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vendredi 24 octobre 2014


I would be in a hotel room, trying to catch up on NEWS, usually in English, whether BBC or CNN International, rarely Al Jazeera, occasionally France 24, and never a Singapore or Malaysia based News broadcast. Like their newspapers, Straits Times and New Straits Times they are intended to make you ignorant when it comes to International News.
I would observe the faces and demeanours of the presenters and anchors of the News and a great metaphor arose in my head. When we were growing up in various ex-colonies of UK, we were instructed to speak or imitate BBC English, and in Australia to try and avoid broad Australian accent. Years later, in USA, I was told that they considered an untainted Midwestern accent a superior one!
So these new presenters, with a slight brown hue to their skins, would be speaking, not in the BBC World Service Accent, but an ornate, Interchangeable CNN accent- in the CNN International Broadcasts, the American accents is not stressed.
Looking at the carefully sculpted conversations and poised false seriousness, I realized that these women were projecting their personalities rather than the news they were presenting.
For Knowledge to be knowledge, it has to be communicated, what they were communicating were themselves and not any knowledge. You can be as insipid as before after watching a CNN broadcast.
I was thinking of these things, waiting at SOYKA Restaurant in Miami, while waiting for friends to arrive to share a meal before going to the Temple Israel to begin the Jewish Day of Atonement.
This is the third time we have done this, Soyka for dinner, then to the solemnity of 91-year-old Temple Israel!
Almost a Tradition!
How quickly time has become condensed, take with it the freedom of Space as well! The concept of Free Time has left us all with no time at all.
365 days since our last meeting at Soyka, at the beginning of 5774, in a matter of one year, I have been to Indonesia alone five times, Europe around 12 times, shrinking of space and time as well.
Brussels yesterday morning, tonight at Soyka-Ceviche, sesame coated Salmon, Pinot Grigio.

While we have neither time or space or the Freedom, we are open to the tantalizing possibility of wide-open spaces and less travelled paths.
Even China, not renowned for their Intellectual freedom, wants every one to have access to High Speed Internet within five years.
Fisherman in Kerala, returning in the early morning, labouring catching fish at night, have already sold their take, through their cell phone to the waiting intermediaries on the shore.
Time and Distance will not separate us; we used to tell our adolescent sweethearts. Romantic notions laced with possibilities!
But now, if someone says to me, please come and visit me, whether in Ulaan Baator or Mendoza, I would say, it is the wrong thing to say to me, because I might just come. Post modernity clearly erases the lustre of imagination.
Apart from Christiane Amanpour of CNN, Lynn Doucet of BBC and some other notable exceptions in BBC World or CNN International, children of internationalized parents (Immigrants to the USA or UK) who are imported or exported to become anchors in other cultures, may not have a deep understanding of any of the cultures they had transgressed through, that is how they come across on the screen.
For the past few months, there has been constant bombardment of news from Middle East, first the Gaza War and then the ISIS dominance, and many of these international faces (I don't mean Christiane Amanpour, Lynn Doucet, Hadari, McGregor and others of their calibre)
In a recent survey, majority of the Americans could not name the country that is predominantly Shia in the Middle East; most young Americans couldn't name the PM of Israel.
News has become a personality cult (Riz Khan, Peter Bennett in the olden days) rather than analysis or knowledge.
Two more Super modern items could be added on this day.
At Miami Beach, on this sacred day of Jewish Observance, when one is supposed to confess ones failings and sins, the Rabbi had organized the congregants to text their sins and then they are displayed prominently on a screen! Even the most mystic, serene and innermost is invaded.

Secondly, due to error in my calculation of dates, I will be breaking my fast on an American Airlines flight from Miami to Dulles! May the wind spirits bless my meal.

Remembering Joel Glaser, Cecil Hellman, Cha Ko Ka, Ryan Perkins, Balfour Ross on this day
Thinking of Ian and Vasu Berger
Time and Distance keeps me CLOSER to Brussels, Belgium and La Habana, Cuba
Few hours after writing the above, I was flabbergasted to read a review of a new book by Sheila Winter
About Christiane Amanpour, Katie Kouric, Diane Sawyer. Somewhere in the book it is mentioned, whether you are Christiane Amanpour or Kaite Kouric, you are there for the looks and in USA, the viewers, perhaps people in the other parts of the world, especially non-Muslim surprisingly, would like to hear their news from a Man!
I disagree. I am arguing the exact opposite.
Instead of putting pretty faces with good demeanours, well fitted and well coiffured, put on the screen intelligent women with good understanding of the International Affairs. I have already mentioned a few

Let us get rid of Filipinas with false American accents and even falser sense of seriousness in their faces, lithe East Indians who like their actors are uncannily fair skinned, floating in their saris and the Chinese doll faces looking far too serious to accompany the news they are presenting.