Saturday, May 26, 2007

Gandhi on Jews & Middle-East


Lazy Thinking

During the week one of my favourite bloggers referred to one of my posts about the Middle East.

[I have to admit I was quite proud, cos she is quite a sharp writer.]

However another blogger (DVP) having read her post, wrote up a rather biased, partly anti Jewish, partly anti-Israeli / anti-Zionist take on the modern history of Jewish peoples in the Middle East.

In my opinion, it dehumanised Jews and demonised Zionists. As my original post linked to an article which evenly humanised both Jews and Arabs, I thought DVP's work was particularly twisted and conniving.

This caught me off guard and has shown up my hitherto lazy thinking on the conflict. Apart from his simply racist remarks, he quoted histories which blamed Zionists for the repression of Jews that remained in their ancestral homes in the Middle East (i.e. Iraq, Egypt etc.).

My view had been that the creation of Israel was of course a factor of this repression and ensuing violence, that cannot be denied. You cannot displace peoples that lived on land for centuries and expect to live happily ever after. However the key point is, that Arabs had NO moral justification for treating Jewish people that lived in the wider Middle East so badly - no matter what was going on in Palestine.

Similarly, after 9/11 white western bigots have no justification for racist acts and taunts against Muslims in America, Australia and elsewhere.


Although I am angry at DVP's article, it has cleared my thinking on the issue. For that I am grateful.

It's a platitude, but as the old cliché goes; two wrongs don't make a right.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Trip to Indonesia

Last week I booked tickets to Indonesia!

So, I again join the stream of Bule looking for cheap hookers, pirate DVDs, crass Balinese tourist rituals, ego boosting cheers from kids and condescending mock empathy for really poor people. Let's face it, it's fucking great to be white in Indonesia!

Not that I am against this modern Meneer mentality, their cash goes a long way.

Well anywayz, in an effort to be 4 real this time round; back up my big mouth when it comes to all things RI; and rediscover my Madurese roots, I am going to learn learn Indonesian in Jakarta for a week (Madurese is way too tough for mere mortals like me!).

I still have to find a teacher, the less English the better.

For the other week, the plan is to go up to Medan and seek out THE best bika Ambon in existence. The stress on my heart from all that Bika Ambon will make other stresses (traffic, chatting up pretty warias and bird flu) pale into insignificance. That's the plan anyways.

Will probably end up in Kuta, learning Aussie, drinking Bali Hai. God I hate Kuta, it's like some kind of East West purgatory.

If anyone wants to meet up - drop me a line!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Gift And The Curse

I just read this post. I love Mr. Aroengbinang's pictures of everyday Indonesia.

I don't agree with the chief point though:

We just need to open our eyes to look around to see how lucky we are, and find more ways to help those fellow poor citizens of a rich country named Indonesia.

I reckon that many Indonesians live on under $2 a day /because/ of Indonesia's great natural wealth, NOT in spite of it!

Citizens of naturally wealthy countries are almost always worse off than those with few natural resources. Indonesia, Nigeria, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Russia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia [The Happy Kingdom (c)] have phenomenal natural wealth, yet many of their citizens are relatively poor. [Of course there are outliers, like Norway and North Korea]


Number one, whoever controls the copper mines, oil wells etc. has enough cash to buy heaps more weapons than the opposition.

Number two, it's not in the interests of government to develop the nation's citizens. Why waste money on education, when all you need is miners and soldiers? Education is real a hindrance in both professions.

Indonesia's natural wealth is a curse.

I propose selling as much as possible of Indonesia's natural wealth to Singapore.

Those smug smartasses won't know what they're letting themselves in for. Indonesia's politicians, meanwhile, won't be tempted to ingeniously scam Pertamina etc., giving them more time to worry about Indonesia's human capital.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

SeXXX Laws

Last week this made me stop to think.

Your young daughters are raped, so then you force the /rapists/ to marry your daughters. Because your daughters are "soiled" and otherwise unmarriable.

This begs the question: what happens if a father rapes his own daughters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


That reminds me of a case in Aceh where some police officer was caught in a "passionate embrace" with a lover.

Aceh has quite strict Sharia laws - the officer was desperate to get off without a bloody caning etc - so he claimed that this lover was a cousin.

Is it better to make love with cousins than unrelated people in Aceh? What about closer relatives? -- surely that'd be even /more/ legal?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

'We'll Bankrupt You'

Up to 6 Premiership clubs are threatening to bankrupt West Ham Utd, because they have illegally fielded 2 players this season.

One of them, Carlos Tevez, is in the process of singlehandedly securing West Ham's survival from relegation (worth a cool $120m).

The Premier league fined West Ham $10m dollars last week, but didn't deduct any points (which would almost certainly relegate West Ham).

The six clubs are looking to bankrupt West Ham by sinking them in millions of dollars of legal fees.

These sort of tactics are common in business all over. Businesses may not be able to out compete another, but they may have enough cash to bankrupt a competitor with legal fees.

Oh, and bankruptcy comes with a mandatory 10 point deduction in the English leagues.

Maybe clubs will increasingly look to win off the pitch, rather than on the pitch.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

All Consuming Charity

Charity these days is branded, prepared and packaged for the ultimate convenience.

Just as we buy convenience microwavable food, we can now buy that charitable feeling.

Years ago you had to have some personal contact with the needy in order get that selfless fillip to your ego. Now you can keep the needy at arms length - at the other end of a long, long supply chain of professional charity workers.

Fair trade is just the natural conclusion of charity in consumerist societies.

No need to worry about being near smelly bums at StarBucks. Just flirt with the pretty waitress, surf on wifi, drink coffee and save the world.

I for one, love it!