Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Why God Why

Interesting snippet from this article at Indiatimes, which seems to be posting an average of 20+ articles a day on cricket. I wonder if they will keep the averages up, now that India is out.

When Tendulkar cried
"Tendulkar, who had contributed nothing in India's chase earlier in the day, being clean bowled by Dilhara Fernando, first tried to control his emotions but unable to do so, locked himself in the bathroom lest he made a spectacle of self in the public. "

It doesn't mention who the junior crickets were, but this little nugget had me laughing..

Young fast bowler S Sreesanth's emotions got better of him as he too broke into tears. Sreesanth just couldn't stop crying and kept saying: "Why God did this to us?"

Why god did this to us?


Good evening to our viewers, I am Rajdeep Sardesai and you are watching Question Time India. Today we have an interesting panel of experts here at our studio; both need no introduction: Lord Jesus and Lord Krishna.

They are here today to address allegations by
Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, who has accused them collectively of sabotaging India's chances at the ICC World Cup.

We tried to get Allah into our studio, unfortunately he is an ethereal being without a physical manifestation.

So, tell me Krishna and Jesus, why did you do this?

..... "Oh no, Jesus and Krishna are flying off into the Himalayas !!"

Luckily for us, we have another expert at our studio, Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein. Yes Mr. Einstein, what do you have to say to Sreesanth.

"Good evening everyone. I think Sreesanth is an idiot and I wish him only more suffering and unhappiness... God does not play dice."

"You will have to explain yourself here sir. Not all our viewers are well versed in the subject of quantum mechanics and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle."

"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings."

"Perhaps Sreesanth will have to reevaluate his value systems and acknowledge the pervasive scientific view that he is not the centre of our known universe. "

"We'll be right back after this short commercial message."

Brought to light

Monday, March 26, 2007

On the third world labour issue..

Every once in a while, you get an article on the novelty of Dubai. The Palm Island, Burj Al Arab, the 7 star hotel, the Burj, the world tallest tower. All briefly touch the issue of third world labour, but hardly any focus on it as their centre piece.

Daily Mirror did a story about it last year, titled The Dark Side of Dubai, don't know why a google search doesn't find it though. I came across this article today:

£3 a day ‘serfs ’die for Dubai’s dream

About 10,000 construction workers — including many from the Palm Jumeirah — are crammed into stifling dormitories at the end of the day. They sleep up to 15 to a room, each with a flimsy bunk bed, a thin mattress and dirty, bug-rid-den sheets. They cook their paltry meals on mini-stoves and squat on the ground to eat. One resident spoke of a strike four months ago over a shortage of lavatories.

I can attest to this, heck, I've seen shared accommodations in Karama where people live like this.

Gandeep earns £76 a month. His hopes of sending money back to his family have been destroyed. With food costing about £35 a month, there is little left to pay off a £1,100 debt to the recruitment agency, let alone to spare for relatives. His passport was taken by his employer when he arrived in Dubai, effectively trapping him in his job.

This happened to a friend of mine who worked as a graphic designer for a company in the Jebel Ali Free Zone. There are no supposed bans in a Free Zone area apparently, or so he thought. But the passport was still with the employer, who made his life very difficult. After a lot of cajoling and tense moments his passport was finally handed over, a couple of hours before his flight. But the employee was pissed off, and he managed to get a ban on my friend, who was barred from entry into the UAE for six months.

I've heard that the Dubai Meterological department has a ceiling limit on the weather forecast here, to never declare temperatures beyond 45 degrees Celsius. This is so that labourers will continue to work uninterrupted during the summer months. (They get to stop working according to labour laws if the temperature goes beyond 45.) These things are only discussed, local media will never do an expose on such a topic, because the press is controlled.

The sheer scale of construction by an estimated 300,000 migrants working for 6,000 companies has allowed unscrupulous recruitment agencies and employers to mistreat them.

This is the real meat of the story. Who are these recruitment agencies run by? Indians. They're the ones who take money from both employee and employer for a low end job, and plunge these poor people into a minimum of two years of debt. Has the government put even one such agent in jail for sending a fellow citizen into debt and slavery?

What has the Indian government ever done for these labourers? Do these consulates provide any kind of protection or representation when passports are seized? What about a minimum wage clause? Because the UAE govt. sure as hell is not going to set them for non citizens.

And it's particularly sad that Indian media has never brought any light on this issue. Why is it that only the western world appears sensitive to human rights abuse?, don't we seem to care for our own?

The labour class who come here are really poor, and they come here because they make more money than they do back home. They lead miserable lives here, but they do it for their family, to escape drought, hunger, poverty. Yes, they come here out of self interest.

You could say that this is all Adam Smith here, and since there are always more Indians willing to subjugate themselves to slave labor conditions, often paying their way in, the matrix of entrapment will never stop.

This profit seeking corporate mentality is very much a western concept. Nike shoes, and iPods use Chinese slave labour too. But since it is "outsourced", it somehow makes the produce more palatable.

If there's one particular thing one can blame, it's the worship of profit and target oriented self interest as the only determining factors for what is acceptable. Dubai is like any other corporation. The concept of minimum wage in America doesn't apply to outsourced or contracted labour. Why should the UAE make such rules for non citizens, if the Indian government doesn't apply any pressure on them?

And why the fuck is the media sleeping on this? Please wake up and do a sting operation on these agencies.

God of War II - PS2's Swan song

Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.
Hiro used to feel this way, too, but then he ran into Raven. In a way, this was liberating. He no longer has to worry about being the baddest motherfucker in the world. The position is taken.

This is a quote from Neal Stephenson's Snowcrash, it hits the nail on why most of our hero projections are ultra badasses. God of War's Kratos is a spartan anti-hero, remorseless, unbelieving, he smites the gods that gave him his powers. In GoW II he takes on Zeus, battling half the heroes of Greek mythology.

This game is even better than the sequel, with amazing production values and delightful boss battles.

Monday, March 19, 2007

If we don't make it to the super 8's

Being away from India, I am gratefully spared the media blitz and magnified focus on the Indian cricket team, the trite jingles and product plugs following every cheap dismissal, the hopelessly contrived advertising that incorporates cricket or cricket balls into their product or service even though said product/service has nothing whatsoever to do with cricket, only to be followed by 5 other cricket themed ads, therefore making all advertising forgettable and bland by association.

However I am getting all 16 channels of Doordarshan, and I caught this gem of a jingle the morning that Bangladesh won against India. It airs every time Vision World Cup, a 1 hour show on DD starts. In this show, cricketing experts Chetan Sharma and the former woman's cricket team captain provide analysis and smalltalk. (It sucks balls not to have cable, in shart)

India's hopes look like they're upto the rain gods and other whimsy. And following the recent rubbishing of Mahendrilock's house, I was busy musing about what the Indian public will do with their massive pent up rage that is sure to be whipped up into a frenzy by the Match Ka Mujrim style media.

Because I can guarantee you that there will be blood on the streets if India fails to make it to the super 8. Here's what will happen, chronologically.

Fri 23 Mar: In a one sided match between India and Sri Lanka, India does a poor chase of Sri Lanka's meagre 210, despite optimistic statements by experts like Krishnamachari Srikanth and Chetan Sharma, which seem to have no bearing on reality though previously assumed otherwise. In a bungled chase, the entire bottom half of the batting order collapses for less than 10 runs, thanks to some expert fielding and poor running between the wickets. Mutthaiah is the Man of the Match.

Friday 24'th - Bal Thackeray reopens his file on list of minority groups to antagonise, and declares a fatwa on Bangladeshi immigrants in Bombay. The Uddhav and Raj factions unify under this clarion call with full support, and the day ends with Shiv Sainiks mobbing and greviously injuring 3 Bangladeshis with cricket bats and shoving of cricket ball in most unhygenic ways and places. India Today makes a cover story out of it, which quickly becomes the new goatse.cx.

Friday 25'th - The league table finally closes and India confirm their return ticket, landing separately at midnight hours at the Lohegaon international airport. A special army squad is brought in to beef up security and prevent a backlash. A special 3 squad car carrying Dhoni to his hotel is intercepted by a leak between taxi drivers, who take him straight to a hideout where he is unceremoniously scalped. His sobbing whimpers and cries of lament are recorded and posted on youtube.com, and watched with much schadenfreude and glee by all internet peoples.

Friday 26'th - Nike fires its marketing team and ad agency and created this ad and
switches loyalties to that other spectacularly overrated failure: Sania Mirza.

Friday 27'th - Sitaram Yechuri, V.S. Achuthanandan, and other cricket experts bellow vociferously in the Parliament calling for an end to Dravid's captaincy, while Greg Chappell posts new management gems on cricinfo.com.

Friday 28'th - The entire team, fearing a similar backlash following Dhoni's scalping moves with family to the gated communities of Sahara Parivar in the Sahyardris.

Friday 29'th - Mobs of pseudo-socialist bongs articulate their rage against capitalism and its insidious corruption of cricket by emptying hundreds of bottles of Pepsi in the gutters. This is quickly picked up by all news channels and aired internationally on CNN.

April -July:
Corporations begin to reconsider their investment options, and the much vaunted Indian economy starts "overheating".

Hating cricket becomes the new cool. Sprite makes Cricket themed spoofs, even Lux underwear and baniyan ads bash cricket, with an ad where Sunny Deol intimidates a wally donned in batting regalia with a hockey stick.

Drinking Irish beer becomes the new national past time.

India continues its experiments with its cricketing order, scraping deep into the barrel of Indian talent. It digs out experienced campaigners from this dry well: Sujith Somasundar, Dodda Ganesh, Venkatapaty Raju, and Debashish Mohanty.

scrizerrati.blogspot.com adds:
we will loose to lanka
and a torrent of slippers and chappals will invite the team back
a placcard from the match will be tois front page
India reach barbados or stay back in trinidad
with the caption: home coming
accompanied by an image of dravid bleeding from the forehead
wincing in pain as a mob hounds the team
horrified at the outcome, bcci will be dissolved
and hockey will coem to the fore

BCCI will become a centralised state controlled entity
with sitaram yechury as president
there will be a new ministry of cricket
the position will be fought for eagerly
india will continue to romanticize 1983
and before each world cup
there will be a special magnasound artiste compilation

Sunday, March 18, 2007

This is madness!!!

-Credits to me ok? This pun was playing in my head for the last 2 days.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Two Dirham Raise

The labour class in Dubai is completely, totally, unapologetically fucked around with. These people live in camps, far away from the city, building skyscrapers in a city that really doesn't have a space congestion problem. Yet, it wants to grow vertically.

Guess which strata of society isn't experiencing 'double digit growth'?

This story takes the cake.

The workers had protested on Saturday demanding an increase in basic pay and annual leave with an air ticket. They earn an average of Dh550-650. They continued the protest yesterday, which turned violent. About 8,000 workers went back to work after the rampage.

The company agreed to increase Dh2 per day on their basic salary and pay a two-way airfare when they go on leave every two years.

And some of these people haven't got a raise for 18 years.