Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Blood on the ceiling

Attention everybody. If someone ever needs DNA from me, go to my bedroom, look up and find two red spots and voila! Blood on the ceiling. This morning I slaughtered two mosquitos that were resting on my ceiling and yes, they had feasted on my blood during the night. For the last week or so they have done their best to disturb my nights and make it difficult to sleep. I didn't know that only female mosquitos suck blood which makes it even worse. "The female mosquitoes locate their next blood donor victims primarily through scent. They are extremely sensitive to the carbon dioxide in exhaled breath, as well as several substances found in sweat and various body odours. (cum anyone?) They are believed to be able to track potential prey for tens of meters. Some people attract more mosquitoes than others (I know...grrrr), apparently based on how they "smell" to a mosquito. Mosquitoes can also detect heat, so they can find warm-blooded mammals and birds very easily once they get close enough." Tonight I 1) will do a thorough pre-sleep inspection of my bedroom and kill as many enemies as possible; 2) am going to apply liberal doses of insect repellent and 3) will hide myself under the blanket as much as possible. (fortunately it is only 8C at night) How come men can fly to the moon but have not yet invented a working anti-mosquito system? To me this is proof that evolution has not been completed yet.

Monday, 30 July 2007

One year ago - a fairy tale

So exactly one year ago a man was home alone late on Sunday evening. He had had a nice day, having lunch with a friend and dinner with another friend, but something was missing: sex! This is a modern fairy tale, so he went on-line to his favourite site and browsed the personal ads. He chatted with another man, who said: "why don't you come to my place?" The man answered "but it is so late already and tomorrow I have to work", but anyway he decided to take a taxi all the way to Ang Mo Kio. When they met each other in person, they were both immediately stunned by the extremely good looks of the other man. They both felt so lucky to have met such a handsome guy, they immediately decided to meet again the next day. And again the next week, and the next week four times, and soon they couldn't see enough of each other. When they went shopping in Orchard Road, passers-by would turn and look at them, and even the most conservative heartlander would stare, turn to his wife and comment "wow, look at that handsome gay couple, it is time that our government would be more accepting". Pictures were shown to the Minister Mentor, the Senior Minister and other friends and family, and laws were in the process of being changed. That is, until half of the handsome couple was called back by his company to far, far away land. Word soon got around that the "couple of models" could no longer be seen every weekend, and the city soon returned to its old-fashioned and anti-homosexual self. The handsome couple was sad to be split, and couldn't forget the beauty that they had seen. And now the old ladies tell their grand-children that "as soon as the couple will be together in our city, the flowers will bloom with more colour, and with stronger fragrance as ever before".

The Dutch are well-hung

Concertgoers at a festival in the Dutch town of Lichtenvoorde were treated to an unusual sight Friday: a pink hot air balloon 38.7 metres high, shaped exactly like a condom, drifting lazily across the sky. The balloon, with the words "Vrij Veilig" - Dutch for "Safe Sex" - emblazoned on it, was launched by the public health service in the eastern district of Gelre-IJssel, near the German border. Organisers said they plan to submit the balloon to Guinness Book of World Records in the category of "World's Biggest Condom."


So is it normal that I wake up at 3am, and twist and turn dreaming about a work deadline until the alarm clock rings?

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Family ties

So it is Sunday afternoon and my mother and her friend have just left after a visit that started on Friday afternoon. My late father used to say: "friends come and go, so cherish your family as they will always be there for you". I don't totally agree with him, as I (think I) have at least some friends that I will always be in contact with, but experience tells me that indeed, friends come and go throughout one's life, and family is important. Anyway, we went to the Scheringa Museum for Realism yesterday where they had a special exhibition of works of Dutch painter Jan Mankes (so-so) but also nice works of more famous artists such as Botero (picture), Salvador Dali and René Magritte. After the museum we went to the beach at Egmond aan Zee where my mother spent childhood holidays in the 1940's. A BBQ in the garden completed a nice day. This morning I showed them my new office and we toured around Amsterdam a bit. Good to have them visit and happy that they are both healthy and enjoying life.

Friday, 27 July 2007

This is what happens when you fall asleep on the "road"

At the same time I was driving home last night, the captain of a cargo ship fell asleep near Grouw, Friesland province. His ship sailed straight into a home where a family was sleeping. Nobody was injured.

Dangerous driving

Yesterday, after work I drove to the fair city of 's-Hertogenbosch to meet JM and EL who are on their summer vacation in the Netherlands from Jakarta. We had dinner in Restaurant In de Bossche Eetkaemer and chatted about many serious and some not so serious topics. Service was a bit slow so only around 1145pm did I return to my car to drive home. I was very tired from working hard, not sleeping enough all week (I woke up very early all week - I think I am beginning to get stress from work....) and the intensive conversation. The highway was fairly empty so I drove fast......to suddenly realize I fell asleep for a few seconds and am already on the shoulder of the road. I hit myself hard in the face, turned the radio volume up and managed to get home safely.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

When does your HDB have a LUP?

When you live in Singapore, you have to learn the local three-letter words or you will be left out of most conversations. Half of the conversations are like this: "Hey man, we found this great HDB close to PIE, so I immediately called CPF". The latest three-letter word that became popular after the 2006 general bribe (I mean elections) is LUP: Lift Upgrading Programme.

I am an abuser!

So today I was late in the office because this (cute, black) man came to repair my digital TV connection. Once I was in the office I was reminded of the saying "one idiot can ask more than a thousand wise men can answer", I mean I felt like I was the one wise man surrounded by a thousand idiots. For the first time in a long time I felt really stressed at work so around 630pm I decided enough is enough and I am going to drink some in April. RO, FA, WB, WI, GO and FR all there and KE showed up with his supply of "drugs" So this article says I am an abuser! Quote: "Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau and Prisons Department are going to get tougher on first- and second-time abusers of cannabis and cocaine. From 1 August, these abusers will be sent to the Drug Rehabilitation Centres for rehabilitation. Recalcitrant abusers will face a long-term imprisonment of at least five years and three strokes of the cane and a maximum sentence of seven years' imprisonment and six strokes of the cane if convicted on their third arrest."

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Bike trip pictures

RE sent me some pictures of our bike trip.

Restaurant 't Blauwe Theehuis, Amsterdam

So this was a good day. Chatted with ER in the morning after waking up. A good chat. (some people have good fucks, I have good chats hehe) Saw on the rain shower website that I had exactly 30 minutes to reach my office, rushed out, raced to the office and 2 minutes after I was in the sky dumped lots of water. Managed to get quite some work done in the morning, and had lunch with HJ on the terrace of Restaurant 't Blauwe Theehuis in the middle of Vondelpark. HJ is still looking for a new job but he told me the market is excellent so he should find something soon. A long meeting with my bosses in the afternoon which killed quite some time and before I knew it I raced home - wind in the back. ER was still up applying make-up for his hot French date so we chatted some more. Had some nice sausages for dinner, I mean the ones you put in your mouth and chew and swallow.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Supertramp - Hide in Your Shell

This is the second time I am posting this song - you know why: I am happy you are not hiding anymore.

The Chinese are coming....

Barclays Bank of the UK which is in a take-over battle for the Netherlands' largest bank ABN Amro said it has struck a deal with China Development Bank and Temasek Holdings Ltd. of Singapore, whereby the pair will buy EUR 3.6 billion of new Barclays shares now, and an additional EUR 9.8 billion if the bid to buy ABN Amro is successful. Immediately press articles appeared warning against "investors from far away" taking control of one of our main companies. Populists and manipulators are using the general public's lack of knowledge about "the East" to instill fear and protect their own interests. As if the yellow hordes are coming...... Well, I am sure if they knew one of the investors is this lovely lady, they wouldn't be so afraid.

Dutch are not honest

The Dutch are not honest people. Reader’s Digest journalists left a total of 960 mobile telephones lying about unguarded in the largest cities in 32 countries. Of the 30 cell phones which had been left lying about in Amsterdam, fourteen were returned. With this score the Netherlands ranks 29th in the honesty survey, according to Readers Digest on Monday. Foreign tourists visiting Amsterdam are more honest than the ‘native’ Amsterdam residents. Four times it was a foreign tourist who found the telephone on the street and in each case the telephone was returned. The survey also showed that women are more honest than men. Of the 21 mobile phones that were found by men, nine were given back while, of the nine women who found a telephone, seven were returned. The population of the Slovenian city Ljubljana (260,000 inhabitants) turned out to be the most honest; 29 of the telephones were returned to their rightful owner. Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur came at the bottom of the list with only thirteen telephones returned.

I am not hip

So when The New York Times does an article on Amsterdam and I hardly know any of the places they mention, it must be proof that I am totally not hip. Well, people who know me don't need to be convinced. Hehe

A dry commute

Since I go by bicycle to the office every day I need to avoid the rain showers. Modern technology has provided us with a website that gives us a full overview of the expected showers for the next 2 hours. So I time my departure from home and from the office based on pictures like this one. Where would we be without the Internet?

Kindergarten propaganda

Apparently the State's Times have now hired a new junior executive for their propaganda department. She came up with this: (emphasis mine)
Singapore a beautiful blend of nature and modernity
SINGAPORE, an island so clean and green. It could turn anyone who is lucky to visit it green with envy. No where can one find the splendour of nature so beautifully blended with modernity.

The serenity, calm and composure is a cocktail headier than wine, for only in Singapore can one feel the purity of air we breathe, sounds we hear and the water we drink.

In every other developed country where urbanisation has taken place, it has left a trail of urban chaos, with shattered homes, broken hearts and bruised populations. Human dignity and pride have taken a free fall in the 'developed' nations, whereas in Singapore, human values and dignity have been placed at the top.

No wonder people living here are happy, smiling, eating, drinking, enjoying life and working towards Utopia.

Maybe at times they work longer and harder, but maybe it is because of this that everything works with clockwork precision.

Singapore has the most modern and efficient transport and communication systems. Even a visitor like me is able to use public transport without ever needing to hail a taxi.

The Government has built complexes to provide reasonable housing and schools to provide education. Government officials I have encountered are courteous, smiling and efficient.

On its part, the population has imbibed good civic sense, respect for the law and they cherish values which make them proud citizens of a great country.

In closing, I am reminded of a poem by Thomas Gray:

'Full many a gem of the purest ray serene.

The dark unfathomed caves of the ocean bear

Full many a flower is born to blush, unseen in the desert air'

Singapore is, and will remain, a gem of the purest ray serene.

Amarjeet Singh

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Duncan Browne - The Wild Places

Sometimes you re-discover a gem from days gone by. This is the song and video clip that gave me lots of erotic feelings 30 years ago, hard to imagine now! The song is still great, though.

Conversation in a bar

Me: Hello, how are you?
Young Asian Man: I am OK
Me: Are you from here?
Young Asian Man: ???
Me: Do you live here?
Young Asian Man: I speak English little only
Me: Where are you from?
Young Asian Man: Hanoi, Vietnam
Me: Are you here as a tourist?
Young Asian Man: I live in Germany with my boyfriend, here he is.
German boyfriend: Hello
Me: Hello
Young Asian Man: You know Vietnam?
Me: Yes, I have visited Hanoi many times for work.
Young Asian Man: Is far away
Me: Yes, but I used to live in Singapore, is not so far from there
Young Asian Man: Yeah, Singapore - so many, many gay.
Me: Hehe

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Restaurant The 5th, Amsterdam

Had dinner with MI at a new restaurant next to April tonight. While we were eating (outside) most of the gang (MA, JE, WI, CH, FR and a few others) were drinking at April and once in a while they would walk over and steal a french frie or some meat. They had some techical problem with our order so it took them a long time to get us our food, but they nicely compensated with free booze. 4/5 for the food and 4.5/5 for the service which was friendly. After dinner MA forced me to have another beer and we had a good talk about love, relationships and the meaning of life. To be continued.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007


So after getting an academic degree, a career of 20 years in the financial industry, making more than average money, and generally making my mother proud, today was another high in work life: I cleaned the toilets in our new office. For some reason the cleaner that we had arranged didn't show up so all of us in the office operated brooms, vacuum cleaners and dry and wet cloths to make the office spick-and-span. Highly recommended for team building sessions.

Hong Kong sets the tone

While Singapore's state controlled media including the forum pages in the State's Times are continuing a silly debate about gay rights, Hong Kong's truly independent legal system is setting the tone for Asia:
Upholding a lower court ruling, Hong Kong's highest court has ruled that the territory's laws which applies specifically to gay men but not heterosexuals "for the same or comparable conduct" is unconstitutional and discriminatory. Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal on Tuesday upheld a 2006 lower court ruling that invalidated a law penalising public homosexual sodomy under the Crimes Ordinance. It ruled that the law's specific focus against homosexual sodomy is unconstitutional, discriminatory, and thereby violates Hong Kong's Basic Law and the Bill of Rights. Chief Justice Andrew Li said in the ruling that the law targets homosexuals and "does not criminalise heterosexuals for the same or comparable conduct."
There are wise men and women in Hong Kong's courts.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

A new office

Today we moved our office from the gayest street of Amsterdam (Reguliersdwarsstraat) to an old villa very close to the Vondelpark (and close to the Rozentuin (Rose Garden), one of the gay cruising spots). Here is a picture from 1905 of the villa that my company now rents a floor in. It is a bit further from home which makes my daily one-way commute 30 minutes instead of 25. It will be nice to do lunch-hour walks in the Vondelpark.

Monday, 16 July 2007

In memoriam: Schelto Patijn

Former (1994 - 2001) major of Amsterdam Mr. Schelto Patijn died of cancer, aged 70, yesterday. He was a good guy who I remember for his great speeches at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1998 Amsterdam Gay Games. Calling Amsterdam "the gay way to Europe" he welcomed the participants and guests from all over the world to our city. On this picture he is seen during a European leaders' conference in 1997 in which all European leaders were asked to go by bicycle from one venue to another. Tony Blair gladly accepted the invitation, Helmut Kohl politely declined. Mr. Patijn is survived by his father, who is 98. May he rest in peace.

Middle finger illegal after all

Flipping up your middle finger at a Dutch policeman is insulting after all, appeals judges ruled Thursday as they overturned a lower court's decision that the gesture was ''extremely impolite'' but not a crime. Prosecutors launched an appeal last year after a 25-year-old man who made the gesture to two police officers in the town of Almelo on 25 May 2006, was cleared of committing a crime. At his original trial in Almelo a judge ruled the man's gesture ''while extremely impolite, was not insulting or illegal.'' The culprit's name was not released, in line with Dutch privacy laws. In a written ruling, the appeals court in Arnhem said such a gesture is illegal if it is aimed at ''injuring the honour and good name'' of the person it is directed at.

Back from biking

Arrived home a few hours ago from the bike trip. Very relaxing to be outside in nature all day - we biked, walked, swam in the North Sea, got very wet on a small ferry between Texel and Vlieland, sunbathed, talked, talked and talked more (RE is one of those friends that we always find something to talk about), had great food (I ate seafood, RE can't stand the smell of fish), drank a great Riesling, a few beers and local alcoholic herbal drinks, slept early and rose early, chatted with hotel staff and fellow travellers, in short: I had a great time. And the bonus is my tanned skin.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

The Frisian Islands

Tomorrow morning I will leave the house early to meet RE and depart on our traditional summer bike trip. This year, we will go North to the island of Texel first. (some 100 km). The plan is to take a small ferry from Texel to Vlieland on Saturday and we'll see what we do after that. The weather forecast is quite good so we may stay on the island on Sunday for some swimming / sunbathing before biking / training home on Monday. The Frisian Islands (or "Wadden Eilanden" as they are called in Dutch) are some of my favourite spots in the world to relax. Cars are mostly banned on Vlieland so it is very quiet and peaceful there. Now if only we can resist the temptation to bike too fast.....three years ago the second day of the trip all energy left my body. Don't want that to happen again!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

A big row about Ministers' salaries

Again? Is the ruling family at it again? No, in this case the news is from the Netherlands: "Home Affairs Minister Guusje ter Horst wants ministers and state secretaries to be given a 10 percent raise. The proposal will be discussed in the cabinet meeting on Friday, the Volkskrant reports. The Socialist SP has rejected the plan immediately. "Just ridiculous," says MP Harry van Bommel. "Politicians should be setting a good example by freezing their wages." The basic ministerial salary comes to about EUR 130,000 gross annually. This comes to EUR 172,000 when bonuses and pension contributions are added in. The salary increase will only be applied to the basic salary."

So our Harry Potter look-alike Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende makes € 130,000 per year and the plan is to give him a 10% raise. I guess the Lees will be laughing: Lee Jr makes S$ 3,091,000 or more than ten times the Dutch PM's salary. After all, Singapore has 4.5 million people and the Netherlands only has 16.2 million so it all makes a lot of sense.

In other news, I was supposed to have dinner with MI but he just cancelled as he had been drinking too much yesterday. So I have the evening (the last one home alone) free - what shall I do?

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Time to buy that Mansion in the USA

The dollar has fallen to a record low against the euro and yet another 26-year slump against the pound. With investors fearful that the ongoing downturn in the US housing market will start to slow the economy, the euro rose as high as $1.3741 on Tuesday.

And on the same news page I read that this is the most expensive house ever for sale, The Hearst Mansion in Beverly Hills, now for US$ 165 million or only € 120 million:

Monday, 9 July 2007

Miscellaneous news that makes me happy

1. Not only Dutch police are cowards

A 22-year-old burglar himself made a call to police because he feared the police that had been alerted would release their police dogs on him, police reported on Monday. The man was caught breaking into a house in his hometown of Leidschendam in the early hours this morning. Officers who came to see what was going on saw a man run away and hide in the bushes. After police had cordoned off the yard, the man telephoned the emergency number from his hiding place in the bushes because he was so frightened that the police dogs present were going to be released and attack him. The police personnel in the control room told police on the scene where to find the man. He was arrested without the use of the dogs.

2. 14 billion kilometers

The Dutch have started cycling even more over the past few years. In 2005 the Dutch covered more than 14 billion km on bicycle in total. That is an average of 2.5 km per person per day, almost 10 percent more than in 2002. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that men cycle more than women, and that young people between the ages of 12 and 18 cycle the most. They cycle more than 6 km per day on average. Turnover at bicycle shops increased by 15 percent last year compared to the year before. Dutch production of bicycles increased to 967,000 units, almost returning to 2003 levels of over a million.

The great stock market crash of 2007

Since being grossly overpaid as an expat in Singapore, and more recently having received a golden handshake from my former employer, I have some money to invest so I need to follow the financial markets more closely than before. Markets have been up, up , up and the sky seems to be the limit. Economies are doing fine everywhere: the US is ignoring the mortgage crisis signals, Europe is doing relatively nicely, Japan is getting better, China and India are still steaming ahead full speed, and the likes of the Cayman Islands, Dubai and Singapore need to work overtime to launder the enormous amounts of money that are flowing in. It is just too much of optimism, and I feel that soon we will have a correction of the markets. I don't know what will trigger the crash:it could be a terrorist attack, or Iran or North Korea doing something stupid, or all the Chinese investors/gamblers suddenly getting nervous, or a big private equity fund collapsing, or...... So I sold a sizeable chunk of my stocks late last week and today. As the old saying goes: "nobody ever got poorer from realizing gains." So remember: the first time you read about the Great Stock Market Crash of 2007 was on happyamsguy.blogspot.com

Federer, Nadal and JE2

One the one hand, it is quite relaxing to be home alone and just do whatever I feel like doing. On the other hand, now I need to 1) water the plants; 2) iron my shirts; 3) clean the toilets; 4) do the shopping, etc., etc. So after I woke up around noon yesterday I did some the above, followed by a nice 2-hour bike ride (I need to train for next weekend's trip with RE) and watching the second to fifth set of Wimbledon men's final Federer - Nadal. Unfortunately, Federer won, mostly because of his superior serve. Nadal was playing much more creatively, and actually better, and I was sad to see him lose. Anyway, he is young so if he keeps improving I am sure his Wimbledon title will come soon.

After watching tennis I arrived just in time in April for the last 2 rounds of happy hour beer. They have extended the terrace and as the weather was nice last evening we all sat outside. JE had brought a friend from Milan, JE2 who turned out to be a nice person. Again it was 1130pm before I was home, and I fell into a coma the moment I hit the bed. Going out 4 nights in a row - maybe at my age I shouldn't do it.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Christijan Albers: why a Dutch driver will never win a Formula 1 race

The new seven wonders of the world

So the new seven wonders of the world have been elected, more or less democratically. I believe I can agree with the choices. I will be visiting one of the new wonders, the temple of Chichen Itza in Mexico (picture), next month. I have already been to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan (in January 1996 with MI, RB and MR) and the Colosseum in Rome (in 1999 with OS). So four more wonders to plan trips for: Taj Mahal in India, the Great Wall of China, the Statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro (which I saw from the plane after stopping in Rio on the way to Sao Paolo) and Machu Picchu in Peru.

My own list of seven wonders: 1) ER, the sweetest guy in the world; 2) my mom, the sweetest woman in the world; 3) RE, for being such a good and honest friend for 26 years; 4) CA "every man needs a woman"; 5) MA, for all the hugs and for making me laugh and giving me alcohol; 6) AN for being too honest and making me laugh and getting me addicted to gin and tonics and 7) DA for keeping in touch and being such a good travel mate. Oh, I add nr 8) yesterday's Mongolian for looking so fucking hot. Hehehe

My nephew and the Mongolian

It is 4:43am and just as yesterday I arrived home when the birds were singing and it was daylight already. Today my brother celebrated his birthday and I went to his place. All the family and his family-in-law was there and it was nice to chat with many of them. My nephew is now 20 and he has become such a nice guy. He is a rocker, tall and slim with long hair, but he is just nice to talk with. He plays the guitar in a rock band and studies software development for computer games. I agree with my father who used to say: "you guys were nice when you were small and after you left the house." So true that children are nice when they are 0 - 6 years old and then again when they are adults.

I got home around 10pm and as I was tired; for a moment I thought maybe I just should stay home and sleep. Fortunately I came to my senses and went out. All the usual suspects were there and we had lots of fun in April and Exit. I met the most beautiful guy in Exit, for some reason I like tall Asian guys and when I saw this one I just had to introduce myself. Turns out he is from Mongolia, 1.95 tall (6 cm taller than me!) and totally totally totally hot. We chatted for a while and he told me he has lived in Moscow and Seoul before and now lives in Amsterdam. I asked him which one he liked most and he said "Seoul" so I believe he must be sticky rice. I had no chance of course so now I will go to bed and dream about him.

Saturday, 7 July 2007


Today is the 7th of July 2007. Or 07/07/07. In most of the Western world, the number 7 is considered to be a lucky number. The number of weddings is very high today. Al Gore chose 07-07-07 as the day for the Live Earth Concerts. So why is seven such a special number?

In classical antiquity:

* Seven against Thebes
* Seven hills of Rome
* Seven Liberal Arts
* Seven Sages
* Seven Wonders of the ancient world
* Seven emperors (and period; Rome, history): Julius Caesar, Augustus, Galba, Hadrian, Nerva, Sallust, Vespasian

In Judaism:

* A highly symbolic number in the Torah, alluding to the infusion of spirituality and Godliness into the Creation. For example:1. God rested on and sanctified the seventh day (Shabbat); 2. A seven-day purification period is required for one who has become tamei to become tahor; 3. The Shemittah (Sabbatical) year arrives every seventh year;
4. The Jubilee (Yovel) year comes after 7 times 7 years; 5. The Counting of the Omer leading up to the Giving of the Torah is expressed as "7 times 7 weeks."
* The weekly Torah portion is divided into seven aliyahs, and seven men or boys over the age of 13 are called up for the reading of these aliyahs during Shabbat morning services.
* Seven blessings are recited under the chuppah during a Jewish wedding ceremony.
* David was the seventh son of Jesse.
* A Jewish bride and groom are feted with seven days of festive meals after their wedding, known as Sheva Berachot ("Seven Blessings").
* The number of Ushpizzin (also known as the "Seven Shepherds") who visit the sukkah during the holiday of Sukkot: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David.
* The number of nations God told the Israelites they would displace when they entered the land of Israel (Deut. 7:1): the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

In Christianity:

* The number of churches of Asia to which the "Book of Revelation" is addressed.
* The number of the Seven Virtues: Chastity, Moderation, Liberality, Charity, Meekness, Zeal, and Humility, corresponding to the seven deadly sins.
* Jesus told Peter that he should forgive someone who sinned against him 70 times 7 times.
* The seven terraces of Mount Purgatory (one per deadly sin).
* The number of sacraments in the Roman Catholic faith, and most reformed traditions.
* In the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew 18:21, Jesus says to Peter to forgive seventy times seven times.
* The number of times Cain will be avenged by God if he is murdered (Gen 4:15).
* In the genealogy in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is 77th in a direct line.
* The Isrealites circled Jericho for 7 days and then the wall tumbled down.

In Islam:

* The number of ayat in surat al-Fatiha.
* The number of heavens in Islamic tradition.
* The number of Earths in Islamic tradition.

In Eternalism:
* The number of deities
* The years Godzimir was exiled to Turin, in Savoy
* 1/7 of each of the Deities powers was taken to create the Eternal
* There are seven verses in each of the Septrains of the Prognostications of Godzimir and Invomandus
* Seven universe in each phase toward Edication

* The number of Archangels according to some systems.
* The minor symbol number of yang from the Taoist yin-yang.
* The number of palms in an Egyptian Sacred Cubit.
* The number of ranks in Mithraism.
* The number seven is of particular significance within Cherokee cosmology.
* In Buddhism, Buddha walked 7 steps at his birth.

In Hinduism:

* The Sanskrit word 'sapta' refers to number seven.
* The Indian Music has 'sapta swaras', means seven octats (sa re ga ma pa dha ni), which are basics of music, using which hundreds of Ragas are composed.
* The Month 'September' is evolved from the word 'septa' meaning seven. September was earlier seventh month before July and August were added to the calendar. Also the sibsequent months names are derived from Sanskrit names 'Ashta' and 'Nava' meaning eight and nine which are now called October and November.
* Celestial group of seven stars are named as 'Sapta Rishi' based on the seven great saints.

And of course James Bond is 007.

So I guess in China 08-08-08 will be the big day?

Ridiculous taxes; a society gone mad

I believe that every society needs a healthy dose of anarchy. It is just not possible to regulate everything, if you try the result is bureaucracy, and ridiculous laws and regulations that nobody understands nor adheres to. The Netherlands is an example of a society that has clearly gone way too far in trying to be "fair" to everybody, resulting in 20-page forms for the simplest of arrangements, employees of (mostly) government institutions that also don't know the rules and decide arbitrarily (or, more often don't decide at all), and finally being unfair to many people because the clever and educated ones know how to find their way through the systems, while the less educated get lost in them.

An example of a ridiculous tax law was in the news today. After a court case that lasted seven (!) years there was a ruling by the Supreme Court about taxing employer provided meals. You know, some companies provide meals to their employees and of course, in trying to be fair, the tax man decided that the meal is actually income that needs to be taxed. So far so good. Until a cook in a restaurant claimed that he never ate the food that was provided by his employer (did he cook so badly?); instead his wife cooked dinner for him every day. So now, after seven years, the Courts have decided that in order for the meals to be considered income, the tax man will have to prove that the employee actually consumed the meal. I wouldn't be surprised if tax inspectors will show up at offices and factories to check who is eating the employer provided meals. A society gone mad.

Friday, 6 July 2007

A scenario for a bad movie

This would be a good scenario for a bad movie, don't you agree?

A 28-year old man is sexually abusing his 5-year old son. He invites friends to participate in the activities. His friends are appalled by the invitation. One of the friends is a violent person whose actions become uncontrollable when he uses cocaine. The friends have recently watched the movie "Hostel 2" and decide to reenact some of the scenes from the movie. The "friends" tie the 28-year old father to a chair, and start to torture him. Neighbours hear the screams and call the police. Two police officers arrive within 5 minutes, and decide to call for assistance because the situation is considered to be "dangerous" and just two police officers would be vulnerable. More police arrives after 30 minutes, they break into the house where they find the victim bleeding heavily. He later dies in hospital. Two of the friends are arrested the same evening.

A bad movie? No, a real scenario that took place last week in Pernis, close to Rotterdam. Newspapers here are full with stories about the cowardly police. Pictures above: Björn Jue, the father-child-abuser who was tortured to death; a scene from Hostel 2.

Thursday, 5 July 2007


so in the office i was planning to work friday and my boss asked you working friday and i say maybe some small things to finish and he says why don't you take day off ok i say that's good if something urgent you just call me so it is half past seven i think go to april why not have a drink and everybody there ma and ch and je and fr and fa who just arrived from malaysia yesterday and ke and wb and everybody buying beer so much joke around with fr and je was good until 9 o clock or later and we go and have dinner after dinner me go home is already 11 o clock and cycle slowly and a bit dangerous have to look out for traffic now midnight and i should sleep but still chatting with VI in london life is good and tomorrow no work only if they call me maybe i think they will not.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Home alone, again

It is 5:30am and I have just returned from Schiphol Airport. I have dropped off the Colombians who are going to Crete for a week. So I have the house to myself the next 7 days. Peace and quiet!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

US does not have full separation of powers

Sometimes I am very surprised by the news. Today, President Bush "commuted" a former White House aide's (Mr. "Scooter" Libby's) prison term. The prison time was imposed after a federal court convicted Libby of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in the probe of the leak of the name of a CIA operative. A commutation is distinct from a pardon, which is a complete eradication of a conviction record and makes it the same as if the person has never been convicted. Bush has only commuted Libby's prison term, which means that the conviction remains on Libby's record and he must still pay a $250,000 fine. He will be on probation for two years.

I guess most of us have studied Montesquieu's (picture) Trias Politica at High School. Under this model the state is divided into branches, and each branch of the state has separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility. The normal division of branches is into the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. In the model, it is very important the the Judicial system is completely independent, and it is totally wrong for someone in the Executive role (Bush) to overturn a verdict reached by a Court of Law. I am just surprised that in the United States the president can easily overturn a verdict by a court of law. Pure cronyism.

Monday, 2 July 2007

The party

The party yesterday was good. Miraculously, the rain stopped half an hour after the first guests (my mom and her friend) arrived at 11:30am, the sun came out and we had brilliant weather the rest of the day. A few people cancelled (CA had the lamest excuse : "our rabbit is sick") so in the end 23 friends and family showed up. It was funny that as soon as my mom and her friend left WI and KE lighted a joint (as if my mom isn't used to joints, my oldest brother used to smoke when he was 17/18). CH and KE were great in helping with the BBQ and the dishes, the conversation was good and beer, wine and sangria flowed freely. Gifts were a couple of bottles of wine, two boxes of chocolates (bad for the diet), a couple of books, some creams and after-shaves, lube and poppers (from WI and GO, when I lived in Singapore I had asked WI to bring me some poppers and he remembered), and travel guides for my next trips to the Frisian Islands, Mexico, Budapest and Singapore. Singapore? MA, WI, RO and HE are planning a trip to Manila, Bangkok, Phuket and Singapore in October and they want me to come.

More gay bashing in Amsterdam

There was another incident of gay bashing in Amsterdam last week: a group of six men assaulted two gay men on the Reguliersdwarsstraat (that's where many gay bars (and my office) are) in Amsterdam city centre last Thursday night. The victims are aged 37 and 45 and were most likely attacked because of their sexual orientation, Amsterdam police said on Monday. Witnesses had called police and the six were arrested. The suspects are all between the ages of 15 and 19. Four are of Moroccan descent, one is Surinamese and one is Turkish. What is with those cultures that doesn't allow young men to explore normal sexual relations (whether heterosexual or homosexual) resulting in violence so often?

In other news, some of the street parties that were planned for Amsterdam Gay Pride (first weekend of August) were cancelled by the police. The reason is that at the same time there is a football tournament and many English football "supporters" are expected in Amsterdam. A spokesperson for the police said that "gay pride is always a very peaceful, festive event, but we don't want the football supporters to mix with too many gays in the red light district" where the gay leather party was planned. So once again peaceful people can not party freely and the police give in to violence.

Sometimes I wish our police and judicial system was more like Singapore's, and we could hang a few hooligans and give some Moroccan boys a good caning.

KLM plane landing at St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, Caribbean