Sunday 7 January 2018

Spot the Missing Word

Many, many yonks ago the newspapers inserted a little competition to promote their sales.  It was called Spot the Ball Contest.  The picture of a ball had been removed from a photograph of a football match.  All you had to do to win a prize was to locate the position  of the ball.

Now, on browsing through today's The Independent I noticed this headline :

From The Independent 7 January 2018

My heart sank.  Trump's acknowledgement of the Zionists' and Christian Zionists'  appetite and prayers for acquiring Jerusalem had angered, understandably, the Palestinians.  But
this 'attack' on the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church would not help their cause!!

So I clicked the item and this was the headline in the article written by Ali Sawafta and Nidal Almughrabi from Reuters.

In the eyes of the world,  Palestinians mean Muslims.  Palestinian Muslims are a violent lot of terrorists - like the 16 year old girl Ahed Tamimi who slapped an armed Israeli soldier just last week.

So, on the face of it, a headline like that suggests a certain very predictable chain reaction from the guardians of Christianity?  I am thinking of leading lights like ....

  • Donald Trump - the leader of the Free World, of the world's richest nation.

  • Charlie Hebdo, the rabidly islamophobic  French satirical weekly magazine - this should provide great fodder for their genius to work on.

  • Imagine the distress suffered by the Pope to see his fellow leader of the flock being hounded by such a rabble

  • Other voices from the milieu of the Christian evangelists would clasp their hands and say "I told you so!" - voices from nearer home like Henry Pillai, pastor from the Grace Assembly of God who can barely subdue his antipathy towards Islam in Malaysia.  Remember that celebrity American evangelist Billy Graham?  Well this is how Muslims should be treated according to his son Franklin Graham.

Our President Trump could be threatened like the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church!
That would certainly be the scenario if one only read the headline.  What is the purpose of a newspaper Headline? It is mainly to catch the attention of the readers.  It is also supposed to present the gist and the main thrust of the text to follow.

But this headline has failed miserably, whether by commission or omission  BECAUSE this is the actual content of the report  ......

...... that the "attack" was carried out by Christian Palestinians ( and with justification)!

The missing "ball", the missing word is Christian.  

This is not simply a matter of distinguishing a religious denomination.  If  a Malaysian commits a crime abroad it does not matter if that person is Chinese or Malay or Indian, or Muslim or Christian or Hindu or Buddhist - he is just another Malaysian, albeit a nasty piece of work who has brought shame to the country.
But in Palestine, the cradle of three monotheist religions and a killing field where the powerful perpetrators are labelled the victims (with the collaboration of an omnipotent Big Brother abroad), where blood and tears are cheap especially for the Palestinians -  religion matters especially in a world where violence is always attributed to one particular religion; to Islam.

Monday 1 January 2018

Old Crime and New Year

And so the end of another year - the end of 2017, by the Gregorian Calendar.  "Gregorian what??"  you may ask.  There are many simple things in life, like a Calendar, whose history has been  taken for granted!!

There are as many types of calendars as there are religions and customs.  The Catholic Gregorian Calendar we are using came by courtesy of Christian British  Imperialism - for it was adopted by Protestant England only in 1752, and not without protests and dissensions because Protestantism has always been suspicious of the Papacy and Catholicism; not much different from the present disengagement between the Shias and Sunnis.

The present Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory X11 in 1582 mainly so they say, to keep Easter, which is observed on March 21  in sync with the spring equinox, something which the former Julian Calendar (as in Julius Caesar) failed to maintain.

Later in the 19th century, Japan (1873), Egypt (1875) and Korea in 1896 adopted the Gregorian calendar.  This was followed by China (1912), USSR (1918), Greece (1923) and Turkey (1926).

More interesting, Saudi Arabia also switched over in October 2016.  According to The Independent (Harry Cockburn, 4 October 2016) :

"The country had used the lunar-based Hijri Calendar since the Kingdom was founded in 1932, but has switched to the Gregorian calendar to pay civil servants."  As the Hijri calendar has 11 days shorter than the Gregorian 365 days, "the move will mean Saudi civil servants will lose 11 days of payment as salary days are cut.  It is one of many belt-tightening measure announced as the country seeks to reduce its high budget deficit".

Certainly we shall not see a clamour in Malaysia to switch to the Hijri calendar!!!

I do not want to be a wet blanket, but what is the relevance and meaning of  a "New Year" for many people in many parts of the world.  Discounting the annual fat bonuses for the fat cats, the latest revolution in mobile and car technology, the amazing radical changes in choices and of lifestyle for the ordinary folks-in-the-street like .......

........  what's more, 2017 has revealed the mother-of-all sexual predators in the shape of Harvey Weinstein seen here with two of the 21st century's most iconic personalities - Barack Obama and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Barack and Harvey - great political pals, then - to the tune of $600,000 according to UK's Daily Mail.
It's hard to keep in touch with the latest diktat of political correctness and when the former 44th President of the USA (and also the most popular head of state, as ranked in a survey by the International World Leader Index)  made this statement about his pal Harvey Weinstein .........

From the Daily Mail, 11 October 2017

..........  he erred in using such words as "girls" and "boys"  which, in this new "liberal" climate, will discourage children from recognising and acknowledging their sexual identities as being  neither fish nor fowl.

In the case of Gwyneth Paltrow, I am surprised at her ignorance of the politics of sex and success.

Gwyneth and Harvey

It's all old hat to this septuagenarian.  In my time at Singapore University and in the corridors of the teaching profession, we  girls were told, mainly by word of mouth, how to get on with getting good marks and special favours from the men-in-charge : from old and young men, ugly men, repulsive men, men of all shades of colour and religion and highly educated men especially.  They can be nasty, persuasive and wily so as to get what they want.

But then it works both ways.  For the fairer sex, sometimes, all they have to do is to give these predators a dose of manja-manja, feed their ego and more often than not it can bring some reward.  Furthermore there are women who have polished this to a fine art to get what they want and some foolish men fall for it, hook line and sinker!   But then a bigger harvest will require a great deal of 'investment' on the part of the female.

It all depends on how desperate you are to get ahead and to do so without too much effort. It also depends on how desperate you are to keep your dignity, self-pride and honour.

For women in any part of the world and from any culture who want fame and fortune in what is basically a male domain, this is the oldest game in the world!

I guess I was very fortunate because when I reached puberty, my Abah cautioned and warned me that "men are crocodiles".  That really prepared me for the rest of my post-puberty life!!

What can 2018 bring for the ordinary, quiet and decent people of the world?      I am thinking especially of the decent and suffering people of Palestine.

What is in store for their children?
More of the same in 2018?

How many more graves have to be dug?
More visits by The Grim Reaper from Israel?

How many more broken and bloody bodies in 2018?
More casualties to be treated in broken-down hospitals (not for the blues, only the reds)

The great and good of the world are mortified by the unequal distribution of wealth on this planet - how a great deal of fortune is held by a small percentage of the population.  ( In USA, 1% of families own 38.6% of the country's wealth).

So what can we make of this unequal distribution of deaths in Palestine and Israel.  In 2017 there are 8.3 million Israelis and 5 million Palestinians but which country takes the brunt of ending up as the victims, especially among the children of Palestine?

The unequal distribution of deaths.

So, roll on 2018.  Bring on the life and times of the powerful, the wealthy, the victors and the self-righteous.

Publicise the salacious and the banal.

Keep out and rationalise the violence inflicted by the powerful, and the sufferings and deaths of the powerless.


I have no greetings for a Happy New Year but do read some of these links.

But so as not to be a killjoy;  to "celebrate" 2018 with a big bang, look up the following link and watch the video.  (4video)

Furthermore, we are all aware of the norms of political correctness.  Anti-Semitism and any other antipathies must be reviled.  However compare the reaction of the authorities in France to Charlie Hebdo's anti-Islamic trash and to Youpi Bayard's omission.

BUT THEN, WHAT'S NEW ???? - in this new year or in previous old years and forever?