What is your deepest fear?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Power of media...

Of course we all know what the power of the media is. Internet, newspapers, television and radio... whatever comes on any of these channels is taken to be the gospel truth by all around. At least for as long as there is no evidence to the contrary... well today I was seeing the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale and just at the start, there is a scene where a group of soldiers are in a bush as rebels... and at the lower left corner of the screen I saw the name "Mbale". If you are not from Uganda, this is a town in the eastern part of the country. Well I jumped at it but thought it was not the Mbale I know... but a fraction of a second later the confirmation came... "Mbale, Uganda". The scene consisted of what the television uses as the standard picture for freedom fighters' camps. There were jeeps driving around, a lot of heavy artillery and soldiers.

Reminds me of another James Bond that I watched again recently "Diamonds are Forever" In this one there was an announcement of a lady who was captured in "Nairobi, South Africa" :) This was very funny for me of course. Like saying I met with John in Oslo, Italy.

In the end the idea is that media has an influence and I cannot imagine anybody who is not from Uganda imagining that there are no wars in all places after watching these kinds of movies. That said, it was a real bond movie and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Monday, November 13, 2006


“But that night as I drove back from Montreal, I at least discovered this: that there is no simple explanation for anything important any of us do, and that the human tragedy, or the human irony, consists in the necessity of living with the consequences of actions performed under the pressure of compulsions so obscure we do not and cannot understand them.” - Hugh Maclennan

I came across this quote while reading an article on programming and I went to look up the author of the book from which it was quoted. On the wikipedia page I came across the word catharsis as describing the contents of this book. You can check it out. Basically it was that a catharsis is "a sudden emotional breakdown or climax that constitutes overwhelming feelings of great pity, sorrow, laughter or any extreme change in emotion that results in the renewal, restoration and revitalization for living." I have now added this book to my wishlist. I am curious to read what the man went through. But also because I experienced a "catharsis" of my own by the mere fact that I moved to a new environment. It is a word that describes a situation that I feel familiar with but could not put into words before now.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Illness, oranges and insurance...

About two weeks ago on a Friday, I woke up after about three hours of sleep and started browsing the website of the student healthcare unit here. I needed to find a contact number because I was having some sort of pain in my ear that had caused me to hardly sleep the previous night. The number was busy for quite a while and when I finally got through, I spoke to a lady explaining that I needed an ear checkup because I suspected an infection. She asked whether I was feeling pain or any form of fever. I was thinking to myself (should I be on the verge of dying before getting any attention?) Any case, she advised that an appointment could not be made for that day but I could put olive oil in my ear and wait till Monday. I did as she said and felt a bit better but hardly slept the night after that. Saturday morning, I decided that I could not wait till Monday and went to the larger hospital (student health care centre is closed on weekends).

There I was able to see a doc who confirmed what I had suspected. An ear infection. I was given a prescription to pick up from the apotheek (pharmacy in Engels! my recognition of Dutch words has picked up quite a bit. ) For the rest of the week I spent a lot of time with my head horizontal to prevent the ear drops leaking out of the ear all over my face.

I had to make two more visits to the hospital a week after that to checkup and have the ear flushed with hot water. Apparently too much wax in the ear caused the infection, but this was caused by trying to use an ear bud to clean the inner ear in the first place. I was told I killed the hairs in the ear that automatically remove the wax to the outer ear. Some of these things you just have to believe.

In the end I had my first experience with a health problem and the procedures since I came here. I got an orange as a get-well-soon present and a whole lot of receipts and stamped documents that I had to send to insurance to get a refund of what I had spent.

Get well orange with two faces

At the end of the rainbow...

At the end of the rainbow is the pot of gold! I was walking to my faculty building some weeks back and happened to spot a rainbow. Guess where it ended... at the faculty building! At least I did not see the remaining part of it after that. Interesting symbol for me. Should follow it and find that pot of gold that is in the faculty. It shall take 9 months of research but hey... who is complaining..? :)