The Gang of Four – American Style! – 17th April, 2016

In Today’s Blog:

IMG_3368In “Mobi-Babble” – “Happy Thai New Year 2556” and a Trip to Dreamworld; “Red Ant eggs for breakfast- Anyone?” and “It’s a dog’s life” – poor Micky!

In my Letter to America – “The  Gang of Four – American Style!” I write about the parlous state of the greatest country in the world, and the worst ever choice of candidates to lead it out of the wilderness. 

In”Notes From a Tainted Paradise”, I write about how Ladyboys find a painful way out of the military Draft; How blindly following a sat-nav onto a footbridge is not good for Thai ‘face’, and a Princely suggestion for dealing with protesting monks.

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Mobi-Babble

 

Happy Thai New Year – BE (Buddhist Era) 2559

1460778188278I’m writing this on 16th April and we are barely half way through the long Songkran holiday. Songkran – the time of year when entire Thai population goes berserk and chucks water at each other for two weeks.

In previous years, I have written much on the ‘abuses’ of the traditional Songkran water festival in modern times – which has turned the one-day tradition of sprinkling scented water onto families and friends into a non-stop, two-week drunken water fight.

This has happened partly in the pursuit of money – and partly because the festival has been hi-jacked by thousands of drunken yobs – including a fair number of westerners – so I won’t bore you by writing at length about it this year.

As ever, Thailand’s road atrocious  accident statistics, second only to Libya in the table of the world’s worst, always spikes upwards during Thai New Year. 2016 is no exception, and after the first four days of the festival, no less than 259 people have died, and there have been 2378 injured. Yesterday alone, 78 people were killed and there were 556 accidents reported.

As I rarely venture out, all the wild, wet and dangerous mayhem has so far passed me by. Last Wednesday, Lek and the kids took off with some family friends who live in Pattaya for a day out. They went to “Dreamworld,” a massive amusement and water park in Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok.

 

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The  Gang of Four – American Style!

imagesMy Dear Americans, I truly grieve for you.

The USA is arguably the greatest democracy the world has ever seen, and it is the country where anyone, no matter how poor or underprivileged, can achieve The American Dream.  Through the decades, there have been thousands of people who have pulled themselves out of poverty to become rich and famous in the land of the free.

Who better than Barack Obama himself to exemplify just how far a poor man from an ethnic minority can aspire to in 21st century America?

America also happens to be the richest country in the world. It has the most powerful armed forces in the world, the greatest universities in the world and the greatest scientists. It is a proud nation dedicated to freedom, democracy, human rights, and the elimination of all forms of discrimination, not only in America but throughout the world.

It is also a country that puts a huge value on human life, and believes fervently that all its citizens have the right to live their lives in freedom and without hindrance from their fellow citizens. Their Founding Fathers’ Bill of Rights is one of the most profound, democratic and freedom-espousing documents of all time. It is revered by all freedom-loving citizens the world over.

So what in God’s name has gone wrong?

In America today there are almost 50 million of its citizens on food stamps. Fifty million! That’s more than the population of Spain and more than the populations of Holland, Belgium, Greece, Portugal and Sweden combined.

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Notes from a Tainted Paradise

Thai BarHow to avoid the Draft

Every Thai man at the age of 21 has to appear before a local military recruitment centre to try their luck. Each eligible young man has to choose a card. If it is black, he is free, if it is red, he has to spend two years in the military.

But many are either deferred (e.g. in the case of university students), or exempted, due to health or ‘other’ reasons.

The largest exempt group are the lady boys. But just in case you think that all a Thai man has to do is to dress up in women’s clothing and he will get an exemption, you should think again. Only those who go through the painful process of sexual realignment surgery will gain exemption – the rest will have to don military khakis and play at soldiers for two years.

Ouch! – Either way.

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Football Lovers of the World Unite! – Disband FIFA!

More than 35 current or former senior FIFA senior officials have been indicted on charges of bribery, wire fraud, racketeering, money laundering, and tax evasion.

The list continues to grow and as yet excludes the disgraced former President Sepp Blatter and suspended EUFA President Michel Platini.

Nobody knows yet the true scale of the vast corruption within the FIFA evil empire, but it is certainly in the hundreds of millions of dollars. We know for a fact about $150 million in the Americas, $10 million in South Africa, several million dollars in bribes from the German Football Federation, and many millions from various national football associations through the years in exchange being awarded World Cup tournaments. 

Click Here to sign The Petition to Disband FIFA

 

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It’s a walk on the Darkside, then ‘Au Revoir’ for a while.

Continue reading “It’s a walk on the Darkside, then ‘Au Revoir’ for a while.”

Some Mobi-reflections on the ‘Land of Smiles’.

6 months, 29 Days, still sober

Mobi-Babble

No more naughty trips to see horny whores in bars since my last blog, so I think I am really starting to get this addiction in hand. Like all addictions, the longer I keep away from it, the easier it gets. I will try to behave myself until I go to the UK in 2 weeks, and then maybe a month of total abstinence, (both booze and sexy young women), will either kill me or cure me!! I have loads of little projects do before I get on the plane, so that will also help.

They say its better late than never, and after promising myself for months that I will try to do something about my fitness levels and my weight gain, I have finally started doing a daily walk.  To be frank, I have no allusions that I will lose even one gram of weight before my trip to the UK, but my overall fitness has become increasingly troubling.

Since I moved Noo in with me last November I have become totally inactive – a total ‘couch (or should I say) ‘computer chair’) potato’. She never lets me lift a finger to do anything for myself, and I confess that I have allowed her to pander to my lazy instincts.

Day after day, I rarely walk further than from one end of the house to the other, or to the car or around a store in Pattaya or to a bar on the Darkside. Even shopping in places such as Tesco will sometimes leave me breathless with that tell-tale tightening of my chest. I know that when I go to the UK I will have to walk a lot more than I have been doing in Thailand and I am worried that I simply won’t be up to it. So it may not be much, but hopefully even two weeks of daily walks will at make some inroads into my state of fitness. Once in England I can continue the daily exercise, which of course will be much easier to do in the cooler weather.

The second reason that I have forced myself into action is because of my golden Retriever, Cookie. She has put on an enormous amount of weight and has become every bit as lazy and lethargic as her master. She has been on a reduced food, high calcium diet for quite a while now to help with the rheumatism in her front legs as well as to get her weight down. But again like me, it doesn’t seem to have had much effect on her weight and the only solution is daily exercise.

I would never forgive myself if Cookie died before her time, due to being overweight, so the two of us have been puffing and panting around the lake for the past three evenings in a 20 minute walk. As our fitness levels increase, I plan to slowly extend our walk time. The calcium diet seems to have done the trick on Cookie’s front leg joints and she no longer ‘favours’ them, but just a 20 minute gentle walk is enough to leave her at the point of collapse when she gets back home. She slumps down on the front porch without even enough energy to walk to the side of the house to get herself a drink of water, even though she is obviously parched with thirst.

What a disgusting pair! Let’s hope we are both in slightly better shape by the time I get on that plane.

I’ve just received notice of a huge increase in my annual health insurance premium. I was paying around 65,000 Baht per year, (which included a USD500 deductible), but as I have now moved into a higher age bracket (65-70), the premium has almost doubled to over 130K Baht.

I am not covered for pre-existing medical conditions which means that anything connected with my diabetes or coronary conditions are excluded, so at best, the coverage is only of marginal benefit. Sure, it covers me for major accidents and cancer, but not much else.

As an alternative, I am thinking of topping up the medical cover on my auto accident hospitalisation, which is currently at 500,000, and maybe taking out some additional general personal accident insurance to cover me if I am knocked down, mugged or suffer some other misadventure requiring medical treatment and leave it at that. There is no history of cancer in my family so I will probably escape that menace, but if I do contract it, then if it is operable, I will probably go back to the UK and take my chances – which is something I would most likely do even if I did have medical insurance.

Ah!  The never ending problems of growing old……

Some Mobi-reflections on the ‘Land of Smiles’.

I am one of those ‘optimists’ who truly believe that Thailand is slowly being transformed from a third world to a first world country. The signs are everywhere, and no matter where you go in this land you cannot fail to notice the relative affluence and the burgeoning middle classes that simply did not exist 10 – 20 years ago. In fact, I challenge anyone to find a village or an area of the country where the majority of the local populace are desperately poor.

Sure, you will always find malnourished and desperate people in slums, be it Pattaya , Bangkok, some far flung village in Issan or the war ravaged south – but is that any different to most western countries? Go to some parts of the USA, the so-called ‘greatest nation on earth’ and you will see similar signs of poverty, and don’t forget, that unlike most western countries, it costs very little to survive in Thailand.

The hot, all year round climate means you need very little in the way of clothes or even a roof above your head, and the country is just teeming with fruit and other produce which can provide sustenance for those who are at the bottom of the pile.

Try travelling to Issan: to Korat ,(what a massive city!), Khon Kaen,  Roi Et,  Maha Sarakham,  Udon Thani,  Nong Khai, Loei, Yasothin, Ubon Thani; or further north to Chaing Rai, or southwards to Petchabun , or Nakhon Sawan or eastwards towards Prachin Buri and Sa Keo. When you go to these provinces, don’t just stick to the provincial city centres,  drive out to the villages situated off the beaten tracks and look for signs of poverty, as I have done, over the past few years.

In the main, you will find fertile fields, and villages full of well-dressed young people with shiny new motor bikes, pick-up trucks and even a surprising number of saloon cars. You will find that a vast majority of roads are in remarkably good condition and you will find villages where the sois are clean and have been beautified with trees and plants, where homes with  little gardens that have been walled or fenced off, and where lawns have been sown, flowers and plants grown and pet dogs kept clean and loved. You will see satellite TV’s, and air-conditioning in many of the houses. A far cry from barely 10 – 15  years ago when many villages were still dirt poor and the people were still struggling to fill their bellies.

All this is a sure sign that the general population is no longer purely concerned with their daily fight for existence, but has now moved to the next stage, which is the acquisition of luxury possessions and the spare time to indulge themselves.

Hundreds of thousands of local markets, the length and breadth  of the land, day and night, are packed with customers; every  provincial town centre has  at least one hyper store;  aTesco-Lotus, or a Big C etc which are so packed that you often cannot get into the car parks. Then there are the western style ‘home produce’, hardware, Macro and Furniture stores, most of them enormous cavernous buildings, all packed at weekends with the middle classes loading up their pick-ups and ordering stuff to be delivered to their homes.

I have yet to  mention the incredible and inexorable  advance of the  7-11’s and Family Mart mini-stores which now seem to occupy the streets and lanes  of every city, town , road junction and gas station, the length and breadth of Thailand. And did you ever hear of a single one that went out of business?

As dusk falls, drive along the main and minor roads that link the towns and villages of this fair land and you will see the people at play – in the restaurants, night clubs, karaoke bars and massage houses. I challenge you to drive more than ten minutes along any major road in Thailand and not come across at least one major Thai restaurant, full of happy revellers.

I well recall driving through the outskirts of muang Roi Et last year and noticing the dozens upon dozens of pretty looking cottages nestling neatly in rows on the nearby hillside. The new development seemed to spread out for several kilometres. I enquired as to who might live at such places. I should have guessed what the reply would be. It transpired that nobody lived there; they were all rooms available for rent to facilitate the  great and good alpha males of Roi Et for entertaining their mistresses and ladies of the night. They were , in effect, ‘short time villages’. A sure indication, if one was needed, of the increasing affluence of the local populace.

Note that nowhere in the above have I mentioned Bangkok, Pattaya or Chiang Mai.

Bangkok is surely one of the world’s great mega cities and the infrastructure in that incredible metropolis is on a par with many of its western counterparts.The Sky scrapers are truly mind boggling; the Sky Train and the underground train system are state of the art; the complex, multi-layered network of 6-8 lane express-ways with their seemingly never ending expansion, together with on-going master plans for a sophisticated public bus commuter system, all point to the fact that the City of Angels never rests and the City Fathers are forever in expansionist/improvement mode. The vast number of 5 star hotels, international restaurants, futuristic 21st century shopping malls, cinema complexes and other modern shrines to the leisure seeking public, are all testament to the fact that this is not a city which is stuck in the ‘third world’.

Power cuts are virtually and thing of the past, flooding is largely under control, probably to a greater extent than some western cities, cheap mobile phone networks are plentiful, internet speeds are becoming as sophisticated as in the west and there is no doubt that technical innovation in this city is as advanced as any in the world.

Even my own ‘beloved, ‘Sin City’ is rapidly cleaning up its act and moving into the 21st century. I wrote about Pattaya a week or so back, so I don’t wish to repeat myself, (see my blog of 16th July; http://tinyurl.com/3omeroj), but I will just add that the Pattaya today is not the Pattaya I knew even 10 years ago – let alone 20 or 30 years ago and the authorities have stated over and over again that their long term plan is to get rid of Pattaya’s seedy image and turn it into a truly respectable world class resort.

Despite the claims by many farang residents, that it will never happen, I personally believe that it surely will and that Pattaya will slowly be transformed for the ‘better’ over the next 10 years. It already has moved so much, but few of the farang residents, supping their bottles of Chang on a bench outside their local ‘seven’, don’t realise what is going on under their very noses.

Currently, in spite of all Thailand’s recent problems and political instability, its economy continues to go from strength to strength and it continues to  boast a massive trade surplus.  It is still the largest producer of pick-up trucks in the world, many of which are exported; its agricultural exports are increasing despite the appreciation of the Thai Baht.

And if you ever doubt the Japanese, Korean and even the European and American commitment to industry in Thailand, I suggest one day that you take a drive through many of the dozens of massive industrial areas on the Eastern Seaboard; somewhere like Amata City for example. Amata city claims to be the ‘Detroit of the East’ which is a pretty lofty claim and one that I used to laugh at – until I went there. It has to be seen to be believed: hundreds of kilometres of six lane highways, built in the middle of virgin countryside, bordered on each side by literally hundreds, if not thousands of factories and industrial complexes.

The workers live there in specially constructed housing complexes, and whole communities have sprung up to service the insatiable demand for labour. And Amata City is just one of many.

I haven’t even been to view the industrial complexes in Rayong but I know they have huge car assembly plants plus all those chemical plants that have been causing a few pollution problems.

All this tells me that if Thailand hasn’t yet made the cross-over from being a developing to a developed nation, then it isn’t too far off. Sure, we can point to things like endemic corruption, but as I mentioned the other day, Thailand is by no means the only country in the region to suffer from this and it is unlikely that it will ever be totally extinguished as it is so much part of the culture.

Unfortunately, on the minus side, Thailand is still rife with nepotism, crony-ism, a corrupt and moribund education system where 99% of the students come out of the system with little or no knowledge of English – or indeed the world around them – and where the qualifications for the kids of the elite are purchased rather than earned.

There is still a reluctance to promote on the basis of merit, rather than on ‘connections’ and the possession of  bullshit qualifications, but there are signs that this is slowly changing. Modern business leaders are learning the hard way that they need to get bright, hardworking people into the key positions if they are going to hold their own in an increasingly competitive world  and  that they can no longer sustain the old inefficient staffing sysytems.

Sometimes it may be difficult to believe, but the democratic, legal and bureaucratic institutions in Thailand are very advanced and sophisticated. Not only are all the relevant rules and regulations in place, but Thailand is signatory to many key international conventions on such subjects as world trade and human rights, all of which signal that Thailand is not far off being a proper, civilised member of the international community.

But in practice, the country’s day to day actions and rhetoric don’t always match its lofty ideals with regard to its judicial system, democratic institutions and internationally agreed obligations. Clearly there is a way to go on this.

We only have to look at thorny subjects such as the abhorrent use of ‘slave’ labour in the Thai fishing fleets and in sweat-shop factories and the widespread exploitation of children  to know that there is an unpleasant ‘underbelly’ to Thai society which is deplorable and has no part in any modern, civilised world. 

I will be writing in detail about some of this soon, but even in these regrettable areas of concern, there is a general acknowledgement that ‘things must change’ – sooner rather than later – if their country is to continue to develop and to be allowed unfettered  trade with the world community.

But for the most part, Thailand has come a very long way, and to those farangs who have lived here many years and think that Thailand never changes and is the same sleepy, undeveloped, ignorant, poor society that they discovered many years ago, then one day they will be in for a rude shock to their system.

BUTT…BUTT… BUTT…I don’t give a hoot….

Presenting: Rupert Bear, Jimmy the Waffle and the Ginger Wooden top; with special guest appearances of Peter, ‘Marble-Pie’ Pan and Wendi the avenging ninja.

6 Months, 20 Days – still sober.

Mobi Babble

Yesterday was good. In the early afternoon, Noo and I drove into Pattaya to do a few things. First stop was the excellent Indian Tailor in Naklua where I went to get kitted out for my forthcoming daughter’s wedding. How do I know he is excellent? Well a few months back, I took my friend Bob there to be fitted up for new suits and work shirts and the guy did a very impressive job.

Not wishing to denigrate Bob’s appearance, he does carry a pretty big pot belly on his ageing body – the very worst kind of shape to look good in anything  – let alone a shirt or suit –  but this tailor worked his magic  and Bob looked the ‘bees knees’. He had at least three fittings and great care was taken at every stage of the process.

So before setting out, I checked my closet to see if any of my clothes, (especially my jeans and long sleeved shirts), still fitted me as I hadn’t worn any for several months, during which time I have put on a lot of weight.

I wasn’t really surprised to find that I couldn’t get into a single one of my shirts and there were just a couple of pairs of jeans in which, after a huge struggle, I could just about fasten the top button. But I looked ridiculous, with my waist scrunched in tightly and my revolting, tub of lard belly, flopping down over it.

So as I feared, I need a completely new wardrobe of clothes for my trip to the UK next month. I made an initial order for a suit, a waistcoat, 7 long sleeved shirts and a pair of jeans, all for the princely sum of 14,300 Baht. We’ll see how it goes, but I have a lot of faith in this guy, he actually travels to Europe every year to get updated on the latest fashion trends and seems to get a lot of business from the German tourist community who are in and out of his shop all day long.

Next stop was my wonderful little Thai doctor that I use sometimes in Jomtien. This time it was for Noo, who has an alarming habit of nearly fainting, and also seems to suffer from low blood pressure and a very high pulse rate. She was in with the doc for quite a while and has to go back on Thursday to get the results of a blood test.

I have been using this doctor for a variety of complaints for years and I have a lot of faith in him. He used to practice in England and speaks wonderful English. Unlike most Thai doctors, he tells you the way it is, no bullshit, and doesn’t dump a whole load of meds on you in the hope that something might work.

Thence to Tuk Com where I still failed to find a ‘mobile’ power supply/ charger for my Samsung Tablet. They have them for I Phones and HTC’s but not for Galaxies. One of the annoying things about Thailand is that they can often sell you the latest products but fall down when it comes to spares and accessories.

I remember a few years back when I bought an upmarket  compact Canon camera and wanted to buy a wide angle lens, which  Canon had stated in the handbook was an optional  accessory for this model. Yet nobody in Thailand stocked it and I had to wait until I took a trip to Australia, where just about every camera shop had the sought after item, plus a lot more stuff which I couldn’t find in Thailand. I guess one of these days Thailand will get its act together.

Our final stop was my favourite pub for a very late lunch before heading back home to my waiting, faithful, three pooches.

It was a very pleasant afternoon and I am redoubling my efforts to stay away from the naughty bars and spend more time with Noo.

Presenting: Rupert Bear, Jimmy the Waffle and the Ginger Wooden top; with special guest appearances of Peter, ‘Marble-Pie’ Pan and Wendi the avenging ninja.

Back home, I had a grand stand television seat to watch the UK parliament committees continue their investigations into the phone hacking scandal. First up, at the Home Affairs committee room, by way of an opening appetiser, were the two top London cops who had recently resigned. I think that both acquitted themselves pretty well and if they are to be believed, it seems that they have done little wrong to justify the opprobrium that has been heaped upon them. 

It just seems to me that it was a catalogue of relatively ‘innocent’ mistakes and unfortunate coincidences that let this investigation flounder for so long. It is easy to be wise after the events, and both cops admitted over and over again that if they had their time over, knowing what they do now that the fiasco would never have occurred.

At least those in charge realised that even though they were innocent of any serious wrong doings, responsibility for these far reaching mistakes must be taken and they did the right thing by resigning their positions. What more can you ask of them?

Next we had the all-star double act of Murdoch and son, two people who I doubt will ever resign under their own steam. I watched the entire session in fascination. There have been many reports to the effect that Murdoch senior was a bit befuddled, clearly showing his age but his son, James was all business and professionalism.  

I wonder if I was watching the same show. Sure, you can’t expect and eighty year old to be particularly  snappy and articulate in his answers, but in this writer’s opinion, he acquitted himself pretty well. He answered all the questions put him succinctly, after sometimes considering his responses very carefully for a few seconds, and who could blame him for that. He also openly admitted his lack of detailed knowledge on a number of key issues.

By contrast, his son was all waffle and bullshit. He too could not answer a number of factual questions, of which he, as CEO should have known the answers to. To questions simply requiring a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, he rambled and stuttered on interminably, and frequently failed to give any meaningful response at all. To the question as to whether he was aware if any of the 9/11 victims or victim’s families had had their phones hacked, he went off on a long dissertation about how terrible the attack was and where he was at the time and what he was doing. If this was an attempt to deflect the thrust of the question, he certainly didn’t fool me, even if he seems to have bewitched the entire media reporting community.

He also showed a great deal of ignorance about whether or not News International was or wasn’t paying the legal fees of two criminal ex-employees /consultants, yet the ‘ginger bombshell’ was able to answer these same questions later without batting an eye lid. It was no use denying it as the truth would eventually come out.

News International was indeed continuing to pay these criminals! On many matters, like the aforementioned, he either claimed very little knowledge of the specifics of his job, (indeed, on a number of occasions he had to undertake to ‘get back to the committee’), or he was simply unwilling to answer.

The worst part of his evidence concerned the Gordon Taylor phone hacking affair. He claimed that the ‘out of court settlement’ of 700,000 pounds was justified as his legal advice was that Taylor could expect a compensation award of 250k, (this, despite the fact that a maximum breach-of-privacy court award of only £60,000 was once given against the  News of the World) and that the predicted 250k, plus costs would amount to 700K. So they decided to settle, rather than got to court.

But there is an important point here which seems to have been totally missed by the commentators. You don’t settle for the maximum possible award, plus court costs; you settle for something less than the maximum.  If you pay the maximum expected amount, you might as well go to court and take your chances – you might win.

The real truth of the matter is that they didn’t want to go to court at any price as they were concerned at what may come out. The settlement was subject to a confidentiality clause, but James insisted that this was normal and there was nothing really to hide. Yet other settlements had been made by News International without any so-called ‘normal’ confidentiality clauses, and when asked at the end of the hearing whether in view of this, would he agree to wave the confidentiality in the Taylor case? He steadfastly declined.  This whole business  stinks to high heaven and I doubt if he will succeed in keeping the lid on it.

The media  reports today all mention that James tried to come to his father’s aid when Rupert was unable to answer some questions put to him. These related to questions of fact which clearly Rupert was unaware of. However, again what seems to have been missed by these reporters is that Rupert actually came to the aid of his son on a number of occasions. This happened when James was floundering and waffling, as he did frequently, and was unable to provide a succinct, credible response or explanation, so Rupert stepped in and answered for him.

I have just listened to two different reporters on BBC radio. The first stated that James sounded genuinely sorry and contrite about what happened and his father didn’t, the second reporter, on a different programme, said exactly the opposite – that Rupert was the genuinely remorseful one.

And now, more nonsense from reporters about how nothing new has come out at the hearing, and how well James conducted himself, followed, at long last, by one observer, who is representing victims of hacking, who has just pointed out exactly what I have written above, concerning the attempted cover up in the Gordon Taylor case, and the fact that two convicted criminals are still on the payroll.

So I’m not completely crazy after all….

I’ve never been keen on Rebekah Brooks with her bizarre hair and ridiculous name spelling. Can you imagine a male executive sporting an unconventional hairstyle and being promoted to the very top of a publicly listed company?  He wouldn’t even get into the recruitment room. Yet, because she is a woman, she is allowed to strut the stage with the most outlandish hairdo since Sinead O’Connor.

So she had a lot to do to bring this reviewer around, but I have to say I was very impressed with her performance in front of the committee, who were all clearly gunning for her.

Considering that she had been pilloried in the press for weeks, had finally resigned her position at news International, and had even just been released on bail by the police following her earlier arrest, she conducted herself extremely well. She was eloquent, suitably contrite, and answered all questions put to her in a professional and satisfactory manner. She didn’t overdo the contrition, like James had done to the point where you wanted to puke, and she behaved in a slightly cowed but still proud manner than could only command respect.

In my opinion, I would say that the two cops, Rupert Murdoch and Ms. Brooks all behaved in a professional manner and acquitted themselves as well as could be expected in the circumstances, but if I hear James Murdoch blabber any more in that excruciating, mid-Atlantic accent, with the slight Aussie twinge, (all his sentences end up as rhetorical questions when he raises the inflection tone – must have been watching too much neighbours), I swear to God I will commit bloody murder!  

While I concede that James Murdoch’s intentionally prevaricating style probably helped to deflect some of the most difficult questions, I can’t see how this will help him in the long run and I’m sure the committee was not fooled by his infuriating bluster.

I’m sure that Johnny Marbles with his lovely foam pie must have intended it for James and if not, why not?

Incidentally, what a fucking, embarrassing fiasco! If that’s the best our cops can do to protect the Mother of Parliaments and their high profile guests, with the world looking on, then God help us if the terrorists ever start to get their rag head acts together.

In conclusion, I believe that most media commentators have taken these hearings on a superficial, gut- feel basis, and have simply not paid careful attention to what was taking place. But I don’t believe the commons committee will be adopting the same attitude and they will be going through all the replies with a fine tooth comb, at least I hope that they are.

There is much in this scandal that is still to be adequately explained, and I think it has a long way to go yet before it disappears from the headlines. In this writer’s opinion, the two cops were being pretty honest and Rupert Murdoch was probably telling the truth when he said that he wasn’t aware of all this hacking business at the time, although my guess is that he became aware of it much earlier than he is prepared to admit to. But I am quite sure that James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks are lying through their teeth, as they are bound to do, to protect their careers and indeed themselves from potential jail sentences.

It is highly likely that the three of them and their PR guru carefully planned, over several sleepless nights, exactly how they would handle the key questions and what the extent of their lies would be, so that they never contradicted each other.

We will probably never know for sure, unless Wendy Deng catches her Rupy-pie in flagrante delicto’ with another woman, in which case hell hath no fury than an Asian woman scorned, as we have all seen already….

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

Foxy Casey – the innocent child killer, is all Foxed out…

6 Months, 18 days – still sober

Mobi – Babble

I have been behaving myself after my little trawl around the girlie bars last Thursday, so there is nothing of a particularly naughty nature to titillate some of my more sensation -seeking readers.

I reported in my last blog that my friend Bob and his young Cambodian girlfriend departed last Friday, but what I omitted to mention in connection with this visit was that my perfect little Noo, at long last showed me that she is ‘human’ after all.  It was a bit of a relief really, as nobody can be as good as she appeared to be, and in a funny sort of way it was a bit worrying.

It happened this way.

After Bob and the young lady had been staying with us for a couple of days, Noo quietly mentioned to me that she thought Bob’s lady was very lazy. Now I am an old hand at listening to Thai ladies, and indeed any lady, criticise and  run down other women behind their backs, so whilst I wasn’t particularly surprised at this particular demonstration of female bitchiness, I was rather surprised, as this time, it was my perfect little Noo who was the culprit.

‘Oh, really? Why do you say that?’ I asked in innocence.

‘She never takes her dirty plates cups and glasses to the kitchen, just leaves them around for me to clear up.’

‘Oh you want her to help with the washing up?’

‘No, I am happy to wash the dishes, but at least she could take the dirty stuff into the kitchen and put it in the sink. Even if she eats in the kitchen she never puts the dirty stuff in the sink, just leaves it all on the kitchen table for me to clear up.’

I must emphasise, that this complaint was in no way a rant. Noo just told me quietly and ‘matter of fact-ly’ that she thought Bob’s young lady was very lazy. The girl had made no effort to help with the cooking, and spent most of her day sleeping, watching TV or listening to music. Indeed, even I had noticed that Bob doted on her as if she was a precious Princess and she did little for herself.

I don’t believe this was some kind of anti-Khmer sentiment that was coming to the surface on Noo’s part, as this was the second visit of the young lady to our home, and Noo has always treated her very kindly and she has taken her with her on her motorbike when she went to the market and other places and they seemed to get on quite well together.

On her last visit, Noo even took the two of them out for a bit of a tourist trip to see the sights of  Pattaya on her bike as the poor,sweet young thing suffers badly from carsickness when she is in my car.

But we live in a reasonably sized, three bed villa and we have no maid. Noo does all the work around the house, all the cooking, cleaning, dish washing and so on, (see above pic☺) as well as a lion’s share of the shopping. Not a huge burden when there is only the two of us, but double that number and it begins to become a bit of a chore.

Before my guests’ arrival, Noo had thoroughly cleaned the spare bedroom and bathroom, provided them with clean bedroom linen, towels etc and ensured the bathroom was properly stocked with toiletries .Yet this young, fit, twenty something year old guest, made virtually no effort to ‘chip in’ and do her bit, even if it was just a token offer. I think Noo felt quite ‘put out’ that the girl didn’t even take her own or her boyfriend’s dirty dishes to the kitchen. She was effectively treating Noo as a maid.

After Noo pointed this out to me, I started to pay more attention to what the girl actually did and realised over the remaining days of their stay that she did indeed do very little to help around the house, and simply assumed that Noo would do everything.

I recalled an occasion a few weeks back when I took Noo to barbeque party at Rick’s house and remember well how enthusiasistically Noo had got stuck in with not only the cooking and serving but also became the self-appointed washer- up in chief.

No wonder she was upset by this behaviour by a guest in her own home, and I know that she was not being bitchy – she was simply pointing out that this was not right. I have been so used to Noo doing literally everything for me, that I confess to being surprised that she was now making it clear that it was one thing to do everything for me, but quite another for her to fetch and carry for my friend’s girlfriend. Quite right too!

I am actually very happy that she told me about this, that she didn’t keep any resentment bottled up inside her and that she is subject to the same human feelings and foibles as the rest of the human race. Good on yer Noo….☺

A good weekend for sport

It was a good weekend for sport and two supposed ‘underdogs’ came out on top.

I watched the last two days of ‘The (British ) Open’ and was absolutely delighted to see the Northern Irishman, Darren Clark, hold off the American challenges of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and others.

Clarke handled himself impeccably, played a wonderful, utterly confident final round of golf and if his stomach was churning inside, he gave no signs of it. It was a ‘fairy tale’ ending for the 42 year old father of two, who had never previously won a major championship and finally won ‘The Open’ on his record –breaking, 20th attempt.  He has been a stalwart in the Ryder Cup through the years and is everyone’s favourite ‘nearly man’, who evoked huge sympathy a few years back, when he played in the Ryder Cup, within days of his wife’s death from cancer.

I did feel sorry for Big Phil; he is one of golf’s real gentlemen and a man I have always had a soft spot for. For a while, it really looked as though he was going to take the fourth round by storm and steal the prize from Darren’s grasp, after making the half-way point in only 30 shots. But as happens so often with Big Phil, he made one silly little mistake in tapping in an easy put and from then on he sort of imploded and the challenge eventually faded.

But it all made for compulsive viewing. To me, It is one of sport’s enduring enigmas that games like tennis and motor racing, which should be so exiting, are often as boring as hell, yet one of the slowest games in the world – golf – can be so riveting and will often have you on the edge of your seats until the final ball has gone into the final hole.

After a thrilling game of football, Japan beat the Americans in the Women’s World Cup Final, and I doubt that even the Yanks will begrudge the Japanese their historic victory.

The Americans had the better team and should have won. Indeed, they went ahead twice, but in the end, the Japs refused to roll over and they held their nerve to win on penalties. But after all the terrible events and tragedy that have enveloped this country in the past few months, who can begrudge them their little bit of joy, in celebrating their country’s first win at a major world sports event? Well done Japan!

Rent a friend – rent a family

While we are on the subject of Japan, I recently watched two separate items on television which had me scratching my head in bewilderment.

The first item was about a Japanese man who rented himself out as a ‘friend’ to lonely, single, men. This is apparently a quite widespread practise in Tokyo where thousands of men find themselves lonely and friendless and the only interaction they are able to get is with friends who they ‘rent’ for the evening.

The second item was about the common practice of Japanese brides and grooms renting friends and family for their wedding receptions.  One groom admitted that he had even rented ‘fake parents’ for his wedding. When asked why, he informed us that it would be a big ‘shame’ on him if his in-laws knew that he had no parents.

The practise of renting people for wedding is so routine that neither side of the family, (wife/husband), knows who are real friends and who have been paid to attend.

I have always appreciated that countries like Japan have a totally different culture and ways of thinking than those of us in the west, yet although they are so different, you can at least sort of understand what was going on with the Samurai class of bygone ages and the many traditions and customs that still survive in modern Japan. But this business of renting friends and families seems to be a total distortion normal behaviour in even their strange culture and surely it is an ugly, sad transmutation of what was once a proud, if alien heritage.

The mind really boggles……

C(r)asy like a Fox….

First off, I confess that I was as fascinated as any by the events that unfolded in the court room in Miami as the young mother, Casey Anthony, was put on trial for the murder of her two year old daughter. The trial attracted wall to wall coverage on American TV and media and was easily the biggest an event since the OJ Simpson trial, some years ago.

The trial lasted for about three weeks and during this time, the media were all pretty much determined to hang her high for her obviously murderous act. Then the shock of the century; Ms Anthony was found not guilty.

So we were then treated to days and days of analysis on why this verdict was reached, interviewing the prosecutors, the defence team, the jury members, Casey’s friends and ex friends and just about anyone in America who had an opinion on the subject.

For the first day or so, this was OK, as we all wanted to hear what some of the key players in the matter had to say. But eventually ‘enough is enough’. We had heard and seen anything that could possibly had any relevance to the act and the subsequent verdict and why people did what they did why the jury voted the way they voted.

Quite frankly we are all ‘Casey’d out’.

All this was occupying prime time television when there has rarely been a period when there has been more tumultuous events going on in the world; from the never ending acts of terrorism, to the Arab uprising, to the on-going world economic crisis, to the starving and dying in Africa and even to the potential collapse of the massive Murdoch media empire.  

Yet has Fox news started to cut back the air time devoted to the Casey story? Not a bit of it, in fact if today is anything to go by, the story is more prominent than ever. Hour after hour and presenter after presenter; there is little else but stories relating to the release of Anthony from jail, showing over and over again a five second video clip of Anthony being led out of the building by her defence attorney, and never ending speculation on where she has gone, what she will do now, when she will re-surface and how much money will she make for her story and interviews?

Come on Fox News – enough is fucking enough!…

Poll

I am republishing my poll here so that those of you who haven’t already voted – especially blind  Rick –  don’t need to trawl though my earlier blogs to find it. I will continue to re-publish  this poll on my blogs for the next week or so.

Please tick a box; thanks☺

BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…I don’t give a hoot!

The sluts are walking, the bloggers are polling, The Brits are dying and the US is declining…

6 Months, 14 Days, still sober

Mobi Babble

My apologies for the recent breaks in service. 

No real reason; just a bit of lethargy creeping in, along with a smidgeon of disillusionment over my recent readership levels and also my slight preoccupation with other matters, particularly with Bob and his  lady, who are still staying with me.

Anyway, I am delighted to report that my readership numbers suddenly jumped up again on Tuesday and are now on an upward curve once more. It has been suggested that the fall in readership over the past week or so may be connected to the advent of school holidays in Australia and Europe, which means that people have had better things to do than read my rubbish.  I have no way of knowing where my readership is based, so I can only concede that there may be some truth in this, but quite frankly, I doubt it – but who knows for sure?

Anyway – onwards and upwards.

I received a comment from one reader to the effect that I should keep my blog going for least a short period after I return from the UK, so that I can inform my readers if I succeeded in staying sober during what will be a very challenging month.  I had actually planned to blog from England and may still do that, time and situation permitting. Maybe just a few brief postings to let you know I am still in one piece and, hopefully still sober.

So I am now inclined to think that I will probably keep my blog going through September, for reasons already stated, but also because even if I stop my regular detailed blogging, I still wish to keep the blog open so that i can continue to use it as a  vehicle for publishing further completed chapters of my novel and any other creative writing that I decide to embark upon.  

So one way or another, I doubt I will be disappearing for good any time soon.☺

I am going to try a new poll. My only previous attempt at this,did not produce very spectacular results, so I am hoping that this one will fare a little better. I am trying to get a better grip on the reading habits of my blog followers. I know how many people click on my blog each day, but I do not know whether these people are reading it every day, every 2 – 3 days, or once a week and so on.  

This means that is difficult to know my true total reader ship; as for example, if 1,000 people read my blog daily, then my readership is 1000; but if (say) 500 people read my blog every day and anther 500 read it once a week, my blogs stats would show daily hits, ranging from (say) 500 to say 600 or 700 on each day (depending on which day the weekly readers read it). Then if, say, 300 read it daily, another 300 read it every 2 -3 days and a further 400 hundred read it weekly, then it becomes impossible to know from daily stats what my overall readership level it.

So I’m going to try a very simple poll to try and get a better grip on what my real readership may be, so may I ask you all to please tick the relevant box. I will be very grateful as the more people who participate, the more accurate the results will be.

Anyway, thank you in advance for your valued participation.

The Slut Walk

A statement by a police officer in Toronto, Canada, who told students that if they wished to avoid rape they shouldn’t “dress like sluts,” set off a world-wide protest which has taken the world by storm, with boisterous demonstrations of young women protesting sexual violence and the way victims are blamed for it.

These grass roots protests, involving thousands of women dressed in everything from lingerie to sweatpants, have been held in more than seventy-six cities in Canada, the United States, Europe and beyond; there have been SlutWalks in Mexico, (a sign in Morelia reads: ‘My Tiny Skirt Does Not Make Me an Easy Woman‘), and one is even planned for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

The hope of this movement is that maybe someday people will get it through their heads that sexually active females are not demons, morons, destroyers of men or fair game for rapists, and the word “slut” will either fade from the language or mean something else, like “woman who sleeps with people she wants to sleep with, and only those people.

Whatever the real aims of this interesting movement, this blogger, for one, gives it his wholehearted, unmitigated support, and I hope that these Slut Walk protests will grow and prosper to become weekly, or even daily events in every far flung corners of the civilised world. In fact, I cannot think of a better cause for me to take up and champion and I would even be prepared to sponsor such walks in my daily blog, in return for a few choice photos of the sluttiest participants.

So I urge all would- be sluts to join their local Slut Walk as soon as possible – come on! show us how slutty you are!

Mind you, there is hardly any need for slut walks in the Land of Smiles, as most Thai women dress and walk like sluts as a matter of course….at least, they do where Mobi hangs out….

They shoot horses don’t they? – But not the murderous Taliban!

British soldiers who spot Taliban fighters planting roadside bombs are told not to shoot them because they do not pose an immediate threat, the Ministry of Defence has admitted. They are instead being ordered to just observe insurgents and record their position to reduce the risk of civilian casualties.

The controversial policy emerged at an inquest into the death of a British soldier from who was killed in October last year by an improvised explosive device as he led a patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

The soldier’s wife disclosed that in the days leading up to his death her husband been told that it was not his job to attack insurgents laying bombs. She said: “They are not allowed to fire on these terrorists. If they can see people leaving these IEDs, why can’t they take them out? One officer even told him ‘I am an army Captain and you will do your job’.

“We have lost too many men out there, they had seen people planting IEDs yet could not open fire or make contact with them. I believe strongly if people had taken on board what he was saying more he might have been here today.”

Under the Geneva Convention and the nationally administered Rules of Engagement the 9,500 British troops in Afghanistan are told they can only attack if there is an immediate threat to life.

A key part of the MoD’s counter-insurgency theory holds:  it is more important to win over civilians by not killing innocent people than it is to eliminate every potential insurgent.

One officer who has recently served in Afghanistan said that if a soldier wanted to ascertain if an insurgent was an immediate threat, he would have to approach him and expose himself to greater risk.

He said: “A British soldier manning a checkpoint at night might watch a man digging a hole for an IED100 metres away and would not try to shoot at him. It’s a ludicrous situation.

“There has to be an immediate threat to life and that’s a hard thing to prove. An IED does not count as an immediate threat.

“The Americans are different – their Rules of Engagement are pretty liberal. If they even suspect someone of laying a bomb, they can shoot them.”

Afghans routinely dig holes in river banks to store meat because there is no refrigeration and farmers often dig at night because it is cooler to work. The Taliban bomb layers take advantage of this to spread confusion.

They set roadside bombs where farmers work and villagers store meat, and they also pay civilians $10 a time to dig a hole.

If the civilian is shot, it is a propaganda victory for the Taliban, and if the hole is not discovered by soldiers, it can be used later for a roadside bomb.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “Troops in Afghanistan are required to exercise restraint when dealing with this threat as the use of deadly force is not always appropriate when there is a risk of collateral damage.

“The aim of this policy is to avoid innocent civilians who may be in the vicinity.”

I have attacked the Yanks mercilessly over the past few months for what I have seen to be indefensible actions and hypocritical hyperbole on a whole variety of subjects, but for once the boot is on the other foot. The yanks are doing what any army engaged in a war is supposed to do – kill their enemy, yet the Brits, in the same war are told not to kill them and as a consequence, risk their own lives.

And for what? To win over the hearts and minds of the Afghans. Pardon my language, but what a load of old fucking blocks! Why is it that every right thinking person in the whole world knows that Afghanistan always has been and always will be a totally lost cause, yet the British government continues to foist all this ‘protect the civilians’ crap onto its people and have its soldiers unnecessarily sacrificed as a result?

As I have stated previously in this blog, once all foreign troops have departed Afghan soil, the country will revert back to way it has been for centuries and all the fledgling democratic structures will be destroyed and all the women will be locked up and treated as slaves.

Is the US in terminal decline?

Debt crisis… Housing Crisis ….and now…Job/Productivity crisis.

There are too many young,  lazy, unskilled workers in too many jobs while productivity falls; all in a desperate, misguided attempt to ape the Chinese – according to Greenspan.

Alan Greenspan has an interesting new take on what’s wrong with the U.S. economy. He blames the young work force  – there are “major concerns about the productive skills of our future U.S. labour force” – and U.S. trade policy is mirroring China’s.

He says that the U.S. is doing it backwards by trying to increase jobs via trade policy.

“Increased jobs are the consequence of increased trade. Increasing jobs more than output implies a fall in productivity and standards of living. That surely cannot be our goal.”

But that is exactly what China is doing wrong, says Greenspan.

“The Chinese are manipulating their currency in order to get low-quality, high-labour-content products produced — for maximum employment. They are distorting their economic structure and creating long-term economic damage.”

It sounds like Greenspan is primarily worried that the U.S., in its quest to create jobs quickly and get the recovery on track, will employ the young U.S. work force in easy, lower-paying, unproductive jobs. And since the young work force is unintelligent and lazy compared to the workers they’re replacing, the Baby Boomers, this spells bad news for the U.S. economy.

“Baby boomers are being replaced by groups of young workers who have regrettably scored rather poorly in international educational match-ups over the last two decades.”

“The average income of U.S. households headed by 25-year-olds and younger has been declining relative to the average income of the baby boomer population. This is a reasonably good indication that the productivity of the younger part of our workforce is declining relative to the level of productivity achieved by the retiring baby boomers. This raises some major concerns about the productive skills of our future U.S. labour force.”

Greenspan would prefer the U.S. let in more skilled immigrants instead.

“Most high-income people in our country do not realize that their incomes are being subsidized by their protection from competition from highly skilled people who are prevented from immigrating to the United States. But we need such skills in order to staff our productive economy, so that the standard of living for Americans as a whole can grow.”

I don’t know about you guys, but I am seriously considering a safe haven for my ever dwindling investments. There is a real danger that this global economy is about to implode if someone in the US doesn’t get his head out of his liberal ass and do something right for a change.

BUTT…BUTT…BUTT… I don’t give a hoot!