Olympics 2008

Such a spectacular display of the greatest advances across industries! And I'm glad to see the Bird's Nest architecturally reflect an Asian context. Photo courtesy of http://en.beijing2008.cn/ Official Beijing 2008 site Asian culture, its arts and legacy, is beautiful, that it's disappointing to see the westernisation of Asia-- particularly in Bangkok and other major cities. Phnom Penh itself is exemplifying rapid westernisation and eradication of its heritage. Local officials in ill-fitting western suits and ties often arrive at meetings, and villagers trade in their more useful kromas (all-purpose scarves) in favor of mass-produced generic garbs branded by company logos. And then there's Hong Kong with its otherwise pretty harbour … [Read more...]

How to vote in Cambodia’s national elections

Tomorrow the country holds its 4th national elections since the 1991 Paris Peace Accords were signed, ending decades of civil war and foreign occupation. In the runup to this weekend our counterparts in the Ministry of Health and all health professionals were required to partake in campaigning for their parties. (This meant that all activities agreed upon were essentially put on hold for two months).I asked one of them, a hospital director, what it is he does when he goes out to the villages and communities to campaign. "I teach people how to vote", was the response. Really? How do you teach them how to vote? "I show them which box on the ballot to check". Do you like to do that? [[He hesitates, then...]] "It doesn't seem right... But it's … [Read more...]

Dark hours in Burma

Design prompted by disturbing news from friends in Burma.After decades of proclaiming itself the protector of Buddhism (to secure legitimacy), this regime repeatedly brutalises its peaceful, devout people. International pressure for concrete action is increasing, especially among ASEAN, which considers Burma strategically important. Its policy of non-interference may soon change as state failure carries widespread ramifications for the geopolitical stability of the region. From within, severe economic contractions, rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions and a highly fragmented population are buckling this fraught state. Policy differences are rife within the junta, including growing competition among the ruling elite’s heirs. The one … [Read more...]

Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Remember Lee Iacocca, the American industrialist who rescued Chrysler Corporation from death throes? Here are some excerpts from 'Where Have All the Leaders Gone?' (c)2007. "Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening?... We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course" "I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of … [Read more...]

the US Agriculture Policy

CARE Turns Down Federal Funds for Food Aid An interesting development, and CARE risks much with it. They traditionally employed monetised food aid but have been debating the damage such a system facilitates to the markets (people) which they are specifically trying to help. Essentially, subsidised US farm products (already controversial by its own right) are shipped from the US on American lines, sold by NGOs, the profits of which are used to fund their aid operations. Because aid organisations are not commodities experts, that profit margin is also impacted. This event is interesting on many levels. It highlights the incredible role of food aid in politics, as leverage, as a weapon, to control the markets. Aid is no longer tied as a … [Read more...]

Flags Campaign: Meet the World

Check out this project from Grande Reportagem, a Portuguese news magazine that is recognised for its investigative reports and excellent photo-journalism. The "Flags Campaign" focuses on the concept of "Meet the World." The creative team for this project used the colors on flags to transmit statistics about social and political issues relevant to various countries. The statistics were thoroughly researched and come from information given by the United Nations, Amnesty International, and other national institutions. The US flag is quite funny...Flags Campaign: Meet the World … [Read more...]

The Mighty Mighty English

Unbeatable. Unstoppable. A most superlative cast of characters is literally a word or two shy of the million word mark. Tres cool tres cool all! Here's some more lingual trivia: There are 6,912 living languages per the language clock on Language Monitor. The top spoken languages, in order, per Info Please : Chinese English Hindustani Spanish Russian Arabic Bengali Portuguese Malay-Indonesian French "According to traditional estimates, neighboring Germany has a vocabulary of about 185,000 and French fewer than 100,000, including such Franglais as as le snacque-barre and le hit-parade." (This site has English at 500,000 official words and another 500,000 uncatalogued.) Words in the Language The lowdown on the … [Read more...]

news you can lose…

Coming up for air.... US Won't Get Into Civil War, But Will Sort of Hang Out in the General Vicinity White House Issues New Port Security Guidelines "Every friendship requires vulnerability,” Mr. McClellan said. “We demonstrate our love for our friends in the United Arab Emirates by trusting them, without regard to previous wrongs.” ...and Jon Stewart on Larry King Live--cuz he's da bomb Jon joined Larry King last night and talked about the administration and Democrats in depth. Larry asks him if he'd like things to be bad, kinda like O'Reilly saying that left wing websites want the US to fail because Bush is in charge. Video-WMP low res Video-QT (transcript) KING: You don't want Medicare to fail? STEWART: Are … [Read more...]