29 December 2004

Would you like some water with that?

Nothing like a tsunami to ruin my Christmas cheer. Go on. Give money to the aid effort. Go go go!!! I hope all of you who read this little blog will find their relatives are safe.

20 December 2004

More (or less) freedom of speech

On another issue of freedom of speech, a writer has been chastised for saying that murdered film maker Theo van Gogh's film 'Submission' was a piece of juvenile shock-horror art. So, because the guy is murdered for making the film means the film is now beyond criticism?
Saying that Van Gogh abused his right to free speech with his anti-Islam tirades is 'vile vomit'? That is what Germaine Greer called the article.

People let me explain:

The personal circumstances of the artist do NOT make the art better or worse!!

We should be outraged by art being judged by the circumstances of its maker. Just because Van Gogh was murdered because of the film does not mean it is a good film. I for one agree that Van Gogh was a vile pig who constantly overstepped the boundaries of freedom of speech. This is the man who once filmed kittens being mangled to death in a washing machine because he found it a hilarious sight......Freedom of speech and expression?

I suppose if he has been shot by an animal activist over that film, we would not suddenly have though that killing kittens was beyond criticism.

First we are not allowed to criticise other religions, now it seems we are no longer allowed to criticise those who criticise other religions. Just because he was murdered by a religious nutcase does not mean it proves his point.

Freedom of speech is either ok for everyone or for nobody. Not just for those whose point you happen to agree with. It should always be expressed in writing/speech and never turn violent (like the Sikh protest of my previous post). But there should always be a right to express yourself.



A theatre in Birmingham, has cancelled a play about abuse and rape in a Sikh temple after a Sikh protest against the play turned violent.

The Sikh wanted the play adjusted so that it would no longer be set in a Sikh temple. The theatre refused to ask the playwright to change the play as it would mean reducing freedom of speech. So after negotiating for a few days, the theatre decided to cancel the play altogether to 'ensure the safety of our visitors'.

I am outraged and disgusted. Since when does a small group of religious zealots get to stop art from happening? The play was performed and written by Sikh so obviously the protest did not reflect the opinion of the entire Sikh community. In fact, the Sikh had already achieved that the theatre would read out a statement at the start of the play that the play did not reflect the Sikh community as a whole and that certain Sikh disagreed with the contents. How much further should they have gone? Hell, I think that is already a concession too far!! Let's ban Hamlet because it offends the Danes!!

People from religious minorities are so easily offended these days. I guess that is the result of 'emancipation'. We teach them that a true democracy means freedom of speech and freedom to express their religion, something they might not be used to in the country where they come from. So should we be angry when they decide to actually express their (new found?) freedom?

If you don't like something, don't watch it. The Sikh in this case claim it is deliberately offensive to Sikh as the play suggests sex and abuse in a holy temple. Well sorry, but I am sure this happens in real life. Just like it happens in churches and mosques.

Another argument against the play was that, because Sikh and other small religions get so little attention in art & media, people might think the play was an accurate reflection of their community. After all, Christianity and Islam gets so much attention that people know more about it and are able to say: "It is only art, they are not all like that."

What kind of shit argument is that?

Political correctness is a curse on society. It seems that the place where Muslims have 'integrated' most successfully in Europe is actually Austria. The country has some laws that can be considered racist or restrictive to freedom of religion, but fact is that Muslims in Austria themselves claim they are an example to their 'brothers' in Europe.

Let it snow...

Back from a week in the Austrian Alps. I went on a snowboarding holiday with J. and her 11 y/o sister. Don't ask why she came along but she did. It is a long story. It wasn't too bad although I am sure I don't ever want to have an 11 y/o girl....

There was no snow in Kaprun when we got there but the mountain, the Kitzsteinhorn, has a glacier at the top where there was just enough snow to keep going for a week. The sky was bright and sunny all week. Not even a hint of cloud. Nice and warm.

After a few days we got really tired. I, as a newbie snowboarder, was struggling with the thin layer of snow but it was all very nice. And just as the snow was getting too hard and icy, there was a blizzard on Saturday morning when we were doing our last few runs down the slopes. This is when the picture was taken. And yes, on my head is a hat with devil horns!! Chosen specifically so that J and R would be able to spot me on the slopes between all the other people. And it worked.
By the way: I did manage to stand up most of the time. In the picture, I was just taking a little rest!

09 December 2004

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The Forgotten

This morning in my mailbox there was a mail from K. Calling me by a nickname that I did not recognise.I could not remember for the life of me who she was. Someone from school? And then that funny nick name? Probably the wrong email address. She does say she found my email on a website somewhere. But she also says: You moved to England now....
So she really does mean me.....

But who is she?

After thinking long and hard for about 5 minutes, her name still does not ring a bell. So I write her a reply. I don't know the nickname you use for me and your name looks familiar but I can not remember who she is and did we go to school together?

And I press Send

...and as I take my finger off the mouse button, I feel the blood rise to my cheeks. K....K...Oh SHIT!!! I know who she is? Why did that not occur to me BEFORE I sent the mail? Shit shit shit. How rude is it to tell an ex girlfriend that you do not remember her name and that she might be an old school friend perhaps?

What is the right course of action? Apologise or pretend it was a joke?

In my defence, the nickname she used for me never really stuck and was only used for the 3 months we went out together. Let's say it did not end in a very nice way and I was probably to blame for it as I went back to the girl was with before I met K. Somehow it is one of those things I rather forget about. For many different reasons that don't have much to do with her personally. I guess that is a rude thing to say as well. And I don't even know where she has found my name so it may well be on this weblog.

I used to laugh at people who told me similar stories. How can you ever forget the name of an ex-lover? Unless you are a slut of course who sleeps with many many people, in which case it is probably better to have forgotten a load of names.

But I have only ever had 1....2....3....4...5... (counts on fingers of 1 hand) relationships (A relationship is everything that lasts longer than a month..... but even if I include everything that was shorter than a month, I would only get up to about 7). So to forget the name of one of those 5 is pretty rude.

So much for impulsiveness. If I had spent 5 more minutes thinking about it, I would have remembered. I think. But then again, maybe my brain is wired so that I only remember AFTER sending the mail. As a belated guilt-trip.

Is it rude to forget names? Is it a social pressure to remember the names of your ex-lovers? They are ex-lovers for a reason so if they are no longer friends, then why remember their names? Or is that rude?

Or am I just being honest and saying what most of you have thought at some point in their lives but were too politie to admit?

02 December 2004

An adult relationship

Yay. I am no longer a cradle snatcher. J. turned 21 today. Yippie. Happy birthday sweetie.

01 December 2004

Leunig masterpiece

Thanks to Julie, I was inspired to look at some Leunig cartoons again. I really like his work. Always makes me think a little further than the first thought.

No more Ritalin – Part Deux

After feeling lost and depressed yesterday, I went on a hunt for info. I sent email to the ADD Information and Support Society in London explaining my situation. They sent me a mail back today:

You will need to ask your GP or Psychiatrist to refer you to the Adult ADHD Clinic at the Maudesley Hospital in South London. Ritalin is prescribed to adults all over the country; your GP is clearly not wanting to take this on board.

So there, you lot of stupid doctor-people. Obviously the licensing is not an issue for many other doctors in this country. Only for the ignorant and unaware.

My doctor promised to call me back today so I hassled her a few times to make sure she would call me back. First the good news: they will continue to prescribe me the Ritalin 'until they find a more permanent solution'.

Huh? More permanent? Ritalin IS the permanent solution.

I explained that I had been in touch with a number of people and that Ritalin is widely prescribed to adults in the UK. She did not seem to be particularly interested in what I had to say.

The downside: She wants me to see a child and adolescents psychiatrist as he is more au fait with ADHD. A kiddy-shrink? I am 29 for crying out loud. All she had to do was Google for Adults + ADHD + UK and she would end up with the same info I did. I pointed out that there are 2 specialised clinics in England (London & Cambridge). Again she did not seem to listen to what I was saying. Like yesterday, I just had the feeling I am just a problem to solve. She had no real time for me to explain why this is so important to me. Obviously not familiar with ADHD in general and completely ignorant about adults having it too.

Fair enough that it is still relatively newly researched that adults can take it with them from childhood, but to claim you have never heard of it and then show a certain reluctance to listen to the patient's research is really annoying.

When I was still living in The Netherlands, I lived around the corner from the Adult ADHD Clinic. It turns out this was actually the hotspot for Europe as the shrinks who work there have set up European networks of shrinks etc. So no wonder I got so much understanding and was treated with such respect: I was lucky enough to be in the centre of new research. So maybe I should not hold the ignorance against my GP.

But it is annoying nonetheless.