Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year Everyone...

2008 is almost upon us (and perhaps for those visiting this blog from HK, it has already arrived). Hope the new year brings lots of great things for all of you and your loved ones.

Was hoping to be able to do a retrospective post before now, but kept dithering and now I have to head to a friend's place to ring in the new year later this evening... So it will become one of my many New Year's resolutions ;o)

Thanks for all your kind wishes and visits over the past year, and as I would not be "seeing" you before midnight, just want to say, a very Happy New Year!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

OMG... Bhutto assassinated

Just watching CNN news now after a last minute channel surf on Sky News before turning in made me realise the breaking news that Benazir Bhutto was killed today. I could hardly believe it. Just two months ago I blogged about Bhutto's triumphant return to Pakistani politics, and granted one week later her tour bus was bombed, but somehow that attempt on her life didn't register as a real threat, what with all the Western eyes on the upcoming January elections in Pakistan, the recent lifting of the state of emergency, and Musharraf giving up his army post.

(I can't believe CNN's Larry King Live interviewed that muppet Rudy Giuliani just now for a whole feckin' 8 minutes when he has neither links to Bhutto nor indeed anything to do with Pakistani politics! It's completely distasteful how he tried to make political capital out of his so-called foreign policy experience in this brief interview even as he claims it's inappropriate to do so in his next breath! The other U.S. presidential candidates that came on, Edwards and Obama, did only slightly better, in that they focused a little more on the big picture of tackling worldwide terrorism rather than simply their own foreign policy expertise/experience [or lack thereof] per se. The inward focus of U.S. media and politicians on world events is disappointing, but not unexpected, though I cannot believe they didn't get Hillary Clinton on at all... perhaps because she could have made political capital out of the fact that Bhutto was a strong female leader and CNN didn't want to allow Clinton that comparison?)

The Murdoch-owned Sky News ran a breaking news ticker at the bottom stating that "FBI: Al Queda claimed responsibility for Bhutto murder" when actually no groups has as yet claimed any responsibility for her assassination, and many of her grassroot supporters blamed Musharraf for her murder. The latter theory has more traction when one considers that Rawalpindi, where the assassination occured, is a military garrison town just outside Islamabad, where official security is meant to be tightest. And according to an e-mail written by Bhutto to her friend just before her death, cited by CNN, she wrote that, "Nothing will, God willing, happen. [...] if it does [...] Musharraf would have been responsible."

The second CNN interviewee, Dan Rather, recalled his interview with Bhutto previously, and talked about how she had a "real and present sense of danger of going to Pakistan". When asked about comparing Benazir to other world leaders, Rather answered that, "Her potential was unlimited before her death". Another interviewee, Arianna Huffington (of Huffington Post), who was a contemporary of Benazir Bhutto when they were college students in England (Benazir was President of the Oxford Union while Arianna was President of the Cambridge Union), recalled Bhutto's "brilliance" and "fearlessness" and how her "sense of destiny" of leading Pakistan was there from the very beginning.

It's a little comfort to her supporters, I guess, that the worldwide response to Bhutto's death was of shock and regret, of world leaders like Gordon Brown and George Bush condemning the assassination as a "cowardly act" and a "sad day for democracy" in Pakistan. Photos are published on the front-pages of newspapers of Benazir Bhutto electioneering from the open sun roof of the car 30 seconds before she was killed. She died doing something she believed in. She remains an inspiration.

Benazir Bhutto
1953 - 2007

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Season's Greetings...

Haven't managed to update this blog again in the last while, and today, on Christmas's eve, I finally got a chance to blog (a little), so just want to annouce the fact that I'm alive and well to those who've been so kind as to visit this humble blog and ask after me.

This will be my very first Christmas in my apartment, and I've played host to a couple of Christmas dinner parties already to a number of my dear friends, who didn't mind being my guinea pigs as I experimented with playing chef and hostess :) I now know I have several killer dishes (or at least my very kind indulgent friends would have me believe) that I actually cooked from scratch myself : poached salmon with creamed leeks and shallots, jumble-berry crumble, champagne syllabub, and my legendary salad. Of course, I cheated too with Marks and Sparks food (the bird was already seasoned and stuffed and packed in a tray with its condiments and all I had to do was unwrap and put in the oven for two hours and ten minutes!)

Anyway, my family now will be coming in a couple of hours' time. I couldn't persuade them to come for Christmas lunch (my parents don't have much faith in my culinary skills, and I have to admit, with good reason based on my past track record), but they are coming for some hors d'oeuvres and mulled wine before we head for a proper feast at the restaurant. I have spent hours the night before making a tiramisu (churning the mascapone into the egg-yolk mix took much longer than I ever dreamt I needed!), following Nigella Lawson's recipe (who is my favourite TV chef despite not warning me about the amount of hand-churning involved! I love her arrogance though, which is refreshingly honest, and more importantly, deserved). I hope it will turn out as great as the jumble-berry crumble did.

I hope I could have some pictures to upload here though but my stupid obsolete Sony digital camera finally gave up its ghost about a month ago (any good replacment recommendations LCC?) and my camera phone don't have the flash so it's no use when I actually (and finally) had the food ready in the evening on my gorgeously candle-lit table!

Anyways, I also want to record that I've been given a really lovely present already this year by my second year students - a wood-carved figurine called "Angel of Learning"...... Awwwww, thank you so much guys! It now has pride of place on my mantelpiece :)

Wishing you all a most wonderful Christmas and New Year...

(must get back to preparing the food now!)

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What Does Your Name Mean?