Friday 28 May 2010

Why "draw Mohammad Day" on 20th May

Muhammad in Smiley's.....
Why poke the stick in the eye?  Why pull the tail of the tiger,  a very cranky one at that?  If you just heard about this "draw Muhammad day" on the BBC, you'd think it was just a bunch of wankers deliberately out to insult one of the world's great religions.  You'd wonder what's the point.  You'd be wrong.
Numbers of reasons that I want to come back to (I'm piling up a lot of homework here), when back from Koh Samui.
Numbers of reasons include:

Geller on the Ground Zero Mosque

Just wanted to bookmark this topic to come back to, a discussion on the issue of whether it's right, morally, sensitively-wise, to build the 13 storey Islamic centre and mosque right by Ground Zero.  Pam Geller's opponent is the "moderate" muslim, Michael Ghouse, who tries valiantly to be tolerantly inter-faith sensitive, but doesn't have much of a hand to play with.  He tries the old chestnut of "the translation [of the Koran] you read is not correct" and urges Pamela and listeners to read about Islam to see what it really says, so that we can understand that the terrorists are "distorting" the "Religion of Peace".  Problem is, that's exactly what I and millions of others have done and all that that does is prove that the Islamists, violent or stealthy, are right on the button.
This link is to another site carrying the video and haven't yet read the article around the vid, as I'm in a hurry and off to Koh Samui for a yachting regatta.

Jiuzhai, Sichuan: places to visit

We live right here in China, in its "Special Adminstrative Region" of Hong Kong, so we really ought to plan more visits to China.  Problem  is, when I think of China, I tend to think of Peking and Shanghai, where I spent five years, and countless visits over 33 years.  But there's lots, lots more to see, and this one here, Jiuzhai national park in Sichuan seems to be one well worth visiting.
The English site is here.

"The Flight of the Intellectuals" by Paul Berman

A must-read for those of interested in the plight of the "moderate Muslim": what is he, where is he, what mental and verbal contortions does he need to make to be "moderate" and still a Muslim.  In this case, the consideration is of the smoothly slickly duplicitous Tariq Ramadan, reviewed here by Anthony Julius.  He's a fraud, but so dangerous precicely because of his bromides that soothe the ears of westerners desperate to see Muslims out there who represent something, anything, that can live in a western liberal secular context -- while all the time he has a different agenda, one closer to the aims of his grandfather, Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the progenitor of Palestinian terrorism and al-Qaeda.

"Many faiths, one truth" by Tenzin Guytso

That's the Dalai Lama to you and me....  who knew??
I just wanted to get this down here for the record (International Herald Tribune, 26 May), before doing some critique of it at some future stage.  
All fine and motherhood/apple pie-ish sounding stuff, but seriously problematic, given the "challenges" we face.  More later... I'm busy now with getting boat ready for the Koh Samui Regatta....

Many Faiths, One Truth

WHEN I was a boy in Tibet,....

Thursday 20 May 2010

Can we eat to starve cancer? Yes, we can!

Thanks to ol' mate Peter S. have the following link to a fascinating recent talk by William Li (left) to the famous TED conference.  This one on "anti-angiogenesis", the concept of stopping the blood flow to cancer tumours, hence of starving their growth.  The interesting thing is that.....

Wednesday 19 May 2010

"The pyjama game closes in Shanghai"

When I first went to live in Shanghai, in 1990, I lived right in downtown, in what they called the "French Quarter", that is, the old French District in the International Concession, from the pre-revolutionary days.  So I would wander town on the weekends, just taking in the sights and sounds of that wonderful city, chatting with the locals, stopping off for a nice bowl of noodles.  I noticed that folks got about on the streets in their pyjamas.  At the time I just thought this was rather cute and assumed that it was a long-time habit, resulting from the fact that they live on the streets effectively, since their apartments are so tiny.  The street becomes a shared space, but shared with friends and family, not with cars and trucks.  It turns out that it was true why they went about in PJ's though there's a bit more to it, as Gao Yubing reveals below.  That is, that PJs are a relatively recent clothing item for the Chinese, indeed they were new when I arrived in Shanghai.
I remember also that in summer they walk around with wet towels on their heads, to cool off.  Grand idea.  I just loved the look and feel of Shanhai and the pyjama and wet-towel clad locals.  It's a pity that the government is trying to get rid of outdoor jim-jams......

Hong Kong: Aristotle meets Confucius

I have to come to Hong Kong's defence from time to time, even from aspersions cast by old mates and rellies: "it's only high rises and money-making", they say.   Those of us who've lived here for some time know it's much more than that, including that "high-rise" contumely.... there are places here where you can look to the horizon, and see only serrated mountains to the sunset -- in NE Hong Kong's Dai Long Wan near Sai Kung, for example.  There are books on Hong Kong walks, and some cracking trails to roam.
I've also written about Hong Kong's charity here, its being the smartest place in the world (!) here and tax (yes, of course, tax is an attraction), here.
Po Chun waxes eloquent here on another side of Hong Kong I find stimulating: that it's the best mix of East and West in Asia, indeed the best mix in the anywhere: the world's largest Chinatown....  The foreigners here are sinified and the Chinese westernised.  And each accepts and gets along with the other: indeed a "unique fusion of Confucius and Aristotle", as Po Chun says..
I couldn't find the article online, so here it is scanned in. Click on image to read the article; it should be big enough.

"Riders on the Storm"

I wanted to connect to this article by David Brooks, as it reports something I did not know: namely that internet users do not simply stay within their comfort zones, but wander far and wide from their own ideology.  In that sense, it may be more eye-opening, more mind-opening that traditional media, where one will tend to take one paper a day and watch one's favourite TV station.  People had thought -- I had thought -- that internet surfers tended to visit only those sites that already interested them, that confirmed and comforted their prejudices.  That appears not to be the case, and that's to the good.
Full story below:

Tuesday 18 May 2010

"Ground Zero mosque plan sparks backlash"

AFP, in the article below, clearly sympathises with Faisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam promoting the building of this mosque at "ground zero" Manhattan.  

But he's not the moderate he would have us believe.  Madeline Brooks reveals that he's a "911 denier": that is, doesn't believe that the planes were flown by Muslims, and he blames America for the "tragedy".  More, he has "numerous ties to CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Department of Justice funding case brought against Hamas, an openly terrorist organization". 
Meanwhile, we learn something about the still-to-be-built memorial at the "ground zero" for Flight 93 (click image above left)

Thursday 13 May 2010

They terrrorise us because we're horrid to the Muslim world...

Robert Wright claims that hawkish US policies in the Muslim world are the motivation of murderers like Nidal Hasan, the “Fort Hood shooter”, and would-be mass murderers like Faisal Shahzad of Times Square infamy ("'Jihadi intent' and the making of a terrorist", IHT, 13 May).  It’s true that US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan may be proximate causes of such murderous intent, and of Jihadi recruiters’ “talking points”.  But the opposite is not the case:....

"New Kai Tak Terminal cruising towards losses"

[Left: cruise liners are their own self-contained cities]
One of my forays into local Hong Kong politics was the campaign a few years back to stop the building of a Super Prison on Kai Sai Chau Island.  A group of committed citizens, auto-didacts on incarceration, managed to stop that one, and years later we've been thanked by government officials who admit it would have been a gross error.   Imagine that, thanked by bureaucrats.....
Another one I was involved in -- with less success -- Cruise Terminals.....

Thursday 6 May 2010

One Law for All

Below a message from the folks at One Law for All, a British group of Muslims, ex Muslims, humanists and feminists, concerned with a simple proposition that should be ubiquitously-supportable: that everyone in the UK -- regardless of gender, race or religion --  should be subject to the same law, the venerable Common Law of the United Kingdom.  Sadly not all are, as the UK has given in to Islamist pressure to establish Shariah compliant tribunals, nearly 100 at last count.  These make judgements in mainly family law cases, and they often do so to the detriment of the interests of women and children.  For example, by default giving the child in a custody case to the man, without considering if the mother might be the better parent for the child to go to.  Why?  Haven't you heard: women have an inferior status in Islam, generally worth half of a man.... Read on.... or visit their website for more info....

Australian government pushes Shariah Compliant Finance, and hence enables the spread of Shariah

Below I have extracted the Islamic Finance section (aka "Shariah compliant Finance") of Australian Senator, and Assistant Treasurer, Nick Sherry's speech in Doha recently, with my comments in red.
There he is at left, in the dark, about Islam....
See also my Open Letter to Simon Crean about the subject.

"Why HK's Brits aren't going to return home any time soon"

Gordon Brown touts his economic management expertise in his bid to be re-elected.  That was his main theme in the last of the great Debates.  But he should be hounded from office exactly because of that management, in reality gross mismanagement, a politically-driven push to increase government expenditure.  For the more Civil Servants, the more Labour voters.  He has pushed government expenditure as a proportion of GDP to a massive 50%, more than during war time.
Tom Holland, the incisive Monitor commentator in the South China Morning Post, nails it in the following piece:

Wednesday 5 May 2010

"Crying Lone Wolf", more thoughts on the NYC car bomber

Mark Steyn says it more succinctly and amusingly than I did.
         Crying Lone Wolf   [Mark Steyn]
Whenever something goofy happens — bomb in Times Square, mass shootings at a US military base, etc. — there seem to be two kinds of reactions:

"Hoping for the right kind of terrorist", and thoughts on jumping to conclusions....

Straight after the car bomb was found and defused NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said
“We have no idea who did this or why”.  Reuters, May 2nd.
I turned to my mate, when I read this and said:  “Bloomberg may have no clue.  But I’ll bet London to a brick that it was (i) a Muslim and (ii) that he did it to kill unbelievers”.
And of course, that’s exactly what it was -- Faisal Shahzad, above.  But in the immediate aftermath of the failed bombing...

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Don't jump to conclusions (that it might be a Muslim): But DO jump to the conclusion that it could be anyone other than an anti-west Muslim

When news broke that a car bomb in NYC had been found and disarmed, the politicians rushed to "not jump to conclusions".  NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said "we have no idea who it is and why".   NYC Police Superintendent Jody Weis said the bomb was not connected to an overseas terrorist group (how did he jump to that conclusion?).   Janet Napoletano, the Homeland Security boss, didn't jump to the obvious suspicion, but did jump to another conclusion --

Sadly, the days of the "Anus Hospital" are behind us....

I first came across the wonder and fun of "Chinglish" when I got to China in the mid-seventies.  The Friendship Store was one of the few places you could get a decent selection of goods in those days, with wonderful products like "Thumbs Up Toilet Paper", "Great Leap Forward Floor Polish", and "Red Flag Sanitary Napkins".
One of my favourite headlines was in the monthly magazine "China Reconstructs"...

Shariah Global Map

There's a great interactive map of "Global Shariah Impact". (note: NOT the one on the left; that's another one -- see below).  The Global Shariah map is missing some items -- in fact, I bet it's missing lots of items.  For example, Australia and the Government's promotion of Shariah finance, as I noted in the post below.

The map above left is put out by the World Islamic Mission:  Motto: "One Ummah. One Vision".  The Ummah is...