Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Surely not.....?

From today's Jordan Times by Victoria Macchi....

More than half of young unmarried women in the country believe a husband is justified in hitting his wife if she insults him, according to a study released on Tuesday.


The study revealed that young females are more accepting of domestic violence than their male counterparts, with 40 per cent of men agreeing that beating one’s wife was justified under certain circumstances, compared to 53 per cent of women.

The acceptance rate among married men and women hovered around 45 per cent.


Other behaviours that ranked high among married and unmarried women as meriting abuse were betraying one’s husband, disobeying him and neglecting the children.

Men, however, were less inclined towards agreeing with the appropriateness of abuse.

The survey revealed that 53 per cent of married men believed betrayal justified beating one’s wife, while 77 per cent of wives interviewed said such behaviour merited physical abuse.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Other reasons why I miss Hong Kong...

Other than the hiking, shopping, sheen of organisation, the star ferry, friends etc it is the general quirkiness of things in HKG that I miss...

Two things have caught my eye today....this video of Hong Kong's 'Bus Uncle'

from Expat@Large

...according to the SCMP, HKG is just full of 'Bus Uncles' waiting to explode, as with most Cantonese exchanges, the language is very 'colourful'....and, with the usual interesting translating for subtitles that one experiences in HKG, my favourite two phrases are...

"Who should I fuck?"
"My penis isn't your mum"

And the other little piece of nostalgia...the weather reporting on TV; courtesy of this classic line!

"We have measured the depth of the flooding in the area - it was up to my knee."
From a TVB news report, live from Sha Tin


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ahoy there sailor....!

Somebody mentioned to me today that their nephew was having a pirate's party.....

I could see a good party (a fairly small number of attendees however!) with a Pirate theme...with the following ingredients......

these two....

one of these...

and all to take place here....

one of these is a necessity (work with me here people,....I know it's unlikely but still!!!!)

and fair amount of this....

and this...

and my friend's response....."Ummm I see lots of 4 year olds with swords!"...

Either some people have no imagination, or mine is over active (which I freely admit to!), or I have a previously unknown pirate fetish!!!!


Happy 60th Birthday Jordan....

I know I'm two days's been one of those weeks....but the 25th May was the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Hashemite Kingdom of TransJordan....

In the interests of education....what the Jordanian flag represents...

The flag is based on the banner carried during the Arab Revolt in 1916

The black band represents the Arab Abbasid dynasties
The white band represents the Umayyad dynasties
The green band represents the Fatimid dynasties
The crimson triangle joining the bands represents the Hashemite dynasty (Jordan's royal family)
The seven-pointed Islamic star set in the center of the crimson triangle represents the seven verses of Surat Al-Fatiha, the first sura in the Holy Qura'n

And if you are really interested....a very brief but informative history of Jordan.

And just to finish up this little post on Jordan...via Mental Mayhem a link to Oprah's most recent interview with H.M. Queen ex-boss had a major crush on Her Majesty....this interview will leave you in no doubt as to why! Beauty and brains in the one package!


Friday, May 26, 2006

Another graduate of the 'Bill Clinton School of dodging the issue in the best possible way'.....

"I do not feel it necessary to disclose things I am not willing to disclose at this stage,"



Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Yes, Prime Minister....

Sir Humphrey: "The Queen is inseparable from the Church of England."
Jim Hacker: "And what about God?"
Sir Humphrey: "I think he is what is called an optional extra."

Bernard Wooley: "Yes, it's one those irregular verbs: I have an individual mind, you are eccentric, he is completely round the twist"

Jim Hacker: "Yes Humphrey, there is something I want to talk to you about. Something very secret. Uhm......."
Sir Humphrey: "Would it be easier if I wasn't here?"

Jim Hacker: "Don't we ever get our own way with the French?"
Sir Humphrey: "Well, sometimes."
Jim Hacker: "When was the last time?"
Sir Humphrey: "Battle of Waterloo, 1815."

Bernard Woolley (on the phone): "Yes, we will want simultaneous translators. ... No, not when the PM meets the leaders of the English speaking nations. ... Yes, the English speaking nations can be said to include the United States. With a certain generosity of spirit."


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Where I want to be more than anything else....

"Vast and echoing and God-like"
T.E. Lawrence


Saturday, May 20, 2006

I wonder if it does get better.....

I have of late -- but wherefore I know not -- lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.

Hamlet, Shakespeare


So what did I learn this week?

Never judge a book by its cover…..ever.

People who seem to be strong and self composed are often the weakest and the most selfish.

Seeing grown men cry is something I cannot deal with….at all…ever....and is the only thing ever guaranteed to make me cry in public.

When necessary, I think that women are emotionally a lot tougher than men.

Fortunately, today's news is tomorrow's fish and chip wrapping.

Don't tease people about their choice in might come back and bite you in the arse later....or it becomes the music that will always remind you of them....

Having a vivid imagination is for the most part a good thing. However, there are times when it is the most awful trait to possess.

During stressful situations, talking about things and just 'venting' is actually the best possible thing anyone can do. Listening to other people the trade off.

It is possible to survive for 48 hours on 3 chicken wings, 2 gin & tonics and 2 hours sleep. Not pleasant...but possible.

Drinking gallons of strong, hot, milky tea during times of crisis is very therapeutic...the British are right!

It is incredible how long it is possible to stand and stare vacantly into space...anywhere...beside the road, at a taxi that's stopped to pick you up, in a supermarket, at the ATM....

Fact is very definitely stranger than fiction....

It's true....we do get by with a little help from our friends...

A heartfelt thank you to all of you for your comments, mails, calls and chats.... it has really helped this week. A special thank you to Mia for putting up with yards of have no idea how much that helped.


Monday, May 15, 2006

One moment in time....

Please excuse me whilst I take a break from blogging for a while. There have been certain recent events that need my undivided attention.

I will still be reading blogs and lurking in the blogosphere...however, please excuse me if I do lurk and don't comment.

I shall be back soon.


Sunday, May 14, 2006


When I got out of the shower this morning...this sight greeted me...

(please excuse the haunted look on her face, it's almost permanent, she seems to think she is the most hard done by cat on the face of the planet and takes every possible opportunity to remind me of the fact!)

Now I don't normally leave the lid up on my laptop because I know from past experience that Chiang Kai-shek likes to get on the keyboard...nice and warm apparently! But this morning I was kind of tired, very dopey...and just forgot...

Now, unfortunately my screen looks like this....

and this....

and I don't know how to change it and make the text nice and small again....All those of you with a Mac or Mac knowledge...any suggestions...?

.......Or the cat gets it!!!!!!


Saturday, May 13, 2006

My name's Madame Chiang and I'm a wimp!

If I tell you that watching the first Harry Potter movie scared the living daylights out of gives you some idea about what I can and can't handle when it comes to movies...during Harry Potter I spent most of the time hiding behind the cinema chairs...I have not seen any of the subsequent Harry Potter releases!

So imagine my horror when I read this today...

It opens with a mutilated body, features a series of bloody murders and even portrays a monk flagellating himself with a rope.

But the most disturbing thing about the Hollywood adaptation of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code is its musical score and sound effects, according to the British Board of Film Classification.

The producers of the new 40 million (HK$576.55 million) film, starring Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen and Audrey Tautou, were told that their request for a 12A certificate was inappropriate because the film's score was too tense for young children, and its sound levels accentuated the violence. they have adapted it and been given their 12A rating...but still I know that I will be I doubt I shall be watching this year's most anticipated release...

I know one Singaporean blogger who will not be going to see the movie (and I quote)..."unless kidnapped and strapped into a chair", so at least he doesn't have to worry about being scared!!!!

And as I just told Mia, it is not an excuse for holding someone's hand too tightly in the cinema as I sweat too there's a lovely thought for you all!!


The kiss of death....

There have been a fair few blogging posts dedicated to either the art of kissing or a description of a special not going to list them all here, just the first three that came to mind whilst lying in bed at 5am this morning.....Scorpy; Wombat and Mr Jones.

And the reason these thoughts crossed my mind at 5am this morning? Let me take you back to yesterday evening...

I was chatting to a friend of mine who was showing me a message about the water being cut off in Ortigas and the surrounding vicinity, we checked the areas listed and the hallowed ground of Wack Wack was not included. So we got chatting about water shortages, brown outs...the usual stuff! I mentioned that since I had been here I had not experienced a power cut at all..contrary to what I had been told to expect; and as a result had never used the numerous torches, candles etc dotted around the house.

I woke up at 5am this morning and realised that it was incredibly quiet in the eerie silence punctuated by the wind wuthering through the window cracks...and I realised that my air con was off. I sat up and looked across the room at the air con and Chairman Mao was sitting right in front of it with his head cocked to one side looking quizzically at the noisy beast that had been silenced....yes, we had a power cut.

From this I can only draw one conclusion: it is official - I have the kiss of death!


Friday, May 12, 2006

Armchair travel!

Into bed with the devil....

"Honey. I'm home...and I've brought a few people with me"


Thursday, May 11, 2006

I have been busy....honestly!

I have not been posting too much recently as I have been quite busy....which after you've read this will not believe!

On Monday it was our company staff 5:30am saw us congregating on the five coaches ready to take us on our little adventure. Batangas was our final destination.

Batangas is about a three hour drive out side of Manila, hence the early start. What I was not prepared for was that at about 5:45am I had a cup of best Philippine rum waved under my nose and told to get it down felt like being at the rugby sevens...I actually refused the beverage which I regretted about five minutes later when they put the DVD, those of you (all one of you!) who read on a regular basis will know that I like nice movies...scary movies are not good for me. Viewing of choice was Jeepers Creepers, followed by the the sequel....with my iPod jammed in my ears and hiding behind the curtains on the still terrified the crap out of me....and I arrived in Batangas a shivering wreck..took me a good few hours to get over it...seriously terrified.

Fotunately for me the final location was beautiful and luckily there were not too many activities organised so we could just sit and chat, play cards and drink beer...a really lovely day. Shame it had to end with the three hour haul back to Manila suffering the The Curse of the Ring, granted not as scary as the morning viewing...but still not for me....the nightmares I had on Monday were some of the worst since I watched Black Hawk Down

Anyway, some pictures:

Actually, one of the best parts of the day (movies not withstanding) was the drive through Tagaytay, I'd heard it was beautiful but seeing really is believing!


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The reason for being...

Last night I asked someone if they wrote a blog…their response gave me pause for thought…”Why write a blog? I don’t need to be heard”

It made me think…Do any of us ‘need’ to be heard…or do we ‘want’ to be heard? Is blogging just one great ego trip? Is it an addiction, a pass time or habit? Are some of us in it for the novel writing practice, the diary writing or to see if we can actually write something that people will read!

E@L wrote recently that he wrote because of all “the groupies who fling themselves at me”…

Mr Jones writes for his own “self-exploration”.

Mia blogs so she can connect.
Dave blogs to inform and as part of his business venture.

So a variety of reasons to blog….

For me (because blogging really is all about ‘me’) my blogging has passed through various stages…I started blogging after reading quite a few Hong Kong blogs for a while I thought I’d give it a whirl…then I started to enjoy the fact that I could just put anything out there and nobody knew who I was. However, that soon changed as I started to meet other bloggers in person, of course, even without thinking about it, I started to be more aware of what I was writing. And now, at this stage I know a few other bloggers either virtually or in reality and some of my ‘real life’ friends know that I blog (Hello Munich, Disco Bay and the Panama Canal!) so, whilst I am aware of what I write, and probably do not write as much personal stuff as I would if I were completely anonymous, I do for the most part, touch on what ever subject I want to.

I am fairly sure that I don't need to be to wanting to be heard...sometimes...othertimes my posts are more of a record of somethint that caught my eye on a certain day...or certain events or moods.

So, my fellow bloggers, do you need to be heard...or do you want to be heard?


Monday, May 08, 2006

Recommended reading material

Present reading material...actually almost this...

Pacific War Diary

I cannot really comment on the ethics of him defying military regulations and keeping a diary.

However, it is an incredible book. James Fahey is never going to be one of the greatest writers in the world but his descriptions of life aboard the USS Montpelier from 1942-1945 are gripping. The Montpelier (and Fahey) saw action in the Solomons, the Marianas, the Philippines, Borneo and then up to China and Japan.

The book holds the interest because of the juxtaposition of the mundane; 'We had ham and jello for dinner' and the very vivid descriptions of the conditions they endured, the attacks from the Japanese, bombarding the Pacific islands and attacks from the suicide pilots and boats.

It really is an excellent read.....


Sunday, May 07, 2006

All shook up.....

Blair's reshuffle is a fairly drastic measure, and whilst the wisdom of moving Charles Clarke out is only too obvious at this stage, I think moving Jack Straw over to the Commons (whilst useful in helping Blair achieve his agenda in there) is really not going to help Britain.

Straw has been a steady, guiding hand thus far and moving him out of place as things with Iran start to heat up is really not the best idea. He knows the people that have to be negotiated with, he knows how they thing...and possibly more importantly they know how he thinks.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, No sex please, we're on duty



Well, dear Reader(s), I am posting this from home....yes, I finally have internet access from the comfort of my own sofa...

However, the path was not easy.....

Last week I signed up online for the SmartBro internet service, they contacted me on Thursday to ask if they could install on Friday..I explained that I was working all day that wasn't possible. The Sales agent then came back to me offering the option of dropping of the equipment later on Friday evening and then having someone come install it on Saturday morning....sounded good to me. I popped home to do all the paperwork etc on Friday, collected the equipment and was promised a call in the morning to schedule far, so wonderful.....

Saturday morning (bearing in mind that this is my day off and therefore incredibly precious) starts a horrific day of no contact, no confirmation and me spending the entire day at home with continued promises that the engineer was coming...finally at 7:30pm I lost the plot...completely and told their customer services precisely what I thought of them.

They finally showed up at 8:30am this morning...after my specific request to have them here at 8am.....

The sales guy was good, their installers were polite...the organisation is appalling......possibly the worst I have experienced in my entire time in Asia.


Live and let live....

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thomas Hardy was wise.....

The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

How I feel at the moment...

ESTRAGON: .... Let's go.
VLADIMIR: We can't.
ESTRAGON: Why not?
VLADIMIR: We're waiting for Godot.

I knew Samuel Beckett would come in useful for something!!!


Monday, May 01, 2006

Summer Promotion....

strange, not something I've ever thought of working a promotion around....

update: I knew there was something more to this 'promotion' than met the over lunch I quizzed two of my colleagues who were well placed to answer, one a guy, the other a mother of two boys...and the explanation goes something like this...

Circumcision here is the 'norm', and apparently, once reaching the appropriate age, (seems to be somewhere around 10-12) if you have not been circumcised you can be given a fairly hard time of it by your peers, teasing is apparently rife in the locker room. It is seen as a rite of passage and therefore should be done. My male colleague asked for it to be done, the mother of two boys apparently suggested it to them at the 'right time'. As to the 'summer issue', well now it's the long school holidays and so the kids have their longest break of the seems that after the 'cutting' it takes about two weeks to heal and therefore this is the longest period the kids get to allow it to heal, plus as it is seen as a rite of passage this would happen before they move up a year at school.

According to my two colleagues I must be blind not to have noticed the signs around the clinics in the malls here offering similar packages. As to it being considered the 'norm'...well Jesus was circumcised I asked how they knew that, because I hadn't remembered reading it in the Bible...heathen that I am, of course it was pointed out to me that Jesus was a Jew and therefore must have been circumcised), so that explains it...

So there you go boys and girls, I must say when I came to Manila I didn't think this was a subject I would devote a hours lunch time conversation and a blog post to!!


Scary neighbour...

Last night when I got home the kids from next door were out playing in the they often do....

this time, however, they had friends round to play....the kids who live in the apartment said their shy 'hellos' and the friends asked them who I was....

much to their mother's horror...the kids said..."that's our scary neighbour"...!!!