December 13, 2011

"Scientific" report: Virgins would be extinct in Saudi Arabia in ten years if women were allowed to drive.

Repealing the ban on women driving would "provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce."

Glad that there are some sound-minded men (husbands included) in Saudi Arabia who support the notion of women driving.

Read more on Digital Journal.

October 28, 2011

Sperm cells created from female embryo

Somewhat old news, but I thought I'd reblog it to remind ourselves of the wonder of science. That it opens up all kinds of positive possibilities for all of us.

October 19, 2011

Hong Kong

A beautiful, beautiful place that will always be very special to me.

Hong Kong Time Lords from Euan Preston on Vimeo.

October 18, 2011

Lesbian couple of 30 years arrested in North Carolina after being denied marriage licence

Rev. Kathryn Cartledge and Elizabeth Eve, her partner of 30 years, urge GLBT couples in North Carolina to apply for marriage licences, knowing that they are going to be denied. A powerful campaign called "We Do". ( via towleroad )

September 09, 2011

Cambodia by Moonlight

The MOONLIGHT, a solar powered lantern, is built and was designed in collaboration with the rural Cambodians it is made to serve. Over 70% of the country has no access to the power grid, so as a result they have traditionally relied on kerosene lamps after dark for tasks like cooking, eating and reading. Those lamps pose a great fire risk, as most rural homes are built from wood and straw. The MOONLIGHT can be rented in rural areas for less than $.08/day, the same amount traditionally spent on kerosene. These photos were taken in villages around Kandal Province, near the Mekong River, the first area to adapt the MOONLIGHT for everyday use.

More images here.

August 28, 2011

Some Notes On Dating An Artist

Dating an artist, you’ll do stupid things, inane things. You’ll get concussions in the middle of the park; you’ll sunburn just to watch the pink color surface under your skin. You’ll sit in their clothes, trying to understand the mind that sees twisted branches as ballerinas. You’ll drool into plastic bags and you’ll realize only when it’s pointed out that these behaviors are not normal; most couples do not whistle into each other’s mouths and discuss underwear immediately after sex. Most couples, you realize, say cutesy things like “I love you” after rose petal superficiality and poorly written romance novels; you’ll exchange it between chlorine and argon, because there is something dangerously attractive about an artist who knows the periodic table.
( more notes on dating an artist here )

August 25, 2011

Bisexuals Just As Real As Normal People, Science Says

Bisexuality exists. So does homosexuality, and heterosexuality, and pansexuality, and I-fall-for-who-I-fall-for-sexuality, and other sexualities, so let’s stop telling people what they feel is invalid.
( full article here, worth a good thought.)

May 04, 2011


Reflections is a campaign by Novartis, for a new drug called the Exelon Patch, a prescription medicine for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's dementia. 

This series of touching photographs is by Tom Hussey.

Read the full article here.

May 03, 2011

Ten Tiny Houses with a Green Heart

See the other seven here.

The New Language of Revolution -by Marina Mahathir

(Marina Mahathir is the daughter of Malaysia's former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The New Language of Revolution

Who would have thought it? Only less than two months ago, nobody, least of all me, would have dreamed that the new language of revolution would be Arabic. For so long the language of rebellion has been Spanish or Eastern European, maybe Indonesian.

But Arabic? No, Arabic was the supposed language of piety. It is what you use to show that you're more religious than anyone else. Thus you can begin a speech with long passages in Arabic without bothering to translate and have everyone assume that you were invoking God's name. Arabic is the language of choice when you wanted to name your children so that they will grow up pious and good, although it is difficult to prove that they actually will.

Arabic was also the language by which you exclude people. You tell people they can only read the Quran in Arabic, regardless of whether they understood it or not, because to read it in languages you actually did understand was not the same. Thus God's word was available to an exclusive few, instead of to all humanity.

Arabic was also the language of us and the Other, the ummah and the kafir. About what was haram and halal. Who was with us, and who was not.

But since January 2011, Arabic has become a different language. It has become the language of revolt and rebellion, and of freedom. Suddenly the whole world knows that the Arabic word for liberation is 'tahrir'.

Those of us on Twitter also learnt the word 'Yalla!' (roughly, Viva!). Other new words for us:

Amal = Hope
Democratiyyah = Democracy
Karamah = Dignity
Kefaya! = Enough!

(For an extensive list of Revolutionary Arabic, take a look here.)

How important is it to have this new language of revolution? To me, it is hugely important because language represents mindsets. So when language changes, mindsets also change. And with these new Arabic words we are learning, we are also learning about a new kind of Arab.

Previously we knew of only two kinds of Arabs. One was the fantastically wealthy Arab oil sheikh who goes to Harrods in London and buys up everything without bothering with the price tags. The cartoon stereotype is of the Arab sheikh in his white jubah and red and white headress, being chauffeured in his sleek limousine accompanied by his four wives. Over here, as always, we looked on this wealth as somehow God-given and we bow and scrape as they threw us a few coins here and there. That, we thought, is what we want to be because after all they are Arabs, they guard the Holy Cities and surely it must be all blessed by God.

The other stereotype is of the very holy Arab, intoning away on all the evils of the world, all of which seem to emanate from the West. These men ( for they are almost always men) in their long beards we worship because they seem holy and they seem to do the 'right' things, beginning with putting women under covers, and they must surely be guaranteed a place in heaven. Oh we all must strive to be like them! And we shall start by emulating their clothing!

My, how things have changed! Now we know that the oil sheikhs keep most of their people living at under USD2 a day while they build palaces for themselves and their families. We know that when they take over the leadership of their countries, they often do away with elections and stay for decades (Ben Ali of Tunisia, 23 years; Mubarak of Egypt, 30 years; Gaddafi of Libya, 42 years; Bouteflika of Algeria, 23 years; Saleh of Yemen, 32 years), during which time they enriched themselves while their people starved.

We are also now learning that to stay in power, these dictators can be viciously brutal. Although the Tunisian and Egyptian revolution was relatively peaceful (relative being the operative word), the response to the protests in Bahrain and Libya have been astoundingly ruthless. In Bahrain , the Army (comprising mostly non-Bahrainis in the rank and file) have fired live ammunition at protestors at funerals, refused to allow ambulances to pick up the wounded and even fired teargas and bullets into hospitals. There are extremely graphic photos of the dead and wounded which have been posted on Twitter by eyewitnesses.

In Libya , Gadaffi's army has used mercenaries from other African countries to shoot at their own people. When such governments feel the need to use foreign mercenaries to kill their own people, surely this means that they know they are not legitimate governments?

Meanwhile, the OIC and individual Muslim countries have been completely silent. Deathly silent. Could it be that they are shocked that people in these countries are actually demanding 'Western' things like freedom and rights? Could it be possible that the educated and the uneducated, the rich and the poor, the Muslim and the Christian and men and women are actually standing together and saying they want their 'leaders' out? That they actually want a say in how their lives are run? (Oh my, the Star actually published an article by an actual Egyptian today talking about how peaceful the protests were! Could it be that our vocabulary about protest is changing too?)

And predictably our ulama have nothing to say. Why, Al-Azhar University (where we have 6000 students) and the Grand Mufti of Egypt were discredited for supporting Mubarak. And then Yusof Al-Qaradawi, the exiled Islamic leader returns to lead prayers at Tahrir Square and says, well, pretty revolutionary things. (Except he still didn't say that women should be equal to men, even though women were very much part of the revolution...sigh..).

But our ulama remain silent. Instead they spend their time worrying about how Valentine's Day is going to rot our morals, instead of condemning Muslims who spill their own people's blood. I'm sorry but they don't hold any moral authority anymore to me.
Wael Ghonim speaks to the crowd at Tahrir Square after being released after 10 days by the police

Yup, today we have a new Arab. He (and she) is young, internet-savvy, demanding a say in how their countries are run. They want room for everyone, regardless of religion, gender, race or class. They want to speak, and to breathe. Is it any wonder that one of the initiators of the Egyptian revolution is a Google executive called Wael Ghonim? Or a young woman called Asmaa Mahfouz?

So now, do we follow the examples set by these Arabs, just as we so diligently followed before?

February 13, 2011

Newly-formed Thai airline recruits ‘Ladyboys’ as air hostesses

A newly-formed Thai airline has recruited transsexuals as air hostesses, in a pioneering move it believes will be copied by other carriers.

PC Air, which has yet to take to the skies, selected three “Ladyboys” in its first round of hiring this week to promote equal opportunities for what is dubbed the “third sex” in Thailand.
Peter Chan, the new airline’s boss, is enthusiastic about his groundbreaking move because of the opportunities it would afford transsexuals.
“I think these people can have many careers – not just in the entertainment business – and many of them have a dream to be an air hostess,” he said. “I just made their dream come true. Our society has changed. It’s evolution. I’m a pioneer and I’m sure there will be other organisations following my idea.”
Full article here.