Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Anwar Ibrahim---Malaysia's great hope.

I had the privilege today to watch a very special interview of a man whom I consider is going to be a great Malaysian leader. That he was interviewed by Julian Assange was interesting and I watched all this on RT (Russian TV). I wonder if CNN would air this interview, but I very much doubt that Fox TV would.
I have only seen reports of both men that emanate from sources wishing to discredit them both. Good on you RT for stretching my understanding of both men. I was impressed by the sensitivity of Julian and uplifted by Anwar’s replies. They have a great deal in common and their connectedness was very apparent in the interview.
Anwar has been through a the political crap machine, ending up in prison because of spurious claims that he had indulged in sodomy, a very serious charge in this predominantly Muslim community. He even faced a second charge when he re-entered the political scene on his release from prison. It says much about the ‘Malaysian people’ of all ethnic groups that they did not believe the false charges against this courageous man. Despite having almost no access to State TV’s election coverage, he actually increased his majority in his parliamentary seat.
I had never heard this man speak before this interview. He came across as a man of vision, believing in a country that is united, despite its diversity. He wants to reach out to all nations, regardless of individual faith or politics. He could be a good friend of New Zealand.
What is stopping him is a Government hell-bent on maintaining power at all costs, including placing corrupt barriers to real democracy. Yes, Malaysia has come a long way on the years since independence, but to make the next step where it can claim to be a real democracy, it must open and share the means of communicating with the public so that Malaysia can truly be an Asian democracy. New Zealand has shed blood in the fights of the past for this proud nation. Now it is time for a free election; surely something we helped create the building blocks for, so many years ago.
Come on Malaysia--- be a torch of hope in your ‘Truly Asia.’

Danny Watson-- you are so right about the raising booze prices issue

Danny Watson pontificates a lot, then, that is his job. I know he has to stir us up a bit to keep his talkback show going and to maintain ratings (See my next book---TALK TO ME----it is inspired by Danny, but of course I take it a  whole lot further). I too pontificate, all to try and get you lot going. You don’t make comments on my blog, but you are on Facebook---great. It’s all about dialogue and discussion. That has to be good.
I don’t always agree with Danny, but for the most part, he says what many people are too scared to say. He often makes sense. Take for example his stand on ‘raising the price of booze, in order to make it less accessible and somehow improve the miss- behaviours we are regularly witnessing on our streets late at night. I think some Labour politicians were suggesting that raising the price would alleviate some of the problem.
Now many of you know that I have given the national Government a hard time, for good reason, but when I hear something like this, I see red. What a load of crap. How the hell is raising the price of b ooze going to help? Are you going to suggest prohibition next?  History tells us that the result will be the same. Making booze harder to get (either through prices or outlet availability is not going to make one iota of difference. If people want to drink, they will find a way, whether it is through illegal outlets or through making their own--- the problem will remain.
Danny rightly makes the point that ‘why should those of us who treat alcohol sensibly be punished because of the behaviours of a minority of our citizens? Many of those ringing in to Danny’s show, told of how they enjoy the odd drink or two and that it is one of their few simple pleasures. I agree. These very same people probably don’t go into the city at night, for a range of reasons, one of which would be their perceived safety, though others, like me--- their age. I would hate to see them penalized because of the ‘one brush suites all,’ approach as suggested by these deluded politicians. John Key is correct in his assertions this time. Raising the price of booze will just encourage pre-loading, allowing the ‘revellers’ to then drink water rather than pay the hiked-up prices in the bars or at the bottle-stores.
The answer is simple and possibly a bit expensive in the short term. It really is an example of ‘no pain no gain,’ in the sense that we need to spend some money on ‘policing the bad behaviours.’ Get tough on the people who choose to use the streets to party, making them unsafe for the rest of us.
Arrest those going beyond responsible behaviours. Lock them up in relatively unpleasant surroundings (properly supervised of course) and fine the backsides off them. Do not release them until they have paid the fines. Step up the fines for recidivist offenders. They will soon get the message.
OH---- I can hear some of you saying---‘but what if they don’t pay the fines--- there are heaps of people out there who flaunt such fines for other offences.’
I say----‘then kill two birds with one stone.’ Isn’t it about time we hardened up on other fine-jumpers too?’
When I look back on my musings now, I frighten myself a bit. Am I turning into an old moaner or some sort of kill-joy type of person? Gosh, I hope not. I suspect that like many of you, I believe we have let things go fat too far. I feel terribly uncomfortable with the scenes we are witnessing on TV. Young people, and not so young, being so drunk that they do not remember a thing the next day. I know I have had some colourful experiences in my youth, but I also know that the streets were safer.  I don’t want us to become like our British cousins who now have a culture of ‘pre-loading’ and then heading for town, causing mayhem and God knows what consequences for their future health.
Take another angle. What tourists (although I would not be surprised if some of them are joining in on the disorder) would want to frequent our central cities, only to be accosted by some drunk and out-of-it twat, totally destroying their evening out. Even some of the largest cities in the world display better behaviours and provide a far safer environment for their guests and citizens alike. Jakarta or Bangkok with their 18 plus million people were far more pleasant experiences for me. OK—I didn’t go to the poverty-ridden areas, but what tourists visit our poorer suburbs other than on the Saturday markets?
Once again I say that we should claim back our streets. If that means kicking some butts, then go ahead.

This is why I am going to be doing my own thing re my books from now on!

Before taking Perdy for a walk today I went into the Onehunga Library to get some books for the holidays. Yes, I still read real books. Kindle is just a convenient truth—lol.
While I was there I decided to ask how many of COASTAL YARNS and ROSKILL were in the system. I was surprised to see that 10 COASTAL YARNS were in different libraries and that’s just Auckland. There were also four of ROSKILL. I wasn’t surprised about ROSKILL as it went out of print (will be back soon with a few changes and a different cover). What I assume that the same may well apply for other libraries around NZ. I know that I also sold 10 to an Australian outfit and I received the full benefit. Not as lucky with the sales as done by my former publisher (now out of business under that name but resurrected under another). I have no idea how many COASTAL YARNS or ROSKILL were sold and I never received a report or any royalties.
One learns the hard way, so that is why I will have my new website up soon along with three books for sale. Actually, I am entertaining my website designer tonight. I am going to serve them a blast from the past. I shall make a lasagne that my doctor would ban me from eating. No worries--- he doesn’t read my blog. ---MMMM all that cheese and red wine plus--- well you will have to wait for the recipe.

A timely reminder that Big Brother is watching

I made matters worse by not opening the letter for three weeks. You know how it is; you throw mail into its designated place and then get to it when you’re ready. What--- you don’t do that? Am I alone in my disorganization of bills and other paraphernalia? OK, maybe I am just slack.
This one nearly bit me in the bum. When I opened the letter from the ‘Police Infringement Bureau, I nearly sh---- well not quite. It was for a relatively small amount ($80-  for going 12 kilometres per hour over the 50Kl limit.
 I immediately felt like a criminal, especially when I saw that I had gone over the date for payment to the police. My case was going to be passed over to the Justice Department! How could I let myself become a sought after criminal--- one who can’t leave the country because I owe her majesty money. My mind was in a cauldron-like state. Was I going to get awoken in the middle of the might and transported to the Colonial Barony of Mother England.
But I saw a number to ring and I did. A very nice lady, showing lots of patience told me that I needed to ring the Justice department. I did. Johnny spoke to me and he said that they allow another 28 days grace. Well, Grace was my Mum’s name so everything ended up OK. Johnny told me to post my cheque in and my name would be removed from the ‘ten most wanted list.’
Oh the relief. I shall travel at more responsible speeds from now on---- yeah right.

'There's something wrong with your computer Sir!

I think I will start counting the number of Calls I receive ‘cold’ from one of those ‘outfits’ that keep ringing, nearly always in the early evening. I hate to say it, but they are nearly always from the Indian Sub-continent. I am pleased however that TV One’s Fair Go is going to have a one hour special on computer safety tonight. I shall try to comply with their recommendations on the ‘cold calling.’ I suspect that they are going to say to hang up immediately.
I think I am more likely to have them on. We all get sick of these calls and once you have figured out how to ‘understand’ them, then----well--- don’t get mad---get even. I love to waste their time. I have this game I play about how much time I can take and also to see if I can get them to swear at me. It may sound a little churlish of me and some of you may say that desperation breeds this sort of call. It is hard to make a living in India and Bangladesh, so maybe I should have a little more understanding in my reaction.
BULLSHIT! What these people are doing is totally wrong. They are attempting to get remote access to our computers and thereby rip us off and compromise our computers. Desperate or not--- they are conducting an illegal operation and even they know the difference between right and wrong. Whatever we manage to throw back at them is OK in my books.
Back to their calls: The phone rings and there is a delay--- that is a sure sign that the call is coming from overseas, so when you hear that delay--- be prepared to either hang up or have your strategy ready. Remember---- you wasting their time is protecting some other poor bugger from the ‘assault.’
They sometimes even know your name and it is hilarious hearing them struggle to pronounce my name—hell--- how hard can it be to say ‘Coleman?’ I get COLLEEMAN and all sorts of other machinations. They then say that they are ringing from, God knows what company. At this stage you can say you are busy and ask them to give you their number so you can ring back later and don’t forget to thank them for ‘caring.’ One of the following things usually happens.
They either hang up or they give you a bogus number or they start their sales pith all over again. I have sometimes sopped and listened or have told them to shut up and listen to me. They don’t willingly do that because they are straying from their ‘set procedure’ and you just know that someone like a supervisor is listening in the background.
Sometimes I let them rave on and let them think that I am indeed truly thankful for them pointing out that there is a problem with my computer. If you choose that approach, be quite over the top, dramatic and use a posh accent--- that sucks them in.
Now start asking them how they know--- their responses are so funny and most unlikely. At this stage their voices change--- they sense a ‘kill.’ They launch into some totally crap sales-pitch that only the most na├»ve amongst us fall for. OK---pretend to fall. They will ask you to push this or that key on your computer. Frustrate them by appearing really ignorant. Become emotional—cry and make piteous calls for help and thank them again for caring about you.
Keep them on the line by ‘forgetting’ what they just told you and they have to start all over again. Then, have a senior moment--- a naughty one. Reminisce about the past--- about how people were never this helpful when you were younger. Ask them what they are wearing---- oops this is really getting into the bizarre. Sometimes at this stage they realize they are being taken for a ride and they hang up or their voices sound like they are getting a bit pissed-off. You may hear a supervisor in the background given them advise.
I have managed to get them to swear at me and what they said and my response is way too hot for this site. I had taken up about 18 minutes of their time.
Sometimes I tell them that the NZ police have warned us about their ‘service’ and that we have been advised to hang up--- or they do it for you. I have said that I can identify with their position in having to do work they know is wrong--- hang up again.
There is a serious side to this, apart from the obvious illegality of it all. Some people are natural targets and for them I say--- DO NOT TALK TO THEM. Hang up immediately. It is only for nutters like me to have the fun, and thereby protect you innocents from the endless assaults.