30th November, 2005

The Indian way to do business

by Sunny at 6:04 pm    

A conversation between Mr. Baboo-Ji, an Indian Ambassador in Washington D.C., and his son.

Baboo: “I want you to marry a girl of my choice.”
Son: “I will choose my own bride!”
Baboo: “But the girl is Bill Gates’s daughter.”
Son: “Well, in that case … ok.”

Next Baboo approaches Bill Gates.
Baboo: “I have an Indian husband for your daughter.”
Bill Gates: “But my daughter is only 18; too young to marry!”
Baboo: “But this young man is a vice-president of the World Bank.”
Bill Gates: “Ah, in that case … ok.”

Finally Baboo goes to see the neo-con scum Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank.
Baboo: “I have a young man to be recommended as a vice-president.”
President: “But I already have more vice- presidentsthan I need!”
Baboo: “But this young man is Bill Gates’s son-in-law.”
President: “Ah, in that case … ok.”

Hey, it mentions the world “neo-con” so its current affairs, ok! [cheers Pintu!]

Filed under: Humour

Re-visiting the origins of the Birmingham riots

by Sunny at 6:08 am    

Ed Vulliamy wrote an article in the Guardian yesterday about five weeks after they happened. Such a detailed retrospect was bound to turn up, specially since there is still no sign of the 14 year old girl that was allegedly raped.

Though he does an admirable job of putting together a good narrative and bring out the main issues, the article doesn’t cover all the issues properly.

I’ve highlighted a few issues of interest, and some topics that should have been covered.

Continue Reading...
Filed under: Race politics
29th November, 2005

East Indian Jews representin’ in TO

by Sunny at 1:32 am    

East Indian JewA bit belated, but I found this ad (on the right) funny.

The Toronto Jewish Film Festival ran it in May this year [via SM]. You just feel like giving him a big hug.

More on Indian Jews can be found here and here.

I have to be honest, I don’t know much about that community, and they generally seem to keep to themselves like the Parsis.

And just for a laugh, here is funny picture from the Sikh Spinning Wheel film festival, also in Toronto, earlier this year.

Filed under: Humour,Religion
28th November, 2005

Me. London. Financial Times. Tomorrow

by Sunny at 8:01 pm    

There was a time when I wasn’t too fussed about living in London. Now I absolutely love it. The city has its faults, but when people say its diversity is its strengths – I truly believe that. London is the centre of the world and is becoming the blueprint for what it will be like in the future, i.e. people of every religion and race rubbing up against each other and, slowly but surely, mixing.

But we are let down in one aspect: the media keeps ignoring its non-white citizens (unless there is a crime involved of course). It beggars belief that a newspaper like the Evening Standard, which caters for a population that is now nearly 40% non-white, does not even begin to reflect that. It has no idea what is going on anymore and the slide in its circulation shows.

But we sons and daughters of immigrants are nothing if not entrepreneurial. The market is open for specialist media that caters for niche audiences and tomorrow, in an article for the Financial Times, I explain how London is giving rise to such a dynamic media industry. Profiled are Page2Page, Arabella, Leslie Bunder and more.

The article will be in the Creative Business section, make sure you grab a copy.

Filed under: Current affairs,Media

White Phosphorus, ‘trophy videos’ and ending this foolish war

by Sunny at 6:53 am    

Every day in Iraq new probems emerge, more people get blown up and kidnapped, the military gets caught using White Phosphorus, making ‘trophy’ videos and all sorts of other actions, and al-Qaeda becomes bloodier.

Meanwhile the anti-war and pro-war left keeps arguing over silly issues like definitions and agendas without looking at the bigger picture. Do we stay in Iraq or not? Is it still worth it? Is the government upholding the values it is promotes? And shouldn’t we (the left) be taking them to task if they are not?

Continue Reading...
27th November, 2005

Crazy Conservative Women

by Al-Hack at 10:28 pm    

In the beginning there was Ann Coulter. The crazy-ass right-wing nutter ranted and raved successfully for years before suddenly going a bit quiet. Then came Michelle Malkin, not only better looking and ‘ethnic’ (trips up the liberals you see), but she also reigns supreme in the blog-world.

There are other pretenders to the crown, but Conservative America has always loved women. The cuter and angrier the better.

You may notice I’m being quite sexual. Sure, Malkin is hot. But, like most American Conservatives, both are short on facts and understanding, and better with outrage and opinion. As that is all there is to them, you are left to just checking them out. But I digress. The UK has its own carbon-copy Melanie “dark days ahead” Phillips. More outrage and opinion and, just to be clear, no longer checking out material. Same old, same old.

So what was my point again? Ahh yes, I was reading Daily Kos about Ann Coulter, when it hit me – we need a desi version! Why? Well, bloody why not?

A desi Crazy Conservative would surely shake things up and get some good mud-slinging going. It’s just getting too easy to make fun of the MCB, HFB, SF and their bretheren. And you know there ain’t nothing hotter than a woman who drives you mad with her right-wing views. Anyone know any candidates?

A weekly round-up of blog chatter

by Sunny at 4:36 am    

Ok, so I haven’t actually done a blogosphere round up for three weeks, but I’m trying to make amends dammit. This is by no means comprehensive coverage. Simply mentions of blog entries (and two articles) I’ve found interesting recently.

  • The Renegade of Junk is furious that the Indian Supreme Court is making it worse for rape victims with their use of language.
  • Sakshi finds it bizarre that Jackie Chan wants the Asian (Chinese and Indian) film industry to “unite” against the Americans.
  • Riz has launched a new blog on market trading called Always Bet on Black.
  • Sepia Mutiny points to a Daily Show clip that satirises religious outrage.
  • Rezwan refers to a conference set up to deal with racism in Saudi Arabia.
  • Sonia Faleiro has written another great article, this time on Mumbai’s top transexual actor Bobby Darling.
  • Neha says that Global Voices, who she contributes to, is having a London meet. One for the diary folks.
  • 360 East reports on how the Amman bombings put Jordanian bloggers on the map.
  • Lenin points out the lies during Hurricane Katrina of people supposedly shooting at rescue helicopters.
  • Away from the blogosphere, The Register says there is one man to save the internet. And he is the Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador.
  • And finally, Maniac Muslim has written a funny article on Muslims at Hogwarts university trying to convert everyone.
  • Update: Philobiblion has this week’s Brit-blog roundup. Two entries stand out: Tim Ireland’s flash film for Tony Blair’s son Leo, and The Religious Policeman on executions in Saudi Arabia.

Feel free to add your links in the comments section. As ever, contact me to put forward your entries for next week.

25th November, 2005

Fight the BK ice cream ban

by Al-Hack at 9:21 pm    

Remember the infamous BK cone episode we first highlighted on Pickled Politics a few months ago? Because the design of the swirl, when tilted and seen when high on weed, vaguely resembled the Arabic word Allah, one man started a personal jihad backed up by Eastern Eye newspaper.

Guess what? Now they’re trying to put pressure on the chain by rustling up quotes from the usual suspects.

Well, I have a suggestion for you. Why not complain to the chain and threaten that unless they retain the design – you will boycott it. Maybe that will stop this madness.

Continue Reading...

Publish the Al-Jazeera memo and be damned

by Sunny at 4:59 pm    

It must be said that subsequent events have not made life easy for those of us who were so optimistic as to support the war in Iraq. There were those who believed the Government’s rubbish about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. Then the WMD made their historic no-show.

Some of us were so innocent as to suppose that the Pentagon had a well-thought-out plan for the removal of the dictator and the introduction of peace. Then we had the insurgency, in which tens of thousands have died.

Some of us thought it was about ensuring that chemical weapons could never again be used on Iraqi soil. Then we heard about the white phosphorus deployed by the Pentagon. Some people believed that the American liberation would mean the end of torture in Iraqi jails. Then we had Abu Ghraib.

Some of us thought it was all about the dissemination of the institutions of a civil society – above all a free press, in which journalists could work without fear of being murdered. Then we heard about the Bush plan to blow up al-Jazeera.

Some of us feel that we have an abusive relationship with this war. Every time we get our hopes up, we get punched by some piece of bad news. We yearn to be told that we’re wrong, that things are going to get better, that the glass is half full.

That’s why I would love to think that Dubya was just having one of his little frat-house wisecracks, when he talked of destroying the Qatar-based satellite TV station. Maybe he was only horsing around. Maybe it was a flippant one-liner, of the kind that he delivers before making one of his dramatic exits into the broom-closet…

Boris Johnson MP is not happy that the Attorney General is stopping the media print the infamous memo.

Meanwhile, Nosemonkey reckons that the whole episode looks too rosy for Blair and is not convinced. Tim Ireland and others say they’d also be happy to print the memo and risk jail if anyone gets hold of a copy.
Update: To clarify, I would also be happy to publish the memo here, providing it has something interesting in it. Though I’m more worried about my family beating me for going to jail over that than actually going to jail :|

The Islamic dance party

by Fe'reeha at 4:42 am    

It was but fate that after reading posts on South Asian hypocrisy here on Pickled Politics that I ended up being at such an interesting event this week.

The best way to describe the experience of being at what the organisers called “an Islamic dance party” is perhaps – unbelievably interesting…

Continue Reading...
Filed under: Humour,Religion

So many speeches, so little time

by Sunny at 4:10 am    

The Fabian Society are holding a talk on ‘The Future of Britishness’ on 14th January. They say: “British identity is up for grabs… how should we shape it? Debate the future of citizenship, faith, foreign policy, education, equality, community and security with over 50 of Britain’s leading thinkers and 800 delegates.”

Speeches and debates by: Tim Garton Ash, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Ed Balls, Hazel Blears, Madeleine Bunting, Ted Cantle, Shami Chakrabarti, Nick Cohen, John Denham, David Edgar, Paul Gilroy, David Goodhart, Tristram Hunt, Tessa Jowell, John Kampfner, Jude Kelly, Sadiq Khan, David Lammy, John Lloyd, Gordon Marsden, Shahid Malik, Ed Miliband, Fuad Nahdi, Tom Nairn, Trevor Phillips, Tariq Ramadan, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Zia Sardar, Ben Summerskill, Gisela Stuart, Stephen Twigg, and more..

Full program. That line-up looks quite tantalising… I’m going anyway. I managed to snag a complementary ticket. If anyone else is heading down, do let me know.

24th November, 2005

The sexual politics behind Harry Potter

by Sunny at 1:58 am    

As Harry Potter mania continues in the UK, it is worthwhile mentioning the fact that the latest installment has two young British actors by the name of Shefali Chowdhury and Afshan Azad, who play Parvati and Padma Patil.

But this being a thinking person’s blog and all, we can’t do gratuitous filmi plugs without anything worthwhile to offer along with it. Blogger Ink Spill has written a piece on sexual politics in Harry Potter and why she thinks Hermoine is letting the girls down.

Continue Reading...
Filed under: Culture,Humour
23rd November, 2005

Imperial imposes empirical dresscode

by Rohin at 7:45 pm    

The country’s second most stuck-up university (don’t deny it Sajini!) has banned hoodies, scarves that obscure the face and veils. As a University of London hack, I actually heard about this about a month ago and I do apologise for taking so long to bring it to your attention. However it has allowed me to cobble together a bit more information. The story first broke in my paper’s big sister, London Student and has been covered widely in the student press, including Imperial College’s own paper (boo! hiss!), Felix.

As the religious implications are likely to cause intense debate, it begs the question – what if other universities adopt similar policies? Hoodies and Hijabis beware!

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Coming to terms with AIDS in South Asia

by Rohin at 4:51 am    

A UN report, published yesterday, revealed some shocking statistics about AIDS in 2005.

The number of people living with HIV worldwide has doubled in a decade to top 40 million for the first time. 3.1 million people will die from HIV/AIDS this year and over half a million of them will be children. Over 1 in 100 of pregnant women across Asia are HIV positive.

Here is a brief round-up of the latest from India, Pakistan and China.

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22nd November, 2005

Guilty of racist murder

by Sunny at 11:54 pm    

murderersChristopher Yates, 30, was knocked to the ground and his head kicked like a football last November, the Old Bailey was told. He was set upon by the group who had been drinking in the car park of the University of East London in Barking.

Sajid Zulfiqar, 25, Zahid Bashir, 23, and Imran Maqsood, 21, of Ilford, east London, will be sentenced on Thursday. The court heard that after the attack Zulfiqar shouted, in Urdu: “We have killed the white man. That will teach an Englishman to interfere in Paki business.”

We know you’ll rot in hell boys, have a nice trip! [BBC story]

Filed under: Race politics

Hearing only what you want to hear

by Sunny at 3:32 pm    

The Daily Mirror today had the exclusive that George Bush planned to bomb Al-Jazeera but Blair talked him out of it.

A source said: “There’s no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn’t want him to do it.” Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency.

The attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost certainly have sparked bloody retaliation. A source said last night: “The memo is explosive and hugely damaging to Bush. “He made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere. Blair replied that would cause a big problem.

If this comes as a surprise to you… then stop being so naive. After all, this is the same administration that bombed Al-Jazeera’s offices twice ‘accidentally’ (in Afghanistan and Iraq) despite knowing the exact coordinates, and even tried to take down its website.

Update 1: A civil servant has been charged for leaking the memo to the Mirror.

Update 2: The govt has legally banned newspapers to reveal more.

Meanwhile, The Sun has apologised for falsely accusing a Moroccan-born British citizen for being a fanatical terrorist. Don’t go overboard lads – if they had to apologise for everytime they falsely accused someone of being a fanatic, we’d be here all day.

The wonderful world of bloggers

by Sunny at 1:36 pm    

As the media industry is obsessed with itself, bloggers are constantly checking out what their bretheren are doing. But now you can read what bloggers are saying, even on the bog, courtesy of Tim Worstall, who runs one of UK’s most prominent politics/culture blogs.

I was planning to give the book – 2005: Blogged – a plug anyway, but I’ve heard that Rohin’s seminal article on Apu from Simpsons has also been included, so all the more reason for you guys to buy this book!

“2005: Blogged” provides a complete round up of the way the blogging community covered the major events of the year. Featuring the very best writing from the rising stars of online journalism, this is by far the most entertaining and opinionated guide to 2005.

We can’t say 2005 was an uneventful year so this book is definitely worth checking out. The Guardian Newsblog has also plugged it, along with us.

Filed under: Media
21st November, 2005

Naughty naughty!

by Al-Hack at 5:34 pm    

The Guardian has a list of ‘offensive’ words on TV that are used as a guideline by some people. Here are some examples relevant to our esteemed readers.

  • Twat
    Very polarising; female sexual anatomy word; offensive esp. to British Asian females and some women from other groups, but many esp. men think it is an everyday word and quite mild
  • Chi-chi man
    This is part of a group of words where you can insult people because of their sexual orientation; and seen as quite offensive by the African-Caribbean parent group, and potentially (if used aggressively) by the younger African-Caribbean males. Hardly anyone else knew what this word meant.
    [been told some Africans also use 'cha-cha man' to refer derogatorily to Asians]
  • Punani
    Many are not sure what this word means; African-Caribbean groups and British Asians do know it and think it is offensive. Somewhat less offensive than cunt. Used in Ali G, became less offensive because he uses it.
  • Wanker
    Quite offensive to British Asian women and older men, but for most it is quite mild – equivalent to ‘tosser’
  • Paki
    Racial abuse which is generally considered very offensive. Not offensive to some if taken into ‘ownership’ by British Asians/Pakistanis and used peer to peer. However, some (white) people think it is non-offensive to talk about going to the Paki.
    Which ones are offensive to you, and would you not have them on TV?
Filed under: Humour,Media

The Guardian (and me) on British Muslims after 7/7

by Sunny at 5:05 am    

The Guardian today publishes its annual report on what British Muslims are thinking about and how they see themselves. It was first published last year and given the events in July, they saw it fit to carry on.

This is how it works: they gather about 60-80 Muslims in a room, send them off to discuss various issues, then report back on the consensus. A discussion ensues with (this year) Tariq Ramadan and govt. minister Paul Goggins there to address the issues. I know this because I was present at the event last week and the only non-Muslim to take part.

There is a lot to say about the event and how it reflects (or not) what young British Muslims are thinking. I have to be honest though, the extent of denial over 7/7 took mine, and Tariq Ramadan’s breath away…

[Update: Guardian Newsblog has a discussion on this (with a PP plug), while David T has focused more on the alcohol issue.]

Continue Reading...
20th November, 2005

Is the Sikh community on the brink of crisis?

by Jay Singh at 1:46 pm    

Last weekend a confrontation took place at a Gurdwara in Leamington Spa lead by as yet unknown people who objected to meat and alcohol being consumed in a building that is associated with a local Gurdwara. In the ensuing melee old men were attacked and a visiting MP was hurt.

However, this situation has highlighted a worrying trend, and that is the eagerness with which some young British Sikhs are willing to use unrestricted mob violence to enforce their way. Ever since the storming of the Birmingham Rep over the play Behzti these extremists have become emboldened and speak openly on message boards of their intention to ‘teach people lessons’ and how they are willing to give up their lives in their riots and confrontations.

Continue Reading...

Calling British Asian bloggers

by Sunny at 12:18 am    

Now that Pickled Politics has settled down and started establishing its own identity (in just over 11 weeks), there are certain things I need to start on.

Firstly, I would like to build a list of British Asian bloggers who write about current affairs topics or at least what is going on in the world around them. The plan is to start tracking conversations and topics so I can summarise what bloggers are saying when need be…

Continue Reading...
Filed under: Current affairs
19th November, 2005

Sex! Scandal! Balls! Sania Mirza serves up more controversy

by Rohin at 3:33 am    

In a fascinating update to studious Sunny’s previous post on the south Indian sex scandal, it looks like Indian tennis star Sania Mirza has comprehensively joined the fracas.

Sania Mirza, heroine to the masses and at least one of PP’s stalwart staff, has come out in support of Khushboo, the south Indian film star harassed by local politicians for her views on sex. You may remember, Sania (who turned 19 on Tuesday) has been no stranger to controversy throughout her fledgling career.

At a recent conference she not only defended her short skirt but also the south Indian film star on her views on safe sex. Except that only triggered more protests, effigy burning and condemnations…

Continue Reading...
18th November, 2005

The End of a Dynasty – Sri Lankan Election Results

by SajiniW at 9:42 am    

Rajapakse Victorious In Sri Lankan Presidential Elections

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Film on Islam’s attitude to homosexuality

by Sunny at 3:46 am    

The Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali is planning to make a film on Islam’s attitude to homosexuality, BBC reports. Considering ‘Submission I’ got Theo Van Gogh killed, people will be watching this one closely.

“I examine the position of homosexuals in Islam in the film Submission II,” she told the De Volkskrant newspaper. “In the movie, they are called Allah’s creatures,” she added. The MP is an outspoken critic of Islamic values and describes herself as a “lapsed” Muslim.

I wonder if Qaradawi will have a starring role.

Filed under: Religion,The World

Sending money ‘home’ is big business

by Sunny at 2:44 am    

We all know people who ‘send money back home’ to their country of origin. Ok, I don’t but I’m sure you do. Hopefully. Care to guess how much it adds up to? $232 billion dollars annually. That’s right, billions, according to a World Bank report published yesterday.

You may yawn and think “and what?”, but this means a lot. The World Bank is interested because $160 billion of that $232 billion goes to developing countries. That is more than twice the level of development aid they get from all sources. Those big bucks means a lot to them. And guess who is on top of the list.

The countries receiving the most in recorded remittances are India ($21.7 billion), China ($21.3 billion), Mexico ($18.1 billion), France ($12.7 billion), and the Philippines ($11.6 billion). Those for which remittances account for the largest proportion of gross domestic product are Tonga (31%), Moldova (27.1%), Lesotho (25.8%), Haiti (24.8%), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (22.5%).

There are other very interesting other conclusions the WB makes….

Continue Reading...
Filed under: Economics,South Asia
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