Wednesday, 25 August 2010

what makes it sad

I was in a shopping mall in hong kong with my sister the day before yesterday, there was a big screen showing live a bus in the middle of a road in minilla seeged by a gunman. the gunman let a few people off, mainly elderly, people who were ill and a couple of children... he demanded that he is to have his job with the police back, he was recently made redundant (or fired I'm not sure).

8 hours later, 8 were dead, 7 injured, some critically. the gunman was dead also.

the scale of the tragedy is big, Hong kong just does not experience this kind of things so close to home.

someone said that every single day there are much bigger tragdies happened all around the world, there is just nothing special about this one. indeed when I turned on the uk radio this morning, this incidence was not even mentioned at all, but there was a report on the conflict in congo, where rape tactics are being used again, soldiers/militants are going into villages to rape women in a systematic way, there was a plane crash (or two plane crashes), and a small piece on the flood in pakastan.

there are two things that mmake the bus seege particularly upsetting, one is obviously the connection to Hong Kong and hong kong people, more so I think is the fact that in that 8 hours, so much could have been done to save the HK tourists, but the Philipino special police was incompatent, and also what the philipino government said immediately afterwards was infuriating.

those who survive are always the ones who suffer most, my best wishes to them and hope they will recover soon.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

part 10: the language

a month after the funeral, she feels more settled into her new way of life. she is unhappy as much as she is bored, she has no motivation to do anything. she passes her time walking - sometimes amongest trees, sometimes amongest people - they all seem the same to her.

she walked so far one day that she had to look at a map at the train station to find her way back. on the map, it says "you are here" as if the map was with her talking to her. she looked up and discovered that the name of the train station was not the same as where she was on the map. a woman came over and pointed at the map, smiling, "you are here, not there." Jane could see that the woman was about to start chatting, so she said thanks, and slowly walked off. Only a second later that she realised that she hadn't got her direction yet...

when she walked out of the station she could see puddles on the ground, fortunately no one was carrying umbrella so that it did not look like it was raining. she tried to picture the map in her head and tried to find where the woman was pointing at. "I'm here" she found it amusing, "I'm always here, not there, how can I be."
there was a rainbow hanging from the sky, she looked to the end of the rainbow, further, and further still, "he's there", her long hair flying in the wind, trying to escape her head, "will I ever be?"

can I be honest?

A very good friend asked me, can I be honest about everything she asked me?

I have to "be honest" here, no, I actually can't! not so much that I will lie about things, but there will inevitably be things that I just don't want to tell her about how I think of her. in fact, this very question is a good enough example.

"why not? if we are good friends why can't you be honest about everything?"

"because there are questions where if I'm totally honest it's bound to make things uneasy."

"like what?"

"like "can you be honest about everything I ask you?""

"well I thought our relationship can be as honest and open as possible..."

"but this "no" to the question already changes perception. if I had said "yes", it will certainly be the real questions that change other perception that I may not necessarily want to change..."

is this a attitude of me towards friends in general or I do wonder, are other people really more honest and open than I am?

Sunday, 30 May 2010


I have recently started playing Go the board game in a Go club in london, I travel there by train, then tube, then it's a short walk to the venue. just about every single time I make the journey there will be people making remarks such as "it's absolutely amazing you can do this when you cannot see...", "how can you memorise the steps you have to take..." etc etc - they are of course referring to walking up and down stairs, going through the tube station.

I think these people, or indeed most people, are misunderstanding what disability as far as being blind is concernned actually means. let me explain by my experience in playing Go.

Go is a highly complicated board game, the playing area is more than 4 times that of Chess (19x19 compared with an 8x8 board), the degree of freedom is quite possibly many thousands times more than Chess. I can certainly see that I have a lot of difficulties in actually playing the game well because it is very hard to keep track of what is going on all over the board. however, many people especially at the beginning experience the same. the most difficult thing for me in playing Go is actually finding the oppotunity to play it, and also the oppotunity to watch other people play in order to improve, let alone all the books, magazines etc that are never available in any accessible format understandably. this is by far the biggest disadvantage to me, because I can only really learn by playing a game myself, I cannot learn from watching other people's games. this is real disability.

every single blind person can walk up and down stairs, and should be able to travel on their own to wherever they need to, or do shopping, or whatever, if they can't they are not just blind they have other problems. but the real disability is really not being able to observe, learning is heavily restricted - that's what people need to understand and if they are kind enough, try to help out with. don't amaze at those who can travel, amaze at those who somehow manage to learn things that are highly restricted to observations.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

the potential millionaire story part 2

at work, james told everyone that he won the lottery but he said that it'll take time for him to claim the prize. his coleagues were initially of course amazed, but after hearing what the story was about they all laughed.
James was visibly angry. he decided to buy everyone's lunch to prove that he was not joking, he really did win the prize and he will claim it. with that, there were indeed a few silent converts. later on in the afternoon, james was found alone in the kitchen making a cup of coffee, rob took the oppotunity and went in for a chat. James showed him all the evidence he had taken, and told rob again the whole sequence of events that led
him to believe that he had won the prize, and Rob thought to himself "there's nothing to lose!" the two, have instantly become good friends. it was a gamble for rob, a gamble that didn't require any contribution, and it was a great comfort for james, for he had finally, at least so he thought, found someone who believed what he said.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

the potential millionaire: part 0 + 1

that night, james just couldn't sleep. he laid in bed with his eyes wide open, angry, furious, disappointed. he was angry that no one picked up the phone when he tried to buy the ticket over the phone, he was furious that there was no way for him to purchse a ticket right on the tv screen. he was disappointed, that he knew there was nothing he could do. he closed his eyes, and gave up thinking about it, but he could not. he imagined all sorts of things he'd buy, the circle of friends he would be in, the women, the center of attention, the admiration, the speeches he would make at various occasions, the workless life he would have. he sat up, imagined himself in court fighting for his 11 million pounds jackpot, he would say to the judge he wrote the numbers down before he picked up the phone and he could show the piece of scrap paper, he shouted so loudly that his neighbours must have heard him, he has always been a good law-abiding citizen that anyone knows him will know that he wouldn't lie about this, and he has always been a perfectly normal person he wouldn't invent such a stupid story to get 11 million pounds. "only...only if I had money then I can employ the best lawyer to fight in court for me!"

he got out of bed, it was half past two, everything was very quiet. he took his camera out and like a detective, he fully examined the crime scene and took pictures of all the evidence - the piece of scrap paper, the telephone, the open window, the neighbour's house that can be seen out of the window etc etc.

Monday, 8 February 2010

the story of the potential millionaire. part 0

Every saturday, James goes through a routine. he gets up at 8, for no reason other than that the alarm clock has been set that way, he cooks his own breakfast, he sits in his little lounge if the weather is bad to read a newspaper, or he sits in his garden to enjoy it. his house is small but it is situated in such a peaceful area of town that he often leaves the door unlocked unless he is going out for a whole day.

in the afternoon, he spends his time working in a charity shop which he enjoys a lot - the people to talk to, the feeling of practically helping those who are in need and above all, a way of passing time. today is a little different. he has to stay at home because he is expecting an important delivery of his purchase of a top-of-the-range home cinema system yesterday. he waited excitedly, but it never came. the clock strikes 8 and he gave up hope.

he turns on the tele and he saw that the lottery is going to be drawn in 20 minutes. he day-dreams about winning the jackpot, he'll quit his job, he'll buy a new house, he can forget about the home cinema he bought, his life will change, in fact he will literally buy a new life. then he woke up. he picks up the phone and frantically try to buy a ticket but of course, it is too late. when he puts the receiver down, the balls have started rolling. "2" he shouted, number 2 comes up! "38!", ball number 38 comes up! "10, 13 20 49!!" and sure enough, they all have been rolled out.

he jumped up in joy, he just cannot believe his luck. until, he heard the woman saying in the tele that no one has won the jack pot.

the lottery, rather than giving James a chance to become a multi millionaire, has instead set him on a long and rough struggle.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

please...journalists....I beg you to stop

I know that sometimes you have not much to ask or no one to interview on a sunday, but I beg you to stop asking the christians why God allows a disaster such as that to strike a poor country like Haiti killing so far 50,000 people and many more to come.
I do not know which bishop it was that was interviewed, I can almost hear in his head saying that "well, it's good for them cos now they are all going to heaven.", but of course he can't say that in public. so he instead elaborated on how people have freedom (totally irelevant), and it's up to us how we respond to such disaster (totally irelevant as well) - the question is, bishop, why did god allow such a disaster.

mr journalist, I beg you to just stop questioning them on this, they have a terminal (or shall I say eternal) mental illness called faith, (which most people do have but not as badly affected if they are not religious), one of the symptoms is that they reach conclusions before they have evidence or arguments, they are willing to go to whatever length to stick to their conclusions, sacrificing all other believes, common senses if necessary in order to preserve their eternal conclusions.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

disaster and disaster

Before I start writing about disasters, I want to say that because of the snow, I have been working from home quite a bit, and yesterday I thoroughly enjoyed watching prime minister questions. it has to be one of my favourite "show." By the way, it was the session where Gorden Brown kept going on about David Cameron's poster.

Haiti is the second poorest country in the west I was told by the news reporter, I'm sure it's THE poorest now. presumably people know this all along - that Haiti is poor and has 200 years of misery, it's not as if there's an earthquake, and all the statisticians and historians work overnight to produce the facts that Haiti is in a bad state. you get my point, people know this all the time. and surely, people know that Haiti is on the Carabian fault line, it's not as if the geologists work over night again to find this out. what I do not get then is this: why wasn't the standard of living improved before disaster strikes? easier said than done. if there's no earthquake, people will say "well there are poor everywhere, even in the USA there are people who are forced out of their home to live on the streets" etc. after an earthquake, a spike of emotions comes, so everyone rushes to donate, and a huge amount of money can be collected. financially speaking, if this huge sum of money and effort was used before the earthquake, to build the structures, I think rescue operation can be much less painful and financially more worthwhile too.