Saturday, December 09, 2006

10 favourite films

some one asked me the otherday what my favourite movies are, this is always a difficult one to answer but roughly my favourite 10 (not in numerical order) as this changes on a daily basis are

The Wages of Fear
Dark Days
Gods and Monsters
Princess Mononoke
Dr Strangelove
and an either or for #10 - Repoman or the hidden for mid 80's pulp scifi

i think theese are my desert island dvds not sure what life would be like without them, some unashamedly obscure and unlikley to make the top 100 of anyone elses lists, but to my mind all perfect.

Friday, December 08, 2006

well im back at work again, boyant in mood, on a rainy doha friday. the asian games continue a pace with only 1 fatality so far from the equestrian events, very sad.

well here i go again, my days off (2) consisted of picking up amazon packages from aramex and getting my months alcohol quota
which consists of

2x btls of champagne (christmas innit)
2x btls of pink bubbly (australian)
1x ltr of Stolly
1x btl of calvados (mmm my beloved)
2x btls of chenanan blanc
2x cases of oranjiboom.

its all a little scary buying your months consumption in one go, but as i said its christmas, and im having waifs and strays around at mine for christmas lunch/dinner and probably some kind of party afterward mince pies and carols that kind of thing.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

well i went to the finger print place again this morning at 7.30am, i got the ink and paper treatment this time, so i have black hands, i am also assured that processing will take a maximum of 3 days so thats a big bonus.

other than that its 12.30 here, feels like a lifetime that ive been here, tired cranky and didnt sleep lastnight. however i have 3 packages at aramex to pick up tomorow & im going to go bookcase shopping tomorow as well!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Americans should be able to see Al-Jazeera English TV

By B. Kumaravadivelu
\\\\ quoted from the san hoze mercury\\ and i totaly agree -

My students at San Jose State often hear me say with irritating persistence that most of them have an appallingly low level of general knowledge about world events that affect all of us. I try to impress upon them that they are long on opinions and short on facts mainly because they remain uninformed. If this is true of university students, it may be true of the general public as well.

We all know that an enlightened citizenry is essential for any democracy to thrive. It is, therefore, regrettable that the American public has been denied an excellent learning opportunity to get better informed about a civilization with which it is supposed to clash. They have been denied access to Al-Jazeera English TV, which is considered to be the voice of the Islamic world.

Since its inception a decade ago, the Qatar based Al-Jazeera's Arabic network has created a niche for itself. In the process, it has invited the wrath of Western as well as Islamic governments. The Bush administration tried, without success, to persuade the Qatari government to rein in Al-Jazeera. Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called it ``vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.'' Some governments, which are not very fond of press freedom, have from time to time prohibited its correspondents from operating within their countries. It is still banned in Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Biased or not, Al-Jazeera has definitely made a dent in the American dominance of global information dissemination, at least in certain parts of the world. Now, with its new English language network, it has the potential to be a bridge between Western and Middle Eastern world views. Bowing to this reality, countries such as Britain, France, Germany, Italy and even Israel have made the channel available for their citizens.

Sadly, the United States is one of the few democracies in the world where Al-Jazeera will not be seen. None of the major cable TV providers, such as Comcast, Time Warner and Cablevision, will carry the network. Nor will the two major satellite TV providers: Dish Network and DirecTV. The providers say it is ``a business decision.'' It is, however, naive to believe the decision was motivated entirely by business considerations, given the severe criticism directed against the network by high-level officials of the Bush administration.

Although the Islamic network has been criticized for being pro-Islam and not pro-American, our government has been spending millions of taxpayer dollars to establish, from time to time, a number of specialized radio and TV stations to broadcast pro-American views. We know the success of Voice of America. We know how influential the Spanish language Radio Martí has been in educating the people of Cuba. More recently, we established Radio Sawa to broadcast in Arabic, and Radio Farda to broadcast in Farsi. In fact, in 2004, as soon as the security conditions in Iraq permitted, we rushed to launch an Arabic-language TV station called Al-Hurra just to make sure that the newly liberated Iraqis have the right kind of information.

After Sept. 11, our government even created the job of undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs in the State Department, with the purpose of promoting cross-cultural understanding and burnishing the American image, which has been under severe stress in the wake of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most of its effort is directed toward the people of the Islamic world so that they are knowledgeable about American values and visions, and do not fall an easy prey to cultural and religious stereotypes about the American people.

A crucial question that seems to have escaped us is: How do we ensure that we also make an effort to develop a genuine understanding of the people of other countries, cultures and religions? How do we ensure that we do not become prisoners of the frozen and false image that we carry in our head about others? The corporate decision about Al-Jazeera English, and the lack of public response to that decision, may betray a deep-rooted feeling that only others should know about us; we do not have to know about them. Perhaps we think that knowledge, like a river, flows only in one direction.

Interestingly, the rest of the world has taken kindly to CNN and even Fox News. There are government officials and people in other countries who think that these American networks are, well, pro-American, and yet they do watch them. Why do we hesitate to let alien voices and images appear on our TV screen? What are we afraid of?

Knowledge is not a scary thing, is it?

B. KUMARAVADIVELU is a professor of applied linguistics at San Jose State University. He wrote this article for the Mercury News.
ive just had a question from a very good friend of mine about two of her lesbian friends who plan to visit doha as tourists, i wrote the following which i feel is quite poiniant


doha on many levels leaves alot to be desired, but is also fairly civilised too, doha is fundementaly a town under construction, a town run by a man who has literaly more money than god (qatar has the worlds largest gas reserves) and is keen to drive doha into the 21c and not be reliant on its natrual rescources.

as a place to live, doha is a rougly 50/50 mix of tatoween & bladerunner (if you get the scifi references) or a scene from a very distorted western with large 4x4's replacing horses. it also entirley depends what you want to do here at the end of the day, if your into sand theres lots of it, going out theres not much, some good resteraunts but forget it if you want a bottle of wine with dinner, some bars (think of a social scene out of the hotels in lost in translation) but there also full of loud fat oil/gas workers. there are some beautiful beaches but are a pain to get to.
another thing to bear in mind is that doha is incredibly expensive as a tourist average prices here range from 170-350 euros a night for doha or 130 out of doha for the hotels with a pint of beer coming in at between 4&5 pounds. the upside is that shopping is tax free, there is some stunning cloathing out here both hand made and off the peg (if your into hand made cloathing you will be in heaven)

however and here comes the big BUT given that the current thaught in doha is that you can cure homosexuality, and the current cure is 40 lashes and a stretch at his emeirs pleasure, it may prove problematic, on the other hand muslim countries are funny in that way regularly i see arab men walking hand in hand down the road (this is not seen as gay here just a sign of friendship), there is queerness here but its underground (read not very) and have had friends pick up in local bars.

the problem may be that you will are two western women out here, as currently there is a 10:1 male to female ratio, and some friends of mine have been treated appallingly here, with the whole stalking and eve teasing thing being huge here certainly around doha itself. i have heard stories (and this can go under unconfirmed speculation) of women being alone in taxis and the drives whipping their johnson out for a quick play during the drive, there are other much worse stories too - but im not sure of howmuch urban legend to truth factor there is,
but just to relate a story a male gay friend of mine out here brought a 'friend' home, the taxi driver/gate security guard (he couldnt work out whom) called the cops on him and the cops turned up at the door all ready to arrest him, luckily they were still drinking in the livingroom at the time, but that was/is a very close shave that really shook him up.
well back after a few days off mostly spend at home with the cold from hell, went shopping for cookware yesterday got a nice digital scale that reads up to 5kg which is great for my bakery, and a nice pinstripe canvas apron - ooh get me and my domestic goddess nature! also looks like i may have found something to solve my bookcase trauma at the royal plaza mall, which is very nice - more like john lewis than a big old yankee mall.

beaurocuracy watch: ive got to be in the office for 7.30am tomorow to go and get my finger prints done again as the powers that be have lost my fingerprints so it looks like tomorow is going to be a long day. there is supposed to be some muslim feast thing at the compound with goat etc. tonight but i think realistically im going to hit the sack early to get some sleep to be up by 5.30.

dont know what else to say really after spending 3 days veging im feeling slightly beter.