Ed Sheeran – The Next Pop Sensation?

Mobi Babble

I haven’t written much about my personal life lately, mainly because there has been nothing much happening that I consider would be of interest to my readers.

During the last few weeks I seem to have been in a ‘waiting mode’ on several fronts.

Firstly, I am waiting to see my heart specialists again in March when I will have some more tests done to try and determine once and for all exactly how serious my heart condition is, and at what point it will become critical to have the valve replaced. Hopefully, all this will be resolved during the two visits to Bangkok scheduled for the week of 12 March.

I am hopeful that at the very least, I will not need to go under the knife until after my eldest daughter’s trip to Thailand which is scheduled for the 2nd – 17th April.

 

So I am also waiting for my daughter and her husband to come for her visit and of course I am very much looking forward to spending some time with her.

Then I am waiting for my bloody car to be sold. This process really seems to be jinxed. It is one thing after another, and even after I had the paint job re-done and the car was sent back to Bangkok, it was then stuck at the BMW dealer for a week while they fixed the door sensor lock which had been broken by the paint body shop in Pattaya!!!! Grrrr.

 

Meanwhile the Mitsubishi dealer called me to announce that the Triton upon which I had long ago placed a deposit, is now ready for collection. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think that the BM would remain unsold all this time, especially as I have now reduced the price and it really is a bargain. The problem is, that it has only been on show for barely a few days after all the unexpected problems I have been having, so with the best will in the world, it is going to take a couple of weeks or so to find a buyer.

I am not prepared to bring more money into the country to pay for the Triton , so I am not sure what is going to happen. The dealer is putting huge pressure on me to collect the vehicle, and if I don’t come with the cash in the next day or so, I think they will sell it to someone else and I will have to go back in line to await the next delivery in about a month’s time.

I know this car buying and selling nonsense isn’t particularly earth shattering in the grand scheme of things, but I confess that it has been getting me down and lately I have been feeling extremely depressed. I recognise that it’s not logical to get so depressed about something so utterly superficial and of no real consequence, and I suppose it tells me that I am not completely over all my mental frailties of the past few years. It still doesn’t take much to send me into a bit of a tailspin – what with the endless waiting to hear something, and the feeling of total helplessness in the selling process.

 

It just seems that my whole life is on hold – waiting to find out about my operation, waiting for my daughter to come over for her holiday, and waiting for my car to be sold so that I can get something new wheels to get out and about in.

In the meantime, I have had to ease off a bit in my daily walks, as I was finding they were taking too much out of me. After several months of exercise, I am much stronger physically, and I no longer have the aches and pains in my legs that used to bother me quite a bit. But I can only assume that my the condition of my heart valve is getting worse, as I have been as increasingly feeling absolutely whacked out, and on some days the old angina pains have been returning and I am also getting that familiar tightness in my chest. I am still going out on most afternoons, but have cut back on the walking distance and have slowed down a bit.

Maybe this apparent deterioration in my medical condition is contributing to my depression.

 

Noo is still as kind and attentive as ever, and does her best to take good care of me and cheer me up. I have no idea what I would do if I didn’t have Noo; she is such an incredible person.  I should be blissfully happy, with her to tend to my every conceivable need – but I’m not. I care about Noo very much and there is a deep and abiding love growing within my ageing, damaged heart, but for some reason, I find it really hard to be happy right now, and I hate myself for it.

Maybe things will improve, when some of my current problems get sorted.

 

 

Poetry through Music

Ed Sheeran – The Next Pop Sensation?

A few months ago, when I was downloading my latest pop music CD compilation to play in my car, I came across the hit song , The A Team, written and sung by Ed Sheeran.

I considered the song quite tuneful and original, but as is my usual habit, I didn’t initially pay much attention to the lyrics. I had assumed, for some unaccountable reason, that the song was written and performed by an American artist – maybe because I found it in the Billboard charts, and even in these heady days of Adele taking the pop world by storm, appearances by Brits in the American charts are still quite a rare phenomenon.

After hearing the song several times, I started to pay more attention to the lyrics, which are unbelievably good, but even then, I still thought the song to be ‘made in America’.

 

As many of you no doubt already know, I subsequently discovered that A Team was written and performed by an English singer, a ginger, tousle haired, geeky lad from Halifax, who goes by the name of Ed Sheeran, and who is fast becoming almost as big a pop sensation as the wonderful Adele herself.

The first time I saw him perform was live on a British TV chat show, with his guitar as his only accompaniment, and immediately realised that here indeed was a rare and special talent.

It remains to be seen whether he will really go on to scale the dizzy heights of Adele, but he certainly received wide exposure at the recent Brit Awards and if he does have lasting success, maybe it is a signal that popular music tastes are at long last reverting back towards songs with great melodies and great lyrics, sung by talented, original singers who don’t fit the typical ‘pop culture’ mode. Singer/songwriters, who have no need of 21st century recording studios, with their high tech, digital technology, to make good, commercially successful music, can only be a positive development.

When I first read the full A Team lyrics I was immediately moved by the stark and incredibly poignant words. To me, this is the epitome of what I mean by ‘Poetry Through Music’, and if this isn’t a poem for our modern age, then I have no idea what is.

 

A Team lyrics

By Ed Sheeran

White lips, pale face
Breathing in snowflakes
Burnt lungs, sour taste
Light’s gone, day’s end
Struggling to pay rent
Long nights, strange men

And they say
She’s in the Class A Team
Stuck in her daydream
Been this way since 18
But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries

And they scream
The worst things in life come free to us
Cos we’re just under the upperhand
And go mad for a couple of grams
And she don’t want to go outside tonight
And in a pipe she flies to the Motherland
Or sells love to another man
It’s too cold outside
For angels to fly
Angels to fly

Ripped gloves, raincoat
Tried to swim and stay afloat
Dry house, wet clothes
Loose change, bank notes
Weary-eyed, dry throat
Call girl, no phone
And they say
She’s in the Class A Team
Stuck in her daydream
Been this way since 18
But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries

And they scream
The worst things in life come free to us
Cos we’re just under the upperhand
And go mad for a couple of grams
But she don’t want to go outside tonight
And in a pipe she flies to the Motherland
Or sells love to another man
It’s too cold outside
For angels to fly
An angel will die
Covered in white
Closed eye
And hoping for a better life
This time, we’ll fade out tonight
Straight down the line

And they say
She’s in the Class A Team
Stuck in her daydream
Been this way since 18
But lately her face seems
Slowly sinking, wasting
Crumbling like pastries
They scream
The worst things in life come free to us
And we’re all under the upperhand
Go mad for a couple of grams
And we don’t want to go outside tonight
And in a pipe we fly to the Motherland
Or sell love to another man
It’s too cold outside
For angels to fly
Angels to fly
To fly, fly
Angels to fly, to fly, to fly
Angels to die

 

Listen to Ed here: The A Team

 

BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…BUTT… I don’t give a hoot!

 

 

 

Mission accomplished! – Mobi’s first year of sobriety…

One year – 12 months – 52 weeks – 365 days – still sober.

Mobi-Babble

And what a year it has been!

On this day, one year ago, I was preparing to go out and have a few New Year drinks with friends around the lake, before returning home to spend New Year’s Eve with Noo, who at that time had been with me for about six weeks.

Over the previous few weeks, before and after Noo came to stay with me, I had been making my usual half-hearted attempts to quit the booze, sometimes stopping completely for several days at a time, and otherwise  generally keeping my drinking more or less within bounds, with the occasional and inevitable lapses when I would get totally rat arsed.

Here is an extract from my blog of 27th December 2010:

When my friend Bob departed I somehow fell into the habit of having a few glasses of red wine during the evening whilst watching TV. I confess this wasn’t one of the smartest things for me to do and as ever, it finally got a bit out of control. Christmas Eve afternoon saw me in one of the Lakeside bars with a couple of my old drinking buddies, and after a couple of coffees I got stuck into the red wine. Late afternoon turned into evening and evening into the wee hours. I eventually crawled home at around 2 a.m. where I found Noo, still waiting patiently for me.

I didn’t wake up until Christmas afternoon and was not feeling great. Christmas meant nothing to Noo and my repast consisted of some heated up Thai vegetables with pork and a couple of cheese sandwiches. I seem to be making a habit of eating cheese at Christmas as I recall having a similar repast last year. But the big difference is that last year I was all alone and this year I had the delectable Noo for company.

I continued my habit of drinking a few glasses of red on Christmas evening, but after watching the excellent ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ on Christmas evening, I think I might have finally forsaken booze forever. (Where have we heard that before???).

I may have a couple of glasses of red on New Year’s Eve, but that will be that. New Year’s  Day is a great day to stop drinking and a great day to try to turn my life around and I that is what I plan to do. My drinking, apart from a couple of notable lapses has been much more moderate in recent months and I feel I am now ready to take that final step.

Predictably, my excellent intentions for New Year 2010/11didn’t exactly pan out as planned. Here is what I wrote in my blog of 2nd January, 2011:

As ever, I am not proud of my behaviour on New Year’s Eve. It started off innocently enough, at one of the Lakeside bar with two of my drinking buddies. I stuck to red wine but that didn’t stop me feeling pretty woozy a few hours later, especially as I had been drinking on an empty stomach.

Noo accompanied me to the bar but after a couple of hours watching me getting pissed with my mates, she was feeling pretty bored and decided to go to Pattaya and meet up with some friends for a few hours. So off she tooted on her motorcycle and left me to it.

I have only scant recollection of the next few hours but I did make it home, on foot, before midnight where I passed out on the sofa and ‘slept in’ the New Year. Although Noo won’t tell me exactly how I behaved and what I said to her, I can see from her mood and behaviour that I hadn’t exactly been full of love, joy and kindness. So yesterday morning, I expressed my deepest and profound apologies for whatever it is I may have said or done and I made a solemn vow to her never to touch another drop.

I think that in some perverse way, I knew that New Year’s Eve would be my ‘swansong’ as far as alcohol is concerned and it was probably this knowledge, as much as any other thoughts that caused me to drink myself into a stupor.

And the rest is history. Why? Who can say for sure? I guess I finally and irrevocably admitted defeat to the demon booze; the dreaded ‘John Barleycorn’ , as my Yankee AA friends used to say.

Earlier this year I started a debate on the Thai Visa internet forum about my thoughts, and experiences in AA and my subsequent extensive research into the effectiveness, or other otherwise, of the Alcoholics Anonymous organisation in getting alcoholics to quit drinking.

Unfortunately, the debate was cut short by well-meaning but extremely myopic and stubborn moderators who felt that the debate might deter people with a drink problem in seeking the help of AA. This was despite the fact that I stated over and over again that I still would recommend AA to anyone who had a drink problem.  

Indeed, I had drifted in and out of AA for a number of years and there is no doubt that I learnt much from that august organisation.Without their help in understanding the basics of alcoholism and being able to share my ups and downs with countless fellow alcoholics, I doubt that I would be sober today.

But in the end, for reasons that will be subject to a special blog item later this year, I came to believe that AA doesn’t work for everyone; indeed for some alcoholics, they are more likely to achieve long term sobriety outside of AA than with in it, and this has been borne out by extensive research.

There are countless thousands of alcoholics, throughout the world who rely on AA to keep themselves sober and cannot exist without regular attendance at meetings. These, on the whole, are the ones who have accepted the concept of a ‘higher power’ and rigorously try to follow all aspects of the 12 step programme, which, if done properly, involves a deep spiritual commitment.

This is fine for them and good luck to them. But for those of us who in the end cannot accept the dogma of the ‘Higher Power’ concept, then quite often, long term sobriety can be achieved on our own, without the need for a quasi-religious supplication. For us agnostics and atheists, long term attendance at AA meetings  can actually do more harm than good, as it tends to tear our minds apart, fills us full of doubts and makes us feel guilty if we cannot live up to the AA ideals. And when this is the case, what happens? We take a drink of course.

Nobody could question the altruistic ideals which encompass the principles of the AA 12 step programme and indeed this same12 step programme has been adopted by all kinds of organisations to deal with other addictions such as drug addiction and even sex addiction…

The 12 step programme contains many worthy ideals and precepts which every decent human being should strive to live by, and as stated above, there is much in AA that I took to my heart and found very beneficial in my struggles to stay sober.

Even when I made that final decision to stop drinking one year ago, I still had plans to go back to AA meetings, once I had got  30 days of sobriety under my belt. I still felt they could help me to achieve my aim – long term sobriety, even though I had considered, even accepted (for a while), but had ultimately rejected the concept of a Higher Power.

But one month led to two, and then to three and during this time I started to do some research on AA and discovered that the stats were simply not in their favour. The plain fact is that a great many alcoholics mange to  achieve long term sobriety on their own and the  relapse rate of alcoholics attending AA, though frustratingly difficult to ascertain due to the AA’s refusal to release crucial information, appeared to be alarmingly high.

So the course I embarked on became the DIY route, and the longer I remained sober, the more I realised that it was the right decision – for me. I will always be extremely grateful to the AA and to some of the wonderful people I met there; especially the ones who gave me support at my lowest ever monuments – and believe me, there were many.

Indeed, if it hadn’t been for a wonderful American who came to my rescue; literally picking me up from the gutter on Beach Road, looking after me and getting me sober, after I  had been on a three day non-stop binge, I doubt I  would be here today.

So it is with sadness that I reflect that Thai Visa didn’t have the common sense and foresight to let an intelligent debate on the merits of AA continue.

So here I am, one year chalked up and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I will never, ever touch another drop. The reasons? Well there are several.

First and foremost, as with that occasion many moons ago when I quit smoking, the longer I remain alcohol free, the more I feel it would be a terrible tragedy, and, to say the least, it would be a dreadful waste of all my hard efforts, if I were to succumb again. Indeed, I feel in my heart that if I were to even pick up another drink, it would probably signal the beginning of the end of my life and would mean that I had effectively thrown in the towel.

Then of course there are all the obvious reasons, especially the health benefits, (not forgetting I am a diabetic with coronary disease) ,the need to find a meaningful life outside of the bars and whorehouses of the world, the increasing cost of a drinking lifestyle and the untold harm I inflict on my nearest and dearest.

While I am in the is self-congratulatory frame of mind, I will also give myself a ‘well done’ for succeeding in weaning myself off anti- depressants at the end of February, 2011.

 I had been taking a high dose of antidepressants for a number of years and in spite of this, I went through a very black period in January 2010, when I came within an ace of committing suicide. I don’t know why I didn’t, for I felt there was no way out and that my life was truly over.  Alcoholic lethargy, as much as anything, was probably the reason I survived  although it would have been easy enough to achieve – all I needed to do was take a huge overdose of insulin and that would have been that.

But I didn’t, and at the urging of some well meaning folks on this blog, I went to seek the help of a therapist, and apart from helping me to come to terms with my situation, he also introduced me to a psychiatrist who prescribed me some new anti-depressants. These worked very well, even though I felt like a zombie for much of the time, but once I had quit the booze for good I realised that I couldn’t live the rest of my life as a ‘zombie’ and within 60 days, had succeeded in getting myself completely clear of them.

Dealing with my predilection for whorehouses and girlie bars took a little longer, and as my regular readers will know, I am still liable to the occasional lapse. But I am much improved in this respect, and have had to check back in my blog to find the last occasion that I entered a ‘den of ill repute’ – which was on 9th December. But that was my first foray for many weeks. I haven’t had any desire to return since, and have no plans to do so again in the near future.

This may sound terribly corny, but I am developing a very deep and abiding love for little Noo. Not the highly emotional, all-encompassing infatuation that characterised so many of my previous love affairs, but a love that has grown out respect for a kind, generous, honest, cheerful, easy going, lovely, sexy young lady who has succeeded in making me very happy in every conceivable way.

She has put up with a great deal from me during the past year, and for the future I will do my best to make her happy and do the right thing by her. I hope that I can.

So one year under my belt and where do I go from here?

Well I think I have achieved much but there is still a way to go to completely turn around my life.

On a mental level, I know that I spend far too much time worrying about things: my investments and my pension; the state of world economies which may have a disastrous effect on my income; how to be more productive and improve the quality of my daily life; my low blog readership levels, the slow progress of my novel, my health problems and how Iam going to pay for costly operations; all the myriad world problems – Arab uprisings, the riots and all the unbelievable evil in the world, and so on….

My new year’s resolution will be to stop worrying so much and try to enjoy what I have. I may be dead next year, so why worry about something that may never happen, and if something does, there’s nothing much I can do about it?

I must try very hard to live the Buddhist concept which is to live for ‘today’. Now is the time to be happy – not tomorrow or next month or next year – for it will never come. I know that, but it does take a great deal of mental adjustment.

At least I am in the right country to try and do this – as the Thai Buddhist culture is steeped in the live for ‘now’ philosophy. Through the years I have often wondered how Thais manage to stay so cheerful and happy-go-lucky when they do not know where their next meal is coming from, and I came to realise it is all down to their deeply embedded Buddhist philosophy – something I will try very hard to emulate in 2012.

But ‘living for today’ doesn’t mean that I abandon all attempts to put structure in my life. I know that I am weak- willed and at the slightest opportunity I will procrastinate.

I believe that as a recovering alcoholic I must try to organise my time, whether it is purely allocating a period of the day to read, or going shopping or taking Noo out for a meal, or getting down to slightly more serious pursuits such as keeping my personal and financial affairs up to date and properly organised, and keeping my blog going, and last but by no means least, continuing with my somewhat neglected novel.

There are other activities that I wish to do persevere with, such as photography, exploring Thailand, and taking regular exercise amongst others. So in theory I shouldn’t get bored – or depressed – or hanker for a drink or to go back to my old degenerate lifestyle.

I will be perfectly honest with you; I am not deliriously happy and there are still not infrequent occasions when I wake up feeling quite low. But I know that trying to make such major changes to my life at my age, with a lifetime of drinking behind me, is never going to be a ‘walk in the park’, and that I must soldier on and hope that eventually I will start to feel better about things.

I do know that when I start to procrastinate and put off doing the activities that I have previously decided I would carry out on a particular day, then I get depressed. The opposite happens when I succeed in sticking to my resolve and achieve something worthwhile.

I especially feel good about myself when I get stuck into my novel, and also, to a lesser extent when I am writing my blog, as these are ‘creative’ pursuits, which I now understand help to take me ‘out of myself.’

Whenever I – or indeed anyone – is totally immersed in a worthwhile activity, be it creative or whatever, they can free themselves of their ‘egos’ and truly live for the present. All their worries, fears, hopes, dreads, prejudices, hates, loves, resentments, emotions and all the other stuff that makes us not at ‘one ‘ with the world, disappear for those precious moments when we are totally immersed in ‘doing’ something we care about deeply. These rare moments are similar to the state of mind some people achieve when meditating; they are uplifting and are the very antithesis of depression.

So its onwards and upwards for 2012 and I will re-double my efforts to find a happy and contented life with my wonderful new partner.

My successes and failures will be faithfully recorded in this blog as the year progresses, along with my usual pithy comments on current affairs, Thai affairs, arts reviews, my Mobi-babbles, my outrageous comments and  diatribes on just about any subject that takes my fancy to write about on any given occasion.

Not forgetting, of course, to continue to entertain you with more of my selected Asian erotica….

On 2nd January I have a ‘long lost friend’ and his girlfriend from my teenage years visiting me for a six day stay, en route from Australia back to the UK. This will be his first time in Thailand and I may take the opportunity to take the pair of them, plus Noo, out to a few places – night and day spots – so it will be a bit of a holiday break for all four of us, to celebrate and to start off the New Year in style.

Tonight, New Year’s Eve, Noo and I will spend the evening in, as the fireworks will be blasting into the sky from every conceivable direction, and our dogs will be beside themselves with terror.

So it will be an evening on the sofa watching telly with our three pooches, lying amongst us for protection from the wicked world of thunder flashes.

So it only remains for me to wish all my highly regarded and treasured readers a happy and prosperous New Year.

Don’t let the bastards drag you down…

BUTT…BUTT…BUTT… I don’t give a hoot!..

Carousing, Post-bagging, and Flooding.


 

 

9 months, 26 Days, still soberimage

Mobi-Babble

It seems like a lifetime ago since I quit the booze and weaned myself off the high dosage of antidepressants that I used to take. So I have been clean of alcohol for nearly 10 months and antidepressants for 8 months. In the general scheme of these things, it’s not that long and nobody knows better than me that I am still not out of the woods.

Recently, there have been some worrying financial issues that have sent me into a mild depression, although at the time of writing, I do feel a bit better than I did even a day or so back.

Don’t get me wrong, the ‘financial issues’ are not going to bankrupt me, but without  going into details, I will just say that if not resolved, they will burn yet another small  hole in my projected monthly income and I will eventually have to adjust my lifestyle accordingly.

All in all, a bit of a blow, and largely of my own making, harking from the days when I didn’t take proper care of my money matters. Let that be a lesson to any procrastinating alcoholics out there. Closing your eyes to necessary business matters doesn’t make them go away.

 

timthumb

Anyway, the depression has led me to feel a degree of boredom and lack of purpose in my life, (or maybe it’s the other way round), but at no point have I even considered the notion of having a drink or going back on anti-depressants. I actually recognise the danger signals. It is a known fact that many alcoholics return to drinking after weeks, months or even years of abstinence, purely and simply because they are bored and seem to have no happiness or joy in their lives. The solution is not to start drinking again but to find more purpose in my life.

I am not so much bored as dissatisfied with my daily life. I seem to spend all my time downloading stuff from the internet to watch in the evenings, dealing with all my myriad emails and working on my blog, even though I have now reduced its publication to twice a week. I have made no progress on my novel since I had that first rush of optimism following my return from the UK, so now, what with the problems in my finances, I don’t feel too positive about things as I did just a couple of weeks ago.

Things would be a whole lot worse without the wonderful Noo to take care of me and I am so thankful that she is here to stop me doing anything stupid.

Anyway, yesterday I decided to go out on a bit of a ‘girlie crawl’ in the hope that it might cheer me up a bit, and I am actually pleased to report that I think it did just that.

In recent months, most of my carousing has been done in the company of Rick, and more recently Bob, but I have now concluded that I am happier when on my own. If I am on the hunt for female companionship, then I’d rather do it alone. Having someone with me is distracting and invariably I have to fall in with their wishes as regards when and where to move on to pastures new. We may be at a particular bar where  I may have found a nice lady that I wish to spend time with, but my companion may have not be so lucky. So he wants to go and I want to say. And vice versa….

But at the end of the day when I go out on these lady-hunting expeditions, Iwant to spend time with some lovely, scantily clad women – not to chat with friends. If I want to out for a chat I will go to a beer bar or a cafe  and have a chat. If I want to have a nice kiss and cuddle, I will go to a different sort of place and indulge my weaknesses. I have always been like this; a loner as far as chasing whores is concerned.

So yesterday went pretty well. I had a pretty good time in a number of disreputable establishments and had fun with some very horny, gorgeous ladies whose bodies were so delectable that most of you living in the west would die to get your hands on one of them if you had half a chance.

I didn’t ‘go all the way’ but I wasn’t far off it, and more than one lady suggested that  even if I hadn’t, she had….

I won’t go into the gory details as I used to in the past, as it seems to bring out the worst in a number of my readers and they tend to get beside themselves with anger – accusing me of all manner of terrible sins – from distorting the truth to barefaced lies, to challenging me to going with them on some kind of whore-monger competition.

What tosh! I know what I know and I do what I do, which is a helluva lot more than most punters succeed in doing, but I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. If you don’t believe me, it’s entirely up to you.

Did yesterday’s exploits have the effect of lifting my depression? I actually think that they did; I suppose it was all good for my bruised ego. I returned home at around 8.30 p.m and Noo was waiting for me patiently. She looked absolutely lovely and it made me realise, yet again, what a gem she is.

Today, I feel much better, though still haven’t decided what I need to do to change my life for the better to avoid more depressive periods. But at least I am still sober and feeling more positive about things and that can’t be bad.

Postbag

It’s been quite a while since I published a postbag, mainly because there has been little of interest in the way of comments to bring to my readers’ attention.

Obviously everybody must agree with what I say, and has no need to write any comments. ☺ (I’ joking…)

Anyway, I recently had an exchange of correspondence with ‘Rebel’ and  today with ‘TT’. and a new correspondent called Elijah Green. Both Rebel and TT are two of my long term readers, and as  many of you do not bother to click on the ‘comments’ section, I publish below a  recent exchanges of views.

Rebel

Submitted on 2011/10/20 at 4:26 pm

Much better interpretation of the current political condition here in the U.S.A. than some of your previous commentaries. The bottom line is that money regardless of the source has polluted our system, it is the agenda of nearly every politician. In order to keep their positions and for many a higher standard of living then they’d otherwise have accomplished their votes are for sale.

The dumbing of America is no accident, it is by design. It is much easier to herd an ignorant population regardless if they lean left or right. It is the independent vote that is the unknown and decides elections currently. Their numbers will be curtailed as we become less sophisticated and fall in line with the undereducated. We then can be counted to choose left or right instead of compromise thus their votes easier calculated. It is easier to conduct business as usual when the population is struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. The current “Moral Majority” on the right and the “Nanny State” on the left only assist the politicians by masking their dysfunction to compromise in the best interest of the people. What use to be an accepted difference in opinion is now a make or break issue on nearly any legislative attempt by either party. A point of view based on a political/religious philosophy is more important than solving the economic problems now infecting the world. Our politicians have failed to lead and will continue to do so until their pockets are separated from the corporate or special interest cash that controls them and ultimately all of us!

Money is said to be the root of all evil, never a truer saying than evidenced by today’s problems regarding child abuse as your blog stated. It is the children who pay the price for the failures of humanity. The European model of health and welfare is a more humane system for the masses, yes the cost is enormous but is used as an excuse not to do the humane thing here in the U.S. The children don’t vote so they are not a threat to the current politicians, they are the easiest of targets when it comes to how money is going to be allocated. We will and are paying a higher price for our failure to protect, provide and properly educate the most vulnerable of society. It is now less expensive to send a kid to most Universities than to incarcerate them per annum, yet we can’t build prisons fast enough. A system that values wealth greater than its humanity will someday be consumed by the very inhumanity and stupidity that their greed has created.

The current state of affairs in the U.S.A. is troubling; I can only hope that someday a true leader will arrive on the scene, that will save us from our apathy. If you’ve watched any of the resent debates of the republican challengers to Obama, you will have noted none of them are of the calibre to lead our nation to a corrected course. They are all more of the same, all to ready to serve their corporate master$. My prediction is Obama will be re-elected by the slimmest of margins. The crook you know is better than a crook you don’t know, the march to ‘corporatocracy’ continues.

It is much easier to live with ones countries short comings when all you have to do is blame them on someone else or pray them away on any given Sunday. It is much easier to navigate a known corrupt system than one disguised as democracy.

What’s to get Mobi?

MOBI

Submitted on 2011/10/21 at 5:32 am | In reply to Rebel.

Hi Rebel,

Thank you for your comments.

Most, though not all, my articles on USA issues in previous blogs have been deliberately provocative, so I am not surprised that you find my latest comments more ‘reasonable’. In this piece I have tried hard to moderate my language and keep things in proper perspective so as not to antagonise my American readers too much.

What I don’t get is the increasing divergence in cultures between the US and Europe; between the caring and the selfish, between the quasi religious and the secular – between middle ground, consensus politics and partisan, extremist, hate-filled politics….

Of course I am generalising – no nation or group of nations is perfect.

After all, ‘Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.’

I agree with all of your comments and in particular I too deplore the lack of an inspirational candidate to challenge Obama and lead the ‘free world’ at a time of crisis. You may be correct about Obama scraping back in, but much can and probably will happen over the next 12 months.

Personally, I suspect that Romney might just wing it, but this Yankee-watcher will derive no pleasure from such a victory, as Romney is every bit a part of the corrupt political machine as all the others who have gone before. It will more of the same, and the politicians will continue to play the same games in Washington and nothing will really change.

What was that about: “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve”?

Rebel

Submitted on 2011/10/21 at 4:44 pm

Your definition of politics is apropos Mobi.

The divergence you speak of is a result of how superficial America has become, it’s the reason we have lost the status we once enjoyed in the free world. Our morals have been compromised, we are getting the respect or lack thereof that we deserve.

Romney is a Mormon, the Christian ludicrous are not capable of casting that vote for a “cultist”. He is too liberal for that faction of the conservatives. The imbecile Perry is a better fit for those waiting for the return of the invisible man. Huntsman a moderate, who is also Mormon would be my first choice, he’ll never make it through the first few primaries.

Thank you for clarifying my point about not having a government we deserve. The amount of money it takes to buy an election in this country, we get a choice of whoever the financiers decide to support. The population of working stiffs are merely ponds in the chess game for dominance that the wealthy and connected have rigged.

TT

Submitted on 2011/10/25 at 10:34 pm

Hi Mobi,

It is rare that I disagree with anything you say, but your words on Libya there sound like some David Cameron press release. It is us who hired the gunmen to fight the war – errrrr……factions of Al Qaeda if you’d have look at the press. Their massacres are now coming to light as are questions on the amount of civilian casualties created by their habit of standing off from built up areas and blasting away blindly. And the whole UN mandate of protecting the population? Dropping bombs on urban areas would achieve that I am sure.

And the raggle taggle army of ‘freedom fighters’ that you speak of ; Did you note the hardware that these ‘freedom fighters’ were armed with? Wonder who supplied that then? And how is it to be paid for? Hmmm.

And of course the latest footage of Gaddafi’s demise is nothing like the original story, or the next story, or the one after that. He was sodomised with a bayonet after being brutalised. With friends like that do we need enemies?.

Whatever you choose to believe of the propaganda, Libya had women’s rights, it had a good state medical system (Medical tourism being a money earner there), and a good educational system. I have known many guys in the oil industry who’ve worked there so can only base my opinions on what they have told me and of what I have read.

In all reality, can you assure me that our ‘freedom fighter’s will still be allowing women to walk around in Libya unmasked in one year’s time?. I’ve got a fiver says ‘No’.

As for the knock at the door – you do remember what country you live in?. In Libya it might have been political, in Thailand it is normally financial. Same, same, but different.

Cheers,

TT.

MOBI

Submitted on 2011/10/26 at 8:14 am | In reply to TT.

Honestly, TT, it almost sounds as though you have been brain washed by some fringe conspiracy theory hand out.

As I wrote in my piece, I actually lived for a year in Libya, albeit many years ago, but long after Gadhafi was well entrenched as the nation’s feared dictator. I lived there and worked there, never leaving the country until the day I climbed on a plane to leave for good – unlike a vast majority of oilfield workers , who only go into a country to do their tour of duty on an oil rig, and then leave immediately afterwards for their ‘R & R’

As a young man I worked for more than 8 years in the oil industry in all manner of third world countries, but everywhere I worked, I actually lived there, with the local communities, unlike most of my colleagues who were flown out of the country as soon as their tour of duty was over.

It is dangerous to generalise but I have heard more stuff and nonsense perpetrated by often ill-educated oil field hands, clearly ignorant in world affairs and history, who claim that they ‘know’ a country when all that they have done is work on one of the country’s oil rigs. Their only interaction with locals is on the rig and getting to and from their place of work so as a consequence, their views are extremely blinkered, and dare I suggest, somewhat self-serving.

I dare say many feel very aggrieved at having their generous, tax free income being cut off by a ‘pesky civil war’, started by Cameron.

Don’t’ get me wrong – I too do not claim to be an expert; I did state in my blog that  I lived a relatively rarefied, expat lifestyle in Libya.

Oil is the life blood of Libya, and the very best educated, (often overseas), and the most able Libyans work in that sector. Many of them were Gadhafi supporters because they came from that elite segment – mostly from Gadhafi’s own tribe – who were looked after and fostered by the ruling regime.

But even amongst those, there was a fear of saying or doing the wrong thing – and yes – getting a dreaded knock on the door. So any intercourse with such people might lead you to believe that Libya was indeed a well-run civilised society – but the whole world, (except it would seem, the likes of TT), knows very different.

I admit that I am becoming increasingly disaffected with Cameron as I feel his judgement on many issues has been shown to be flawed, but on the Libya issue, he and Sarkosy got it 100% right.

It took longer than most of us would have liked, and there a lot more deaths than any of us are comfortable with. But war is war and the rebels were determined to bring down a very brutal regime and if they hadn’t succeeded, then the slaughter in the streets could well have matched what transpired in Ruanda. Even the UN recognised this as a fact.

Of course, war crimes and unnecessary deaths and torture were carried out by both sides. Name me a war where this didn’t happen.

And quite frankly, I and a vast majority of the world couldn’t care two hoots if Gadhafi’s body was violated with a sabre up his backside – he perpetrated the most barbarous suffering and cruelty on his people and he deserved nothing less. Few will grieve his passing, or the manner of his death.

As for your bet as to whether all the women will be wearing veils in 6 months’ time – well I ask you ? Is this the acid test of what constitutes a fair and just society?

Sure it offends our western senses of what is right and how we should treat our women; but isn’t it time that we abandoned this idea that every country’s culture should be a carbon copy of our flawed western model, and when are we going to learn that any attempts to force our beliefs and principles on alien cultures and religions only leads to conflict?

When the Arab Spring has reached its zenith, there will be any number of Moslem states where the basis of their rule will be Sharia Law and where most, if not all women will have to wear the veil in public. If this is what the people of those countries, voting in free and fair elections desire, then who are we to gainsay them?

Surely all the rest of the world should try to do is to create a climate under which the people have the opportunity to elect their chosen government. As I wrote the other day in relation to The USA: “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.”

Of course it remains to be seen if such countries will be more democratic than they used to be and if their people are treated any better.

But we have to give them the chance, and maybe – just maybe – we will be surprised by the results.

BTW, please don’t fall into the ‘Big Skippy trap’ of trying to justify your point by bringing another country into the debate. We are talking Libya – not Thailand.

Thailand is a totally different kettle of fish….☺

Take care,

Mobi

Elijah Green

Submitted on 2011/10/24 at 11:27 am

Concur with your thoughts on H.C.

I recall reading a comment about her made by a contemporary university student:

“She was a bitch back then in college, and she ain’t changed a bit”

MOBI

Submitted on 2011/10/26 at 9:26 am | In reply to Elijah Green.

Hi Elijah,

Yes, I’m afraid she has never come across as the caring liberal that she purports to be. Even as Foreign Secretary she has given out some public announcements to which have been tantamount to barefaced lies, and she knows it. Most of us did as well.

It is an interesting dichotomy, as, I actually believe that Obama, deep down, is a principled individual who really believes that what he is trying to do is best for the American people. Unfortunately, his ideology is fatally flawed and on top of that he has shown himself to be an incompetent leader. A great orator and a great ideas man, maybe, but hopeless in leading and in the execution of his ideas.

On the other hand, Princess Hilary is a lying, scheming, wily politician, and who knows – quite possibly an effective leader. Maybe she would have achieved more than Obama if she had been elected President? What say you?

The Thai Floods

There has been so much written about the Thai floods that there is little that I wish to add, and in any case the situation is continually changing so anything that I write will be out of date before the ink dries on the page.

I guess the only remaining imponderable is just how much of Bangkok will also succumb to the floods in the coming days and weeks. My guess is that most, if not all of Bangkok will suffer from some degree of flooding, even if it is only a few inches.

So what is really going on and is anyone to blame? Could the worst of the flooding have been prevented, and is the government completely incompetent in dealing with it? Are bi-partisan politics getting in the way of helping the people?

The possible answers to all these questions can be found in the newspapers and blogs that have churned out millions of words on this subject.

But to me, it is a bit like the Bangkok riots of last year? We are in uncharted territory and no one really knows exactly why it happened, whether timely remedial measures would have helped to alleviate the crisis and where it will all lead to.

One thing is for sure; it will have a considerable effect on the country’s economy. Last year, most people were surprised at how little the economy was affected by the Bangkok riots. The reality was that the great power houses of the Thai economy – industry and agriculture were hardly affected by what was going on in down-town Bangkok.

Sure the tourist industry suffered a small blip – but it was only a blip and it didn’t take long before the tourists started to return in droves.

But this time it is a bit different. Hundreds of major factories have been shut down for weeks,– possibly months; agriculture has been very hard hit and billions upon  billions of Baht in precious exports has been lost, some of it possibly forever.

After the 2009 riots, most foreign investors in the Thai economy, principally Japanese, reaffirmed their commitment to the country, but I wonder whether this commitment will stay just as firm after these devastating floods which have cost the Japanese their largest ever overseas investment loss in their history, some 50 billion dollars was a recent estimate. Maybe some of them will start to look for alternative places for on-going and future investment, particularly if the Thai government do not take immediate long term measures to prevent a re-occurrence of these widespread floods.

I haven’t yet mentioned tourism which also remained relatively unaffected by the 2009 riots. If Bangkok does become flooded, (I suspect that it will), and, heaven forbid, if there is even a slight disruption to flights at Suvarnabhumi airport, then I fear that it will have an adverse effect on tourist numbers for at least year or two – longer if the floods re-occur.

We have been mercifully spared the floods here in Pattaya, as has the south of Thailand which receives a huge number of tourists, but Chiang Mai has been badly affected, and if Bangkok goes under water, this will create a huge piece of negative publicity for Thai tourism at the event will surely be headlines in the world’s media.

So maybe some hard times lie ahead for Thailand’s economy. Not a total disaster, but it will certainly halt the previously burgeoning economic growth in its tracks. The government will have to tread a very careful path out of the resultant, as yet unquantifiable economic damage.

A couple of days ago, Al Jazeera had a thirty minute segment on the Thai floods, and the three participants were two intellectuals from Thai universities, plus the excellent Pavin Chachavalpongpun, who is based in Singapore.

The abiding message that one could take from this programme was that even the experts did not really have good answers to the questions I posed at the top of this article, but all were agreed that to one extent or another, bi-partisan political forces were at play.

Since then I have found an article written by Pavin Chachavalpongpun, as a guest writer in the Nation. It is worth a reprint here:

Even this national disaster is being used as a political weapon

Such a stupid bitch, she is!

As dim as a buffalo! She’s a bimbo, a brainless Barbie doll. The first female prime minister – who has brought all this bad luck upon the country!

This is what Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is now called and labelled by her upper-class critics.

Much of Thailand has for some time been submerged under floodwaters. Bangkok itself is bracing for raging floods. Soon, the capital could be turned into a giant swimming pool. At the same time, Yingluck is about to drown in the political floods. This is no longer just an issue of natural disaster. It has become a ferocious political game.

The discourse of “stupidity” is being used prevalently and discursively. Yingluck has been made to represent the face of stupidity. The objective is clear – to discredit her and belittle her endeavours to find solutions to the problem.

In employing this discourse to assess Yingluck’s performance, many seem to assume that Thai politics is the realm of the “intelligent”. But if it is so, then why did past leaders also fail to solve the relentless problem of annual floods once and for all?

If Yingluck is to be judged, then perhaps the word “weak” would be better used to measure her leadership qualities. It is true that Yingluck has responded to the floods too slowly. While she works tirelessly to display her commitment, she fails to produce an integrated approach to ameliorate the grave situation. But it is very convenient, in times of crisis, to condemn others. All fingers are thus pointing at Yingluck’s lack of crisis management skills.

But would it be fair to put all the blame on Yingluck? Should she alone be held responsible for the overpowering floods? Why was the Royal Irrigation Department keeping huge reserves of water in key dams at the beginning of the monsoon season and refused to release it despite the prolonged and massive rainfall we have seen during this monsoon season? Why did previous governments, which also experienced threatening floods, not put in place an effective flood management system?

Rumours, lies and false statements regarding the flood situation have been found on social networking sites. A picture of Yingluck, taken before the July election, which shows her taking a photo from her hand-phone on a helicopter, has been circulated on Facebook, with captions such as: “The nation is in crisis but this bitch is having a good time.” Another picture of a Yingluck lookalike partying and drinking whisky from a bottle was also shared in cyberspace.

News of His Majesty the King mentioning that if the floods approach Bangkok, then let the water pass and do not block the Chitralada Palace, was found to be bogus. A photo of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, taken in 2010, offering bags of commodities, was also intentionally released to mislead some Thais.

Could this be a part of a coordinated attack against Yingluck with the aim of destroying confidence in the government? Certainly, the opposition Democrat Party has been busy contesting the legitimacy of the Yingluck regime. Its leader, former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, absurdly suggested the declaration of an emergency decree to fight the floods. Through this, the military would be granted full authority to operate in almost any way it likes – a decision that will not be accepted by the current government. Yet, Abhisit did not elaborate on whether the military could handle the problem better than the Yingluck government.

Abhisit has also worked closely with MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the Bangkok governor, to compete, not cooperate, with the government. While many brand Yingluck as stupid, Sukhumbhand showed his superstitious faith in a Khmer ritual of “chasing water” in his search for a solution to the threat of floods in the city. He was intensely protective about his turf. At one point he declared, “Listen to me and only me. I will tell you when to evacuate.”

Meanwhile, footage of the military going into affected areas to aid flood victims is impressive. But the military, like the Bangkok governor, has functioned almost independently from the government. There is clearly a sense of competition between the government and its rivals. Some of the fiercest critics of the government have called for Yingluck to resign. Yingluck’s supporters interpret such competition and the pressure to remove her from power as part of a plot to stage a “water coup”.

This competition, even during the height of the crisis, unveils a reality in Thailand: this is a deeply fragmented society in which political ideologies have overshadowed public responsibility and the urgency for national survival. It is no longer a country where its members are willing to forge ahead and leave their differences behind. Eliminating political adversaries, at the expense of a national catastrophe, is seemingly acceptable today.

The last crusade to save the capital from the floods also reflects a self-interested mentality among Bangkok residents. Bangkok, once again, is a symbol of contentious politics. Other provinces have long suffered from flood-waters that do not seem to go away. It is a case of a great disparity between the people residing in the rural and urban areas.

For now, those who are complaining the most, the loudest, are the Bangkok residents, who have over the past two months been so fortunate to have been kept dry. Yingluck has fallen into the trap of political disparity: she recognises the absolute necessity to rescue Bangkok to please her Bangkok critics, but earlier acted so slowly to prevent surrounding provinces from being inundated.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun

PC is a fellow at Singapore’s Institute of South-East Asian Studies.

2011-10-26

I like to believe that if a similar disaster were to befall the UK, or indeed the USA, that at least during the time of crisis there would be a concerted effort from people of all political persuasions to first and foremost deal with the disaster and get all necessary help to the victims and to mitigate the flood damage.

Once the disaster is over, normal politics would hold sway once more and accusations would be levelled back and forth from all sides of the political spectrum. But at the height of the emergency, all would be doing their best to help and support the government in their efforts. We actually saw this recently in the cyclone and terrible flooding that ravaged Australia. Recriminations came later, but at the time, it was ‘all hands to the pumps’.

Not so Thailand. It is such a shame, and – dare I say it- that if it wasn’t for one man, the strong feelings and the deep divisions in Thai society would never have become quite as entrenched as they are today. 

I am not for one moment suggesting  that he was not treated shabbily – of course he was – but history will show that he has a great deal to answer for; from the terrible, bloody riots, to the polarisation of Thai society to the point where scoring political points is more important than the lives and welfare or ordinary folk.

I am sorry, Khun Thaksin, but two wrongs never, ever, make a right; I’m sure they must teach you that somewhere in Buddhism. In fact, maybe Khun Thaksin and all the many  Buddhists who are involved in managing this crisis, would do well to dwell on the Buddhist concept of ‘METTA’. 

Metta is the first of the four ‘Sublime States’: loving kindness, good-will, friendship, unconditional love for all human beings. Metta is the feeling of warm-hearted concern for the well-being of other people, whoever they may be, regardless of any ‘reason’ or any profit that might result. Metta is a spontaneous expression of a wish to do what one can to help.

BUTT…BUTT…BUTT… I don’t give a hoot…