Only God will remove me!

Save Zimbabwe from Mugabe

“Only God will remove me!”, declared Robert Mugabe. It’s sad to see what’s happening in Zimbabwe. What used to be a booming country is now a living hell. Inflation thousands percent, people living on food aid. The people of Zimbabwe want a change in regime, yet Mugabe still want to remain in power. He seems to still cling on to the idea that he has saved Zimbabwe from colonialism, from the British, and that he has given the land back to their own people. But doesn’t he know that he or his government has done an incredibly poor job since then, perhaps more harm than good to his country and his fellow countrymen? In fact I suspect that he has done so much evil that he’s afraid that he’ll face hell once he lost his power.If there is any chance that there will be a change in regime, it is the African leaders, most of all Thabo Mbeki, who hold the key. Even Mugabe cannot cling to power without their cooperation. Avaaz is launching an emergency campaign, petitioning these leaders to call an immediate summit, isolate Mugabe, and broker a legitimate government for Zimbabwe. The call will be published in big newspaper advertisements in South Africa, Tanzania, Angola, and Mozambique this week — click here to see the ads and endorse their message.Zimbabwe’s neighbours supply its electricity and goods, and control the borders. Many Southern African leaders are already calling for the postponement of the election — but there’s a real danger that they will end up accepting this charade. This would be a grave miscalculation: if Mugabe succeeds in his de facto coup, Zimbabwe’s implosion will accelerate, and chaos could spread throughout the region.The campaign will publicly name those African leaders who hold Mugabe’s last remaining lifeline. If these leaders step up strongly now, they can convince enough of Mugabe’s officials that change is coming one way or another — and set the stage for Morgan Tsvangirai to lead a unity government to pull Zimbabwe back together. Let’s give the people of Zimbabwe some much needed hope…

Bike tyres

My rear tyre’s tube is leaking air as we speak. But luckily it’s slow enough to last me the journey between office and home with a single pump every time before I ride. Obviously I have thought about changing the tube, rather than wasting my energy pumping everytime I want to ride my bike. But I feel that my rear tyre is almost worn out now after using it for two and a half years, coupled with the fact that it has already suffered numerous punctures during its lifetime, so I thought I might as well replace everything all at one go.

Continental Sport Contact

However, turns out that it was quite a nightmare trying to find the correct tyre for my bike. After spending considerable time on the Internet reading about tyre sizing I still think I’m non the wiser. It really doesn’t help when some on-line bike stores use a combination of different metrics to describe the tyres they sell. Especially the French sizes which I find particularly confusing. So I decided to go back to the bike shop where I bought my bike from to get the tyre I want. But annoyingly they ran out of stock! As a result, I’m back to shopping on-line again. Somehow this time I manage to find a few tyres that are of the exact same size as the one specified on my bike’s tyre. What a relief. This is the rather slick tyre I’ve gone for, with plenty of good reviews, and looks good as well 🙂 Surely it will fit nicely on my rim?!

Cycling in London

I’ve spent the past week commuting to London for a training course. Compared to 10 years ago when I first started living in London, there’s probably 1000% increased in the number of cyclists cycling in London during peak hours. Incredible, considering that London still has the same old narrow roads, with virtually no dedicated cycle lanes. What has improved is probably the traffic load, with the congestion charging scheme having been in place for a number of years now. And of course the public awareness on green issues, and drivers’ attitude to cyclists. I think it does help when some MPs even cycle to work themselves.For me it’s quite pleasing to see as cyclists somehow seem to be able to enliven up a city, making it a bit more friendly. This is what I like most about European cities. People can get to everywhere without having to always go on a car. Plenty of walkways, cycle lanes, parks, good network of public transport etc. Would people like to see cars in the city? I doubt it. I hope less and less people drive in the city, as then there will be more chance that cycle lanes will be built in this old world city.

More mortgage rate rise

Two years ago when we were considering which fixed-rate mortgage deal to go for, there was this “financial adviser” recommending us to take a 2-year deal, instead of a 5-year deal that we are interested in. He even showed us a prediction, from Royal Bank of Scotland I believe, on the trend of the interest rate, that it would be heading down. But of course we knew that he has some vested interest in trying to get us to go on the 2-year deal, as then we might be looking for him again in two years time for “advice” when the deal ends, rather than in five years time. Hence more commission for him, you see?It’s now just over two years into my mortgage. Looking at the news on the current mortgage rate, I’d say we’ll need to shell out 2% more per annum if we were to take out a mortgage now! And that hasn’t even included the higher mortgage arrangement fees borrowers need to pay, and the higher equity they need now to secure good rates!This so called “financial adviser” makes me laugh. I’m proud not to have listened to him, and my friend is certainly very pleased to have taken my advise rather than his. Perhaps I can call myself financial adviser too 🙂

When you can’t see things clearly

A bloody big bug hit on my glasses while I was cycling home this afternoon. A sudden knee jerk reaction caused me to try and flick the bug away. But I touched my glasses as well and so the whole lot got flung away onto the cycle path. My heart sunk immediately. The power of my glasses is around +5.0. Without my glasses I’m almost blind. And that proved to be the case. It seemed to take me forever to find back my glasses, although I saw where the glasses had landed roughly. After searching for perhaps only 1 minute I think I already started to panic. In fact I had even thought about calling W for help, despite her being miles away at home.I found the glasses eventually, after 3 minutes? But one side of the glasses was broken, with a big crack in the middle. For a while I was relief to know that I could still wear it and cycle home. But what was initially a relief slowly turned into anger. I started cursing my luck while I was cycling home, and I couldn’t stop thinking, had I not this, had I not that, then I wouldn’t have ended up with a pair of broken glasses. Shit happens, big deal, get over it. But isn’t that also normal human reaction? I think the question is how quickly we can get over something. Like other things taught in Buddhism, I guess it takes skills. The more skillful we are the better we can react to circumstances?

Driving test

Just got news from W. We both passed the practical driving test! You have no idea how the driving test has tortured me in the past. To a point where I’ve given up trying to get a driving license. Until W demanded that I should get a driving license, so I can pick up the kids, and her of course, in the future, drive somewhere for holiday as well la di da. To be honest I’m no big fan of driving. And I’m glad that less people drive nowadays for various reasons, petrol prices for one. Anyway I’m really pleased that both of us have now got this out of our system. Got us worried for a few days.

Beer halls in Munich

Turns out that the beer hall my Greek friend brought me to yesterday was one of the best beer hall in Munich. It’s called Augustiner and is located on the main shopping street between Marienplatz and Karlsplatz. The place is huge, biggest western restaurant I’ve seen by a mile. Beer can be ordered in one litre mug. Because the mug is so big and heavy, a German sitting next to me taught me the German way of drinking from this type of mugs. Basically you hold it in such a way that the mug will rest on your wrist when you drink. Interesting way to drink, but not without logic, according to that German, as after a few drinks people understandably become dizzier and weaker. So lifting the mug alone can become hard work :)Tonight we are going to another beer hall, called Weiss Brauhaus, for dinner. It apparently serves very good food. My brother suggested me to go to Hofbrahaus as well. Will see.