His Majesty Felicitates

From our man in Kathmandu, Aug. 31:

Choosing to exercise virtually the only power left to him, His Majesty King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev of Nepal has extended felicitations to President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Bakiev Kurmanbek Salievich on the occasion of the National Day of Kyrgyz Republic.

In a message, His Majesty the King has extended best wishes for President Salievich’s personal health and happiness as well as for the progress and prosperity of the people of Kyrgyz Republic.

Inquiries have been instituted and it has been established that Kyrgyzstan is a country known to only its 5 million inhabitants and its immediate neighbors; Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakstan. It has, in its history, been part of the Mongolian, Chinese, Afgan and Russian empires but has, as is the plucky nature of this mountanous people, always clawed back independence.

 

In previous times, Kyrgyzstan has engaged in ethnic arggy-barggy with the Uzbeks,HM the King of Malaysia so His Madjesty’s expressions of solidarity bode well for regional stability.

Similarly, His Majesty the King has greeted His Majesty Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Ibni of Malaysia on the occasion of the National Day of Malaysia.

In a message today, His Majesty the King has extended cordial felicitations and best wishes for the Malaysian monarch’s personal health and happiness as well as for the continued progress and prosperity of the people of Malaysia.

His Majesty has also expressed the confidence that the friendly relations between the two countries would grow further in the years to come.

Mormon Leader Arrested for Incorrigible Naughtiness

Mr Warren Steed Jeffs has, since the day of his birth, wandered the roads less travelled. On Monday, he left the side roads of life and joined the Nevada motorway only to be promptly arrested.

Mr Jeffs, or ‘The Prophet’ as he prefers to be styled, is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Mormons who rejected the “mainstream” Mormon satanaria’s “renunciation” of polygamy at the turn of the last century. 

Mr Jeffs inherited his ‘Prophetic’ office from his father Rulon Jeffs upon his death, when he was presumably assumed bodily into the mother-ship. His position as leader of the FCLDS carries with it total financial, spiritual and pastoral responsibility for his 10,000 congregants.

For several months now, Mr Jeffs has been on the American authorities “Most Wanted List” and was often profiled on television. Wanted in several states for crimes of “sexual misconduct”, Mr Jeffs’ alleged 40-70 wives would seem to bear out the authorities description of him as “charismatic”. The charges are said to encompass both his personal proclivities and actions taken in his pastoral role.

Like any other cult, the leader of the FCLDS’s main duties are arranging marriages and collecting money, and occasionally to reassign wives and children to other men. He and his inner circle are alleged to have a particular penchant for teenage brides, and several of the counts against him relate to the kidnapping and molestation of young girls; both mainstays of Mormon evangelism since the 19th century, as recorded by Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle in A Study in Scarlet

In the best traditions of American fringe cultism, Mr Jeffs was discovered by the police in a car with several women (alleged wives), his brother, several tens of thousands of dollars in cash, 15 mobile telephones, a large assortment of greeting cards and three wigs. It is, as yet, unclear what sort of shenanigans he was up to with the wigs and greeting cards.

Mr Jeffs will stand trail in the state of Arizona where the FCLDS is based.

The Death of the Lady

I have recently been hearing an awful lot about a book called “Female Chauvinist Pigs; Women and the Rise of the Raunch Culture” by a woman named Ariel Levy.

Being neither a female, a chauvinist or a pig, I have yet to read it. However, I am informed by the cognoscenti that the book sees the increasingly public degradation and sexualisation of women as a girl-power rebellion against the fuzzy jumper, crew-cut brigade of the feminist old guard.

According to Levy, the modern woman, or girl as they refer to themselves between 14 and 45, embraces the freedom inherited from their dour matriarchs and blends it with a Page 3 engagement with their own sexuality. The results may be viewed on any metropolitan street between the hours of 9pm and 2am Friday – Sunday.

Now, I have been called, by a prominent member of the feminist academy, an ‘unreconstructed male patriarch’ (which, I think,means I have had no homosexual experiences to date and think that its a bit iffey for women to fight in wars) so my opinion may mean nothing here. But nevertheless, I don’t think that this is really the case.

I doubt modern Essex girl (can you still say that?) closely engages with socio-sexual politics. Rather, I think the so-called ‘raunch culture’ is emblematic of a wider social decline. And also its the men’s fault. Well, chav men and media berks anyway.

The prevalence of chavs as a market force in Britain means that they are the target of most mass marketing, but your chav-about-town has the mental dexterity (and facial expression) of a boiled kipper. If you want to get through to them, its best to keep it simple and, I apologise for being crude here, they understand sex (just about). 

So everything is presented to them wrapped in, well, a woman. This is nothing new; women have been a great way of selling a product since the Almighty invented procreation.

Where the malaise sets in is the aforementioned ‘kipper face’ worn by all chavs. Young Gary will lurch down the road wearing a constant expression of offended surprise. Aware, on some level, that he is uneducated, unemployed and thoroughly unpleasant, he subconsciously views the world as one big joke he doesn’t get. He feels every bit as excluded as David “Third Nipple” Cameron says he does.

A beautiful, well-dressed, lady of poise and intelligence would appear so unattainable as to inspire rage in the chav. He’d more like to mug her out of spite than to buy her product.

The original success of the Spice Girls (who kick-started the rot) was because,to the average oaf, they did look like the ‘girl next door’. (By this I don’t mean friendly, wholesome and cute; I mean gobby, cheap, easy, oddly shaped and common as muck.) This is the template image that we see today, in everything from “reality” television to the tabloid press to more or less every advert on the TV. Women made-up, inflated and on display, women mentally absent and conversationally bereft. Women who universally aspire to be blond and “bubbly” – a word which seems to convey nothing other than being a cheery vacuum.

Gary is not threatened, indeed he feels positively superior and as a result women remain second class in his mind and his hard-earned (HAH!) shilling is harvested.

Women, and feminists in particular, have a lot to answer for in the death of the Lady, but the gross sexual exploitation of girls in the media is, I blush to say, the work of men.   

    

Man of Steel

This week, for the first time in 130 years of test cricket, a match has been literally given away and there can be no doubt that it is the fault of one man: and it ain’t Darrell Hair. supes10.jpg

In his latest book You must like cricket? Soumya Bhattacharya describes the impotent frustrations of the cricket fan when the rest of the world try and load our game down with there problems. As he points out throughout the book; cricket is not a metaphor for life, nor an allegory, cricket is not an alternative battleground for nations. And cricket is not, absolutely not in any way related to Muslims’ relations with ‘the West’ (where is ‘the west’ by the way Hair being from Australia?).

Hair, not for the first time has made the only call he could make in keeping with his role. And not for the first time he has been accused on all sides of being an egomaniac, of courting the spotlight, generally of loving it.

But in the end he is a cricket umpire and refuses to be anything else. It does not matter a rusty threepenny bit if, ten years ago, he (perfectly correctly) called a bowler with a notorious action for throwing, or if Pakistan were already caught cheating in December? And so what if things are a little tense with Muslim countries just now? Are the laws of the game suspended?

The facts are: both Hair and Billy Doctrove saw something, this wasn’t done on a whim. Pakistan were docked five runs, which would have affected the course of the match not a jot, and if their famous pride was so wounded at the allegation, there are ways of appealing, playing on is not an admission of guilt, it’s their job and they should conduct themsleves like professionals and get on with it.

In the end, Hair was left with no choice because of the actions of one man: Inzamam. The captain is responsible not only for the conduct of his players, but also for leading by example. His sulking schoolboy routine has indeed brought the game into disrepute. His demands, on the day and since, for an explanation from Hair show up the true root of the problem: a pervasive lack of respect for the umpire.

Inzamam himself has said that “the countries come first”. No they do not, the game comes first, and Lord-God-Almighty of the game on the day is the umpire. With charging and over appealing ever more rampant, with coaches now openly demanding the right to appeal to the video replay over the umpire’s head, people should remember what this game is meant to be about anyway. Cricketr is meant to be a sport of respect.

This winter, KP was fined for shaking his head after being given out lbw. FOR SHAKING HIS HEAD AS HE WALKED AWAY. It was a rotten decision but he didn’t complain, he didn’t appeal or swear or anything. He shook his head as he walked off so he was fined for decent. And rightly so.

In the light of that, who can really claim that Pakistans refusal to play was anything other than disreputable? It is not the umpire’s job to ask the captain sweetly to please come down after tea and he certainly owes them no explanation.

Part of the problem is the hysterical reaction to the charge of ball tampering. What makes this so much worse than any other infraction? Is it any less deliberate or effective than appealing lbw when you know it’s not out? Is it any less malicious than Afridi scuffing the pitch in Faisalabad?

When Surrey we docked eight points for ball tampering last year they were relegated. Neither Merv Kitchen nor Nigel Llong could say who had tampered with the ball, and Surrey never broke ranks, but they ruled someone had and that was an end of it. Mark Ramprakash handled the matter like a professional, apologising to the officials and opposition and getting on with things.

Pakistan’s behavior was unacceptable, Darrell Hair’s decisions not only final, but wholly justified and made in conference with Billy Doctrove. Hair is an umpire, that is all he knows or cares about and that is why all the other upires are backing him to the hilt.

International diplomacy? Racism? Religious extremism? Sorry mate, its just not cricket. 

Newcastle gets Newspeak

Newcastle City Council, in a fit of self-loathing has banned using Nothumbrian dialects.

Without offering any viable alternatives, terms such as “pet”, “hinney”, “darling” and “bit o’crumpet” have all been stricken from the local lexicon.

The Council issued the decree, saying that such terms were “patronising”, “sexist” and “insulting”. While the more seasoned travellers among us might shake our knowing heads at trying to get a Northumbrian to speak properly, what chills the marrow is the idea that traditional terms of endearment and address are to be outlawed so as not to cause offence.

I make a reall effort to address every woman I meet, and many men for that matter, as “darling”, “dear” or “gibbering half-wit”. I am not trying to patronise them, I am showing a genuine affection for the person to whom I am speaking. The vocabulary we use communicates our personality, upbringing and ideas, the words we choose are a fundamental way in which project ourselves.

Now I realise that there are certain rules of language to which we all conform, there are words I would not say in front of ladies, words I would only say in front of ladies, and some I would never say at all.

But these rules, like all others, are made to be broken. As much as language defines us by the words we choose to use, so we are defined by those we choose not to use. If a woman (why not a woman?) chooses to use certain words, I choose to leave the room. This is how it is supposed to work. 

Presumably, at the very least, these patronising Newcastle-ites are imitating those who used the words before them, people they admire and wish to take after – every Geordie ever to live as I understand it. Presumably they use the words they do for a reason.

Now maybe some women feel that the word “hinney” is a tyrannical lash of oppression from the great patristic phallus, an assault on their aural liberty which shall not be borne. But what gives this tiny minority the power to dictate to an entire city?

More importantly, where can I get some of this power? There are all kinds of things that offend me that I would like Councils up and down the Three Kingdoms to ban. The phrase “innit” offends me. Being addressed as “mate” by women offends me; I don’t socialise with women and am never ‘matey’ with ladies. Welsh accents offend me, Islam offends me. I could go on.

What continues to confuse me is not that we are ruled by a minority. It was ever thus. This country used to be justifiably proud of the quality of its ruling minority, now it seems the most shrill, irrational and dictatorial are in control.    

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His Majesty takes in dinner (we think)

It has been announced from the Narayanhity Royal Palace, Kathmandu, on the occasion of Shreekrishna Janmastami, that Their Majesties the King and Queen of Nepal visited the Shreekrishna Mandir at Mangalbazaar, Patan today and received tika and prasad.

While the exact meaning of this announcement is unclear, and although it may relate to religious festivities that were going on, it seems more plausible that Their Majesties had popped out for dinner at their favourite restaurant in Patan the Sherpa Fryer and ordered a Nepalese version of chicken tikka. Of course, whether the nourishment afforded to their royal personages was of a spiritual or tandoori nature is beside the point. It’s just nice to see them out in public.

In a royal message, presumably issued inside the restaurant between courses, His Majesty The King extended, by way of grace, his best wishes that this sacred day realises truth, justice, rights and a sense of obligation for all of us, and inspires us to work towards peace and stability. Added HM, “Now, pass the poppadums”.

His Majesty the King receiving tika on the occasion of Shreekrishna Janmastami at Krishna Mandir in Patan on Wednesday.

Caption: His Majesty the King receiving tika on the occasion of Shreekrishna Janmastami at Krishna Mandir in Patan on Wednesday.

Gurkhas on the loose: Nepalese cricket gets serious

In the most encouraging sign yet that civilisation is alive and well in the Kingdom of Nepal, the national cricket team have routed Kuwait faster than the Iraqi army and gilded their Himalayan Lilies further by crushing the Kingdom of Bhutan by 281.

As has been faithfully transmitted by the Club’s man in Kathmandu, the turmoil created by the armed Maoist insurgency and the shambolic pretensions of the “democratic” assembly have left the country bereft of the direct paternal oversight of HM King Gyanendra.

But, in a victory for the forces of good, the Napalese cricket team started their Asian Cricket Council Trophy campaign in the best possible way. 

Cricket in Nepal was first introduced in the early twentieth century by the Rana clan, the ruling aristocratic force in northern India and Nepal at the time, of which the Shah dynasty is a branch. These young men of substance had been sent to England to be educated and, in the traditional public school way, had returned with basic maths and French, some Latin, the ability to command and an unquenchable thirst for cricket.

Enthusiasm for the sport is national and is hardly the preserve of the upper eschelons in Nepal. Flat land being at something of a premium though, most of the grounds are located in and around royal palaces.

The Cricket Association of Nepal was formally founded in 1946, although no data is available stating the number of grounds, players or clubs. Nepal was formal accepted into the ICC in 1996, having been a member of the Asian Cricket Council since two years previous. 

The national side have been growing in strength in recent years and are much fancied in the Asian Cricket Council Trophy this year. In February, the under-19 side managed an 82 run coup over Ireland, and today’s victory is largely built on the strong youth element in the national setup, boding well, if not for the government then for cricket.  

Kuwait 

Youngsters Gyanendra Malla (named in honour of HM) and Sharad Vesawkar both scored half-centuries as Nepal started its Tophy assault with a six-wicket victory over Kuwait at the Kelab Aman Ground Monday.

Gyanendra scored 79 while Sharad got 62 as Nepal reached the target of 205 runs with 15 balls to spare. Earlier, Kuwait scored 204/7 in the 50 overs despite captain Binod Das’ haul of 3/39. Gyanendra was chosen man of the match.

Making his senior debut in international one-day cricket, Gyanendra had to bear the responsibility as an opener but he proved a worthy choice scoring at will.

“I feel good but I believe I could have done better,” Gyanendra modestly declaimed after the match. He also revealed his unease at openning the batting in place of the regular Kanishka Chaugai, but havign made 78* against the Pakistan National Academy in the warm up match, his confidence grew and he looked confident at the crease.

In a cruel blow, neither he nor Sharad could salute the Pavillion, the local scoreboard was not equipped to display individual batsmen. 

Earlier, Nepal won the toss and elected to field on a cloudy day. It looked a good decision as Binod removed Nadeem Malik (7) in the sixth over before Mohammad Nawaz and Jagath Roshanta batted patiently adding 55 runs for the second wicket.