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Just how much this post-riots message of hope in 21st-century Bangkok draws upon the similarly repetitive 14th-century “All shall be well” by Julian of Norwich one can but idly speculate.
Today I was asked a question that at first sight seems very much like the famous “How long is a piece of string?” question. “How long is a piece of string?” is something that people say when asked a question and they want to answer “It depends”, “It depends on the situation”, “It depends on the circumstances”, “How can I possibly answer that question without more information?” In other words, “You’re asking a pretty stupid question which is impossible to answer.” Here’s the question that someone asked me: “How long is a question?”
Mmmm. Let’s see. Let’s just take two hypothetical questions and measure them: (more…)
Anti-suicide what?!! Well. A “well” (noun) is usually a hole in the ground that people make to obtain water or other liquids (like oil). But a “well” can also mean a place that is lower than the surrounding area. If you ever take a subway (metro) train, or a skytrain, you have probably seen a well between the rails - though you may never have noticed it. The area between the rails is a good foot or so below the level of the rails themselves. And it’s there for you. Just in case you decide to leap right in front of an incoming train - it happens quite a lot in some cities, especially after the end of the tax year when payments are due - the (more…)
You probably recognize or can guess that TG916 is a “flight number” - a flight number of Thai Airways, to be precise. All commercial flights have flight numbers, based on LETTERS (representing the airline, for example TG for Thai Airways) and NUMBERS. Actually, strictly speaking, TG916 is a “flight code” and 916 is the flight number. But even within the airline industry flight codes are commonly referred to as flight numbers.
A flight code, when combined with the time and date (more…)
Today we will look at two different terms: “near miss” and “cause”. We will use a short video to understand their meanings.
In the video you will see Muntazer al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist, throwing both his shoes at the US president, George Bush Jnr. The journalist throws his shoes quite accurately, but the shoes don’t hit Mr Bush. They “miss” him, but only just. In fact, they nearly hit his head. So we can describe the incident as a “near miss”. When two aircraft nearly hit each other, that is also a near miss.
Now let us turn to Mr Bush’s reaction afterwards (you can read the full transcript below). Mr Bush says that he doesn’t know “what the guy’s cause is”. In this context, the word “cause” means “a principle or movement that you believe in deeply and are prepared to defend or promote”. For example: Mother Teresa of Calcutta devoted her life to the cause of poor and sick people. Muntazer al-Zaidi’s cause is the widows and orphans and everyone killed in Iraq as a result of the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Al-Zaidi (translated): This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog. This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.
Bush: So what if the guy threw a shoe at me? … Er, it is one way to gain attention. Er, it’s like going to a political rally and having people yell at you. It’s like driving down the street and have [having] people not gesturing with all five fingers. It’s a way for people to draw, you know, attention…I dunno what the guy’s cause is, but one thing is for certain, he caused you to ask me a question about him.
What can it mean? The Moon is smiling over Thailand. Here are two pictures I took tonight 1st December around 7pm in Bangkok.
Have YOU have seen a smiling moon? What do YOU think it means?!