Thursday, May 05, 2011

HECTOR'S BALI times DIARY, May 6, 2011

Beware the
Best Efforts

Rabies is a significant risk to people in Bali, arguably even while they’re sitting quietly on the porch at home minding their own business. That’s a cogent reason for strict measures to control stray dog numbers while at the same time vaccinating the required percentage (70%) of the island’s canine population to control the spread of the virus.
    You should not, however, have to consider that there is any associated risk of being hit by a strychnine dart aimed (well, misaimed in true Keystone Kops style) by your local animal control officer.  Such was the unpleasant fate, though, of a young Klungkung woman who, sitting upon her porch at her house in the village of Semaagung during the hot noonday hours and apparently watching the dog cull taking place, was struck in the shoulder by the said dart.
     Not unreasonably, she collapsed. The dart, from a blowpipe wielded (apparently without due care and attention) by an animal control officer, was carrying enough strychnine to kill a dog within 15 minutes. The woman was taken to hospital where she made a full recovery and was allowed home after a day or so.
     We expect that the next time the blowpipe brigade comes around she’ll decide that discretion is the better part of valour and take cover.
     The tally from the April 25 operation:  three dead dogs.

Shoot First, Dissemble Later

Osama bin Laden was an evil man and, by any reasonable definition of justice, a mass murderer. The search for him, and the operation that finally found him, was justified, as was the technical invasion of a sovereign state (Pakistan) to achieve that.
    It was a firefight. It was reasonable to assume Bin Laden would be armed if resistance was encountered. In the circumstances as described, requiring split-second decision, an assumption that he could be armed was also reasonable: in any circumstances short of a hands-up-I-surrender situation, it would be a tough call to gainsay a "shoot" decision.
    Yet apparently he wasn't armed when shot dead. He was hiding in a room with his youngest wife, we now gather; she apparently showed more spirit than he and rushed at the invading BlackOps operative. She was shot in the leg for her trouble, we also gather, from the confusion of information the Americans have released. Yet Bin Laden continued to "resist," according to information prised out of the White House on Tuesday this week. Was he about to throw a chair? Did he ask to leave the room? Did he burst into tears, like most self-deceivers and bullies do when their behaviour catches up with them?
    No one should weep for him, given the death and destruction his wantonly poisoned mind visited upon the world, but the Americans now have questions to answer about the manner and the circumstances of Bin Laden's death that will again provide embarrassment, risk turning into yet another own goal, and undermine the political and strategic benefits of removing him from the scene.

Yak On

It hardly seems possible that a month has passed since the last little MinYak cantered into the in-box. But it must be, because another one arrived this week, carrying fresh tales from the land of glitter and somewhere called Baliwood. Not sure that works: Bollywood is already taken, of course, by all those chaps who run the western world’s call centres, but Bolly’s not a bad set of bubbles if you like that sort of thing.
    Neither champagne nor the sparkling wine that’s not champagne because of ridiculous European Community naming rules appears on Hector’s favoured drinks list. Those little zesty bubbles don’t go very well with a beak.  That’s a shame, because the latest MinYak has a Q&A with Carol Duval-Leroy, president of Champagne Duval-Leroy.
    She has some views on how to manage enterprises and people that would be required reading for several of our local bizbods, both indigenous and expatriate. If they could read, of course.
    The finals of this year’s Yak open tennis are on this weekend. The organisers promise fun and frivolity.  We might manage a look-in. It’s no trouble breaking out of the Bukit Bubble, or breaking into the Canggu one for that matter. It’s the 90-minute, 20-kilometre crawl between the two that puts you off.

Strait Swap

It’s interesting to see the Jakarta Globe is now printing Singapore’s Straits Times in Indonesia under a masthead partnership. The ST is not quite the mouthpiece for the modern incarnation of the Serene Republic (Singapore is the Venice of our era in so many ways) that some of its critics assert, but it is very cosily consanguineous in the peculiar political circumstances of the city state. Officially controlled democracy has much appeal to big business, as it does to politicians, since it deflects the embarrassments that spring from promiscuous public argument.
    Commercially, Singapore is the linchpin of ASEAN. Its financial strength, infrastructure and social capital give it clout far beyond its weight. Already it is effectively the power in situ in Indonesia’s nearby islands and pre-eminently in Batam, from where on a clear day (ha!) you can see Singapore’s skyline. So an opportunity to read the print edition of the Straits Times on the day of publication – even here in relatively distant Bali – is almost a local business essential.

Common Sense

It was cheering to hear that errant New Zealander turned Aussie Angus McCaskill, who copped a seven-year jail term for being caught with a sizeably small quantity of illegal drugs in a sting at a Tuban supermarket, may get a sentence cut to one year and thus soon be away on the compulsory deportation flight home.
    The courts here hand out very heavy sentences for drug offences – and rightly so when the circumstances demand – in accordance with national law but often not in accordance with common sense.
    McCaskill, who began life in Aotearoa as Willie Ra’re, foolishly sniffed his way around Bali’s wannabe party scene, apparently in the belief that this was where it’s at. It isn’t, of course. But seven years for being a personal-user idiot was never fair; neither was it justified except on a fulsome misreading, by the judges, of their duty to make judicious decisions.
    It was the same with that silly girl Schapelle Corby, whose boogie-board cover was found to contain more than four kilos of marijuana when she popped in for a holiday break in 2004 and, lordy, she didn’t know how on earth it could have got there, and with her family and others created a noisy conspiracy theory that pissed everyone off, especially the judges. Twenty years for being a screaming idiot’s a little tough, unless of course the extra time was for having a topless sister and a loud mother. There appear to be sensible moves under way to apply a retrospective common sense rule to her case.
    The Australian contingent in Kerobokan keeps growing. Michael Sacatides, kick-boxing instructor, has just joined up for 18 years for forgetting to wonder why some guy in Bangkok he hardly knew wanted to lend him a suitcase for his Bali trip.

New Virgin

Pacific Blue, the overseas operating livery of Australia’s Virgin Blue airline, will soon be a thing of the past. Virgin Blue already is, having become Virgin Australia in a massive rebranding exercise this week. By year’s end, Virgin Australia aircraft will be flying the Bali routes from the Great South Land.
    The airline’s rebranding completes its growing up process. Launched – in Brisbane, with a great party – in 2000 as a fun show (with serious commercial intent) and utilising the penchant for bent language in the Australia patois – its aircraft were red and a redhead is called “Blue” or “Bluey” – it has now emerged as an adult operation, with a strong pitch for the business market, the bit up the pointy end that requires bigger seats, silver service, serious trolleydollying and excessive ego-stroking.

Tweet with Hector @scratchings and join him on Facebook: Hector McSquawky


No comments:

Post a Comment