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Monday, November 28, 2005

Coming soon to your telly... and my office's window

WTO's ministerial conference in being hosted in Hong Kong a few weeks hence (from 13-18 december). And my office is right opposite the protest grounds in Wan Chai.

But I've already had a sneak preview yesterday during a bus journey, as we passed the ferry terminal: a contingent from Thailand, marching silently with banners, was conspicuous in its members' fancy costumes. Some were in their native dresses, and some dressed up as farmers etc, to showcase their cause. They reminded me of the World Social Forum (mumbai 2004) that I had been to (and wrote about here) - where people from all over the world were airing their voices, and at the same time wearing, flaunting their local, personal attire and lifestyle with pride. It was a celebration of the indegenous, of diversity.

Of course, what HK is waiting for with bated breath is different. Some people, voiced in newspapers and even at my office, are worried that the coming "South Korean farmers" will be bringing their hot blood and violent dispositions to Hong Kong. Some bosses, around our business area though (sigh) not at my office, are handing out holidays in that week in worried anticipation.

On my part, however, there is no anxiety. At least, not yet. Maybe because I have never really witnessed violence, and do not expect it to take place outside my window. And also because I have a soft corner for protests.

I, for example, wish that I had been a teenager in the 60s. A flower child with heavy eyelids, hippy garb, lily in hair... and hope. Thinking, even believing, that I was a part of a generation that could, and would end all poverty, all cruelty, all war. That we were going to change the world. That we were saving the world.



If only I could feel that.

How heady that would be, how potent. So much better that the dull knowledge, the awareness, that like it or not, I am stuck in a world that holds too many horrors for too many people. And that I cannot make a difference, expect perhaps at some miniscule level. perhaps.

"What you do may be a drop in the ocean, but a drop that would be missed were it not there," said Mother Teresa (as I recall from memory).

But what if we are not drops adding up to an ocean? That instead we are just making up a small puddle in a street that is too dirty and too long for us to ever clean? And am I failing to add even to that puddle?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Hotel California

Ever get the feeling that you could never stop?
That you could never resist?
That you wanted 'just one more'?

Of course you do
But just in case you don't - go get your addiction at www.isc.ro

That's where I get my daily, hourly, minutely fix of internet scrabble. Have been using it for over a year now, and simply love it! Playing against people beats playing against the computer any day. Plus the software (the game board) is fast and easy.

The site allows you to choose the time lengths of the game to suit your schedule / speed (for me, it is long games over the weekned, and short 6-minute matches for office coffee breaks). But the best part is that any time I need a game, there's someone, somewhere in the world ready to grant my wish.

Try it out! Your boss may regret it, but you won't :D

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Missing: Karma

India
the originator of the karma philosophy - each man must pay for his deeds

India
The one place where this principal just doesn't appear to apply

India
the place of frustrating, horrifying dichotomy which I wish we could get rid of


Recently read about the murder of Manjunath - a guy of my age (just 27 yrs old), having similar qualifications (an MBA), getting gunned down in Lucknow - for doing his job right. As an employee of the Indian Oil Corporation, he had been shutting down illegal activities of petrol pump operators in the city.

Here's an excerpt from the news report:
Manjunathan ... had become a “nightmare” for Sitapur’s petrol outlets, always dropping in for surprise checks as part of his company’s campaign against adulteration.

Unfortunately, the result of such integrity in India, when it comes face to face with rich and powerful interests, generally results in one of the two: a) getting framed; and / or b) getting killed. In Manjunath's case, it was murder. Six shots to the chest.

Till now, no politicians have been implicated in the case, so I have hope that justice will be served. But if people high in bureaucratic command chain are connected, chances are as good as none. After all, the last time national media covered a whistle-blower's murder - of IIT graduate Satyendra Dubey - there was widespread talk, and talk, and more talk, and by all - but no satisfactory result. His gunning down was ultimately attributed to highway robbers by a CBI probe.

Incidents like this make me wonder why people with integrity aren't entirely extinct by now. Given their lack of survival, and Darwin's evolution theory, those genes that make them stand up for everyone's rights are sure to go off the Indian race soon.


To pay your condolences to Manjunath's family, please visit http://manjunathshanmugam.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Last weekend was luckier than many behind it.

For one thing, Vipul's no-discrimination policy in movies, which leads all sorts of bollywood trash to our DVD player, did not result in migraines. Saw 'Salaam Namaste', which was very funny depite Preity's hormonal screechings. Both Saif and Preity look ravishing, and even more beguiling is the beach-house where they live, that I have fallen in love with, and have been dreaming of my entire life.

Also saw 'No Entry', which is timepass material if one has rock-bottom expectations and past experience of movies such as 'Musafir'.

Then there was 'The Sweetest Thing' starring Cameroon Diaz amongst others (on Star Movies). It's a funny movie, with the friends-for-life-women backdrop that never fails to ensnare me into nostalgia. made me want to call up all my girlie friends. and made want to fight with Vipul about how come he never knows without my telling things like: I am offended with him, I am pissed with his movie choice, I am mad at his getting home late, I am giving him the silent treatment, etc etc etc whew. Men!

anyhow, as I was saying, the weekend was good, and we actually never got into any such fight on this topic. instead, we went to a nearby Island - lamma Island - where I managed to get some beautiful jewellery made of glass. Ran out of money buying it :D but will be back for more pretty soon when Vipul ditches me in favour of a cricket match next Saturday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bird Flu and Cuckoo ideas

Apparently, china is going to vaccinate all its poultry, all 14 billion of them. The Agriculture Ministry's chief veterinary officer made this statement yesterday (read here).

But how on earth can they manage it?

Even if a hundred thousand workers were working on this project (which I cannot believe)
and finding the bird and vaccinating it takes just one minute each (which is way overoptimistic)

it would still take each man nearly 292 working days (at 8 hrs work/day) to get the job done!


Someone ought to tell him to prepare for the current flu scare instead of planning for the next one.

Monday, November 14, 2005

And the Ostrich Award goes to...

George Bush
for his inane, incredible, invertebrate dialogue "We do not torture"

I wonder what the fine print is...
... WE DO NOT TORTURE. We just slowly kill or nearly kill as per our wishes
... WE DO NOT TORTURE. In our dictionary that term is usable only in relation to what Saddam Hussein has done / does / is capable of doing.
... WE DO NOT TORTURE. And by 'we' I do not include anyone who has met our Iraqi / Afghani prisoners face to face
... WE DO NOT TORTURE. My intelligence on this matter is as good as it was with respect to WMDs in Iraq.

"We do not torture", my foot!

Please visit http://www.planetdan.net/pics/misc/georgie.htm to congratulate the man senseless.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Trek, er, walk to Sai Kung

I am too lazy to write about it today, so I'll let the pictures speak their thousands of words!
Here are some pics from a hike I went on this sunday. It's amongst the easier parts of the McLehose trail in Sai Kung.

It's a beautiful trail around hills and beaches



Old man and the sea



The hills and Me



A beach worth hiking for



Which is why we are trekking



We are still trekking



We've been trekking for two hours now!



And meanwhile, the chinese are also exploiting the secrets of their slimness...
Tai Chi on the beach