incredibly important to keeping people on their toes and maintaining sanity. I don’t believe that you have correctly portrayed the work we do or how we operate.We aren't perfect, I am not perfect. I don't believe any of us have ever made that claim. But I do know that you have taken our work and intent out of context.
If you still have to have a video calling us out for our practices, I obviously can’t stop you. But I would request that you fix the factual errors in your video. That includes the FreeSync story, the assertion that we don’t work with AMD prior to posting stories (including the ping testing and the RX 480 power), the affiliate link on AMD’s website, the lack of differences between the 900P white paper and the review, and that we have not been forthcoming (at all) about the existence and relationship of Shrout Research and PC Perspective.
I don’t consider this list of points exhaustive, by any means. I didn’t have time to re-watch or transcribe your video in order to dive into details on each and every point. Should something specific come to mind you want me to answer, let me know. If you have other question or problems with how we do things, or how we appear to be doing things from an external view, I’ll gladly answer them.
AdoredTV 7:14 PM (2 hours ago)
to me Thanks Ryan.
I feel you have raised some valid points however it's not nearly enough for me to keep the video private. Specifically, you failed to address the major points regarding conflict of interest and the "FreeSync vs G-Sync Ghosting Comparison" video, both of which have still not been rectified.
Can I again point to the EJN's article where it clearly states...
Accountability A sure sign of professionalism and responsible journalism is the ability to hold ourselves accountable. When we commit errors we must correct them and our expressions of regret must be sincere not cynical. We listen to the concerns of our audience. We may not change what readers write or say but we will always provide remedies when we are unfair. 
I will have a closer look on Monday to see if you have remedied these faults before continuing with the rest of your response. Regards,
Jim
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 7:20 PM (2 hours ago)
to AdoredTV Okay. Can you expand for me the points about the comparison story and video that you believe are still concerning? Is it that we have not updated the video and text of the write up to reference the later story?
AdoredTV 8:02 PM (2 hours ago)
to me Hi Ryan.
Sure I'll expand on these points. 1) I see no reason why you would not have rectified your error with the "FreeSync vs G-Sync ghosting" video, given what you have had pointed out to you today. That is literally a 5 second edit to the title which you chose to ignore.
2) The Optane review still looks the same - that is there is still nothing advising the reader of any potential conflict of interest. I'm sure you're aware of all the FTC regulations regarding this subject - but please...neither of us has any desire to go down that route I'm sure. - Jim On a personal level - When your changes are complete, it would likely be beneficial to point them out on social media. You will gain far more from these two small actions than your current course ever will - and by that I mean you will regain respect from your viewers. My bet would be you'd also find it all very liberating, because pride is a terrible thing. It's very late here and this has taken up much of my day so forgive me as I have to retire to bed.
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 8:16 PM (1 hour ago)
to AdoredTV Honestly, I was planning to include links and updates, but, I didn't want it to look like I was doing something manipulative before we had some to some kind of resolution. I agree these are 5-second edits, and I say in my rather long feedback note that I thought it was a reasonable request. You instead immediately posted the video back up, which I didn't think would occur without the dialogue.
The same applies to the Optane review - not wanting to change ANYTHING on the site as it would look like we were trying to change things out from under you, or the community. I assure you that my lawyer and I have gone over the regulations in this country for disclosure before starting the company, we are know what the bounds of "legal" and "moral" are. Also, do you not think AMD/Intel/NVIDIA/Qualcomm/Arm have lawyers that vet every relationship like this? If I was breaking the law, they would never have me working with them.
Are you going to keep the video up, even if these edits occur? What about your claims of correcting content that is known to be incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate? That seems to violate the rule, does it not, with all of the information you have had sent your way?
AdoredTV 8:39 PM (1 hour ago)
to me If you had simply rectified or even given the indication that you were open to rectifying both issues then sure I would have taken that under consideration. There was nothing to suggest that either move would be made. As it was, you basically just regurgitated a bunch of text from your reviews which I've already read. This stuff doesn't translate very well across the Atlantic. I made the video private on good faith Ryan. I was the one who offered to unlist it, then I agreed to make it private on your suggestion. I did what I could reasonably be expected to do to help you but you didn't take the chance. These past hours have been filled with me fighting my own viewers over claims of weakness, selling out or other nonsense like legal threats forcing me to take it down. I spent the last 6 hours fighting my own viewers because of this.
I didn't have to deal with any of that but I did...because I gave you the chance. I was hoping for a real show of accountability and this is what your readers want to see too. Please just apologise Ryan - make a statement, show that you've removed/changed the title of the FreeSync Video and updated your Optane review. I promise you that I will not gloat - in fact I'd be far more likely to applaud you for it. If that is done by the time I wake tomorrow, I'll put the video private again. I need to sleep, it's 1:30 here.
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 9:21 PM (43 minutes ago)
to AdoredTV It is done. The point of the initial email was to have a discussion and clarify things. I'm disappointed that you would repost the video even after the concerns I brought up about some of the rash notes and emails I received.
Here is the video with updated title and link to the updated story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ylLnT2yKyA Here is the FS story with link at top of first page: https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Displays/AMD-FreeSync-First-Impressions-and-Technical-Discussion/Gaming-Experience-FreeSync- The bottom of this page discloses the specifics of the Intel 900P paper and review: https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Storage/Intel-Optane-SSD-900P-480GB-and-280GB-NVMe-HHHL-SSD-Review-Lots-3D-XPoint/Conclusion
I will likely post a thread on reddit to bring up the points that I brought up to you in the long email, since that information is already out there and in the public. No mal-intent intended to you there, just making sure the points I sent you are public.
Jim P 4:43 AM Saturday
to me Thanks Ryan.
I've decided to skip the party today and get a video out on this topic and to clarify what happens next, so that this can be avoided in future. I will put the video private at the same time. Regards,
Jim
Ryan Shrout [email protected] 10:39 AM Saturday
to Jim While I am sorry for you to miss your family event, I appreciate the removal of the video and whatever update you might have.
I will be posting our comments and thread here to reddit sometime this morning.
Congratulations, you reached the end!
Again, thanks for reading and for giving us a chance to state our position.
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