30 June 2006

mmmm Cadbury...

Salmonella bar anyone?

29 June 2006


From the man who brought you Knight Rider and Baywatch:

I...I...I just don't know what to say.

26 June 2006

Compassionate Capitalism?

Well played Warren Buffett! The world's second biggest billionaire gave US$37bn (or 85% of his wealth) to charity. Hats off to you sir.

It kind of restores your faith in capitalism. The free market does have the capacity to make people's lives better. Sadly, however, it doesn't always do so. I don't need to explain it because everyone knows about it. America, Africa, enough said. There are clear problems with the system. While it makes it possible for a man to become rich, the marlet makes it equally possible for someone else to become poorer as a result.

I'm no economist but from my understanding, what it comes down to is how the system is worked. It's the people who make it what it is. The good side of capitalism is that it gives people the freedom to make choices. If you want to better your financial well-being, there is nothing in the way to stop you doing so. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be rich. If people want to make a better life, why stop them? Let them do whatever they need to improve their lot.

The bad side of this freedom to choose can arise once we get the money we worked for. We can choose to do good things with it or we can choose to do less good things. Greed can set in. It's easy to become ruthless and work only for yourself even to the point where we don't mind if someone else suffers as a result. That's where the unfortunate effects of inequality set in. For example, look at what colonialism has done. The old ruling countries have got all the benefits of the resources and wealth of the countries they used to rule and left them with very little. Unfortunately when we think of the effects of the free market, this is what we see happens.

What we see less of is people like Buffett who has shown the positive side of what the system can do. His success has come because the free market has allowed his business to succeed and, in admirable fashion, he has used the fruits of this success to help others by giving a vast amount of his wealth to people who need it. This is not to say that capitalism is the best or anything like that but it does demonstrate the possibilities it opens up for good things to be done. The system gives choice to the individual so it is ultimately down to the individual to make the system work for the benefit of everyone. It may not exist at large but it is possible for such compassionate capitalism to exist and, hopefully, help improve lives.

It's interesting to note that at 76 Buffett is, shall we say, in the autumn of his years. All human beings, rich or poor will die one day. Whatever inequalities exist between us in life, death is one thing we all have in common. It is the single great equaliser of life on earth. As a result, it makes sense to send the money to people who need it more because we can't take our material possessions with us to the grave. They stay in this world for people who are still alive to use.

Perhaps his choice to give what capitalism has allowed him to earn is because he saw this bigger picture. It may therefore be that if we remember the bigger picture of life that capitalist thinking exists within, the free market may be able to create better lives for people. It would probably be easier to forget but I do hope I can keep this in mind once I start work in the massive money-making machine that is the City of London.

The choice is ours. How will we use it?

24 June 2006

Happy Birthday Mr Rasskass

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday Mr Rasskass,
Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuuuu.

Happy birthday mate!

23 June 2006


Installed a wireless network at home today. This is great because, firstly, my sister will not have to resort to stealing the neighbour's wireless signal and, secondly, it means that I can be connected to the world wide web sitting on the bog. Don't worry I'm not doing that now and don't ever intend to do so but it still feels good to have that sort of freedom.

22 June 2006

Old cards

When is it alright to get rid of old birthday/christmas/goodbye or other cards? I did some clearing out of my drawers today and found a load of old cards. Some of them are three years old. I never like throwing away cards. For some reason it justs seems wrong. They're well-wishes from people and if I threw them away it'd feel like I was throwing away their kindness.

Enough's got to be enough at some point though. They're taking up a lot of space and if I keep collecting them they'll need a whole drawer of their own. Maybe even a whole cupboard. Then again, I can't take people's kindness for granted and the card pile might not actually grow very much, which would leave me without a problem.

Is it alright to get rid of them? Some are fairly personal, especially the hand-made ones so those shouldn't go. People put a lot of effort in to them and, to be honest, they're quite touching! It reminds you of your mates and bring back good memories. They've got to stay. They're like photos in that way. I never throw away photos. I don't like the feeling of putting someone's face in the bin.

What about the other cards though? Even if they only say "Dear (you), Happy Birthday. Best wishes, (mate)". Is it rude to chuck them? Maybe people won't be offended if they get binned. I just don't know. At the end of the day, I'm more practical than I am sentimental so some of these are going to have to go. My justifications for this are:
1) If I sent someone a card of course it's always nice for it to be recognised but I wouldn't want it to become a burden on them for life. If you need to chuck my card, just chuck it.
2) It is cheesy and it is very un-Who Ate All the Pie? but the fact of the matter is that relationships don't exist on paper but within the people the relationship is between. A lost piece of paper doesn't remove an inner feeling...well, at least it shouldn't anyway. If this theory is true, a lost card won't make a difference.
3) As a comprimise, I promise to put these cards in a recycle bin so at least they are still being used for someone's good in the end.

I've clearly got too much time on my hands if I am taking time to think about what is and what isn't valid rubbish.

21 June 2006

Stage one complete

They've not been pretty, they've not set the world alight but England have completed the first stage if the World Cup mission by winning our group last night. Joe Cole's goal was stunning and deserved too - he's been England's best player in the tournament so far. The rest of the performance was, well, fairly uninspiring but you've always got to look on the bright side of life. This is a team of matchwinners and things can only get better.

Not that Micheal Owen will feel that way. It was a horrible injury for him especially considering how hard he had to work to get himself fit for the competition in the first place. I can't look at the telly when the replays come on. It just looks too painful and that's just me. Imagine Owen's heartache. Didn't I tell you the World Cup would be full of emotions? Hopefully he and England will recover soon...England definetly need to do something before Ecuador come calling on Sunday.

19 June 2006

Ji Sung Park de Triomphe

Ji Sung Park wherever you may be...I probably better not finish off the words to that song or I could face the lynch from the entire South Korean nation.

Was so pleased for
Ji to score against France yesterday. He's had a good first season at United and I enjoy watching him play. He didn't get the goals he deserved this season but yesterday will have made it up for him. My Asian blood welled up with pride for him. Hopefully they'll progress a bit further. Come on the Far East!

Well that was my Asian blood. My Berkshire blood swelled for the performance of Reading's very own American winger Bobby Convey the other night. He was magic against the Italians. In my honest (but very clearly biased) opinion, he is America's best player. USA had two men sent off in the game, which meant Bobby had to be sacrificed to get another defender on.

So disguested with his withdrawal was I that I was tempted to protest and turn over the telly to watch something crap like The Antiques Roadshow instead. Then of course reality comes back and dictates that no one would actually care if I did that making it a futile and ultimately irrational protest.

Such is the life of a Berkshire born, Asian-blooded armchair football fan of mystery.

18 June 2006

Let the summer begin

You know that summer's begun when you've had your first picnic, first barbeque or first pool party of the year. I've had the blissful pleasure of all of these this weekend and it's finally hit me that the summer holidays are here.

There's no better place to experience summer than England. The long summer days together with hot-but-not-too-hot temperatures, gorgeous green countryside and blue skies make it a great country to be in during this part of the year. I love it. Despite that, and for reasons I can't really understand, I don't fully feel like I'm on holiday until I go back to Indonesia. No matter where I am in the world and how happy I am there, I'm never fully relaxed until I'm at home.

It must be the Indonesian blood coming to the surface. The Indonesians, like the Chinese, Indians or Australians for example, are great travellers. Indonesians always enjoy exploring what else there is in the world. However, unlike the Chinese, Indians and Australians, we're not the best of settlers. While other peoples can go to a new place and make a new life there, Indonesians always always return home. I don't know why this is. It could be because Indonesia is simply a beautiful country but my bet is that generally Indonesians are a family-oriented people and we can't be away from our loved ones for too long (or maybe that's just why I like going home).

I realised today that I'm heading back in three weeks and it took me to a whole new level of being relaxed! There's a lot of stuff I want to do and people I want to see before I go back (anyone up for going to Wimbledon?) but I'm really looking forward to it. I miss Jakarta a lot (except the traffic). I would say I miss the sun but I can't complain that I'm not getting enough of that at the moment. I am looking forward to the food though. Perhaps most of all I'm looking forward to hearing and speaking Indonesian again. The downside is that I am seriously rusty so need a bit of practice before I go back.

No better place to start re-learning and get in to Indo mood than YouTube. Here is Sheila on 7's Tunggu aku di Jakarta (Wait for me in Jakarta). What's more is that it's in proper Indo karaoke style:

15 June 2006

Back to reality

After the euphoria of finishing exams, reality returned with a bump today. I went to the funeral of a girl who was in my boarding house at school. She died in a car accident last week. It was nice to see old housemates I hadn't seen for a while but obviously it was sad that it was at such an occassion. Unfortunately it's not the first time it's happened to us either. There was a big sense of deja vu because the last time a lot of us had seen each other was also at a funeral two years ago. That was for our housemaster who also died in a car crash.

I went with my sister who needed to be taken back to Oxford afterwards. Two other people there were also heading that way so I offered them a lift. One of them was the girl's best friend at school who was taking it all quite well - definetly better than her parents anyway. When she told her mum and dad that I was taking her back up they approached me and gave me an on-the-spot road traffic test! I was quite surprised but understood their concern. Her Dad insisted to see the car that I was going to be driving them in but stopped short of actually doing so. I guess I'd be doing the same in the circumstances so I didn't mind it too much.

Perhaps the biggest thing I took from today was that you never know what can happen to you. One minute you can be laughing and the next minute you could be crying. Bearing in mind how happy I've been over the last few days maybe in future I'll try harder to temper my emotions and be a bit more even-keeled so that I can be prepared for whatever comes my way.

13 June 2006

Like a big sneeze only better

Damn it feels good! It's been a deeply unpleasant last seven weeks but the marathon that is the GDL exams finally ended at 12.30 yesterday. The last exam could have gone much better than it did and if it was the first exam I would have been annoyed but, as it was the last one, I do not care a jot....until the results come out on 18th July anyway.

The best time after the last paper is always the morning after when you wake up realising you have absolutely nothing to do but yesterday was great as well. We were all spread out across London for the last few exams so it was good to all meet up at the same place afterwards. This is what it looks like after you have just finished twenty hours of exams:

The picture's a bit blurry but at least it's still good enough to show that G29 are the best looking group on the GDL.

The next stop was the Summer Ball at
Kensington Roof Gardens, which was a fantastic venue espescially on a warm and beautiful summer's night. The blue, white and pink backdrop of the sky made for a very relaxed mood around the place.

There were supposed to be flamingoes there but we went looking for them three times and only found ducks. Some people say they were taken away before rowdy law students could get their hands on them. Others say the flamingoes were just a myth. I think they were actually in those "chicken" burgers at the barbeque. Why do you think it cost £5 for one?

The best looking group on the GDL got a little bit better looking for the ball as well. Ladies in pretty dresses and gents tuxedoed and suited up to the ying yang.

Messrs Johnson and Kim were leading the way:

This picture shows that I need to practice my camera smile. There is just far too much cheese in there. I should learn from the closed-mouth-concealing-teeth style adopted by Stephen there.

An Italian, Englishman, Korean, Northern Irishman and Indonesian. There's got to be a joke in there somewhere. Seriously, though, the photo face again...

Signor Matteuci: Group Rep, Rocco fan, CEO of Annoying Questions plc and bearer of imperfect gifts.

The A-team: Alex and Amelia taken by Allen. All that's missing is Anna (Damn! I am on comic fire!).

Without wanting to stir, doesn't this look quite romantic?

Another Lovell-y couple.

It wouldn't be a post-exam celebration without some time on or around the dancefloor (This can be distinguished from time dancing around in front of the machine for recording goodbye video messages as some of us did. I hope that thing's not being made in to a DVD or anything):

Jun in the blue spotlight. When Alex told me to go and dance in it I knew it was time to stop my clumsy feet and go sit down.

There were some games outside including a massive Connect 4, which Matt and Jun had a go at:

The concentration was enormous.

One obvious advantage of not drinking is that you still have full control of your mind. I thought I could take advantage of this by taking on inebriated Jun at Connect 4 and then inebriated Jeremy at that game with the chips and the turning wheels, the name of which I can't remember. Despite being sober, I still lost both times. Like
England on Saturday, I blame the heat.

It was indeed a warm night so it was quite nice to sit and relax out in the gardens.

It was good to bump in to Leanne, who I did English with at Warwick but who I've hardly seen around college this year.

This is not Stephen and Jun wilting in the summer heat. This is actually Stephen and Jun exercising Stephen's plan of stopping pretty girls (or, as Stephen put it, "whoppers") who walked by where we were sitting.

There's been a lot of work since the course started in October but I've thoroughly enjoyed it. This is in no small part due to the fact that I've been in such a great tutor group. You guys have been different gear this year and I'm going to miss seeing everyone everyday next term. It's been an absolute privilege for which I cannot show you big enough love.

I got home around 3 and got up at 5.15 this morning to take Al and Debi to the airport. My are stinging as a result so I am now going to go and reacquaint myself with my good friends Mr Bed and Mr Pillow who I have been neglecting recently.

09 June 2006

World Cup Lovin'

The clock on the side bar's been ticking towards today for the last two month but we're finally here. It only comes once every four years but is a special special time for football fans and non-football fans alike. It's 9th June 2006 and it's the start of the FIFA World Cup.

Football is a simple game where eleven men try to kick a ball in to the net more times than another eleven men. But football is never just about the game it self. The World Cup will be watched by billions around the world and the mood of entire nations will be affected by how their team do. Take what happened at the last major tournament Euro 2004. There was a power cut that affected much of the country. This power cut happened at half-time of England v Portugal - because that was the time when nearly every household in the country switched the kettle on for a cup of tea. There are very few other sporting events that can contribute to the failure of part of the Natrional Grid. The events on the pitch and what happens outside are inextricably linked.

It's a time of hope, excitement, happiness, sadness, tragedy, controversy, heartbreak and at the end, for one lucky country, unbridled ecstasy. Emotions are a thing every human being understand so, like football or not, you'll love the World Cup. Pick a team and follow them through the tournament and you'll see what I mean. I'm picking England (the Dutch blood isn't quite as strong and Indonesia are not there). Everyone seems to think we'll win it. I won't go that far because there is a lot of quality out there but this is defintely the best team I have ever seen England send to the World Cup.

Whoever you're backing, good luck and believe. It's going to be a fantastic month.

08 June 2006

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Or am I going to have to walk past you a second time?

Genius. I may have to whip that one out on the female world at some point. Rubbish chat up lines get you nowhere but they're quite fun. I've been inspired by a post I saw on this blog about the writer trying it on with some girl on the bus. It read:

"Saw a girl on the bus today, bit of a fox, so I sat down opposite and attracted her attention by bursting a balloon. “I am a tomato,” I announced, when she looked up. “So am I a fruit... or a vegetable?” She didn't know, so I explained to her in a nerd voice that technically I am a fruit in that I grow above ground, but that the United States Agricultural Department considers me a vegetable for the purposes of import levy.

Sadly, she did not speak English, otherwise we would have been getting naked within the hour. I have personally had over six hundred women using this method. "

However, the main chat-up gurus are definetly Napoleon Dynamite and Ron Burgundy. In the film, Napoleon approaches a girl in a high school canteen. He has obviously been trained to spot a girl's interests so he can raise conversation. He sees that she is drinking a skimmed milk called 'one per cent' and makes his move. He says, "I see you're drinking one per cent. Is that because you think you're fat? Cos you're not. You know, wou could rink full-fat milk if you really wanted to." Smooth bloke mate.

Not as smooth as the legend that is Ron Burgundy or Brick Tamlin in Anchorman though. Ron's technique will live long in the memory:

Brick's effort isn't bad either and is probably worth a crack:

But in the end it's Ron who succeeded...well, sort of...

Ron is the true guru. Follow him for dating success and afternoon delight.

06 June 2006

Hope looks like...

Wayne Rooney back in training doing this:

An angry man looks like...

Fergie hearing about Wayne Rooney being back in training doing that.

For the good of United and for Rooney himself I hope he does the right thing and sit out if he's not fully ready yet. But for the sake of England...Come on Wayne! Come on medical miracles!

03 June 2006

Dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984

Crouch scored again and he did the robot again...twice. England goal-scoring hero he might be but smooth he ain't. He's still a legend though.

He's big, he's red, his feet stick out the bed, Peter Crouch, Peter Crouch.