Thursday, June 30, 2005

Killer Asteroid

Just been reading the lastest issue of New Scientist and there is an article about a killer asteroid due to pass earth on April 13 2029. When it was first discovered scientists gave it a 1 in 50 chance of hitting the earth. Those are certainly better odds than winning the lottery! Scary odds, but fortunately San Nakji was in ignorant bliss until I read this article today. Fortunately the odds increased as they studied it, so now being hit by lightning is a bigger worry...
I have never watched those meteor movies, Deep Impact or Armageddon, but I know pretty much what they are about. It is kind of weird when Hollywood meets reality in things like this. If the asteroid were to hit, apparently it would most likely hit Asia or Australia. The graphic they have is of it hitting Sydney... sorry Kira's Slave. It is like watching the graphic for a nuclear bomb... Anyway, we are safe this time, but I wonder if it were going to hit the Earth in 2029, whether people here on our planet could get themselves together to do anything about it?

San Nakji for President!

Why No Hamsters?

Well in answer to Ori's question, yes, you are right. New Zealand has no native mammals except for our little bats. When the Maori first came to Aotearoa (New Zealand) they brought rats which began to kill our native birds. The birds had lost the ability to fly as there were no natural predators. When Europeans came to New Zealand they brought many other pests, such as cats, ferrets, more rats, rabbits, possums, stoats, dogs, deer, well you name it! Our little country is not really suited for all these bird hungry animals and we have lost a lot of our native birds. The New Zealand symbol the Kiwi is endangered thanks to ferrets and stoats, so there has been a great effort to rid the country of them. The keeping of Ferrets as pets was banned last year as it was felt that too many were escaping and killing our birds. I remember at the time there was an abusive letter in a New Zealand newspaper from the American Ferret Society. The writer stated the the 1 million members in the USA would boycott New Zealand goods as a protest against our government's policy. Ignorance is bliss I guess.
That is why there a no hamsters here. I suppose we have no idea what they will do if they were to escape from captivity, so they are not allowed. I am a little sad about it, but I understand.
It is all about protecting your unique animals. Just like Australians are desperate to save their native animals from the introduced pests there. Here is a link to Aotearoa native animals.

Hope that answers your question? Where's your El Paso post?

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Top 5 Animals

I love all animals… except horses, can’t you see they’re evil?

Anyway, right now, here are my top 5 favourite animals, in no particular order….

1 – Wombat

2 – Octopus

3 – Bat

4 – Fisher Cat

5 – Hamster

Yes, I know, the last one is a bit weird. When I lived in Korea I had some dwarf hamsters, I loved them! Back here in NZ the keeping of hamsters is illegal. It is enough to make me want to move back!

San Nakji for President!

A New Zealand Quirk

It seems to be a New Zealand hobby, although Australia is quite keen too, to name your sports teams. Many people know that the New Zealand rugby team is better known by the name the All Blacks. Why? Because they wear all black uniforms, simple really. However, did you know that our football / soccer team is called the All Whites? Again because they wear all white uniforms. Our rugby league team is called the Kiwis and our netball team is call the Silver Ferns. Other NZ sports teams are following this model, using either black, kiwi or fern in their name. Our women’s rugby league team is the Black Ferns, our women’s rugby league team is the Kiwi Ferns and our women’s hockey team is the Black Sticks. Confusingly enough our Men’s hockey team is also called the Black Sticks. That’s field hockey, our Ice Hockey team is called the Ice Blacks…

So, as you can see we take great joy in naming our teams. Maybe it’s because the country name New Zealand is just too long? My favourite one though, has to be our men’s basketball team. They are known as the Tall Blacks. Just like our rugby team, the All Blacks, only a little taller! There is a new one on the scene, one that is causing all kinds of talk. It is the men’s badminton team. They are calling themselves the…… Black Cocks!

San Nakji for President!

** Sorry, now that I look at my post, I see it is a little unclear. While other countries have teams like the Geelong Cats, the Green Bay Packers and Kashima Antlers; what I mean is that we name our national teams... **

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

King Kong Movie

I am not a big fan of the premise behind King Kong. I know it is meant to be a classic, but I have never seen it. However, my country man, Peter Jackson, seems to have spent his whole life working towards this November. The preview of his new movie came out today and it looks pretty impressive. I always wonder why you would remake a movie, especially a so-called classic, so I will reserve judgement. Of course from a patriotic point of view I would like it to do well…. But we will just have to wait and see I guess. If it’s coming out in November, does that mean it will go head to head with Harry Potter? Hmmm, that’s a contest I can’t see King Kong winning….

Click here for the preview, what do you think?

San Nakji for President!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Sport and Politics

It's the age old question of whether sport and politics mix. It would seem that yes, they do in fact. Be it the 1936 Olympics in Berlin where the Nazis had a chance to push their lovely brand of facism or the 1980 and 1984 Olympics when first the Americans and friends and then the Soviets and friends boycotted each other's games, there is no way you can separate the two. New Zealand played a part in the isolation of the apartheid regime in South Africa by stopping sporting contact with South Africa. While we are a small country, when it comes to rugby, we punch above our weight by quite a lot. Nelson Mandella himself thanked NZ for stopping rugby contact with South Africa and felt that it was a great help in changing the regime. While this wouldn't work with all countries, a sports obsessed country like South Africa really suffered when they were unable to play rugby and cricket.
NZ now faces this question yet again with our cricket team to tour Zimbabwe in August. The ICC, the ruling body of world cricket, has said they will fine any country 2 million dollars if they fail their commitments to tour other countries. They fail to see the dilemma that this puts nations like New Zealand and in the past England and Australia and see cricket only in terms of money. While cricket is mainly played by the white population of Zimbabwe, Mugabe is a huge fan. By not going ahead with the tour New Zealand cricket and therefore the country could show their displeasure at what is going on in this beautiful country. I tend to think that by going to Zimbabwe, perhaps the players could show their displeasure at the regime and attempt to shame Mugabe, but while I would be happy to do this if I were a cricket player, I think it is unfair to expect our players to do this. The best thing therefore would be to not go, have the New Zealand government pay the fine and try to gather the support of other nations. India will also be in Zimbabwe at that time and it would be great if they would support this. However the Indian cricket team is not known for getting involved with such thing, so I do not hold out much hope for this.
By taking a stand, maybe NZ can influence the ICC and show Mugabe that what he is doing is not acceptable.
For more information on Zimbabwe, please click here and here.

San Nakji for President!

Your Own Island

"Lake Titicaca has a lot to recommend it, but among its' most remarkable features are the floating Uros islands.

The 40 or so man-made islands are woven from layers of tortora reeds, which grow on the edges of the giant lake. Titicaca lies 3,800m (12,500 feet) above sea level between Peru and Bolivia.

They are home to several hundred people who are partly descended from the Uro Indians who retreated onto the lake from the Incas, who were the dominant force in the region until the Spanish arrived in the 16th Century.

Though this culture has far outlasted the Inca civilisation, some people are warning that it is now under threat as modern life encroaches." Cont'd

Wow, this is something I would love to see. How many people can say they live on their own island? It would be sad to see this culture die away, I think these kinds of things are what make this planet we live on so wonderful... Am I gushing too much?

San Nakji for President!

Ulleungdo Continued

The other picture I posted seems to be going in and out of existence for some reason. Here are two more...

San Nakji for President!

San Nakji's Favourite Animal

Don't fear the bat!
San Nakji for President!

The Penguin of Ulleungdo - 울릉도의 펭귄

I was watching my favourite Korean show, Sponge, the other day and they talked about Penguins on Ulleungdo. We have them in New Zealand, but I couldn't believe that Korea would be anywhere near a population of Penguins. Well, this photo proves it I guess! There are two penguins and they crush ice to keep squid and fish fresh.

San Nakji for President!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Place I would like to visit in Korea #1

I am a big fan of islands and am always keen to visit them. There are a heap of islands around Korea and the one that fascinates me the most is one of the east coast, in the so-called Sea of Japan or as the Koreans like to call it, the East Sea (동해). The island is called Ulleung-do 울릉도 and is quite beautiful. Islands interest me mainly for the isolation. The culture is different from the mainland because of the hardships they face and islanders tend to be both resilient and very hospitible. As you can tell, the geography of this island means that they have to be very creative with their building and the capital Dodong 도동 up in the the island set in a valley. I have heard that Juneau in Alaska may be similarly placed in a valley, but that I don't know about.

Ulleungdo is famous for its' squid. They catch them from around the island and I have seen many classic photos with the lines of squid hung out to dry. Koreans are crazy about squid so I imagine this island would be their Mecca. For me the trip there (2 hours by ferry) and just meeting the people would be enough. I will leave the squid eating to others, hopefully there is enough to feed the demand.

This is the place I would like to visit most in Korea. It is therefore Place I Would Like To Visit In Korea #1 ...

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Dokdo - 독도는 우리 땅인가?

It is nice enough, but we all know the argument between Japan and Korea is not about the land right?

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


A pride of lions has rescued a girl from her kidnappers in rural south-west Ethipoia, according to police.

A 12-year-old girl was snatched by four men on her way home from school early in June.

A week later, kidnappers were moving her with police in pursuit when three lions encountered the group and chased the men off, local police said.

The lions stayed with the girl without harming her, before departing as police searching for her came near.

Sergeant Wondmu Wedaj told the media from Bita Genet, some 560 kilometres (348 miles) south-west of the capital, Addis Ababa, that they found the girl alive but shocked and terrified.

"They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest," the policeman said.

The girl told the police she had been beaten by her kidnappers, but no harm was done to her by the lions.

An Ethiopian wildlife expert said the lions may have spared the girl because her crying may have sounded like the mewing sound from a lion cub.

"Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people," Sergeant Wondimu added.

Four men have been caught by police.

The United Nations estimates abductions, which lead to marriage, are rife in rural areas where the majority of Ethiopians live.

Did You Ever Wonder?

What a vole looked like? I know I did! Well here he (or she) is...
Junk DNA keeps a vole devoted
San Nakji for President!

Fisher Cat

All hail the Fisher Cat, the beast of beasts!
San Nakji for President!

Aaah! 시~원하다

People standing in waves, Bombay, India

A refreshing change from the heatwave battering India

San Nakji for President!

Just Say No

'Mel B is having "difficulty" agreeing to a Spice Girls reunion for the Live 8 concert, organiser Bob Geldof has said.

But Geldof is still hoping to persuade her to come on board for a comeback show in London's Hyde Park on 2 July.

He told UK TV show Richard and Judy that Mel B was working in California but also "has difficulty going back to something she did in the past".

He added: "I'll call her during the week and if she can't do it, she can't do it." '

Good girl, haven't the Africans suffered enough without being blamed for the reunion of the Spice Girls?

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Annoying Both Sides

This cracks me up. Al-Qaida thought they could rely on the Arab media to support them, but no, Al Jazeera seems to be happy pissing off everyone!

"Al-Qaida's wing in Iraq slammed Al Jazeera television on Sunday, saying the satellite channel often criticized by Washington was siding with the United States in its reporting on the violence in the Arab country.

An Al Jazeera spokesman rejected the criticism of its coverage, saying it was balanced.

“Where are you heading, Jazeera? Why this hostility toward the mujahideen (holy warriors)?” the group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said, according to a statement posted on an Islamist Web site.

“All the American army statements are carried and accepted but no one carries the mujahedeen’s side.”

It said Al Jazeera had reported U.S. statements that its forces had killed 50 insurgents in an operation underway in western Iraq, but did not broadcast the group’s statement that it had shot down eight U.S. helicopters.

“Where is the claimed balance?” the statement said.

It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the Web statement, signed by the group’s spokesman.

The criticism followed accusations by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld earlier this month that the Qatar-based channel encouraged militants by airing hostage executions. Al Jazeera denies broadcasting any executions.

Al Jazeera spokesman Jihad Ballout said the popular Arab channel, which has an estimated 40 million viewers, was used to being criticized by opposing sides."

You would think Al-Qaida would be happy with the head chopping coverage they get. What more do you people want?

San Nakji for President!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Let Me Go Please!

Behind bars – one of 559 orang-utans found on sale in Indonesian bird markets (Image: Chris Shepherd)
San Nakji for President!

5 Albums

Imagine if you will, being stuck on a desert island. You will be there a while, like those people off Lost, but unlike them you have a solar powered CD player. What five albums would you take with you? Obviously you know that you will be stranded on this island, otherwise how could you have your albums ready?
For me, I would take the following,
1 - Pablo Honey ~ Radiohead
2 - Siamese Dream ~ Smashing Pumpkins
3 - Absolution ~ Muse
4 - Razorblade Suitcase ~ Bush
5 - The Color and the Shape ~ Foo Fighters
If I were allowed another one, my game but playing by the rules, then I would choose The Best of Panic by Panic.
I could quite happily get by on these albums, although food, drink and shelter may help!
San Nakji for President!

Batman Begins

I saw Batman Begins in the weekend. I have to admit that I am a sucker for a superhero movie and so was probably going in with a bit of bias. I had heard only good things about this film so that helped. I hadn't heard anything good about Catwoman or Daredevil and still haven't seen either. My life is probably better for it!

I really enjoyed this film. I think it is always easy to make a superhero film when you can explain how he or she came into being and so they were helped by being able to tell that part of the story. They went for a different kind of feel from previous movies in that it is much darker. The origins that they come up with are a lot different from the other films and the thing that I liked the best was that they showed the origin of the bat cave.

The best thing about this film is undoubtably the city. It looks wonderful and really comes alive. I was really jealous of the great monorail they have in Gotham! I know that Gotham is based on New York, but it was great that they took time to create a city that resembled New York, but at the same time was so alien and different.

The story was pretty simple, but adequate. Like I said, they didn't have to work too hard as a lot of the story was the creation of Batman. The big test will be for the next movie where the whole movie will have to be story driven.

The actors seemed very good. I liked Liam Neeson and Gary Oldman looked so different. I have only seen Christian Bale in Reign of Fire, which he was good in. Some people have criticised him for a wooden performance (incl. people I was with), but he worked for me.

All in all, I really enjoyed this movie. I hope the next one continues strongly like Spiderman and Blade did.

Well that's it. Anyone else see it?

San Nakji for President!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Racist Fool

So just a little thing, to show people not from this country of mine how stupid our right wing politicians can be. The man in questions is the leader of the insidiously named party, New Zealand First and has as his platform the reduction of "Asians" in New Zealand. It is a shame that this idiot is not quite sure where Asia is. How will he clear them out? This came from a TV show he was on last month,

SIMON Why do the scandals that you’re uncovering seem to be solely Asian?

WINSTON Well I didn’t know that Iraq was in Asia. You see Asia stops in Turkey, most politicians don’t understand that either.

Yup, he is an idiot and a bigot. Unfortunately the redneck percentage in this country continues to climb and I fear for my offspring. I am currently involved in a complaint against a major company, not just here, but world wide. I was in a southern store of this company last week and was subjected to racial abuse against Koreans. These bigots think that people will just take this and leave. Well I left, but have contacted the head office and demanded this man be fired. Failing that I will press charges with the police. One good thing about living here is that we have a comprehensive human rights' bill which sorts out fools like this man.

People, please fight the bigots in your part of the world. They may not be targeting you, but once they are done with one minority, it will only a matter of time before they figure out how to get at your family and your friends!

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, June 16, 2005


I am back, did you miss me?

A combination of illness and family life and death stuff conspired to keep me away. I actually posted yesterday, but for some reason (I know the reason...) the post isn't here. I will have to resurrect it another day.

So Malgachisation is the word of the day. No, I hadn't heard of it either, but there you go. The word means the moving from French to Malagasy as the commonly used language. Strangly enough, this word only really applies to Madagascar where Malagasy goes from being spoken to not being spoken and then to spoken again.

Why do I know this, why would I care? Well, as part of my philosophy of getting to know every language in the world, this week I am looking at Malagasy. I ordered a book over the internet and after about three weeks it has finally arrived.

What got my interest in the first place was that I heard it was related to Pacific languages. Madagascar is pretty far from the Pacific so I wanted to know how many similarites there were. Grammar-wise it seems similar, but vocab-wise it is quite different. I suppose you get that with 20 000 years. Madagascar is a place I would love to go as I am fascinated with lemurs. You have to admit they are pretty cute!

You can adopt one of these guys for a mere $1000 a year. Look at if you are interested

Here are some Malagasy phrases for you,

Manahoana - Hello or How are you?

Misaotra - Thank you

Miala tsiny aho - Sorry

Gidro - Lemur

Famantaranandro - Watch

Misy zavatra tokony hotandremanay manokana ve? - Is there anything I need to pay special attention to?

Wow, that's a mouthful!


San Nakji for President!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Zimbabwe Arrest 22 000 people

Zimbabwe police have arrested more than 22,000 people as a blitz on illegal stores and shantytowns gathers pace, sending homeless people fleeing to the countryside, the state Herald newspaper said.

What the hell? Please invade now Mr Bush. After all your whole platform for invading Iraq was to free it from tyranny... Or was it about revenge and oil, surely not!

San Nakji for President!

Korea Cell Research

There is a post on HK's website about the recent announcement by a Korean team led by Hwang Woo Suk 황우석 that they had successfully used therapeutic cloning to create human embryonic stem cells that were genetically matched to specific people. (prizes given out if you can explain what the hell this means!)
This is great news for the world and great news for Korea. I think there is general white-man snobbery when it comes to Asia announcing scientific discoveries. Many choose to ignore it as they believe that only Western countries could possibly invent or discover things. I have often heard it said that the Koreans, Japanese, Taiwanese and others make great products, taking Western inventions and improving them. The West is willing to accept that East Asian goods are good quality, but will not let go of the idea that anything new and innovative could possibly come from that part of the world. Heaven forbid that one day African researchers discover a great new scientific revelation, I am sure they would get the same derision from the so-called enlightened West. This attitude is frankly racist and offensive as it smells of an old colonial attitude that I had hoped had vanished some time last century.
Good on Prof Hwang and his fellow researchers, including an American(!), I hope that you continue on this road of discovery as I strongly believe stem cell research can revolutionise medicine as we know it.

San Nakji for President!