Sunday, March 30, 2003

Embedded reporters? In bed with reporters?

I've been wondering about this business of embedded reporters. The first time I heard the phrase it was in the context of "John Smith, embedded with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade". I wasn't paying close attention and misheard it as "John Smith, in bed with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade". Maybe there's not so much difference after all...

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Operation Shock & Awe

I watched the opening shots of Operation Shock & Awe late last night. It was pretty terrifying to watch - I can only imagine what it must be like to be in the thick of things. 8,000 Iraqi troops just surrendered, says CNN. That's good news. That's 8,000 men who can return to their families in one piece and help rebuild their country.

Friday, March 07, 2003

I miss Al Gore

I've been getting anti-war petitions on an almost daily basis. Most are from The petitions are asking us to support "tough inspections, not war". I'm a little hesitant to sign. My dilemma is this: Saddam Hussein did not allow weapons inspectors back into Iraq until the US started sabre rattling. If tough inspections are not possible without the threat of war, then one can not preclude the possibility of war, otherwise the fear that compels Saddam to comply disappears. After all, what's he afraid of - more economic sanctions? I don't think so. The way Saddam has implemented sanctions, the only people to "feel the pain", so to speak, are the innocent civilians. Saddam's administration is not a bit weaker because of them. So if economic sanctions don't work, and military threats (with the implied possibility of military action) are not allowed then how do we rein in rogue nations? We cannot trust them to have good intentions, obviously. I'm in favour of military action, if the only alternative is inaction. Unfortuately, I believe that George Bush is going to bungle the job. ~sigh~ I miss Al Gore.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

The Story of Mao

A couple of days ago, on the community website I ran before launching, someone asked about the origins of the name "maoman". Here's the answer for your reference.

When I first came to Taiwan in the late 80's, I was living in very uninternational Jiayi. The good people there butchered the hell out of my English name (Anthony), to the point that I cringed whenever anyone called me by my name. I begged a friend to give me a Chinese name. Since his surname was Mao, everybody called him Ah-Mao. I was bigger than him, and older than him (by one week), and I had long, curly rock-star hair (hey, it was the 80's) that my friend thought looked like yangmao (fleece), so I was given the nickname Da Mao. Literally, it could be translated as "Big Fuzz" or something like that. The truth is, "mao" by itself isn't very meaningful - most expressions use it as part of a compound word. And yes, I'm aware that half of the word for pubic hair - yinmao - is the same "mao" (陰毛).

Da Mao, I have been told on countless occasions, is not a serious name. It's a good name for a pet, although I have heard kids called this name on more than one occasion. It has worked for me though, because although students are sometimes intimidated by my appearance (I'm kind of big, and - Taiwanese people say - serious-looking), all shyness disappears when they hear my nickname. It's a great ice-breaker. I think a reasonable English equivalent would be "Scruffy" or "Shaggy" or something like that. As for "maoman", well that was first suggested to me one drunken night at the late, great Opium Den by one drunken "Wuman", aka David Wu, an ABC VJ-turned-actor. The mystery is over... Go in peace.