Would you take your children to a prison for a day’s enjoyment? Twice a year (in April and October), you can do just that at the
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Would you take your children to a prison for a day’s enjoyment? Twice a year (in April and October), you can do just that at the
I went to see the play "Sono Otoko" originally from the novel written by Shotaro Ikenami. It is a story of a man who lived from the end of Edo era to Showa era(1850-1938), when Japan was dramatically changing by adopting european culture.
Here is his biography. You can read some of his books in English.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Coup d'état in Portugal 1974.
Almost bloodless revolution that overthrown the supressive dictatorship. ("Capitães de Abril", movie 2000)
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
If there is one thing I heard over and over during the time of Zimbabwe’s worst economic troubles, it was, “How on earth are you surviving?” This from both Zimbabweans and foreigners. Inevitably the answer would be, “We make a plan”, because that’s the Zimbabwean way, and that’s what we have always done.
It’s a little hard to explain to an outsider. There are many who have said that if what happened to Zimbabwe had happened to any other country in southern Africa, the result would have been far worse. My personal opinion is that what happened to us was more than the result of the farm invasions and poor government policy. We became caught up in a perfect storm of post-independence euphoria and a certain lack of attention to warning signs, religious adherence to poorly crafted World Bank and IMF plans, and perhaps an over-reliance on one aspect of our economy- agriculture. Well before the farm invasions, the Zimbabwe dollar was showing signs of stress, and the drought years of the 1990s had already put pressure on our economy. I remember the worries of farmers in the 1990s, the talk of the national herd being depleted, and people wondering how on earth one could exchange Z$5 for US$1. Pretty funny to think about now.
It feels like we’ve “been sifted”. It is hard to imagine, looking back, how we ever survived the season that followed. I was one of those Zimbabweans who stayed (although I enjoyed a brief hiatus in Botswana, when I had left for personal reasons). The first hint of trouble stirring was when I was at the University of Zimbabwe, and the suppression of the usual demonstrations by students was becoming increasingly violent, leading eventually to the death of a student. We heard whispers then of a party being formed with worker’s union roots, and sure enough, just over a year later, the MDC was formed. In 1998 we had the bread riots, when Morgan Tsvangirai became a national voice, and those riots were the symptom of the economic mess that was coming…. Things went downhill from there- and it’s been ten years.
How did we survive? How did we survive the fuel queues which eventually went away when there was no fuel to be had anymore? How did we survive the stacks and stacks of cash which later being such a source of merriment, the “bricks” we carried around in such small denominations that we had to hand over a brick to get a loaf of bread- when we got bread? How did we manage the hours or days or weeks of power and water cuts? How did we manage the cash shortages, or the empty shelves at the supermarket which meant that there was no food to be had locally? Or how we have dealt with falling ill and going to hospital to find no drugs, no doctors, no nurses, no food, nothing but a bed?
We made a plan.
First we queued for ourselves and other people, and made jokes about fuel queues while we stood around in them and made new friends. Then we bought our fuel in Botswana or South Africa, eventually getting fuel traders- with tankers and small vans- to bring us our fuel in tankers or drums or 5-litre plastic containers. Cross-border traders- women who left their families to cross borders to Zambia or Botswana or South Africa stood in queues at service stations for us. We walked or cycled to work, come rain or shine. We drove at forty kilometres per hour to save fuel. We got the cash somehow, and haggled and converted and counted to a trillion in our heads, and bartered and stayed in business until we couldn’t anymore, then we tried a different business. Supermarkets sold tea leaves and sugar and jam, or nothing, but opened their doors day after day. Bread came and went, and changed in size (so standard didn’t mean the same thing from week to week), and the price changed daily when bread was to be had, and sometimes even when it wasn’t. We built fires to cook over, and went to people with boreholes to get water, or got generators. We used candles or battery-powered lamps for lighting, or we slept early. We learnt that even though there was no schedule to the water cuts, we could work our way around them by doing all our laundry when we heard the trickle into the water geyser. We learnt to boil or filter our drinking water, and not to keep too much meat in the house. We learnt to do all our shopping across borders- from perishable food to dry goods and clothing, and got quite handy with other people’s currencies. And we learnt to buy not just for our households, but for others, too. We didn’t “get sick” until the cholera outbreak, which was more illness than we could handle by staying at home and nursing ourselves back to health.
And through it all we griped when we couldn’t handle it anymore, or left the country to find something better, to send money back home; but mostly we just stayed put and made jokes about it, and managed somehow. We looked to extended family, and looked after each other. We had braais (barbeques) when we had meat, and let down our hair. We worked hard in between, knowing that if we didn’t, we might not eat the following day. We did without movies and the mall, and when we went out for coffee, we made do with whatever there was- tea, soft drinks, black coffee, a slice of cake or lemon meringue or whatever was on the menu. Sometimes it got hilarious; we went out to a pizza place one night, and all there was on the menu was a pizza base with tomato and garlic on it- like a marguerita pizza, but without cheese- no meat, no other vegetables. We laughed and ate.
I spoke to people in business who stayed open waiting for things to change, even though they couldn’t pay their staff. I talked to farmers who had had their farms taken away, and were now running a retail business, selling no name brand cleaning products, and earning a living that way. I spoke to factory workers who were going in to work once a week, and earned their salary in kind (whatever foodstuffs were available), rather than cash. I spoke to a woman who had travelled from Chivhu to Bulawayo for medical treatment (about three hours by road), because although there is a hospital there, there was no point in trying to get treatment there. As they shared their stories, I wondered about the thing about the Zimbabwean that made them deal with everything with such grace. Everyone struggled, but we managed somehow.
And our future? I believe in us, truly I do. If the same can-do attitude can be applied to the mammoth challenges facing us, we will recover. It may not even take as long as so many seem to think. Maybe it’s a matter of there being nowhere left to go but up; or perhaps just as with people, the national character had been strengthened by adversity. I do know this for sure: seeing how people tackled an impossible situation, and worked hard, and kept smiling, made me proud to be Zimbabwean.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Happy Easter everyone!
Coinciding with the holdy Christian holidays these days..is a an Old Egyptian Holiday, 20th of April, "Shamm el Nesseim" which literally means "Inhaling the Breeze" or let's Say..it's the welcoming note of Spring!
It's a Spring festival, celebrated since the Ancient Egyptians!
Tradition went on to have fun colouring boiled eggs, usuing natural colours and artificial ones, eating smoked salty fish, and onions...having breakfast and enjoying this Colourful day in parks! It's a day off in Egypt...where all Egyptians celebrate it almost the same way in a way or another, however poor or rich they are, of whatever social background!
On Hotels, parks, big venues, musical concerts and parties are held to enjoy the day on the modern style! Yet this does not mean that you'd escape eating the very salty smoked fish prepared for that day! (which I'm no big fan of by the way :D)
This morning, as a family ritual, I prepared the colours and my mum has boiled the eggs..and I've called upon my younger sisters to enjoy the Spring breeze that's all over the place! :)
p.s. photo taken this morning part of the artwork we practised this morning :D
Sunday, April 19, 2009
También nos reunimos para saludar al Cronista de San Cristóbal en su año jubilar. Llega el Dr. José Joaquín Villamizar Molina, Decano de los Cronistas de Venezuela, al cincuentenario como responsable de la conservación de la memoria de la Capital del Táchira.
Estos dos aniversarios nos han convocado en las tierras que hace mas de 400 años ocupara el hato de Don Pedro de Torres. Estamos aquí para cumplir con la Banda, recordando que ha permanecido en funciones durante 14 diferentes períodos presidenciales de Venezuela, iniciándose desde el del General Cipriano Castro, Estamos aquí para cumplir con el Cronista de 10 lustros, caso único en el Táchira y en Venezuela.
Me permito expresar mi agradecimiento al Dr. Roberto Esteban Avendaño, Presidente de la Fundación Cultural “Centro Lectura y Recreo”, de Lobatera, por la invitación para presentar estas breves palabras de salutación. El Dr. Avendaño, Presidente de la Academia de Historia del Táchira, Miembro Correspondiente de las Academias de Historia del Zulia, de Norte de Santander y de Boyacá, y eminente Docente Universitario, sabe de mi afecto ancestral por Lobatera y por consiguiente mi satisfacción por este encargo. De Lobatera fue mi antepasado José Antonio Pérez Arellano, mi tatarabuelo, nacido aquí hace mas de 150 años, y su señora madre Gregoria Arellano Ramírez, nacida aquí a finales del siglo 18, y quien casara en Lobatera con el grítense Juan Evangelista Pérez Mora. Este saludo inicial tiene estas y otras notas personales que me acercan en el afecto a Lobatera y su gente, y que no podría dejar de expresar, como el recuerdo de mi primo hermano Antonio Gómez, fallecido también aquí hace pocos años.
También me satisface participar en un acto que rinde homenaje al Dr. Villamizar Molina, quien comparte su condición de Individuo de Número de la Academia de Historia del Táchira con el Dr. Avendaño y conmigo, al igual que su membresía de las Academias de Historia del Zulia, Norte de Santander y Boyacá. El Dr. Villamizar exhibe, además de su respetada trayectoria en los caminos de la historia y la crónica, medio siglo de ejercicio como Médico Psiquiatra, digna trayectoria que indudablemente será presentada mas tarde. Tengo que decir también que tengo una gran amistad con el Dr. Villamizar, paisano de mi esposa.
La ocasión es entonces estupenda, magnífica, pues Lobatera, uno de los cuatro pilares de la Provincia del Táchra; Lobatera, generosa en el aporte humano que permite la aparición de Borotá, Michelena, San Pedro del Río y Colón; Lobatera, la del fulgente arrebol que está en el oro del aire y del sol, felicita y enaltece a su hija la Banda Municipal Sucre, merecedora por méritos que van mas allá de su antigüedad, para solazar con su alta calidad musical a quienes tienen la dicha de escuchar sus instrumentos musicales. Y aun le sobra generosidad a esta querida Lobatera, para felicitar y enaltecer al hijo de Santa Ana del Táchira, adoptado primero por San Cristóbal y el Táchira, y ya querido y admirado en otras regiones de Venezuela y del mundo.
Si hiciéramos buena la afirmación de que no morimos totalmente mientras se nos recuerde, habría que considerar que en este acto, la rememoración hace que viva el Padre Pedro María Morales, Cobrense que ejerció como Párroco de Lobatera durante mas de 20 años y fundador de la Banda Sucre. El Padre Morales antes de venir a esta población fue Teniente Cura en Táriba y Michelena, tierras de mis afectos, y antes aún había sido compañero de estudios sacerdotales de mi tío abuelo José Lucio Becerra en el Colegio del Corazón de Jesus, que fundara el Padre Jáuregui en La Grita, y compañero en el Seminario de Curazao.
Estamos aquí, pues, para honrar a la Banda Municipal Sucre y al Dr. José Joaquín Villamizar Molina, y corriendo el riesgo de ser poco original, debemos recordar a los Lobaterenses y a los que han venido de fuera, que Honrar Honra. Honores que significan no solo la manifestación de voluntad de la actual generación de quienes aquí viven, sino que implican trascendencias históricas que tendríamos que remontar al altivo y orgulloso aborigen, que no desaparecerá jamás en nuestra memoria, no solo por la voz del nombre de la población y otros lugares, sino por que perpetuó en la piedra su presencia, su cultura y su saber. Inolvidable entonces el anónimo Caribe que regó esta tierra con su sudor y su sangre desde hace mil años, y cuyos códigos genéticos sobreviven en muchos de los habitantes de estas tierras.
Honores que también se remontan al emprendedor español, que tal vez podríamos representar en el vallesolitano Torres Vera, sus acompañantes y sus descendientes. Su sangre y su sudor también fueron parte de su aporte a esta tierra, y su cultura está presente en elementos como el reticulado en el trazado de las calles, o las casas de teja con patios y corredores. Así las cosas, resulta posible decir hoy, en este abril de 2009, que podemos responder a la inquietud propuesta por el Cronista de la Ciudad, Dr. Samir Abdalá Sanchez Escalante, cuyos numerosos méritos sería poco menos que redundante recordar en esta ciudad, responderíamos a esa propuesta planteada al final del libro sobre Lobatera publicado hace 16 años, de manera muy afirmativa, que si podemos seguir afirmando con propiedad que Lobatera es y seguirá siendo una tierra de pioneros.
Bienvenidos al Acto de Homenaje con motivo de la celebración de los 103 años de la Fundación de Banda Municipal Sucre de Lobatera, y conmemoración de las Bodas de Oro como Cronista de la Ciudad de San Cristóbal, del Ilustre y Honorable Ciudadano Dr. José Joaquín Villamizar Molina.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
I was really depressed when I saw those jellyfish. This area is full of dirty. Almost each country that has sea coast have same problem. I have taken this picture last weekend in Istanbul. You see whole of jelly fish on the picture. In order to solve this problem, I think, both people and local authorities has to work together.
By Christopher Ambe Shu
Albert Samba Ngwana, Chairman of Cardinal Democratic Party (CDP) of Cameroon, has urged the Cameroonian Government to arrest and prosecute all known prostitutes in the Country, insisting that they are criminals.
Angered by an interview granted to a local tabloid by a woman, presenting herself as President of Northwest Prostitutes, the CDP chair, has in a letter dated April 6,2009,addressed to the Governor of the Northwest Region of Cameroon, called for the immediate arrest of the chief Prostitute and co.
Below is the letter, read on:
Your Excellency Sir,
“PRESIDENT OF NW PROSTITUTES SAYS THEY EARN THRICE MORE THAN CIVIL SERVANTS”
The Star Newspaper of today Monday April 6, 2009 published a lengthy interview Ndi Ndi in Bamenda had with Ndongla Mairo, where she proclaimed herself as the President of Northwest Prostitutes. A union they started in 2006 with about 325 prostitutes.
Your Excellency, the whole Nation was shocked and scandalized by this revelation.
Prostitution is an offence punishable under section 343 of the Cameroon Penal Code. The punishment ranges from six months to five years imprisonment or a fine of 20,000 to 500,000 CFA.
We want you to instruct the department in charge of crimes to investigate and arrest the culprits at once and bring them to justice.Cameroon is running down to chaos and immorality and this must stop.
In February this year the Wouri SDO took a bold step to clear the Douala Municipality of prostitutes, by rounding them up at night.
We applauded his action and asked other SDOs to do same.
The N.W. Prostitutes have declared themselves through their president as practicing prostitution and should be arrested at once and tried according to the law.
Mr. Governor, we hope that you will act swiftly.
Chief A.S. Ngwana,
National Chairman,Cardinal Democratic Party.
-Government delegate Bamenda
-Commissioner of Police BamendaChief of National Security Bamenda
Sunday, April 05, 2009
In the streets of El Salvador it's very common to find foreigners backpacking from all over the world, germans, australians, british, canadians, french, etc, etc, etc they like to visit the places related to the colony as well as the places where took place the civil war that ended 17 years ago. Chalatenango, Cabañas, Morazan, Cuscatlan and La Libertad are the most common places where we can find lots of information regarding touristic destinations.
There is a common saying after visiting this wonderful place: You will be coming back, because you will fall in love with the humble salvadoran smile and the human warmth that its inhabitants transmit which is a trademark.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Due to its position as point of crossing and center of transport from their beginnings, the people and the culture of Panama reflect their international origins. The people and their culture have roots everywhere in the world, resulting in a tolerance atmosphere in which people get along with others well.
Its population is a crucible of races that includes a 62% of half-caste, 14% of African, 10% of Spaniards, 5% mulattos and 5% Indians. The Jewish, Chinese, Arab and Hindustani communities play an important role in the commercial sector. The 7 indigenous ethnic groups who live in Panama are scattered by all the territory, in regions very located.
The Emberá live in the borders of the Chagres river, and the Wounaan inhabits the area of Darien, the impenetrable jungle that separates Panama of Colombia. In spite of the distance, both ethnic groups share customs and clothes, taparrabos or " paruma " for them, and colorists skirts and naked torso for them, in addition to bracelets and necklaces of silver currencies. However, their languages are totally different.T
The Kunas are probably the indigenous group that more jealously it has maintained his culture, and live in the archipelago of San Blas. The women show to the mourning taking a red and yellow handkerchief in the head, and a longitudinal black line crosses their noses; the red is extracted of a called fruit jagua. Their dances are danced to the compass of flutes of bamboo and maracas done of pumpkins and seeds.
The Ngöbe-Bugle are the majority ethnic group in Panama and inhabits the provinces of Veraguas, Bocas del Toro and Chiriquí. Usually they work in the coffee plantations, sugar bowls and bananeras, since these provinces concentrate most of the agricultural production of the country. Their conditions of life are quite bad, and live such in large cabins within coffee plantations, that there are been crossing. They make " the very " colorists Chácaras, purses, and "chaquiras", geometric necklaces polychromes facts with obtained accounts of shells and bones.
The Teribe (Nazo) live near the borders of the river of the same name, are excellent constructors of canoes, hammocks, drums, and wood statures, and their dances very are varied, like gallote, and the dance of the tiger (there are no tigers here, but it sees that they know them). The Bokotá lives in Bocas del Toro and their dyed vegetal fiber hats are very famous. Finally, the Bri-bri live in the border with Costa Rica, in the Yorkin river. Their customs are similar to those of the Bokotá.