Sunday, July 30, 2006

Malaysia's list of unsuitable names for children

I should imagine that there are other multicultural countries which might need to limit certain names given to children because of an unhelpful meaning of the name in one of the other languages.

Khaleej Times Online: Malaysia draws up list of unsuitable names for children: report:

Malaysian parents will no longer be allowed to give their children names deemed unsuitable by authorities, a report said Sunday.

According to the New Straits Times, the National Registration Department will not allow names with undesirable meanings in the languages used by the country’s three main ethnic groups.

Malaysia’s population of 26 million is dominated by some 60 percent Malays, 26 percent Chinese and eight percent Indians.

Department spokesperson Jainisah Mohd Noor was quoted by the newspaper as saying the list was compiled following input from various religious and cultural groups.

“We are just helping to disseminate the information we have,” Jainisah was quoted as saying in the report.

Among the Malays, names such as Zani—which means male adulterer, and Woti—sexual intercourse, were banned, the report said.

For Indians, Karrupan, which means black fellow, is equally as taboo as are names which denote “fair skin,” such as Sivappi and Vellayan, it said.

Jainisah said parents could not name their babies after colours, animals, insects, fruits or vegetables.

In the past, some in the Chinese community gave their children inauspicious names believing it would ward off evil spirits and bad luck.

Now, names such as Ah Kow—dog in the Cantonese dialect, or Ah Gong—unsound mind, are prohibited. Other Chinese names on the banned list included Chow Tow and Sum Seng which mean smelly head and gangster respectively.

Parents who insisted on bestowing names on the list could appeal to the department, Jainisah said.

“We can only advise them, but if they are insistent even after knowing they are unsuitable, they may be allowed to use them,” she said.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Chocolate covered amphetamines...

This is rather a disturbing news item... chocolate covered amphetamine pills! Not only does it confuse the sniffy dogs, but are suck pills going to used to trick children into trying them as candy?

Chocolate Yaba Seized in Tak Province (The Irrawaddy News Magazine Online Edition)
Police in Thailand’s Tak province have discovered a new form of amphetamine pills being smuggled across the Burmese border from Karen State, according to local police officials.

The pills, known as yaba, were covered in chocolate and seized following the arrest of a Burmese man. Police Maj Songwut Jitprasongpanit, who was involved in the discovery and arrest, told The Irrawaddy on Friday that the chocolate covering threw police dogs off the normally strong scent of the pills.

According to report by the Thai language news website Manager, Police Maj-Gen Prasarn Bunyaparn, Tak provincial police commander, said in a meeting of police officials that the new form of amphetamine pill could pose a growing threat because of the difficulty posed by the chocolate to drug-sniffing dogs.

As a result, Prasarn advised stepping up surveillance along the Thailand-Burma border, where the bulk of cross-border drug trafficking takes place.

The new chocolate amphetamine pills have yet to appear in Chiang Mai, according to Police Col Attakit Kornthong of the Chiang Mai Provincial Police, though he added that a previously unknown type of pill—stamped with an “R” and originating from Chiang Rai—has been seized.

New variations have also turned up in Mae Sai. Police Lt-Col Sunthorn Chantharangkul of the Mae Sai police said that the traditional orange pills have been replaced in recent months with purple pills. “The form of the drugs depends on each producer and the market demand,” said Sunthorn. “We have seized more than ten cases [of pills] each month since the beginning of the year.”

Sunthorn added that most drug producers along Thailand’s border with Shan State are ethnic Wa, Akha and Shan, while traffickers generally tended to be Thai citizens.

Chiang Rai police and officials from the Office of Narcotics Control Board last week seized 330,000 orange amphetamine pills and arrested six Thai traffickers, according to the ONCB website. The pills were intended for delivery to central Thailand.

Some 719 drug traffickers—mostly Thai citizens—have been arrested in Tak province in the first six months of 2006, and more than 150,000 amphetamine pills have been seized, according to Witoon Sairatsami of the Tak province police.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The wog!

This week has been a dead loss for doing anything. I've been down with the flu, the wog as we Aussies call it. It's been miserable and daily I've grovelled in self-pity as I coughed and sputtered through the day and night hours. Insomnia seems to be one of the results of this bug and so the night hours have been very loooong! I think I've turned a corner.

A friend sent me his remedy for cough... equal amounts of lemon juice, honey, and whiskey... worked like a dandy for me!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sudan, Uganda & Congo most dangerous places for children

Lost children and lost childhoods!

Khaleej Times Online - Sudan is most dangerous place for children: poll
Sudan, Uganda and Congo are the world’s three most dangerous places for children due to wars that have brought death, disease and displacement to millions, a Reuters poll of humanitarian experts showed on Tuesday.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says 1.8 million children have been affected by a three-year conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region, where they risk being recruited as fighters and are especially vulnerable to disease and malnutrition.

“It is a traumatised population and you can see it in the children’s faces,” said Hollywood actress and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow, who last month visited camps for some of the 2.5 million displaced by Darfur’s war.

“Everyone has lost family, seen villages burn, seen relatives raped, been raped.”

Reuters AlertNet, a humanitarian news Web site run byReuters Foundation, asked more than 110 aid experts and journalists to highlight the most dangerous places for children.

After Sudan, they chose northern Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Somalia, India, the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Myanmar.

UNICEF says more than 2 million children worldwide have died as a direct result of armed conflict in the past decade, and about 20 million have been forced to flee their homes. More than a million have been orphaned or separated from their families.

[more ...]

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sanitising movies for family viewing is not legal, apparently

The various companies that have sanitised movies to make them less objectionable for family or other viewing are wrong to do so, a court in the US has ruled. I guess it's something to be expected in the long continuum of throwing away all restraint in what is acceptable on the TV or movie screens.

I feel it's shame that the human body and sex have been so cheapened by the movies for the so-called sake of "artistic expression." And, the gratuitous violence in so many movies and games gives an appearance that giving vent to anger, hatred, vengence or whatever is quite a legitimate way of dealing with problems. It isn't.

Khaleej Times Online - Removing sex, profanity from films violates copyright laws: US Court
Sanitizing movies on DVD or VHS tape violates federal copyright laws, and several companies that scrub films must turn over their inventory to Hollywood studios, an appeals judge ruled.

Editing movies to delete objectionable language, sex and violence is an “illegitimate business” that hurts Hollywood studios and directors who own the movie rights, said U.S District Judge Richard P. Matsch in a decision released Thursday in Denver.

“Their (studios and directors) objective . . . is to stop the infringement because of its irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies,” the judge wrote. “There is a public interest in providing such protection.”

[more ...]

Corruption is natural?

This is a good one from the Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra! Corruption is normal and to be expected!! Give me a break! This sounds like he's continuing to justify himself. And it does sound like a true statement about him.

I don't believe it's true that it's a natural or normal sort of thing. A lot depends on what we're taught and have modelled for us a children. If we grow up in an environment where corruption is accepted as the norm then, of course, it will seem to be natural.

I remember that my dad was super honest. It wasn't until years later that I realised there were people who cheated on their tax returns and who took advantage of others for personal gain.

Khaleej Times Online - Thai prime minister says corruption natural
Thai caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on Saturday that corruption is quite normal in life and to be expected.

He told his weekly radio audience that most people will exploit any opportunities they can find to make extra money.

“It’s human nature to try to find loopholes. To cheat, to look for the weak spot in any system,” Thaksin said.
I do wonder about that statement! It certainly seems as though Thaksin has used loopholes in the system to feather his own (and his family's) nest. But I reckon he's done this because he grew up in a family that did it and he never thought to question whether it was right or wrong.

Many changes have taken place in Thailand over the years. More and more people are opting for a life of integrity and honesty. If Thaksin really had that integrity then why did he take advantage of the loopholes in that US$1.9 billion sale of Shin Corp back in January. That was an opportunity for him to show integrity and honesty. Instead, he (and his family) made an obscene profit and, not only that, they escaped paying any tax on the deal. Sheesh!

The article goes on:
He said this was the reason that government was switching over to using computerised bids for government contracts, rather than the old system of taking bids in sealed envelopes. “It’s more transparent. It’s harder to cheat.”

Thailand is in a political crisis triggered by opposition claims that the prime minister and his family and associates have exploited political power for personal gains. Thaksin may not contest fresh elections scheduled for later this year.

Thaksin’s popularity with the urban middle classes plumetted in January when his family sold its 49.6 per cent stake in Shin Corp - Thailand’s largest telecommunications conglomerate - to Temasek, the Singapore government’s investment arm, for a tax-free 1.9 billion dollars.

Critics of the prime minister have claimed the sale was technically legal, but structured in ways that broke the spirit of laws designed to protect strategic business assets from foreign control.

Thaksin said in his weekly radio show that all laws needed to be continuously updated to stop people exploiting loopholes.

Friday, July 07, 2006

London bombing remembrance

Prayers of remembrance for those who died in the London bombings a year ago today.

Too many people died then, and have continued to die because of the misguided beliefs of the few. May they see the truth that hatred, violence and death are not the answer to the problems of life. We were made for love not hate.

Rachel from north London: Anniversary

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Miscellaneous Burma news links

Burma’s Chin women issue report of rapes by army (Democratic Voice of Burma)
Jul 03, 3006 (DVB) - The Women's League of Chinland released a preliminary report on 30 June, documenting more than 30 cases of rape committed against ethnic Chin women by the soldiers of Burma’s military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). ...
Burma junta sends more army officers to Russia for trainings (Democratic Voice of Burma)
Jul 04, 2006 (DVB) - Burma’s military junta, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is preparing to send more than 20 Air Force officers to Russia in the coming days, for trainings and studies. ...
Burmese army officer bullies local residents at Shwekyin (Democratic Voice of Burma)
Jul 05, 2006 (DVB) - Captain Hla Tone from military operation command, based in Shwekyin, Pegu Division in lower Burma, has been bullying and humiliating local residents.

On 28 June, Hla Tone slapped third year distant education student Thet Phyo Wai in the face for not giving him way as his car was coming. Thet Phyo Wai who was on his way home from a class was threatened and driven away.

At a crowded market, Hla Tone forced his victim to alight from the car and beat him up while being forced to stand to attention, according to local eyewitnesses.

The parents of Thet Phyo Wai went to the army base in order to report the incident to the commander but they were barred from seeing anyone.

Burma and North Korea, nuclear bedfellows??

This is one alliance I hope never eventuates. It beggars belief that the irresponsible leaders of Burma and North Korea would join hands in pushing forward nuclear weapons development and purchase of same.

Burma has shown no regards for its people, and most particularly for the various ethnic minorities who have as much right to be in Burma as the Burmans. For years the military has been practising genocide against the little people using merciless cruelty in their treatment of all -- men, women and children.

The North Korean leaders are of the same ilk, allowing the ordinary people to starve while the privileged few live a life of luxury and decadence.

I pray they are unable to agree and that it all comes to naught!

Burma seeks nuclear weapons alliance with N Korea (The Australian)
BURMA'S military junta has attempted to buy nuclear weapons technology from North Korea's rogue regime in an alliance that presents a frightening new threat to regional security.

The US issued a heavy-handed warning to Burmese military dictator Than Shwe to cease and desist all such activities after discovering Rangoon's bid late last year.

The prospect of the two pariah states of Asia joining together has alarmed Western intelligence agencies, with the US privately circulating a draft resolution condemning Burma's actions for the UN Security Council.

The terms of the resolution would say that Burma constituted a "threat to peace and security".

This would be a Chapter Six resolution, which does not imply that the Security Council would authorise the use of force against Burma or move directly to sanctions. But it would be the first time Burma has been formally censured by the Security Council. It is understood that no nuclear material has been transferred.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Palm Fronds

One of the things I enjoy doing is taking photos. Now and then I get time to fiddle around with them in Paint Shop Pro X looking for a fun manipulation. Here is a before and after of some palm fronds for your enjoyment.



Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A young mother dies in police custody

It's hard to imagine that the police would do this to a young mother.... but it seems to be the case. Now they're trying to cover it up by saying she hung herself. That's so far fetched! A mother of an 8 month old child is not likely to kill herself! She had plenty to live for. Her life was taken from her by the brutality of the police.

I doubt they will be brought to justice but it would be nice if the truth came out.

Democratic Voice of Burma: Another police death in Burma – a young mother dies
A young mother from Myo Hla, Yedashay Township, Pegu (Bago) Division in lower central Burma, was tortured to death by local police on 19 June.

23-year-old Nyo Kyi from Shwe Myaing Ward was arrested on suspicion by deputy-commander Zaw Lwin and another police officer while she was on her way home from a shopping trip on 18 June, without informing her family.

But as her husband Soe Thu suspected that his wife was arrested and detained, he went to the police station but he was not allowed to see her, according to a family member.

First, the police also detained their 8-months old baby with Nyo Kyi and on the following morning the baby was released and returned home but she was still not allowed to see anyone. In the evening, when the baby was taken to the police station for feeing, a police officer on duty told Nyo Kyi family that she had died and told them to go to the hospital.

The police didn’t tell Nyo Kyi’s family of her death but secretly transferred her body to the hospital on a truck. When the doctors checked her body they found wounds of violent beatings on her head and back, according to a family member.

The police are currently trying to cover up the truth and silence the case by claiming that Nyo Kyi committed suicide by hanging.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Burma blocking Gmail, Gtalk

Blocking internet access will only encourage creativity to find ways around the blocks. I don't know much about accessing the internet via satellite but it does seem to me that this could be an alternative way of bypass the blocking. I sure hope so.

Only those who are so insecure need to control communications.

SEAPA : Southeast Asian Press Alliance: Burma blocking Gmail, Gtalk

Burma appears to have blocked access to Gmail and G-Talk, two of the most popular Internet applications in one of the world’s most restricted societies.

Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT)—which holds a monopoly over Burma’s postal and telecommunications sector—is believed to be tightening controls over cyberspace as demand for information in and coming out of the country spike in line with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s 60th birthday, and worldwide campaigns calling for her release from detention.

The Delhi-based Burmese news website, "", is reporting that individual users of Gmail and Gtalk in Rangoon are complaining of a sudden inability to access the popular email and Internet telephony programs. The complaints started after the 19th of June when Suu Kyi celebrated her 60th birthday. Gmail users, when attempting to login for their email accounts, were greeted with the words "Access Denied" on their screens, Mizzima reports.

There were reports, however, that the services remain accessible in Burma’s northern town of Mandalay.

Apart from individual users, exiled radio and print news operations are being adversely affected by the apparent ban. Exiled news groups rely heavily on the Internet to get news and information out of Burma, the country with the harshest and strictest media regimes in Asia.

Gmail and Gtalk were introduced in Burma two years ago and are increasingly used, even by the government officials because of their big storage capacities and easy user interface.

While radio is most crucial to broadcasting independent news to information-deprived Burmese, the Internet remains the most viable and effective means of accessing information from within the country. The government, however, holds a monopoly over Internet Service Providers, and is known to actively monitor online behaviours of the Burmese people. Prior to the apparent block on Gmail and Gtalk, meanwhile, other web-based email services such as Yahoo and Hotmail were also banned in Burma.

How horrible!

If this turms out to be true it is despicable, utterly dispicable. What will they think of next? The so-called Burma government continues its repressive activities... adding more and more to its already long list of human rights abuses.

Democratic Voice of Burma: The State will not feed prisoners anymore - Burmese prison staff
From the end of this year, Burma's military government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) will stop providing food to prisoners at jails and police-controlled labour camps (gulags), an official at Rangoon Insein Jail who doesn't want to be named told DVB. According to the official, the State will provide only salaries and subsidised rice to prison staff, and prison officials concerned must find their own ways of feeding prisoners, said the Interior Ministry in a directive sent to prison officials last month. The ministry instructed officials to force prisoners to utilise and work on wild and uncultivated lands allocated by the State, and use the proceeds to feed prisoners. Officials were also instructed to dissolve the 'upper and lower' Burma prison formation and form new prison groups according to the states and divisions. The new orders are to be carried out by prison directors-in-chief, and prison officials are said to be complaining about their luck. The official added it would impossible to feed all prisoners at Insein Jail as there are thousands of them - unless they oppress and bully the prisoners by using all available crooked means.