Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Sky over Bali

Not that I can say that the sky looks different when you cross the Equator, but surely the sky has something to it when you have a clear view. While we were in Ubud, we stayed out of town, away from all the pollution that there might be. As we arrived at 23:00 a clear, unobstructed view welcomed us. Looking up the sky was breathtaking. In Singapore you hardly see the sky. It is either polluted or there is clouds. The moon was hanging over the river valley (road) like a big italian designer lamp. It was so bright, you could do without the lights outside.

Looking up the sky I felt like being back in Australia. When I crossed the Nulabur Plains in 2000, the most amazing view was the starry night. Back then I slept in the car for 2 weeks. Every night I would listen to static on the radio, looking up, gazing at the stars. Billions of them. 30o kilometers away from the next petrol station cum hotel, there was truly no pollution. This great emptiness offers a sight you would not believe.

When was the last time you looked up?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tibet - An issue

Don't get me wrong. This issue needs to be addressed.
However...

Tibet has been occupied by China for the past 50+ years. Did anyone really bother?
Honestly! No. Up until now no one could care less. Just at the brink of a scandal ridden Olympic Games everyone thinks that Tibet deserves to get some attention.
Additional note: before the Chinese rule, Tibet was invaded by.. Tada! The British!

What about Cyprus? Spain has some issue with the ETA, right? Is Iraq actually occupied? Anyone care to protest for Myanmar? Oh sorry, no oil or anything else worth some attention. Just temples and monks.

Tibet:
From 1965 to 2003, the GNP of Tibet increased from USD 41 million to 2.3 billion
Source: http://www.chinaembassy.org.il/eng/zt/xzwt/t185994.htm
Ok, biased...

Andorra: 2.77 Billion...
Source: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/an.html

Now here is the critical and cynical question: Would Tibet be able to stand on their own feed? Or would their independance throw them into even greater misery?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Driving people mad

If you are trying to confuse some people, here are some good questions that can be used throughout South East Asia. Both work perfect in Starbucks and similar places:

- Ask a Starbucks Barista "What is YOUR favorite coffee?". Usual answer: I don't drink coffee. So much for passion for your job, identifying yourself with the company and products. (NB: when I was 16, I worked in a local pub. I tried ALL the spirits there were so I knew what the booze tastes like and I could advice people when they wanted to get hammered on something sweet..)

- Best answer to the question "So, just a REGULAR coffee?" would be: "What sort of IRREGULAR coffees you got?"
Given all the flavors and 100s of options for the milk, WHAT is a regular coffee?

You can also try the following in the post office or McDonalds: Greet people by saying: "Hi, how are you today?" Seems to be a question they hear the first time as they are always thrown off balanace by the cheer friendliness of the customer.