December 2005 Archives
Iraqis thankful to US
I wish to comment on the article "The two faces of America", by Michael Chugani (December 23). Perhaps he could have saved a lot of space by saying "I hate President George W. Bush".
The America envisioned by the liberal (left-wing) media, of which Chugani is a charter member, holds that social conservatives are leading the country down the "wrong" path and that President Bush is the devil incarnate. Those who hold this mindset are so blinded by their hatred for him and conservative values that they will twist the facts to fit their view. They say that Guantanamo Bay is a "gulag", when, in fact, the detainees eat better than the men and women serving in Iraq; that American political and social conservatives are evil, when never has so much American aid been offered to so many people. To the best of my knowledge, no one in American custody has been beheaded, raped or tortured.
His reference to neoconservatives is particularly disturbing, as it is code among the political left for politically conservative Jews. This thinly veiled anti-Semitism is repugnant. The premise that America uses brute force indiscriminately is without basis. It is terrorists who do this.
While in America, Chugani obviously did not catch the news. Or he would have witnessed 70 per cent of eligible voters in Iraq taking part in the third election within the space of 15 months, rejoicing in their first steps in participatory democracy.
Contrast his mindset to the reaction of Iraqi citizens. This is best summed up by an elderly Iraqi woman, who said: "I thank America and President Bush. Everyone who doesn't like what America and President Bush have done for Iraq can go to hell."
His assertion that the US media is mostly compliant with President Bush is laughable. Many daily news feeds from the US are, by and large, a rant against him and a recitation of what is wrong with America.
GARRY HUNT, Mid-Levels
Here's a man who's very name is rhyming slang and who is a gibbering exponent of the right-wing echo chamber. I can't allow anyone who utters such nonsense to escape into anonymity.
And what have we done?
In rough order:
- Opened all the presents. (Someone sent us a kilo of Doraemon candy per child. I strongly suspect my dentist is trying to drum up business.)
- Went for Festive Christmas Lunch, which in our case was festive yum cha, replete with festive cha siu bao, siu mai, and mango pudding.
- Had a traditional Christmas walk in Hong Kong park while looking at the turtles basking in the sun and the Carp swimming around them.
- Queued up in Pacific Place to get pictures taken with Santa.
- Marvelled at our Mass Transit Railway with trains at 3 minute intervals on a Christmas afternoon which is also a Sunday, and every train was full!
- Got some freshly baked French Bread from the best bakery in town, Donq, in the basement of Sogo.
And, to round off the day, we had a late snack with French bread, Irish smoked salmon, New Zealand cheese, and Australian wine. Then, thanks to a Mac designed in America, but built in China, we had a video-conference with folks in Ireland.
Doctor on riot beat recalls the drums and the silence
MARY ANN BENITEZ
It was quiet in Gloucester Road on the night of December 17 - too quiet - with the silence broken only by the sound of distant drums.
During Saturday's clashes and their aftermath, in which the team put into practice the concept of "tactical medicine", Dr Chan said they saw minor injuries such as cut hands and head wounds. They prioritised the 137 injured - all men except for one female officer - and sent them to hospitals as planned."
Dr Chan said they were fully equipped like any emergency room, with plenty of medicine - 1,000 Panadol tablets were handed out.
They prepared 10 bottles of special detergent to counter pepper spray. Just two bottles were used.
Ludicruous over the top reporting - they're trying to portray the WTO scuffles as a pitched battle, with medics in the trenches., when all that happened was some minor first aid and doling out pain-killers. Hospitals in uncivilised places like London or Newcastle probably get more serious trauma every night after the pubs close.
It's the winter solstice today, and most businesses close early to allow families to gather for the traditional family dinner.
Of course, one of the "highlights" of going to your relatives flats at this time is a chance to observe how the southern Chinese deal with cold weather.
Now, us Northern Europeans, we'll close the flat to the outside elements and maybe put a heater on. Heat is, to us, something precious, and we love to have it. As far as I'm concerned, my home should be warm and welcoming in the winter time. I want to be able to go home and take off my layers of fleece and wool.
For the southern Chinese, it's quite different. No one heats their house. Therefore, everyone dresses as warmly as possible and therefore noone's house needs to be heated. So, even if your house is heated, you need to open all the windows because everyone is dressed as if all houses were freezers. Ergo, actually having a nice warm house is a waste of money because all of your Chinese relatives will complain about how your house is too stuffy because they've all turned up wearing arctic survival gear.
so in Hong Kong, almost nowhere is insulated. Almost all flats are single block outside wall, or equivalent. If you can imagine a garage in Ireland, with no cavity walling or insulation you'll get the idea. When it's cold outside, it's cold inside. While it only gets down to 10 °C here, it feels much colder.
This is a great country, in no small part because it is the best country ever devised in which to be a public crank. Never has a nation so dedicated itself to the proposition that not only should its people hold nutty ideas but they should cultivate them, treasure them, shine them up, and put them right there on the mantelpiece. This is still the best country ever in which to peddle complete public lunacy. The right to do so is there in our founding documents.
This is bizarre: I'm watching the news on TV which is covering the Protest Riots down by the convention Centre and the sound of Police Sirens is threatening to drown out the TV!
Current reports are that teargas has been used and there have been a lot of pitched battles in the streets. The TV coverage has been a little eager to proclaim a riot all week, but this looks pretty serious.
Currently having second thoughts about popping down to the Wanch to see Black Seraphine later on.
There's been a lot of fuss over the WTO Ministerial Conference which is currently being held here in Hong Kong. The powers-that-be have been predicting Dooom and Glooom all round. Riots in the Streets, massive property damage, etc. There's been very little real drama at all, apart from some street theatre by Korean farmers, who staged short arranged battles with the Hong Kong Police.
There's been a surfeit of fawning media coverage, and plenty of lies from Government. Apparently Hong Kong was a 'sleepy fishing village' 50 years ago. Rubbish. Hong Kong was founded as a trading outpost of the British Empire when the Qing dynasty Emperors wanted the Brits out of Guangzhou. The Portugese had the western side of the Pearl River, so the British took the deep harbours and safe anchorages of Hong Kong. The city has been a trading outpost since 1841, and a haven for refugees from China since the revolutions in 1917, 1949 and 1967.
One thing which has been very obvious, however, is the dishonesty of the Hong Kong media. They've been portraying this whole week as a complete breakdown of law and order in Hong Kong. Television news has been reporting on the chaos and disorder when it's clear from their own pictures that there's little more than a small handful of protestors being anything other than perfectly orderly.
One reporter from the SCMP, Annemarie Evans, referred to Lockhart Road as "riot scarred" in a piece on a charity event in Wanchai. However, it isn't normally journalists who choose the headlines, so it's the editors of the SCMP who are peddling fear through lies, rather than Ms. Evans.
Well, I'm back from darkest Queensland. I didn't have time to post much over the last few months, due to being horrendously busy. 1300 hours in 120 days kind of busy.
It was a bit strange to come back from glorious sunshine in Brisbane to overcast chill (11 degrees!) in Hong Kong. It was a very strange sight to see the whole airport full of Hong Kongers dressed in North Face jackets and scarves as if they'd all just come in from the piste...
I managed to get an upgrade to Business Class on the way back, which was nice, although I didn't think it would be worth the nearly $30,000 Hongkie dollars it would cost. There's only an aging Airbus 330 which flies between Hong Kong and Brisbane, and it's very tired. In Business Class, you don't get the video on demand, or podded seats which you get on other Cathay routes. The seat doesn't even recline fully! All you get is a slightly larger seat, nicer food and better service. It's nice, but not worth paying three times the cost of economy.
As for the landing, Oy Veh! The engines were fully on and fully off on final approach, the ship was all over the place on the way in, and there was a pilot sitting next to me who didn't look comfortable at all.
I must try and wangle a trip down to Brissie on Qantas Business Class, just to see how it compares. I gather they use a real aircraft, not a little shrimp like an A330, so maybe it's more comfortable.
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