• Sunday, December 30, 2007

    For anyone who is even slightly interested, this blog is now closed. 

    Sunday, October 07, 2007

    Does anyone care??

    One of so many Burmese monks, bludgeoned to death by the regime

    I'm guilty. I'm guilty as charged of caring. As much as I want to start the post by talking about the wonder that is the English rugby team which embarrassed the Australians and kicked them out of the world cup I think there are more important things to get off my chest. Sorry to be a bore but I'm talking Burma.
    For a while it seemed that people cared but, alas, it's not so. A weekend of protests just didn't happen. The only place where anyone could be bothered to make an effort was London where several thousand marched through the streets in an attempt to gain support for some kind of action on Burma. The Japanese protest was cancelled because they've decided it's all hunky dory down Rangoon way now, 100 Burmese and foreigners managed a token gesture in Bangkok and the same in Sydney. Pitiful!China, host of the 2008 Olympics. A more appropriate logo.

    It seems that no one really cares. Some have called for a boycott of the 2008 Olympics in China (China is the biggest supporter of the regime in Burma and has the power to turn off the tap, as it where) but that won't happen; after all how will people be expected to remember those silly Burmese getting slaughtered a year from now. Personally I think there should be a complete boycott of all Chinese products but then that's me. Thailand is another big supporter of the regime and pours money into the military coffers in return for gas. But the Thais have never been ones to let the slaughter of innocence get in the way of luxury and consumerism so no action from them. Will anyone cancel their holiday in Thailand as a protest? Not a chance. Or maybe think twice about buying wooden products from Thailand, many sourced from Burma where the good old practice of slavery and environmental exploitation still exists. Nope. And the same goes for the French (Total oil) and the Singaporeans (big trading partner with the regime).

    At the start of the week there was shock and horror at some of the images coming from Burma. People were disgusted and horrified. But that was the start of the week. Time has moved on and, as the saying goes, yesterday's news is today's chip paper. So just when the Burmese people need help the most no one seems in a real hurry to offer a hand. The UN is talking. ASEAN, currently chaired by Singapore, is saying that any solution must include the military. Anyone who knows anything about SE Asia and the great "Asian values" argument knows that what they mean is the solution should include an amnesty for the military and be profitable for them and the despicable neighbours (China and Thailand) who support them.

    Does anyone care??

    Thursday, October 04, 2007

    An entry with no name...

    Slow day. Still pain but going now. Half the day on the phone and the other half wondering how I managed to spend half a day on the phone.

    It's here! It's arrived! Well it arrived a few days ago but this evening I have started to watch it. Yes, I'm talking about season 6 of 24. Sad I know but I think 24 is one of the best TV series for a long time. Over the next week 24 hours of my life will be wasted.

    The daughter got yet another party invitation today which means another weekend given over to taxi duties. Free weekends are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

    An entry with no name...

    Tuesday, October 02, 2007

    Money's too tight to mention...

    Yep, more going out than is coming in. Feeling slightly jaded and disillusioned about life in general at the moment. Several months back in dear old Blighty and still I'm not on the road to riches, or even on the pathway to security. Various projects that I've devoted time and money to have come to nothing or I've been outbid on. There's one I'm looking at at the moment that's showing a glimmer of hope but I'm sure that by the end of today it'll all seem bleak. God I must sound depressed.

    I'm suffering from a neck injury which is causing me a great deal of pain. I'd like to say that it was the result of some heroic play on the rugby field but, alas, it's not. It was nothing more heroic than getting out of bed the wrong way on Sunday morning. I moved, there was a crack and that was that, virtually immobile since then. I managed to get the daughter to her party on Sunday afternoon which she enjoyed immensely.

    Yesterday was just too painful to mention and this morning I awoke, after eventually getting to sleep, with the biggest bad boy of a headache I've ever had. So at half five this morning I breakfasted on a fistful of the strongest headache pills I could find and mooched about slowly until it was time to start the daily routine of getting the daughter ready for the school run. It's times like these that I have all the sympathy in the world for single mothers and can fully understand why so many of them seem to smoke.

    This afternoon I have to take the daughter to get her "winter uniform". Nice as it is I can't help wonder if it really is necessary to have two uniforms throughout the year. Isn't this just a waste of resources and parents' money. I certainly feel like it's a waste of my money.

    Here's a link for a petition about the crisis in Burma, please help by signing it and help put pressure on the UN and China to intervene. It seems that the various rebel groups along Burma's fringes might be preparing to join forces and attack the government troops. A spokesman for them pointed out that the people in Rangoon need their help and that this is the only chance of freedom the people of Burma will get for a long time. Though massively out gunned they can, at the very least, tie down much of the Burmese military and hinder their actions. Ten rebels being enough to occupy the attention of a hundred soldiers. I just hope they can get support from outside the country to help arm them, and political support.

    Money's too tight to mention...

    Saturday, September 29, 2007

    Alicia Silverstone naked!! Gambari in Burma as more protests begin and a nice gift from the government...

    I remember seeing a girl in a few Aerosmith videos way back in the early to mid-nineties. I thought she was the most gorgeous thing I'd ever seen, apart from Helena Bonham-Carter of course, but never managed to find out who she was. It was some years later when I discovered that the woman in question was Alicia Silverstone. So an email from PETA that arrived yesterday really brought a smile to my face. Not only is Ms Silverstone a fellow vegetarian she's gone and dropped her kit for a PETA advert. I know this is very shallow and even juvenile of me but here it is:

    Alicia Silverstone’s Sexy Veggie PSA
    Order a FREE vegetarian starter kit at GoVeg.com

    UN special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari has arrived in Burma for talks with, well, whoever is allowed to talk to him. America has said he should be allowed to talk to whoever he likes but it remains to be seen if that actually happens. In the meantime protesters have taken to the streets again in defiance of the military junta. Could this be another day of barbaric slaughter or will the military exercise restraint whilst their guest is in town?

    I discovered yesterday that the government deems it necessary for all 3 and 4 year olds to be in some kind of education and parents should be given help financially. As a result every 3 and 4 year old in the country is entitled to 15 hours of tuition or care a week courtesy of the government. Sadly we missed out on last term's handout but I'm on the case now.

    Having paid this term's school fees in full at the start of the term the money will go against the next term, and with the discount for next term as well the next bill is set to be very low indeed. This is wonderful, like a school fee holiday for a whole term. This is one of the nice things about living here. A big hearty thanks to Gordon Brown and Co., for this early Christmas present, nice to get something back occasionally.

    Alicia Silverstone naked!! Gambari in Burma as more protests begin and a nice gift from the government...
    Death of an innocent man, China and Thailand, and another weekend...

    The moment the Japanese photo-journalist was shot [video below]

    General feeling among world leaders appears to be that yesterday's hunting spree by the despicable Burmese military junta resulted in far more deaths than is being let on. I honestly find it so hard to believe that this can continue in the twenty-first century without anyone doing anything to help. The UN have talked, but action has been blocked by China and Russia. The EU and US have condemned the junta's actions but no action taken. Some members of ASEAN, of which Burma is a member, have mumbled that their action is a bit naughty but they haven't taken it further. And Thailand's General Sonthi remarked that criticism "isn't appropriate" yet. So in the meantime the people of Burma remain alone at the mercy of one of the world's most ruthless regimes.

    Here is the footage of the Japanese journalist shot by a Burmese soldier. Cold, calculated and a complete waste of life. He shoots from point blank range and just moves on. Moving footage.

    For Brits wanting to sign a petition to pressurise the government into some kind of action check here. People power is an incredible force. If enough people make their voices heard something might actually get done. I'm sure most who read the words I write here everyday already know what is going on but if just one person is encouraged to do something or sign a petition then it's worth it.

    Here's a little reminder of why China and Thailand won't intervene. Something about birds of a feather I think.

    Chinese tanks on the way to crush some protesters.

    General Suchinda's brave soldiers whacking the crap out of some unarmed civilians in Bangkok

    Another week over and another weekend with a party for the daughter. Sunday will see me playing daughter's taxi for this week's party. I think there's one next week and then we're free for a while. Other than that not too much happening. I've got some tasks that I need to complete by the end of play tomorrow but other than that it's a fairly uneventful weekend.

    Looks like the wife will be here for definite in December so my spell of single parenting will be coming to an end. I'm sure the daughter will be over the moon about the return of the mum but I can't help feeling that there's going to be a painful period of re-adjustment when she does make an appearance. Turbulent times ahead.

    England are playing Tonga in the rugby world cup. For a while they were in the lead and it was starting to look like we were heading down the pan. However, thanks to the great Wilkinson and his kicking ability we're steaming ahead and a great try by Paul Sackey has just edged us up even further. Something to smile about.

    Death of an innocent man, China and Thailand, and another weekend...

    Thursday, September 27, 2007

    The aggression continues and sillyness from the UK...

    *** http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Burmacrackdown/ ***

    Sadly there is still no end to the chaos that has hit the streets of Burma this week, not that anyone expected it to end so soon. It appears the UN tried to make some moves but dear old China and her mate Russia blocked any moves towards taking action. China feels it's all a matter for the Burmese and we should all just close our eyes and carry on with business as usual. But I suppose for a nation like China to criticise hard-handed military aggression against innocent civilians it would come across as somewhat hypocritical, given their track record. Which is probably one of the many reasons why military controlled Thailand has failed to do any voluble condemning either.

    [pics from http://ko-htike.blogspot.com/]

    Word on the net is that there has been at least one more fatality. Bloggers from within Burma continue to get the news out one way or other and still the junta of Than Shwe threatens the people with harsh action if they don't just go home and behave. And stories of monks trashing a mosque are just that apparently. Seems the junta has been getting soldiers in robes to do some mischief-making to blacken the name of the monks protesting.

    For the first time in a long while I currently feel respect and admiration for a religious group; the Buddhist monks of Burma. I'm no fan of any religion and have no time for such man made hypocritical mumbo-jumbo (no offence to any die-hard religious fanatics) but I think what the monks in Rangoon are doing takes real belief, conviction and plain guts.

    Added: And now nine more have been killed including a Japanese video journalist and some reports have suggested a German national was shot by the soldiers.

    On a somewhat more trivial and light-hearted note here's some news from the UK. McDonalds have been charging a fine in some branches for people who take more than forty-five minutes to eat their food. They've brought in a car park firm to check and process fines for cars that remain in their car park in excess of this limit. One family received their bill two weeks after visiting McDonalds. They have four kids and dropped in for some dinner. First there was a queue so they took some time to get served and then there was a wait for the burgers. We're talking young kids here so there was some dillying and dallying before the burgers had been eaten, by which time everyone wanted some ice creams and apple-pie. Result: it was more than forty-five minutes. Anyway, two weeks later they get a bill for £125GBP (approx US$250). It seems they are not alone, loads of people have been caught in this McTrap. The family have of course raised two fingers in McDonald's direction and told them to whistle for their cash. The case continues.

    And the Conservatives have named their candidate for the race to elect a new mayor of London. And yes, they opted for the candidate with most comedic qualities, yes you guessed it, Boris Johnson. So that's it, surely another victory to the madman Ken Livingstone. Eton and Cambridge educated "Boris the Blond" has been editor of The Spectator, MP for Henley-on-Thames and a shadow Conservative minister but is probably most famous for his unique brand of upper-crust buffoonary on the popular quiz panel show, Have I Got New For You. So, keep watching for more hilarious antics as Bozzer makes his quest to become the new mayor of London. I just love this guy!!! [But I wouldn't trust him with anything serious]

    Bozzer in action [he's the floppy haired one with the plum in his throat




    The aggression continues and sillyness from the UK...

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