Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Dubai Terror

The first official pictures of pop star Michael Jackson since he was cleared of child abuse have been released, showing him in the Gulf city of Dubai.
The photos show him smiling and being shown around by United Arab Emirates rally champion Mohammed Bin Sulayem and the son of the king of Bahrain.
His appearance is in contrast to the frail-looking figure that walked out of court in California 11 weeks ago.
He is thought to have left the US for the Middle East soon after the verdict.
He is believed to have travelled from Bahrain to Dubai on 20 August.
Speculation is rife in the city that he is interested in buying a property there, and reports are circulating that he has purchased a house in Bahrain.
Sulayem was quoted in local newspapers as saying: "Michael had a wonderful time and he was surprised and impressed by what he found in Dubai."
The photos were released on Jackson's 47th birthday on Monday.
The star's 19-month legal ordeal ended in June when he was found not guilty on 10 charges of plying a teenage boy with alcohol and abusing him.
He made several trips to hospital during and after the trial, complaining of "flu-like symptoms", dehydration and back problems.
He was recently fined $10,000 for failing to appear in court to face a civil legal case concerning separate claims of sexual assault.

Note to self - The Middle East just became too dangerous to visit...

San Nakji for President!


Not the album by Linkin Park (the first was better anyway...) but in fact one of the most amazing places in all of Greece. The area is full with huge rocks like above and hanging from the rocks a number of monasteries have been built. San Nakji and family spent a whole day climbing to all the monasteries (6) and while we were completely exhausted by the end, we loved every minute of it. The best photo I ever took was taken here. I have it framed on my wall, one day I will make a digital copy of it and post it... But the above photo is pretty good.

San Nakji for President!

San Nakji Returns!

My name is San Nakji and it has been 5 days since my last post. I was a blogaholic but have gone cold turkey for too long. It is not good for my health or my sanity.
One thing that really annoys me is blogs that I like which go for days without an update... Here I am doing the same thing! I have a good excuse. It involves Mrs San Nakji making me do much work at home, under her eagle eye there will be no blogging, oh no there won't be! The good news is that we now have no kitchen. I am reduced to cleaning dishes in the laundry and cooking on a portable gas stove in the lounge. Those of you who have heard of the word 'Nesting' will know what I am going through...
On a lighter note, it seems this new word verification system is working a treat. No more spam, yahoo!
I hope everyone who is reading this in the southern US is doing ok. It is not a great thing to go through. However could you please shut up the mayor of Biloxi (famous for its' blues) who claimed that this was the South's 'Tsunami'... When the death toll reaches 200 000 can we please talk again, otherwise to compare it to that disaster is offensive.
Note to Mr Bush. Have you figured out what climate change is yet? How many more of your citizens have to go through this before you sort something out?

San Nakji for President!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Avian Flu

While most of the world seems concerned with the 'war on terror' the Avian Flu is continuing to cause problems in Asia. Millions of chickens have been slaughtered to stop its' spread, but there seems to be some worry that it has spread to wild populations, beyond control. 53 people have been confirmed to have died from this flu, worse than SARS. Nothing to panic about so far of course, but the flu seems to be mutating fast. Three civet cats have died from it in Vietnam. The influenza virus is amazing in its' ability to mutate to suit its' surroundings. The fear is that it will adapt to be able to pass from human to human, and then the trouble will begin. Many forget that in 1918 as the war in Europe was ending, the worst epidemic in history swept the world. Within a year the flu had killed perhaps 100 million people.... that's a hell of a lot of people. Now instead of spending so much money on war with each other, perhaps it would be smarter for us all to call a truce on the fighting and get together to sort these diseases out? Just a thought I guess.... Click here for Avian Flu Q&A

San Nakji for President!

Weekly Animal Pic - Golden Lion Tamarind

One of my favourite animals at the local zoo is the Golden Lion Tamarind. The GLT has the honour, if that is the right word, of being the rarest of all tamarinds and therefore one of the rarest primates in the world. I sponsor the zoo's one ramaining GLT. Her mate died suddenly and no one can figure out why. She now spends her time hanging out with tamarinds of other species, but I think she looks lonely... I am thinking of learning some Portuguese so I can have a chat with her. (She is from Brazil you see...)

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Hector's Dolphin

Say hello to the smallest dolphin in the world. For such a small animal his name is quite impressive, Cephalaehynchus Hectari or Hector's Dolphin. To his friends we can just call him Ceph... Ceph is the smallest dolphin in the world and he is also, sadly, the rarest marine animal in the world. He is only found off the coast of New Zealand and is one of only two native mammals that New Zealand can claim, the other being a native bat.

This is for Ori who lives way too far from the sea. It is just not natural to live that far away!

San Nakji for President!

Te Pukapuka Ra Taka o Ipurangi

I have a plan to post the first ever blog in Maori. My first difficulty was to figure out what Blog would be in the language. I have come up with the above. Te pukapuka ra taka means diary, o means of and ipurangi means internet. So far, it seems, there is no word for blog. I am currently trying to figure out Maori verbs and once I do, you will see an entire post here in the language. I know it won't mean anything to most out there, but it would be good to be a world's first!

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I love Strüdel!

I am soooo hungry!

San Nakji for President!

Quick Books

Readers craving Homer, Baudelaire or Lewis Carroll in the middle of the night can get a quick fix at one of the French capital's five newly installed book vending machines.
"We have customers who know exactly what they want and come at all hours to get it," said Xavier Chambon, president of Maxi-Livres, a low-cost publisher and book store chain that debuted the vending machines in June. "It's as if our stores were open 24 hours a day."
Stocked with 25 of Maxi-Livres best-selling titles, the machines cover the gamut of literary genres and tastes. Classics like "The Odyssey" by Homer and Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" share the limited shelf space with such practical must-haves as "100 Delicious Couscous" and "Verb Conjugations."
"Our biggest vending machine sellers are 'The Wok Cookbook' and a French-English dictionary," said Chambon, who added that poet Charles Baudelaire's "Les Fleurs du Mal" — "The Flowers of Evil" — also is "very popular."
Regardless of whether they fall into the category of high culture or low, all books cost a modest 2 Euros.
Installed in four busy Metro stops and a chic street corner in central Paris, Maxi-Livre's distributors were designed to bypass the characteristic vending-machine-drop, which can be punishing for books.
"We knew that French bibliophiles would be horrified to see their books falling into a trough like candy or soda," Chambon said. "So we installed a mechanical arm that grabs the book and delivers it safely."
Books are but the latest offering in France's ever-expanding vending machine market, which is responding to off-hour demand for everything from toilet paper to carnations.

I bet Mrs San Nakji is hoping that these never hit this part of the world, I would be buying books everyday! Well, that's pretty much what I do now, but...

Good thing about the arm. I really hate people who hurt books.

San Nakji for President!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Korean Graves 한국의 무덤

Here's an example of the graves you can see all over Korea. A really amazing sight for someone like me who is used to seeing graves in graveyards only...

San Nakji for President!

Spam and Me

I had just posted my picture of the Mouse Lemur when suddenly I found that I had 6 comments. Wow, I thought, I am really popular! Popular with the damn spammers it turns out... So I deleted all the comments... 6 comments does look better than zero however. I have activated a new function on blogger. When you post a comment here, you will be asked to identify a word as well as the normal blogger name and password. Hopefully computers won't be able to figure these out... Please don't let the extra effort required to comment on my blog put you off. I value all your comments!

San Nakji for President!

Can't Resist

I am trying to limit the amount of animal photos I have on this blog. I don't want to be known as 'that animal blog guy'... It may be too late. Still this Mouse Lemur is pretty damn cool!

San Nakji for President!

Sejong's Photo 세종대왕의 사진

Well, not really a photo... But almost as good!

San Nakji for President!

King Sejong the Great 세종대왕

Ever since I started learning Korean, I have admired King Sejong. Under his leadership one of the greatest alphabets in history came into being, Hangeul 한글. It is such a simple alphabet and so easy to remember. When I first had a go at it, I was able to memorise it in 30 minutes... While I am sure that he was not solely responsible for the alphabet, he does represent an ideal in monarchy which is difficult to match. Under his leadership Korea prospered in science and art and the fact that he still such a hero to the Korean people says a lot for him. Most monarchs of this world are remembered for being a bit nuts and a couple of battles.
Above is Yeongneung 영릉, which is the final resting place of Sejong. It is in a small Gyeonggi 경기도 provincial town called Yeoju 여주 and I have never figured out why he was buried there of all places. It would be like Henry VIII being buried in Cornwall or George Washington being buried in Iowa. Strange. My first visit there was in 1994 and I will never forget it. There is something magical about visiting the last resting place of someone that you have read so much about. The setting is so peaceful and a great place to contemplate. If you are ever living in Korea and just want some peace and quiet, royal tombs are place to go!
Koreans are very keen on the burial mounds and you can find them all over the country. Big ones for the kings and little ones for everyone else. A bit wasteful when you have so little land, but at the same time I am keen on being buried in a mound one day... Not too soon though!

San Nakji for President!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Time Travel

The new Dr Who is on NZ television finally. I am not sure if people out there in blogland all know who he is. Well the only important thing you need to know is that he has a time machine called TARDIS. I have always wanted to travel in time and I think it would be the most amazing thing to see things in real life that up until now I have only read about in books. Much like the tag thing, here are my top five times/events I would like to visit...

1) 1564, to meet Mary Queen of Scots (better not tell her to mind her head!)
2) 1443 or so to meet King Sejong the Great and see the development of Hangeul 한글, my favourite world alphabet
3) Any time when there were dinosaurs!
4) February 6 1840, to see the signing of the Tiriti o Waitangi, the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand
5) 9 months before 20 April 1889 so I can give Mr and Mrs Hitler a condom and save the world, especially the Roma and the Jews, a few headaches...

Anyone else like to have a go?

Have a good weekend,

San Nakji for President!

Stop Already!

I have to promise myself not to post too many pictures... But I love this picture which is taken near Haein Temple 해인사 near Daegu 대구 in Korea.

San Nakji for President!

Weekly Animal Pic - Bilby

A native of Australia and incredibly cute! There is a movement over there to have Bilby replace the Easter Bunny. Sounds like a good idea to me! The bilbys are highly endangered, thanks to feral cats and dogs, so if you see one in the wild consider yourself one lucky person!

San Nakji for President!

Road Rage

South African drivers are the worst road rage offenders in the world, an international survey has found.
Some 67% of South African motorists reported aggressive behaviour directed at them in the past year - more than in any of the 10 countries surveyed. Eleven per cent were at the receiving end of threatening behaviour, with the aggressor getting out of his vehicle, ready for a fight, the report said. South Africa's road rage is set to worsen as car numbers rise, it says. South Africans have always had a reputation for being poor drivers, who see their cars as an extension of their egos. But the survey by the marketing company Synovate makes it official.
South African motorists proved more fiery than their counterparts in Brazil, France, Greece, India, Korea,Malaysia, Taiwan, the UK and the US. Of the 4,000 people questioned, the UK came second in the list, with Greece third. Albert McLean of Synovate described South African drivers as "extremely aggressive".
The cost of this poor behaviour contributes to a staggering toll in crashes: 36 deaths a day, and a bill of more $5bn a year.

Way to go South Africa! Murder capital and now this....

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blue Mountains

Got to post something today, so here's my picture from the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia, home of Kira's Slave...

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side

Andy would bicycle across town
in the rain to bring you candy
and John would buy the gown
for you to wear to the prom
with the Tom the astronomer
who'd name a star for you
but I'm the luckiest guy
on the Lower East Side
cause I've got wheels
and you want to go for a ride

Harry is the one I think you'll marry
but it's Chris that you kissed
after school
I'm a fool, there's no doubt
but when the sun comes out...
The day is beautiful and so are you
My car is ugly but then I'm ugly too
I know you'd never give me
a second glance
but when the weather's nice
all the other guys
don't stand a chance
I know Professor Blumen
makes you feel like a woman
but when the wind is in your hair
you laugh like a little girl
So you share your secrets with Lou
but we've got secrets too
Well, one: I only keep ths heap for you
cause I'm the ugliest guy
on the Lower East Side
but I've got wheels
and you want to go for a ride
Want to go for a ride?

San Nakji for President!

Tagging Places #4

Here's number 4. It is an island of the southern coast of Korea called Chejudo 제주도. I love it there and it is a wonderful place to visit no matter what the season. I have family there so have an extra reason to go, but who needs a reason! The mountain in the distance is my favourite place on Chejudo. It is called Seongsanilchulbong 성산일출봉 and is a massive extinct volcano. You can climb up it and watch the sunrise from the crater. Not something I did as I don't get up before the sun...

San Nakji for President!

Gaza Pullout

I have seen the settlers whining and crying and frankly I am glad to see them finally forced out. This whole given by god thing just doesn't wash with me... Isaelis do ok with the land the have and hardly need the extra tiny bit on the Gaza strip.
Palestinians are truly a screwed up people. They are oppressed by the Israelis who they rely on for jobs as well as basic utilities. Meanwhile the rest of the Arab world uses them as pawns to fight Israel, these poor people can't win. Here finally, is a chance to try and make a go with a land they can call their own and still there is whining and gnashing of teeth. Out of all the people in the world to know suffering and oppression you would think Jewish people would get it the most. Their yearning for a homeland, a place free from oppression, is something that most of us can understand and sympathise with. Don't they get the need that we all have to choose the course of our own lives?

My hope is that this should be a time of reflection from both sides of this conflict. Too many innocent lives have been lost. Now is a time for two states to begin to live side by side. I think I am just dreaming....

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Censorship - Alive and Well

Malaysia's deputy leader has hit out at hugging scenes on local TV reality shows, saying such public displays of affection are un-Islamic. "It is forbidden in the religion," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a speech to a youth council. Malaysian television stations generally edit out kissing and hugging scenes in their programmes but there have recently been displays of hugging in some reality shows. "Hugging scenes are not suitable," Najib said. "They must sing decent songs, and must act decently." The minister didn't single out a particular TV show as being morally reprehensible.

When I lived in Malaysia, I went to see the movie, Naked Gun 2 1/2. Please don't judge! Anyway, a movie that was supposed to be 80-90 minutes, thanks to government censorship, was only 40 minutes when I saw it... What did I miss?

I would be interested if there were a study on the effects of censorship. I would doubt whether it has the desired affects... What Mr Razak thinks those affects would be is anybody's guess...

San Nakji for President!

Wonderful World of Language

Imagine a world without words for colour, numbers or tales about imaginary beings. A tribe in a remote area of Brazil may live in just such a world, because their language lacks the words for such concepts and only allows people to talk about material things they have experienced directly.
Previous analysis of Pirahã, a language spoken by only 200 people in Amazonas, Brazil, suggested that it had some limited words for colours and at least the words for "one", "two" and "many". But further analysis by Daniel Everett at the University of Manchester, UK, reveals that these "words" are in fact phrases. "They are descriptions, and can vary from time to time," he says. For example, bio-pai-ai means "black", but translates literally as "blood is dirty".
Everett also argues that Pirahã is the only known language without numbers, numerals or a concept of counting. Words which were previously assumed to mean "one", "two" and "many" actually refer to relative size, and efforts to teach the Pirahã how to count in Portuguese failed.
Such features make the Pirahã language unique, and Everett's work identifies other aspects that appear to challenge the idea put forward by linguists such as Noam Chomsky that all languages have a similar basic underlying structure and that children are born with the major principles of language in place.
According to Everett, Pirahã culture does not require its people to talk about abstract concepts, gods, spirits or other things that they have not experienced at first hand. This would indicate that Pirahã grammar is subject to cultural constraints, something that shouldn't happen according to both Chomsky's theory and linguist Charles Hockett's "design features" view of language.
Paul Kay, a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley, who studied Pirahã as part of his work on the language of colour, described Everett's work as "startling and fascinating". But words made up of phrases can still count as words, he says. "The question is, are their meanings composed of the meanings of their parts, or are they dead metaphors?" For example, are they metaphorically based idioms like "round the bend", which performs the same role as a word, or are they compositional phrases like "He's no longer of sound mind"?
Either way, this does not necessarily undermine Everett's main argument that Pirahã lacks one or more features that were previously thought necessary for a language, Kay says.

It's a wonderful world we live in...

San Nakji for President!

Tagging Places #3

Here is a nice picture of the coast off Kangaroo Island, South Australia. This is one of the places I said I would love to go. It kind of looks like some coastal scenes around New Zealand, but the most important thing here is that under that sea is the beautiful sea dragon!

San Nakji for President!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Another Hero...

Japan's champion speed-eater has won his second contest in two days by ingurgitating 100 roasted pork buns in 12 minutes in Hong Kong. Takeru Kobayashi ate twice as many buns as the first runner-up, Johnny Wu, who only managed to guzzle 47. Mr Kobayashi, 27, used a special technique - squeezing the buns tight and sipping plenty of water while chewing to soften them up. Only the day before, he triumphed in Hong Kong's dumpling-eating contest. He downed 83 steamed dumplings in eight minutes on Saturday. He also holds the world record for hot dog eating - 53-and-a-half in 12 minutes. The speed-eater, who weighs only 65kg, is the five-time winner of the Nathan's hot dog-eating competition in New York. He set another world record in 2004 by eating 69 hamburgers in eight minutes at an international contest in Tennessee. Mr Kobayashi won a cash prize of 20,000 Hong Kong dollars for his prowess in the bun-scoffing competition on Sunday.

I am so jealous of this guy. How can eat all that and not put on weight? It's not fair!

San Nakji for President!

A Smile to Start the Week!

San Nakji for President!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Happy Birthday Ori!

Hope you are enjoying your 30th!

San Nakji for President!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Lake of Jellyfish

Watching the latest Survivor, which is in Palau, I began thinking about the above photo. There is a lake in Palau that is full of jellyfish. They have evolved to such an extent where they no longer have stings. You can go swimming in the lake and swim with the jellyfish. This is definitely something I would love to do! Jellyfish are awesome!

San Nakji for President!

Weekly Animal Pic - Narwhal

This is one strange animal, almost mythical. This whale is found in Arctic waters. The tusk you see is actually his (or her) tooth. Imagine having a tooth that big! Scientists are not certain what the tooth is used for, perhaps fighting, but this shy reclusive creature does doesn't like to hang around long enough for us to find out...

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Happy Birthday!

My friend and yours, Kermit the Frog, turned 50 today. Not a grey hair on the frog, amazing!

I loved the Muppet Show when I was a kid. I don't know if other kids were the same, but I hated the singing bits. I liked the back stage stuff and when non-singers came on, like Sylvester Stallone and Steve Martin. The first series is being released on DVD this year, I can't wait! I hope it gets to New Zealand quickly. My favourite character? Rowlf the dog... Although I did like the character who was named after my own country, Lew Zealand, yay!

San Nakji for President!


So I finally finished my book, Pol Pot by Philip Short. It took me longer than I had planned as other books got in the way, ie Harry Potter, as well as my weekly dose of science via New Scientist.
It was an eye opening book as I didn't really know a lot about Pol. I knew that under his reign of terror over a million people died, but I didn't really know much else. Did you know that under Pol Pot's reign if terror 1/5th of Cambodia's died either of starvation or through execution? For my country, that would be 800 000 people, for Korea 9 million, for the US over 50 million and if you are talking India, 250 million! That's a lot of people to miss. I think the saddest thing about this is that he died of natural causes and never had to suffer like his countrymen under his mismanagement of Cambodia.
As I said in a previous post, this brings up the idea of evil. What is evil? Now, people like my good friend George Bush like to simplify evil as being anyone against his ideals. If that is his definition, then I am sure those against George feel the same way about him. Sorry to break it to you George, but life is not that simple. To me, real, true evil is when someone goes out of their way to hurt or kill others for no reason but for the pleasure of suffering. It is not helpful to blanket people you don't like with the evil tag. Under this definition, your average terrorist is not evil. I think that many of them believe that the only way they can help their country or religion is by attacking the enemy. When all is said and done, what is the difference between a terrorist bomb in a busy market and a bomb from a B52 which falls on a busy market? It is all about which side you are on. Now thinking about US enemy no.1 Osama Bin Laden. I don't know if I can really get inside his head, so I am not sure what he thinking. I do however tend to lean towards agreeing with George (A first folks!). He seems to hold little regard for life and is quite happy to have people kill for him. He seems to care little for those giving their lives for him also... Hitler would be another one who I would class as evil. How else could you consider a man who ordered the killing of millions... As for Pol Pot? I don't think he was evil. I zealot maybe. I have the feeling that he really believed what he was doing was right for the country. He may have been a product of his time and his culture, my mind is still made up.
Basically for me, evil is not a word you throw around. Evil is a rare commodity and we should be happy that this is so! Good people are far more plentiful, yay!

San Nakji for President!

Will the UN make him nuclear?

No UN, no!

San Nakji for President!

Nuclear Outrage

San Nakji is out there for you dear reader, trawling the internet looking for the news stories that you won't find anywhere else. (except for the place I found it and probably other places that have the same news source, but that's it really. Well maybe some other blogs too?) I was outraged by the following headlines found on the BBC News website,

Iran removes UN's nuclear seals

Well I should bloody well think so. Here I am talking up the UN and they go and create a living weapon out of our favourite clowns of the sea. Whatever next, bioweapon dolphins? WOMD pigeons? I shudder to think what these nuclear seals look like. Perhaps they are trained seals equipped with small nuclear missiles that can swim under defences and deliver a killer strike? Or are they some horrible genetic mutants oozing radiation from every pore? I shudder to think! Why everyone is picking on the Iranians, I just don't know. They did us all a favour and removed the nuclear seals. I urge all lovers of animals, all lovers of peace to please write to your local member of government and demand an immediate ban to nuclear seals, this can not go on!

Thank you Iran,

San Nakji for President!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My Hero

A South Korean man who played computer games for 50 hours almost non-stop died of heart failure minutes after finishing his mammoth session in an internet cafe.
The 28-year-old man, identified only by his family name Lee, had been playing on-line battle simulation games at the cybercafe in the southeastern city of Taegu, police said.
Lee had planted himself in front of a computer monitor to play on-line games on August 3. He only left the spot over the next three days to go to the toilet and take brief naps on a makeshift bed, they said.
"We presume the cause of death was heart failure stemming from exhaustion," a Taegu provincial police official said by telephone.
Lee had recently quit his job to spend more time playing games, the daily JoongAng Ilbo reported after interviewing former work colleagues and staff at the internet cafe.
After he failed to return home, Lee's mother asked his former colleagues to find him. When they reached the cafe, Lee said he would finish the game and then go home, the paper reported.
He died a few minutes later, it said.

Forget San Nakji's Hero in the link section of this blog. This guy is a TRUE hero!

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Too Many Photos

I don't know about everyone else, but our technologically backward country is only just starting to discover life beyond dial up internet. As a result our highspeed internet isn't really that highspeed and a photo filled blog like mine is just a pain! The plan therefore is to keep putting photos in, but also put some content in to speed things up a bit. The problem today is that I don't have much to say. It is the anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing... I hope nations who either are developing nuclear weapons or possess them already are taking this time to think about the destructive power...
Also, I have almost finished my book about Pol Pot and will write something in the next few days. He was a fascinating man. It does bring up a question, what is evil? Any thoughts?

San Nakji for President!

Tagging Places #2

Here is El Paso from behind a bush. I haven't ever been to this part of the world, but it sounds quite interesting. One city stradling two countries. I wonder if you can put one foot in Mexico and one foot in USA? Now that would be fun. As long as the El Pasoans keep feeding my TexMex I will be happy. I can even shelter under their lovely trees!

San Nakji for President!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Tagging Places #1

Nafplio Νάυπλιο is one of the places I said I would love to go in my tag. Here is a great picture of the place. A slow Greek coffee down next to the water cannot be beaten!

San Nakji for President!

Hiroshima 60 Years On

I am sure that everyone out there in Blogworld knows that 6 August was the 60th Anniversary of the first use of atomic weapons. The first fell on Hiroshima in Honshu Japan followed three days later by the second on Nagasaki in Kyushu Japan. This marked the beginning of the atomic age and the beginning of nightmares for generations of people, myself included.
When I was a kid I had nightmares all the time about nuclear war. This wasn't helped by the movies and books that came out showing how terrible it was. When the Wind Blows is one of the best... I travelled to Hiroshima in 1987 and saw the museum and the surrounding peace park for myself. It reconfirmed what I believed about nuclear weapons and the true horrors of war. People in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still suffering today from the effects of the radiation. It was a tragic waste of innocent life.
I have read the arguments about why the bombs had to be dropped and how in the end many millions of lives were saved, but for me it gets back to the suffering of these people. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not major military targets. The bombs were merely dropped for maximum effect to show the Japanese that the US had the power to destroy all of Japan. While in the context of war, this may make sense, it has been said that the real reason for the bombs was to show Stalin the power of the US and in doing so the scene was set for the arms race and proxy super power wars of Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
There are many things that Japan still has to answer for regarding the first half of last century, but the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki paid a much greater price.
To me these people's deaths were a great tragedy and a reminder of how awful man kind can be. This was no way to die...

Destroy all Nuclear Weapons Now!

San Nakji for President!

Friday, August 05, 2005

UN Security Council

For my final post of the week I just wanted to put forward an opinion on the UN Security Council. Currently four nations, Brazil, Germany, Japan and India, are planning to petition the UN to expand the security council from 5 permanent members to 11. This would include these countries plus two from Africa. If you want to make the UN Security Council truly representative then this should go ahead.
Both China and the US are blocking this plan, for different reasons. The US wants only 1 or 2 new members and is backing the Japanese bid, while China is against Japan and wants more 'developing nations'. It is easy to see why this would be as Japan is obviously an ally of the US and would vote with them, while China is doing very well with developing nations, especially in Africa, and would not want a strong American ally on the council. It is ironic that the US even cares considering the unilateral invasion of Iraq. It is obvious that Bush and his cronies have little regard for the UN and even if a security council vote went against them, what does it matter to them? China, on the other hand, seems happy with the Council. This is probably because votes have been going their way. I am sure they would be equally contemptious of the UN, should there be a vote condemning something that involved their interests.
I know it is not cool to say such things these days, but I like the UN. I like the goals that it has set, I know it doesn't always acheive these goals, but it is really good to know that there is a forum for countries of the world to have their say. There is no reason why the Security Council should be an exclusive club for 5 nations (US, China, UK, Russia, France) and should be expanded. It would seem that the makeup is based on nations with the Bomb. If they want to continue in this vein, maybe they would like India, Pakistan, Israel, South Africa, North Korea and the like to join?
The one major change I would like is for permanent members to lose the veto power. How many major decisions have been sabotaged by the 'Big Five' using their power to disrupt. Put in an uneven number of countries, representative of the world, and let them vote it out...
For those of you whose eyes are glazing over after this rant, check out UNESCO, it is an example of where the UN has got it right...

San Nakji for President!

Mob Justice

"An Israeli soldier who shot dead four people on a bus in an Israeli Arab town has been lynched by an angry crowd. The 19-year-old, believed to have deserted in protest against the Gaza pullout this month, opened fire as the bus passed through Shfaram. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called the incident a reprehensible act by a "bloodthirsty terrorist". The gunman was beaten to death by a crowd of people who stormed the bus after his weapon ran out of bullets. Israel is preparing to pull its settlers and soldiers out of the Gaza Strip and correspondents say there have been fears of attacks by Jewish settlers opposed to the pullout. "

I don't think he thought this through....

San Nakji for President!

Goose Eggs

I got a couple of goose eggs from a guy at work. Anyone know any good recipes? The web has very few...

San Nakji for President!

Weekly Animal Pic - Dugong

This week it is the Dugong. The Dugong, otherwise known as the Sea Cow (obvious reasons) can be found swimming in the tropics around Queensland in Australia, New Guniea, Soloman Islands and Vanuatu. I was desparate to see one when I went to Vanuatu a while back, but the tame one the villagers played with had just died... One day I will see one, one day!

San Nakji for President!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Tagging Continues...

Apparently when you are tagged you have to answer the questions that another blogger has put to you and then pass on the questions to 5 other bloggers. To me this sounds like one of those chain letter things... But Ori hasn't threatened my death if I don't pass them on, so here goes...

1. Ten years ago -- I moved to Korea to start a new life
2. Five years ago -- Found a Mrs San Nakji
3. One year ago -- Reafirmed with Mrs San Nakji in a traditonal Korean ceremony in Korea House in Seoul
4. Yesterday -- Had the day off. Walked the San Nakji's Pooch down Takapuna beach, it was a great day
5. Today -- Back at work. The weather is still perfect outside, and will probably do something with San Nakji's Pooch once more
6. Tomorrow -- Last day of the week. We think there is something we have to do tomorrow night, but just figure out what it is...
7. Five snacks I enjoy -- All ice cream related products, seaweed (김), oreos (not allowed them, haven’t eaten them for years, but can’t forget them, will never forget them!), marmite biscuits (found them once and they were yummy, but can’t find them anymore…), yoghurt (because Mrs San Nakji says I have to like it…)
8. Five bands (or singers??) I know the lyrics of most of their songs -- Pink Floyd (throwback from my youth), Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead (First three 1/2 ablums only...), Foo Fighters, Split Enz
9. Five things I would do with $100,000,000 -- Buy houses for all my friends and family, Buy my local rugby league club and make it super powerful!, First Class travel around the world, Start my own charity looking out for Pacific nations, Have heaps of kids
10. Five locations I’d like to run away to -- Nafplio; Greece, Kangaroo Island; Australia, Tanna; Vanuatu, Chejudo; Korea, El Paso; USA (better say this one!)
11. Five Bad Habits -- Procrastination (this took me two days to write!), opinionated, shopaholic, watch too much TV, Serial Killer....
12. Five things I like doing -- Watching movies, travel, reading, blogging, sports
13. Five T.V. shows I like -- Survivor (yeah yeah I know), Amazing Race (well it is hosted by a Kiwi and he does send me emails sometimes..), History Channel type shows, CSI Original, Spooks
14. Famous People I’d like to meet -- Karl Marx, William Shakespeare, James IV of Scotland, Gandhi, King Sejong the Great
15. Biggest joys at the moment -- My soon to be son, reading good books, Mrs San Nakji, the interesting blogging people I have 'met', being alive
16. Favorite toys -- lego, playmobile, blocks, dinosaurs, star wars figures
17. Five people to tag -- This one is difficult as I am not sure who actually reads this blog...
I would like to suggest Space Nakji, Nick, Minty aka I eat babies…, Deepa, Flowerful. I would like to suggest Rachel and Mouse too, but I don’t think their blogs are for that kind of thing…

San Nakji for President!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Conversation Among the Ruins

Sorry I can't help myself. More Sylvia!

Through portico of my elegant house you stalk
With your wild furies, disturbing garlands of fruit
And the fabulous lutes and peacocks, rending the net
Of all decorum which holds the whirlwind back.
Now, rich order of walls is fallen; rooks croak
Above the appalling ruin; in bleak light
Of your stormy eye, magic takes flight
Like a daunted witch, quitting castle when real days break.

Fractured pillars frame prospects of rock;
While you stand heroic in coat and tie, I sit
Composed in Grecian tunic and psyche-knot,
Rooted to your black look, the play turned tragic:
Which such blight wrought on our bankrupt estate,
What ceremony of words can patch the havoc?

San Nakji for President!

Africa by Obinna Ihesiulo of Nigeria

Skyscrapers? Cars? Where are the naked humans? No, this must be the wrong place..."
Those would probably be the thoughts of a first-time Western visitor to any of the major metropolitan areas in Africa, with further expressions of astonishment as they drove from the airport to the city centre.
To an ordinary person in Europe or North America, Africa is the dark continent where nothing good comes. A place full of monkeys, jungles and naked Stone Age humans.
Most Westerners only hear about the continent's doom and gloom and tend to believe that Africa is the same all over, oblivious of its rich and diverse cultures, languages, ethnicity and religions - to mention just a few.
Yet, we supposedly all live in an age of advanced information technology.
Africa is besieged by disasters, disease, starvation, poverty and wars; however, these are not only unique to Africa, which also possesses good and desirable qualities, just like other continents.
Many urban areas in Africa can be compared to those in the developed world despite what detractors may believe.
Come and see for yourself. Experience, they say, is the best teacher.

Everyone should see Sub-Saharan Africa at least once, it is amazing!

San Nakji for President!

The World's Largest Mud Building

This is not something you see everyday... This mosque is made completely out of mud! You can find this in Mali in West Africa.

San Nakji for President!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Africa 아프리카

After watching that show on Africa (see previous post) I suddenly realised how little I know about Africa. I am sure I am not the only one... So on my lunch break I went to the local Borders (book store) and looked for books on Africa. Now I consider Borders to be well stocked when it comes to books on anything, but I was really disappointed with their collection of books on Africa. They were all about wars, corruption, starvation and white people. Surely there is more to Africa than that? It is a sad indictment on our world that there is so little interest in a continent that has so much history and is where we all came from way back in time. Is it any wonder that Africa is where it is now when there is so little knowledge about what makes it tick. Is it only my Borders?

San Nakji for President!

A Plane at Night

I was just watching a show called Building Africa on BBC World, well worth it you ever hear of it in wherever you live. The start of the show has the host flying from London to Eritrea over Africa at night. It brought back some of my best memories travelling by plane at night. There is nothing like flying and looking out the window at a dark expanse that is suddenly broken up by thousands of lights. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. It really shows that there is life on our planet like no other way and if you haven't flown at night, then you are missing out on this experience.

San Nakji for President!