Thursday, September 22, 2005

Asterix and the great Firewall of China

And the plane landed safely.

The first thing I saw this morning when I turned on the TV during my morning ritual of espresso was the image of an aeroplane bouncing around my screen under the high magnification of a telephoto lens. "This aughta be good," I thought, "obviously some fundamentalist group of exploding-shoe wearing maniacs have threatened to do a Kruschev."

Sadly this wasn't the case. Turns out the Airbus A320 merely had a skew nose wheel.

CNN obviously shared my bloodlust however, because to hear them tell it, it was a disaster of humanity-threatening proportions. They had rounded up the usual crew of experts from fire chiefs to ageing stewardesses who survived the Hindenburg disaster. None of them was playing ball, however. Whenever Larry King would refer to the disasterously dangerous attitude of the undercarriage, the panel pilot would correct him - "It's a little cockeyed, Larry."

Anyway, despite the media's attempt to will the thing to a fiery end, the plane landed as smoothely as if all systems were go. No mess, no fuss.

Still, it made the morning coffee more interesting than usual.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Free at last (well, almost)

It is with a not undue sense of relief that I write this report today.

This a.m. I sat for the written part of my motorcycle license here in Malaysia. It's been almost 3 months since I paid my money and joined the seemingly interminable bureacratic queue. The real issue, of course, was that my residential address and my business address differed. How silly of me.

I thought that I would have to resort to the official method of getting things done hereabouts, which is ask the question, "who do we have to pay, and how much?"

8 weeks of to-and-froing with the transport department, and a pile of paperwork larger than a mighty redwood, and the I can finally move on to episode 2 of this saga. I'll keep the universe posted as things develop.