I stand with Israel. I always have and I always will.
Author: Rod Fleming
Scottish Writer, photographer, artist and musician. Currently living in the Philippines with the lovely Sam. I like photography, art, motorcycling, food (too much) sailing and dogs. I am a published author.
2016 began, for me, in the Philippines, where I now am. It had a less than auspicious beginning: I remember my shock at hearing about the death of David Bowie. But, while the toll of celebrities continued, this was not the most surprising thing about the year by any means.
That something was afoot became clear early on, in May, when Rodrigo Duterte, a fast talking populist, was elected as president of the Philippines. Most people in the West hardly noticed this, but it was a straw in the wind. It is true that Duterte’s route to power was laid open by the Philippines electoral system, which is single-stage, and the fact that the centrist vote was split between two popular candidates, Mar Roxas and Grace Poe. Duterte exploited this division expertly and won, on around 38% of the vote.
Well, a belated Happy New Year to everyone and my apologies for the long hiatus.
I came here to the Philippines in early December after three months of flat-out work, to the point of exhaustion. I achieved a lot but I think regular readers would have noticed that my focus was not on the blog here but on other things, notably my new books — of which, more later.
Thai kathoeys have long been recognised in the Kingdom of Siam and are now known globally. This article was translated from the original French, by me, and edited and improved.
According to Buddhist precepts, being kathoey might be a “punishment” from a previous life: in it, the man cheated on a woman and to understand how she feels, he is reborn as a woman in a man’s body. In part thanks to this legend, the kathoey are accepted in the Land of Smiles. After all, in a culture where male philandering is practically standard, being a kathoey might be the fate of all such men, in a future life.
‘Phobia’ just means ‘fear of’. ‘Islamophobia’ therefore, is the fear of Islam. But Islam is not a group of people, a race or an ethnicity. It is just a religion. A religion is a set of ideas, so Islam is an ideology.
It is reasonable to fear an ideology that calls on its followers to kill you and destroy your culture; so why does ‘Islamophobia’ have special status? Why are people deliberately shamed into not stating that they are afraid of Islam and what it instructs its benighted followers to do to them?
Why should Islamophobia be reviled, when it is actually the only intelligent position to take? Is self-preservation a bad thing? Is it wicked to want to protect a culture that you are justly proud of? Is it wrong to want to protect yourself and your children from a 9th-century travesty of lies and delusions fabricated by an evil warlord whose closest modern equivalent is Adolf Hitler?
Islamophobia is not only a reasonable fear, it is also the only intelligent and rational position to take.
In the aftermath of the seismic shock surrounding Donald Trump’s success in the US Presidential elections, it seems a good time to explain why his election was a good thing. Nearly all comment has so far devolved to the domestic consequences, within the US itself. However, over 96% of the world’s population didn’t get to vote in that election, but are nevertheless critically affected by it. The US is the Global Policeman; we have an interest.
So let’s look at things from a different perspective, shall we? From that of we non-USicans who yet shiver at its nuclear sabre-rattling.
Before the Second World War, the US had been isolationist. This attitude — that what happened elsewhere in the world was none of Washington’s business — was proposed by politicians, by media moguls like WR Hearst and even by military leaders.
Barack Obama has been a disastrous US President. Look at the history: Libya, turned from a functioning state into a non-state. Syria, turned from a functioning state into a non-state. All across the Islamic world, stable governments have been cast down by terrorist, Islamist insurrections, fomented by the Muslim Brotherhood and supported by Obama.
He has stirred up a hornet’s nest outside its borders but the US refuses, as always, to either accept the blame or resolve the problems it has caused. The entire Muslim world is now in flames and that is entirely the fault of Barack Obama, assisted, lest we forget, by Hillary Clinton.
On Saturday it was Bonfire Night in Blighty. Yes, that spectacularly English version of the traditional festival at the onset of winter. While the rest of the world has Samhain, Hallowe’en, the Day of the Dead and others, the English celebrate a failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, otherwise known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’.
Thirteen men, led by one Robert Catesby, smuggled 36 barrels of gunpowder into the vaults under the building. On the 5th of November 1605, Guy Fawkes was arrested attempting to light the fuse.
Researching the history of transsex is not at all easy. In the first place, the activities of transwomen, feminised males and sex workers are rarely considered appropriate material for men of letters to discuss. Even where such histories were written, cultural revisionists have done everything they could to erase them, with much original material being deliberately destroyed.
There is something deeply disturbing about social media; the dead live on through it. It turns out that the dead never really die nowadays; they live on in virtual reality, their pictures and their words floating forever in cyberspace.
I had a friend called Carol. I had never actually met her, but in a world where social media connect people across continents and oceans, that is not so unusual. We knew each other for over two years and the one time we were due to meet — in the same city at the same time — in the end I was unable to go. But she was still my friend and I looked forward to seeing her posts on Facebook, her jokes on Twitter, although they often had me scrambling for my Filipino dictionary. Carol, who was only 21, was getting her life together and she seemed happy, though, as ever, penniless.