Archive for September, 2009

Whenever I watch Tom and Jerry, Iwonder how the tiny rat could outsmart the big cat. Then I console myself thinking that it is just a cartoon meant to entertain kids. But today when I came across a report which dubbed a field mouse as the bravest m,ouse in Britain, I was little surprised.

A field mouse was able to fend off a cat from its natural habitat by standing up to it outside its nest. It made itself as big as possible to the cat after it ventured too near to its nest in Swavesey, Cambs.

Instead of running for its life, the mouse squared up to its larger opponent and stood his ground. Eventually, the cat got bored and turned away, before the mouse went back into its home.

Field mouse scares off its predator

Field mouse scares off its predator

“It was incredible, the little mouse stood up and seemed to be roaring at the cat,” said Wendy Rothwell, 45, who spotted the encounter in her back garden.  “The cat was much bigger than him and could have killed him at any moment but he didn’t seem to care. He seemed to be prepared to do anything to protect his home. He must be the bravest field mouse in the country.”

Pic courtesy: Google

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I have seen many of my colleagues playing virtual games on computer. I simply laugh at them for wasting time (I think so) in playing games hooked to their computers at the office. But on the other round, they consider me a fool for not playing games like them! But whatever be it, it can turn out be fatal for our health and relationships.

A report today said that a man in Germany stabbed his wife to death after she fell in love with another man in the virtual world of computer gaming.

Vladimir Gruener knifed his wife Nadja 17 times in the face, breast, legs and three times in the heart. He killed her after she got romantically involved with a dragon slayer in the fantasy game Rappelz and told her husband: “I don’t love you anymore.”

Gruener, 48, said that he stabbed his wife because he had lost her to “endless hours of computer gaming”.

“Everything went well between us until January, when she began sitting in front of the computer, sometimes up to 16 hours per day,” he told the court in Bonn, Germany.

“I don’t know what she was playing. There was shooting and then people were being captured. At night I would set the alarm for 2 am and then go to the computer in the children’s room. She was there. I told her ‘You can’t do this’. She replied: ‘I don’t love you anymore. Something is missing’. That finished me,” he added.

Their son, aged 12, and three-year-old daughter were in the apartment in Bonn at the time of the murder on March 14.

He told the court: “I drank vodka, I’m not sure exactly — she said something — I’m not sure what, I had a knife in my hand, then she fell down. I can’t explain the state I was in exactly.”

I feel that the Shahrukh Khan issue is blown out of proportion. One should admire the steps taken up by US airport to safeguard its country. Think of  doing the same in India! It is almost impossible to do so here. Here people want to show their superiority by disrespecting laws. Everybody is eager to show that they are above law and are VVIPs.

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was detained at Newark airport in New Jersey and questioned for over two hours after his surname came up on an airport alert list on Saturday. The actor was on his way to Chicago to attend an Independence Day event and, ironically, was in the US to promote his new film, My Name is Khan.

Later, SRK said: “I was really hassled by the authorities at the airport because of my surname. They wanted to know why I came to the US and where I was staying,” he said.What is wrong in doing routine security check-ups? The detention of SRK was for security purpose and is not a big deal. No 9/11-like incident occurred in the US because of strict vigil and I believe it is a good thing for any country to observe laws strictly.

There should never be any compromise when it comes to security. This is not the first time that an Indian film icon or a VIP was detained at an airport in the US and subjected to severe checks.

Mr George Fernandes, then defence minister, was made to remove his shirt and shoes at Washington’s airport on an official visit. Even former president of India APJ Abdul Kalam was frisked by Continental Airlines officials at New Delhi’s IGI Airport.

In April, Malayalam actor Mammootty was similarly separated for questioning  by security officials at JFK Airport in New York for more than two hours after his name popped up on the computer screen at the immigration counter. Mammootty, whose full name is Muhammadkutty Ismail Paniparambil, arrived at the airport by a British Airways flight and was taken to a separate room for interrogation on his purpose of visit to the US and other details. He was allowed to leave the airport after the Indian consulate contacted authorities and explained he is a popular actor in South India and has visited the US many times in the past.

Not just Muslims or Asians, the cops had not even spared Rock legend Bob Dylan, who was detained by police in Long Branch, New Jersey. Police officer Kristie Buble did not believe him when he Dylan told her his name, so she asked him for identification. When Dylan said he did not have any identification with him, she detained him and took him to the site where he claimed the tour buses were located.

Union I&B minister Ambika Soni’s remark looks very irresponsible. India should adopt similar stringent security measures not as a tit-for-tat to teach a lesson to Americans, but to safeguard the country.

Will all this brouhaha really change the racial profiling in the US. May be all this would have not blown out of the proportion if the officer had told SRK: “Oh, I’m sorry sir. I didn’t know that you are a superstar in India!”

I feel that the whole episode reaffirms the idolatry of VIP status in India. If a person is a politician or a movie star, why should he or she be exempted from security checks? Why shouldn’t they be detained? Why should VVIPS of our country just co-operate with authorities when it comes to security measures? They shouldn’t expect everybody to know their status and position. It’s true that film stars reach a wide audience, but should not think everybody knows about them. These VVIPs should visit any of our villages to know if people really know about them. They can’t recognise several film stars or politicians. If Angelina Joile and Brad Pitt are well known faces abroad, it need not be the same here. Not may will recognise them if they come to India. Likewise, there’s no big deal if people can’t recognise our film stars there.

Our VVIPs should learn to obey the rules and laws of other countries when on visit and stop crying fr such incidents. They need to follow the motto: Be a Roman when you are in Rome.

I have seen my Muslim colleagues, not just men even women, drinking and smoking. I feel they are very lucky to be in a country like India, where their actions invite no public wrath unlike Muslim countries. And for a moment, I was shocked to learn that a Malysian Muslim has been ordered for a caning sentence for drinking alcohol in public place. She was sentenced to six strokes of the cane and a fine after getting caught by Islamic enforcement officials drinking beer at a hotel lounge two years ago. She was first arrested in 2007 for drinking a beer in a hotel nightclub and was tried in a sharia court.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old mother of two, in Malaysia received a temporary reprieve on Monday. Her punishment has been pushed further and will not be carried out in the fasting month of Ramadan. She has also paid a fine of 5,000 ringgit ($1,420) for drinking.

If punished, she will be the first woman in the Southeast Asian country to be caned under rarely enforced Islamic criminal laws. Like a true Muslim woman, instead of appealing for the sentence, Kartika had asked that she be punished in public. She wants others to learn a lesson from her experience!

Kartika’s case has divided Muslims in Malaysia, where Malay-Muslims constitute 55 per cent of the population, with conservatives coming out in support of the punishment.

Time and again the Shariah courts want to show their power and this time, by imposing a punishment on a woman. Politicians of course will not like to upset conservative Malay-Muslims, for the fear of drawing their ire and losing vote base.

This is not the first time a Muslim woman was caught drinking in public. Shariah judges have meted out the maximum sentence for drinking alcohol to a woman on one previous occasion also. The first offender, waitress Noorazah Baharuddin, 22, was sentenced in January for consuming liquor in a pub in Pahang in 2008. She has appealed and the case is reportedly pending.

Three men who were previously convicted for drinking alcohol and were sentenced to be caned are also reportedly waiting for their appeals to be heard.

One of my Muslim friends told me that according to Islamic principles, caning will be conducted with a small, thin stick and cannot be administered on the head, face, stomach, chest or genitals.

Under Malaysian government’s civil criminal system, men can be caned for serious offences such as rape. These punishments are administered using a thicker cane and applied to the bare buttocks of the offender, who is bound to a frame.

Not just Arab countries, even Singapore also allows caning for serious offences like rape and drug trafficking. In 1994, US teenager Michael Fay received four strokes of cane in a Singapore prison after being convicted of vandalism.

In Indonesia, caning is not part of the criminal legal system though it is used in Aceh province, which has introduced a form of Shariah law since getting autonomy in 2005.

Caning is nothing new in Arab countries and several people have been caned in Aceh, the so-called Veranda of Mecca, in Indonesia, for crimes like drinking or selling alcohol, having sexual relations outside marriage and gambling.

The blue book in Aceh lists the crimes and the punishment, including: Not going to the mosque for Friday prayers on three occasions: Six months’ jail or three strokes of the cane;
Eating and drinking in public during the fasting month: Four months’ jail or two strokes of the cane; Consuming alcohol: 40 strokes of the cane; Committing an immoral act such as sex outside marriage: Maximum nine strokes of the cane and minimum three strokes and/or a fine.

I even heard that Aceh was even thinking of implementing more feared punishments of stoning or the lopping-off of hands and even proposals to go one step further, to allow the tips of fingers to be cut off for the crime of stealing.

Being an outsider, I disagree with caning as a punishment and feel Sharia law has gone too far. It is very sad to see a person being caned in public. How can one imagine a person in tears when being caned because of shame?

In India, there was this amusing incident, where women of Dharampur caught men drunk, wrapped skirts around them, paraded them through the village and forced them to pay a fine of Rs 100 in 1993. Scores of women had also broke through a police line in 1992 and knocked down a new liquor store with pick-axes and shovels.  A similar pressure in Andhra Pradesh led the government in 1993 to agree to close up to 6,000 stores that sold arrack.

If authorities or the clerics really want to do something against drinking alcohol, why can’t they ask the government to ban it completely instead of only detaining Muslims who consume alcohol in public places? By banning alcohol, they will not only save people, especially Muslims, from committing a big sin according to their Muslim laws, but also save many families from being ruined due to the addiction. I seriously feel instead of caning and torturing physically, they should give them counselling.