Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Road To Mandalay


The Road To Mandalay

Look down the barrel of a gun
And feel the Moon replace the Sun

(Robbie Williams)

How lucky is Robert Mugabe? There he is, strutting his stuff at the UN, chatting with his old pal from Iran (the nutcase in the dodgy suit and equally dodgy beard) and the monks in Burma decide that after nearly 20 years, since they last caused a rumpus, they gonna have another go.

I watched the unfolding reports on TV with quite some interest. Unlike the majority of westerners, who would have a problem finding the place on a map, or for that matter take a moment to find out where Mandalay is, I did quite a bit of research 12 months ago about the place.

This was because I was forced too, whilst doing an Open University course. I couldn’t help spotting an amazing amount of similarities between the situation in Zimbabwe and in Burma. However, I doubt very much there will be any kind of up-rising in Zim, as much as I doubt that what is happening in Burma at this moment will come to much more than another failed coup by the populace.

What does amaze me is the complete lack of background detail offered on the news. It is logical, I suppose. Pictures of happy clapping monks getting the shit kicked or shot out of them makes great prime time TV. We don’t want to tell the average viewer that actually, they are a serious bunch of shit stirrers and are more than happy to give out their fair share of hung drawn and quartered.

Below is some serious stuff I wrote. It is not normally my style, but for obvious reasons, taking the piss wasn’t exactly going to guarantee me a pass. It is my attempt at a bit of academic writing, but I think you will spot my sneering attitude throughout…

However, if you make the effort to read it all, I would like to draw your attention to a BRILLIANT piece of satire which sums it all up. Sadly, I didn’t write it, but found it via the web site South Africa Sucks. I have supplied the link to the article at the end of the serious stuff.

Part 1

Burma, created in the 19th century with total disregard to the historical autonomies of ethnic groups, had independence granted in 1948 from its last colonial master, Great Britain. The various tribal groups were forced to live together in unnatural boundaries, and had been temporarily unified under their Nationalist leader Aung San. His assassination in 1947 set the precedence for future clashes between a majority Burman tribe and diverse ethnic minorities over autonomy, ideology, religion and natural resources

Since 1962 to present times, the peoples of Burma have been under the control of a military dictatorship to combat the ethnic minorities’ violent attempts at autonomy with moderate success either by coercion or detente. The deeply entrenched political power along with its associated lucrative life style for the ruling elite financed by rampant corruption (Khin Ma Ma Myo. 2006) would use any ways possible to stay in control.

By the late 1980’s what could have been a thriving economy had become an international pariah. Initiation of disastrous social economic policies, along with the cost of maintaining a massive military force in an attempt to control the countries minorities, either through coercion or an uneasy d├ętente, had reduced the average citizen to abject poverty.

Disgruntlement finally came to a head and it was the student led protests from September ’87 till June ’88, that were to create for the junta the biggest problem. The military reacted with extreme brutality to quash this serious threat to its authority. In state prisons, murder, torture and gang rape along with the riot polices’ shoot to kill and fatal clubbing of protesters, returned the country to its former status quo. The long contained dissent finally erupted on August 8, 1988. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators held peaceful rallies demanding the release of political prisoners, end of human rights violations and the installation of a democratically elected government. Retribution was swift with over 3000 dead, 1000 injured and the detention of at least 2000 demonstrators. The ‘rebels’ switched tactics and moved their rallies to areas less accessible to the army and secondly exacted revenge against the better equipped military by fighting back. Students, Monks and ordinary citizens overran police stations and government buildings, torched party officials living quarters and murdered state agents, their decapitated heads frequently proudly paraded in the streets of Rangoon. (Smith 1999, Steinberg 1990, Lintner 1999.)

By the end of the summer of 1988 it had been incorrectly concluded that the government image was of irremediable breakdown. Confused signals such as a change of leadership and the promise by the Burma Socialist Program Party (BSPP) to end one-party rule motivated the opposition which had now restructured itself into the National League for Democracy (NLD) with new leaders such as Aung San Suu Kyi.

The choice of the daughter of the father of Burmese nationalism as the de facto leader of the opposition gave the movement a huge amount of support. Married to an English university lecturer and having spent a large part of her life in the United Kingdom, she became an attractive and powerful orator with her attempted style of non-violence resistance against the junta. With her Ghandi like celebrity status, the plight of Burma received international coverage putting increased pressure on the embattled military. (Baugh et al. 2006.)

The end of martial law and the release of over 2000 political detainees made the cost of participating in further demonstrations tolerable as the army retreated to its barracks and allowed hundreds of cities and townships to be controlled by dissidents under a hastily created General Strike Committee. (GSC.) The government had made an almost fatal mistake, for as Tocqueville (1856) wrote,experience has shown that the most dangerous moment for a bad government is usually when it enters upon the work of reform. Nothing short of great political genius can save a sovereign who undertakes to relieve his subjects after a long period of oppression. The abuses which are removed seem to lay bare those which remain and to render the sense of them more acute.”

The embattled regime countered and announced the escape (mostly release) of nearly 5 thousand common criminals many of them dangerous. Their presence in the GSC areas resulted in chaos. By withdrawing it’s troops and promoting rioting and destruction during protests, the regime according to Smith (1999) executed a plan to “crush the opposition,” create a fracture within the dissident movement, separate students and activists from ordinary people and then “annihilate student leaders and hardliners.” This effectively crushed the rebels’ grass roots support. The population was presented with a 20th century version of Hobbes’s state of nature, (see Hobbes 1651) either anarchy, (as lack of government and law enforcement allowed a free for all of theft, looting and personal vendetta) or accept more military control and repression. Olsen (1993) maintains “The monopolization of theft and the protection of tax-generating subjects thereby eliminate anarchy.”

By the end of September, lawlessness led to massive increase of crime and looting. The “carnival atmosphere” gave way to “fear, paranoia, and anger” (Lintner 1999). Public executions, lynchings (presided over by Buddhist monks) and hacking to death any suspected state agents became “an almost daily occurrence” (Lintner 1990).

With the opposition in disarray the military instigated a third cosmetic face lift, created the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) and returning the army to the streets systematically crushed those that still attempted to oppose them and the majority weakened by lack of income and driven by fear defected from the democratic movement. This left the regime with a relatively easy mop up operation of the major players and mindful of Suu Kyi’s international prestige, placed her in 1989 under house arrest.

The generals are clearly more concerned about political reform throwing them out of work than they are about the wrath of the West, and therefore it is a matter of pragmatism, not ideology, philosophy or even short-term economics (Simmons 2003.) Suu Kyi’s ability to arouse the passions of the general populace into collective action once more, with the possibility of a repeat of the anarchy preceding the uprisings of the late ‘80s, is the reason that she remains contained.

References:

Baugh, Tim, Brickley, Peter, Perryman, Leigh-Anne. (2006) Making sense of the arts. The Open University.

De Tocqueville, Alexis. (1856) The Old Regime and the Revolution.

Ferrara, Federico. (2003) Why Regimes Create Disorder. Journal of Conflict Resolution. Sage Publications. http://jcr.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/47/3/302.pdf#search=%22%20burmese%20riots%201980%22

Hobbes, Thomas. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobbes

Khin Ma Ma Myo. (2006) Corruption in Burma: How the cause and consequences reflect the current situation. Burma digest.

https://burmadigest.wordpress.com/2006/04/23/corruption-in-burma-how-the-causes-and-consequences-reflect-the-current-situations/

Lintner, Bertil. (1990) Outrage: Burma’s struggle for democracy. Bangkok, Thailand; White Lotus.

Chiang Mai (1999) Burma in revolt: Opium and insurgency since 1948. , Thailand: Silkworm Press.

Olsen, Mancur. (1965) The logic of collective action: Public goods and the theory of groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Simmons, David. (2003) Myanmar problem needs Asian solution. Asia Times http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/EF03Ae05.html

Smith, Martin. (1999) Burma: Insurgency and the politics of ethnicity. Dhaka, Bangladesh: University Press.

Steinberg, David. (1990) The future of Burma. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Part 2

A coup d'etat in 1962 ended a short-lived, tumultuous, democracy following Burmese independence from Britain in 1948. General Ne Win and the military then waged decades of war with many of the 21 major ethnic minorities in the state (pop. 55 million 2004). In 1988 organised protests led by Buddhist monks, students and workers against the disastrous socialist economic policies of Gen. Ne Win provoked a panicked military response resulting in an estimated 3000 deaths. Gen. Ne Win subsequently allowed multi-party elections which were convincingly won by the National League for Democracy (NLD), an umbrella group of unified ethnic political parties under the leadership of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The military’s response was to ‘retire’ Ne Win, place Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest, and perpetrate the torture, murder and imprisonment of more than 1300 affiliated NLD members (Baugh et al, 2006). In the 1990s the 19-head military junta lead by Senior General Than Shwe started to solve the internal struggles their own way. Cease-fire accords were signed with 17 ethnic groups by the end of the 90’s whereby they agreed to turn a blind eye to the military’s style of dictatorship in exchange for advantageous concessions e.g retention of weapons, exploitation of teak forests, mining of precious stones and control of the opium trade. (Maha Bandula, 2006) Those that resisted were violently dealt with, resulting in a widespread humanitarian crisis.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a recipient of many international human-rights awards, including the 1991 Nobel peace prize, and is also a British citizen (she is the widow of a Cambridge University lecturer with whom she had two children). This may explain why the junta chose house arrest as a more ‘moderate’ way of controlling her particular political activities. Whilst Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s philosophy of non-violence is based around her Buddhist beliefs and Ghandian principles of non-confrontational civil disobedience, it has attracted support from all Burmese ethnicities. Her father Gen Aung San (assassinated in 1947) was a Burmese nationalist leader, which further legitimises her position as leader of the alliance and puts her in a strong position to call for democratic change. (Mallic, K, 2004)

However, corruption is now so entrenched in the Burmese infrastructure that most senior positions in the badly-paid civil service are dispensed to the families of military officials operating under the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC)
(Nangmone, F, 2006). The members of this council are selected from the majority (Burman) ethnic group and their incomes are supplemented by bribes (Khin Ma Ma Myo, 2006).

The establishment in 1989 of an open market economy has produced a growing number of indigenous tycoons and entrepreneurs: many have close links with the ruling junta and provide sizeable kickbacks for services rendered. (Aung Zaw. 2005) The health service is almost non-existent and the education system achieves only second year primary school qualifications for 60% of the population. Funding is side-lined by military expenditure to maintain the biggest army in Southeast Asia- reaching as much as 50% of the US$ 9.6 billion GDP. (ASEAN website. 2004)

Should the NLD gain control of the country, the consequences for the ruling elite would be significant. The prospect of the losing privileged positions, accusations of human rights violations and the possibility of lengthy prison sentences (along with repossession of ill-gotten gains) is a strong motivation for the ruling hierarchy to hang on to power at all costs. Recent high profile cases: Pinochet of Chile, Taylor of Liberia, Milosovic of Serbia, provide fine examples. But to stay in power the SPDC need money- where does it come from and where does it go?

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD have had only partial success in lobbying the European Union and the United States to impose economic sanctions on Burma- Britain and France lead the list of foreign investors. The junta has also sourced revenue from states with non-political reform conditions. In 1997 Burma joined the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). China’s trade is almost a billion US$ annually, with approx. US$ 150 million in illegal logging. By 2000, Singapore had invested over a billion US$, and Japan had asserted its regional interests and began investments.
(Kumara, S 2000)
Total Oil of France (protected by its country's veto against further sanctions) has a partnership in the Yadana gas project, bringing in yearly revenue between US$200m to $450m. US$ 150 million annually comes from CIA and US congressional money for ‘poppy field destruction’ (Hanson, J 2002). This massive purchasing power buys weapons from China and, more recently, India. The junta are also attempting to purchase nuclear weapons/technology from North Korea (Sheridan, G, 2006). Russia recently supplied 10 MIG jets (The Burma Campaign UK 2005).

World opinion and the NLD oppose outside military intervention. Nevertheless the junta are suspicious of the present US government's aggressive foreign policies, including those of its allies- especially in the Middle East. Daw Aung Suu Kyi’s antagonism to a pro-business approach to engagement (including tourism), effectively confounds her attempts to achieve democracy. Should Western businesses (with established ethical principles) work with local tycoons over a long period of time to improve the financial lot of the average citizen, a climate of political, civil, and economic freedom would be promoted in Burma
(Hadar, L 1998). This may gradually dislodge the military from power, instead of pushing them further into the arms of the East with alienating sanctions.

References.

1. Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) web site.

http://www.aseansec.org/

2. Aung Zaw. (2005) Tycoon Turf : Burma’s business czars tread a wary path. http://www.mingalaronline.net/story/Tycoon2005.htm

3. Hadar, T. (1998) U.S. Sanctions against Burma: A failure on all fronts. http://www.cato.org/pubs/trade/tpa-001.html

4. Hanson, Jon. (2002) The State of the Union of the Golden Land.

Innwa.com A road to Paradise: http://www.innwa.com/dev/rate/detail.asp?id=1

5. Human rights in Myanmar

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Myanmar

6. Khin Ma Ma Myo. (2006) Corruption in Burma: How the cause and consequences reflect the current situation.

Burma digest

https://burmadigest.wordpress.com/2006/04/23/corruption-in-burma-how-the-causes-and-consequences-reflect-the-current-situations/

7.Kumara, S. (2000) Japan makes overtures to the military junta in Burma.

World Socialist Web Site.

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/jan2000/burm-j24.shtml


8. Maha Bandula. (2006) Warning to all universities around the world.

Burma digest.

http://burmadigest.wordpress.com/2006/07/31/warning-to-all-the-universities-around-the-world/#comment-525

9. Mallick, K. (2004) Aung San Suu Kyi: the lady of Burma,

Fellowship Magazine, Nov-Dec, Fellowship of Reconciliation.

www.forusa.org/fellowship/nov-dec-04/aungsan.html

10. Nangmone, F. (2006) SPDC Corruption. Burma Digest.

http://burmadigest.wordpress.com/2006/04/23/spdc-corruption/

11. National Coalition Government of Union of Burma (NCGUB) web site. (2006) http://www.ncgub.net/Burma/index%20of%20Burma.htm

12. Sheridan. G. (2006) Burma seeks nuclear weapons alliance with N Korea. The Australian News. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19689419-601,00.html

13. TOTAL Oil & Burma New Report & Campaign. The Burma Campaign UK website. (2005)
http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/pm/weblog.php?id=P152

14. US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. World Refugee Survey 2003 Country Report. http://www.refugees.org/countryreports.aspx?id=208

If you have got this far, here is the fun…

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/56093

Sunday, September 23, 2007

MULTI-PURPOSE DYSON REPLICA STEAMING DOG MOP – IT

Well, I had a good laugh. No one put in a bid. For those who didn't get to see it - this was what i had on Ebay recently.



Winky Wanky Woo Industries of China proudly presents this versatile and cute looking Mop-IT, come vacuum cleaner, come steam- cleaner. It is one of the best illegally replicated things we have been exporting from China in recent times. It also looks smart, even when not in use. Propped up in a corner, dripping-wet or bone-dry, it enhances all modern homes with its unique appearance!

A yet to be patented feature is a small ‘tongue’ which can be used to clean dirt out of those ‘hard to get at’ corners. It is activated by a simple twist and thrust of the handle.

To put the Mop-IT into ‘STEAMING’ mode, it has to be soaked in a bucket of 7% strength Carlsberg Beer Special Brew for 30 minutes. (Not supplied.) It is however advisable not to let the Mop-IT soak for longer, otherwise it gets really steamed up and can be very aggressive when applied to delicate surfaces, such as oak floors. In this state the Mop-IT has known to scratch deep gouges in the wood.

Another practical extra, is the built in chemical stain remover. This is automatically released out of small ducts around the mop’s ‘eyes’ when the handle is turned three times and pushed a further 12 inches into the body part of the Mop-IT. The tongue will also extend to its maximum length at this stage.

The vacuum cleaning adapter can be activated from its position in the ‘jaw’ section by simply shaking the entire unit vigorously for several minutes. A sound will start to emit from the Mop-IT reminiscent of a tractor engine idling. When the noise reaches that similar to a Formula 1 racing-car at 18,000 revs, the handle will vibrate and must be held firmly. At this stage, the tiny needle sharp teeth will then be exposed and can be applied onto the carpet under the dining room table, so as to dispose of any dropped food. If this mode is used constantly, there will come a time when the unit must be emptied.

To do this, simply unscrew the handle and gently squeeze the Mop-IT middle till no more rubbish comes out. It is recommended that this is done outside, over a dustbin, wearing a full rubber suit. (Also available from WWW Industries.)

(Warning: The Mop-IT will normally switch off after a short time in the vacuum cleaning mode. However, activating it, ‘just for a laugh’, especially after using the STEAMING mode and there being no food scraps to be sucked up, has subsequently resulted in several models going berserk and tearing chunks out of the owners shoes and feet. Should this rare occurrence happen, the unit must be swung around several times and then dashed hard against a wall. This normally switches it off, permanently!)

The mop has been tested to British Health and Safety Standards. The manufacturers would like to point out that, contrary to the reports in the tabloid press, the Mop-IT end does not have a tendency to fly off its handle and brutally savage small children. (Unless Over-Steamed.)

If the Mop - IT becomes very dirty, it is easy to clean by shoving it head first into a toilet filled with bleach and flushed several times.

WWW Industries are working on several Pimp Ma’ Mop-IT accessories to be soon made available to make yours totally unique. At present we can offer -

Colouring kit – Several colours are available to transform your Mop-IT into the latest trendy style. Simply empty the sachet of the chosen colour powder into a washing machine, unscrew the Mop-IT body and wash it at 40c. Allow to drip-dry. Speed drying, either in the micro-wave or in a tumble drier will make the guarantee void and the handle will no longer fit into the shrunken hole. We can presently offer (please add £10 per colour chosen, to the end price),

Flamingo Pink, for those gay moments

Bile Yellow, for those drunken moments

Toilet Brown, for those ‘Curry Vindaloo take away’ moments

It is advised not to leave the Mop-IT unsupervised, as they have been known to leg it.

If treated with care, the Mop-IT will give years of use. It is also bio-degradable and can be discarded at the end of its life expectancy by simply tossing it into the nearest builder’s skip near your house.

Guarantee:

Should your Mop-IT fail to function as described for any strange reason, we will replace it with an identical or similar product. (It has been occasionally reported that the Mop-IT plastic wrapping it arrives in has been applied too tight, and subsequently it has arrived looking green and blue and smelling badly.)

To make a claim, please send an Email to our head of Customer Services,

Comrade Winky Wanky Woo at –

WWW@MOP-IT.China

Please Note.

Never, ever, ever, open this unit for any reason, regardless if it no longer functions or not. There are no reusable parts and you would have to be mentally ill to consider this or own a Korean restaurant.

Unfortunately, as of this date, you can only actually bid for this picture, as all Mop-ITs are presently sold out.

Picture available for download only.

I accept all forms of payment except Zimbabwe dollars.

Friday, September 21, 2007

News From The Future.

200 years after it disappeared under a rising sea of debt, the mysterious lost continent of Africanis-Bankruptas has finally been discovered. The formidable task of unearthing any of its remnants is being done by a small group of unemployed yobs under the direction of the acclaimed anthropologist and archaeologist, Doctor ‘Dez’ Leaky Dick Morris.

Reporting his latest findings to an extremely disinterested group of reporters, Dr. Leaky Dick Morris described their first discoveries.

‘The populace of Africanis-Bankruptas, as far as we can ascertain from the few records that have survived after the great crash of humanitarian aid back in 2007, is that they were divided into two distinct tribes. The Wa’Benzis and Wa’Poorbastards. The former made up less than 0.1% of the population, but seemed to have had 99.99% of the continent’s assets in their control.’

Holding up a perfectly preserved, diamond encrusted Rolex watch, he went on.

‘This was discovered in a tomb in an area once called Zimbabwe. It was attached to a mummified corpse of a former head of state and was incarcerated in a bullet proof sarcophagus, known in those days as a Mercedes-Benz. I believe the company who made them went bust shortly after the last Wa’Benzi died.’

The doctor was then interrupted by one reporter, who wanted to know who was financing to dig up all this useless crap, since everyone knew that the entire place had simply been written off every book as soon as Irish Rock music had been banned for promoting Western Governments to take their tax payers money and throw it away on the dark continent.

‘We are self-financing and raise the cash by selling the artefacts on internet auction sites.’ ‘Dez’ explained. ‘Some of this stuff is well preserved and has a quirky attraction.’

Pointing to a whitish-brown oblong object entombed in Perspex,

‘This, as far as we can work out, is the last loaf of bread ever made in Zimbabwe. It has a solid gold plate inscribed - Celebrating Our Great Leader President Bob Mugabe’s Fast-track Land Distribution.’

At this point, the room erupted into laughter and everyone got up to leave. One reporter called out,

‘What a load of bollocks, who gave a shit then, and you think someone will pay to give a shit now! Bloody madness. Your entire family is crackers. Wasn’t it your great grand-daddy who dug up some monkey skull and claimed it was our common forefather?’

Another added to the Doctor's misery by shouting,

‘Go look for something interesting, you idiot, like the lost tomb of the first and last white President of the former European Union!’

Monday, September 17, 2007

Zimbabwean Trying To Get Into South Africa

Someone sent me the MP3 and after some messing, I have it on YouTube. Only then to discover it has been there for 9 months!! DOH!

However, the other one up there doesn’t have any images, so mine is better!

This is very funny piss-take about a very sad situation. About 4 and half minutes.

Darren "Whackhead" Simpson, joker of South African radio station 94.7 Highveld Stereo. In this sketch he makes fun of South African Border officiala whilst pretending to be a Zimbabwean ‘fence-jumper’ at Beitbridge.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I Would Rather Have A Bottle In Front Of Me, Than A Frontal Lobotomy

I was walking down Chiswick High Street in West London last night, when something rather odd happened to me. I had been with a mate at the George V pub, celebrating his birthday, and at about 10.30 pm, I decided to head for home. The street wasn’t well lit, having several lamps with broken bulbs, causing me to stumble a couple of times on the mountains of refuse sacks people leave against them. I could have sworn that one very tall black bin-liner actually spoke angrily at me in a female voice speaking Arabic, but I wasn’t sure.

Anyway, as I progressed towards the underground station, I noticed this chap slowly approaching me. He looked very familiar, but at first I thought he was one of those ‘fly-catchers’ that had been let off his wheels. You know the ones I mean. You see them in tacky ‘beach’ resorts like Blackpool. Chained in their wheelchairs, they stare blankly at the seagulls pecking at their ice creams, whilst dribbling out there perpetually open mouths. As kids in Rhodesia we had them also. They use to be parked around Cecil Square in Salisbury. We had no seagulls, but we used to hide in the bushes and wait until a few flies had wandered into their mouths. Then, when their carers weren’t looking, we ran over and shut their jaws with a satisfying ‘clack’ sound and held it closed as the trapped flies went crazy zinging around trying to get out. This made the ‘fly-catchers’ roll their eyes in time with the buzzing. Great fun! Quite harmless, actually. A tad like what the kids do to-day with ‘Happy Slapping’.

As I was saying, as this bloke came nearer, I realised he was obviously a tramp, and a very drunken one at that. It was difficult to get a really good look at him, as he kept doing the old drinking dance of one step forward, one left, two right and three back. The state of him was embarrassing. His shirt was pulled out, hair dishevelled; the filthy jeans appeared to have been urinated in. The piss-artist was staggering all over the place and waving what looked like a tin of beer in his hand at me, whilst mouthing incomprehensible insults. I turned around, to see if perhaps there was someone else that he was attempting to talk too, and as I did so, I slipped in a pile of dog shit that some irresponsible canine owning bastard had left in the middle of the pavement.

Slipping around in the shit, by the time I got up, the strange chap was almost upon me, yowling like some demented banshee, whilst spitting out bits of Kentucky fried chicken that had been stuck to his smoke-stained teeth. In pure terror I threw a round can I had in my hand (I must have picked it up whilst getting up from the pavement, I am a stickler for cleanliness and always dispose of rubbish correctly, even if it is not my own), but before I could react to any forthcoming counter attack, I was hit on the forehead by the man’s, three- quarters full, tin of cheap larger.

Half blinded from the blood gushing from a very deep cut on my forehead, I screamed and attempting to defend myself, lashed out at the groin of my antagonist with my foot. (The one with a lump of dog poo stuck on the end of my toe.) My ears were filled with a terrible roar of agony, just audible above a sound reminiscent of breaking glass. I would have shouted out load myself, if my mouth hadn’t suddenly been filled with pain induced vomit of semi-digested poultry take-away (some kind consumer had left it outside a fast food outlet’s rubbish bin), caused from an agonising blow to my leg. The swine must have hit me with some other object!

My adversary made a clean get away, for he was no-where to be seen. I think he had attempted to break into a chemist store, as I found myself lying on top of some shattered glass that shone like mirrors in the dim lights. The tramp had even taken some of the shards and thrust them into my body, for as my tortured leg collapsed underneath me, I started to pump out torrents of blood profusely from several deep stab wounds that had appeared all over my writhing, tortured person.

Luckily for me, an alarm had gone off, bringing the local constabulary, for without their speedy assistance I may have died. Several other commuters had passed me by without even a second glance, as I lay pleading for help. One youngster, wearing a hood and a scarf around his face, had appeared to assist me, but as I was to later ascertain, he had simply helped himself to my stolen mobile phone and the few pence I had wrapped in a Sainsbury’s plastic bag.

Obviously weakened from the blood loss, I couldn’t recall the address of my abode, so the kindly police officers allowed me to spend the rest of the evening in one of their spare rooms they kept at the station. I hate going to bed dirty, so the officers assisted me in having a horizontal shower in the back yard. They obviously have a problem with the boiler at the moment, as the water was a tad cold.

However, in the morning, the replacement shift had a Black sergeant on the front desk who attempted to imply that I had caused the damage at the chemists and would also be fined for being a public nuisance, along with other fabricated costs. He was obviously corrupt and taking bribes, as he claimed that there were several witnesses who would testify that I had thrown a can of alcohol at a chemist’s shop front mirror, and then, covered in carnivores faeces and regurgitated chicken rests, I had kicked the glass with such force, that it had shattered, where upon I had been found half way in the store, bleeding all over the carpet.

Explaining that I was presently, for the last three years, been ‘between jobs’, and was an ethnically cleansed former Rhodesian farmer from Zimbabwe, the uncouth officer of the law told me

‘What an amazing coincidence, as my great Uncle is Robert Mugabe,’ and then he struck the side of my head with a truncheon, explaining

‘that was for stealing our land, you drunken bum, now Fuck-Off and never come near my zone again.’

The blow made me soil my underpants with such emotional feelings of homesickness. I said I was shocked at the way he had responded to my plight. The sergeant then told me

‘You will be a fucking lot more shocked if I shove a Taser up your arse and do what we do to cheeky Whites back home; beat ‘em right, lock ‘em up tight and keep ‘em well out of sight!’

I can take a lot of insults but I have to complain about the way I was treated by this thug in uniform, whose wages come from my taxes. He even refused to give me a cup of tea! Worse was to come! When I finally did reach home, because I had been late, someone else had taken over my bench in the park. A disgusting creature that had dreadlocks made from matted pasta and old pizza decorating his beard. He reminded me a bit of that poor Italian fella Andrea Bocelli, who can’t see. You know who I mean, the one record producers cruly tie to a piano till he wails and yowls to be let free and they record it and sell it to the hard of hearing as ‘Western Spaghetti Rock’.

When I attempted to reason with this person, he set his dog onto me, whilst hitting me repeatedly with a white cane!

Unless civilisation is restored to this country very soon, I will seriously start making plans to emigrate back too Zimbabwe. At least the sun shines there.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

So Where Were You When IT happened?

Today is the day the world changed. Did it? I dunno, history will tell us otherwise. I watched Michael Moore’s Fahreheit 9/11 last night. There wasn’t much in it that I already didn’t know, but was interesting enough.

So where were you when the shit hit the fan? Or when the planes hit the towers. Me? I was in a Turkish kebab shop, located in a shopping mall, stripping the ceiling back so they could put in some fire breaks in the air-conditioning. Normally I would have a radio playing, but there was no reception, so didn’t get the news till I was finished and went into the flower shop to purchase flowers (that’s bleedin obvious) because it was my wedding anniversary. The owner then informed me of the days shenanigans, and as a result, we had a candle light dinner whilst watching repeats of the end of the world as we know it.

Today is also my Rhodie friend Mike’s birthday, so I will happily go off tonight to pollute my innards with alcohol with him after spending over a week de-toxing from the ZimFest.

Changing subjects, I received the results from my exam number 4 in my Creative Writing course that is part of the degree I am studying for. The comments you see below refer to the shortened version (I was limited to 1500 words) of an excerpt from my book Last Of The Rhodesians. This is the story called The Amazing Cooked Up Story of The Great White Bwana and His Trusty Servant Sixpence. It is available for you only as an audio story. (Scroll down a bit) As you will see, teacher went into a bit of a shock.


TUTOR'S COMMENTS AND ADVICE TO STUDENT:

This is an interesting TMA, Lore - you did say it would be experimental, and it's certainly that! You take great liberties with the concept of 'autobiography' - it's stretched to the utmost here. The piece reads like a piece of fiction, written as it is in a traditional story-telling style and in the third person. From the story itself there's no way of telling which, if either, of the two characters is 'you', and to what extent the events are factual.

Because it's based on a very localised oral storytelling tradition, it's difficult for me to assess as a piece of creative writing. It's entertaining and amusing, and as such it fulfils its (presumed) intention. I'm not sure (and you don't indicate in your commentary) what else it may be intended to do, other than be a light entertaining anecdote in a rather peculiar idiom.

Your comments on the White Zimbabwean tradition of these stories help to make some sense of the style, but you don't say why you chose to use this style in the first place. It's quite alien to the British reader - and I must say that the concept behind it (of referring to Black characters by the generic 'Sixpence', and mimicking the native style of speaking) does seem pretty dubious, and based on racist attitudes. You've turned this around by making yourself the 'Sixpence' character - but as the story stands, without the commentary, this isn't obvious. I have to be honest here, and say I don't like it at all. But I've tried to be fair and not let my personal preferences influence your grade! I've given you a clear pass because the standard of writing is good on its own terms.

If you want to publish your work and be read exclusively among White Zimbabweans, this genre of writing may go down very well - but otherwise, I suggest you go for a more conventional approach that would appeal to a broader readership!

A bold approach, anyway - you're not averse to risk-taking in your writing, and that can't be a bad thing! But risks don't always come off.

Don’t you just love it?

Man, this book is gonna be just great!

So whilst I am in a good mood, I have to show you this…

It is rare these days to see an advert on television that really captures the imagination. This one is so good; I watch it with pleasure grinning like an ape. Guerrilla Advertising is an unconventional way of performing promotional activities. Usually very funny or subtle, it’s a great way to promote a business. This new advert by Cadburys, is pure brilliance. Enjoy!

Monday, September 03, 2007

ZIM FEST 2007 - Eat, Drink and be Merry.

In deepening economic crisis, 2 die in Zimbabwe agriculture show stampedes

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: September 2, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Two people died in stampedes at the exit gates of
Zimbabwe's annual agriculture show, which was packed with crowds lured by
scarce snack foods and soft drinks and stalls selling cheap Chinese toys and
consumer goods.

A woman and a child - one of scores of lost childr
en separated from family
members - died in two separate surges against the gates Saturday, police
spokesman James Sabau told state radio Sunday.

This is terrible news! Thousands of miles away, on the same day in London, there was another stampede, but no one died. A lot thought they were dying the next day though!

I think the organisers of the ZimFest were a little surprised by the amount of people that turned up.





I reckon there must have been close on a thousand people.


Getting a boerwors roll was to stand in a queue for two hours. Not surprising when you see there was only some old toppie on his own preparing them! By the time I got one they had run out of onions!


There were a couple of display stands but most people were only interested in one thing....BEER
Which, as can be seen, was a slow task.


What goes in must come out and for the girls it was another queue. The lads had a trailer done out Zimbabwe style. I.e. No running water and as darkness came, no lights!



No one cared and all sat around chatting and drinking.


And the sadza couldn't be made fast enough.



One stand offered alchoholic fruit drinks - but, they ran out of alcohol rather quickly and no one was interested in just drinking juice. Another sold shorts, but by 7pm all they had left was wine.


There was no Castle beer, but who cared as long it was brown, cold, fizzy and made your head swim!


The Zimbabwe Vigal people stated today -

Up to 50 Vigil supporters attended Zimfest.
They reported some difficulty in getting the hundreds of people there to
think about the situation in Zimbabwe rather than beers and braais, sadza
and games. Unfortunately our supporters at Zimfest were not able to
properly duplicate the Embassy Vigil as they were given no space /
opportunity for the usual rousing singing and dancing.



Very sorry, but we are all too busy having a good time getting pissed!


Is this Mugabe's dreaded CIO about to pull a gun ?


Time for another piss!

Plenty of music.



Great fun!