The Libyan Uprising

Checked on her blogger pals in Libya (KhadijaTeri, Highlander @ From the Rock, Anglo-Libyan). Glad to hear that they’re Okay and living one day at a time. Am following your posts / updates on the situation in Tripoli.

Highlander, we are very concern about the situation in Libya. It’s nothing like the uprising in Egypt! We never expected this to happen, the atrocities against ones own people. I personally have no concerns for Libya’s leader & his followers, but I can’t accept and abhor his actions towards those innocent people! Yes, he is not democratic, but oh please, have a heart at least! Is he so full of himself that he thinks he can go on forever? Well, I guess those brave / courageous countrymen of yours have proved him wrong. Can’t blame them for putting their lives at stake in search of freedom.

Am sorry for being so emotional, for I feel for your people. Yes, I was there long time ago, although for a very short while, only 3 1/2 years. But, I’ve seen the suffering, the propaganda, I love Libya too much for it has opened my eyes to the world. It has lead me to appreciate what’s out there. Can’t believe I’m shedding tears at this present moment. That’s how deep my love is for this adopted country of mine.

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My Craving for Adventure Lead Me to Gunung Ledang

Our journey begins just after midnight, clear skies and twinkling stars accompanied us all the way to Sagil, a little village not far from the legendary mountain, Gunung Ledang.

The Climbers (Photos Courtesy of Senor Syed and Kojak)

Along the way, we decided to make a pit stop, you know to stretch our legs, empty our bladder and bowels…ehehe, or catch a cup or two! It’s a two-hour journey you know, so it’s important that we drive comfortably and reach our destination safely!

We took the North – South Highway and exit at Tangkak, a village bordering the State of Melaka and Johor. Then, took the country road to Sagil where our guide patiently waited for us, in front of the 7-Eleven Store. It was 3 am, still much too early for us to do anything plus our bodies were crying for a much needed rest! Moi, our guide was accommodating enough to let us catch a wink or two at his little abode.

Morning came much too soon, we groggily, moved and transported ourselves into the awaiting vehicle to grab some carbs, protein & fluid before setting off on this treacherous journey!

Fueling ourselves with food

to be continued….

Istanbul: A Recollection

Thank you, Bobby Chinn, for your show “World Cafe Middle East: Istanbul” has brought back memories of my short trip to Istanbul!

The places you’ve been, the food you’ve tasted, the people you’ve met & the culture you’ve experienced instantly took me back to the early Winter of 2005! I never imagined myself setting foot and breathing in the air of the once famous and fearless Byzantine Empire as well as the birth of the every powerful Ottoman Empire!

Istanbul is a mixture of the old and the new, the modern and the traditional, of European and Asian, the religious and the liberal, just look all around you. It’s a melting pot of culture! Why not? It connects the East to the West or specifically, Europe to Asia or vice versa!

Istanbul is rich with History and Culture, you’ll find historical sites within distance of each other. Sites left by the Romans, such as the Basilica Cistern that lie beneath the city itself, not far from the Hagia Sophia, which is within walking distance to the the Sultan Ahmad Camii or also famously known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles inlaid in its interior. If time permits, spare some Turkish Lira YTL and go on a tour of the Topkapi Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit its many chambers from harems to stables and galleries. Immerse yourself with history, transport yourself back to the Ottoman Period. Imagine what would’ve become of you, if you’ve lived then!

If you love culture, go ahead and experience Turkish dance and tradition at the Orient House, Best Western Hotel. Catch the belly dancing, whirling dervishes and enjoy Turkish cuisine at the same time! It’s quite an easy place to locate if you’re staying within the area of the Old City of Istanbul. Just 5 minutes walk from the Grand Bazaar and the other historical places! I remember it took us about 15 minutes walk from the Royal Hotel, Laleli, Istanbul to reach our destination! In fact, Istanbul is pretty safe compared to Madrid, as we were always reminded/warned about pick pockets! So far, we’re pretty lucky!

Another must not miss place to visit is the Galata Tower, built on a hill across the Bosphorus River. An ancient Tower with a restaurant on its upper floor which provides visitor with a 360 view of Istanbul and its surroundings! Go ahead and try to locate the Hagia Sophia, the Queen’s Mosque, the Goldern Horn etc. Down below, explore the avenues of Istanbul. As for me, I found İstiklâl Caddesi by accident. We were being adventurous or maybe brave or actually a little thrifty by deciding to walk back to our hotel! It looks simple from the top of the tower, imagining the route to take home, it didn’t look far either! In actuality, it wasn’t far! Anyway, we took the stairs, no it was the lift down. Bought some souvenirs from the Galata Tower Shop including a pair of evil-eye earrings (which I’ve lost during my 1st trip to Japan). Walked down an avenue, turn a few corners and realized that we’ve lost our way! Somehow, God must be on our side, we took a turn or maybe two and found the main street with shops and restaurants the whole stretch. With the number of people going through it, we’re confident we’re on the right track. In fact, we stopped by a few places to get Turkish Silk Scarves for me and Turkish Glassware by their ever famous glass maker, Pasabahce and then stop for lunch since we’re famished from all the adventure! Sated, we made a move and found ourselves at Taksim Square and realized we had just left İstiklâl Caddesi, one of the famous avenues of Istanbul! I guess that’s what you call adventure!

Oh by the way, we managed to hail a cab back to the Grand Bazaar before heading home, oops hotel! I felt right at home, here…damn, there! What more can you ask for? The warm Turkish Apple Tea, the fresh bread, Turkish Delights to spoil you, and obviously the beautiful people and the culture and heritage!

Galata Tower from across the Bosphorus
A bird's eye view from the top of the Galata Tower

A picture paints a 1000 words

Sitting here, with only the sounds from the TV in the background accompanying me, my thoughts and my heart seem to be working over-time, incessantly telling me to go back to blogging. This forgotten or maybe neglected hobby of mine was once my passion, a place to pour out my feelings, a diary or a journal of sorts.

Photography is another passion of mine, however I need to constantly remind myself the importance of being patient, for a good picture I believe, is captured, when one keeps a clear head amid all the chaos or disorganization etc. As the saying goes “A picture is worth a thousand words”. The photo you capture is self-explanatory, it tells a story of who you are, of your emotion at that particular time. Just look at the photos taken at war-thorn countries. These photographers have managed to capture the emotions of the victims of war, the sadness, the rage, the torture, the face of losing their loved ones, their homes….themselves, or even their identity. Looking back in time, I find photographs as a significant source of history, be it family history or a reminder of how the world has evolved. Who ever would thought that such an iconic building (I’m talking about the WTC) would simply disappear off the face of the earth? How many of you still have photos of WTC in your albums? Any regrets on taking things for granted, in this case, taking such iconic feature of your city or country for granted? I have!

I’ve been up the WTC back in the Spring of 97 @ 98, can’t remember exactly the year. To tell you the truth, my heart wasn’t in it. As I recall, it was located at the Financial District, so as you see, me and business is like like oil and water, we just don’t mix! Thus, the lack of interest in the building’s function, background and architecture. Nor do I have photos taken of it, may it be the interior or a close up of the exterior! But I somehow do have a photo taken from the Empire State Building, you could see the 2 towers standing tall in the background. Well, that was then, for today a different structure takes its place!

People create History, but photos tell a Story. Without them, one may never be able to visualize the scene or to live in the moment. Ahh…the importance of photography and that little or over-sized device you carry along with you, digital or simply the old-fashioned kind….Let’s roll film!

p/s: Don’t forget to pack your camera on your next trip out of town!

Life in Moments

Paul Oh Paul!

No this ain’t Paul McCartney nor Pope John Paul, it’s Paul the Octy!

Funny, I doubt that I’ve ever heard of you before this day (or yesterday), but you’ve became an over night celebrity when it was made known by the media of your “gift” & your prediction that Spain will be the WC Champ in 2010. Many have threatened to EAT you, I believe many have difficulty digesting the news (Spain winning) too, not because they’re ardent fans of the Oranje team but some people like ME don’t believe in oracles etc.

Such hype, to me, is created to capture the world’s attention towards the WC. Has it been a great one for you so far? With so many favorite teams being kicked out during the earlier stages of the games, some fans had claimed this year’s games have been a farce! Oh well, if it is, the news will come out sooner or later, watch out for controversies after the World Cup! Just wait and see.

Whatever it is, oracle or not, I’ll be happy for Spain if they win their 1st WC. They, as the reigning Euro Champ, deserve it. So, lets paint the town RED, aye!

Obituary

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn’t always fair; and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame and I’m A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

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Found this one the web & I thought I should share it with you guys. How far is it TRUE?

To me, it pictures reality….