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26 January 2009

Chinese New Year

Year of the Ox

Year of the Ox
Image source: Bernard Oh

CHINESE EVERYWHERE have ushered in the new Year of the Ox. The 15-day festival, which starts today, celebrates the attributes of the ox: tenacity, hard work, modesty, and a self-sacrificing nature with an active mind. Those born in the year of the ox are not extravagant, shrinking from all the "wheeling and dealing" of the competitive world.

Hmm. With all those values of fortitude and honesty, it sounds like the Chinese are indeed preparing us for the dreary prospects of the new year!

San nin faai lok (Happy new year)! Kung hei fat choy (Congratulations and be prosperous)!

Now playing: True Faith feat. Brian Qua - Get It On via FoxyTunes

24 January 2009

Slumdog slam

“Jai Ho”
Link reference:

INDIANS, AND lovers of India, have another great reason to be ecstatic: the international recognition made by the ten—get it, TEN!--Oscar nominations on the British-Indian film "Slumdog Millionare". This is fabulous vindication for a movie that almost went straight to DVD, has two virtual unknowns on lead roles, and apparently tackles the gritty realities of Mumbai's once-world-famous slums without the drecky, cheesy manners of Bollywood. It's been premiered here in India; I must see it AND listen to AR Rahman's soundtrack. (Mr Rahman alone accounted for three of those ten noms. Whew. 'Atta man.)

Related Stories: Congratulations, AR Rahman!; AR Rahman, “Ek Mohabbat (One Love)”


Now playing: Indigo Girls - Midnight Train To Georgia via FoxyTunes

22 January 2009

Girl talk

THE FORMER US president's daughters have written the new US president's daughters an open letter with advice on how to live their lives in the White House. CNN calls this unprecedented, which is pretty much like everything that's been going on lately around that house.

It's fun to read what Jenna and Barbara Bush had to tell Malia and Sasha Obama about what they call "such a magical place to live and play." Sliding down a banister? Trick-or-treating in the airplane dressed in Halloween costume? Playing hide-and-seek behind the huge curtains? And they've especially mentioned Ramsey, Buddy, and Smiley, ushers who heaped hugs, football talks, and smiles on the girls, and generally made their lives sunnier. Those three men must still be beaming.

Thankfully, the Bush twins, known for their partying ways, spared the Obama girls tips on how to get drunk. But the letter touched on a poignant truth: "Although it's an honor and full of so many extraordinary opportunities, it isn't always easy being a member of the club you are about to join. Our dad, like yours, is a man of great integrity and love; a man who always put us first. We still see him now as we did when we were 7: as our loving daddy. So here is our most important piece of advice: Remember who your dad really is."

Awww, sweet. That's one of the loveliest things I've read this week.


Now playing: Pat Metheny Trio - Dreaming Trees via FoxyTunes

20 January 2009

I'm sure it's edible

Hot Dong?

SHOT IN Uttar Pradesh, India, the burglar bugger bargar burger must have been flown in by a certain masseur Mashur from Mumbai. But what has that got to do with this?

18 January 2009

FOCAL POINT : Paul Kriwaczek, “In Search of Zarathustra”

LONG BEFORE Bahá'u'lláh, the Prophet Muhammad, the Christ, and Moses, there was Zoroaster. His message revolutionized the ideas of good versus evil, introduced to us the unwavering truth of one God, and stayed with us through thousands of years of constant human evolution. Who was he? Where did he teach? Most importantly, what was his covenant, and what is his religion all about?

Former BBC producer Paul Kriwaczek's "In Search of Zarathustra: Across Iran and Central Asia to Find the World's First Prophet" (Vintage Books, 2002) brings us to a journey of 3,000 years of human achievement across Europe, the Near East, the Indian subcontinent, and then Central Asia, to help with the answers. Written more in the tone of a travelogue than that of a scholarly treatise, the book explores the relationship between Zoroaster's religion and those of the prophets and messengers that followed him. Mr Kriwaczek's attention to historical detail is fascinating: his descriptions of sacred personages, Biblical cliffs, fifth-century Visigoth castles, and glorious temple sites in France, Britain, and Persia are so vivid I often felt like being there myself.

Some of Mr Kriwaczek's assertions are refutable—he calls Zoroaster the first prophet and Muhammad the last—but he succeeds in showcasing the rejuvenating role of divine messengers and prophets in history's ever-changing social and spiritual conditions. I recommend "In Search of Zarathustra" to those who seek to further understand religious truth.

See more about "In Search of Zarathustra.

Now playing: Hugo Montenegro - Knowing When to Leave via FoxyTunes

12 January 2009

Congratulations, AR Rahman!

AR Rahman winning the Golden Globe
Link reference:

AR RAHMAN won earlier today the Golden Globe award for Best Original Music Score for "Slumdog Millionaire", the first Indian to win a Golden Globe. Visibly surprised, the winner thanked the "billion people of India" on stage. Hey, that includes me! You're welcome, Mr Rahman!

It's a fabulous birthday gift for Mr Rahman, who celebrated his 43rd birthday last week. He's one of India's most prolific and most celebrated writers of film music, amongst others. If ever he gets tired of writing for Bollywood, he can always find a job in Manila: Filipinos will love his mushy, gushing love songs.

I watched the delayed telecast of the show tonight, and I still can't figure out what David Duchovny said about Mr Rahman's name, correcting, incorrectly, the pronunciation as "Rooman". If it was a joke, I didn't get it: it's terribly flat. Mr Duchnovy, it's "Rehman". Were you feeling sore for losing to the fabulous Alec Baldwin in one of the Best Actor categories?

Congratulations, AR Rahman . . . and congratulations, India, for this new victory!

Related Site: AR Rahman, Ek Mohabbat (One Love

Now playing: Neil Hannon - So Long & Thanks for All the Fish (Reprise) via FoxyTunes

As 2009 rolls in

Happy 2009!

I HOPE you all had a good start in 2009, better than how we ended the year. While we saw a huge difference in the US elections, we also saw a lot of bad moves around us, and the results continue to impact us today in a big way.

May you all have a year of good decisions in a year that needs tough decisions! Carpe annum!


Now playing: Hue & Cry - Dollar William via FoxyTunes