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Showing posts from January, 2009

Thailand - a Sad Slide Backwards

For Rohingyas refugees, this scandalous episode in Thailand where hundreds of them feared dead and dumped into sea and hundreds of them more were let loose in the sea without food or any basic amenities, to starve to death, aren't new. Even the military government in Myanmar doesn't acknowledge the existence of them, "There is no so-called Rohingya ethnic minority group in our history before or after our independence", and the Thai government has entrusted the very military to conduct investigation on one of its own rank, as if mockeries to justice have no bound, no shame.

Here is an observation from The Economist: "while soldiers act with impunity and royalist rioters get soft treatment, the country’s anachronistic lèse-majesté law is enforced rigorously. America and its allies long turned a blind eye to such stains on Thailand’s reputation, because King Bhumibol and his army were staunch anti-communist allies. Recalling that relationship, next month America is …

Recession Spreads to Canada's Storefronts

Saturday mornings bring that sought after relief after any grueling hard work week for many. World economy's bloom and gloom stories are not appealing with a cup of morning coffee, but can sure provide necessary knowledge to protect one's own and loved ones. The following news story published in The Globe and Mail may not be comforting, however, it can illuminate reality from illusion.
"Canada's recession is spreading from the car factories to the coffee shops, reinforcing the case for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's $40-billion stimulus program and adding to the risk that he may have to do more.The baristas, shopkeepers, financial planners, technicians and consultants that make up Canada's services industries are starting to feel the same malaise that has gripped factories and exporters for the better part of a year, new government figures show. Output by the services sector — which accounts for 70 per cent of Canada's $1.2-trillion gross domestic product —…

War of Words between China and America

While the world economy is falling into whirlwind recession, the abysmal depth of depression not seen since the infamous 1930s, the world doesn't need unnecessary tensions between China and America. "In a written response to questions from senators debating his confirmation, Mr Geithner accused China of “manipulating” its currency and promised that the Obama team would push “aggressively” for Beijing to change its policies. The sharp tone and use of the legally-loaded term “currency manipulation” ricocheted through financial markets as investors shuddered at the prospect of a Sino-American spat in the midst of a global slump."

Is there any truth on following speculation?
"American policymakers have long pushed Beijing to accelerate the appreciation of the yuan, arguing that China’s exchange-rate policy played a big role in creating the global imbalances and that—both for the sake of China’s economy and the rest of the world—the currency needs to strengthen."Maybe…

Praise Song for the Day

Elizabeth Alexander's inauguration day poem was indeed memorable. Her somber recitation of each line describing the mundane, every not so praised events and uplifting the summation of all into universal theme of collective humanity with ease, in her careful selection of words, slowly delivered in a day of January winter while the leaders from past and current look on and the sea of crowds who had come to witness the change and hope over fear may indeed become the symbolic implication of the "Day" when it seemed goodness is still achievable and rottenness and hideous vileness are in sure retreat. Praise Song for the Day.............

“Praise Song for the Day,” by Elizabeth Alexander, January 20, 2009
Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole …

Someone has to stop Israel's rampant madness in Gaza

Gideon Levy has courage. Being in the middle of all the jubilation, proud smirks and chest thumping madness, this Israeli writer with conscience writes in Israel's prominent newspaper Haaretz what needs to be written about Gaza and deaths of more than 1100 of women, men and children and that the number is continually growing with increasing pace.
"In the streets, people are running back and forth in panic, holding children and suitcases in their hands, helpless as the shells fall around them. Nobody in the diplomatic corridors is in any hurry to help those unfortunates who have nowhere to run.

The handful of journalists trying to cover the events, despite the outrageous media closure Israel has imposed, are also in danger. The Israel Defense Forces Thursday shelled the media building they were in and now they are all crowded in one office, as fearful and horrified as the rest of the scorched city's residents.

.................This is how Israel now looks to the outside world…

A sticky ending for the tar sands

Slumping oil demand has already caused thousands of job losses across Alberta. The heydays of oil boom is slowly eroding into coldness matching the chill of snowy windchill. The Economist surmises the brief history of tar sands, its spectacular rise and seemingly similar astonishing fall in coming days unless a real "miracle" turns the world economy back to its agonized feet:
"Extracting oil from the sands took off in the late 1990s, boosted by technological advances that greatly reduced costs. Sitting on the equivalent of 173 billion barrels of crude, the provincial government dreamed of making Alberta a new Saudi Arabia (with moose instead of camels). Although some, such as Peter Lougheed, a former premier, called for “orderly” development, a wild rush ensued, causing provincewide labour shortages. Even servers at fast-food restaurants had to be lured with an iPod or other inducements. Now, though, employment is slumping: Steve Vetter, a manager at a firm that services…

US to help Bangladesh seize bribe money

The sons and daughters of ex-Bangladesh rulers siphoned of hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign banks. After BNP got ousted in recent elections, and Awami League got into power, the massiveness of corruptions committed by "prince" and "princesses" of this proud but still impoverished nation slowly started to emerge.

It took the fall and the change of the government before the thieveries were uncovered. Awami League, the current ruling party in Bangladesh, that came to power very recently after winning a landslide victory in parliamentary election, must take serious note in the happenings and flattenings of once upon a time's big giants, the behemoth thugs and petty thieves who had sucked the nation of Bangladeshis dried and cold like brute vampires.

Awami League's mantra should be avoiding this scandalous bruteness with representative governance devoid of the same fleecing of the nation wholesale. Otherwise, should there be any doubt among all respectiv…

Occupation 101 - a Documentary to Watch

Perhaps we can take a bit of break from watching entertainment news, and can learn a thing or two of suppressed history and contemporary miseries, and about men, women and children of a land where violent deaths, and utter humiliations are in abundance mostly due to the inaction and willful ignorance of global citizenry.

I don't want to write about Gaza

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I don’t want to write about Gaza. Don’t want to see still images of the bloodied streets full of blown off corpses, children, women, men, and the ghoulish videos of horrific screams pouring out of wounded human beings amidst macabre deaths. Sometimes words leave you. Sometimes, the degree of horror and brutality snuff out heated air. And the responses from the civilized world, leaders and politicians, high brow scholars of glorified predilection to softening blows, intensify the silent acquiescence to massacres. In the name of furious self defense from rudimentary resistance of starved dehumanized, genocide is uplifted as camouflaged battle on fright.I heard it enough!I’d read the same stories many times now. Nothing would change. People would die. Children would be crushed under collapsing buildings from bombs and missiles. Agonies of women, widows, amputated school teachers would only be reverberated from the confined walls of their dismal surroundings. Emergency ambulances’ blaring…

Reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Just started reading Junot Diaz's 2007 novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. His choice of words, dialogues, and the moving way this remarkable story is unfolding in different voices, first through Oscar's voice, then his sister Lola and now I've started reading their mother Belicia, in reverse chronological order, making it a story to remember I believe. The author gave sporadic historical information on Dominican Republic, especially, the long forgotten dictator Trujillo in relevant footnotes, that made the story more interesting.

I hope to write more on this novel in the coming days.

Two Memorable Music Videos

MGMT's Time to Pretend is a touching music, though ironical in its contradictory messages, but that's what made it a great song with memorable lyric like the following excerpt:

"This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
We've got the vision, now let's have some fun.
Yeah, it's overwhelming, but what else can we do.
Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute.

..................

We were fated to pretend

I'll miss the playgrounds and the animals and digging up worms
I'll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world
I'll miss my sister, miss my father, miss my dog and my home
Yeah, I'll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone

But there is really nothing, nothing we can do

...............
We'll choke on our vomit and that will be the end
We were fated to pretend
To pretend
We're fated to pretend
To pretend"

Lyric Link: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/m/mgmt/time_to_pretend.html

Another cool music is by…