Friday, September 30, 2005

Korean Dream

Caught on film, the Korean Dream. A giant squid, enough for the whole family to chew on during the baseball with some left over for a squid stew!

San Nakji for President!


The past couple of nights I have been out walking the Pooch and I have noticed something very strange.

There are snails everywhere, all over the gound, all over the footpaths, even climbing the power poles. I have never seen so many snails out and about.

The question must be asked, yes by San Nakji, why are there so many snails about? Do they in fact know something that we don't? Do they know something about the face of doom? I think they do. Much like animals that are known to sense when there will be an earthquake or some kind of natural disaster, I believe that snails sense the face of doom. I must continue to study these snails and I will let you know what I discover. Whatever I find out, it will be life changing! Stay tuned...

San Nakji for President!

Weekly Animal Pic - Badger

This week it is a badger. I don't really know anything about badgers, but they look pretty cute. Look like they could bite quite nicely too!

San Nakji's Pooch was bred to hunt badgers. Funny that he was born in a country where they don't live. I am sure he always feels there is something missing in his otherwise idillic life. How sad!

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Cutest - End of Story

San Nakji for President!

Swim for it, the Dolphins are Coming!

It may be the oddest tale to emerge from theaftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.
Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the US defence programme claim it is vital they are caught quickly.
Leo Sheridan, 72, a respected accident investigator who has worked for government and industry, said he had received intelligence from sources close to the US government's marine fisheries service confirming dolphins had escaped.
'My concern is that they have learnt to shoot at divers in wetsuits who have simulated terrorists in exercises. If divers or windsurfers are mistaken for a spy or suicide bomber and if equipped with special harnesses carrying toxic darts, they could fire,' he said. 'The darts are designed to put the target to sleep so they can be interrogated later, but what happens if the victim is not found for hours?'
Usually dolphins were controlled via signals transmitted through a neck harness. 'The question is, were these dolphins made secure before Katrina struck?' said Sheridan.
The mystery surfaced when a separate group of dolphins was washed from a commercial oceanarium on the Mississippi coast during Katrina. Eight were found with the navy's help, but the dolphins were not returned until US navy scientists had examined them.
Sheridan is convinced the scientists were keen to ensure the dolphins were not the navy's, understood to be kept in training ponds in a sound in Louisiana, close to Lake Pontchartrain, whose waters devastated New Orleans.
The navy launched the classified Cetacean Intelligence Mission in San Diego in 1989, where dolphins, fitted with harnesses and small electrodes planted under their skin, were taught to patrol and protect Trident submarines in harbour and stationary warships at sea.
Criticism from animal rights groups ensured the use of dolphins became more secretive. But the project gained impetus after the Yemen terror attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Dolphins have also been used to detect mines near an Iraqi port.


San Nakji for President!

Face Revealed

Now do you believe me? It is right there in front of you. He even has a creepy pointy goatee which only harbringers of doom grow. Please now believe the apocolypse is here... arrggghhhh!

San Nakji for President! (Before it's too late...)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

San Nakji's Pooch

Here you go Minty!

San Nakji for President!

200 Posts!

This is post #200. Wow, I can't believe I am still going. It doesn't seem long ago that I was at #100... (it wasn't!). Thanks for all who read this, I hope you keep coming back. One day something will take your fancy, I almost guarantee it!

San Nakji for President!

Spooky Face of Death

Am I the only one who can see a face in Space Nakji's photo? It is creepy and must bode only bad things...

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

RIP Maxwell Smart

First Gilligan and now this! 2005 is not a good year for old TV stars that San Nakji likes. Watch out Batman, Dr Who (Tom Baker) and Avon (Blake's Seven), you are obviously next.

Sorry about that!

San Nakji for President!

My Last Trip

I really started this blog to write about Korea. I would love more people to think about Korea and care about the country as much as I do. However, I have noticed something recently. That is that I just don't have anything to write about. The problem is since I came back to Aotearoa it is hard to write about Korea as it is now, but rather I am caught writing about Korea as it was when I was there. This just won't do. I am therefore stuck with writing about more than just Korea and if you can bear it, something about New Zealand... I know there are not a lot of people out there who know anything about New Zealand or even care. That's ok, I think the best thing about living here is that no one thinks about us meaning Mr Osama doesn't think about us and neither does Mr Bush. When the shit hits the fan, I reckon we will be nice and isolated... There is a blog I visit every once and a while which doesn't update too often. I haven't linked to it for that reason. Anyway, there was an arguement going on in the comments section about white people messing with Korea. Some English teachers over there were baiting a Korean American about race issues and the like. I stayed out of it, but watched the debate. Suddenly the Korean American started abusing New Zealand. What has New Zealand ever done for the world? What use is it? And the like... it was so out of the blue, I was quite surprised. I stayed out of it, because it wasn't worth fighting for. To be fair, compared to a lot of countries we probably haven't done very much, but at the same time we don't rock the boat either. We just exist. It is a nice place to visit, so if you ever make it down this far I would be happy to show you around. I figure most people wouldn't want to live here, but that's fine too. Just don't see the point of laying into a little country like this one...

However, this post isn't really about that. It is about my last trip before the impending visit of our life changing guest. I took my digital camera and thought I would post something about my actual recent experiences, if you can believe that.

Don't ask me how, but I won a night in a flash hotel chain. There were a lot to choose from, but I chose one about three hours drive from Auckland, in a place called Rotorua. Rotorua is an amazing town, populated almost exclusively with people involved with the tourist industry. The reason is that Rotorua sits smack bang on a whole lot of thermal activity. This means that everywhere you look there are boiling pools of water, bubbling mud and steam covering the town. The smell of sulphur is quite strong, but you do get used to it.

It is also the home of a lot of our native people, the Maori, and there is a strong cultural aspect to the town. The tourist love this and Rotorua is probably one place in Aotearoa where Maori can make money out of their culture.

Next to the flash hotel we stayed was a Maori village. The village is about 100 years old and the people living there use the boiling water in their everyday lives. They bathe in it, they cook with it and they use it to heat their homes. For a fee, you can take a tour through the village and see how they live in harmony with Gaia. Always on the edge of danger.

A quick walk past the main gate took us to the largest mudpool in the village. The mud is amazing to look at and I could probably stare at if for ages... Yes, I am that sad! The way it moves is amazing. I have an mpeg of it, but not sure how that fits in the blog.

We then walked about the outside of the village to look at the thermal activity they lived in the

middle of. The rocks were steaming and the water, while looking lovely and inviting, was over 100 degrees celcius, that's 240 fahrenheit. There is even one pool where the temperature reaches 400 degrees C! You are warned to stay to the paths as the ground, while looking safe, is

often just a thin crust with boiling death beneath.

The landscape around the hot water and mud is quite eerie, almost moon like. I am not sure if the photos really do justice to what we saw. Damn! I deleted a photo of the geyser by mistake and now I can't load it back on... What's up with that?

There are two churches in the village of 65 people. This one here is the Catholic one and is the oldest. It is interesting for the graves around it. Because the ground is so hot they have to bury their dead above ground surrounded by concrete. So that the concrete doesn't disintergrate they put little chimneys around the graveyard so the ground can let off steam. Weird!

There were these little statues all around the village. If you rub their heads, then you will get good luck. I rubbed a lot of heads... Where's my good luck?

I just like this one's teeth!

There are other photos, but they just don't want to load for some reason.

It was a great trip. Sometimes people look too far for interesting places to travel when really your own back yard can have some amazing things.

There you go, my first personal photo blog post... only 3 more posts for 200!

San Nakji for President!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Ever Wonder?

What the weather is like in Auckland New Zealand? Well, thanks to Ori, I have attached a weather thingy to my sidebar thingy. My aim is to show how we are the rain capital of this great world of ours... check it out!

San Nakji for President!

Did I see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

It took a while, but yes, I finally saw it. Stand by with baited breath for my review...

Right from the start you need to know that I am a huge Roald Dahl fan. I am also a big fan of Gene Wilder and the original movie. Strange coming from a guy who can't stand musicals. I have the song from the chocolate river running through my mind. If you were here I would sing it to ya, but that's another story... Or is it? Well, yes it is...

So with the impending demise of my freedom to see movies whenever I want, I made my way to the local theatre with Mrs San and some other people who will from here on be known as 'Those Of Limited Significance' or TOLS.

I must be getting old, but didn't I used to pay $5 for a movie? When the hell did it become $12? On a Saturday you would be paying $14 dollars... Can we honestly say movies are better now? Surely Karate Kid was the peak? Anyway, why am I complaining, I only paid $9, got some kind of movie club membership thingy...

There was a great deal on for a Willie Wonka ice cream. I got one and also got the NZ movie staple which are tangyfruits. I looked on the web just now and there is no mention of them. I think these are a NZ only thing, which saddens me greatly. I will take a photo of them and publish it some time, wow, something to look forward to! The weird thing about these lollies (more on that later) is that they only sell them at movie theatres. I have never seen them anywhere else. I imagine warehouses piled full of these things. The movie theatres paid out a lot of money for right to sell them and obviously jealously guard their secret... San Nakji is known as the Tangyfruit Guy, so needless to say the TOLS were happy to have me grace their presence in the theatre, if only for the food...

Now, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, the film. Have you ever had the experience in the theatre as you watch the previews of not remembering which film you had come to watch? Is this a sign of old age? Another sign of old age is rambling, which I am doing now...

So the movie was great. It followed the book fairly faithfully except for the weird parent thing. Actually, it was well done, just wasn't expecting it. The original movie disappointed me because I wanted to see the kids leaving the factory and what they looked like. That's where the new movie excelled. The Oompa Loompas were great. Their songs were pretty good, although not sing along ones like the original. I am sure if I were to get the album, I could probably sing along after a while.

The best character was Mike Teevee. Yeah, I know Johnny was good, but Mike was a more interesting character. He was great because of the great questions he asked (won't give it away though) and because I think he represented the child of the new millenium. Know it all and technically smart.

The special effects were great too. I loved the elevator the best. Just like the book!

So, Mrs San, the TOLS and I left the theatre, very happy with our choice. It was a great film and not for one minute did I look down at my watch wondering how much longer this crap had to go. The TOLS immediately pronounced it the greatest Charlie and the Chocolate Factory of all time, but I am not so sure. The first movie's build up to the factory visit was better. The Oompa Loompa songs were easier to sing along with and I can't really fault Gene Wilder. On the other side you have better special effects, a more faithful rendition and getting to see the after effects of the 'corrective treatments'... They are both great films! TOLS be damned.... I am now waiting for a special 2 DVD set of both movies, is that possible I wonder?

While looking at IMDB for things about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I noticed the age old argument between Americans and Brits. The Brits were complaining wildly about making the movie American, although the book is by a Pom. This kind of thing really doesn't worry me, although it was strange hearing a boy with an English accent keep talking about 'candy'... Poms call them sweets... Hell we call them lollies. The TOLS then pointed out why Wallace and Gromit was making a late appearance into America. Apparently they are having to remould the faces as they change some of the English words to be more America friendly. I couldn't believe this, but at the same time it didn't surprise me in the least. I do wonder if Americans are as dumb as the people making the decisions would have us believe. My feeling is no, but why do they stand for crap like this? I am sure most yanks with a brain know that there are different forms of English out there. Hell, there are different forms of English within the US. Why does the media, in this instance, need to protect Americans from words they may not be familiar with? If we had to do that for every TV show or movie coming to this country from overseas, well we would have to shut down all forms of media and go for a long walk...

Wallace and Gromit next week. My friends in America, would you like me to tell you which words are censored?

San Nakji for President!

** Additional ** I forgot to mention the squirrels. There they were just like the book says. Yay! Who came up with the geese? That was just weird. Althought it was a good set up for the bad egg line!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Native Birds of Aotearoa - Pukeko

I found some great photos of native birds of Aotearoa (New Zealand). So regular column will be Native Birds of Aotearoa.

The bird above is the Pukeko, sometimes known as the swamp hen. Unlike most native birds here, this one is not endangered. In fact it is one of the few birds that lives side by side with man. On the motor way I take to work everyday you can see them looking for food along the side of the road. Unfortunately this means a fair number end up under cars, but there always seem to be many more. Their long toes enable them to cross easily over marshy ground. They may be able to fly, but like a chicken I have never seen it!

San Nakji for President!

Weekly Animal Pic - Squirrel

I wasn't going to do a squirrel, but this is a hell of a photo! We don't have squirrels here, but when I was in Korea, I used to love going an watching them in Bukhansan national park 북한산 국립공원. They are great little creatures and seem to be on of those animals that is not really concerned with the encroachment of man into nature.

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Mystras Μυστράς

For a change of colour, here is a picture of a church in the ruined city of Mystras Μυστράς which was the capital of the Byzantine Empire after the sacking of Constantinople in 1204. The ruins are located about 8kms from Sparta Σπάρτι, and are amazing. A whole medieval city on the side of a hill complete with roads, a palace, churches, monastaries, houses and a castle on the top. One interesting thing is that the English word, Mystery, comes from the name of this ancient town...

There's your history lesson for today! Don't say I never teach you anything.

San Nakji for President!

Fast Food Lifestyle - Fast Food Bible

A new version of the Bible which its author says can be read in less than two hours has been launched. The 100-Minute Bible, written as a page-turner for those who do not have the time to read the full version, was unveiled at Canterbury Cathedral.

Its author, ex-headteacher the Rev Michael Hinton said: "We have majored on Jesus, because he is the central figure in the Bible."

Bishop of Jarrow, the Rt Rev John Pritchard was a consultant on the book.

"I don't think most people know the Bible very well," he said. "This is an attempt to say, 'Look, there's a great story here - let's get into it and let's not get put off by the things that are going to be the sub-plot. Let's give you the big plot'."

More than 11,000 copies of the 100-Minute Bible, which is roughly the size of a notebook, have been printed, for distribution to churches and schools. It took Mr Hinton more than two years to cut down the 66 books of the Bible into a version that could be read in 1hr 40min. He said readers would find all the familiar Bible stories.

"We majored on the ones that have entered the common consciousness, like Noah's Ark, Jonah and so on."

The publishers of the book say that, just like the original, the 100-minute version should be a bestseller.

Len Budd, proprietor of the 100-Minute Press, said: "This is a book for adults and has been written in a style to encourage readers to keep turning the pages, but without resorting to any literary gimmicks."

So how do Christians out there feel about this? It sounds like a good idea to me...

San Nakji for President!

The Net - More than Pedophiles and Viruses

A computer programmer looking at Google Earth satellite images has reportedly discovered the remains of an ancient Roman villa near Sorbelo, Italy.

Luca Mori of Sorbelo was looking at a satellite image of his area, located near Parma, when he noticed unusual shading near his home, the London Telegraph reported Wednesday. He said the area had an oval shaded form more than 500 yards long, with some unusual rectangular shadows nearby. Archaeologists subsequently determined the rectangular lines were, most likely, a buried structure and the oval area was likely the course of an ancient river. Mori contacted the National Archaeological Museum of Parma, which investigated. "At first they thought the site might be Bronze Age, but a closer inspection turned up ceramic and stone pieces that showed it was a Roman villa built some time just before the birth of Christ," he told the newspaper. Mori said he was happy with his discovery.

"I have managed to get people talking about the Internet because of something interesting rather than pedophiles and viruses," he said.

Hopefully people still talk about viruses and pedophiles though.... I would hate to think the Net is moving up in the world.

San Nakji for President!

Power to the Little Guy!

Senegal's president has suggested building a tunnel under Gambia to link the country's north and south.
Gambia - which is a long thin sliver of land surrounded by Senegal - has a stranglehold on the best routes between one part of Senegal and the other. Relations between the two countries have become increasingly frayed since a row over increased ferry charges erupted in August.

On Tuesday, some Senegalese soldiers were briefly held in Gambia's capital. The group of soldiers were taking the shortest route between northern Senegal and its southern region, Casamance, which cuts across Gambia - and doing a little shopping on the way.
They were detained in Banjul market, and taken off to answer questions about what Senegalese soldiers were doing in Gambia, armed and in uniform, without permission. They had crossed by the Banjul ferry, at the mouth of the Gambia River.

The Trans-Gambia Highway, which runs further inland, has effectively been closed to cross-border traffic for over a month by Senegalese transporters protesting against the sudden doubling of charges to cross the river on the small and unreliable ferry.

The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt says that Senegalese hate the power Gambia has over them, and a clearly exasperated President Abdoulaye Wade this week suggested three ways to break the deadlock.
1)Gambia should build a bridge over the river
2)Senegal could operate its own ferry
3)Senegal could even, he suggested, tunnel right under Gambia - which is only about 35km wide.
He pointed out that there are plenty of much longer tunnels in the world, and claimed that China had offered to help build it.

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Simon Wiesenthal

One of the greatest crimes in this world is that of genocide. The mass murder of a people due to their race, their beliefs or their location is beyond evil.
Simon Wiesenthal died today at the age of 96. He experienced genocide first hand in the death camps of Nazi Germany and lost 89 members of his own family. He dedicated his life to hunting down members of Adolf Hitler's regime who sought to escape prosecution and brought more than a thousand of those responsible for these crimes against humanity to justice. His goals were lofty and going from what I have heard and what I have read on the Wiesenthal Centre website, are sometimes clouded by Israel's ideals rather than that of Judaism. However still he is a great man for what he accomplished, hampered as he was by countries more occupied by the Cold War. Those who chose to blame a whole people for society's ills and seek to destroy them can never be allowed to continue their hate. We seem to have learned nothing from him when we allow genocides like Bosnia, Rwanda and Sudan to continue to happen. Maybe his death will bring these things to the forefront of our mind once more.

As Simon once said, "If we ignore the past, if we distort or deny what happened, then the past will return. Only by remembering can we and our children and their children build a just future; a future in which human life never loses its value."

The past keeps returning,

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Crazy Weather

You think that the cold days have gone for another year. Once September comes it is Spring and time for spring flowers and bouncing baby lambs. The thing about Mother Nature is that she loves to fool you. September started out really nicely. Blue sky and warm temperatures, sometimes almost hitting 20 degrees (C). However it all turned to crap on Sunday. The heavens opened up and the rain came tumbling down, followed by the howling wind and the thunder of hail... Needless to say it became really really cold. (Although Mrs San Nakji insists that me turning on the heater was over the top) When I got into work yesterday, I was shocked to see weather cameras from the South Island showing snow... yup, snow in Spring. Those poor little lambs which were destined to end up in my oven or in my curry were instead freezing to death in the snow. The snow is making it's way up the country and has closed roads in a place called the Central Plateau (you may know it as Mordor...), but fortunately for me, it doesn't snow here, so that's as far as it goes. When I got up this morning (5am) it was hailing really hard, but now (1120am) out the window I see blue sky nad whispy thin clouds.
Nice joke Mother Nature. Could you now see your way to giving us some better spring weather? Thanks...

San Nakji for President!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Chuseok 추석

It was Chuseok in Korea yesterday. They always tell me that Chuseok is just like Thanksgiving. Not being American, I have no idea if that is true or not. To me, Chuseok seems like Christmas. Koreans travel to their hometowns to spend time with their families. If they are really traditional, like my family, then they will take time to make offerings to their ancestors.

The worst thing about Chuseok is trying to get through the traffic if you want to leave Seoul. The best thing is catching the subway in Seoul. There is no one else on it! Unfortunately anywhere you would want to go is closed...

Happy Chuseok to my friends in Blogland. Have a Songpyeon 송편 and enjoy!

San Nakji for President!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Weekly Animal Pic - Russian Desman

My thanks to the Beeb for providing the above photo. (Can't really hide that!)

The lates National Geographic has an ad for Canon and the photo on the ad is a great one of the Desman. I had never heard of it before but the photo was enough for me!

The Russian Desman is an endangered member of the mole family and can be found small floodplain lakes of the Volga, Don and Ural river basins in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. These rivers are dying making life difficult for our little friends.

I guess that's the plight of many of Earth's creatures...

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Voting Time

It seems like this is the season for voting, the Germans, the Norwegians, the Japanese and now the Kiwis' turn has come this weekend, 17th September.
The election is really a clear cut one with the right, in the form of the National Party on one side, and the ruling left, the Labour Party. Each party is supported by smaller parties representing more 'extreme' factions of each side. The right has the tax slashing ACT party and the left has the environment loving Greens. In the middle we have the old person friendly anti immigration New Zealand First and the slightly odd United First, a quasi Christian party.
It has really come down to a battle of tax cuts and what is important to the voter. I am sure regular readers of my blog will be able to gleen which way I lean... But when it comes to the election, there are a number of things that are important to me and make me proud to come from this country. This election means they are threatened...

1) Gay Marriage

2) No Smoking in Bars

3) Partnership between Indigenous people and others - The only official agreement between a colonial power and an indigenous people in the world

4) Independent Foreign Policy - Government listens to the will of the people

5) Global Warming - Kyoto Protocol

These are the things that are important to me. One side is attacking these great things. While I know I have no NZ readers and therefore is less than important to you, I think the lesson I would like to give here is that you must see through all the rhetoric and decide what is important to you. Take those basic things and forget all the bribes, that's what I intend to do...

I am voting Green for the record.

San Nakji for President!


San Nakji is learning Kannada. It is my plan to learn a language from every region of the world and so from the Sub-Continent, I am keen on Bengali, Kannada, Sinhala and Hindi. The book I have about Kannada is pretty badly printed. Amazon apologised for it, not their fault I guess.
Kannada is a language I am sure many have not heard of. However it is spoken by 35 million people in India, making it in the top 40 of world languages. Considering there are 6000 languages in this world, that's not too bad! The main centre for Kannada is Bangalore, which is the IT capital of India. That's about all I know so far.... Not enough I know!
So I am learning the writing at the moment and above are the 5 short vowels. I wrote them using Microsoft Paint, which is why they look so terrible! From left to right they are, a, i, u, r and e. Whoops, I just realised I forgot o... damn! Anyway, for my Kannada speaking readers out there, can you explain why r is a vowel please?

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Happy Birthday San Nakji's Pooch!

2 years old today!

San Nakji for President!

Blog Blog Blog

What's going on with all the people I link to. They just don't post enough for my liking. Could it be that they have lives that don't revolve around blogging? Surely this cannot be the case!
The weather here is starting to get warmer. Spring officially started on September 1st and so it is all down hill from here. Spring here is characterised by rain. It is funny because there are so many people who complain about rain, both here and elsewhere in the world. I love rain. When it rains and I am inside, I love the way it makes me feel comfortable and safe. Yup safe. I mean murderers don't like operating in the rain right? The other thing I love about rain is that it gives life. As much as it might ruin your day, without rain we are nothing. I have a friend from country Queensland who as a child saw the rain only every couple of years. I can't even imagine what that would be like... if it doesn't rain for a week, I am worried. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I love the rain!
The warmer weather signals that we are on our way towards Christmas. I am 100% athiest, but for me Christmas is my favourite day of the year. It is the one day that everyone should have off and we spend time with our families and presents and lots of food! Isn't it scary that I am talking about Christmas already?

So to summarise, rain good, Christmas good, no posting blog friends bad.

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


For those of my loyal readers who are in LA or New York, I would like to suggest checking these guys out. Evermore are a great band from a small country town in NZ called Feilding and after taking Australia by storm they are having a go at US. Get out there and support them! They are playing the Viper Room on 26 September and then are in NYC at various venues from 27 - 30 September.

San Nakji for President!


San Nakji's favourite dinosaur is the Ankylosaurus. Looking at this picture brings me back to my childhood... ahh memories!

San Nakji for President!

Monemvasia Μονεμβασία

Called the Gibraltar of the Aegean, Monemvasia is situated off the south east coast of mainland Greece. It is truly an amazing sight. As you approach from over the hills you are hit with this image of an enormous mountain in the sea, connected to land only by a narrow bridge. From the land it looks like just a mountain and if you look more closely you may see a tiny church perched on the top. However if you cross the bridge and walk around the side of the mountain you will suddenly come to a wall stretching from the sea to the mountain. Behind the wall is an ancient town protected from all sides by sea, wall and mountain... It is a wonderful place and one of the must see places in this world...

San Nakji for President!

This Hand Has Touched

By Sunil Gangopadhyay

This golden figurine--- oh dear, will she ceaselessly crumble away,
In the night , in the sun, in the rain in the arms of another man?
Her nipples two bared switches,--- switches? Hands tremble at their touch.
This hand has touched worms, pillows bound to chest, blood,
In a greedless drowning to death in the blood's mucus, T
his hand has touched the shriek of tearless eyes
This hand has touched
This hand
A tunnel-like alley--- running through it lightning-fast,
small change clutched....sounds of boots behind, a cigarette
in the sleeping mirror's mouth, this hand!

No steam builds in my heart. Yet,
we meet in the darkness of a mist, eyes flash
like a gold coin hid in an ancient chest.
The nipples two bared switches, hands tremble at their touch,
Even this hand!

There are some billion doctors on this earth.
Like Parashuram I shall kill them all
and wake to life in a pool of their blood.
Moonlight, like shadows of trees.
Within it none alive. Anymore.
Trees under the sky. Darkness, leaves bunch.
A stream within the leaves.
Within the stream's every vein cruelty;
For the present, cruelty gathers her aachal away and says,
There are the lights, my cousin waiting at the gate, I have to go now....

Go, but never again alone in the dark
turn your neck to me, go, I shall for long
stand in watch here and hold the dogs at bay,
go today without fear, but never again.
Today, go without fear. I shall stand in watch.

San Nakji for President!

Bengali with a Death Wish

An Indian court has ordered a leading Bengali poet to stand trial on charges of defiling a Hindu goddess.
The court in India's West Bengal state was ruling on a lawsuit filed against Sunil Gangopadhyay by an ex-policeman. In an article in Bengal's biggest newspaper this year, Mr Gangopadhyay was quoted as saying he was "sexually aroused" by an idol of Saraswati. Retired policeman Bhibhuti Bhusan Nandy filed a lawsuit saying the comments had hurt his religious sentiments. Additional chief judicial magistrate in Calcutta's Alipore court, Manjit Singh, ordered Mr Gangopadhyay to appear in court on 3 December. The court also ordered legal proceedings against three others - Aveek Kumar Sarkar, editor of the Anandabazar Patrika newspaper, its publisher Bijit Kumar Basu, and chief executive Subir Mitra.

Mr Gangopadhyay, 71, was quoted in Anandabazar as saying he had kissed an idol of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning, to satisfy his desire. Mr Nandy, who has retired as the chief of the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police, filed a formal complaint with the police against the author.
"I am delighted the court has started appropriate legal proceedings," Mr Nandy said.
Mr Gangopadhyay told the BBC on Monday that he was not taking the case seriously.
"Some religious zealots are playing this up - mine was a light-hearted remark on Goddess Saraswati. Her idol did not evoke devotion in me when I was young. I found her very attractive and that is what I said," said Mr Gangopadhyay.
"In Bengal, Hindus are known to crack jokes at the expense of their gods and goddesses and that's what I did," he said.
"I have done no wrong but the zealots are trying to attack me because I am so critical of them. I am not afraid of them - as a writer I have the freedom to say such things and I and my publisher will fight it out in court."
Mr Gangopadhyay is West Bengal's best known living poet and novelist with more than 250 books to his name. But he is no stranger to controversy. Two years ago, there were protests outside a newspaper office in Calcutta after he wrote about the sex life of Indian spiritual leader, Ramakrishna Paramhansa. He also described Kali, the Hindu goddess of power, as a "tribal whore", triggering protests by Santhal tribes people and Hindus. Last year, the Bangladesh government banned an issue of an Indian magazine which carried a story by Mr Gangopadhyay in which he wrote about the sex life of the Prophet Mohammad.

One thing I have learned in my life is that you don't mess with religion. Leave them alone and hopefully (!!) they will leave you alone. Top on the list of religions not to mess with are Islam and Hinduism... Foolish man!

San Nakji for President!

Watch Out! Hein's Coming!

South African Hein Wagner has become the world's fastest blind driver. Driving a red Maserati V8 Gransport, he notched up 269km/h (167mph) along an airstrip in north-west South Africa
"It is an absolutely awesome feeling. It was over so fast," the 33-year-old said, after breaking the previous 233km/h (144mph) record.
Blind from birth, Mr Wagner is a motivational speaker from Cape Town and was raising funds for the South African National Council for the Blind.
"We've raised 60,000 rand ($9,500) so far and I'm aiming to get 100,000 rand ($15,500)," he told the BBC News website on his arrival back in Cape Town.
The record was set on an airstrip because blind people are not allowed to drive on public roads, he said.
"I had five hours training in the car before I made the attempt," he said.
He said he had to drive the sports car, owned by the car dealer Viglietti, without any insurance.
"Unsurprisingly, nobody would risk insuring a blind driver," Wagner said.
"I'm exhausted, I can see why people don't manage to break records very often."
He describes himself as a "blind man with vision" and this is not his only intrepid sporting success. In 1998 he was part of the South African blind cricket team which won the first-ever blind World Cup. He has also completed two marathons; climbed 10 of the highest mountains in South Africa's Western Cape region and finished the Cape to Rio Yacht Race in 1993. His next ambition, he says, is to break the blind world air speed record in a plane.
"I enjoy flying, so I'll investigate that perhaps in the next six months," he said.

San Nakji for President!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Fancy Some Tiger?

The cat is out of the bag at a restaurant in northeast China that had been serving donkey meat spiked with tiger urine in pricey dishes advertised as endangered Siberian tigers.Local media in Heilongjiang province got wind that the restaurant was offering stir-fried dishes and medicinal liquor made from tiger meat and bones, sparking local police and health inspectors to pounce, the China Daily said on Thursday.
"After inspection, the owner confessed that the so-called tiger meat was donkey meat that had been dressed with tiger urine to give the dish a 'special' flavour," the newspaper said.
The restaurant had been charging as much as 800 yuan ($100) a dish for the illegal, "rare" fare, tapping into traditional Chinese belief that tiger meat has aphrodisiacal properties.The restaurant was shut down and fined and the director of the nearby Hengdaohezi Siberian Tiger Park, China's largest centre for breeding the highly endangered animals, reassured the public there was no way meat from its big cats had made its way to the dinner table, the newspaper said.Only a few hundred Siberian tigers are believed to be alive in the wild in their native habitats of northern China, southern Russia and parts of North Korea.The report did not explain where the tiger urine had come from or how it was collected.

One day I have to sort out Asia and the way it deals with animals... one day....

San Nakji for President!

Monday Means...

That I am recovering from the weekend. I didn't really do much, but then, those are the best weekends right? I have been thinking about things to write about and I came up with two.

Number one is that apart from our desert friends next door (ie Australia), no where in this world makes a pie quite like they do here. I have just polished off a lamb, rosemary and kumara pie. It was wonderful! Whenever I travel, pies are the things I crave the most. One day I will get some money together and bring NZ pies to the world... I think some of you deserve a treat!

Number two is, sadly, New Orleans. Behind every disaster is a lesson. As usual, it is to respect nature. The places which were most badly hit were suburbs where once wetlands were. The wetlands were the lungs of the mighty Mississippi. When it flooded the lungs took the water... Now it's flooding and the lungs still need to take the water. Unfortunately people are living in the lungs, but this doesn't stop mother nature. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I can't help wondering with a little civic planning the loss of life over there would have been much less. This lesson may mean that many people can never move back to NO, but this is something that will have to happen, to protect future generations from the same fate. The people of Pompeii would certainly recommend staying away from Mother Nature...

Don't mess with Nature

San Nakji for President!

Monks in the 21st Century

Eighteen Buddhist monks in China are pausing in their spiritual pursuits to concentrate on more worldly issues.
They have joined business classes in temple management at Jiaotong university in Shanghai, according to China's official Xinhua news agency. Their study will include corporate strategy and religious product marketing. Much of China's Buddhist heritage has been rebuilt by the Communist Party in the last 25 years to attract tourists.

"Through this programme, we want to learn how the secular world is managed," Xinhua quoted Chang Chun, a Zen Buddhist monk who works as general manager of Shanghai's Jade Buddha Temple, as saying.

The monks' reading will also include 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu, a an ancient Chinese philosopher, which is now required study on MBA courses around the world. The 100-year-old Jade Buddha Temple, home to 280 monks, already has statues at the entrance bearing plaques naming donors who have given $1,200, Xinhua said.

San Nakji for President!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Weekly Animal Pic - Lion Fish

Another sea themed animal this week. San Nakji was lucky enough to see one of these beauties while diving off the coast of Efate in Vanuatu. At the time I didn't know how poisonous it was.... I survived the experience which I am sure you are all happy for!

San Nakji for President!

Well I am Needed...

San Nakji's World is getting more popular by the second!

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Rats, Why Did it Have to be Rats?

Love 'em or hate 'em, rats are a part of life on this planet. The residents of Deshnok have accepted this and in their temple, Karani Mata, you can find revered rats. These rats have the free reign of the temple and those that come to worship here must pay their respects to the rats. They are so free from the fear of humans that they will climb on you and will eat from your hand. Some will even let you pat them like a cat! (Don't mention the C word around them though...) In Hindu tradition, rats are strongly linked with Ganesh and any friend of Ganesh is a friend of San Nakji! I can't wait to get to India and visit this temple!

San Nakji for President!

Whatever Happened to...

Does anyone remember this? I really miss it.... (sorry about the photo, was the only one I could find) Coke, please find it in your heart to re-release Mello Yello!

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I Was Impressed

It's not often that Ori comes out of her shell and says what she thinks. I was therefore really impressed by her comment to me in a previous post. I think it deserves a post of its' own.

"It's absolutely unbelieveable. During 9/11, we didn't have these things happen. I don't know what is going on. We had a bit of looting in New York after the Trade Center attack, however, it was nothing like what we are seeing in New Orleans. It's so sad to see. I am extremely angry and frustrated with our government and the way they mishandled this entire tragedy. When the Tsunami hit last year, we had people there within 36 hours assisting in any way we could. Yet, with this disaster here on our own soil, it took 5 days for the government to actually act on it. It was literally too late for those poor people. I'm so sad from all this."

Real emotion is what I like to see, keep it up Ori!

San Nakji for President!

Gilligan's Gone

I don't get a lot of American culture. The Three Stooges bores the crap out of me, as does Lucille Ball... yawn. But I love Gilligan's Island. I have no idea why, but everytime it is on TV I have to watch it, this despite owning the DVD...

Maybe it was the character of Gilligan himself. Your underdog character that everyone loves. Or maybe it was just the group of characters, especially Mary Ann ;-). Whatever the reason, I really miss Gilligan. He wouldn't have bothered the poor people of the gulf states with feigned pity.

Miss you Gilligan, miss you Bob.

San Nakji for President!

A Couple of Things Re. the Hurricane

So for work, I am watching the Insider show from the US and their top story is Oprah going to New Orleans. She has been followed by Matthew McConaughey, Faith Hill, Jamie Foxx, Lisa Ling and other celebrities I have never heard of, but I am sure Americans would know, or maybe not? Isn't this the last thing that survivors need? Do you think Oprah is going to spend the week camped in the Superdome? Nah, she is going straight back to the Hilton in Texas. The same with all the other so-called celebrities. If they want to help, spend money on food, medicine and other things that these people need. The last thing they need to see is some celebrity feigning interest in their plight. Celebrities! Get back to Hollywood and look pretty will ya?

The second thing is a little bit more dire. I have been reading the net this morning and I came across reports that some christian groups are saying that the hurricane was god's vengence against the sin of New Orleans or gays. This is quite possibly the sickest thing that I have heard for a while. As thousands die and thousands of others are left without homes and hope, these groups have the audacity to claim that this devastation was all god's plans. Isn't it time Americans came down hard on these kind of hate groups? In a country that is famous around the world for "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-lost to me ". I am sure any real Christian doesn't hold these views. Sick, just sick! (Not linking to those wankers)

By the way, on the Oprah thing, she still hasn't reponded to my letter....

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I Love You...

Dr Pepper.

Aloe meant nothing, nothing I tell you!

San Nakji for President!

Alloe Juice 알로에 쥬스

The greatest drink in the world (with the possible exception of Dr Pepper) is Alloe Juice. I know that they sell it in health stores for $20, but this stuff will cost you about $2, if that, and tastes better! It is hard to describe but is basically a juice with floating jelly (maybe little Alloes?). You cannot beat this drink! If there is a Korean shop near where you live, get out there and ask for Alloe!

San Nakji for President!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Your First Danish Lesson

Here's a question for you. What's the largest country in Scandinavia? Look at a map if you like, I will wait.

After looking at the map you will probably say Sweden or perhaps Finland. Well, you are wrong. Denmark is the largest. It may look small on the map, but you are perhaps forgetting that most of Denmark's territory is made up of the world's largest island, Greenland. Yup, Greenland is an autonomous region within the Kingdom of Denmark.

Space Nakji needs to learn Danish and so I thought I would give her a couple of phrases. One of the best things about Danish, I think, is the o with a circle through it, Ø. You have to admit that is pretty cool. It sounds a bit like the 'ir' in bird, if you were wondering...

Hello - Goddag
Goodbye - Farvel
Thank you - Tak
How are you? - Hvordan har du det?
Good - Godt
Bad - Dårligt / Slemt
So so - Nogenlunde (way better than so so!)

Where is the toilet? - Hvar er toilettet?

one - en
two - to
three - tre
four - fire
five - fem
six - seks
seven - syv
eight - otte
nine - ni
ten - ti

That should be enough to start with.... For more, check out this link.

San Nakji for President!

Braille Wine

South African winemakers are to put Braille on some bottles to allow blind drinkers to select their own wine. The 10 producers from the Worcester winemaking region near Cape Town said the initiative would help their wines stand out in a crowded market. Five million bottles carrying Braille are expected to be produced next year, some going for export. Bottles containing a shiraz and a sauvignon blanc will have Braille embossed on the glass. Part of the sale price will go to Africa's largest braille resource centre.
"Just because people are blind, it does not mean they do not enjoy their wine," said Worcester Winelands Association marketing manager Bridget Zietkiewicz.

Ms Zietkiewicz said that "technically it was quite difficult" to produce the bottles embossed with the patterns of dots that make up Braille script.

"Braille cannot be read on a curve," she said, but added that intervention by a glass manufacturer had allowed the idea to come to fruition.

The various wine-producing regions of South Africa's Western Cape province compete for tourism and for recognition. The Worcester region, 100 km from Cape Town, the provincial capital, is less well known than the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek regions closer to the city.

"We are making this initiative as part of trying to set Worcester apart as a wine destination from the rest of the country," Ms Zietkiewicz said.

San Nakji heard that blind people's other four senses are heightened due to their disability. Does that mean that wine tastes much better to them. I personally hate wine and it tastes like cat pee to me, I would love to hear from a blind person about what they taste. Any reading my blog perhaps?

The other thing I was thinking about as I read this article is that I heard that braille may be on the way out. Thanks to technology, the blind no longer need something as archaic as braille, it seems. Well, I think the blind should fight to keep braille going. It is something unique to them and personally I am very jealous of anyone who can read it. I have tried feeling braille, but the differences in letters is so subtle that it all just feels the same. More evidence of heightened senses?

San Nakji for President!

Friday, September 02, 2005


Igår var det sommer, i dag er det to skridt
tilbage og himlen trænger sig på som den grå
uhåndterlige stemme der lover os nattefrost, tåge,
april og børnene løber i zik-zak og slås, for alt det
vi lærte dem holder slet ikke stik: der er ingen orden
og den mands ansigt jeg hang ved i går
erindrer jeg nu som intetsigende nyt fra Ritzaus Bureau:
man vågner og ingenting smager af andet end to
temperamenter der løber i zik-zak og smadrer hinandens
løfter, for enkelte timer, uden påviselig grund, at falde
i hak: jeg sidder taknemmelig i en bus og det er det hele
værd: barndommens skuffelser, ungdommens hidsige
fremdrift i pant for fem klare, ensomme aftner hvor man pludselig
kender sig selv på travet og tilgiver meningsløsheden alt.

San Nakji for President!


Here is the runner up in my Weekly Animal Pic contest. You have to admit he is pretty cute!

San Nakji for President!

Weekly Animal Pic - Bush Baby

The Bush Baby was always my favourite animal when I was a kid (not too long ago!). They live thoughout Africa and make excellent pets (apparently) although have the nasty habit of carrying Yellow Fever... The best thing about these guys is when they jump from tree to tree. The longest jump was recorded at around 6 metres. Not bad for a creature that is only about 15-20 centimetres long...Why are they called Bush Babies, you ask? Well, they were named for the sound of their cry. It sounds like an excited child (or so they say...)

San Nakji for President!

Lord of the Flies

What the hell is going on in Mississippi and Louisiana? In the absence of law suddenly all hell breaks loose and we have a looters heaven. It is shocking what is happening over there. I mean the deaths from the actual hurricane should be bad enough, but now comes news of armed gangs roaming the streets and snipers taking shots at emergency workers. Is this what would happen anywhere or is this a particular American problem? I really don't have anything to compare with here or other places I have lived, so I wonder. It certainly didn't happen during the Tsunami last year, but that could be explained by the fact that there was nothing left to loot.

Lord of the Flies is a great book and if you haven't read it, I think it is well worth a look. It is exactly what is happening here. Would it happen elsewhere, that is my question to you my valued reader...

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A View from San Nakji's House

San Nakji for President!

Azalea Flowers 진달래꽃

In an attempt to be all things to all people. I have finished today with the most famous Korean poem of modern times. All Koreans know this poem and if you are ever in conversation with a Korean, drop this in to really impress!

Korean literature really came ahead in leaps and bounds in the first half of the 20th century. In a reaction to an influx of Western values and the occupation by Japan, writing like that of Kim became a way of expressing national identity in the face of great odds.

Azalea Flowers - Kim So Weol (1902-1934)

When you go away at last,
sickened with the sight of me,
know that I shall let you go,
saying nothing, make no fuss;

but climbing high on Yongpyon's hills,
there I'll pick azalea flowers,
armfuls of purple, just to spread
along the pathways as you go

Then go, with muffled parting steps
trampling down those flowers you find
strewn before your departing feet;

and when you go away at last,sickened with the sight of me,
know that for the life of me
I'll shed no tears then, no, not one.

진달래ㅅ곳 - 김소월 (1902-1934)

나보기가 역겨워
가실 ㅅ대에는
말업시 고히 보내드리우리다.

寧邊(영변)에 藥山(약산)
아름ㅅ다다 가실길에 ㅅ부리우리다.

삽분히즈려밟고 가시옵소서

나보기가 역겨워
가실 ㅅ대에는
죽어도아니 눈물흘리우리다.

San Nakji for President!


If you see squares then that means your computer can't see Korean. If I translate the below it would sound terrible. Better if you don't know!

제가 좋아하는 작가 중에 한명이 김승옥 작가입니다. 그의 '서울, 1964년 겨울'의 첫 부분을 보십시오,

자기 소개들은 끝났지만 그리고 나서는 서로 할 얘기가 없었다. 잠시 동안은 조용히 술만 마셨는데 나는 새까맣게 구워진 군참새를 집을 때 할말이 생겼기 때문에 마음속으로 군참새에게 감사하고 나서 얘기를 시작했다.
"안형, 파리를 사랑하십니까?"
"아니오, 아직까진...." 그가 말했다. "김형은 파리를 사랑하세요?"
"예"라고 나는 대답했다.날 수 있으니까요. 아닙니다. 날 수 있는 것으로서 동시에 내 손에 붙잡힐 수 있는 것이니까요. 날 수 있는 것으로서 손 안에 잡아 본 적이 있으세요?"
"가만 계셔보세요." 그는 안경 속에서 나를 멀거니 바라보며 잠시 동안 표정을 꼼지락거리고 있었다. 그리고 말했다. "없어요. 나도 파리밖에는...."

그냥 재미 있어서 붙여 놨습니다... 그냥!

San Nakji for President!

She was Robbed!

The winner of the Miss Rural Zimbabwe beauty contest has lost her crown because she sometimes lives in town. Liweline Mukana, 16, stays with her grandmother in a northern rural village near Kariba town, but during the week remains in Kariba to go to school. The judges disqualified her and crowned Abigail Mabhoni, 18, from central Mugabe village instead. The beauty contest has also caused offence in Zimbabwe as some of the girls modelled bare-breasted.

"The contest was strictly for rural beauties," said Sipho Mazibuko, the beauty contest organiser.

"Liweline shouldn't have been allowed to compete in her provincial competition."

Meanwhile, the show shocked many people in urban areas who watched the weekend final on television because some the 27 finalists were bare-breasted. According to the BBC's Steve Vickers in Harare, it is culturally acceptable for an unmarried woman to expose her breasts in the south-west of Zimbabwe.

The contestants used the pageant to highlight the problems that rural girls face, such as HIV/Aids, hunger and lack of education opportunities.

(Liweline is on the left. The runner up is on the right. I like her headress, that would have been enough for me to vote for her! Can't beat a good hat, that's San Nakji's motto!)

San Nakji for President!