Ms Chocaholic with lots of opinions and an attitude

Friday, September 28, 2007

We must act NOW. stop the violence in Burma

In recent days the junta in Burma have started to use violence to disperse the demonstration against the regime. Many have been reported dead, including atleast one international journalist (Japan -- with the incident captured in photos and on video), possibility of an American and a German journalist too, a curfew installed, theres talks of internet being cut off.

Theres been lots of call to get China to pressure Burma, or even calls to Russia and India. My question is, is that enough? and pressure Burma to do what? The regime has been talking about their roadmap for transition to democracy for years! Yet year after year the Lady remains in house arrest. They have shown no sign of relenting and have exacerbated the suffering of Burmese people. Is it not time for the international community to take some real action?

UN Human Rights Council is finally calling for an emergency session to discuss the Burma crisis amid crackdown on the anti-regime protesters. Would be interesting to see if they can even decide on any action apart from discussing it. They have been doing discussions for far too many years!
The EU Parliament has included Burma on the agenda for their urgency debate session. Again to be seen what derives out of that meeting.
ASEAN has issued a my opinion less than lukewarm considering the graveness of the situation (and yes I know I would NEVER make a diplomat).
ASEAN need to move away from its 'non-interference' excuse. The effects of what happens in Burma is most definitely not contained within Burma (Thailand should know this better than anyone! Currently Thailand hosts hundreds of thousand Burmese refugee, and some 2 million migrant workers from and illegal ones).

For those that are interested to find out more...apart from conventional media like Reuters and BBC (who have extensive coverage) you can also visit Burma/Myanmar Genocide blog
which is an
up-to-minute translated English version of many Burmese/Myanmar blogs from within the country.
Those that read the language or wish to see the photos (must warn you they are far from pleasant) you can also access some of the blogs that provide the source such as these ....

There are also images here.

There are also unconfirmed report of dissent by some section of the army, as well as disagreement amongst the Generals over the violent suppression. If this is true, perhaps we can hope for some change for the better?

I also urge you to sign this online petition that has been runnning since some years, in particular since a report commissioned by Desmond Tutu and Vaclav Havel(Threat to the Peace) was released in September 2005. The report calls on the UN Security Council to take action....

if any of you wish to read the report, its available on the same site,

I dont know what the best solution maybe...but atleast it will let the powers that be know there are enough people that feel the situation going on in Burma is unacceptable......
Time to act!

Labels: ,

Sunday dinner at Sirocco

Granted the view is exceptional and still breathtaking no matter how many times you have seen it, but I have to say the food given its price is rather disappointing. Im not saying its bad....but ordering its tuna steak tonight reminded me of the much better one I had at Bacchus some weeks back with Jochen. Was excellent there and for about one third the price. OK well I suppose you pay for the view.....

and the jazz? I have to say the excellent experience at the Bamboo Bar, Oriental is not one that can easily be matched.

and ofcourse as someone pointed out to me....the company also matters :)

Read between the lines and you will realise there is a common denominator in these 2 events (dinner at Bacchus, and jazz at Oriental).

Labels: ,

Monday, September 24, 2007

Whats the word Im looking for....

have you ever been in a situation where:
someone you know and were on friendly terms with starts to treat you with utmost contempt? yet you want to stay friends ....or at least maintain some form of civil relationship...but the other person either treats you like you dont exist, or like you are some plague to be avoided.
what happens then? what would you do.......
I dont have an answer....but one thing is for gets to a point where you begin to realise life would be much easier and less painful if you didnt have to cross path again.....

and dont ask whats with all these recent philosophical-like it my mid-life crisis...and yes my midlife comes early......


I spent Thursday, Friday and half of Saturday in Rayong. An office 'outing' that was mostly indoors...hmmmm....discussing things like management by objectives, the new image of this 'liberal' foundation. I have my reservations ofcourse...but what does it matter...even in a liberal society sometime an autocratic decision must be made :)

back in Bangkok late Saturday time to watch Arsenal score a perfect 5 nil win over Derby, then head out with P Pim and Shiv for a night on the town.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The shoe incident

this is related to the football night. well ok it had nothing to do with whether it was football or any other night. could have happened on other occasions too. but the fact that it took place on football night, meant that I was not with girl friends, but rather with guy friends. This particular night....I was with Martin. end of the game....Im all happy and excited.....walking out towards main sukhumvit road...while Martin is talking about how he needs to get home early cos has work next day (but in same sentence talking about one MORE drink....hehe!)
oops sidetracked! and perhaps its my ability to get so easily sidetracked that led to 'the incident'? So there I was a couple of steps behind Martin, listening to him, walking, trying to keep up with his pace....and suddenly OOPS!! Im bare-footed! my shoe must have got stuck in something....i retrace my step.....only to find that the lovely right shoe was as I said.....stuck in something.....BUT not only that....the delicate satin front had snapped out of its place.....leavving a totally unwearable right shoe!
so what did I do? we were about 10metres from main road....i toyed with idea of 3-legged hop, a straight jump into taxi...and finally decided Id tiptoe to the street in hope of a street stall selling shoes. make it to the corner when suddenly Martin has even brighter idea! lets go in to the Londoner for a drink!
me: I cant go in with one bare-foot. I need new shoes
Martin: where will you get shoes here
Me: ohh theres a couple of stalls just few steps from here
Martin: wait! I have shoes!!! might be a bit big but you can wear it just to walk on.
Me:huh?!?! ermmm ahhhh errrr giggle. why would you be carrying shoes in your bag anyhow

< >

by now Im laughing hysterically. picture this: me standing there on the street in these hugeeeeee oversize man leather shoes, and waving my satin stilletto in my hands! HAHAHA
I even venture into Londoner for that drink with Martin. tried to take a pic with my phone camera, but didnt quite work. what a good sport I am...even if I do say so myself hehee.

I certainly had a good laugh for the rest of the evening.......perfect timing too.....a much needed 'cheered-me-up' funny incident.

must thank Martin for being so generous in lending me his shoes! heh heh

Football night .. Arsenal vs Spurs

well it was in fact a football night.....finished work Saturday evening...after a long week, not to mention the preceding chaotic week in New Delhi I figured Id earned myself a night out. So off I go...joining Martin...whos waiting in front of his ManU game. I sit through that game for the first hour....but after half time is when I start to get nervous and edging for the place to switch the other channels to Arsenal game. turns out thats not to we move on to Wall Street....where Im told Arsenal game is CERTAINLY to be on.

walk in there....lo and behold! what do I see...... bar filled with Aussies!! and amongst them Jeff and Gavin Brown. small world? well maybe not. after all we have been living in the same city these past 5 or 6 years, yet only manage to run into each other now. so I sit there, pretending to try and make some sense of this game of RUGBY! that was on the huge screen... Aussie vs Welsh. You all know that Id normally be all supportive of aussies....but not this night....I needed my Arsenal dose. was just telling Dave and Martin we'd have to leave for a different place after half hour so I can find one with Arsenal game on. Suddenly Dave walks back and tells me....oh you can watch it upstairs....and by the way Arsenal is down 1 goal! HUH?!?! remember that Arsenal tends to lose games that I dont watch!! I missed the first half...and they were losing! I needed to do something...and QUICK! finally found my way to the right TV..setlled down in front of it...and before we know whistle and Arsenal 3:1 up against Spurs hooray!!


Why do people effect me so?

how often is it that we let things or people that shouldnt matter affect us? time and again I tell myself theres no point caring about those that clearly dont even respect us as a person. Yet time and again I still let people that do that affect my mood.

harder when its someone who was a friend ....but worse if you see each other everyday ... and everyday for more than a year they act like you dont exist ..... until it gets to the point where you start to fear having to see them or run into them ....and finally think its best if you didnt at all. so first you suffer from that they dont talk to you. then suddenly after all that if they decide to say one casual word....then the ordeal starts all over again ..... all the questions of why and how and what went wrong. all this with their simple one word that prolly means to them even less than saying thanks to any stranger that holds the door open for you.

am I not making sense? possibly. am I beginning to rant? quite likely. does all this have any point? perhaps, but not in way of answering questions...that not only linger in my head...but seems to keep adding and haunting.

my lesson? is that I really havent learnt. Somethings can only be best. and some seasons are especially short. summer often makes way to disastrous monsoons.
Life goes on.

Monday, September 17, 2007

One-2-Go plane crash in Phuket

was watching the news last evening (16th Sept) and saw the plane crash in Phuket airport. close to 90 people had died. such a tragedy. lost for words.....
rest in peace..and hope the families will be ok.


Liberalism -- the basics

Spent the week co-moderating this workshop for about 20youths in Bangkok. My first time ever running a course/workshop like this. Still have a lot to learn...but I hope it gave the participants a chance to exchange ideas and think about and debate things.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I admire the Germans

over the last 4 years or so Ive had the chance to get to know and interact with quite a few germans....some as colleagues, but many as friends. These interactions have made me realise there are some pretty amazing things thats part of the German attitude and how they have learnt and been taught to deal with the consequences of their role in WWII.

its certainly not an easy thing....and for precisely this reason I really do admire them.

more later......


Productive days back in bangkok

landed around 5am Friday morning and decided it was easier to go straight to the office. knowing myself if I had gone home to try get some sleep Id end up getting neither work done nor any sleep either. so 6.30am start,head home around noon....and then funnily enough I ended up sleeping for rest of the afternoon AND well into the night! woke up twice in between...and finally at 5am Saturday felt Ive had enough. nah I didnt count how many hours that made....around 14 perhaps....

long phone conver with Gorn. went out to see Pim.....beau gave birth since July. I was away in London at the time, and between being away in London, Germany, busy work and Delhi I can finally meet Pim. Shes almost 2months old now!

Later went out with zara... even before zzara shows up Jeny calls. shes in bangkok and decides to join us. its another busy day of catching up for me.

Sunday the usual cleaning day. a meeting with Stefan Melnik to discuss some preparatory things for this LIberalism seminar Im going to co-moderate starting Monday. got a call from Som mid of the meeting...she was with Gorn....but since I was going to dinner at the boss' place with Stefan after the meeting so couldnt join them.
had an interesting talk over dinner..about this and that...lieralism, socialism, thai politics, thai elections and elections commission, the inevitable name in thai politics discussion...Mr.Thaksin. then the topic steered to another one of my fascination.....maybe wrong word......the Germans since WWII. Ive had a few such conversations with various german friends and colleagues. I think this deserves a separate will come back to do one. for now I must already mention that I really do admire the Germans.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Catching up

finally made contact with Nidhi. went over to her place, had a really late dinner there. This time also met Shiv. Ria seems to remember I was happy. Ragav ofcourse is too young to notice...but must say hes grown a lot in the last 6 months.
only manage a phone call with Reena and zimpy. also made contact with Christophe's brother.... but couldnt make it to didnt get to see Isabella....only a few words with her Daddy. would have liked to see her...but well now will just have to settle for the photos.


Taj Mahal Agra

not sure what I was expecting...but if I had known the journey would be such an ordeal Id think more than twice about it...and most likely would have opted for a lazy day in bed followed by a few hours of work! yes yes a bit pathetic of me.

but to give it justice...the structure is impressive. especially when you know the history of the place....both the romantic aspect...the gesture of love on the one hand...but also the cruelty on the other.

anyhow the Taj is one of those places everyone who knows you've been to India assume you'd have visited.Yet in my 6 years there never did make it. Didnt even make the effort actually...apart from that first ever trip to India in 1983 when Mom wanted to take us 3 kids there. that didnt work out. so I guess I can say I fnally completed Mom's planned itinirary for my first visit all those years ago.


Freedom in Education

so we have this public forum, together with Global launch of the 2007 Economic Freedom of the World report.
Minister Kamal Nath did the official thing. next day it was covered in atleast 3 English language papers that I saw. so I guess we can claim it was successful.
at the freedom in education forum there was one particular study that caught my attention....about private vs public schools and teachers in Pakistan. some astonishing things like 40% teacher absenteism at pulic schools!! huh?!?! and I always thought it was the students that ran away from school!
many other evidence that should now make people realise that government infact are not better at providing services...and infact the private sector can and DOES provide the so-called welfare benefits to the population. the market does work.

Getting to India

took more than an hour at immigration....and still had to wait another half hour or so for my bags to arrive. to top that the hotel pick up from the supposed 5-star hotel just wasnt there. so off I go to get a public taxi...a woman cuts the queue, with another guy ready to join her...i attempt my know theres a queue here and Im waiting...woman goes...ohhh I didnt see. well doh...if you bother to look you would
anyhow...this tiny little maruti type the time we get to the hotel my hair is all messy from the dry heat...feel like a complete mess. manage to check in, but not before haing the hotel staff telling me ohhh our chauffeur is still at the airport waiting for you. right.after walking 5 rounds looking for him and asking around...oh well.....just at a loss for words

not to mention that over the next days I also find that the so-called wireless internet doesnt work in my room. this after 2 of the hotel IT guys spend more than an hour in my room trying to work it out. only to return later in the night to tell me the problem must be my laptop. ok whatever. the thing works in much less savvy IT world like Indonesia and Cambodia.....
I wonder how they would explain why that same laptop suddenly works in their ballroom...perhaps the machine has a special device that intelligently decides it refuses to work in the bedroom. my sweet laptop....being concerned for me decided I should get my sweet sleep I guess.......


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Politics....Thai style

new elections set for 23rd December 2007. Already some strange characters wanting to have a piece of the pie. Sonthi bunyaratgalin...CNS Chief...leader of the coup now going to run for elections in Lopburi. Lopburi province has a hugeeeeeeeee army base thats been there since years. So even if not counting the military personnel who are eligible to vote in that province, the other people that live there would easily in some way or the other be under the influence of the army wouldnt you think?

anyhow leaving aside what constituency he decides to run in, the very first question is if its appropriate at all that he runs for political office! The guy overthrew an elected government, put in people as Cabinet to run the country.....appointed the Elections Commission....andnow is gonna contest in the elections. talk about Thaksin abusing power....I wonder what this is called.
maybe they will come up with a new term for this they do for everything else....
coup makers are called Council for Democratic Reform....that would have to be the best of them all.

so much for Thai politics and a new era. Im going to bed. yawwwwn.

Labels: ,

The better breed of fans?

we could debate this all month and each will claim they are the more passionate football fans of the world. hard to say...but I can only comment based on my experience with the English and the German fans.....have to say the English are disappointing. mainly because you expect them to be more fun and crazy about the game since dont they claim to be the original inventor?
the Germans.....Ive never enjoyed watching German teams....theres something missing in the style ...prefer the Dutch, the italians, the spanish even the Czechs and English.......but I have to give the thumbs up to the football fans......

will come back to say why .....maybe even share some pics to prove it :p