South Asia

American politics&South Asia06 Dec 2005 05:18 pm

Blatant attempts to embroider the truth
Upset Pakistan’s English-studying youth.
Schools found their textbooks contained a lame rhyme
Hiding a reference to Bush in each line.

Intrigue ensued, for the source is unknown.
Some think this hint was deliberately sown
As a seed of discreet propaganda; and so,
Now the secret is out, the trick poem must go.
Islamabad calls Bush a close favoured friend.
Desperate to please, their own people they send
In chains to Guantánamo Bay, without trial,
On a mission to win Dubya’s simian smile.
Torture and Bush-praising poets are vile.

Religion&South Asia&Writing03 Nov 2005 09:41 pm

Open the Kashmir border please, Indian government, for crying out loud. 73,000 dead is quite enough for one disaster zone. Let’s not wait until the harsh mountain winter arrives.

In honour of Eid, may I recommend this delicious Pakistani recipe to Lord Bargain, in which he might use his mercy chick peas.

Hope your novels are going well. I’m keeping up with the word count, just about, but am slightly alarmed by the direction in which my story is going. If all first novels can be read for deep autobiographical truths, I am in big trouble.

Religion&South Asia&Writing01 Nov 2005 09:22 pm

I have managed 1,956 words of my brand new novel so far. I might try and do a bit more tonight, or I might not.

Don’t forget to update your word count on your NaNoWriMo profile. How else am I to spy on you all? Er, I mean how else are we to foster community spirit?

I don’t know what they put in the water chez Alecya G, but at the time of writing this, she’d already swept past the 5,000 word mark. At this rate, she’ll have it done in less than a fortnight! Crivens.

Hope all Hindus (and Sikhs and Jains) are having a happy and peaceful Diwali, even if those of you in Delhi aren’t really up to celebrating much. May Lakshmi visit you first.

Activism&Corporate&South Asia29 Sep 2005 03:03 pm

India is on strike in protest at its government’s privatisation plans.

Good luck, people. You will need it.

“जीवन का अर्थ ही क्या रह जाएगा यदि हम में सतत प्रयत्न करने का साहस न रहे।”
– विन्सेंट वान गौह

Europe&South Asia25 Aug 2005 01:58 pm

Europe is flooded. At least 42 people have died.

South Asia (most recently Mumbai) is endlessly struggling with floods.

Still, global warming’s just a myth apparently, so lucky Bush didn’t waste anyone’s time signing the Kyoto agreement. Phew.

How many more generations will exist after ours, do you suppose? I can’t help but wonder.

Soundtrack to this post: Secret – Madonna
[it started off as Drowned World, but had mutated by the end of the post… a bit like river fish exposed to oestrogen-mimicking chemical byproducts of the plastics industry. Ka-boom-tish.]

British politics&News media&Race&South Asia14 Jul 2005 01:05 pm

Let’s get one thing straight. The three named men suspected of bombing London were British.

I don’t care where their parents came from years ago, or what their religion was, or what levels of melatonin were in their skin.

They were British.

This may seem a minor issue to you. But if Britain starts channelling its collective fear and indignation into attacking its own population – or rather, those of its population who happen to tan easily and have names like Shafiq and Tariq rather than John and Andrew – then we are in even worse trouble than we thought.

If you don’t want to sit next to any bearded men of south Asian ancestry on public transport from now on, that’s your prerogative. But you’d better hope or pray to your applicable deity that any future bomb isn’t detonated by a white or black or Pacific Asian maniac with a grudge. There are no guarantees.

edit: …and this mainstream BBC article is so them-and-us, it’s not even funny.

edit 2:… and the media is now reporting that the fourth bomber is “understood to be Jamaican-born Lindsey Germaine, who lived in Buckinghamshire”. So there we are: a suicide bomber who didn’t fit the visual stereotype. Hold the front page.

Soundtrack to this post: Lifelines – A-ha

Activism&Audience participation&Burma&Human rights&South Asia03 Jun 2005 12:07 pm

If you have a spare birthday card – or notelet, or postcard, or can knock one up yourself – please consider sending it to Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma. For more information on Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burma campaign, please have a quick look here.

My card cost 68p to post and the card itself was 50p, so not a large investment. But it’s important that the world is seen to be watching Aung San Suu Kyi, and this might be a good way to do that. Little tactical actions like this are sometimes the most useful.

I’ll cut and paste the original campaign request, rather than paraphrase the whole thing. Here’s why I’m asking:


Action Request – please forward to friends and colleagues.

On Sunday 19th June is the 60th Birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma’s democracy movement. On that day she will have spent a total of 9 years and 238 days in detention. Armed soldiers behind a barricade of barbed wire turn away any visitors. The regime has also cut her phone line, so no-one can call to wish her happy birthday.

The brutal generals who rule Burma have already made one attempt on her life, attacking a convoy she was travelling in on May 30th 2003. Up to 100 of her supporters were beaten to death in the attack. Aung San Suu Kyi’s car managed to speed away, but she was later arrested.

The regime are doing everything they can to isolate Aung San Suu Kyi.
They want the world to forget about her. They fear her popularity. She is the main threat to their continuing rule, and there are growing fears for her safety.

Please send a birthday card to Aung San Suu Kyi. Although the card is
likely to be intercepted by the regime, thousands of cards arriving will send a powerful message to the regime. If they know the world is watching, it will make it less likely that they will take action against Aung San Suu Kyi, as they will fear the international reaction. Your card will help keep her safe from further attacks.

Send your card to:

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
54 University Avenue
Bahan 11201
Myanmar (Burma)

Please forward this message to friends and colleagues.

This action is part of a global campaign to free Aung San Suu Kyi. For more information visit:”>Burma Campaign.

To stay in touch with the campaign, join our email network. Send a blank email to”

American politics&Asia Pacific&Global politics&Seasonal&South Asia01 Jan 2005 01:28 pm

$350m from the USA.

$500m from Japan.

Now we’re really getting somewhere!

British politics&Global politics&South Asia30 Dec 2004 05:59 pm

The UK government has just increased its aid from £15m to £50m (around $96m). UK charities have already raised £25m (around $48m) as well. Good news.

So the new top 10 in the cashflingers chart are (in US$):

World Bank: $250m (hey, whaddya know! It’s good for something after all)
UK: $96m
EU: $44m
US: $35m
Canada: $33m
Japan: $30m
Australia: $27m
France: $20.4m
Denmark: $15.6m
Saudi Arabia: $10m

(taken from this BBC article)

Plus a couple of articles on the topic of aid donation for good measure:
– Crikey (Australian)
– Indymedia (British)

Global politics&South Asia30 Dec 2004 02:26 pm

Today’s confirmed tally of dead: 120,000

Key aid pledges to date (in US$):
EU $44m
US: $35m
Canada: $33m
Japan: $30m
UK: $28.9m
Australia: $27m
France: $20.4m
Denmark: $15.6m
Saudi Arabia: $10m
Norway: $6.6m
Taiwan: $5.1m
Finland: $3.4m
Kuwait: $2.1m
Netherlands: $2.6m
UAE: $2m
Ireland $1.3m
Singapore: $1.2m

Source: Reuters, United Nations

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