gambitch - now available in blue
Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

(yourname at organization dot org)

i saw this coming
from the moment you carelessly left
your name behind on your own work
telling everybody "look for me"

i saw it coming
i thought you didn't

and so i told you

but it was too late
between you putting up your work
and me suggesting the alteration
time did pass
and somebody already picked it up

so now everybody has a name
to attach your work to
and they all start knowing
"oh so i can look for this person"

and you know what happens next
don't you?
maybe you don't
and i'm not proud to say this
i do

the danger of having a name to point to

they start looking for you for everything
not colleague X or colleague Y
whose name they have never seen before
but YOU

not just this project
but the next
and the next
and the next
anything they don't know
they just look for you

even if it's
none of your business

that's where all the junk starts

you said you didn't want
to be a civil servant
maybe one of the things
you don't want
is how the civil service
is nameless and faceless
and perfect in its anonymity

you like being yourself
being your own individual
standing out
like a blue mountain
amidst the lesser long blacks
and you like seeing
your own creativity
lead to an end product

that's fine
it really is

but perhaps
what you need to realize
(whether you want to or not)
is that at least in public
even though you can showcase your work
you don't have to put your name to it
and sometimes
it's better not to
leave your name behind

or perhaps
leaving your name behind
exactly what you want?

gambitch [ 5:57 AM]

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Oh, well. Guess it has to end one way or another.

So Eric and Danielle win The Amazing Race: All Stars. Not the best ending - I really wanted the Beauty Queens to win it. But at least Charla and Mirna finished last in this leg. Yes, yes, they should have finished last in the first leg, so I wouldn't have to sit through most of the rubbish that was their bad behaviour throughout this race.

I frankly don't even know where to begin in reviewing this episode. But that's not to say I won't try. After all, I've done this throughout the season, so I might as well finish it properly.

So anyway, they start by travelling from Guam to Honolulu. The really funny thing about this is that to travel from one Pacific island to another, you actually have to stop over at Tokyo. I know Tokyo is supposed to be a major air travel hub, but this is a little hilarious. Not to mention utterly ridiculous. But I guess that's the way the aviation world works.

Of course, having a stopover allows for some airport shuffling, which Charla and Mirna annoyingly do try out. Even more annoyingly, they actually succeed because of some more airport madness. I was always under the impression that airport service in Tokyo takes great exception to this kind of behaviour. Maybe the world works differently when it involves Charla and Mirna.

So anyway, they get to Honolulu, and they do the Detour. One involves swimming through an underwater cave, and another involves paddling some kind of board to a buoy. At this point, things hardly get that fantastic already. Maybe it's like that when you get back to America. Charla and Mirna go through the paddling, which Charla finds easy and Mirna considers very difficult. Come to think of it, Mirna finds most things very difficult. Eric and Danielle go swimming, as do Dustin and Kandice.

Then after that, they go to some beach and run. And again this is one of many times where Mirna whines about Charla having short legs. I'm sorry that Charla is short because of a medical condition, but then that's exactly the point. If she has a medical condition, don't pretend that she's totally normal! Take her flaws and accept her otherwise, but don't expect her to do the things her condition doesn't allow her to do! And this is just one of a few thousand reasons why I am peeved at Mirna throughout the race. She wasn't even this blatantly bad in her original season.

The teams then go about rowing a kayak out into choppy waters against the wind, a task that clearly is quite a challenge. Eric and Danielle do decently, which is a surprise. What is even more of a surprise is Dustin and Kandice having great difficulties with it, and ending it with a bit of an argument in the car ride afterwards. Of course, it is no surprise that Mirna is again screaming and yelling at Charla. I think I've stopped rolling my eyes by the time this happened.

Anyway, the teams go on to fly back to San Francisco. And most of the road trip to the airport is about the argument in the car between the Beauty Queens, which is just about the first time I sensed them fraying a little at the edges. Great they held out so long. Now please just hold on a little longer, until at least after the episode? Thank goodness they eventually realize there's still a race to run.

It's funny to notice it, but by the time the teams fly out of Honolulu and back to mainland North America, apparently Danielle's in this outfit that really shows off a lot of her top. Yes, we know, she's a top-heavy girl, but I'm not sure we want all the twelve-year-olds watching this show to have so much to ogle at. Okay, we've had several racers in the past who had great figures and showed it. Which maybe means Danielle isn't going to be a first in any way. But still.

So anyway, they get back to San Francisco, and everyone goes to the Old Mint, where they're supposed to set and crack some kind of code based on what has gone on in the race. Eric and Danielle get it done first, even though the Beauty Queens actually arrived at the scene earlier than them. Oh, well.

And so we have a winner.

Not the best season, this. Although it did allow me to see a few teams I haven't seen before, which is nice. But I think this is far from being a best-of-the-best race. I know I missed Kris and Jon, and Colin and Christie, and perhaps even Hayden and Aaron. Now give me a real All-Stars show.

Until then, it's a few months before the next season comes along. Hopefully I can keep up the enthusiasm.

gambitch [ 11:22 PM]

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

There is a time for protesting and whining, and there is a time when doing it is just a simple case of bad timing, thereby exposing a terrible amount of petty childishness. I'm not entirely sure whether Mohammed bin Hammam, head honcho of the Asian Football Confederation, realizes it, but it hasn't stopped him from being a whiner.

See, what happened was that United - congratulations by the way for winning the title - announced their tour of Asia in July some time ago, and one of the stops was going to be Malaysia. As with most tours organized by football clubs, this usually involves some kind of exhibition match at the various stops. Naturally, that means Malaysia gets to see a game.

The only problem with that, if you want to call it a problem, is that the Malaysians are co-hosts of the AFC's Asian Cup tournament, which is basically where sixteen countries from Asia fight it out and try to claim the title of being the best in Asia. This edition is being co-hosted by four countries, namely Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. And the timing of the tournament is actually going to overlap with United's tour. To be more precise, United's marked game date is two days after a semifinal match to be hosted in Malaysia.

So that's apparently left Hammam pretty upset, prompting this outburst:

Hammam slams United trip as 'colonialist'

The gist of it is that Hammam is unhappy for United picking the dates that they did, thereby breaking the exclusive hold he thought he - well, the AFC, really, but he seems to think he is the AFC, just as Blatter thinks he is FIFA - had on those dates for Asia's attention. So he rattles all that stuff out about how United are ridiculous money-hungry monsters eager to feed off Asia like some bloody colonist, blah blah blah.

I probably wouldn't have thought too much of the comment if Hammam had said it immediately after United had announced their schedule. Here's the problem: he hadn't.

And that makes him look stupid.

See, the fact is that both the tournament schedule and United's travel schedule have been declared for some time. The clash therefore didn't only start existing last night, or even last week. You would think that someone would have alerted Hammam of that clash as soon as the calendars were checked. And considering Hammam's status as AFC boss, it should mean that he should be alerted early of anything that would clash with his beloved tournament's schedule. He therefore cannot claim that he had overlooked that conflict until just 48 hours back.

Therefore, why raise the point now? Why start railing fiercely against the trip at right about the same time as United winning the Premiership? And just eight weeks before the start of the tournament? This gives plenty of time for the people working on the trip to go pretty far in getting things done. Surely he should have opened his mouth on this subject earlier, rather than busy himself with ambitious projects of expanding the Asian Champions League and picking ten domestic leagues in Asia to seriously pump money into and revamp? Or is it that he has to ride on the coattails of United's title win in order to maximize what he perceives as the value of his attack?

And then there's the choice of slamming United for their so-called 'colonialist' behaviour. Oh, the ease of attacking the Westerners simply because they are Westerners. Still stuck in that kind of mindset where you want them to pay back for colonizing Asia all those years back, eh Mr. Hammam? Maybe you should really be looking at the Malaysian national government instead of putting the blame wholly on United.

Let's get a few things straight. United can't just send their team on tour without somebody willing to host them in the first place. It's like an individual tourist wanting to enter Malaysia. Legally speaking, he can't just enter whenever and wherever he wants to. That's why we have the customs and immigration authorities. And they get to decide which tourists to let in and which to reject, based primarily on whether or not he's got the passport and visas done right. Donald Trump wants to check out the Petronas Twin Towers? He needs to flash his passport and show his visa's in order. Ehud Olmert wants to drop by? Sorry, he's Israeli, and the Malaysians apparently don't let Israelis in.

The point here is, for United to even go to Malaysia, somebody must have let them in to make the trip possible. And that somebody, in this case, is apparently the Malaysian national government. Statements from relevant officials, particularly the tourism people, indicate that, to them at least, United are very much welcome as part of their Visit Malaysia Year programme - welcome enough, in fact, for the ministry to invite them at all. So if Hammam wants to find someone to blame, that someone should be the Malaysian national government. And, perhaps by extension, the Football Association of Malaysia. Why target United for accepting the invite?

It comes across as a pretty big joke that Malaysia, the very country housing the AFC headquarters, wants United to come at exactly the time when the country is hosting the Asian Cup. Seems like the national government isn't particularly excited about the Asian Cup then, and the FAM cannot persuade them to pick up their interest at least a little bit. It's all a good amount of fun politics out there in Kuala Lumpur, one must suppose, having the national government undermine its own football association. Well, that may be expected of a country whose parliament apparently had a debate some time ago on their embarrassingly low placing in the FIFA world rankings.

But really, if Hammam was so peeved about that snub by the Malaysians, why is he taking it out on good ol' Manchester United? And why is he so irrational as to demand United totally cancelling their tour of Asia, which by the way primarily involves East Asia, which has no part in the Asian Cup other than to send teams to the finals? Why is he eager to slam the door on United travelling anywhere in Asia when what United want to do is their business?

I mean, just look at some of his quotes. "We played according to the rules of football." Sounds absurd to me, because we're talking about the AFC's choice as to when to organize a tournament, not what they do in an actual competitive organized match. This isn't a football game we're talking about, but a tournament. Yes, the tournament features football games, but the tour is not a football game. Get that straight, Mr. Hammam.

And saying that the TV guys will pay for United or Liverpool to play, but not for Malaysia or Singapore to play? Well, I've got a very simple explanation for that. It's called market forces. United play good football, very good football in fact, compared to Malaysia or Singapore or most other Asian nations. So we've got to deal with it by trying to better ourselves so as to close the gap, at least a little. Because until then, it's only natural that the television guys are willing to fork out that kind of money.

It's not so simple as to say that, just because United aren't here, television guys will naturally gravitate towards showing Asian football, and therefore it's a good idea to shut United out when they're not in-season. That's a very facile line of thinking. It's like saying no babes should be allowed to join dating services, so that the plainer girls get a much stronger chance of being paired off. As if plainer girls joining dating services is the babes' fault. As if there's a correlation. And even if there is, so what?

I could, if I want, be very much of a conspiracy theorist here and suggest Hammam's so-called outburst has something to do with discussions with Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon giving him some kind of phone call, threatening to pull out of the Chelsea-AFC collaboration that was announced earlier this year unless Hammam torpedoed United's tour. But that'd be giving Peter Kenyon too much credit, plus it really draws attention away from Hammam's simple stupidity. Because that's what Hammam is certainly projecting himself to be with this latest outburst - a stupid, egomaniacal small-time political opportunist who doesn't know where the right place is to allocate blame.

gambitch [ 6:49 AM]

Monday, May 07, 2007

That was a good Sunday!

I signed up for this music course, actually, and yesterday was my first lesson. And going by the first lesson, I have to say I am not at all disappointed. In fact, I'm definitely looking forward to the coming weeks. It's a small class, good mix of guys and girls, and the material definitely looks interesting.

But that's really only the start of the day. The big thing was really the karaoke session afterwards. That was great, very great.

And yes, I might have surprised you both a bit with a couple of things. But it was fun.

Thanks for the duets. Really, thanks. You were great.

And I wish we can all come out and sing more often. Adding a few more friends would be lovely, too.

gambitch [ 11:17 AM]


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