Friday, July 29, 2005

Maori Language Week

It is Maori language week here, so for my last post of the week here is a Maori chant that is very popular with our sports teams....

Ka mate! Ka Mate!
Ka ora! Ka ora!
Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru
Nana nei i tiki mai
I whakawhiti te ra
A upane ka upane!
A upane ka upane
Whiti te ra! Hi!

Korero Maori - Give it a go (or so the banner says)

San Nakji for President!

Post #100

I should have some kind of party. San Nakji's World has survived 100 posts! A quick scan around the blogging world will show that most blogs just never get off the ground. One or two posts and then that's it. I particularly hate the blogs that really have something to say, or did in 2003 when they last posted... Sometimes I wonder what happened to those people? Are they dead, is that why they can't post? Maybe they had to sell their computer to pay for their crack habit? Maybe their one great post was about all they had to say and now that is done why spoil it with a poor follow-up? Maybe they are just lazy...
But not for San Nakji, my viewing public. San Nakji keeps writing and writing, mostly with nothing to say, but every once in a while finding something which is deemed by you, my kind reader, to be worth commenting about... Usually the cute animal pictures and the Harry Potter posts rather than the times when I try to provide real content, but there you go. This is the reality TV era after all!
Looking back to where it all started, I can see a lot was planned for this blog, but not everything has panned out. I am sure others with blogs will have found the same thing. You have a plan for your blog, but it kind of takes on a life of its' own. It is driven by feedback from the blog community and by what interests the blogger at the time.
Things that will always be on this blog will be... Korea, Different Countries, Injustice and Cute Animal Pictures... Anything else seen here is purely coincidental! Much like that lapse into the female world with the Sylvia Plath thing, probably won't happen again!
Thanks for reading, I plan to be all things to all people, so keep coming back y'all.. (must have been a Texan in a previous life??)

San Nakji for President!

Weekly Animal Pic

It for these kinds of things that we have to be thankful to be alive. My all time favourite animal, the amazing sea dragon...

I was fortunate enough to see two in the Melbourne aquarium some years ago. If you think sea horses are great, you will love these guys! They are very rare and are only found off the south coast of Australia. My dream is to go to Kangaroo Island in South Australia and swim with the dragons...

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

They are just being PC

What the hell is PC? It is a term which is bandied around all over the place. "The government is sooo PC" "I love that comedian he is not PC at all" "These new rules catering to the minorities are too PC" blah blah blah.
So what is PC? It is a word (well an acronym really) that lazy people use. People who use it generally are not thinking about what it really means, they are just trying to be fashionable, as it is fashionable to be against things "PC".
To me, and this is only San Nakji's opinion, although my opinion is pretty important, this being my world; is that the use of PC is just lazy. PC is what people use when what they are really saying is, "I want to be racist" or "I want to abuse women" or "I hate crippled people" "Friggin gays"or whatever. PC is a term invented by people who are upset that in our modern open minded society, slagging off people for being different is not acceptable. By using the negatively loaded term PC, these shining lights of our communities (how do you type sarcasm?) can hide their bigotry behind the excuse that they are making a stand and fighting for their rights against the omnipresent PC. If you are going to be a bigot, please be a bit more creative can you? This PC bollocks is just overused and frankly boring.

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Why Penguins and Polar Bears can never live together

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Harry Potter *Spoilers*

The pressure on me to read this book as quickly as possible was intense! I had to avoid all children that I met on the street and all blog sites that are into that kind of thing. But finally on Thursday night I finished it and am now back to my current light reading, Pol Pot's biography...
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is a great book. I am a huge fan of Harry Potter and this does not disappoint. Yes, I have to come out and confess that it was me reading the book, not the "kids". I know I had you all fooled, but yes, it is me who reads them!
So basically the death eaters have all escaped from Azkaban, the magic prison and are wreaking havoc all over the place. Harry gets private lessons from Dumbledore and learns about He Who Must Not Be Named. Harry is suspicious of Draco Malfoy, but no one will believe him. In the end Snape shows his true colours and kills a wounded Dumbledore right in front of Harry. He and Malfoy then proceed to escape.
If you haven't read any of the books, this will mean nothing to you. I would recommend reading at least one, my favourite being the Prisoner of Azkaban. If you read one and hate it, at least you can speak with authority when you slag it off!
I have been thinking about Snape and why he killed Dumbledore. I think it has something to do with his Unbreakable Promise he made with Malfoy's mother that he would protect Draco no matter what and would finish the job if Draco failed. Voldemort had obviously wanted Malfoy to kill Dumbledore and when he couldn't, Snape had no choice, he would have died had he not. The question then arises as to why he made this promise. This is something we can only speculate at this point. I have one theory, but I would rather not say at this point.
One thing I do like about Harry is the way he is growing up with each book. Kids who started the first way back all those years ago are now teenagers and have grown with Harry. Their interests have changed and I think J K Rowling is clever in the way she changes Harry to reflect that.
The final book is going to be so different from the others. The major difference will be no school. Harry has said he ain't going back and Ron and Hermione are going with him. I like the school thing, so I will be interested. Any other points to be made?
I wasn't sad the see Dumbledore die, but I was sad to see Fawkes go, what does that say about me?

San Nakji for President!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Poetry Time

Don't have a lot of time on the internet today, so rather than posting a thing about Harry Potter, which I was going to, here is a poem from my favourite poet... No one beats Sylvia Plath! Take it away Sylvia!

The prince leans to the girl in scarlet heels,
Her green eyes slant, hair flaring in a fan
Of silver as the rondo slows; now reels
Begin on tilted violins to span

The whole revolving tall glass palace hall
Where guests slide gliding into light like wine;
Rose candles flicker on the lilac wall
Reflecting in a million flagons' shine,

And glided couples all in whirling trance
Follow holiday revel begun long since,
Until near twelve the strange girl all at once
Guilt-stricken halts, pales, clings to the prince

As amid the hectic music and cocktail talk
She hears the caustic ticking of the clock.

San Nakji for President!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Harry Potter

Is now finished... anyone want to talk about it?

San Nakji for President!

Weekly Animal Picture - Bonus!

Here's a Kiwi in case you were wondering... nothing like the fruit!

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Weekly Animal Picture

This seems to becoming a weekly event with San Nakji's World. This week's photo is of my favourite New Zealand bird. It is called a Tui and a couple of them live in my back yard. The song is something to hear, so if you ever get the chance you should definitely listen. It is really hard to explain.
There is a Maori legend that goes like this. Tane, god of the forests, gathered the birds of Aotearoa around him and asked for a volunteer to rid the forests of the enormous insect problem. The insects were eating everything on the ground and ruining the delicate balance of nature. He warned that whoever volunteered would have to give us his ability to fly and would have to lose his colours so that he blend in with the forest floor. He would also have to give up the daylight and become nocturnal so that he could surprise the insects. Tane asked Tui to do this. Tui refused. He loved to fly from tree to tree showing off his beautiful colours in the sunlight, he could not possibly give that up. Tane was angry and punished him for his vanity. From that day on Tui was forced to wear white feathers at his throat showing him to be a coward who turned his back on his land when it needed him the most.
Kiwi alone volunteered and was sent to the forest floor to live the rest of his days. For his bravery Tane made him the national symbol of Aotearoa and he continues this day to be the most revered of all New Zealand birds...

I still like Tui though!

San Nakji for President!

Bulgogi 불고기

It's a sad indictment on my food tastes that my favourite Korean food is none other than the humble Bulgogi 불고기. It could have been something more exotic like dog or grasshopper, but no, when it comes right down to it I just love my grilled marinated beef. I love dipping it in Twoenjang and then wrapping it up in a lettuce leaf with some rice and some spring onion and then munching down. I am getting so hungry just thinking about it!
My favourite place to go is in Shinchon, of course. I can't remember the name of the place, but it's past Doksuri Dabang 독수리 다방 on the street to Ewha that has the church on the other side. It's on the Doksuri side. If you can find the place (I think it has an internal garden if that helps...) the same deal applies as with all my restaurant recommendations, mention San Nakji and get no discount whatsoever... Well I am off for Bulgogi now, see ya! 잘 먹겠습니다!

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, July 21, 2005


I am not religious in the slightest. I do admire those who are, faith fascinates me, but it isn't for me. What I do believe in is balance. The essence of balance is that by the end of your life things should be balancing out. That means that if two bad things happen to you, then somewhere along the line two good things should happen to you. The same follows that if you do something bad to someone, something bad will happen to you. It is actually quite Buddhist when I think about it. Not a big fan of the Buddhist thing however, but this balance thing seems to work for me. Basically if you are wondering "why does this bad stuff always happen to me?", maybe all the good stuff is just round the corner. A reason to stay alive and keep on going at the very least I would say!

San Nakji for President!

Aussie BASE jumper 'couldn't open chute'

An Australian base jumper killed in Norway struggles to open his parachute as he leapt off a spectacular cliff, witnesses say.

Killed instantly in Tuesday's accident, he was the ninth person to die while jumping off the 1,000 metre high Kjerag Peak in western Norway since the first jump there in 1994.

He is the third Australian killed in BASE jumping accidents in less than a year.

An experienced BASE jumper aged in his 30s, he had lived in Stavanger for several years.

His name has not been released.

"Witnesses have told me that he had problems getting hold of the lever that opens the parachute," Vibeke Knutson, vice president of the Stavanger BASE Klubb, told Norway's Aftenposten newspaper.

"When he finally did, it was too late."

Solve Tanke Hovden, of the state rescue service, said the Australian "landed out of control" on a pile of stones and died immediately.

Ms Knutson said the man was an experienced BASE jumper who had logged "around 550" jumps.

Witnesses to Tuesday's accident were offered crisis counselling, but jumping would continue, she said.

The area around the Lysefjord, just east of Stavanger in western Norway, is popular with BASE jumpers because of its scenic and dramatic cliffs.

Ms Knutson said BASE jumpers wanting to throw themselves off Kjerag must show that they had parachuted out of planes at least 250 times. Novices planning the jump were first required to take a course in jumping, she said.

Last October Australian Roland Simpson was fatally injured while BASE jumping off a skyscraper in Shanghai, China.

Brisbane mechanic Jason Fitz-Herbert was on his way to attend Mr Simpson's funeral in Canberra last October when he was killed in a jump in the NSW Southern Highlands.

BASE is an acronym for the buildings, antennae, spans (bridges) and earth (cliffs) from which enthusiasts parachute.

Can someone say Darwinism?

San Nakji for President!


No reply from Oprah yet, she is obviously busy filming her show. Will probably get back to me during the weekend...

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

From Minty's Corner

From Minty's Corner. He did it himself. Now that's talent! Subsitute Japan for any other country involved in the "War on Terror"...

San Nakji for President!

Al Qaida - Wrong Answers to Real Problems

Time to get a little political, San Nakji apologises, well not really…

I found this opinion piece in Al Jazeera on-line. I have put the first part below, click on the link to read the whole article. It is a refreshing read from a Muslim perspective.

Once again I watched the nauseous devastation and massacre, this time in the heart of my city, near the universities and libraries, where I have spent much of my adult life.

Madrid and Bali, Casablanca and Riyadh, I have come to predict al-Qaida's responsibility for a given criminal act through the following test. If I find myself at a loss for an answer to the questions: "Why the innocent?" and "For what purpose?", then, in all likelihood, the crime is of al-Qaida's doing.

The absurd, random mass carnage of young and old, male and female is its trademark. Residential buildings, tourist resorts, rush hour trains and crowded buses turn into grand spectacles of mass murder where no heed is paid to the victim's identity and the extent of his/her responsibility for the policies of a country defined as the enemy. The boundaries between the world of politics and that of organised crime are blurred, as political demands get wedded to criminal methods.

Al-Qaida, it must be said, is no pioneer in this field. For although it founds its ideology on religious references and speaks a language overwhelmed by religious symbols, al-Qaida falls largely within the modern tradition of revolutionary anarchists - from the Jacobins and the Bolsheviks down to latter-day Marxist guerrillas like the Baadr-Meinhoff Gang.
Continued here

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

If San Nakji were Hindu

He would definitely worship Ganesh, he is one funky god!

San Nakji for President!

신촌사진 Shinchon the Photo

I found this photo, it's quite near to where I used to live. Many happy memories at the Mini Stop!

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Shinchon 신촌

When San Nakji spent his time in Seoul Korea, my chosen place of abode was Shinchon in north western Seoul. It is surrounded by universities, Yonsei, Ewha, Hongik and Sogang, and that's why it is such and interesting place. The whole area swarms with students until late into the night and there are bars, restaurants, coffee shops and noraebang everywhere you look. There may be places like this elsewhere in the world, but I have never seen them. The funny thing about Shinchon is that most places only stayed open for a matter of months. It is the place of the fad. One year shooting ranges were popular and you could find one on every corner. After about two months of this, they all closed down... Another time it was Dakgalbi 닭갈비, but now there is only one place left (I think) of the original places. Last year I went there to visit the place where I lived. The building has been torn down... worse than that it seemed like the whole street had been torn down as I had no idea where it was! Although I lived there for over 2 years I had become a stranger in my town... If anywhere was a symbol of Korea's rapid economic development, then Shinchon is the place!

San Nakji for President!

Harry Potter - Important!

The kids that I know reading Harry Potter, not me mind, demand that no one whose Blog I read, I mean the KIDS read, contain anything giving away what the new book is about. Ori, I am very disappointed in you, well the kids are... I, I mean the kids, are up to Page 155...

That is all

San Nakji for President!

Monday, July 18, 2005

My Letter to Oprah

Dear Oprah,

I see you giving free stuff to all those audience members who you don't even know and will probably never meet again. That's cool, it's your money right? However wouldn't you feel better about spending money on someone you knew? Well Oprah, my name is San Nakji and I am very pleased to meet you. I am sure by reading my blog you will learn more about me. I have looked at your website and have watched your show on numerous occasions, so I feel that I know you. Now that we know each other I would like to let you in on a little problem. San Nakji is short about a million dollars. Yes, I am sure this is shocking to you. Well you wouldn't want someone you know, let's even say a friend, not being a millionaire right? I know you just love to give, so write a check out to me and you will feel better and I will feel better and the world will just be that little bit brighter for the San Nakji family. What do you say my friend?


San Nakji

San Nakji for President!

Seorak San 설악산

Being lazy today as I can't think of anything to write about. The world is in a holding pattern for me right now...
Above is Seorak San in the eastern part of South Korea. I love Korean mountains, they are so rugged!

San Nakji for President!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Harry Potter

So tomorrow, 1101AM NZT, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince hits the shelves world wide. San Nakji is super excited... of course not for me, for my kids, yes that's right, the kids....

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mr Red Panda 메롱!

San Nakji for President!

Panda Cam

Pandas are not really on my list of favourite animals. They would probably make my list of top ten overrated animals. When I went to Ueno zoo in Tokyo many years ago, everyone I was with was just so excited about seeing the panda. We rushed straight to where the pandas were and waited for the pile of black and white fur to move. We waited for 30 minutes and nothing happened.... We weren't even sure if it was alive or even real. To put it bluntly, my one and only panda experience sucked. Well, not all pandas suck. I am a big fan of the red panda. It looks like a red racoon and is way more active. The way a panda should be!
Anyway, I was just watching CNN and a little story came on about this panda Meixiang (美香) who had just given birth to a baby Tiantian (天天). Tiantian was born on 9 July and so is only 4 days old. There is a webcam in the room where they are and so I am sitting here trying to see if I can see the baby. Tiantian is really small and Meixiang is really big, so I am not holding out much hope. Still it is a strangely beguiling webcam, can't seem to take my eyes off it...
Check it out and see if you can see the baby!

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Happy Birthday Damn You!

July 13th is the birthday of Erno Rubik. Yes, the inventor of that always frustrating cube. He is 61 today. Mr Rubik, I have to tell you something. I hate your cube, I hate the fact I can't do more than one side, I hate the fact I saw a show on Korean TV the other day where people were doing it in 10 seconds, I hate that you feel the need to make it popular again this year, basically I just hate everything about your invention! Please please tell those people marketing your crappy puzzle to drop all plans to sell it ever again, you would be doing me a big favour.

Thanks, and happy birthday (damn you!)

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

10 Years On

Tens of thousands of people have attended ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the massacre of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.
Grieving relatives buried more than 600 newly identified dead, after prayers and words of support from international and local officials.
About 8,000 men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces in 1995 in Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.
Serbian officials led by President Tadic paid respects for the first time.
Muslim prayers echoed through the valley of the memorial site at Potocari, the site of the slaughter, as women in white headscarves wept beside the remains of their loved ones.
The green coffins were then passed from hand to hand through the crowd to the freshly dug grave sites, as announcers called out one by one the names of the 610 dead.
Each family buried its own dead, by hand or using shovels and buckets.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Return to Flight

Wednesday July 13th at 1551 EDT NASA will launch a space shuttle for the first time in three years. It is quite exciting for me because I can watch NASA TV and will be able to watch my first live launch since the first one all those years ago...
It is a funny thing space exploration. It costs so much money and in the end the odds of any of this helping the poor and starving back here on earth must be very low. But at the same time it doesn't hurt anyone and I feel that space exploration and the science that it is involved with it is the 21st Century version of Greek philosophy. We are looking for answers to the universe and everyone wants to know if there is life out there. I am desparately hoping there are more life forms out there than bacteria...
Good luck to the crew of the Discovery, I am looking forward to the launch! Stay away hurricane!

San Nakji for President!

첨성대 Cheomseongdae

One of my favourite structures in all of Korea. I squashed it down a bit, so it looks shorter and fatter than it normally does...
Cheomseongdae means "star gazing tower". It was built in around 647 AD. The observatory is built out of 362 pieces of cut granite which represent the 362 days of the lunar year. As can be seen from the photograph, it has 27 circular layers of stones (Queen Seondeok was the 27th ruler of the Shilla Dynasty) surmounted by a square structure. 12 of the layers are below the window level and 12 are above. There are 12 large base stones set in a square, with three stones on each side. These sets of 12 may symbolize the months of the year.
The tower is 5.7 meters wide at the base and 9.4 meters tall, and filled with dirt up to the level of the window. Its construction style parallels that used at the Bunhwangsa Temple in Gyeongju and was likely a product of contact with the Tang dynasty of China, with which Queen Seondeok allied her country.
Gyeongju is a really interesting town, there are so many things to see. Especially for a history nut like myself. I wish Korea would promote itself more and then others could see these kinds of amazing things...

San Nakji for President!

Friday, July 08, 2005


Late last night San Nakji was up watching the TV trying to figure out what was happening over in London. There are great links between the UK and New Zealand and so I think Kiwis feel for the people affected more than they would for most. From recent accounts it is not as bad as I had feared, London is a city used to such things, I am afraid to say, and I am sure things will quickly turn to normal.

My thoughts go out to my friends and family in the UK.

My hope is that people will remain calm and that there will not be calls for vengence as there have been after other terrorist attacks, this helps no one.

I have a number of other opinions on this matter, but will get back to this later after everything becomes clearer.

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Juk 죽

A while back I wrote about my favourite Korean restaurant in Seoul. I found this picture of the 죽 Juk, the Korean rice porridge that I love so much. I have tried making it at home, well not me... But it is just not the same...

San Nakji for President!

Korea as a Tiger

Koreans tell me that Korea is shaped like a tiger. Their national animal is the tiger and a lot of their folk tales involve tigers. However, to me Korea looks like a rabbit. I think that's what the Japanese said during the colonial period and so a lot of Koreans are very sensitive about it. But if you take more than a fleeting glimpse, then that's what you see. Nothing wrong with looking like a rabbit! New Zealand looks like an upside down boot that has broken in half...

San Nakji for President!

My Favourite Korean Tiger

Group Photo

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Top 10 places San Nakji would like to go

Below are the top 10 places that San Nakji would like to spread his tentacles… These are places that I have not yet been, in case I upset someone…

1) Georgia (the country, not the state)

2) Malawi

3) Mongolia

4) North Korea

5) Madagascar

6) Malta

7) Jordan

8) Kyrgyzstan

9) India

10) Sri Lanka

Well, dreams are free!

San Nakji for President!

Happy Independence Day Malawi

July 6th is Malawi Independence Day. There seem to be a lot of Independence Days these days. I wonder what it is about July?

Anyway, today in 1964, Malawi, then known as Nyasaland, became independent from Britain. Two years later on the same day they became a republic removing the Queen as their head of state.

I have always wanted to go to Malawi. When I was in South Africa many years ago, I met a lot of travellers staying at the various backpackers that San Nakji is quite fond of. Many of these backpackers had crossed Africa from north to south and to a man / woman, they all told me that Malawi was the most beautiful place and more importantly had the friendliest people in Africa. That is quite a claim considering the great people I met in South Africa and Swaziland, so I am very keen on getting there one day.

What do I know about Malawi? Well, it is a small country. According to the CIA fact book it is slightly smaller than Pennsylvania. Is that small? I wouldn’t know, but it does look small on the map. The country is thin and long and follows Lake Malawi, stangely…. It has a population of 11 million or so and it is really poor. I think poverty is relative and as long as you have everything you need and you feel life is good, then you are not really poor. I am sure the Malawi people feel into this category until recently with the AIDS epidemic. Like many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS is destroying this country. 15% of the adult population has HIV or AIDS and I am sure this number is increasing all the time. It is beyond me how this problem could be solved, but as I stated in my previous post, a generous helping of AIDS drugs that people in the ‘West’ take for granted, would be a good start.

Obviously Lake Malawi is a great attraction in this country, but like many African countries animal watching and safaris are also very popular. There is nothing like seeing an animal like a Lion or an Elephant in the wild. It is an experience that everyone should have at least once in their life.

African people, from my experience are so friendly and helpful, and never want anything from you. With Malawi being the friendliest African country, I can only imagine how great the people would be.

If you meet someone from Malawi, it is safest to use English as there are so many different languages used there. The Chewa for ‘How are you?’ is ‘Muli bwanji?’ ‘Hello’ is ‘Moni’ ‘Goodbye’ is either ‘Tsala bwino’ if you are going and ‘Pitani bwino’ if you are staying.

Now as you can see, I don’t really know a lot about Malawi, but it is in the top 10 of places I would like to go… (see next post).

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

G8 is Coming Up

G8 is coming and everyone has their own ideas and wishes for what they think should happen. Personally I think that ever people choose to believe, when it comes down to it each nation in the G8 cares only about itself. I am sure they feel sorry for Africa, but if it means giving up anything, then I am sure they are not for that…

Let’s face it, G8 is a rich boys’ club. Poor people and non-white people need not apply. How did Japan get in then? Maybe G8 has the same policy as Apartheid South Africa. They classed Japanese people as ‘White’ because they had money… wasn’t that nice?

Well, if I were to hope for anything it would be this.

1) Get off your arses and agree that climate change is a problem and that we should all do something. While this is directed mainly at Mr Bush, it seems like the other nations involved in the G8 are all about talk. Action is required.

2) Sort out Africa. How you would do this is beyond me. Get rid of Mugabe would be a good start. If military action or a quick assassination attempt is out of the question. Offer the guy 10 million dollars and a home in Hawaii. Get him out of Africa and let the poor people of Zimbabwe get on with things. You could also provide drugs for HIV and AIDS. That would certainly help.

3) Pay San Nakji’s Mortgage

4) Stop condemning some regimes while condoning others. It has to be all or nothing. How can people criticise China, yet at the same time hang out with the Saudis and the Uzbekis? This may be hard as Russia a member of the G8 is led by one of the biggest bullies of them all…

Well, that’s it G8. If you can’t manage all of them, then at the very least sort out No.3 ! Out of those things, I think Climate Change is the biggest worry for San Nakji. I really hope they sort it out.

San Nakji for President!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Watch Where You Put It, You Might Lose It!

Sonette Ehlers of Kleinmond, South Africa, recently invented a tampon-like sheath that she says will reduce the disturbing number of rapes that plague that country, but local anti-violence leaders are skeptical, as well as alarmed. The device folds around the penis with microscopic hooks and, once engaged, requires medical intervention to remove. (It may also incidentally inhibit the transmission of HIV) Critics call it impractical (since one must be worn constantly) and barbaric (more barbaric than rape???), and a distraction from other solutions to the rape crisis. The devices are expected to be available in pharmacies this month, for 1 rand each (US0.15c)

San Nakji for President!

Taufa'ahau Tupou IV

July 4th marks American Independence Day (Well USA anyway), but did you know it also marks King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga’s birthday? Yup, he was born way back in 1918 and at one stage of his life was known as the heaviest monarch in the world. I was thinking about other monarchs and I can’t really think of any fat ones. So if he is no longer the fattest, who is?

Tonga has the distinction in the Pacific as being the only nation never to be colonised. They are very proud of this.

The King is revered in Tonga where while there is a parliament, he wields the power and the country is more or less an absolute monarchy. There are always rumblings from opposition parties demanding more say, but as long as the King stays so popular they have very little chance.

The problem that the monarchy will face is that while the King is a well respected ruler, his children, frankly, are not. There are many stories about the different children taking part in many crazy schemes all in the name of money. One particularly frightening one was when the prince offered to use one of the Tongan islands as a toxic waste dump. Neighbouring countries protested and fortunately this plan was dumped. Once the King passes away, that is when I think there will be a change, and it may not be very pleasant.

So on his 87th birthday, I wish the King good health and a long life….

Tonga itself is a beautiful place and great for the budget traveller, i.e. San Nakji. You can find out more about it here.

San Nakji for President!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Marathon Man

It's just six years until the Queen's telegram lands on your mat congratulating you on your 100th birthday.

You're taking it easy, right? Slippers on, trips to the coast with a blanket on your lap and a short shuffle to the newsagent's for your Werther's Originals the closest you get to exercise.

Not if you're Fauja Singh - who can regularly be spotted flying down the streets of Essex in his spikes.

At 94, he's run seven marathons (five in London), countless half-marathons and was recently part of the world's oldest marathon team in Edinburgh.

Fauja's jogging skills were developed on an Indian farm in Punjab, and then at the magical age of 81, when he moved to the UK, his love for the sport became more "serious".

Next up? He's set his sights on being a record breaker.

And Asafa Powell might have to watch his back. The Jamaican may have the new 100m record, but Fauja's after eight of them - in one day.

On Saturday, London's Mile End Park Stadium will witness the great man attempting to set world bests for men over 90 in the 100m, 200m, 300m, 800m, 1500m, 1 mile, 3,000m and 5,000m.

The action starts at 10:30BST with proceeds going to charity and the event is in support of the London 2012 Olympic bid.

So any secrets to fitness? Fauja's training regime includes a daily eight-mile walk and run, no smoking or drinking, plenty of smiling and lashings of ginger curry.

The pounding pensioner is already a superstar. Last year Adidas signed up Fauja alongside David Beckham and Jonny Wilkinson as part of its 'Impossible is nothing' campaign.

And next on the list?

More marathons - and coach Harminder Singh is trying to set up a showdown between Fauja and Japan's Kozo Haraguchi - the new 100m world record holder for the 95-99 age group.

Expect some serious fireworks on the starting line.

So, having only run seriously for the last 13 years, when does Fauja think he'll trade in his spikes for a zimmer frame?

"When I die!" he laughs.

So at least another 50 years, then.

San Nakji for President!

Those Meddling Kids

As I get older, I find myself dispising the young more and more. Am I justified in my contempt for them or am I just jealous of their youth?
When I see a group of teenagers walking along, I always think they are up to no good. I see teenagers in a mall and I think they are trying to steal things. I dread school holidays because it means more teenagers on the street. I am sure there is some kind of maths equation which involves your age and your hatred of all things young.. I wonder if anyone has done this?
Anyway, I feel like I am one of those bad guys in Scooby Doo who dresses up as a monster or a ghost to scare people away from the treasure. At the end they always say "and I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids"... Damn meddling kids....

San Nakji for President!