Thursday, October 18, 2007

Beckham and Timberlake on the Al-Qaeda hit list

Well, got work next week at a camp. This week, staying fit, getting bored, and surfing the net - trying to understand the world and separate truth from falsehood, as is in my nature. There's a lot of misinformation out there... being realyed thanks to journos with less common sense than street sweepers.

You could write a book on the errors and lies spouted by Saint Al gore while he jets around in his private jet instead of commercial airlines like the rest of us peasants. A 6 m rise in sea leavels by the end of the century!! my ass. Even the politicised IPCC says the worst case scenario is a 59 cm rise.

Been reading "Vinod's blog" and found this (must be George Bush’s fault again):

David Beckham and Justin Timberlake are the targets of an alleged Al-Qaeda murder plot.

A chilling internet video, which has been posted on YouTube, brands Becks, 32, and JT, 26, as criminal influences on young Muslims.

Fellow footballers Wayne Rooney and Thierry Henry, as well as rapper P Diddy, are also mentioned.

The warning footage was posted by a Glasgow-based website named after Al-Qaeda that encourages attacks on Westerners.

as Vinod says, this illustrates quite well that it’s the free way we choose to live that really annoys the radical islamics, rather than any piece of foreign policy.

Envy and shame are powerful things and every broadcast of a Space Shuttle launch, every computer that boots up with a Microsoft logo and every can of Coca-Cola is a small reminder of where their society stacks up against ours. Britney Spears terrifies them but in a weird, oblique way, most Americans just can't understand and few of them can truly verbalize. Just about the only thing that could placate them would be if the US was as much of a failure as Syria and/or under their political / social control.

Read more of Vinod's interesting analysis:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lake Moogerah camp

Just back from 4 days at a School camp just north of the Mt Barney area, where I was a few weeks ago. Good camp, great views. Apart from that, I’ve had a few days here and there, at camps on the sunshine coast.

Spent one night out with the kids after walking to the campsite. Kept awake by some dude and his girlfriend having a verbal domestic quite close to our camp. Hence my rather worn look in the photo above. the kids were good, and we did lots of hi-rope stuff -flying fox etc. The rest of the time was spent at the main camp with hot showers, cooked food etc. I must say 16 yr old kids would probably learn more about their strenghts and leadership skills if they went on an extended expedition - 3 to 5 days walking, with some scrambling involved, preferably. Hopefully I'll get to do such camps. Mt Barney was good in this sense, although the walks between camps were pretty short.

Cooloola walk and musings about the environment

Photos: 1 and 3: strangler fig - a parasite that starts as a seed blown on to the top of a tree, then spreads it's roots downwards, and gradually surrounds and squeezes the tree to death.
2: jungle fern amongst the paperbark trees
3,4 my view from the pier.

(click on a photo for a large version).

Went walking in the Cooloola National park – a large area North of Noosa that goes all the way up to Fraser Island. 2 days of beautiful views, and an evening totally alone in a campsite, where I sat on a pier on the large lake and went into spiritual communion with nature – as I do sometimes. It was a really recharging experience. In this I have something in common with the greens – the love and preservation of wild places for our sanity. Though I do not share most of their other views – Love of the top-down enforced commune and distaste of the self-organizing free-market and their fear that the green apocalypse is just around the corner. They’ve been predicting apocalypses in different forms (mass starvation, the coming ice age…) since the 60s, and have a track record of getting it wrong. It’s worth remembering that some of the most hideous pollution has occurred in communist countries – East Germany was appalling. And is occurring right now in China, with the most polluted towns on earth.

I noted that Malaysia had very few large national parks, and saw examples of illegal logging by small time loggers, and illegal burnoffs by farmers. Also tiny 2-man fishing boats going past with their noisy engines, the horizon lit up by halogen lights used by squid-fishermen…. Not to mention the beaches too often littered with plastic and polystyrene. You get much more of a wilderness experience 1 hour away from Sydney than in most Asian parks. In Nepal too, the hillsides are covered with terraced farming, erosion is a big problem. In Africa, poaching kills off endangered species.

In conclusion, the richer a country is, the less people have to scratch a meager living fishing with tiny boats or breaking their back on terraced farms, or poaching, and the more wilderness is preserved. This means that policies which get poor countries to a high standard of living as soon as possible are good for wilderness preservation … not exactly the aim of green policies, it seems. As for industrial pollution - the richest countries also have less of that - compare China to Switzerland, or Japan for example. As for man-made c02 being a problem - see my post later on global warming. (note that temperatures dropped between 1940 and 1970 - while co2 levels rose).

the creation of Rich countries can be achieved by encouraging good governance (democracy, lack of corruption, rule of law) and… the free market. There is a definite correlation between high standards of living and the extent to which a country has “economic freedom” – or a free market situation.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Kids Camp - Mt Barney National Park, Aus

Photos: (click on a photo for a larger version)

1: view from a promontory day1
2:The group. Damien the teacher LHS.
3:Mt Barney view from high camp day2
4: Day3 camp
5: Day3 climbing

Just back from a week in the field with 14 yr old kids. It all happened very quickly –I sent in my application form to the outdoor temp agency “Coefficient” in Brisbane on Mon 3 sept. 2 days later I get a call from “critter” – the nickname for the boss of coefficient. He has work for me the following Sunday, doing a recce, then Monday setting up climbs, then Tue-fri with the kids. I am happy to be working again, with so little trouble.

I get some last minute gear, including a long-coveted Icebreaker Merino wool superfine longsleeved base layer- Has the big advantage that it hardly smells at all after 5 days in the field, as opposed to synthetics like polypropylene. Also some Powerbars to keep me going towards the end of the week. And a whole batch of different sized drybags, as I sold some to my Canadian flatmates when I left Malaysia.
Gotta keep those clothes and sleeping bag dry !

So I got a greyhound down to Brisbane, then shared a car with other instructors – a guy who had been flown up from Victoria, an-ex-fireman from the UK, and an Irishman. We spent Sunday being shown around the beautiful property Near Mt Barney Nat park on the NSW northern border. Culminates in a 550m high ridge with plunging views into Mt Barney Nat. Park. Monday setup top rope climbs in a gully with 2 other instructors. Tuesday, met the kids and went to the first camp.

There were 180 of them, from St Pauls’s school in Nth Brisbane. A fairly posh school. Divided into 10 groups of 18, with 1 instructor and 1 or 2 teachers. 2 of the groups were “hard core” and went on a 2.5 day trek in Mt Barney Nat. Park. The rest of us rotated campsites every evening and did a variety of activities during the day:

Walking up hills eg: 2hrs up a steep hill to the highest camp with tremendous views. Had a girl collapse – probably overheating/underdrinking, pulled her off the ground into a sitting position and poured water over her, which calmed her down. Then went slowly back up. Had fires almost every evening – very pleasant, Sang French songs I had brought along – which they enjoyed. Also duet of “Desperado” with the teacher. Listened to two girls harmonizing beautifully. Got them Abseiling 40m down, mountain biking at high speed, doing the climbs in the gully, doing high ropes and a flying fox, and low ropes over a dam. We had food and water at the campsites. They carried freeze dried meals, which were quite tasty, and cooked on army-style Hexamine solid-fuel stoves.

We had wonderful weather – sharp winter sun, with a cool refreshing breeze, rarely really hot, but quite a bit of glare. I was wondering how I would cope with Aussie kids, but it turned out quite well. They were hard to quieten down the first evening, but after that, calmed down, listened to briefings, and got to bed early as they were tired. Showed quite a bit of initiative – getting the fire going, packing in the morning after breakfast without being asked. Had to be reined in during the walks, as some of the boys really plowed ahead and we needed to keep the group together. Had to prompted to clean up packages after meals, each time.

I got good feedback from the teacher (ex-PE teacher, now head of middle school), who said I was a good instructor. Also the kids, who were surprised I had only been a leader for 6 months and said I was good. Always good to hear… and be appreciated for one’s skills and personality and effort.

On the last day they gave me 3 hip-hip hurrays, and I shook hands all around. I’ll be posting up the photos I took on “yahoo photos” and emailing the weblink to the teacher, who will give it to the kids.

Also got well paid – Coefficient has the highest rates in Australia. Thanks to enterprise bargaining, "Critter" sat down with the staff and setup different pay rates: You get paid different rates depending on the hours worked in the day, which is a nice change. Cause the days with the kids are 6 or 7 am till 10 pm or so (15 hrs). Arrived back in Noosa at 830 pm after 2 hours in a car, plus 2.5 hours in a Greyhound. A bit tired saturday, but less wear than during the Malaysian program. Less hot, plus less tiring logistics involved., plus the kids are more fun, as they are not shy and have more initiative.

More work next Mon and Tues, at an outdoor center 30 minutes south of Noosa. Monday, walking year 11 kids up Mt Coolum twice. I love going uphill with a pack - yay ! life's good.

Below: click on the arrow to play a video !

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Europe’s Muslim problem


1: Masoud (Ahmad Shah Masoud) The leader of the Northern alliance in Afghanistan - now that's a luminous face, full of nobility. Contrast with a pic of al-Zarkawi, or the faces in the 2nd photo. . From the book "Fighting Masoud's War".

2. islamo-fascists in Europe, in full swing.

And you thought Irak had a security problem…..

Oh my God read these articles on Sweden and weep…

I hesitated to post this cause it’s so depressing and rather terrifying – but we need to be warned. It also relates to terrorism, as what is being done in Swedish cities amounts to terrorism against the Swedes – sanctioned and encouraged by muslim families and preachers. And you won’t see this on SBS… they’d do a docu on “nice muslims we know in Melbourne”.

It shows rather plainly that we can be as accommodating to International terrorists or local Muslim gangs (like Sweden is) as we like, they will not spare us. This is a fight to the death (in moderate arab countries as well).

Sweden is the canary in the coalmine – if the rest of Europe, and even Australia doesn’t take note, we’re fucked. The violence below is so tribal and nihilistic…
It’s very similar to Hitler’s brownshirts who went around beating people up viciously, intimidating journalists and such before he was elected.

Readers - In case you think I think “a good muslim is a dead muslim”, There are some muslims I admire. Massoud is one, a devout Muslim I would have fought and died for. He was the charismatic leader of the Northern alliance, fighting the Russians, then the Taliban in Afghanistan. He warned the West about the dangers of Taliban-sponsored terrorism, before sept 11. This kind of muslim leader is the hope for muslims and us – as he wanted to make Afghanistan democratic and tolerant, and go beyond the petty infighting and tribalism. He was assassinated when a "journalists" camera packed with explosives blew up in front of him, a few days after sept. 11 (al-quaeda).

Extracts from an internet article:

Malmø, Sweden. The police now publicly admit what many Scandinavians have known for a long time: They no longer control the situation in the nations's third largest city. It is effectively ruled by violent gangs of Muslim immigrants. Some of the Muslims have lived in the area of Rosengård, Malmø, for twenty years, and still don't know how to read or write Swedish. Ambulance personnel are attacked by stones or weapons, and refuse to help anybody in the area without police escort. The immigrants also spit at them when they come to help.

Native Swedes are leaving the city in droves, as crime is rampant and the police publicly admit they don't control all parts of the city. There are now gangs in Malmö specialized in assaulting old people visiting the graves of relatives. Robberies have increased with 50 % in Malmö only during the fall of 2004. The city is descending into general chaos. The people abandoning the city mention crime and fear of the safety of their children as the main reason for leaving.

In Husby, a Stockholm suburb, gangs of immigrant youngsters are harassing other visitors who come to use the swimming pool. A Swedish school class was attacked and robbed by a large group of teenage boys shouting "Swedish bastards! (Svennejävlar) You don't belong here!"

Neither the students nor the teachers dare testify to the police about the incident. Their fears are well-founded, as threats against witnesses in Swedish court cases have quadrupled between 2000 and 2003.

Two Swedish girls were also sent home from school for wearing sweaters showing a tiny Swedish flag. The headmaster was concerned that this might be deemed offensive by some immigrants. Sweden crawls to Muslims in every way imaginable, and it still isn't enough. There are still Muslim radicals who want to attack it. How are leftists going to spin it when the terror attacks come? Since Islamic terror is caused by occupation and oppression, which illegal settlements are Swedes going to withdraw from to please the Muslims? Stockholm? They've already de facto withdrawn from Malmö.

The threats against Sweden should serve as a lesson to those who still claim that Islamic terrorism is caused by "Israeli aggression" or "American foreign policy". Sweden, a retirement home for foreign war criminals and reputedly where Iraqi ex-dictator Saddam Hussein wants to spend his last years, doesn't have a colonial past. Yet it is probably the most pathetic dhimmi nation in the Western world, even if facing some stiff competition for the title. It subsidizes Palestinian terror conferences at a time when anti-Jewish harassment by Muslims is so bad that Swedish Jews sign up for service in the IDF to escape. (Israeli army).

(end of extract)

And a swedish reader says:

I'm a Swedish living in Stockholm. I am 40 years old. It's true the situation in Sweden is catastrophic. Twenty years ago, I was proud of my country. Today I'm very sad because of the situation. It's not safe to walk the streets at night in Stockholm anymore. Arab kids openly show disrespect of Swedes, robbing them of mobile phones just to show their power. Gang rapes of young, always Swedish girls, is nowadays in the news every week. What the media don't report, however, is that the rapists almost ALWAYS are of Arab origin. There is no such thing as gang-raping Swedish men, I promise you.

It all started in the 80's. Iranian and Iraqi, Turkish "refugees" started coming. I remember the first ones coming to Stockholm. Today it's their kids who are ruling the streets.

For the full article:

a blogger says:

Talk about not learning from history..multiculturalism is nothing but "tribalism" and the aggressive tribes will eventually win out over the peaceful tribes. But i guess that is what you get with a socialist ideology permeating through Europe.

A swede says:

I'm one of the thousands of swedes who has fled Malmo. It's a nightmare.

Another thing worth mentioning is that a PUBLIC SCHOOL in Malmo has decided to have arabic as first language! This must be unique in the western world.

Worth mentioning is also the fact we in sweden are so tolerant we even put people in jail for not being tolerant enough. This is not a joke. It's the truth.

Also, if you join the biggest (legal) party that is against this mass immigration you risk being kicked out of the union, sacked from your job, being terrorised by left wing extremists etc.

The only hope I have is that foreign journalists writes about this. The media in sweden is extremely political correct and the government has with a hate crime law practically forbidden free discussion on the internet. Some discussion forums exists where the server is in the US or somewhere else where the swedish government cant close it down. But of course, these discussions never reach the majority. Only people aware of the problems find these sites.

My thoughts:

Malaysian muslims don’t behave like this, by and large, but then their nation is already muslim, also a much more tolerant islam than that of the EuroMuslims.

The fun and games has only started in Europe, my old home.. with the mass muslim riots in Paris 1.5 yrs ago, the assassination of Theo Van Gogh, the film director in Holland (for doing a film critical of muslim’s treatment of women), the regular intifada (described as such by the French police chief) which the police, firemen, ambulance workers etc are subjected to in the muslim dominated housing projects in France, and in Sweden, and in most Euro nations – attacks with stones, Molotov cocktails and the like. As well as gang rapes of girls who are not muslim, or are muslim but go to dances and other “slutty” behaviour. Yes it’s a depressing picture, but it’s true

This is the result of the imbecilic stubbornness and blindness of the so-called elites and policies of multi-culti utopianism in Europe, and a lack of self-respect and self-knowledge in Europeans that amounts to suicide, or a death wish. It’s a warning for other countries – don’t open the floodgates of muslim immigration unless you have a death wish. Get tough with existing migrants or else become like Beirut – a hopeless nihilist hate-filled misogynist mentally sick chaos

I note the same suicidal tendencies in many “intellectuals” in Australia and even the US. Universities are full of lecturers who routinely depreciate western civilization and tell us terrorism would stop if only we were nicer to terrorists or accommodated their demands (the beaten wife syndrome…If I’m nicer to my husband, He’ll stop beating me up). They are far more ambitious than intellectuals give them credit for – they want more than Israel’s destruction or Irak , they want world Islamic domination – that all nations become “dar-al-islam” (the house of Islam). Nations that are not yet conquered are called “dar-al-harb” (the house of war). And don’t be fooled by the appeasing statements from Muslim organizations in western countries – the Koran has a doctrine called “Takiya” – muslims are allowed to lie and play nice to fool the infidel adversary, so they can stab him in the back when they are good and ready. It’s a Trojan horse situation.

I get worried sometimes, that we in the west don't have the guts or the lucidity to fight for our future... whether it's journalists downplaying the dangers of islamic terrorism, or people saying "war is bad" --- it's not as bad as living in fear and loathing, getting intimidated or attacked daily, or slavery. Just ask the Eastern Europeans what it was like to live with Russia as their master, up until very recently. About as fun as being Zombie... and Islamic domination is worse.

I have a cousin in the UK who's 11 yrs old, and I don't want her to grow up in a shitty world where islamic terror dominates Europe, where women are threatened or attacked in the street. Or where small atomic bombs are going off in shopping centers thanks to Iran's complicity with terror networks, supported by Russia trying to get back some of it's superpower status.

Lets fight with gusto... for the future of our kids. It's worth it. Lets get some of that spirit you see in the film "300" about Spartans fighting the Persian invasion. It's the job of all of us, not just professional soldiers – for example standing up to the Lebanese muslim thugs in Sydney, by naming them as such, and fighting them with armed police (and even armed citizens - though, sigh, I don’t see that happening soon), instead of the politically correct rubbish of pretending that Muslim gangs don’t exist. It’s worth reading a Cronulla schoolteacher’s letter to a minister on the reality of the intimidation she and her friends got regularly on the beach, by groups of Lebanese muslims. They are just one squirmish in the war of radical islam against the gentle, tolerant, democratic, law-based West that has given us such a high standard of living (and to which they immigrated to, out of shitty war-torn Lebanon…)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Noosa - Paradise in Australia

1: Alexandrina bay seen from Noosa Nat. Park
2: Pandana trees, rocks, sand and surf - typical of the sunshine coast.
3: myself on top of Mt Cooroororah
(click on a photo to get a large version)
Theres only so much you can learn in one place -
The more that I wait, The more time that I waste

I haven’t got much time to waste, its time to make my way
I’m not afraid of what I’ll face , but Im afraid to stay
Are you ready to Jump ?
Get ready to Jump,
Don’t ever look back, Oh Baby

…From Jump by Madonna.
Used In “The Devil Wears Prada” movie – one of my cult films. Shows the energy of New York and the business world in general.

It may be the Devil, or it may be the Lord, but
You gonna have to ssserve somebody

(Female singer I forget her name)

Yep, 6 months in the tropics in Malaysia, fourteen 5-day courses with kids, and now Noosa and new types of work in more temperate climes.

Been discovering Noosa and environs – which I had only seen briefly before. Also catching up with my mother, and helping her with some technical computer stuff. She has a dial-up connection to internet, which I may upgrade to broadband in the near future.

Went to Mt Timbeewah, good views and some 1 pitch bolted climbs. You need a National Park permit to climb there… probably to sign a waiver absolving them of responsibility. When I think that France has thousands of bolted climbs, mostly put up by volunteers, and you never need a permit… Australia is over-regulated in some aspects – regulatory creep is something to watch out for, because it Kills life and initiative and employement. We were there on a Saturday – and I was surprised to see no climbers. (update - Nat. Parks apparently gave up trying to enforce permits for climbers. Also I met some climbers there recently).

Also went, or scrambled up the very steep path on Mt Cooroororah – a volcanic stump that dominates everything around it.

I run uphill in the Noosa National Park trails 5 minutes from The main Noosa drag –Hastings street. Have been a bit random lately – a tendency of mine when not fully taken up by a task or work. But I’m pulled forward by my inner drives: I’m here to serve and inspire kids and adults in the outdoors – that I confirmed in Malaysia. And I’m an athlete… I never really thought of myself as one until recently, but it’s true – I have an inner drive to run cross country, to climb rocks, to work out … A French backpacker I met on Perentian Kecil island (Malaysia) said to me after seeing me run on the beach: “you’re an athlete”.
Indeed I looked at myself in a full length mirror after taking a hot shower here (the first in 6 months…) and saw that the job has really flattened my belly and toned my shoulders. Gotta be careful not to overeat now…

It’s good to be back in Aus. And the milder climate in this part of Aus. The country is truly blessed with natural beauty and vastness. Politicians and world conflicts will come and go, but this land will stay as a Great Southern Land of red earth and dry eucalypts, of mountain jungles and limitless clean beaches.

A tour of Kuala Lumpur

1: Chinatown by night
2: the Petronas Towers. a dashing landmark of modernity
3: The monorail - fast and with good views.
(click on a photo for a large version)

Been off the net for a week or more – unusual for me. Well, time to update my blog with photos on amazing KL – which I visited for 2.5 days , flying to Aus on the 9th and meeting the chill and dryness and sun of Noosa… first time I haven’t felt humidity in ages. A good feeling! I’m really not a tropics person, though I can take it for a while, I like to feel invigorating cold once and a while. 6 degrees in the morning here sometimes… cold for me. But quite sunny most days

KL…. A mix of Malay, Indian and Chinese quarters, great hi-tech transportation, old buildings right next to supermodern hi-rised ones. I walked around, sampled the night life t the beach club, bought and MP4 (small video) player at Imbi plaza, the electronics shopping center. I stayed in Chinatown, with food stalls on the street, steam rising from them, chinese signing and so on.

I feel a certain affinity or admiration with the hardworking, thrifty, sharp-minded, business-savvy, slightly hard-edged chinese - In another life, I was born in Hong Kong, my father a white Jardine executive (Jardine Matheson corporation – see James Clavell’s Taipan), my mother a beautiful Chinese escort lady. I grew up in Chinatown, practised martial arts at a rusty old gym with local Chinese and a wizened old master who always seemed to beat me, spoke Cantonese and navigated fluently from white culture to Chinese culture, though never fully Chinese. As I grew older, I went into business and went beyond my modest origins as an international businessman, with my base in Hong Kong, and an edge over the over-pampered Harvard graduates who I did business with, who were not always very street-savvy. Once in a whil, I would return to the quarter where I was born and sip green tea with old friends.
Mmmm gotta visit Hong Kong sooner or later – the land of laissez-faire capitalism, with a flat tax for everyone of 15%. One that even Kerry Packer couldn’t slip out of.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Thailand - Magical scenery and Heavenly Women

(click on a photo to enlarge)
1: Ton Sai bay, near Railay East where I was staying. Note the overhanging climbs.
2: View of Railay east from my multi-pitch climb
3: A stalactite on the climb.
4: An 11 yr old girl from Chile, climbing. Yes - you can climb early.
5: Goy (right), the heavenly bar manageress and Bung, a waitress. Isn't that the sweetest smile ?
Great Holiday in Thailand. Rather entranced by the place.

was there a week, mainly in Railay peninsula, near Krabi town. It's only accessible by boat, has no power (generators), but has mobile coverage, and internet - by satellite dish of all things. (expensive). Did 2 half days with a climb guide, a multi-pitch climb, lead climbed 5c and 6a grades. 800 baht for 4 hours with guide = 26 dollars australian....
it was low season, too. which means no crazy crowds and very cheap accomodation. I had a great bungalow with en-suite bathroom for 250 baht = 8 dollars aus. and you can get as lot cheaper if you want.

The place is world-renowned as a climbers haunt. Live very cheaply in entrancing surroundings, hire climbing guides cheaply, meet people from around the world climbing on wondrous limestone walls with stalactites and caves. Oh, and there's nice beaches too.
mmm... and Thai girls have "drawing power" as a bar manageress from the UK put it. It's easy to get under their spell. I rather fell in love with Goy, the bar Manageress at the "Last Bar" in Railay Beach - pictured above. She fed me reduced priced cocktails and we talked a lot. Very sweet lady. it is said that when we are entranced by a woman. we are seeing her channel the "divine feminine" - an archetype if you like, that exists out there as an entity, and radiates down into women to different degrees. All women are "only human" but it's no illusion that they radiate the devine from time to time.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rock Climbing and more

(click on a photo to get a large version)
1: Me and kids in the jungle
2-4: Climbing at Gua Kalam, Near Thai border.
3: Our Hammocks at climb site
4: Evening meal
Editing the blog after 1 month's absence. tried last week, but had problems with the computer.

I'm now on holidays - yay !! after 14 MOE (ministry of education courses). of 5 days each. it's a record, apparently for an expat. Most other expats went on the Puteri Matsuri tall ship for 2 months during their contract. I did not volunteer, cause I heard you get a bit isolated as a Matsaleh (white guy), as they all speak Malay at the dinner table, and even during briefings (which are officially in English). It was total immersion for Gil, my flatmate. He did learn a lot of Malay, but it was rather lonely at the start.

Of the Thailand tommorow, then KL briefly, then Brisbane. I've never been to Thailand, so I'm quite excited.

a few weekends ago, went rock climbing with 2 quebecois flatmates and the 2 new aussie girls Tammy and Selena. was a lot of fun and energising, first time I've lead climbed seriously in over 2 years. But it came back quickly. Took a ferry for an hour to Kuala Perlis, then 2 taxis for 45 minutes to Gua kalam - where there is a picknic area, a large cave and rows of bolted , short climbs.
Also thursday 19 July, had a party at my place, celebrating the end of my contract and also my birthday. I get older every day ! but also fitter, it seems. As I said eralier, my stomach has lost a lot of fat, and I have quite a bit more muscle in the biceps and shoulders.

at the party, we had the matsaleh crew (white guys), but also a reasonable number of Malay trainers, which was nice.

it's been character building, bodybuilding, confidence building and interesting being here. I am looking forwards to working in less hot climates, and with kids who you can really converse with.

Also to doing less repetitive work, as there isn't all that much difference week to week with the courses here, which can lead to boredom, or lassitude in the trainer. In Oz, schools sometimes do 5 days in a row of trekking, (we do one here), which is quite pleasurable for the trainer, as the landscape changes every day, he does a "real" outdoor activity, and he has a chance to see the group's navigation skills really progress with his guidance.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Time off

Well, just had 4 days off. relaxed, socialized and ran around getting things done.
Talked to David, corporate manager, who was on a 4 day course with international school kids from Penang. There was one autisitic kid in his group, quite hard to manage. But after the course, the kid's parents emailed him, saying that he had changed for the better. So as David said: "what we are doing is more critical than we think".

Got diarea from a kid on the last course, just ending today, after more than 3 days. also an ulcer in my mouth, a slight headache, a sore throat. And got run into by a car while on my bike front wheel totalled. I was OK. yikes - at least I'm a young athletic punk and I rebound quickly.

That candlebark school in Victoria is amazing. I read the media reports on the website. A model for all future schools, one hopes.

Friday, June 15, 2007

On Camp with Sara

photos: The kids, and Sara my co-trainer, on the ship to the reef explorer (RE);
Myself on the RE;
The kids doing high ropes on the RE.
(click on a photo to enlarge)

Last week, I was on camp with Sara. Had a cheerful bunch of 16yr old kids. One interesting kid, David, chinese Malay, asked me lots of questions about how to choose a career , money versus interests and so on. He said something which should be heard more often in Oz, and the west in general:
"I am always interested in talking to westerners - I'm from a small village, and I beleive they are superior physically, mentally and socially"....
He asked me if I did not consider it a waste of study to have studied engineering, and then end up being an outdoor instructor. I explained that there are many ex-engineers, including "Cham", who worked several years in the UK, who work at WC. And I went on to try and explain that following your heart, or true vocation, is more important, in the end than following what convention advocates. In the end you will only be succesful in an endeavour if it is your choice. He said that there is a saying in Malaysia: "no money: no talk", and earning a high salary is the greatest priority. I said that money is important, but watch out with making it your only priority.
I gave the example of Britney Spears, who is a multi-millionaire, can have sex with any guy she chooses , but has gone into rehab after problems with bulimia and drugs. Just goes to show, we all need meaning in our lives - sex and money alone won't satisfy us.

One night - we did a "star session" - where we point out constellations, stars amd planets like Venus (the brightest). I ended up on a real roll, talking about how stars can become black holes, how even light is sucked into a black hole, so great is the gravity. And that the idea that light has a mass was introduced by Einstein, and then verified experimentally in the 50s, if I remember rightly, by two physicists who pointed a telescope ast two neighbouring stars when a planet came between them, and witnessed that the stars appeared to come closer together for a time - ie the planet was bending the rays light slightly as they went past it. Then went on to talk about protons, neutrons, fusion reactions going on inside the sun. And how experimental fusion has been obtained in a UK laboratory (JET). using superconducting magnets to maintain the plasma that is created when you fuse hydrogen atoms together.

The US, Europe and Japan are building the first Fusion power station, due to come on line about 2025 or so. Fusion power can use sea water as a raw material, and can produce huge amounts of energy quite cheaply. By mid century, we will have unlimited virtually free electricity, I reckon. Kind of a counter to the doom and gloom issued by the greens, who's judgement I do not trust at all.
past green doom scenarios: by the 90's , we will have no more oil (Jimmy Carter);
By the 80s, there will be 60 million starving americans (Paul Erlich in the 70s on food scarcity).
I also remember a new Ice Age being predicted in the late 70s..
So lighten up, Greens - the earth will change weather patterns, have tsunamis and so on, even if the entire human race dissapeared - in my opinion.

Quebecois Gil, Aussie girls Tamara, Selena

Pictures: My hammock between 2 rubber trees on the last 5 day course;
Gil, Quebecois flatmate, back from the Tall Ship.

Gil, my quebecois flatmate with Marie-Eve, has come back after 2 months on the Puteri Matsuri tall ship. Marie stays on another month. It's good to have a flatmate again.

We talked about outdoor activities being therapy if you are too mentalized - or caught up in thoughts, as we both tend to be. He said whitewater kayaking had helped him ground himself and "encarnate" into his body, rather than be disincarnated. The same can be said for me - I have a tendency to ruminate, or think too much, and outdoor sport is good for me.
On the same note, David, who is from OZ and head of corporate activities here at WC, is a good example of how outdoor activities can transform a person. He explained that in his teens, he was a bookworm, and was starting to take drugs, then at 17, his mother sent him for a month with outward bound Queensland. He trekked in the jungle, canoed, abseiled, suffered, and failed at everything. But at the end of it, he had enjoyed using his body for the first time, and it changed him. Later, he worked for OB for 2 years as an instructor. He's also worked in Switzerland.
Gil's parents are interesting - his father is 55 and cycles, climbs up mountains with snowshoes and skiis down with a snowboard. Gil never has to wait for him - he is very fit. His mother is a doctor. When they were younger, their parents covered a room with paper, and got he and his sister to throw paint as they wished - free artistic creation.
The other evening, after the MOE course, we had Tamara and Selena - two aussie girls over for drinks, talking and a DVD. Watched "the Guardian" about rescue swimmers in the Alaska coast guard. Pertinent to our jobs, as it involves first aid, risky situations, fitness, the outdoors.
Selena said she knows the first aussie female rescue swimmer, who has just graduated in the Coast guard. Selena hails from Victoria, where she has worked in a variety of summer camps. Also was on course with a guy who done 3 tours of duty in Irak, and had killed numerous terrorists - interesting.

Tamara graduated from the same place as me - Cairns TAFE, but a year before me. Has worked around Brisbane, with Coefficient, an agency that sends you out for a few weeks at a time to various camps. I had heard of it before, and it sounds like a place I would like to work for, for a while. A good way of avoiding routine, and of seeing how different camps operate.

I gave them tips on how to handle the Malay students, the long hours that we do and so on. The kids rarely say "I don't understand" - they smile and nod, then you realize they did not understand you at all. Which can make teaching difficult. There are ways around it - to use mime instead of talk, to get them to perform a kayak stroke in front of you, etc. The other thing is, the kids are passive - you get more initiative from 12 yr old in oz than 16 yr olds here. example: a tarp needs folding: 4 people will gather around the tarp and just stare at it.... So they need to get kicked in the backside - I actually mime kicking them , without hitting them. they laugh, and understand I want them to move their butts.

I explained my hammock system to them - as pictured above. Much lighter than a tent, and fun to be in. Also my cooker system where I make porridge for myself in the morning, as well as coffe or Milo 3 times a day.

Selena had a good 1st aid story, where she had to stabilize and evacuate a boy who has a big gash in his leg. We also talked about John Marsden, who wrote the "Tomorrow series" book for kids, about a group of kids who have to act as guerillas when their town is taken over by an armed band - very politically incorrect to actually stand up to thugs and shoot them, but healthy as, in my opinion. Marsden has opened a special primary school in victoria, called "Candlebark", where kids can cycle around huge grounds, use power tools (yes), and where other innovations have been introduced. It was great to be mixing with such stimulating people, and it made me realize how pleasant young outdoor aussies can be to talk with.

Here's the website for the Candlebark school in Victoria, set on 1100 acres. sounds healthy:

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Meetings with Malaysians

Had David - the new Chinese Malaysian guy over to watch a DVD last night. It's good to have a bit of social life, and not just be focused on the outdoors and the job. We watched "Babel", with Brad Pitt. several different stories, all linked. One in Morroco where you see the beautiful high Atlas mountains, and the way the police gets information quickly (beating up an old couple outside their home), after an american tourist (brad pitt's wife) gets shot in a bus. It's a stray bullet because of 2 kids with a rifle, but the police worry it may be terrorists, and all are concerned that Morroco may loose out on tourists - an important source of income - as a result.
You also get to see utra-modern Tokyo, where you follow a deaf teenage girl who is miserable because boys won't pay attention to her - because of her deafness.
Back in the USA, Brad pitt's nanny takes his 2 kids to a wedding in Mexico, where they gleefully discover the easy way hispanics dance , play music and celebrate. A nice contrast to Pitt's typically white neurotic wife who asks the waiter in Morroco what they have on the menu that doesn't have too much fat... and then throws out Pitt's ice cubes for his coke - to ensure he doesn't catch something like diarrhea which might be the end of the world (not).
A great music score with guitar, and a film that you remember for quite a while.

I talked at length with David about Malaysia, girls in Malaysia, quantum physics and other topics. he says some girls at university who wore headscarves would not talk to him "you're a man and you're not a muslim" goes their reasoning. ie friendly talk is out - I only talk to men who are potential husbands.
Well, they can marry a non-muslim, but by law the non-muslim partner must convert to Islam. (and then carry around their ID card with religion: Muslim written on it). yep... Interestingly, in Indonesia, this is not the law - there are couples with partners of different religions.

Mila, a girl with a headscarf I was talking too this week during work, is very open minded and tolerant. She explained that her mother was christian, but converted to Islam in order to marry her father. But that both parents encouraged their kids to think for themselves and be tolerant of all religions. We talked about the lack of venues in Kuah , where we live, to go dancing or clubbing. there are clubs on Langkawi, but they are in the resort areas on the other side of the island.
We talked of the women in Hijabs - head to toe black covering with a slot for the eyes, that you see in the shopping center here, with their husbands dressed in shorts, sneakers and a baseball cap, USA-style. They are tourists, and I was wondering where they came from. Probably from the UAE - united arab emirates, she says.
She doesn't approve of hijabs, and says Islam doesn't condone them -unless the woman is very beautiful. It's a very clear way of enslaving women, in my view, along with forbidding them to drive, as in Saudi Arabia. She is quite cynical about UAE men, as she sees them in the resort strip here, and on planes, drinking alcohol (forbidden in Islam). She says when you ban everything, as soon as they are out of their country, they go to excesses.

She was reading an american novel, which she had bought in Kuala Lumpur. and she said I could go with her to KL some weekend - she goes almost every weekend - and she would show me cafes and the interesting club scene. That would be great - to have a local along with me on such a trip. The novel she was reading was set in the fifties, small town USA - romance and such. The front cover showed a girl in a long dress, and I commented on how in the UK and the west in general nowadays, a street can have stacks of girls with their belly-button showing, pierced, and other openely sexual come-ons. In Switzerland, I saw 12 yr old girls with short tops and piercings, and short tops are now banned in Swiss schools in an attempt to get the kids to study, play instruments, do sport and other stuff that is healthy to do as kids, rather than play at being miniature versions of Britney fuck-me Spears...
well, darling, if you want to get fucked in a back alley and offered hard drugs, you're on the right track...
We talked about how good ol Britney got massively overweight, took drugs, went into rehab - maybe young girls will think twice about idolising her now. Stars like her serve a useful purpose as a warning sign to teens and the rest of us. Yeah sex and drugs are exciting - damned alluring, actually, and it's probably healthy to taste everything once. But western popular culture has gone overboard in encouraging us to live our lives in one non-stop self-destructive orgy, as soon as we reach puberty.

Don't think I'm a hypocrite - I like sex, I drink alcohol, and I've had my share of hot girls and sex. But I know excess when I see it, and popular culture in the west is in excess. particularly in the UK. read a copy of "Zoo", or another UK "lads" magazine, and you see a celebration of binge-drinking, throwing up, taking drugs - a country where office-girls binge drink EVERY friday has something wrong with it. Throw romance, spirituality and a meaningful life in the dustbin, and this is what you get, I reckon. Binge behavior is way of trying to fill an inner gap which is left when you take those things away.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More Photos from Perentian island

1 rickshaws in Kuala Terrenganu
2 treehouse at a backpacker's hostel on Kecil island
3,4 scenes on Kecil island
(click on a photo to get a large version of it).
Some more photos from that amazing island on the North East coast of peninsular Malaysia - Perhentian Kecil. Which I visited early May.

Maintenance work

Am currently on 2 weeks "course break" - ie we are not doing kids camps, but other types of work. This week - going around to different campsites on Tuba island and maintaining them. involves digging out toilet bins, emptying the compost into the ground, digging a new pit. and reinforcing existing pads for the kids' shelters on the ground. Lots of spade work . quite easy going, and a nice break from the usual routine. Got friendly with David, a new recruit I've been working with this week. He's chinese Malaysian and speaks good english, as do quite a few chinese Malays, compared to "Malay" Malays. Well educated - he understood blood sugar peaks when I talked to him of the perils of too much white bread and such.

I invited him to my place - I am now alone in the appartment, as Marie-Eve has gone on the "Puteri Matshuri" tall ship, along with her boyfriend Gil. The ship is owned by the parent company of wilderness centre, and they use it to train Navy cadets. So some of our staff go on it for 2 months or so, once in a while. So , we watched "blood diamond" - a DVD where Di Caprio plays an ex-mercenary who joins forces with a black ex-miner to find a blood diamond he buried. All set in violent Sierra Leone in the 90s. A good film, you can feel some of the beauty and terrible violence of Africa. and De Caprio is refreshing as the non-politically correct tough guy.

Last week was with "Sella", a 34 yr old young woman trainer, on course. We had a very good group of kids - cheerful and had some initiative. On the last day, several of the guys shook my hand, which is usual. But also, 3 of the girls came forwards and shook my hand, which is fairly unusual. it's nice to be appreciated when you're busting your ass for people.
Sella was very easy to work with - older and more mature than most trainers - very relaxed ,but efficient. She's been 10 yrs inthe local army reserves, as is quite common with trainers here. Told me how they dug trenches and tunnels for the wet season.

We both slept in a hammock. I'm really getting used to sleeping in the hammock. It is very relaxing to be in one at the end of the day. And it's conveniently of the ground, away from ants and toxic centipedes and the like. Mossie coils lighted every night. the mossies can be really thick at some campsites...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Islamic law in Malaysia

There is a Religious Police here, akin to the thought police in "1984". if you're chinese or indian, or a white guy, you're exempt from their attentions. That is, unless you sleep with a muslim. If they find you out - they can ambush you in your room - you are not flogged, as I beleive , in Saudi arabia, but you are fined, and a can be forced to marry the person you slept with.

If you are concerned about ID cards being introduced in Oz... well we've had them for ages in France, and it's really not a problem - it's mainly used to weed out illegal immigrants. Listen to this one: in Malaysia everyone has a ID card, with their Religion stamped on it ... yes you read that right. I plan to have a photo of a scanned one on this blog later. it also has a microchip on it , for various info which I am not aware of.

So, as a young lady in the office explained to us when we first arrived, when she tried to eat during Ramadan, she went into a KFC in Kuala Lumpur and was just about to eat her order, when a plainclothed Religious Policeman (they all are) asked her for her ID. It showed she was Muslim, and she was fined and ordered out of the restaurant.

She said her mother had threatened to disown her if she had sex before marriage - but although she considers herself Muslim, she wants to live. So she already has a "one way ticket to hell" as she explained laughing.

On another occasion, she got drunk at a KL nightclub (drinking alcohol is forbidden for Muslims) , and the Religious police raided the nightclub. The result was a night in prison plus a fine. So next time you think civil liberties are threatened in Oz or the USA, think again.

If the Europeans loose their will to hand over a decent and gentle civilization to their kids, and in 20 years or so , Islamic law exists in Holland (1 million non-integrated Muslims) and in other Euro countries, I would not be all that surprised. Islamists have already killed spectacularly in Holland with the killing of the film director Theo Van Gogh, after he made a short film critical of Islam's treatment of women. The threat to kill or bomb or riot is being used all the time in France and other Euro countries.

In practice, In Malaysia, there is quite a bit of variety of behaviour. Places like Kuala Lumpur are pretty free and easy "KL girls do what they want" is a common refrain. There are even brothels in most towns, including Kuah, where I live. Mostly with Thai girls who come over for a few months or more. The police gets paid off to turn a blind eye to all this. Once in a while they make a raid , send the girls back over the border. Then the next day, the same or others come back on a ferry. Although in theory, homosexuality is punishable by death, In Malaysia, I have seen several homosexuals. There was one amusing one as a steward on my flight over here on air Malaysia. Then another - a waiter here in Langkawi. So it's not altogether an Orwellian hell here.

I would say that any form of Islam that comes to power in Europe is likely to be far more intolerant than that practiced here. So much for multiculturalism and self-flaggelating "western culture is bad and tea-drinking arabs are more refined and exotic" thinking.

On Easter, there was an easter display at the local shopping center. And apparently during Christmas , American christmas carols are played at shopping centers! - because malays like christmas carols. Contrast this with UK muslims trying to ban public creches or christmas trees
in public places because they find this " offensive" . Yeah well I find people with red hair "offensive", but thats tough luck for me - because the law only gives in to muslims in Europe...
And in Victoria with the "racist speech" laws, which only apply to non-muslims, in practice.

Dentist and French Yachties re Islamic Fundamentalism

Well, another week of MOE (ministry of education course), with 2 nights at my favorite campsite - Tiloi island, where one can relax in the evening on the beach and watch the sunset or the clouds above Gunung Raya, the high point of Langkawi island. Energy levels fairly good. My back has been giving me no problems recently... highliting an Cairns chiropractor's advice : use it or loose it. I am slowly getting physically stronger due to the course - more muscle definition, lost quite a bit of weight around my waist - had some serious love handles there which I gained during my stay with my father 2 years ago. I started taking vitamin supplements (a variety of them ) during the course a little while ago - as the food really isnt all that good: a lot of white rice, quite a bit of fish and crab balls (healthy), a smattering of overcooked vegetables.

I also make porridge for myself every morning with my small solid fuel cooker. one of the poorest breakfasts is on day 1, when the kids are expected to function on a few slices of white bread and jam (yes you read that right). it really makes u appreciate the quality of such courses in Oz, where nutrition is far better, and kids get morning and afternoon tea with fruit (as opposed to tea biscuits , when they are lucky here). we get one or 2 fruit a day, mostly - not too bad.

Got of course a bit earlier than others on thursday morning, to have my wisdom tooth pulled out... turned out really fine. I was warned it could take up to 2 hours. But in fact it took 20 minutes. Had a local anaesthetic and the efficient chinese dentist lady pulled it out with some twisting. Gad. well thats that over with ! it had been giving me occasional serious pain, as it was rotting. Both wisdom teeth had grown sideways, and the other one will need pulling out later. cost 60 ringit , including prescription drugs = 20 aus$ ... wow.

At the dentist, I talked to a French couple who were here in a yacht. have been yachting for the last 20 years and know Malaysia very well. They were in their 60s. They said that in the last 15 years there has been a very noticeable rise in "integrisme" on Langkawi - ie Islamic fundamentalism. I asked them how this was felt, they said - in a distance towards them , in the increase of women with headscarves, in the large increase of signs in arabic writing.
Apparently other Malaysian places, such as nearby Alor Star or Penang (50% chinese population) are much more liberal.

This all comes from Saudi Arabia - which is gleefully exporting one of the most medieval and intolerant of all Islamic creeds: Wahabism - which says that the entire planet should be converted to islam, by choice and the use of force. Petrodollars and a miserable creed, creating Mc franchises all over the globe - financing Mosques, educating preachers, which in turn brainwash the populace. The French actually used the term "brainwashing". Wahabist franchises In Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillipines, France, the UK, Australia... all more or less covertly supporting worlwide Islamic terrorism , with vocal encouragement, or refusal to condemn, and with cash.

I read recently that the FIS - the islamic front in Algeria killed 150 000 algerians, in 90s. I remember that period well - we had bombs going off in the Paris metro due to that merry bunch. so Islamic terrorism isn't just a problem for the USA - it is active virtually everywhere, and is a very big problem in Islamic countries themselves - as witnessed in Algeria, and now in Irak. There have been bombs in Malaysia, also kidnapping of westerners... I knew of this before coming here. And As I said to my mother, don't pay a ransom for my liberation if I get kidnapped - I want to know the bastards can't use me to finance their murders and nihilism. And I don't want Al Jazeera and other advertising agencies for Islamic terrorism to use me for their little media circus showing the kidnapped on TV. Let it be known I will not be payed for, then They will kill me and hopefully not bother with telvised pleas. The British hostage was a case in point - whereas US relatives of kidnapped quietly acknowledged that their loved one was already dead.. The British dragged it out like nobody's business, running around like headless Eurochickens giving the terrorists a great advertising venue , with the result that he was finally killed anyway...

When I was in Kuala Terrenganu, on the other side of the peninsula a few weeks ago, there were big colour posters showing 2 and 5 year olds reading the Koran out loud in front of big crowds in a kind of rock concert venue. Brainwashing alright. The kids can't even understand what they are reading, let alone debate with the preacher.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Walk up to 700 m


1 and 2 : view from top.
3: Jason and I drinking VB after a hard climb.
(click on a photo to get a large version. Then click on the cross on the photo - top right hand corner, to get back to the blog).
Today, rented a car and drove with Jason, a colleague, to a waterfall.
We then walked up a very steep jungle track, using all 4 limbs, with the help of a rope that there as a handline. up about 600m to a high peak on a narrow ridge. With a view of the cable car station where many tourists go up. And a view of the whole island. We both enjoyed it very much. Good to be outdoors just for oneself for a change.
Jason is from Pensylvania, USA, and has 6 yrs experience as an outdoor educator.

My energy levels are finally back to normal - after my spell of exhaustion. I sympathize with mothers now... that feeling of never really being fully rested isn't pleasant. Jason was saying that in the US, he would do short contracts of 2 or 3 weeks of such work, then have 1 or 2 weeks off to enjoy the outdoors - more my style. You really have to recharge during yr time of in this job - in my case 2 days a week, mostly.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

On France and Chirac

Chirac is a good example of the dangers of immobility – there is no such thing as stability in this world : things are either getting slowly better or slowly worse. And inaction of Chirac’s kind has lead France to be on a very definite slope downwards. Vicious violence endemic in no-go zones all over France, hundreds of thousands out of work for years, and a general malaise and feeling that your kids are going to live in a France that is worse, socially and economically than you have enjoyed. 2 million French living and working overseas – who have left this beautiful country , fed up with the red tape, the feudalism, the lack of optimism and vigour prevalent in France. And the lack of political will to effect any real changes.

Read Patrick Baudry on-line for examples of French disfunctionality and “schizophrenia” , and ideas of how this could be changed with a little self-analysis and courage:

he has an English version of the book you can download for free. Unfortunately the press reviews on his website are all in French…

For the results of Chirac’s do nothing and posture attitude:
Check out 3 weeks of vicious rioting in winter 2006 in the no-go zones around French cities as the result of years of lying about the real problems in these zones, and also the real disfunctionality in almost all aspects of French life, which makes social mobility almost non-existent in these zones, and even in all of France.
If you feel any sympathy for the rioters here’s a taste of what they are: They poured petrol on a handicapped woman in a bus and set fire to her (she was rescued by the driver)… drug gangs, tribal hate of white French , fuelled by radical Islam.

I remember during the Yugoslav civil war in the 90s - civilians being slaughtered horribly in ethnic cleansing , village by village. In France, we were just a few hundred kms away from the carnage ... and I had spent a month in Yugoslavia in 89', making the war very real to me.

What did France do ? nothing... send a few soldiers with the UN to monitor the slaughter with no real mandate to intervene militarily. Chirac was banging his fist on the table and saying "Milosevic must stop the killing!". without the threat of force - bombing targets in Belgrade or something similarly dramatic, such statements have no effect whatsoever.

Things finally changed when Blair and Clinton engaged in bombing bridges , TV stations and other infrastructure. (hidden Tanks proving hard to hit). And of course - the French Govmt complained and tried to water down the target list... leading the Democrats at the time to say they would never work with such obstructionists again.
so what's new ? old and in the way.... you would have thought the Nazi occupation of France would have brought home the lesson that "peace kills" - pacifism leads to slavery and death - of other countries you refuse to assist, then of your own country, as dictators sensing weakness, blackmail, or invade. And as internal forces (eg radical Islam in France currently) test your will with squirmishes.

I do hope this changes with the new president Sarkozy. So Milosevic finally did loose thanks to anglo-US action ... this came rather late - after 200 000 civilians had been slaughtered by mostly Serb forces. I’m sure their families have a high opinion of Chirac’s “softly-softly” approach.

Yes, civilians die in bombings and wars of liberation – The Normandy landings are a good example . But that’s the complexity of life – there are no perfect solutions in such cases – choose between 5 000 dead civilians in a war of liberation or 200 000 in ethnic cleansing if you do nothing …. Inaction is a choice that has consequences.

Why I publish this Blog

Well, I've thought of avoiding political comment on this blog, so as to make it just an "adventure blog" .... but I will make some comments... now on France, and later on the joys of Islamic law in Malaysia.

This blog is my "adventurer's blog" - warts and all - as my father would have said. The good times, the bad times. But also my opinions on systems and laws where I travel and elsewhere - like a journalist if you like . I know there are at least a few family friends in Melbourne reading this blog who are interested in opinion pieces.

And I don't believe there is such a thing as "objective journalism" - most news reported from Irak focuses on bombs, not on reconstruction, for example. Everyone has an opinion, and I would prefer if journalists stopped pretending to be neutral.

and beleive me, I am not politically correct. Ie I will let no thought-police censor what I say. So If my opinions offend you, please move to some whitewashed media outlet where people repeat polite falsehoods that are contradicted by reality. And in an effort to offend no-one, make statements that condemn no-one, or that cannot be used as guides to action , and are just empty words.

Having lived and suffered in France under Chirac - the master of empty statements and pompous posturing leading to inaction - I have a pretty short fuse with that kind of thing.
He epitomises the worst of European impotence and lack of backbone.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Great Holiday on island

Quick update here - had a Great few days on Perentian Kecil island, on the other side of the malay peninsula from where Langkawi is. Crystal waters, coral, coloured fish , deserted beaches, and a big beach with lots of backpacker places. great laid-back atmosphere - felt like Tahiti. Incredible place. And cheap.

(click on a photo to get a large version of it). So much revived.... and rotation leave this week, so a 4 day weekend. Got professional acupuncture for 15 $ (cheap) in Langkawi.
French election ... may the best win and finally pull France out of the doldrums, economically and socially. A lot of work to be done.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hammock system and other photos.

1 Monkeys outside the appart - eating rubbish and being cheeky.
2 my infected eye (common here)
3 my light cookset - porridge and hot milo in the mornings.
4 experimenting with bivis , and sleeping in a hammock - takes some getting used to. bivi held up to storm winds and rain . I relax with an MP3 player...
5 me relaxing in my hammock, end of day, while kids make dinner ... a little break from the little devils.
The short haircut makes a big difference coping with the heat here - I avoid having my head cooked during the day. and thus suffer less from heat tiredness.
Mossie coils under bivi to ward off mosquitoes. no snakes so far.