[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: September 2005

Friday, September 30, 2005

Check out my latest pics from Beijing and Hong Kong with the lads:

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A change of plan..

Well the lads are on their way back to Paddyland while I've decided to stay here in Hong Kong. Mainly because my eczema hasn't fully cleared up yet and there's nothing for me back home except a dead end job and crappy weather. So why not stay in Hong Kong, a busy metropolis with plenty of opportunity.. if you can look hard enough.
I'm enrolling in a digital film making course for about 3 months and perhaps some new opportunities will arise over time. It was surreal seeing the lads off at the airport while I stayed.. but fortunately for them they were able to use my baggage weight allocation because theirs was over the limit.
It'll be interesting to see how I cope with life over here, it's so different from Dublin in almost every way.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Smork anyone?

Leaving Beijing airport.

Ni hao y'all?

There's Padraig and I with two potential scammers in Tianamen Square, Beijing.
I've always known about the scams people pull on tourists, but it got especially annoying when we offered a 1,000 Yuan (100 euro) taxi ride to the city centre from the airport, when it only took about a 100 Y. And it's like that everyday; people are desperate to make money. Everyday we are bombarded with street hawkers offering us deals. In fact, the two girls up there were good enough to be subtle: at first they wanted to show us some of their art work in the museum. After a short tour of their shabby exhibition room, they drew us some calligraphy as a gift then wanted to sell us some more professional art. Perhaps they were hoping to wow us with their work that we would give in. Of course we didn't buy anything but we decided to give them a few quid for their hospitality. I guess everybody wins!
I only wonder about the news we've been hearing about China becoming a global superpower and an economic powerhouse soon to rival the U.S & Europe. In reality, it's the big businessmen and politicians that really benefited from China's growth. A huge majority of Chinese aren't earning what they should be. I would think most Chinese here in Ireland whether they be studying or working, were lucky enough to amass the money to get out of China and come get 10 times higher wages here. But such is the fate of capitalism- wealth falls into the hands of the few. And especially under the dictation of the Communist Party, they don't have to pride on wealth distribution measures, after all there's over a billion Chinese to deal with!
People have got to start learning better English, what with the Olympics in two years time. Chinese efficiency needs some tuning too. The services & attitudes we came up with shabby to say the least. Our hotel was a four star yet it felt like a cheap motel. What's worse our conditioning was broken and when I asked maintenance about it they just told me to open a window! It would've been OK if not for the construction work outside that went on till 4 am!
To be honest I really don't like Beijing. All I wanted to see was Tianamen, Forbidden City and the Great Wall and then get the fuck out. But only after achieveing two, I had to leave early because my eczema was getting worse and I wanted to go see my dermatologist in HK again to get it treated ASAP. The UV treatment takes about 2 weeks so I had better start now.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

About Cambodia

Here's a short essay i'm submitting to Concern as a part of my interview:


After years of political strife, 2004 saw the Kingdom of Cambodia transform into a constitutional monarchy ruled by King Norodom Sihamoni. Though ravaged by war and atrocities by the Khmer Rouge in the 70’s, the people of Cambodia are still one of the world’s most friendliest and peaceful people. With palms together, a warm traditional greeting ‘Sur sdey’ is way to bond good relations. Its Buddhist heritage and enchanting history of Angkorian period is a testament to the strength of Cambodians.

Yet beneath the shroud of welcoming faces and luscious Buddhist temples, many Cambodians suffer from abject poverty, high infant mortality rates and malnutrition, especially in rural areas. The social, educational and economic destruction left by the Khmer Rouge has put Cambodia in a struggling recovery. Therefore NGO’s like Concern are playing a vital role rebuilding a shattered country and improving the livelihoods of these people. Although the income per capita is steadily increasing, civil war and internal strife continues to weaken the already stagnating economy.

The nature of Cambodia’s development and inherent poverty leads to many social problems such as crime, rape, trafficking, exploitive child labour and violation of human rights. It is worth reporting on these issues not just for journalistic reasons, but also to provide information and statistics for other organisations on how to deal with these problems. In March this year, journalists and NGO staff witnessed government forces evicting over 200 families from Kbal Spean village resulting in 5 deaths and 40 injuries. These mass evictions are an unfortunate trend in poor rural areas and highlights the need to protect these communities and giving them a voice in the court of law.

Coverage of the continued development of women’s and children’s rights are also worthwhile for these two groups are vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking and domestic violence. By offering them education and empowerment, they can take leading roles in rebuilding Cambodian society.
In addition to writing reports from the field, I can also use my own audio/visual equipment for greater effectiveness.
Tourism is one of Cambodia’s biggest industries; with its magnificent Angkor Wat, lively Phnom Penh and beauty of Siem Reap, reporting on Cambodia’s attractions for external sources may help to boost its tourism economy.

A week later..

Well my foot has pretty much healed up now. But I'm still moisturising it and taking care of it in case it flares up again.
As for my hand there's still some healing up to do. Fortunately the blisters don't particularly itch or hurt.
I've begun wearing cotton gloves everytime I go out so that'll take some time getting used to.
I've been so distressed for the past few weeks that I hadn't had much fun or time to socialise. I've noticed that whenever i'm in a conversation I seem to be low on breath and can't focus too well.
Went for a blood test today and hopefully when I get the results tommorow, we'll know for sure what type of disease I have.
Well after much debate and thinking, I have decided to go ahead with the trip. For the past few days I've been eating more healthier and cut out dairy products, most meat, sugary stuff and alcohol. So now i'm stocking up on fruits, vegetables, lean chicken and plenty of water. I've also been taking baths with dead sea salt, I heard that has good healing properties for skin and really relaxes you. That's done wonders for my mood and i'm confident enough now to go along with the trip. Wish me luck!

Friday, September 02, 2005

It's official, I have eczema...

When I went to Japan 3 years ago, I had walked so much that my toes was cut from the inside of my shoe from walking too much! When I came back home I noticed some blisters had been growing on my toe. Went to the GP and said it was Athlete's foot. So a year later the blisters had grown symmetrically and was becoming a pain. Went to see a Chiropodist and said it was a viral infection so I used an ointment for the next few months. Seemed to work for awhile but this summer it had gotten considerably worse. So bad that I could barely walk and the same thing was happening to my hand.
So finally this week I went to our family's GP and have been officially diagnosed with 'Pompholyx Eczema.' Well well.. after 2 years I finally know.
For half the summer i've been limping because it had grown viruently on the sole of my foot. That equals no running, sports and a lot of stress. After being denied a US visa for the third and final time, the frustration and anger may have been a precursor. In mid-July I went to see a Chinese herbal doctor and I followed his treatment for about 4 weeks. Although there was improvement, it flared up soon after. So I felt quite distressed.
Now the same thing is happening on my hand. I was surprised at how quickly it spread so now i'm shitting myself whenever I see a teeny blister anywhere on my limbs, knowing it might flare up in the near future.
So i'm following a strict treatment regime now. It's so tiring and stressing that I had to take some leave off work. What's worse is that I'm going travelling next week and I hope I can improve my condition.. for a while. So that's why I'm staying at home full time to take care of this situation. I know eventually I'll have to live with this new condition. It's frightening to know that I have to live with the prospect of eczema flaring up at any given time. Even more painful that it cannot be cured entirely but controlled.