Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Friday, September 16, 2011

Oliver North – Batbombs. One Of The Reasons I Plan To Kick The Shit Out Of Him

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUR-5V10114

posted by Kirk at 12:09 am  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Plan To Kick The Shit Out Of Oliver North

Oliver North couldn’t spell the word “potato”.

But that doesn’t mean he was stupid.

In fact, he was a consummate liar and brilliant actor, for example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_8m0MJUBNQ

There is a raft of this stuff on You Tube now, thanks to the internet.

Most will find it boring, while I, on the contrary, am fascinated by it.

As a commentator or witness to anything, North has been thoroughly discredited:

(From Wikipedia): North was at the center of (US) national attention during the Iran-Contra affair, a political scandal of the late 1980s. North was a National Security Council staff member involved in the clandestine sale of weapons to Iran, which served to encourage the release of US hostages from Lebanon. North formulated the second part of the plan: diverting proceeds from the arms sales to support the Contra rebel groups in Nicaragua (funding to the Contras had been prohibited under the Boland Amendment amidst widespread public opposition in the US and controversies surrounding human rights abuses by the Contras). North was charged with several felonies and convicted of three.

The US public is sucked in by this crusading bigot because it appeals to their blue collar, gung-ho, “right to bear arms”, FOX News mentality.

*

On to more serious matters:

15 of the 19 9-11 plotters, heavies and pilots who took down the twin towers and did everything else we all know and grieve about were citizens of Saudi Arabia. So was bin Laden. None were Iraqi.

In the aftermath of this atrocity, the US and the UK led an invasion of Iraq, on the following premise:

(From Wikipedia): According to US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the reasons for the invasion were “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s alleged support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.”

As we all now know, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found and most of the Iraqi people are living in a worse hell than before. But Saddam Hussein was found – hiding down a hole from where he was dug and then hanged in front of some other Iraqis who cheered while recording the event on their mobile phones.

God Bless America, while overlooking the 6th commandment: Thou shalt not kill.

*

Pause for thought:

The biggest ally of the US in the Middle East (then, and now) is…

…Saudi Arabia. Yes, Saudi Arabia, from where 15 of the 19 9-11 plotters (and bin Laden) emanated. Got that?

I live on its doorstep.

In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive.

Or come into contact with a man who is not their father, uncle, cousin or brother.

Saudi boasts the highest incidence of male-on-male rape anywhere in the world, because young men simply can’t meet young women on a date, or even for a coffee in the staff canteen.

Cinemas are banned, not because the films might be subversive, but in case a woman might inadvertently come into contact with a man who is not a close relative.

20 lashes would, of necessity, need to be administered in order to satisfy the religious police. Pious they are, too.

Saudi men, meanwhile, drive over the King Faisal Causeway every Wednesday night (their weekend is Thursday/Friday), get pissed, overturn their 6-litre engined cars and seek out Chinese hookers to take back to their tawdry 2-star hotels.

Like Iraq, they may not have WMDs, but neither can they claim to occupy a higher moral ground than any of the rest of us.

But there are two things Saudi is proven to have: terrorists and oil.

And while the latter continues to be vital to the US and the rest of the developed world, so people like North will hypnotise you with his false prescience.

Like every sane person, I abhor the acts of 9-11 and every other terrorist attack that has, or may, take place.

I sympathise deeply with the victims and their families – in the latter case I often think about the extent of their suffering and bewilderment that such a thing could have happened.

But let’s not get confused by imagining that arseholes like North are sincere.

If I ever have the displeasure to meet him, I assure you that I will do my best to take him down and kick the living shit out of him, Marine or no Marine.

posted by Kirk at 1:04 pm  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Garden

the garden
was a neat and tidy place
where he pedalled,
up and down

bees droned away their lives
above its verdant grace;
the smell of grass wafted round

his shirt was a favourite:
chequered, not plain
and while it grew tatty
he gave it a name
he couldn’t pronounce
with the sole tooth sticking out of his mouth

through the wire fence
a strawberry called,
begging to be picked.
it drew his gaze
but his mother’s, in return, was dark

not for her the shame
of an embarrassing trip next door
to explain
how the young man had, so atrociously, erred

*

when it rained
the garden swarmed,
came to life
brimmed with joy
but that wasn’t for people, just birds

from the stuffy indoors
he would watch
as they shivered off raindrops
and nary a word

before long, a big dog
(who needs walking!)
and schoolbooks to carry
then came the girls
and slowly the garden shrank
to the size of a postage stamp

but still the birds came
and the rain fell even stiller and cold
though he no longer saw these miracles –

he’d let go

of a transient place
of the lushness, of grace
in a heartbeat
to which he’d now return

posted by Kirk at 3:10 am  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

a moment in someone’s time

there is a moment in life when you realise it was all a joke, when no one listens to a word you say, when you sense they mock what you know to be true. and i have arrived at that moment. but i will be going out with a smile on my face and with fond memories

posted by Kirk at 12:46 am  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

is this it

muscle weight falling
i feel weak
what is this
i used to be strong
is this real or a mind thing
is this it
is this it
is this it

posted by Kirk at 11:27 pm  

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Majapahit Temples Of Trowulan (Mojokerto)

On a free day we took the opportunity to tour some of the relics of the Majapahit Kingdom. These candis (or “temples”) varied in nature, from those that were still being dug out of the earth, through foundation stones (or umpak) sunk at intervals into the soil, to fully renovated monuments. Each site was unique, although it was evident they somehow formed a “whole”.

We began in the village of Jati Pasar, Trowulan district, which is home to Candi Wringin Lawang. A large open gate, reminiscent of those found in Bali, this candi is so named because of the large banyan tree that grows nearby. (In Javanese, Wringin = banyan; Lawang = gate.) At the height of the Majapahit era, Wringin Lawang would have formed an entrance into a complex of buildings in this part of the city.


Candi Wringin Lawang

Still in the district of Trowulan we next visited Candi Tikus, situated in the village of Temon. In the Javanese language (as in bahasa Indonesia itself), “tikus” means mouse, or rat. Legend has it that the locals discovered the site when digging out a large rats’ nest, which is how this candi got its modern name. Sunk into the ground and consisting of a moat surrounding a central structure, Candi Tikus is a representation of the sacred Mount Mahameru. When fully functioning, the “source of life” was once symbolised by the water running through its stone.


Candi Tikus

To reach our next destination we skirted Kolam Segaran, a man made lake whose dimensions are 375m by 175m. During the Majapahit era the lake was used to entertain visiting dignitaries. Picnics were held on its banks and there were perahu to take the guests out on to the water. It is said that after each feast the plates and cutlery – often fashioned from silver – were discarded in the lake in a show of prosperity. It is also believed there was a palace nearby, although its exact location is disputed. Allegedly the paranormal can “see” where the cornerstones are laid, although aerial and other surveys have revealed no tangible evidence of this.

Also situated in Temon village, Candi Bajang Ratu takes its name from a King who was never crowned. Built in the 14th century to commemorate the death of Jayanegara, it is another example of a gate, though not fully open. The “wings” of the candi symbolise the “releasing of the soul”.


Candi Bajang Ratu

In Sentonorejo village we saw the 14 umpak of what was once a large, balé-style building (an open platform, or stage, with pillars leading to a thatched roof). It was here that plays would be enacted and other forms of entertainment offered to visiting dignitaries. Close by, we clambered over the ongoing dig at Candi Kedaton, where we were shown the skeletal remains of an adult male, unearthed at the site. The length of the femur and tibia/fibula, as well as the large skull, suggested that the people of this era were both tall and well-built.

We drove to the next site, situated in Bejijong village. Candi Brahu appeared to be modelled on the shape of a woman. It was interesting also that the “gate” was closed at the back. According to historical records, it was here that the cadavers of dead Kings were burned, although no physical evidence of this has ever been uncovered.


Candi Brahu

Our final stop was at Candi Minak Jinggo, another ongoing dig that has been stalled due to insufficient funding. It is so named because a large statue of a face bearing wings was discovered at the site, which the locals associated with the mythical warrior, Minak Jinggo. The statue itself is now on display in the National Museum in Jakarta.

posted by Kirk at 11:59 am  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Visiting Heaven

In heaven
I found a table set for two
A cheeseboard and grapes occupied the centre
I sat and waited for I did not know whom
Some carefree banter
Or a sticky interview?
The room was spacious, yet not vast
And spare-
Just a square grey table in a white square room
I saw no windows or doors
I waited and waited
And finally withdrew
But the waiting had given me
Time to ponder
That one day
I’d be back in that room

posted by Kirk at 5:45 am  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Slow Train To Mojokerto

We stood on the platform at Gambir station looking down upon the Immanuel Church, built in 1839 in the heart of the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Bhinneka Tunggal Ika: “Unity In Diversity”, goes the saying.

I had once lived in ibukota Jakarta, for eight years in what now seems another lifetime. But this was the first time I would ride one of her trains. We were travelling to Mojokerto, in Java’s east. Boarding was less chaotic than expected: I’d previously seen television footage of the platform jostling and all-round railway station mayhem that accompanied the ritual of mudik (or pulang kampung – literally: “return to village”).

During Lebaran, the period that follows Eid ul-Fitr, hundreds of thousands if not millions of city workers return to their villages of origin in order to participate in the annual family reunion. It is here that they seek their parents’ forgiveness for any shortcomings or sins – past, present and future.

Mohon ma’af lahir dan batin (“please forgive me, body and soul”).

Fortunately, we’d managed to precede the peak of the exodus from the capital by a couple of days. As a result, the ritual scrum was nothing more than a brushed shoulder here or there. We settled into our reasonably comfortable seats in what was a clean carriage and awaited the start of our twelve-hour journey. Being someone that always wants to be somewhere else, I was excited at the prospect.

The driver honked the train’s impressive horn with authority and we pulled away on schedule: the first example of Swiss timing I’d ever experienced in this country, which is better known for jam karet (“rubber time”). As we clanked our way over the sleepers, gradually picking up speed, I was reminded from this elevated angle of some of the districts I used to frequent: Menteng, Cikini, Manggarai, Jatinegara, Cakung, Bekasi… In the fading light we were slowly making our way east out of the great traffic-choked metropolis.

Indonesian flags, the merah-putih, were hung from almost every building along route. Already a week after Independence Day, they were still fluttering proudly in the evening breeze, a symbol of national pride. I reflected on whether the same scene would be played out in my own country, were we to hold our own National Day. Having witnessed the scenes of rioting, looting and gratuitous violence that were broadcast to the world from England barely two weeks earlier, I doubted it.

Further east we clattered and rocked, past wall-to-wall housing of irregular height and no planning, interrupted only by the narrow perpendicular roads that were crammed with a thousand revving motorcycles waiting to cross the tracks after our passage. Past corrugated iron shanty whose roofs were held down by loose rocks, in front of which burning piles of rubbish turned the setting sun red. Where still the merah-putih flapped in the occasional waft of smoke-filled wind. Past the wide drainage canals that were clogged with refuse and the occasional open area of red earth, where rabbles of children played makeshift games of football while others lounged on sofas that had once been indoors, as they waited for Maghrib and the breaking of fast. Past the occasional neat square of paddy, watched over by a solitary soul, squatting, and where multicoloured flags had been thrust into the marshland at intervals to ward off marauding emprit (a type of bird). And finally, at dusk, past a single, detached hut constructed of cardboard and wood that was in all likelihood bereft of water or electricity, where a woman was stood bent over a fire outside, poking it, and where still the merah-putih flew.

Not for the first time, I wondered what it took to govern such a country, and how such loyalty was conjured.

Across the plains of Java we rattled, passing Cirebon… It grew dark and the adzan was broadcast over the train’s tannoy. All around came the rustling of plastic and the ping of elastic bands releasing greaseproof paper wrappings as meals that had been prepared at home or purchased at the station were hurriedly disgorged and devoured. The carriage fell silent as everyone took in some much needed sustenance. Within minutes a low hubbub had returned as the weary travellers, bellies full and now lounging like pampered cats, chatted idly about the next instalments in what would prove an overnight feast of which Henry VIII might have boasted. There were several stops along the way, with each offering its own regional speciality as food vendors boarded the end-of-carriage gangways to ply their trade. “Sale pisang! Sale! Sale!” yelled the first of these as we stopped in Purwokerto. (Pronounced “salay”, this is a sweet snack made from dried bananas). “Getuk goreng! Getuk goreng!” called another. (Mashed cassava, deep fried.) On through the night we trundled to a familiar rhythm. “Gudeg!” came the cry in Tugu Yogyakarta (sweet young jackfruit soup). Then past Solobalapan to Madiun… where “Pecel Madiun!”, a selection of vegetables enwrapped in banana leaf, seemed to attract the most custom. Finally, the imsya’ was broadcast, signalling the start of the new day’s fast, when most settled down for a bit of shut-eye.

Nganjuk, Kertosono, Jombang…

Having read Bruce Chatwin’s gem “Why Am I Here” throughout the journey, I was just dropping off when, at around five a.m., we reached our destination. There aren’t many transport options from Mojokerto railway station at this time of the morning, particularly during Ramadan, but fortunately I was in the hands of my capable brother-in-law who quickly organised a fleet of becaks. A becak (the ‘c’ is pronounced ‘ch’) is a variation on a bicycle rickshaw, the difference being that the passenger sits in front while the “grunt” is applied from behind. Push rather than pull, in other words. Normally the passenger seat (there is no compartment as such) is good for two, even three: I had trouble squeezing into mine on my own. Off we set in near darkness in our unlit “vehicles” in convoy. “Aku mati!” (“I’m dying!”) yelled my guy to his comrades in reference, no doubt, to my bulk. But it was a pleasant journey in the pre-dawn breeze of this provincial East Java town. That is until we came to a main thoroughfare where two large trucks crossed quite close in front of us and we had to thread our way into what was, even at this hour, reasonably lively traffic. Before long, however, we’d arrived at the family home to a traditionally warm welcome where I was shown to a room and told to rest while some perfunctory maintenance was carried out on its ageing aircon unit.

I slept all day.

posted by Kirk at 5:06 am  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Leader

a leader
a friend
whose values i admire
a man whose resolve
to which i aspire
still brave
in the face
of the moment he saw coming
i will follow
i will follow
till the end of being

posted by Kirk at 1:56 am  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Untitled (3)

don’t waste time watching manufactured “programmes” on “television”. i would chew my arm off to be able to speak to my Dad again. and i’m not shy or embarrassed to say that deep inside i am still his little boy.

there is no need to forget when you forgive: you will find it impossible anyway. but that very memory will remind you that you are a forgiving person

posted by Kirk at 7:41 am  
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