My latest rant

Sometimes I just need to rant. Be afraid, you are my captive audience.

China continues to suck


It’s not that I’m picking on China. Really, I’m not.

Can I help it if China’s powers that be provide a constant stream of evidence of suckiness in all areas of human rights, personal and political freedoms and general respect for others?

The latest example of suckiness is China’s reaction to the Nobel Peace Prize for Liu Xiaobo.

Liu is a Chinese literary critic, writer, professor, and human rights activist who called for political reforms and the end of communist one-party rule in China. He is currently incarcerated as a political prisoner in the People’s Republic of China.

In December 2008, Liu was detained in response to his participation with Charter 08.

According to Wikipedia:

Charter 08 is a manifesto initially signed by over 350 Chinese intellectuals and human rights activists. It was published on 10 December 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopting name and style from the anti-Soviet Charter 77 issued by dissidents in Czechoslovakia. Since its release, more than 10,000 people inside and outside of China have signed the charter.

Liu was formally arrested in June 2009, on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power”  and after a trial was sentenced to 11 years in jail and two years of deprivation of political rights.

Really. Deprivation of political rights? I would have thought you’d actually had to HAVE some political rights first before anyone could deprive you of them.

Maybe the Chinese authorities do have a sense of humour after all.

Anyway, Liu’s still imprisoned despite calls for his release from the United States Department of State and more recently the European Union, the US and the United Nations.

China, however, has thumbed its nose at the world, saying “respect China’s judicial sovereignty and to not do things that will interfere in China’s internal affairs”.

Have you ever watched South Park? Can you hear Cartman’s “respect my authoritah” ringing in your ears? That about sums it up I guess.

The Nobel committee went ahead with the ceremony to make the award, even though the guest of honour couldn’t be there.

And funnily enough, CNN and the BBC suddenly disappeared from China’s televisions around the same time the ceremony was taking place.

Can’t have the people getting wind of news from the free world now, can we?

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What century is this?

It’s almost unbelievable that in this day and age, bigots who hide behind their own interpretation of Christianity still exist.

The owners of a guesthouse in Cornwall, who say they are Christians but certainly don’t act like it, refused to allow a gay couple to share a double bed because to do so would have been “an affront to their faith”.

Not surprisingly, they are being sued.

I’ll be particularly un-Christian-like by saying I hope they get slammed in court.

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Turn left at the next tank

I was a bit disappointed with the look of the satellite mapping system China has launched to rival Google Maps (see how I kept my nearly uncontrollable giggling and snorts of derision from taking over there).

Google and China haven’t been the best of friends since last year’s hack attack that originated from China. Google withdrew its search from mainland China and so the bunfight expanded.

It’s been a tetchy relationship at best: Google’s YouTube video site and Picasa (for photos) are blocked in China and Google docs isn’t always easy to access.

Anyway, China’s Map World  is up and running with controlled images available to controlled areas. Because China likes to have control.

I’m expecting it’ll be something along the lines of an outline of China with key locations marked (students, tanks, shit that can be run over and places that don’t need human rights).

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Reborns? They creep me out

I realise those “Baby Reborn” doll thingamajigs are insanely popular with some people but for the life of me, I can’t work out why.

Sure, I’d understand if it was little girls wanting them to play with but it’s not little girls, it’s big girls.

Adult women are spending a fortune on these things and treating them like they are real. It’s weird and just a little bit creepy.

Someone on a popular NZ message board was full of excitement about a page layout they’d set up on eBay to sell one of their “creations” the other day and chucked the URL out there for everyone to admire (it’s here, if you’re interested).

While everyone else was ooh-ing and ah-ing over the paint job on the doll’s face I was looking at it and wondering why it is that whenever these things are photographed they look, well, dead. No, not doll-like, but dead.

Ick, they really do creep me out.

And what’s up with grown women playing with dollies anyway?

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Is it really discrimination?

UPDATE: The latest on this story is that the casting agent has now been sacked. Apparently the light-skinned option was the choice of the casting agent, an independent contractor, not the producers.

Oh well, I still say having a whinge about not getting a particular role because you don’t have the right look is ridiculous.

ORIGINAL POST
Wannabe actress/hobbit Naz Humphreys is complaining about what she calls discrimination after being turned down for the role of a hobbit extra in the movie The Hobbit because she’s “not white enough”.

But is that really discrimination?

Ms Humphreys is of Pakistani descent and has got the pip because the casting manager for The Hobbit “basically said they weren’t having anybody who wasn’t pale-skinned”.

I guess that’s up to the casting manager to decide … it would be like me auditioning to play Tina Turner or Kate Moss, since I’m quite corpse-like in my colouring and not particularly, er, svelte.

Ms Humphreys says: “It’s 2010 and I still can’t believe I’m being discriminated against because I have brown skin.”

She has also gone on to start a Facebook page (don’t they always) entitled “Hire Hobbits of all colours! Say No to Hobbit racism!”

Even worse, Human Rights Commission spokesman Gilbert Wong said it was unlawful to discriminate against someone over their ethnicity or national origin but a complaint would have to be received before the commission could act.

Really? Come one, we’re talking hobbits here people! Next you’ll be saying they can’t discriminate based on height, so we may very well end up with a couple of 6-footers popping up on our screens.

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I vote they don’t breed

It should have come as no surprise to Pete and Alisha Arnold that their website would stir up a lot of debate, I only hope it’s one of those controversial sites that ends up being a hoax.

The couple, from Minneapolis, have launched their birthornot.com website to give the world the chance to vote on whether or not they should go ahead with their pregnancy or have an abortion.

Sure, they have lots of info on their site about why they are conducting this poll, and they had even more to say in the numerous interviews they’ve now taken part in for news agencies around the world but let’s be honest here: if these people are so stupid they feel the need to have total strangers vote on whether or not they should terminate a pregnancy, then they aren’t fit to be parents.

I’m pro-choice (which, for all you good “Christian” God-botherers out there, DOES NOT necessarily mean pro-abortion) so would have no issue with a couple deciding it wasn’t right for them for whatever reason. However, this is like some sort of sick joke.

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It’s official: China sucks

The news a few days ago that a Chinese woman had been sentenced to a year in a hard labour camp for retweeting something the Chinese government didn’t like should make those of us fortunate enough to live in countries like New Zealand incredibly thankful for the freedoms we enjoy every day.

We moan about the state of play here from time-to-time but things really aren’t so bad, are they? Sure, we have our fair share of crime and mayhem, the occasional corrupt cop or politician, sometimes the weather isn’t too flash … but if we want to criticise those in power we can without fear of spending the next year or more breaking rocks, if we want to make a slightly off-colour joke we can (in the right company, unless we’re Paul Henry), we can be pretty honest and open online about our thoughts without fear of being dragged off to court by the authorities.

Not so in countries like China. 

According to Washington Post blogger Melissa Bell:

On the day of her wedding, Oct. 27, Chinese online activist Cheng Jianping disappeared. Only this week did her whereabouts surface: She had been detained and sentenced by police to a year of “re-education through labor” for retweeting a suggestion that Chinese youth attack the Japanese Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo.

Her fiance Hua Chunhui made a satirical comment mocking youth demonstrators who smashed Japanese products in protest over a dispute with Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

“Anti-Japanese demonstrations, smashing Japanese products, that was all done years ago by Guo Quan [an activist and expert on the Nanjing Massacre]. It’s no new trick. If you really wanted to kick it up a notch, you’d immediately fly to Shanghai to smash the Japanese Expo pavilion,” Hua wrote.

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A simple retweet by Cheng (@wangyi09 on Twitter)  resulted in her arrest. The message has since disappeared from Twitter.

And even though she and her fiance both said they were actually mocking the protesters she was still charged “for disrupting social order” by authorities. Her fiance hasn’t been charged.

Cheng, a social activist, was detained for five days back in August after voicing support for China Democracy Party organiser Liu Xianbin.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted his reaction to the sentence: “Dear Chinese Government, year-long detentions for sending a sarcastic tweet are neither the way forward nor the future of your great people”.

Amnesty International has also spoken up, saying the case shows China’s repression of internet users.

There’s a reason I obsessively read labels in the supermarket or when buying clothes: I’m doing my best to avoid buying anything that bears the “made in China” tag. Yes, I know it’s damn near impossible to NOT own products sourced from China, but I’m trying.

I don’t dislike Chinese people, it’s all about the Chinese government and its appalling record of human rights abuses.

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Reasons to Taser the PC brigade # 100

I suspect the world really has gone mad.

According to the Shropshire Star, gingerbread men have been renamed gingerbread persons by Lancashire council bosses in their latest menus for the area’s primary school meals.

I’m pleased to say the locals haven’t let the politically correct nutters have their way and that the gender specific gingerbread men will be back on the menu.

I’m all for ensuring us females have equal rights but really, how the hell could anyone think this was a good idea?

And how could they think the term gingerbread man was holding back the progress of women’s rights? It’s a fecking biscuit.

What’s next? They’ve tried to emasculate the gingerbread blokes, so how about renaming granny smith apples grandparent smith?

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Is another 16 years enough?

I see the lovely George Baker was in court today (again) facing a whole raft of charges:  attempted kidnapping, kidnapping, threatening to kill and assault with an offensive weapon in fact.

Does 16 years represent justice?

Just in case the name doesn’t ring a bell, this is the scum-sucking piece of shite who bashed teenager Liam Ashley to death in the back of a prison van in 2006.

Anyway, in today’s little court appearance this fine, upstanding citizen threatened to “take out” one of Liam’s friends who was in the public gallery before being  sentenced to preventive detention by 

Justice Courtney, who then said he could not apply for parole for at least 16 years.

Wait … what? Parole? You mean in just 16 years this (I’m really struggling to find the right word here, he’s certainly not a man, not really human, worse than the average garden variety violent criminal) “waste of oxygen” could be back walking the streets?

Society will never be safe so long as people like him, Graeme Burton and Liam Reid (aka Julian Edgecombe) are around and the thought of any of them getting parole is sickening.

I’m not in favour of the death penalty but am certainly in favour of appropriate sentencing. Take a life? Then give up the rest of your life, spend it in jail where society is protected from your inadequacies.

Sixteen years doesn’t even begin to make up for the misery he’s caused.

We know we can never trust a dog that has turned on humans, why do we think the likes of Baker, Burton and Reid are any different?

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Dear Ticketek, ushers, late arrivals, cellphone addicts

Can't cope with an evening out without your cellphone? Then perhaps you aren't quite ready to mix it up with the grown-ups yet.

Wednesday night’s Leonard Cohen concert in Christchurch was amazing but there were a few things that peeved me relating to the arena and to Ticketek.

  • Ticketek, if you sell people tickets to an event and the name of the venue changes after you’ve sent said tickets, surely you could use your online database to email those customers to let them know? We bought our tickets the day they went on sale (June 3). They said the event was at the Westpac Arena, starting at 7pm.  The venue’s name is now the CBS Arena. This caused confusion all round, even at the hotel. I had to use Google to find a news story publised in the Press months ago explaining the name change.
  • Still on Ticketek, the start time was also confusing to all concerned. Did the concert start at 7pm? Well, no actually. It started at 7.30. However the doors opened at 6.30. This was confusing for anyone not familiar with the area and how long it would take to get to the venue. Hell, even the locals I talked to at the concert were confused by the start time. I only worked it out during my Google excursion to find out where the hell the venue actually was: on Ticketek’s site, they listed the exact times for the doors to open, opening act, main act, intermission etc. Shouldn’t that have been on the ticket? Especially when it wasn’t on the site when I bought the tickets back in June.
  • People arriving late. Grrrr … if you want to arrive late, that’s your choice I guess. But holy crap, why did the ushers have to let them in during the concert? They should have been made to wait until the break. We didn’t have to deal with late arrivals shuffling past us as they did in some of the other rows (which meant having to stand up to let them through, interrupting and blocking the view for those behind and alongside). And don’t the ushers realise just how annoying and distracting those bloody torches are?
  • The echo was a bit distracting at times but talking to the locals, it seems that this is a normal “feature” of the venue. Fortunately, the great man himself was good enough to take our attention away from it most of the time. However, I’m glad we weren’t sitting towards the back of the arena because I imagine it’s much worse there.
  • Cellphones: if you can’t go for a few hours without texting your mates, stay home and let the grown-ups enjoy the concert without you.
  • The seats: no leg room and they were like sitting on concrete. No, hang on, concrete might have been more comfortable.
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MEET YOUR BLOGGER

Jillian "George" Allison-Aitken

I live in the deep south of New Zealand, where smelly dairy cows are taking over from sheep in the livestock stakes. My hometown is the small but perfectly formed city of Invercargill, which is also the hometown of the original boy racer, Burt Munro. Find out more about me here.

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