Friday, June 26, 2009


ah well, that's life...

...ah well, luang prabang has to be put on a back burner for a while though ironically i may have to go there in the near future on 'official business visit' . but in the mean time i have to make do with sitting here in a small but quite nice room in Maison D'Hanoi , a boutique hotel on Hang Trong st right in the heart of hanoi's old quarter. at usd70 nett per night this place is relatively 'cheap' at least compared to the rather grubby hilton hanoi opera which as the name suggests is just next to the hanoi opera which is priced at usd130++ for the cheapest room. i was there for a couple of nights and the hotel was full of fat americans, thin ethiopians and other africans from countries like mozambique and gabon attending seminars and conferences .

and incidentally, i read a fine but unusual obituary of omar bongo the late president of gabon in the economist on the singapore airline flight to hanoi. i've never heard of this guy and never realised what a right bloody bastard he was. he plundered gabon for 40 years and treated the country as his personal property. he reminded me somewhat of our local hero tun Mahathir who is still living and still messing about with malaysian politics.

maison d'hanoi is just a few minutes away from hoan kiem lake and it is always fun to walk around the lake at night and watch groups of middle aged hanoi ladies doing aerobic to the outdated crappy dance music on old fashioned portable 'boom box' and even better still watching all the young and shapely vietnamese girls just lolling about sucking on ice creams.... and if you look a bit like a foreigner you can't walk two steps without being waved at by motorcyclists who are everywhere offering to bring you to massage parlours... not that i have the slightest urge to take their offer. it's quite possible that they may bring you to some dark alley and rob you instead of presenting you with those luscious young viet girls. but still, i thank god that i am born a man.

and in these days of facebook and instant friendship i just sent a note to one of my girl vietnamese cyber friends saying that i'll be in hanoi and may be you would like to have coffee or someting with me?. and she came back asking how old i am which prompted me to check her profile and found out that she was born in 1994. hmmmm....i'm now feeling slightly worried that she may think that i'm a damned pedophile.


saw her latest facebook 'what's on your mind' post which simply said woohoo!!! she did an IQ test and seemed to be elated with her result. and this is how her score is stated... i quote...your IQ is above 85!! she either had a very fine sense of humor or it's just that english isn't her strong point and she's only fifteen anyway.

not to be unkind or anything but somehow that reminds me of the hardtalk program on bbc last night with jane goodall talking about gorillas.....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


UG? Urghhhh!!!

OMG! (as some people would say these days), there's no let up to this Unity government (UG) stupidity. and the devilish umno , sly bastards that they are are quick to sense blood. and the fucking retarded leaders of PAS (and i'm especially referring to nasharuddin and his band of idiots) are swallowing it hook line and sinker (as the expression goes ). god! it makes my blood boil again.

i need a break from torturing myself reading and hearing and watching these umno devils egging these PAS idiots on and on with this UG stupidity. it's so bloody embarrassing to stand and watch pas getting mauled and fooled by the umno devils yet again... dear god almighty! i had to run away again! fucking coward that i am! i just can't understand these people. why are they hell bent on destroying what gains they have! why are their brains so fucking small that they can not think outside of umno! and this media spin about the erdogans are pro anwar is making me trow up again! fuck the alleged sodomist. pas with people like nizar, khalid, husam can give anwar a run for the money (as the expression goes) and pas people ought to have bigger brains to think beyond anwar!

but with pea brained nasharuddin and the gang egging hadi awang (which never in a million years will become PM inside or outside PR) on and on about UG, and TGNA is getting angrier and angrier and the sly devils in umno egging the idiot nasharuddin on and on for more concrete UG talks it's a matter of time before things will really blow up and PAS will then be truly screwed .

god! i really think i need another break...and i think i'll go to luang prabang this time...or may be in the short term (as they say in our office) i'll just make do and pacify myself by reading another travel book on laos by that "intrepid geriatric granny" dervla murphy titled one foot in laos.
if this one sentence exerpt from this independent book interview is to go by she sounds like one hell of a grand mama...but may be instead of cooling me off it'll get me all riled up against the fucking american government again...

"Every night during the Secret War, while Americans postured about saving the world from the evil empire, their AC47 gunships patrolled skies over Laos and when their infra-red sensors reacted to warm flesh, heroes on board fired 6,000 rounds a minute, not knowing whether their targets were Pathet Laos, soldiers, buffaloes, North Vietnamese, pigs, nursing mothers, gibbons or children. And B52 pilots on their way back from abortive sorties into Vietnam regularly dropped unused bombs upon Laos, having being ordered not to land with high explosives on board."

Thursday, June 11, 2009



i was in makassar recently and found out that our pm DS najib had just visited the town about a week before and a road was named after him somewhere. i don't know what kind of road it is. how major it is or if it's just an alley way , a lorong in a pijat zone of makassar. it was a first anyway as i don't think there's a road anywhere named after our PM yet apart from this one. and so soon after he became pm too. quite an achievement this. apparently najib is quite proud of his bugis heritage and the sulawesi bugis are obviously proud of him too. i wonder if the sulawesi people know anything about altantuya and the c4 stories.

but they sure know about manohara. the moment i checked in the first question the beautiful indonesian check-in girl at the hotel counter asked me was why did the sultan of kelantan beat up manohara. i said it was not the sultan. the guy is old and sick and i know nothing about the strange sex games these people play. i mean manohara is just seventeen! she could have mistaken a rough sex game with beatings, who knows. and today we hear that the prince, manohara's husband is denying everything and planning a lawsuit.

well, that would be interesting. i certainly would love to know what really happened. i don't know anything about manohara until this scandal blew over a few weeks back and i still don't know anything but i sure would like to know all the dirty details of what actually happened. i mean why on earth a prince would want to beat a seventeen year old girl and one of the most beautiful models of indonesia too? but then again, we all have heard that many bluebloods of the world are nothing but assholes.

when i told my indonesian friends that i wanted to visit makassar their first reaction was why on earth anybody want to go to makassar? there's nothing there . and that is just about quite right although i found the old port at poatere quite actual destination was to see the interesting culture of tana toraja people. and since i'm not one of these intrepid travellers who like to rough it out i simply hired a taxi for three days and the driver became my chauffer and tour guide. and tok ba proved to be an excellent driver and tour guide.

i'm now at a stage of life where i find modern western cities absolutely boring. i now have no desire to visit USA or UK or any western european cities anymore. certainly not any of the fucking german cities although i've never been to germany but i would certainly be interested to go to albania or khazakstan. and probably i will one day too.

and these days my reading is mainly travel books. my collection of travel books are getting bigger and bigger . from classics like Goethe's Italian journey to Redmond O' Hanlon's congo Journey or Into the heart of Borneo and william dalrymple's city of Djinns and so on. for the first time in a very very long time i can't remember finishing any novel yet this year. this is not to say i don't read any. in fact i started on too many and half read novels are piling up higher and higher and i had to put a small book rack beside my bed and it's now full of half read novels. the last book i finished from cover to cover was in fact a travel book . it was colin thubron's in siberia and now i'm into the last quarter of in search of khazakstan :the land that dissapeared by christopher robbins. this is quite a fascinating book and mr robin painted kazakhstan entirely differently from shall we say borat's kazakstan.

one of the most interesting sections was about the nuclear arsenals left by the old soviet union in kazakstan. there was an intense competition between the US government and the other parties from the iranians to the al qaeda gangs trying to buy these arsenals but sad to say the president nursultan nazabayev in the end sided with the US. if he did the opposite the world would have been a lot more interesting now. although mr robbins painted a rather positive picture of nursultan nazabayev from what i read elsewhere he is quite a bastard. and you know a country is quite fucked when you read that a teenage girl living in one of the remotest places on earth had her yurt wall full of posters of english bubble gum singers and listening to britney spears at full blast.

another travel book that i'm currently reading is a much more straightforward travel writing by a guy who did it the hard way. Stranger in the forest:on foot across borneo by Eric Hansen is a much simpler writing of a personal journey in the jungle of borneo with some fascinating insights about the penans and other native people of the remote areas of kalimantan and serawak. some of the old cultures of these people are not unlike the people of tana toraja.

but tana toraja people are quite something else. it's the only people that i know of that make funeral ceremonies the highlight and focal point of their lives. the burial custom is quite simply macabre. pointless for me to say anything more about it as it is so wellknown and so i'll just stop here for now. you can see some of the pictures from my flickr site here if you like....

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