May 8, 2009
Panthongtae Shinawatra, the son of ousted premier, explained how a new book by the former leader’s three children was aimed at sharing their experiences as victims of politics.
Panthongtae Shinawatra explained how is was now time that they told their side of the story and how they wanted to give the readers something that they didn’t already know.
The Nation stated him saying, “We are not in politics, but we have always suffered from politics.”
However, he strongly denies that the book launch was not timed to coincide with the ongoing anti-government rally, of which his father is a leader.
Thaksin’s son was speaking during the launch of “Khon Uen Riak Nayok, Tae Rao Riak Phaw” (“Others Call Him Prime Minister, But We Call Him Dad”), at the National Book Fair at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.
His sisters Paethongtarn (“Ink”) and Pinthongta (“Aim”) were also present at the event.
It was noted that Paethongtarn’s eyes brimmed with tears as she talked about her father.
However, many believe that after Thaksin’s emotional phone-ins and disappearance for almost two days, they seem to look at the book launch has being a political ploy to muster more sympathy from his supporters.
Panthongtae, better known as “Oak”, told the listener at the event, “We didn’t mean to publish this book at the time of the mass rally; we wanted to finish it for National Book Week.”
The book is made up of interviews by Somboon Itchayawarakul and ML Chalermkiti Chakrabhand, editors at Por Patak Publishing House. Paethongtarn arranged interviews with the editors, starting in the middle of last year.
The book contains anecdotes of the hard times faced by Thaksin, with his children offering emotional support. They talked about the September 2006 coup d’้tat, when the three children were in different places. Paethongtarn also mentioned unfair treatment by professors.
The book reveals Thaksin’s feelings in exile, when he wanted to come back to Thailand, but Pinthongta, fearing for his safety, told him not to.
The three children told the National, “The time is past when we felt all those emotions anger and hurt and now we are over it, so we can tell the public.”
April 14, 2009
Edited by: James M. Kelly
TV host and graphic artist Robert Alejandro could be found conducted sketching workshops last October as part of the Pinoy Backpack Festival at the Trinoma. However, it was his illustrated book that was launched at the festival that got mouths moving.
His book, The Sketching Backpacker, documents his journeys as a backpacker across Asia. It is a collection of sketches, capturing the artist’s vivid journal entries while trekking with friends.
But it is proving to be a fantastic travel guide for recent travellers who wish to discover the region’s scenic destinations, historic landmarks, and find those unique bargains.
Alejandro shows how he was able to make his tight budget of 50,000-peso (US$1,000) last him the span of 10 weeks.
Covering a total of nine countries and with an abundance of priceless memories later, he explains how glad he is for the whole experience and that he was able to share it with fellow enthusiastic travellers, Filipino and foreign.
The Philippine Daily stated Alejandro saying, “The best thing about it is making friends.”
“You get to learn about the different cultures through the people. It’s so different, when you make friends through the backpack trip, because you’re together for some time. Filipinos always teach foreigners all sorts of things. And I remember trekking across Chiang Mai. You all go through hardships together,” he said.
The Sketching Backpacker, features Alejandro’s more intricate art style, and is filled with candid black-and-white portraits of people he met in trains, buses, boats, hostels and beaches.
There are also detailed freehand drawings of old architecture and street scenes in Viet Nam, China, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand and Singapore, among other places.
Alejandro explained how he only took a few art materials with him, which he used up very quickly.
Not only does the book show some amazing landscapes and portraits of people he met on his travels, it also lists local key words and their English translations, as well some of the more affordable backpackers’ inns, meals and transportation fares.
Alejandro found himself soaking up different cultures and thoroughly enjoying a non-stop adventure, but he made sure to always keep in touch with loved ones back home.
The sketching traveller can not wait to do it all over again, he realises that he has a fantastic book out but the trips also taught him and his fellow backpackers some valuable lessons.
“There’s so much to look at. We were just looking at ourselves and we thought, ‘This is it!’ The world is so much bigger. I feel passionate about sharing this. Two of my travel mates, it was their first time to do this and it completely changed their outlook. I think it would be good for fellow Pinoys. It would make them more open-minded if they could do this,” Alejandro told The Philippine Daily.
March 12, 2009
Edited by: James M. Kelly
With the passing of Valentine’s Day, a great abundance of chocolates still seem to be stockpiled in the stores. But could you possible imagine a life where chocolates and all of the other fantastic sugary stuff was banned? What would you do under such strict laws?
This is the main theme of Bootleg, a novel written by Alex Shearer, and the basis of the Japanese animated film Chocolate Underground, which opened in Japan on January 7.
The book, which was first published in Britain in 2002, the ‘Good for You’ party, passes a law that bans chocolates and other sweets. The party claims that the tasty and delicate delights are bad and can harm your health. The government then steps up surveillance and tracks down those who break the law. Those who do not abide the Chocolate Prohibition Law are sent to a re -education centre to reform their diet consciousness.
However, two chocolate-loving teenagers, the main characters, Huntley and Smudger, fight to win back their freedom to indulge in the sweet flavour chocolate. With the help from Mrs Bubby, who runs a sweet shop and is bitter about being obliged to sell healthy but tasteless food to her customers, begin to launch a secret underground chocolate factory to bootleg the sweets.
But of course the factory is uncovered, and their fate, along with that of chocolate itself, does not look good.
The British author said he came up with the idea of banning chocolate from the world when he saw his wife trying to make their children eat vegetables.
He explains how he thought it might be a thing like American Prohibition, the ban of alcohol in1920-33. Then the two ideas just sort of came together.
He also mentioned that is was also around the same time when Tony Blair was in power in the UK government, and in a way he was becoming more concerned with the life of people, like a nanny state. It seemed like it was ‘You have to eat well, not drink….’
Through the book, the author wanted to express the idea that you really cannot enforce a law people don’t like, which is why Prohibition failed.
The novel is aimed at reader’s who are 8- to 12-year-old boys in the English-speaking world.
However, in Japan, a comic version by manga artist Aiji Yamakawa was carried in the monthly girls’ magazine Margaret, published by Shueisha Inc, in two instalments a year ago, in line with the production of the film.
The comic shows the characters of the two boys well; a cool-headed Huntley with his strong sense of justice, and the bold and active Smudger with lots of ideas.
The visual portrayal of the boys in the film and the manga also seem to be faithful to images inspired by the book. Huntley appears to be a mild-mannered and quiet-looking boy in pictures released to the media, while Smudger is shown in a trendy outfit with earrings and ear cuffs.
But, there are always going to be some differences between a book, a comic and animation.
The animated version is a lot more futuristic than the book, especially the robotic machines which is a portrayal of the chocolate troops.
A young female character was also added to the Japanese versions as one of three protagonists. This could be to possible draw more women into the audience, as the film appears to be for slightly older, more female viewers, while the book is geared more towards boys.
October 26, 2008
Poetry in the Train
Today’s generation is all about technology. If they aren’t spending their spare time surfing the net and uploading their latest photos in facebook, listening to their iPods or have their cell phone stuck to their ear then they are fighting battles on the Wii, Xbox or PlayStation consoles. It seems that the youth of today will only sit down and read a book if they have to be tested on it, and even then, I believe they rent out the video or should I say DVD of it. However the National Book Development Board (NBDB) are trying their best to compete with the world of technology. The NBDB has come up with an innovative project called “Tulaan Sa Tren” (Poetry in the Train) This project aims to reintroduce poems that have been written by Filipinos to a large mass of people. Andrea Pasion-Flores, NBDB executive director, told the inquirer that the main message of the program is to promote local authors and to give the Filipinos book industry a boost.
Since early August, commuters on the LRT line 2 – which piles the Recto-Santolan route and vice versa – have literally been overwhelmed by the poetry readings on the trains public address system in 11 different stations. Flores explained to the inquirer how a number of celebrity voices are being used to read out the selection of poetry. Flores believes that by celebrities will be an effective way to get their messages across and reach their audience. The familiar voices include OMB Chair Edu Manzano, actor Romnick Sarmenta and wife Harlene Bautista, TV hosts Lyn Ching-Pascual, Rhea Santos, Miriam Quiambao and Christine Bersola-Babao; singer Nikki Gil, teen star Matt Evans and actress and environment advocate Chin-Chin Gutierrez.
Everyday at 8am, noon, 4pm and 7pm the commuters can enjoy a half hour of pre-recorded poetry readings. The poems that are being read are painting various pictures of Metro Manila. They describe such things like how it is to live in its complexity, amidst beauty and ugliness, and trying to keep your dignity despite living in misery. Not only do commuters get to listen to their favourite actor or actress read poetry but there are also pictures of the celebrites with their favourite Filipino book. These pictures are on display inside three of the LRT Line 2’s trains.
The program so far has had very positive feedback, even to the extent where teachers of Philippine literature have expressed an interest in how they could get copies of the poetry readings. LRTA press relations chief Evelyn Paragas said that there have been a number of people interested in the poetry readings and are asking if we could make compact discs with the readings on them for sale. Paragas believes that the positive feedback is due to the “cool and pleasant to the ear” delivery of the celebrities that are involved.
The NBDB is in the process of recording the next chapter for the commuters to enjoy. A wider celebrity audience will read the next set of poems and the poems chosen are not your commercial type. There will also be another set of posters, displaying the celebrities and their favourite book.
So the next time you go to surf the net, update your ipod or pick up the Wii remote, think again, and grab a book or even a piece of poetry. You may be amazed to find out that you might enjoy it.
June 6, 2008
Copyright James Kelly 2008 all rights reserved
How do you know when a good deal hits you in the face? Even so, how would you know you had a “Sure Win”?
Trouble is that quite often you don’t as there are so many bad deals out there it is sometimes difficult or impossible to tell the difference. Not only that but your greed can cloud your reason and a swindle can easy take on the persona of a good deal. It is elemental of the tools of trade used by seasoned con-men to embellish a sow’s ear to present as a silk purse.
Once having been bitten by scams you find yourself becoming more and more sceptical and instead of trying to find a worthy deal you simply ignore all propositions casting them into the clever swindles basket.
The purpose of this book is to let you how I became involved in a sure win after spending most of my life immersed in the quicksand of bad deals and the quagmire of certain losses.
It is important to understand the essence of a rip off in order for you to construct some parameters which will allow you to thoroughly analyse propositions as they emerge and with your knowledge be able to draft them into the good deal box or the bad deal box. In other words – you need to prepare yourself to recognise a sure win when it comes your way.
Read and grow rich! Yes that’s right. All you have to do is read this book; then you will become rich by following the basic and easy instructions making sure you understand the simple details and you will grow rich without risking anything and without having to spend more than a few hours a week doing it. Sound good? Well there is one other thing I left out. The greater percentage of people who win money through the lottery, the football pools and the like are either dead broke again in less than five years or simply dead – suicide victims. Why? They haven’t been trained for success.
They haven’t spent ten seconds thinking about what it is like to be truly successful. Yes it’s pretty easy for people to consider failure because that is what they do most of the time. They start failing at school and then at their job and then within their marriage and finally they become failures at parenthood. All because they haven’t taken the time to find out the successful way … the winning way! And guess what? Countless books on the subject of success in any endeavour have been written, published and lay gathering dust in the corridors of learning. All you have to do to get rich is read the book and follow the instructions!
It is said that most millionaires gained and lost their fortune two or three times before they became truly rich. Well be that as it may I do not consider it a necessary ingredient of making your fortune and then keeping it as long as you prepare yourself for success.
You have to be convinced from page one of this book that you will become successful or you have a serious desire to become successful otherwise there is no point in reading to page two, in fact stop right here! Put the book back on the shelf and walk away. You have had something for nothing! Congratulations. A free page. Riches are not for you. If you are willing to devote more time to planning your Sunday dinner than you are to mapping your financial future then this is not for you and you will truly end up where you deserve.
I assume that you have decided you genuinely desire to become financially successful and that you will take the steps necessary to achieve this end.
Close your eyes for just a moment and using your mental time machine and your tremendously powerful imagination set this scene for yourself … it’s five years from now and you are sitting in your study in front of your computer checking your financial progress during the past 24 hours. You look around you. What do you see? Do you see a fine house with plush fittings and lavish but tasteful furnishings? You pick up your bank statement. Does it have a positive balance of eight figures or more? You glance behind your shoulder to the driveway in front of your home.
Do you see your gleaming marque – Ferrari – Lamborghini – Aston Martin – the envy of any motoring enthusiast – crouching there in the shadows awaiting your command? Do you have a golfing date at your exclusive country club that afternoon? Do you not bat an eyelid as you write the cheque for the next semester fees to the elite school your children attend? You look on your desk and notice that you have left the travel brochure open at the page which outlines your upcoming luxury cruise on a vessel that has twice the number crew as passengers.
This is your new life! Do you like it? Do you want it? How badly do you want it? Badly enough to keep on reading until the end and then taking action on your future? That’s all you need to do to make your dreams come true.
What I have to tell you about doesn’t take education, experience, erudition or a big investment. It does take your determination to take action!
Back to the present … think about your friends right now. Are they successes or failures? If you had a million dollars in cash would you give some to your family? Your friends? Anyone who asked for it? Just because you have some money it doesn’t give others the right to ask for some or have some of it. Of course you have to learn to exercise “largesse” by which I mean it’s OK to become a little generous but in a small, modest and meaningful way. Send the air tickets to your mother so that she can fly out to see your sister who lives in far away lands. Give your loved ones a special gift and not necessarily at Christmas or on their birthday. Do it when they least expect it from you and make sure the gift is worthy of you. After reading this you might consider that the best gift you could possibly give to the ones you love and respect is a copy of this book – think about it. Read and grow Rich!
Before you read on let’s just get rid of that nagging question in your mind. If this is so good and such a Sure Win then why is this guy (me) telling everyone by writing about it in a book? Well for one thing I get to keep a percentage of the money you spend to buy it and guess what – that’s why most authors write books.
My main motivation in writing it, however, is to set out to convince you to take action on the means set out in this book that will make you rich. In return for this, I will receive a royalty on every reader who takes action based on this advice. Yes I’m doing it to make myself even richer than I am now. What greater motivation could I have than that? I would be untrue to myself and you if I told you I was doing it for the benefit of mankind. The people with whom I associate and who are mentioned in this book contribute a substantial amount of their wealth towards the welfare and wellbeing of children suffering with cancer.
So much for altruism! Back to the virtue of selfishness. Save yourself and then you are qualified to save others if that is your desire. Get it the right way round though!
I hope you enjoy my anecdotal recollections of the swindles I experienced personally. It is through these experiences that I was able to compile the ten rules of a good deal. I hope you can learn from them and with my map in hand avoid unnecessary potholes on your journey down the road to financial security.
Learn the ten rules and apply them to deals you may have looked at in the past or may be looking at now. See if they apply to you as they have been most successful for me.
Finally I wish you every happiness at the start of your journey to wealth and gratification and invite you to write and share your successes with me.
(Please comment in our Blog or to receive Chapter I absolutely FREE send email with your details to firstname.lastname@example.org)
April 1, 2008
Poetry Discussion for Radio
And that was the latest hit single from Maroon 5. The time is now approaching 2.45. We will be bringing you the latest news headlines at the top of the hour.
Right now though it’s time for our weekly segment – Poet’s in the Spotlight.
Edgar Allan Poe had a remarkably sad and short 40 years on the planet. His mother died when he was young and as his father was an irresponsible alcoholic he went to live with an uncle who refused to adopt him possibly leading to a feeling of great resentment. After being dishonourably discharged from the military he commenced work as a journalist. He married his 13 year old cousin when he was 27 and lived pretty close to the bone. It is little wonder that his stories and poems reveal a fixation with emotional extremes particularly fear which he expresses so well in stories such as The Pit and the Pendulum.
Despite achieving critical acclaim for his writing he led a wretched life, became an alcoholic and died 2 years after his wife fell victim to tuberculosis.
For today’s programme we have selected two of Poe’s more desolate poems – “Alone” and “A Dream Within a Dream”.
Alone’ is poem exploring the meaning of solitude. It uses the words which rhyme to great effect – such is Poe’s general style. The title and the first line of “Alone” exemplify his feelings of forlornness …
“From childhood’s hour I have not been as other were”.
The poem continues to illustrate that he had a pitiful childhood and that he did not fit in with others or experience the same joys and emotions …
“My sorrow I could not awaken, my heart to joy at the same tone, and all I loved I loved alone”.
The imagery in the middle of the poem opens our imagination to the emotions of loneliness in that even the great wonders of nature such as a storm; a torrent; cliffs; and mountains or even lightning in the sky couldn’t prise him from his solitude. None of this could take away the demon within him …
“From the thunder and the storm and the cloud that took the form (where the rest of heaven was blue) of a demon in my view”.
In other words to everyone else’s eye the magnificence of nature was there to behold but his demons stood in the way of letting these wonders into his heart.
A deeper investigation into Poe’s life would make it clear that he was totally isolated insofar as expressing his feelings. It was only through his writing that he could share his emotions with the outside world. His suffering throughout his life and his inability to exorcise his demons is reflected in almost all of his writing but particularly in the poem “Alone”.
From childhood’s hour I have not been
Edgar Allan Poe
A Dream Within A Dream
Take this kiss upon the brow!
I stand amid the roar
Edgar Allan Poe
As a dream is a journey into the deep world of the inner self, a dream within a dream is even more so. In writing this Poe endeavours to illustrate the futility of life and its actions. What is life if nothing but a dream …
“You are not wrong, who deem that my days have been a dream”.
Obviously in Poe’s mind he was convinced that everyone around him believed him to live in a dream world and that the dream within a dream illustrates his thought that nothing in life matters and that holding onto it resembled clutching a handful of sand and trying to stop the grains – life – running through one’s fingers …
“And I hold within my hand, grains of the golden sand”.
It seems obvious that in his words …
“While I weep – while I weep, O God can I not save one from the pitiless wave?”
whilst realising the futility of his life and his inability to change it he was desperately pleading to hold onto at least a single grain or tenet of reality. But in conclusions he accepts that all he sees or seems to be is but a dream within a dream
Can we relate these poems to life as we know it today? Let’s analyse the socio-economic differences. People in Poe’s day didn’t quite have the same distractions we have today such as television, DVDs, I-Pods and computer games which all represent an escape from reality. What we do have today that existed in Poe’s time is alcohol and as Poe used it to escape the depressing reality of the life he lived so too do people today.
Self doubt, depression and viewing life as a futile adventure are as prevalent today as they were back then and probably more so given the untold numbers of homeless people living in depraved conditions in the back streets of our cities. Would they, if they had the ability, write about their situation in the same way Poe did. I would say so.
Poe’s lack of self esteem emanating from his perception of how he is viewed by his peers would be no different today in that by and large people tend to look down on alcoholics and desperate people. Having no where to turn they focus on the futility of their wretchedness.
It didn’t help that during Poe’s short time on the planet people of all nations were influenced by such violent events as the French Revolution, The Napoleonic Wars, The Peninsular War, Chilean Civil War, the Greek War of Independence and the greatest conflict of the time the War of 1812 – 1814. It didn’t help that during his life Americans were recovering from the War of Independence, engaged in the 1812 War which was a precursor towards the American Civil war of 1860. War in some part of the world was a always to the forefront of civilian psyche during Poe’s time which would have only added to his state of mind.
We could liken this to modern day conflicts post World War II such as the Korean and Vietnamese Wars in which many thousands of our people were involved. During the aftermath and even to the present time people are still affected in a negative way whether they were involved or not. Poe’s woes found their partial release in his writing but unfortunately the demons that occupied him were not exorcised sufficiently to allow him to live a long and peaceful life.
Well on that bright note let’s hear what you have to say. The lines are open we’ll take a caller on line one but reach for the phone now and dial 55215215.
Yes John. What does either of Poe’s poems Alone or Dream within a Dream mean to you?
John: I am more familiar with Alone and I guess that we all feel unwanted or outcast like at some time in our lives. I think that Poe put into words what we all must occasionally feel. Like you said about the Vietnam War, I am a veteran and when I returned I felt totally alone in the world and there was no one who wanted to listen to my story. If I like had the ability I might have written like Poe did.
Me: Thank you John and now let’s hear from Amelia.
Amelia: I think both poems are morbid and it’s like reading them gets you more depressed. I don’t understand why people don’t want to experience happy poetry like the romantic poets. Why do people like bad news?
Me: Thanks Amelia. You will be pleased to know that next weeks segment features one of the most romantic of poets, William Wordsworth so remember to tune in. We have time for one more called … Hi Frank …
Frank: Hi mate. I used to have a drinking problem and you are right! No one wants to know you. You are treated like dirt. I didn’t know that Poe was an alcoholic but now I can relate to it in his poetry. Actually I didn’t have much of an interest in poetry until I started listening to your segment. It’s not all soppy stuff is it?
Me: Right Frank – there’s poetry for everyone from reality to romance to the nonsense of Lewis Carrol but folks in his words … it’s Brillig – or almost and time to leave you with the news. This is me signing off until same time next week.