Culled from my travel reading
The title of this post comes from a health declaration I had to sign as I was traveling to Tibet in which I had to declare I was fit to spend time at he altitude of the Tibetan Plateau. On the back of the document the government helpfully explained what it saw as reasons that might disqualify one from such a journey. One of the conditions read: highly dangerous pregnant women. Probably they meant, that you if you were far along in your pregnancy or were experiencing complications that you shouldn’t expose yourself to altitudes of 15,000 ft (3,000 m) or up, but the sentence in itself does beg the question: Are women generally considered dangerous or only if they’re pregnant? :-)))
In the Gulf News newspaper that I obtained on my flight from Zurich to Dubai I read an article entitled “Bachelors being evicted from villas” where anyone not living with their family in Dubai (i.e. they could be married with their family living elsewhere and still be counted as bachelors) could only live in an apartment but not in a house and that landlords charged ‘bachelors’ up to double than they would a husband and wife. Apparently, this is due to a housing shortage for families in Dubai, but imagine that happening in New York or Zurich …
Then there was the article from the same newspaper that talks about Lil’Maaz, a Kebab vendor in Paris who got a recording deal with EMI after executives heard his self-produced rap touting the merits of the rather hefty dish … Only in France, I guess :-))
On a more depressing note, I found this ad in a Swiss newspaper:
It is an ad from the Swiss equivalent of the Neocons, the Swiss People’s Party, that reads “Create Security”. As you can see it insinuates, that by kicking out any “black sheep” (i.e. foreigners that get in trouble with the law), the “white sheep” (i.e. ‘innocent’ Swiss) could rest secure. The text below then points out that that is the only way to return security to Swiss communities (mind you, any US city would dream of Swiss crime rates). The ad has caused a bit of a ruckus but not as much as it would deserve. I do love my confederates, but boy, can they be narrow minded …
A nice antidote to that was a book review I found in the Economist dated Aug 11th. It’s a book called “Rules of the Game” by French author Olivier Roy (English translation out by Columbia University Press). He takes a hard look at issues the French have been having with their Muslim populations and comes to an enlightened conclusion: It’s not Islam, that’s the problem but rather religion in general, or the contemporary forms in which religion is lived and taught. Religion having usually been a private affair in the past, over the past 20 years more and more a movement of (mostly born-again) Christians, Jews, Muslims and others appeared that reject conformity or institutionalized religion. It is this often radicalized interpretation of religion on all sides, Roy argues that creates the tension we see today between Muslims and the West. An uncomfortable concept for sure, but finally someone is approaching the subject of radical religion with common sense.