vicious babies on the loose

September 12, 2006

I'm not as mean as I look...

I can't say I'm surprised at the public relations disaster S2006 is turning out to be. All 4,000,000 smiles can't ease the pain of 28 banned activists. The surprise really is why neither the host country nor the organisers saw this coming when they settled on Singapore way back when. Given our legendary pigheadedness in sticking to our guns, why even take the risk? Has everyone - on either side - forgotten Michael Fay?? Singapore should consider it has lost more than it's gained from this overhyped meeting (which for the rest of us basically means we stay away from suntec city the next week and for shops in that area unmitigated disaster.)

Anyway, three thoughts come to mind as foreign dignitaries and indignitaries wing their way to our shores (I hope they have the right papers!):
1. It would be impossible for the S'pore government now to reverse their stand without riling their citizens. You can't have one rule for us and one rule for foreigners. I would like to see the rules relaxed, but not this way, sorry.
2. Activists need to get out of confrontation mode, sometimes. Is compromise such a dirty word? Is there no other way to engage the Establishment than by disruptive outdoor protests promsing the potential of violence (is that wanking or what)?
3. It's not right for august institutions like the IMF or World Bank to pressure the host nation. That is merely making political capital for oneself.

As for the 28 activists... I feel their pain. It was heavyhanded and overly cautious, of course, but pretty typical. It won't be the first time they haven't been treated with courteous respect, and Singapore won't be the first - or last - country to exercise its right over who to admit to its sovereign shores.

Let's hope the security sideshow won't overshadow all else, including the IMF and World Bank's own problems. Sadly, many will go away smug in the knowledge that Singapore is a police state. The short answer to that is that of course we are, and yet we are so much more too...

September 11, 2006

Working for a health mag is quite the opposite...

Working for a health magazine is not exactly the most reassuring of jobs, though you become knowledgeable with all sorts of information that you hope never to have to use. You become more absorbed, no, obsessed, with your body than you should.

Since Mind Your Body began, I've pictured my own demise more times than was sensible from the litany of horrors that we "educate" the public about. I've already died from metastatic cancer, heart failure, COPD, and become terribly debilitated by Crohn's disease, glaucoma and diabetes. I've felt all kinds of mysterious pains which signalled that I would soon die, and every unusual bodily emission has become associated with the most ominous symptoms.

Last week my middle region became palpably tender after we published a story about pancreatic cancer which carried the mournful message that it may not matter how diligently you exercise or how carefully you eat. One day you may still find yourself in a doctor's office doubled over with cramps while he tells you to set your affairs in order.

Of course we publish good stuff. We tell people about the best supplements to buy, the right things to eat, activities they can take up to get fit or de-stress. Somehow that kind of information pales in comparison...

I suppose I should be grateful for the advance warning -- the body IS distressingly mortal so you should be ready to shed the corporeal when the time comes. How one starts to do that, I haven't yet figured out, or I wouldn't be so preoccupied with whether my sinuses are just blocked or if a massive growth is impeding my breathing...

May 30, 2006

This has got to be a first

At 7 this morning, I jumped out of bed to answer my ringing cellphone, wondering who on earth would be calling me at that hour. It was Alexis -- calling me FROM THE LIVING ROOM.

""Why are you phoning me, Alexis?'' I asked. In my sleepy state I thought she might be at her grandma's though I had a memory of going in the children's room to check on them late the night before. ""I want to know who's taking us to the zoo today,'' she said.

""Put the phone down now,'' I growled as I walked out of the room. She was coming towards me, with a very sheepish smile. ""I thought you were at work!'' she said. I think she had dialled my number out of sheer force of habit.

This must be a sign. I'm not home enough. You reckon??