Sunday, 21 August 2011

Newest Superhero: Flagman

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Dates Look Like Cockroaches

During Ramadan, it's customary to eat a date or two upon breaking your fast. However, for as long as I can remember, the sight of dates have repulsed me. A date looks like a legless, antenna-less and immobile/dead cockroach. Even the pits look like baby cockroaches. A bowl of dates is worse than a date on its own because it looks like a cockroach orgy.

You be the judge:



See? It's nauseating. I eat them now (after avoiding them my whole life) because, well, I discovered that they're quite tasty, though I try my best not to look at them. That's a big deal for me because I can't stand cockroaches. I've had a few traumatic experiences with these stomach-churning critters both in real life and in my dreams (my subconscious has screened Attack of the Roaches many times). I've been dealing with the fear/hate pretty well. I can handle pictures of roaches now.

I've also been turned off shrimp and lobsters for a while since I found out that they're known as cockroaches of the sea. That's right, they're related to cockroaches. They're all arthropods. Cockroaches are from the hexapoda group, lobsters/shrimp/prawns are crustaceans, and they all fall under the myriapoda group. They have exoskeletons (outside skeletons) and jointed legs. They're also scavengers and forage on mostly everything. If I can't tolerate it on land, I won't tolerate it under the sea.

I apologise if I've turned anyone off dates and shrimp/lobsters. But I wrote this post for mankind. I wrote this post for science.

Friday, 19 August 2011

London Riots Nothing Like the Arab Uprisings

Revolution in Tunisia
Ah, the London riots. 'They' say the Arab spring has sprung in the UK but I couldn't disagree more. There’s no arguing that discontentment, marginalisation and social inequalities catalysed the London riots, but what started off as legitimate protesting in Tottenham quickly turned into opportunistic violence by faceless folk.

Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi was a victim to police brutality and Mark Duggan similarly so, and in both cases, this mistreatment is what sparked protests. But that's where the parallels end between the struggling Arab world and the burning streets of London.

It's one thing to pour into the streets and protest against police brutality and the state, and it's another to destroy people's homes, businesses, cars, and livelihoods. In the Arab world we saw (and still see) spirited, passionate and hopeful men, women, youth and the elderly marching together, chanting together, singing together and demanding democracy, demanding their rights and demanding to break free from dictators whose oppressive rule have reigned for decades. In London, we're seeing looting and destruction. London is up in flames and anger is misdirected (though how much of it is anger and how much of it is gratuitous violence?). Civilians  have been killed, mugged and forced to jump from burning buildings.

In Egypt, the revolution marked togetherness. When protests peaked, Christians protected Muslims while they worshipped. Egyptians chanted: "Muslim, Christian, we are all Egyptians". In London, rioters are indiscriminately attacking their own neighbours. All for an adrenaline kick, perhaps? There are reports of rioters advancing on worshippers and people fearfully guarding their place of worship.

There is no excuse for this aggression. And people romanticising the riots are, quite frankly, out of touch. These (mostly) teenage boys aren't fighting the power; they're fighting other commoners.

These actions are counterproductive because they detract focus from the real grievances and the real social and economic problems people face. The riots have given David Cameron et al. the opportunity to comfort the country with rote-learned speeches, look like the goodies, generalise and demonise people who truly are disaffected and, worst of all, not do anything to alleviate the problems that he and his predecessors gave rise to in the first place.

When London Looting Meets the Syrian Struggle

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Eilat and Gaza: Any Reason to Attack Palestinians

It's early in the morning. I can't sleep. Israeli drones are striking Gaza. Six Palestinians are reported dead including Kamal al-Nayrab, chief of the Popular Resistance Committee, and an infant girl.

Israel says it is responding to an earlier incident in Eilat that left 7 people dead. Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a private vehicle and two IDF vehicles were targeted nearby - one was hit by a rocket and the other was hit by an explosive.

Despite there being no evidence of Palestinian involvement (Hamas also denied any involvement), Palestinians are being blamed for the attack and Gaza is being punished. Israel's motto is kill first, investigate later.

Still, even if a Palestinian is responsible for the Eilat incident, it does not give Israel the green light to pound Gaza with drones and collectively punish Palestinians.

Zionists are having a field day. The truth is, Israel wants any reason to attack Palestinians. Israel calculatingly waits for something, anything, to happen in order to disproportionately 'respond' with attacks and operations that are often planned long before. It is using Eilat to legitimise and rationalise its violence in Gaza. That's just how Israel works - it preys on an opportunity like this one to perpetuate occupation and apartheid under the guise of 'self-defense'.

Just before the Gaza offensive, Jody McIntyre tweeted that Ilan Pappe, whom he recently saw, "predicted that Israel (is) on (the) brink of launching major war to distract pressure. Could be the pretext?" Most definitely.

The cries of the #J14 protesters in regard to their so-called housing problems (see 'Palestinians' for legitimate housing problems) will dissipate. #J14 protesters and Bibi and Barak will kiss and make up, and drones and white phosphorous will be used on 1.5 million Palestinians living under tight blockade in Gaza.

Also, it's outrageously hypocritical that attacks against Israelis is 'terrorism' but attacks against Palestinians is 'maintaining security'.

This just in: Egypt closed the Rafah border at Israel's order. Mubarak may no longer hold power but his legacy certainly lives on.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Hello Blogosphere

I've just reached my hourly usage limit on Twitter. I didn't know such a thing existed. I've decided that tweeting is far more exciting than blogging since it's interactive and much less mind-consuming. When using Twitter, there's no choice but to limit what you wish to say to 140 characters or less. The twittersphere is a world of succinctness (and at times, restriction) while the blogosphere invites many words and chunky blocks of text.

Don't get me wrong - I love to write. Give me paper and I'll write endlessly. But I'm either avidly procrastinating or writing to a deadline for something else. And it's not that I have no time. I just don't prioritise or organise my time as well as I should. But I'm working on it. The first step to curing my chronic procrastination is admitting that I have a problem, right?

I reached my hourly usage limit because I've been tweeting back and forth with conservatives and Zionists. Yes, stupid of me, I know. Why do I waste my time? Especially on people who prefer to attack a person's character instead of debating the points?

People against the carbon tax are raging on Twitter. The fear-mongering and hysteria surrounding the tax is really daft and groundless. Those against the tax, a.k.a Today Tonight enthusiasts, are blowing it entirely out of proportion, what, with their incessant picketing, wild imagination ("This will destroy Australia!" "Democracy is dead as we know it!") and put-downs. It doesn't help that Tony Abbott is on television every night in a fluorescent jacket and an over-sized mining helmet fuelling the green scare by emphasising just how badly the tax will hurt struggling Aussie families and good ol' mining companies. It's fascinating how emotive language and sweeping statements can bring people to their knees.

On a brighter note though, it's heartening to know that there are older people out there ditching their afternoon bingo sessions to fight evil.

Now, I have to ask: what in the name of Thor is up with the ongoing crusade against homosexuality? Miranda Devine's recent article against same-sex marriage is an obnoxious read. Her article summed up in one sentence is: Penny Wong and partner Sophie are having a baby therefore the London riots are happening as a result of a "fatherless society". To top it off, independent Bob Katter and national Barnaby Joyce addressed a "pro-marriage" rally at Parliament house yesterday. Katter encouraged playground bullying tactics when he said same-sex marriage "deserves to be laughed at and ridiculed". And Joyce is determined to protect his daughters from the evil homosexual agenda. He's afraid the Village People will rise up and dominate the world.

It doesn't stop at homophobes and people who believe global warming is one giant conspiracy. Zionists, especially those online, are a special bunch too. If you point out Israel's human rights abuses and crimes against Palestinians, you will be charged with "anti-Semitism" and labelled an "anti-Jewish bigot". If you try reasoning with them by saying "anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism", they won't care because to them, criticism of Israel "is the new socially acceptable way to hate Jews" (according to one Zionist Twitter user). When you point out that Israel denies Palestinians their rights, and that it subjects Palestinians to a military occupation, continues to annex and confiscate Palestinian land, build illegal settlements and that it subjugates Palestinians to a racist apartheid system, Zionists will firstly deny it then proceed to say that "the singleminded focus on Israel at the expense of HR violations in Saudi, Sudan, Syria etc, show your Jew hatred". When you make it clear that you are against all human rights abuses, wherever they may be happening, and that Arab despots mistreating their people in no way obscures or deflects from Israel's crimes and illegality, you will be told that you are "anti-Semitic", a "liar", "stupid" and the Zionists will even toss in a free and accurate one-lined biography: "Eighteen. Living at home. Never worked. Never left Oz. Ignorant. Thinks knows it all. Wasted life coming up". That's me, alright! They'll also tell you that "your people" would "stone you" and "beat you" if given the chance. Oh, Zionists. They're a charming bunch.