Posts filed under 'World Affairs'

Turning Japanese? … I really think so

Cherry Blossom
Photo by retinafunk

I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese culture, perhaps because to a young Irish boy it seemed so alien and exotic and eccentric compared to our Western norms. I did a lot of research on Japan for the novel, and my head is still swimming in the invigorating pool of Japanese culture. I don’t think you can ever really fully understand a culture unless you’ve grown up in it. Outsiders just get privileged glimpses of understanding.

However, it was great fun. I think I’m turning Japanese.

To the casual observer I must appear as un-Japanese as possible — a tall Irish Caucasian lug! And yet I feel an affinity with Japan: maybe it’s my love of baths; maybe it’s my love of electronic gadgets; maybe it’s because the road where I grew up was lined with cherry blossoms (or sakura as we Japanese call it!) ; maybe it’s because of my fondness for meditative ways and unobstrusive, demure, polite people.

Or maybe it’s because Ireland is mooted to be following Japan into a prolonged 80’s-style property-induced economic crash!

I think we’re turning Japanese … I really think so.

I just hope we stop before we get this bad:

Add comment October 18th, 2008

Evolution is over

The re-write and edit of my novel Broken Evolution is over, and has been sent to an agent who requested it. I hope the improvements will work in my favour, and the five week delay in getting to the agent won’t be held against me!

An interesting little irony – on the week that I finished Broken Evolution, the geneticist Steve Jones gave a lecture, saying that human evolution is over. Am I tapping a vein in the zeitgeist here? I suppose the premise of my book is that, while natural selection might be over, we might be embarking on a lateral step in human evolution instead. The theme came through nicely in the re-write, this time via the plot – where all themes should.

There was also the minor matter of a global economic meltdown during the week.

Evolution is over. Capitalism is dead.

Maybe Douglas Adams was right; it was a bad idea coming down from the trees in the first place. Time to go back up.

I’ll fetch my hammock …

Add comment October 10th, 2008

President Sarkozy in Ireland to discuss Lisbon Treaty

President Sarkozy is coming to the emerald isle on Monday to discuss the Lisbon Treaty.

The lead-up to this has been surrounded by much controversy. It has been reported that Mr. Sarkozy told his ministers that Ireland will have to vote a second time – a prelude to Monday’s meeting that set noses out of joint on both sides.

This week, it was said that the Irish government was planning a forum with all Lisbon Campaign representatives, but several of the ‘no’ campaigners were concerned that as late as yesterday none of them had been invited to attend. Today, we’ve just heard that most ‘no’ campaigners have been invited. Farcical is how the Irish headlines described the organisation of the event. Was it the Irish government that wanted the dissenters excluded? Or was it the French? Given Sarkozy’s pre-announced agenda, the latter seems more likely. Perhaps in the end, they thought it might be more sensible to dance with the devil in the contained environment of the French embassy, rather than have the devil grab the European media headlines by protesting outside the embassy? Who knows?

I’d love to be a fly in the wall (if not a fly in the soup) in the French Embassy. Still, just guessing what is going on between the various parties at the moment is fun. It will be very entertaining to hear how Monday goes off. Some days, European politics are very interesting indeed – vive la différence!

Add comment July 18th, 2008

Ireland on the Rocks; Mine’s a Bourbon.

I came across a scathing editorial of the Irish public finances.

It seems we are, or soon will, be in an unprecendented situation within the EU. I think everything I said before about the idealism and opportunity presented by Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty will be moot. Our government’s mis-management of our economy will soon give the EU every reason and opportunity to kick us all the way from Berlin to Boston.

It’s going to be a rough ride.

Add comment July 10th, 2008

Pardon? It’s like Deja Vu, all over again!

Well, we were expecting it.

Cowen gets year to sell ‘Lisbon II’ in new vote

It’s the same story as the Nice Treaty – go back and vote again, but do it correctly this time. Yet again, the reactions of our EU overlords are to become the compelling ‘Yes’ campaign for Treaty ratification – a ‘Yes’ campaign that our government could not muster nor sell to us.

Despite all the lofty notions of my previous post, reality resounds yet again with the truth that the Federalists have control in Europe and that we are committed to a Union of unequals. Only at times like this does that become plain.

As they say in France: Qu’elle Surprise?

Mon dieu!

Meanwhile, in my own personal world of fiction, I’m currently the eavesdropper in a U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing … I like fiction.

1 comment June 20th, 2008

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