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Due to pressing real-life work getting on top of the little red email team,
we have decided to go bi-weekly, so we can get our act together,
avoid huge gaps with nothing going out, and get a free weekend every
once in a while, too (bonus!). We apologise if you’re bitterly disappointed;
do feel free to email us with any grumbles.
The problem with July 1 as the day for democracy marches here in Hong Kong — and this may be deliberate — is that it is so darn hot. This year was no exception.
Nevertheless, we trundled down, sweated profusely and checked out the 30,000-odd protesters heaving through the streets. The dissemination of free whistles to everyone almost gave it a rave atmosphere. Helicopters swirled in the air above taking snaps of the protesters; while on the ground the anger at the lack of democratic development was once again almost as heated as the weather.
Kudos goes to our old chum Long Hair for heckling Beijing’s HK poodle, Donald Tsang, just prior to a speech welcoming Beijing officials. Here are our images from the streets.
The little red email was in Beijing last week and was, hypocritically, more than a tad jealous of the many journalists who have bagged tickets for the inaugural journey on board the world’s highest railway that links Golmud to Lhasa, Tibet, further physically yoking the Buddhist state to its Chinese masters of the past 56 years.
Three Western activists from the Free Tibet Campaign clambered up the façade of the central Beijing train station Friday and unfurled a banner that read “China’s Tibet Railway: Designed to Destroy.” They were whisked away and deported swiftly.
Much has been already made of the likely environmental impact this link, which started Saturday, will have — Tibet is the source of most of Asia’s major rivers, population influx will hurt this fragile ecosystem — as well as the further de-Tibetanisation of the area with yet more Han Chinese likely to arrive in the coming years. Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, estimates that Tibet has 2.3 million Tibetans, but seven million Han Chinese -- more than 100 times the number China officially gives. The Tibetan Youth Congress has called construction of the railway “demographic aggression,” saying Beijing planned to use it to relocate 20 million Chinese in Tibet in the next decade—displacing ethnic Tibetans native to the region.
Tibet is home to more of China’s feared Public Security Bureau officials than anywhere else bar Shanghai and you can bet that they have been out in force this past week, making sure the arrival of the train carrying 150 journalists (remember the international media are generally not allowed into repressed Tibet) goes smoothly.
We have travelled the highways and byways of China and can pretty much anticipate what this first train load will see.
China’s attitude towards ethnic minorities and tourism is a strange one. On the one hand, Beijing knows that ethnic minorities are a pulling card for travellers, while on the other the government is super keen to avoid showing how poor all minorities are. The solution, which we have observed in every corner of China, is to make fake villages — often bundling many different minorities into one community as part of a showcase. The result is hugely underwhelming for the traveller — a plastic, Disneyesque distortion of real life. Those 1,000 journalists won’t be able to peer far on this trip given all the “patriotic education” and “strike hard” campaigns that will have been going on in anticipation of their arrival. If you haven’t been to Tibet already, the clock is now ticking… Mickey Mouse and ex-Tibet commissar Hu Jintao have set the time for Tibet’s total Hanification.
• The best book we have ever read on the above subject is Tibet, Tibet: A Personal History of a Lost Land by Patrick French — read it!
• This doco on the mountainous Buddhist state is well worth a gander for a greater understanding of the plight of Tibetans.
I really didn’t like fish till I was 16, which explains perhaps why I am such a dunce and there are all these typos in this missive. You see fish is good for the little grey cells, or more specifically fish oil — and what’s worrying is that there aren’t enough fish for all of us to be Einsteins anymore, so says an Oxford professor in an alarming report.
The fish populations that we have decimated and allowed to go extinct may have been the key to our own cognitive development. That is what UK scientists are saying. Omega-6s are found in vegetable oils, while most of the omega-3s we eat come from fish. John Stein, a professor of physiology at Oxford who specializes in dyslexia, believes that fish oils permitted humans to make their great cognitive leap forwards. There is only one problem; there are not enough fish for every human to sustain proper levels of omega-3s. Our brain food is literally disappearing, and we are responsible, we exhaust every natural source of fish and move on to the next source. This has finally caught up with us. We are eating our way to brain disease.
Dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia and other neurological problems seem to be associated with a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids, especially in the womb. The evidence of a link with depression, chronic fatigue syndrome and dementia is less clear, but still suggestive.
During the Palaeolithic period, human beings ate roughly the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids as omega-6s. Today we eat 17 times as much omega-6 as omega-3. Omega-6s are found in vegetable oils, while most of the omega-3s we eat come from fish. Are we destined to eat our way back into the Stone Age?
There are not enough fish. In March an article in the British Medical Journal observed that “we are faced with a paradox. Health recommendations advise increased consumption of oily fish and fish oils within limits, on the grounds that intake is generally low. However… we probably do not have a sustainable supply of long chain omega-3 fats.”
The grotesque mismanagement of fish stocks has spread like an infectious disease. Governments help their fishermen to wipe out local shoals, and then pay them to build bigger and more powerful boats so they can go further afield. When they have cleaned up their own continental shelves, they are paid by taxpayers to destroy other people’s stocks. If we carrying under plundering fish stocks we risk returning to primitive beings. You reap what you sow.
• And in other sea animal news, animated cartoonist Mark Fiore takes a swipe at the Japanese and their love of hunting whales following the recent shenanigans to get the whale hunting ban overturned.
The Battle of Waterloo was NOT won on the playing fields of Eton
Perhaps the delay in getting out the little red email was a result of the football playoffs (Editor’s note: credit for calling it football, not soccer, but ‘playoffs’ aren’t part of the global game). Our Fantasy Island resounds to many a strange cry as miniature wars erupt between surprising pairs of countries.
Intelligent, civilised, and cultured men turn glassy eyed and their honeybuns glassy eyed in turn as they discuss, haruspicate and scry the fortunes of their team. On the giant screens, the players wheel in a most entertaining fashion punctuated by the mighty hwomph of a ball struck true, as when Podolsky won the side for Germany against Ecuador.
In the stands the fans sing incomprehensible anthems dating from the War of the Spanish Succession: Marlborough he was a wee man wot went to war but yo Mither is a Tory and she’s no sorry, ihren ist entfurhen in das Jungle-zeit, undt deine Mutter ist ein Aff, yamana helosa boom yo mama, l’Anglais sont frais mauvaise quart d’heure avec votre Maman, and your Mither is in the close, with Montrose.
It’s all very atavistic. Some women of Britain have formed a Ladies League to eradicate football from England, and when I told this to a highly intelligent and cultured British friend he turned a whiter shade of pale and muttered dark things about Malleus Maleficarum and hags on heaths. More reasonable and realistic females instead patronize hotels, tea-shops and estaminets from Hong Kong to London that promise an environment free of football, with instead high tea, scones, witty conversation about Jane Austen, and a string quartet (who have each a fiver on the game).
But it is disgusting that politicians like Tony Blair fall over their panty hose in order to act matey during the World Cup, talking of their love for the lads and the game. It’s a put-up job when some of the lads have lost friends in Iraq. George Bush’s only (and I do mean only) redeeming quality is that his love for baseball is honest.
It is said that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton. This is a bit of Victorian nonsense, like the Coronation baubles that were created, according to E. F. Hobsbawm in The Invention of Tradition, for Vickie’s accession in order to chill the Chartists.
The Battle of Waterloo wasn’t won on the playing fields of Eton. It was rehearsed by blowing in the door of the Headmaster’s study with a cannon, roasting younger boys over coals, duelling with sabres and pistols, and pronging the ancientry and getting wenches with child.
Victorian headmasters, not wanting any more to have to patch the door, codified sportsmanship after the battle of Waterloo starting with Thomas Arnold, the head-master of Rugby. The result was the Crimea, and the Charge of the Light Brigade. Counsel rests.
In America, in the 1890s, Harvard and Yale students were still carrying on in the old style. Football was a mere melee and here, it was Teddy Roosevelt who popularized the very idea that a gentleman would follow the rules rather than stomp on the foeman’s John Thomas.
Today, this dialectic has been resolved. Players both follow the rules and violate them when no-one’s looking. There’s a general idea that you stay within the rules but there is no need to lose.
In Shenzhen, I defended a goal for my software company in gathering smoggy twilight against a team much larger in size than my homeys. A mass of Young China was coming at me like the Golden Horde or the Gashouse Gorillas. From the mass emerged the ball, which I caught.
But I can draw no great lessons in life from this.
A football-free Britain? Britain was free of football in the Middle Ages, so for fun the lads ran off to Palestine and then to France.
Boys, in fine, will be boys.
There are sweet spots in sports. Podolsky will be in their flowing cups freshly remembered even as a generation of white and black Americans remember Muhammed Ali. I staggered across the finish line in the London Marathon to fall into the hands of the St. John Ambulance brigade holding a picture of my kids.
Are we not men?
A hotchpotch of stuff we’ve found and enjoyed recently on the Weird Wide Web.
Get your lovely T-shirts while they’re hot!
Everybody loves a winner. Nobody likes a loser. Nobody likes to be a loser. So with this in mind, Canned Revolution have set it up so that you can now buy your own Canned Revolution T-Shirt, and pretend that you won it in our competition. We’ll back up any claims to being a lucky winner by anyone who purchases a freshly tinned t-shirt to help the cause.
Owning your own Canned Revolution shirt could be a great way of life for you — imagine the friends, the opportunities, the fame, the copious offers of gratuitous sex.
Don’t delay! Buy your way into coolness today by clicking here.
Video How to purchase power, the Texan way
Here’s the video story about a Texan grabbing legislative power via dodgy means, and for once we are not talking about Dubya. Watch this video to see how Tom DeLay assumed control of Congress. You thought the White House was corrupted!!
Video RAF hero speaks post detention
Malcolm Kendall-Smith was the man who went to jail for his convictions. As a Royal Air Force officer he was jailed for refusing to go to Iraq saying the war was not justified. He’s out of prison, but still has an electronic tag on his ankle and owes a very large fine. He is now under curfew and unable to speak to the media until October. Check this video message from this brave man.
Video RAF history has more than a few Kendall-Smiths
Malcolm Kendall-Smith was not the first RAF mutineer: in 1946 the lower ranks of the RAF in the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia went on strike in the biggest mutiny in the history of UK armed forces. While their reasons were a lot to do with a stop-loss policy and poor conditions, they also something in common with Kendall-Smith: they also rejected their use to enforce imperialist foreign policy in India, Indonesia, Malaya, Burma, the Dutch East Indies and Vietnam. This Channel Four documentary uncovers the story of the RAF mutiny.
419 Scammer scammed
It always brings joy to our hearts to hear of email spam scammers being mercilessly taken advantage of. Needless to say, some days it sucks to be John Boko.
Grauniad makes a mockery of Bush Gitmo claims
The US government said it could not find the men that Guantánamo detainee Abdullah Mujahid believes could help set him free. The Guardian found them in just three days. Read on here.
The Crimson Permanent Assurance sets sail for real
Reality has caught up with Monty Python fantasy, as a company in Sweden now offers insurance to internet pirates. According to BoingBoing, for a mere SEK140 (US$19) per year, they will pay all your fines and give you a t-shirt if you get convicted for file sharing. Finally, an internet business model that makes sense.
According to little red email sources, the full story of Matt Pearce, AKA Hong Kong Spiderman, is far more sordid and unhealthy than we had previously reported. More on this soon.
Video The dawn of empire
Hawaii bore the brunt of one of the US’ first real imperialist takeovers. On January 16, 1893, four boatloads of United States Marines armed with Gatling guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition came ashore in Honolulu, capital of the independent Kingdom of Hawaii. As the Royal Hawaiian band played a concert at the Hawaiian Hotel, 162 troops marched through the streets of Honolulu, heading for the palace. The Queen of Hawaii, Lili’uokalani, looked down from her balcony as the troops took up their positions. The following day, she surrendered at gunpoint, yielding her throne to the government of the United States. Produced and released in 1997 by The American Experience documentary series broadcast on TV by PBS this documentary gives a taste of the imperialist nature of the ruling classes of the US that has been evident for so long.
Seeing isn’t believing
A year on from 7/7, wild rumours are circulating about who planted the London Tube bombs and why. Some people, including ourselves, even claim this picture of the four bombers was faked. Mark Honigsbaum, who accidentally triggered at least one of the conspiracy theories, investigates for the Guardian here.
9-11 Stuff The perfect demolition job
Perhaps the most compelling video to date inferring explosives were used to bring down the World Trade Centre.
9-11 Stuff The real United 93 movie
With the nationwide release of United 93, the story of the tragic crash of the only 9/11 hijack plane not to reach its target has now become part of American popular history. The initial story of a heroic mutiny, led by the now-legendary battle cry of “Let’s Roll” by Oracle account manager Todd Beamer, immediately gripped the nation’s imagination.
Shot while during research for its excellent book, True Lies, GNN’s The Road To Shanksville looks at the wider socio-political issue of how mainstream news covered the initial stages of the administration’s response to 9/11. It asks the bigger questions raised by this story, namely: are there some stories that we, as a society, would rather not know? Does that fear of knowing benefit those in power?
But it also touches down at the crash site, featuring interviews with those very eyewitnesses whose accounts of the “second plane” and other mysterious aspects of the crash are enough to make even the most cynical viewer wonder if the official story is actually the truth. Good viewing.
Audio Adbust Dope Fiends in High Places
A potentially controversial new ad campaign from the Marijuana Policy Project names prominent public officials, including President George W. Bush, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Vice President Al Gore, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as having admitted to using marijuana. The ad then asks, “Is it fair to arrest three quarters of a million people a year for doing what presidents and a Supreme Court justice have done?” Click on the dopehead (or is that head dope?) below for the full radio ad.
That’s right! You too can get one of our t-shirts. Simply brush up your Photoshop skills and send your corporate subversion images to email@example.com, such as the one above to stand a chance of being selected the weekly winner of our brand new little red adbuster of the week competition. The winner will be chosen by the revolutionary collective here on our own Fantasy Island. Alternatively, for those who don’t fancy your chances of winning but are still budding anti-establishment artists and hanker for one of our shirts, you still have hope. Simply send us five of your designs in five consecutive weeks and, so long as the images, are yours (and we have ways of checking!), a t-shirt will be winging its way to you.
Adbusting — the choice of a new generation. For more on adbusting, click here.
The Meteor-illogical Office report
This week, we ask: if the “there’s no global warming honest, no, really, we might be funded by big energy, but trust us” brigade are right, then why have long-haul migratory birds decided to change their habits?
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