conflict

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Check out more BBC photos here….this happened two years ago. But this occurs frequently in India, even more so now due to human population increase and habitat destruction.

Well, poor leopard. It didn’t make it. And poor forest ranger, who got scalped and badly injured.

It was the whole village and department of police and forest rangers against one beast.

This was high drama. It wasn’t the leopard’s fault… it wandered into human space…but that space was originally his.

A leopard could disembowel a human faster than a tiger could. Due to its tremendous strength to size ratio; its aggression; agility; and guile and stealth. They could be literally inches behind you without you noticing. A man-eating leopard would strike more fear than a man-eating tiger would. A leopard was known to have sneaked into a tent at night with hundreds of railway workers, repeatedly, night after night, to silently kill and drag off its victim, the carnage only to be discovered the morning after. Not to mention the infamous man-eating leopards of Panar and Rudraprayag. For eight years, the Rudraprayag leopard terrorized the villagers into keeping curfews while the Panar leopard killed up to 400 people ( which according to resources, this figure is under-reported!).

With guile and cunning, some male leopards are documented to even overpower adult male gorillas, a great ape of tremendous strength and size. They are also known to be the only natural predator of the other adult great ape, the chimpanzee. They could also tackle 900 kg male elands ( a very large antelope). A male eland would weigh more than 10 times the heaviest leopard. It’s hard to imagine but that is the leopard for you.

They are highly adaptable, and are found in many different types of habitat and have the biggest range of any big cats.

Anyway, they are no match for our firepower, our guns, no match for us, no match for our logging and destruction of their habitats. No match for our mere existence.

…….. based on Justice and Equality?

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The Singapore National Pledge

We, the citizens of Singapore,

pledge ourselves as one united people,

regardless of race, language or religion,

to build a democratic society

based on justice and equality

so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and

progress for our nation.

I think our ministers, who are in the stratosphere in terms of the salary they are getting, should remember to say this pledge every morning before they set out to make policies.

“based on justice and equality?

Seriously. My ARSE.

And how do I justify my words? The 40 % voted against our government in our last election would support what I say..

The blogosphere is choke full of the issues Singaporeans are facing and the injustice dealt upon them, especially the middle-lower income folks. There are issues with immigration and our foreign blue-collar workers and associated appalling human right abuses with the Ministry of Manpower being either incompetent or derelict in their duties. We favour expatriates over our own in terms of employment. Our government gives them perks and licks their arses. The inexcusable negligence over the maintenance of our metro ( SMRT) system leading to serious disruption to transport services (repeatedly). The unbelievably inefficient public transport ( buses and taxis) — people who can’t afford cars suffer in their commute to and from their insufferably long hours of work ( Singaporeans work the longest hours in the world!)

What’s worse is the government’s and civil servants’ ( I lump them into one, which I am not supposed to usually, but in this case, they are in bed with each other) self-righteous, high-handed, arrogant and condescending attitude. They have lost touch. They have no empathy nor compassion. Not all of the ministers, but many of them. And they are compelled to toe the party line. Not serve its people. It is a tough job for sure, but if you are getting paid tens of thousands per month, you better cut the mustard.

We have one of the world’s largest income gap too (some say we are no.1) . But we are no.1 or no.2 in terms of GDP and wealth. Go figure if our progress and prosperity is based on justice and equality. And happiness … for whom? Not the average heart landers. Not when your pride and joy, the Gardens by the Bay requires a $20 entry fee. And your F1 is only reserved for the hoighty-toighty to mingle and watch big fancy cars burning up airplane grade fuel, while the ‘commoners’ suffer the inconveniences of the severe noise and road closures. Sure, we are better off than third world countries materially, but this come at severe social costs.

Check out yawningbread or mr. brown. And many other blogs. You will find them. I am not eloquent or patient or cool enough to write about them

May the powers there be come to their senses before I lose whatever respect and gratitude I have for their past effort in bringing Singapore to where it is today.

 

Don’t swim away sharkies, say you will stay!

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Tiger shark, please come nearer for your close-up! ( Beqa Lagoon, Fiji, 2011 )

When you see a shark while diving…..… you are lucky. It’s a privilege.Sharks are not that common now!

I remember my first dive with sharks. That’s in 2007, at a dive site called, Blue Corner, Palau.

There is this reef wall, can’t remember how deep, and at one corner, the current criss-crosses, and it is during the tide change and currents meeting that you see a lot of activities – schools of chevron barracudas, large grey-reef sharks, eagle rays, triggers, fusilisers, snappers etc etc! Some of the grey reefs were huge, like two metres. There were, at one time, 15 of them.

You reef-hook atop a corner of a long reef wall and inflate your BCD a little, and you are’ flying’ against the current– going nowhere, but watching the spectacle.

We were told to stay calm ( ie keep our breath slow and steady).  Our dive guide said that bubbles from rapid breathing will scare the sharks away. Sharks could sense the electrical activities from our heart too, and if our hearts go crazy, they might not come near.

It is a bit hard not to feel excited but this is definitely true. Stay calm and Zen for shark dives.

To dive with sharks, or even mantas, I would recommend not approaching them at all when you spot them, and if you must, you need to do so ever so slowly. Not for safety reasons, they don’t usually turn on us, but for the fact that you will scare them away. When we dive, the sharks probably ‘see/sense’ us first. It is our privilege should they decide we are not too much of a nuisance for their company and they will hang around.

So when you see a shark, stay still and wait, no flapping around; and you know what? They will circle back and investigate!

If the shark happens to be swimming away from you, don’t give chase. Think about it.  If the shark really wanted to get away from you, no amount of chasing/approaching will get you anywhere nearer to it. It will outswim you with a slight whip of its torso and get out of sight very quickly.That is something  MOST (99% of those I have been diving with anyway) divers, including divemasters and instructors, could not resist doing – chasing the sharks when they see them. What fools. 

The sea is their home, and we are visitors. As divers, the least we could do is not to chase and hassle them. It must have been so annoying for the sharks to have divers going after them, not to mention all the incessant clanging of the tanks we divers do when we get excited, and what’s worse, shoving cameras and flashing lights right in the ‘faces’ of those resting white-tip reef sharks.

I have seen bull sharks, white-tips reef, black tips reef, grey reefs, nurse sharks, a tiger shark and a whale shark while diving. They did come really close ( touching distance I swear). I hope to see hammerhead sharks, someday. Just one will do. See its awesome cool hammer sharky face. 

why not singapore sling for WTA?

Gun-toting sports writer

I read tennis.com regularly. I played “competitive” tennis for a while many many years ago ( I played for my high school and my military unit while in national service). I wasn’t that good.

It was in the 80s, when Lendl, McEnroe, Connors, Boris Becker, Martina and Steffi and Chris Evert were in their heyday.

I still follow the news. I like Steve Tignor’s and some other writers’ blogs and views. They have good perspectives and fair opinions. But Peter Bodo always rubs me the wrong way. I googled for a photo for this blog and almost instantly, the search led me to this photo of Mr Bodo. Quite uncanny I must say, especially if you were to see what I have written in my draft already. ( nothing against hunting per se, just saying)

And this is his awful latest. Yeah, he has his opinions, but his views are just often snide and chauvinistic and skewed. It is about the Women’s Tennis Association year-end championship moving to Singapore ( Singapore won the bid over London and New York) in 2014.

He tangentially, though with unsavory intentions, needled Singapore’s authoritative government, corporal punishment ( caning) and anti-chewing gum law. Don’t you think I don’t know what you meant to say, Mr Bodo. Just sour grapes NY lost the bid.

And why not “Singapore sling”? Just because we say no to chewing gums, we have an iron-fisted government and we cane criminals?

Well, I say yes, because at least in Singapore, we worry a little less about some gun-toting maniacs shooting Serena or Maria. We don’t have the National Rifle Association promoting and defending gun ownership; we don’t have rifles available for purchase in Walmarts; we don’t have rifles made for kids; and we don’t have a democratic government fighting tooth and nail and lost to a rich, powerful gun lobby. (Just about a month ago, the US government was unable to pass a law which allow for background checks on people wanting to own guns.) ANYONE can own guns in the USA.

Yeah, the gun lovers have always been pulling the US government by its testicles. They still do.

So, I think at least in Singapore, kids are more at ease going to school, the public has the FREEDOM in our authoritative state to walk about in the dark without the fear of being shot at. And may be the WTA could spend less on security and we won’t use armoured vehicles to bring Serena and Maria to our indoor stadium.

I think it is a right and freedom, to not feel threatened constantly by firearms while you live your daily lives.

I think Peter Bodo’s brand and idea of democracy, just like many people of the west, is a be-all and end-all liberty and freedom. But people lose that right to feel safe. I don’t think that is true freedom. That, I called, is wanton, irresponsible and decadent.

Freedom without confines means being lost.

Pete Bodo, quit your bigoted moral high horse. Stop harboring suspicions and skepticism of the rising east, like so many of your western sport-writers colleagues when anything spectacular comes out from Asia. That is the true premise for your spew.

I am not pro-Asia, but pro-fairness.

food conscience….. the persecution of Vernon Hershberger

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Food is a dictator. It is cultural, economical, political. Food is a weapon, used in sanctions, embargos and aids. It occupies a large part of our lives, in growing it, producing it.

An honest, peaceful farmer, Vernon Hershberger, is being persecuted by big corporates and FDA for honest work feeding his community with wholesome, holistic products from his farm. This is happening right now, in the USA. This is just not right. I am blogging this in support of Vernon H. and many similar farmers like him. Good luck!

What’s wrong with our food today?

1.Big corporations monopolizing and patenting crops ( I am refering to Mosanto, the evilest empire on this earth; greedy Nestle, a company with a very bad environmental track record ) and snuffing out small scale farmers, persecuting honest people; fooling the public; destroying our health and environment.

2.Agricultural methods that are extremely destructive to our soil and ecosystem – monoculture, pesticides, unsustainable industrialised farming — are pervasive.

3. Cheap processed foods — and we yearn for them ( because we don’t know any better??). Just walk into walmart or any super markets and you see the piles and heaps of plastic-wrapped junks on the shelves. This whole lot of crap makes up 85% of all products sold by item in most supermarkets,  your fresh fruits and vegetables and meat occupy just a little corner. Metabolic and cardiovascular diseases permeate almost every society tainted with western-style, processed foods.

4. Food wastage. Seriously, in a dinner for four in our developed country, the food wasted might just about feed a whole village of 10 in a developing country .

5. Government, doctors and pharmaceuticals giving the wrong nutritional advice ( some are honest mistakes, others are intended with greed and deceit) to our public. We are beginning to see more people fighting to buck the trends, such as Dr Briffa and Dr Guyenet, among many others.

We should make a stand in our food choices.

If you are from a first world country, you are basically living to eat. You have the means, the affluence and power to make a choice. What you choose to eat represents your politics, your beliefs, your stand against or your support for oppressive big corporations. It reflects your conscience or the lack of. It shows whether you are concerned for your own health.

Your choice has repercussions on your planet, farmers in developing countries, and the less affluent people around you and in other parts of the world. The environment, the soil, would all be affected by what you choose to eat. 

Eat with a conscience, with thought. We have a mind of our own. Decipher food from junk, the good from the bad. Boycott the big bullies, check out which brands belong to Nestle ( most of your processed food brands are owned by Nestle )or Mosanto, amongst others. Ditch being fast, cheap and junk.  

every cigarette butt has an owner

ImageThis is an old topic. but very sadly , still relevant. This problem exists and it is getting worse. I promised someone I will write a bit about this but I need no urging as it is my pet peeve.

Seriously. Don’t litter. Especially smokers. Please. Keep those cigarette butts off the road, off the drain, off the beach, off the sea.

Do people litter because they do not know better? Lack of education ( many are very educated)? Lack of conscience? I say laziness. Lack of concern for the environment. It’s just bad. Bad attitude.

Am I prejudiced against smokers or why is there so much cigarette litter? Are smokers, by default, also litter bugs? Honestly, I have rarely NOT witnessed any smoker who hasn’t, at one time or other, litter their cigarette butts. At least once, if not, MANY times.

It is a challenge for me to not see cigarette litters anywhere I go. I will see cigarette butts within every five steps. This is Bali. You don’t even have to look closely. It’s hard to call a cigarette-butts-every-five-step island paradise. It is not just a physical eyesore, an environmental hazard, it also reflects badly on the society, on the government, on the spirit and lack of love and care of its inhabitants for their environment.

The same goes for the time when I was in the Maldives. When the tide was ‘right’, cigarette butts wash up on the beautiful-no-more beaches. The boat boys, fishing boys, crews, dive instructors/guides, guests (5 star high paying guests) will sometimes ditch their cigarette butts over the deck. On diving trips. Fishing trips. What were they thinking ( or not thinking at all)?

In Bali, cigarettes are CHEAP. USD 1.20 per pack for local brands. USD 1.50 for Marlboro. There is every incentive for people to smoke. And they start young. 99% of male Balinese smoke by the time they are 16. I won’t be far off with this guestimate. This is one of those things which people spend money to harm themselves ( and the environment and others around them, those innocent non-smokers).

The greatest proportion of marine litter is made up of cigarette butts. The cigarette filter is made of plastic – cellulose acetate. That bit persists. And nicotine is toxic. Poor fishes, they eat fragmented bits of butt ends. And bigger fish eat the small fish and it gets into our food chain. Cigarette butts last 1-5 years in the sea….. they are practically non-biodegradable.

85% of marine litter comes from land and so most likely, the cigarette butts you flick out of your car window will end up in the ocean.

There should be extra incentives for divers not to smoke ( apart from obvious contraindications to scuba diving, as mentioned here). Most of the cigarette butts that you were sucking on will probably end up in the places you are diving in. It’s like peeing in your own bed.

The roads, the drains, the ocean and the earth — they are not yours and they are not your  ash trays. Get it?