Archive for the ‘Understanding Others’ Category

Salvator_Mundi.jpgShock 1: $450 million for a painting.  World record shocks many.
Shock 2: Portrait of Jesus as Saviour of The World, bought by Saudi Arabia, stalwarts of Muslim conservatism.

On 15 November 2017, this modest but enigmatic portrait by Leonardo da Vinci was auctioned for a massive $450.3 million setting a new world record.  The painting will be loaned to The Louvre in Abu Dhabi.  The painting is titled “Salvator Mundi”, or in English “Saviour of the World”.  A mysterious Jesus is blessing the viewer with his right hand and in his left, is a transparent globe, representing the cosmos.  Just the thing you’d expect a Saudi Arabian prince to buy?

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9788483063279-us-300.jpgDemi-God for some, very-devil for others, Marx is a marked man.  So when a biography says he was fun – that’s worth looking at.

Francis Wheen’s account of Karl Marx (Fourth Estate) is hugely acclaimed.  And rightly so.  Karl’s famous image really gives the wrong sense of the man.  Francis says he ended up a bourgeois Victorian.  But she shows what a lively character he was.  Very sharp intellectually, man of thoughts and ideas, rather than cutlass and pistol.  Driven personality, hard arguer, verbal bully, intemperate, heavy smoker and drinker, devoted father and grandfather.  But – dry and dusty he was not.

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Arundhati Roy’s “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness”. A Good Read?  Like beauty being in the eye of the beholder – the simple answers are usually misleading.

I finished it and had mixed feelings. It had very good reviews and I really don’t know why. It is in effect a critique of India’s political classes, dangerous nationalisms, its cruelties to Muslims, Dalits, the Hijra, and Kashmir in particular. A story well worth telling, and I’m quite interested in that. It has been a tale told by others many times.  Indeed, there is a long tradition of English medium Indian writers dishing the dirt on Indian society (Rohinton Mistry, Arvind Ardiga, etc)

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Pencil.jpgAn ordinary pencil, at my feet.  Newish and lonely.  Not what I expected to see as I walked to the vehicle parked in the Haitian Hospital grounds.  Picked it up.  Had a decent pencil already in my laptop back.  So I casually offered it to a Haitian colleague walking with me.

This friend, familiar with Christian faith, speaks excellent English.  But seemed lost for words. (more…)

DO supplies

Food being distributed at a DP Camp in Germany

There was always the threat of trouble, fighting, and deaths.  While he was there, there were several lynchings.  My father-in-law was part of the British Army of Occupation in Germany for two years.  On Displaced Persons camp control.  There were thousands of people in these camps, mainly Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Byelo-Russians, Ukrainians.  And a few French.  There was trouble in these camps and the soldiers were to keep order.

There were quite a few ex-SS men, and this led to considerable recrimination, violence and occasional murder.  The ex-SS men were identified where possible, and put in PoW camps for de-Nazification, and later release/or trial.  Some ex-SS were zealots, others had been just opportunists trying to get by during the war years. (more…)

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The men listen carefully, if sometimes noisily

In Haiti they say “Age and marriage tame the beast”.    But by the time I stood to speak to over 470 Haitian men on this, I knew that was only partially the case.  The Beast still lurked.  Perhaps it still lurks in all of us.

Getting Asked
British Aid is supporting the Hospital’s women’s reproductive health programme in the community.  As part of that, the Hospital organised a Men’s Conference – how men can support their wives and partners.  It covered antenatal care, supporting your wife/partner in the early months after birth, birth control, relationships.

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Yet an earlier HBOS scandal

Last week Judge Martin Beddoe jails HBOS banker who “sold his soul for bling and swag”.  The noise and clamour over Trump, Brexit, etc, cannot quite distract from the low hanging stink over business practices.  BHS, Sports Direct, even Volkswagen.  As an accountant and an HR professional, I am well aware of audit and legal compliance.

“Why does all this still happen so much?” “Why are there so so few convictions?” “Where are the whistle blowers?”

Last Week
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