Friday, August 25, 2006

Dear Mr. President....

Here is a song I hadn't heard yet, courtesy Pink who wrote it, and Pelso who made it known to me... listen to it...

Here the lyrics...

PINK (f/ Indigo Girls) LYRICS

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President
Come take a walk with me
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
What do you feel when you look in the mirror
Are you proud

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why

Dear Mr. President
Were you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
How can you say
No child is left behind
We're not dumb and we're not blind
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave their road to hell

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye

Let me tell you bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night
How do you walk with your head held high
Dear Mr. President
You'd never take a walk with me
Would you

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Elpelso's thoughts

An unexpected post. Actually, earlier than planned. Sooner or later I will say something about my friends, Marco (aka EB), Jerry (aka CA) and.... Pelso (aka MG) ... we have the same passion, basketball, and we work together too, and in the past couple of years we have been to LA to attend some ball games at the Staples Center, where the Clippers and the Lakers play their home games. More about this in the near future, promise.

So, why writing about this now?

Because Pelso presented me with an fantastic Clippers jersey of one of my favourite players... on my calendar, it's no Xmas, no B'day either...

Cool, thanks Pelso! That's AWSOME! Really appreciate the gesture even more than the great CADEAU!

What, how is Pelso? He is a unique person ( I know everyone is, but he is more unique, if you get what I mean...), sometimes a bit short fused (reminds me of someone else, ehm....uhm.... me??) and with some peculiar ideas (damn, I even agree with him most of the times, does this make me a wierdo too???? No, I think this makes us both right!!) but definitely a good man and a good friend, with a lovely family.... btw, his wife is also a friend-slash-colleague... on the down side, his major problem, and he should really need some professional help here, is that he likes SAABs vehicles.... what the hell, nobody's perfect, after all!!

By the way, have a look at his blog, Elpelso's Thoughts, it's full of funny videos and really interesting news and links... much more high end than mine, really worth a click!

See you next week Pelso!
Oh yeah, there is someone else I really like in Clippers' gear... :)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Language = Understanding?

Many times I came across the idea to learn Mandarin, infact it's an idea still well into my plans, just temporary delayed due to different priorities. However, I hope Shihyun will be willing to teach me a bit more than I already know. I would really like to have some lessons from her, mah!

I have bought myself plenty books and CDs to get up to speed with Mandarin, but I will need to follow a full immersion course for a sustained period of time, sooner or later. I really think that would be the best way to get more and more involved, to be a better 外國人. I will get there, eventually, and I will need some help from Chinglish, once it gets up and running.

But I have always wondered: does speaking the language mean understanding the people? I could get what they say, but could I get what they mean?

Sure, my numerous trips to Asia prove beneficial for this, hanging around with Shihyun and her friends surely helps, gives me an inside view of locals, get to know their customs and lifestyle. And makes it easier to pick up new words too.

I was fortunate enough to have the chance to be in Asia more times than I could honestly dream of. But if you think everywhere is the same, think again. In Singapore and Malaysia, you need to make your talking sweet and dandy to get to SINGLISH. It's just so funny the way they speak there. Ya lor, no joke. Can you understand it? Of cos caaaaaaaaaan. Ke yi, ke yi!

Ok ok lah, it's surely different from Japan. There, it's a mess, although an "enjoyable" one, still a mess. More times than not, Rs and Ls are swapped and misplaced, making it very hard to understand a Japanese trying to speak English, or EngRish! I just woder, L and R on a pair of gloves would mean Left and Right, or Light and Reft?? Maybe it's just me, simpRy because I'm a foLeigneL, and I don't speak the Ranguage. Anyway, messy is the keyword in Japan. Surely, you would feel too Lost in Translation!

India? I bet anyone to understand an Indian speaking English at full speed. The accent is so thick, and at the same time, they believe it's not. Last December I was looking at them with big eyes full of question marks, and they looked back at me like... hey, wake up, I'm talking to you! yeah, I know you are talking to me, I HEAR you, I definitely hear you... I just don't have a clue what you are talking about!

Finally, China and Taiwan. Similar, if you ask president Hu they are the same country, so they must be the same. Truth is, they are, at least as far as English is concerned. Sorry president Chen, sorry CKS. You would think that Taiwan, the most Americanized country outside North America, would sport an overall acceptable English knowledge, but... no! At least that makes up for some funny signs I have found here and there.

Anyway, bottom line, anywhere you are in Asia, probability is you will find yourself in interesting situations. And eventually, you will end up speaking like them, as it is very involving.

And, as my friend Samuel L. Jackson says... do they speak English in whaaaat??

Friday, August 18, 2006

World Champs

In few hours the Basketball World Championships will begin in Japan. I know, being Italian, I am extremely happy Italy won the Football World Cup last month, but this is the event I was waiting for, this summer. I will follow closely as many games as I can, as they will all have interesting features. The field is as strong as it gets, with Olympic Champs Argentina, Serbia, NBA-starred USA, Spain, Brazil, France, and European Champs Greece leading the pack with Olympic silver Italy, Turkey, Germany, Lithuania and Slovenia a step or two behind, then who?

The only representatives of the Far East are host Japan, and China. Neither is expected to impress, for different reasons.

Japan plays its first game against Germany in Hiroshima, and they have little to no chance to get anywhere near a medal in a couple of weeks from now. The team is made up by relatively unknown players to most international audience, as all its players star in the Japanese league only. Yuta Tabuse, who played College basketball in USA and tried with little luck to make the roster with the Phoenix Suns, won't be sporting the colors of the rising sun. Watch out anyway for them to give their absolute best, as Asians take always at heart a good performance in front of home crowd, it's a question of pride for them. But despite this, they lack size (they have the shortest team average height at 6-4 or 194 cm) and they lack international experience.

China will begin its tournament few hours later against my Italy in Sapporo. Their chances to fare relatively well at these championships pass through Yao Ming. The Houston Rockets' center is still recovering from a broken foot, but hopefully he will regain his best shape as the tournament gets to the knock-out stage. With him patrolling the paint, China will be a tough team to beat. The roster includes Wang Zhi Zhi, who played few years in the NBA, Sun Yue, who plays for an ABA team in the USA, and especially Yi Jian Lian, the 18 years old 6-11 forward with an expected bright future in the NBA. Something that comes clear as you look at China's roster is the young average age, only 23 years, and their size, the highest team average height at 6-9 or 205 cm.

I think Sky Italy or RAI will allow me to follow throughly these Campionships, but nothing compares to Asia when it comes to televise basketball. Have you ever noticed? Especially in China there are always a couple of NBA games on tv, at any given day during the season, plus the local Championship. Same goes for Taiwan, although they love baseball over there (the nation's hero is Wang Chien Ming, a Taiwanese sophmore for the NY Yankees), the amount of basketball televised by the Taiwanese televisions is absolutely amazing.
And did you know, Taiwan finished an incredible 4th place at the 1959 World Camphionships held in Chile, the second best result by an Asian team, only topped by the Philippines bronze medal in 1954 in Brazil. But since then, Asian teams have floundered. And it doesn't look the right year to turn things around. Not yet.

Check out for more info!

For now, enjoy the show and... sayounara!

I love this game!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Back from Holidays

Just back from the airport... I went to pick up my brother and his girlfriend returning from nearly a month in Tanzania... they seemed pretty relaxed even if they were on the move for almost a day, flying Emirates Airlines from Dar Es Salaam to Dubai to Dusseldorf and finally to Milan... funny enough, they keep going to Africa and South America, I believe they have never been to Asia... Whaaaaaat? How's that possible?? Like Shihyun would say, what's wrong with them?? Over the past four years they have been in Congo, working at a hospital rehabbing kids victims of the civil war, then to Uganda, Mexico, Bolivia and Cuba...
Oh, wanna know how airport security checks have been tightened lately? In Dusseldorf Airport security found a camping knife in their hand luggage, so they had to remove it for safety reasons... well, that knife was there since Tanzania, meaning security staff failed to detect it both in Dar Es Salaam Airport and Dubai Airport... No comment...
Anyway, it was real nice seeing them, I have missed them... last time I saw them was in February, when I was home visiting my folks, like now... I don't come to Italy often, only three or four times a year, so it was a cool coincidence that my bro came back just before I return to the Netherlands... Next chance to see my family, maybe Xmas...
Anyway, my brother is getting tired, doc got to rest...
Good night my brother, good night Monica, good night everyone....

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Finally online

Hi everyone!

Finally online, after so much wandering about, delaying and finding any type of excuse to postpone... now I have committed, no way back!

I just got an SMS from my slovenian brother Tadej, to remind me I am an EGG... what's an egg? An egg is simply a western guy with an asian soul...white on the outside, but yellow inside!! Well, this is me... feels home being in Asia, put me anywhere between India and Japan, and I will find my niche... of course there are places I love more, or places I haven't been yet... North Korea comes to mind, I wonder why... I will get there soon, I hope...
Anyway, you have to be at least once in Asia to come to appreciate it, to love it... unless you are Tadej! Joking bro! But I remember when you left for Hong Kong, I remember your words... nothing pleased you there, but even you, as negative as you were about Asia, changed your mind about it... living there for nearly 5 years made you come to your senses...

As for me, I never had doubts... I will tell later in more details about all I have to share about Asia... but one advise, go there! Live it, love it...