Archive for the ‘ International ’ Category

fush n chups… so what’s the fuss?

060217_kiwi

Looking for some chups

It’s interesting (for me) that’s there’s been such a fuss over a blog that doesn’t say too much, but what is does is pretty accurate.

Having just returned from a week in Sydney I’ve been mulling over the differences between Auckland and Sydney – and there an so many.

I’m not talking about infrastructure, which is better in Sydney, it’s the people. In so many ways Sydney feels like Auckland – sprawling leafy green suburbs, it’s built around a harbour so there’s plenty of sea, and the climates are sort of similar.

But the difference that struck me was how much more friendly people seem… Continue reading

Japanese attempt to ‘save face’ on whaling

The latest twist in the Japanese whaling saga seems to be about the Japanese ‘giving up’ doing something it shouldn’t be doing anyway, and then being allowed to legitimately do something it’s doing already, but in a different place.

Essentially the Japanese Whaling lobby are offering to cease whaling in the South Pacific in return for being able to take an unspecified number of whales in the North Pacific.

If you understand a bit about Japanese culture and business negotiations this looks a lot like a face saving proposal.

nissanmaru_2007125115922I think the Japanese Whaling lobby and their supporters within the Japanese Government and IWC have realised they are losing the battle for ‘hearts and minds’ both internationally and at home.

It is likely that in five years or so the Japanese whaling lobby’s intransigence and endless subsidies will wear very thin with the Japanese tax payer, and they already know that international public opinion is very much against them. 

With the economic outlook grim, the Japanese Government will be wanting to cut costs where it can to prop up public spending to mitigate the economic slump. Whaling is not only a waste of money, but it’s clearly annoying Japanese allies and international public opinion, so it would make sense to quietly seek a compromise that avoids the damaging publicity it is currently suffering, while saving the subsidies it pays to the industry.

Personally I credit Sea Shepherd for this desperate attempt to seek a compromise before it gets so bad they are forced into a publicly humiliating back down – something Japanese take very badly.

The endless bad publicity and the clumsy attempts by the Japanese Whaling lobby to frame their industry as ‘reserch’ (by painting the words in English “Research” on the sides of their whaling industries vessels) and wooden PR campaign have ruined any credibility they may have had.

Their defenders in the ‘West’ are usually Japanophiles that perform some curious displays of logic contortion to justify Japanese ‘rights’ t hunt whales in the South Pacific based on flimsy cultural grounds. Hell, if the Japanese want to go and hunt a few whales off their coast with traditional wooden boats and harpoons, be my guest. Huge factory ships with myriad support vessels, spotter boats, and factory ships isn’t ‘cultural’ it’s economic exploitation.

New Zealand, Australia and the other ‘anti’ whaling block members on the IWC should see the Japanese overtures for what they are, an attempt to save face and retain some form of whaling based on the realisation that in five years even their current program will be so unpopular they will be forced to loose face by backing down completely.

The answer to this current proposal and any other like it, should be ‘NO’. 

Let Japanese continue it’s publicly damaged ‘research’ missions in the South Pacific, and let groups like Sea Shepherd oppose them, this is the surest way to close down this industry for good.

Happy Birthday Bush!

Kate Bush that is (sorry all those GWB fans out there).

I see she turned 50 today, 50! time flies. Well I thought I would go onto you tube and take a look at some of the classics, and.. they were… well pretty embarrassing really. No doubt there will be some artists now cringing at their work in 20 years time, come to think of it, some of them don’t even have to wait that long.

Anyway, I like her older material, and I know when I was young I fancied the hell out of her, no botox in those days, that pout was 100% natural!

Despite her eclectic style she seems remarkably well balanced compared to other successful female singer/writers – yes, back then when leg warmers and leotards were the rage, they not only looked hot, but wrote and produced their own music too.

 

Kungfu Panda and Chinese Freedom of Expression

“A few weeks ago, when the movie opened in China, there was already a call for a boycott – on the grounds that foreigners had lifted one of China’s most precious symbols, the panda, and were using it for their own profit… …the main question being asked is: how could Western filmmakers have used Chinese themes to create such a brilliant animated movie with such widespread appeal to the Chinese themselves?”

It is strange that this should cause the Chinese so much angst, but points to something that everyone else in the world should not under-estimate.

What should not be under estimated is that the vast majority of Chinese have been brought up in a society that has been carefully managed by Communists with the sole aim at perpetuating their long term grip on power.

Chinese are systematically brainwashed to the whim of the people in power from birth to death.

That’s not to say that people don’t think independently (or are stupid), as they do, they just either end up deeply unhappy, overseas or in prison.

Every time ‘we’ see some strange Chinese reaction to something we take for granted, we need to understand the pervasive brainwashing that has gone on for a number of generations.

How the hell anyone can expect creative spirit (even to create something as banal as a Panda that’s an expert in martial arts) to flourish in a society that controls almost even aspect of peoples thought?  What is surprising is that it should even be discussed.

However, I guess that Chinese are starting to confront these issues is a hopeful sign that they may be collectively questioning the grip the Communist Party has on people’s lives. On the other hand if is boils now to some silly nationalist argument then that will demonstrate how successful the communists have been in controlling thought.

Speedy Justice!

The South Koreans don’t waste time, their economy & democracy have developed fast, they have the fastest internet speeds in the world, and now they have a fast justice system too.

They have just adopted a jury system for trials.

Not ones to muck around they made the decision and got on with it catching citizens out when they received their jury service summons.

It also appears they don’t hang around in court, with murder trials taking a day!

So far, nearly all the jury trials have been concluded within one day, from jury selection in the morning, through lawyers’ presentations in the afternoon, to jury deliberations in early evening. Jurors, usually numbering five to nine, are instructed that if they cannot reach a unanimous verdict within an hour or so, they must consult the judge for guidance.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/07/asia/jury.php

I was impressed that jurors didn’t want to be away from work for more than a day – maybe if we could achieve one day trials here people wouldn’t constantly try and get out of jury service, robbing the system of a balanced representation of citizens. I guess it would quickly clear that backlog of trials we have and the delays in people actually getting justice – ‘justice delayed is justice denied’.

I guess things will change in Korea as the courts adapt and trials start to drag out. The Japanese have also adopted jury trials and it will be interesting to see how their highly arbitrary justice system evolves.