Archive for February, 2013

Visit The Maldives! A paradise where rape victims are flogged and tourists get ripped off!

February 28, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog suggests that anybody considering a holiday in the Maldives changes their plans.

First: It’s ridiculously expensive. Your flight there may seem cheap but once you are in paradise everything comes with a bill from hell.

Second: It couldn’t be described as humane. A 15 year old girl was raped by her step father and was dumb enough to report it. The police investigated and arghhh! discovered that this young hussy had had sex with somebody else. Yes, she’d been raped by step dad, but the court wasn’t bothered about that. She’d had sex with some chap while she was under the legal age of 18.

The Islamist (yes, them again) government found this outrageous behaviour offensive.

What does this 15 year old girl get for her sin?

100 lashes.

I shit you not!

100 lashes.

There are options.

She can be lashed when she reaches the age of eighteen.

Or, if she’d like to be lashed now she can request it.

“The sentence will be enforced immediately if she wants it to be carried out now,” said the court.

Not much news coverage of the rapist. He’s free. No lashings for him.

Maldives. Do you really want to go there?

Hugh in Bangkok

Thai Days: Clearing my desk

February 28, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog woke up and decided to clear his desk.

It is (was intended to be) a working area.

But things have got…out of hand. Cluttered.

I will write as I clear.

Let’s begin! Aha! Discovery starts!

1. A realistic muffin that smells like a muffin purchased for a birthday party take away bag. To give it its due it’s not really a muffin. It’s an auspicious moon cake made in a Chinese sweat shop. I’m clearing it.

2. Two relaxing balls. Pretty packaging, nice box, and the idea is you roll them (the balls) around in your hands and they make a tinkling noise that relaxes you. An utter waste of space.

3. My convenient pen jar. It’s great! Full of pens that don’t work, pencils that don’t work, rubbers that have dissolved and an insect that is no longer functioning.

4. Ah! A target with a bang in the middle bulls eye. Yep! I’m pretty good at shooting small pieces of paper! Pistol Paxton! Make my day!

5. BLOG ED: OK you can shoot but we’re not here for macho bullshit. Chuck it.

6. If you insist. My bullet riddled piece of paper is in the bin. I will move on!

7. A bunch of video tapes. Nah, we don’t have a video. We’re modern – we’ve got a DVD that doesn’t work. Who needs all my favourite videos that worked?

8. A stack of books. The whole house is stacked with books. My daughter has converted one of our rooms into a library. I’ll deliver the books to her and see how many visitors ask to take out “Caring for the Earth; A Strategy for Sustainable Living.” Published in Gland, Switzerland 1991. Why the hell has this dreary thing occupied my desk space for so long?

9. Several packets of Fisherman’s Friend mints. I’ll hang on to them.

10. Ah! Real rubbish! A guidebook in Japanese for plastic surgery!

11. A remote control for a TV that didn’t work

12. Eight plastic ants. Rather fun.

13. One of my daughter’s socks.

14. A wrinkled tangerine.

15. An un-finished novel.

16. Stacks of papers that could be of future interest dating back to 1990.

17. Coins from countries I don’t want to visit again.

18. Useful binders that have never been used.

19. Staples. But no stapler.

20. And a box that is utterly useless but which has a couple of photos of my daughter on it. Can’t chuck that.

BLOG ED: Are we done? Is your desk cleared?

Hugh Paxton: Not really. There’s a lamp that needs a new bulb and a ball of string, some hamster food, a collection of admission tickets to Wat Panang Choeng in Ayutthaya, somebody’s telephone number – I think he wants to hoover my mattresses and rid us of dust mites – a small stack of Jeeves and Wooster audio cassettes and a snorkel.

BLOG ED: Just how big is this desk of yours?

Hugh Paxton: Quite modest, actually. Four foot long, two foot broad. A tiny thing really.

BLOG ED: And you have cleared it?

Hugh Paxton: In a sense. To a degree.

BLOG ED: You haven’t, have you?

Hugh Paxton: A bit. Really. The wrinkled tangerine’s history. I ate it. Tangy! Khun Mee is washing the sock. And I’ll give the moon bun to somebody when they need it. And they might. You never know. I’ll do the desk drawers tomorrow.


Brigitte’s’s Pick: New queuing system at Home Affairs

February 27, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s blog notes the accuracy of this Brigitte’s latest post. True.

Bring a big fat book to read, sandwiches, a tent, a 9 ml, a bribe, patience.

You’ll get there in the end.

BLOG ED NOTE: Make friends with somebody in Home Affairs. Skip the above.

We begin!

New queuing system at Home Affairs

Japan Times newspaper profile of Midori Paxton

February 24, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is sending a link to a profile of my wife run in today’s Sunday edition of the Japan Times newspaper. Hope the link works! inspiring-path-to-success/

Brigitte’s Pick: Sisters

February 24, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog got this touching tale on the healing power of physical contact from Brigitte.


Twin girls, Brielle and Kyrie, were born 12 weeks ahead of their due date. Needing intensive care, they were placed in separate incubators.

Kyrie began to gain weight and her health stabilized. But Brielle, born only 2 lbs, had trouble breathing, heart problems and other complications. She was not expected to live.

Their nurse did everything she could to make Brielle’s health better, but nothing she did was helping her. With nothing else to do, their nurse went against hospital policy and decided to place both babies in the same incubator.

She left the twin girls to sleep and when she returned she found a sight she could not believe. She called all the nurses and doctors and this is what they saw.

As Brielle got closer to her sister, Kyrie put her small little arm around her, as if to hug and support her sister. From that moment on, Brielle’s breathing and heart rate stabilized and her health became normal.

Share the pic to show the world how a little bit of tender love and affection can save someone’s Life.

New post on Anibalan Ghost Cities Blog: The Alabaster Hand

February 24, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog welcomes another post by Anibalan on his blog Ghost Cities. As always, excellent!

New post on Ghost Cities


The Alabaster Hand

by anilbalan

In the field of supernatural fiction, it is fair to say no author casts a longer shadow than M R James. It is arguable, however, that no author has come closer to inheriting the mantle of the great James than ghost story writer Alan Noel Latimer Munby (1913-74). The son of an architect, he was, like James, educated at King’s College, Cambridge. It was here that his fascination with ancient books began, and he later became librarian of the college. Munby also became a leading figure in the antiquarian book trade and for many years was associated with the legendary book dealer, Bernard Quaritch. He wrote several bibliographical studies and a number of his short stories combine his interest in books and the supernatural, as well as being written in an elegant and scholarly style reminiscent of his role model, James. Curiously, however, Munby’s only collection of ghost stories, The Alabaster Hand, published in 1949, was largely written to pass the time away while he was a German POW at Eichstatt in Upper Franconia from 1943-45. Whilst a prisoner of war camp would not, perhaps, ordinarily be thought conducive surroundings for the creation of a classic collection of ghost stories, The Alabaster Hand is strong evidence of the way in which creativity must have helped some who found themselves in this position to preserve their sanity.

Read more of this post

anilbalan | February 24, 2013 at 2:00 am | Tags: A N L Munby, The Alabaster Hand | Categories: Horror, Short Story, Supernatural fiction, Writer | URL:

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Brigitte’s Pick: john lennon the legend

February 23, 2013

Brigitte sends us this from John Lennon. Hugh Paxton’s Blog reckons John Lennon’s got a point and further to my previous post on the Misery Index, Brigitte’s sense of timing is almost supernatural!

Leonie’s View: Compare Namibia to Syria, Iran, Bosnia …

February 23, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog was amazed to see Namibia rated the seventh most miserable place in the world. Have the buffoons who compiled this list actually visited Namibia? Talked to Namibians? I think not. Namibia more miserable than Syria? And this data was provided by the CIA? Jaysus!

The 25 Most Miserable Places in the World

Business InsiderBy Lisa Mahapatra | Business Insider – Thu, Feb 21, 2013 2:27 PM EST

The misery index, a crude economic measure created by Arthur Orkum, sums a country’s unemployment and inflation rates to assess conditions on the ground (the higher the number, the more miserable a country is). The reasoning: most citizens understand the pain of a high jobless rate and the soaring price of goods.

Business Insider totaled the figures for 197 countries and territories — from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe — to compile the 2013 Misery Index.

Note: Results are based on CIA World Factbook data, which estimates figures for countries and territories that do not have reliable local reporting agencies. The CIA World Factbook was last updated on February 11, 2013.

25. Mali

10fd1192-330f-4b53-87f0-13f57f4d8e8c_25-mali.jpgFlickr/ravpixMisery index score: 36.5
CPI inflation: 6.5%
Unemployment: 30%

One of the poorest countries in the world, Mali depends on gold mining and agricultural exports for revenue, which is why the country’s fiscal status depends on gold and food prices. About 10% of the population is nomadic and about 80 percent of the working labor force is engaged in farming and fishing.

24. Mauritania

Misery index score: 37
CPI inflation: 7%
Unemployment: 30%

Half the population is still dependent on agriculture and livestock to earn a living, and poverty is rampant. The local economy depends heavily on commodities exports, mostly of iron ore. These exports are pretty much the only reason why Mauritianian economy grew 5 percent last year.

23. Iran

ee3ab441-57dd-4c99-8c53-3f9118ed7d94_23-iran.jpgFlickr/[CDS] SoHoMisery index score: 39.1
CPI inflation: 23.6%
Unemployment: 15.5%

Price controls, subsidies, and other rigidities under mine private sector growth, and are proving to be a real drag on the economy, as is a rapidly depreciating currency. Which is why corruption is rampant, and illegal business activities abound. The economy is also heavily dependent on oil, and has suffered from international sanctions. Unemployment persists at double digit levels.

22. Maldives

Misery index score: 40.8
CPI inflation: 12.8%
Unemployment: 28%

It’s a lovely place to vacation at, and a good thing too—tourism accounts for 30% of Maldives’ GDP and more than 60 percent of foreign exchange receipts. But falling tourist arrivals and heavy government spending have taken a toll on the local economy, cause high inflation and an unemployment rate that’s nearly double since 2010.

21. Gaza Strip

2013-02-13T151742Z_1320435722_GM1E92D1SO301_RTRMADP_3_PALESTINIANS-EGYPT-TUNNELS.JPGREUTERS/Ibraheem Abu MustafaMisery index score: 43.5
CPI inflation: 3.5%
Unemployment: 40%

Ever since Hamas seized control of Israel in June 2007, Israeli-imposed border closures led to a deterioration of an already weak economy—more unemployment, elevated poverty rates and a sharp contraction of the private sector which relied primarily on exports.

20. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Misery index score: 45.5
CPI inflation: 2.2%
Unemployment: 43.3%

Inter-ethnic warfare between 1992 and 1995 caused unemployment to soar and production to plummet by 80 percent, and the country hasn’t quite recovered ever since. The local currency is pegged to the euro, which keeps inflation in check. In 2011, a parliamentary deadlock left Bosnia without a state-level government for over a year, which caused the IMF to stop disbursing aid.

19. Yemen

b0bb566815c73a05290f6a7067008c6f.jpgAP Photo/Hani MohammedMisery index score: 46.4
CPI inflation: 11.4%
Unemployment: 35%

Heavily dependent of declining oil resources, 25 percent of the country’s GDP comes from petroleum. Yemeni GDP fell by more than 10 percent in 2011, but this decline slowed to 1.9 percent in 2012. The government is trying to diversify the economy, but has to deal with declining water resources, high unemployment, and a high population growth rate.

18. Haiti

Misery index score: 46.5
CPI inflation: 5.9%
Unemployment: 40.6%

Even before the earthquake in 2010, 80 percent of the Haitian population lived under the poverty line, and 54 percent in abject poverty, and large section of the population has poor access to education. The country is still recovering from the affects of the earthquake, and has to deal with rampant corruption.

17. Swaziland

c0b90ab1-2610-4b64-8e41-d55b469a5987_17-swaziland.jpgWikimedia CommonsMisery index score: 48.4
CPI inflation: 8.4%
Unemployment: 40%

Swaziland is heavily dependent on South Africa—that were 60 percent of its exports go, and 90 percent of its imports come from. The global economic crisis hit Swaziland exports hard, and declining revenue has pushed the country into fiscal crisis. The local currency is pegged to the South African rand, so inflation isn’t too bad, but the country suffers from high unemployment.

16. Afghanistan

Misery index score: 48.8
CPI inflation: 13.8%
Unemployment: 35%

Afghanistan is still recovering from decade of conflict and still has to deal with high levels of corruption, weak government capacity, and poor public infrastructure. Foreign aid, agriculture and a growing service sector industry are helping the country recover, but it still suffers from high inflation and unemployment.

15. Marshall Islands

31c1fe87-745c-432e-bb73-0f6c77754ba3_15-marshall-islands.jpgMisery index score: 48.9
CPI inflation: 12.9%
Unemployment: 36%

The best thing the local economy has going for is assistance from the U.S. government. Tourism is its best hope for economic growth, but currently employs only 10 percent of the labor force. Government downsizing, drought, a drop in construction, the decline in tourism, and less income from the renewal of fishing vessel licenses have been a drag on the economy.

14. Senegal

Misery index score: 49.5
CPI inflation: 1.5%
Unemployment: 48%

Despite receiving a lot of foreign aid, Senegal suffers from unreliable power supply, which has led to public protests and is partly the cause of high unemployment.

13. Kenya

6e32713e-6b1c-45a4-bbe2-b5514bf8e5af_13-kenya.jpgAll rights are to Nuru InternationalMisery index score: 50.1
CPI inflation: 10.1%
Unemployment: 40%

Corruption and reliance on a few specific primary goods whose prices have remained low have been holding Kenya’s economy back. Unemployment has historically been very high, and remains so. However, oil was discovered in Kenya in March 2012, which might help revive its sagging economy.

12. Lesotho

Misery index score: 51.1
CPI inflation: 6.1%
Unemployment: 45%

Lesotho has the third highest GINI coefficient in the world, which means that income inequality is particularly high here. Growth is expected to increase due to major infrastructure projects, but weak manufacturing and agriculture sectors are a drag on the economy. Rampant unemployment is also a big problem.

11. Sudan

c8a7bda4-c8b6-4ee8-97a9-49757a8288b3_11-sudan.jpgMisery index score: 51.5
CPI inflation: 31.5%
Unemployment: 20%

The secession of South Sudan in July 2011, the region of the country that had been responsible for about three-fourths of the former-Sudan’s oil production, was a huge blow to Sudan’s economy. The country is currently trying to find new ways to generate revenue, not very successfully. Sudan introduced a new currency, called the Sudanese pound, but the value of the currency has been falling since its introduction. Rising inflation, which hit 47 percent in November on an annualized basis, is a huge problem.

10. Syria

Misery index score: 51.7
CPI inflation: 33.7%
Unemployment: 18%

Syria’s economy is still getting slammed by the conflict that began in 2011. In 2012, Syrian GDP contracted because of international sanctions and reduced domestic consumption and production. In addition to a rising unemployment rate—it rose by more than three percentage points in 2012, the country is also experiencing high inflation as the Syrian pound continues to fall.

9. Kosovo

2013-01-31T120800Z_115152200_GM1E91V1JON01_RTRMADP_3_KOSOVO.JPGREUTERS/Bojan SlavkovicMisery index score: 53.6
CPI inflation: 8.3%
Unemployment: 45.3%

The poorest country in Europe, the average annual per capita income is $7,400. Remittances from other European countries, primarily Switzerland, Germany and the Nordic countries account for 18 percent of GDP. Though Kosovo’s economy has show significant process in transitioning to a market-based system in the past few year, rampant unemployment remains a problem.

8. Nepal

Misery index score: 54.3
CPI inflation: 8.3%
Unemployment: 46%

One of the least developed countries in the world, about a quarter of Nepal’s population lives below the poverty line. Agriculture drives the Nepalese economy, accounting for more than a third of its GDP. Civil strife, labor unrest, its landlocked geographic location and susceptibility to natural disaster exacerbate its already weak economy.

7. Namibia

4ad631d6-8edf-471a-871e-3c7b67d69dc6_7-namibia.jpgMisery index score: 57
CPI inflation: 5.8%
Unemployment: 51.2%

Heavily dependent of the its mineral resources, Namibia exports a lot of diamonds, uranium, and gold. However, the mining sector employs only 3 percent of the country’s labor force. Since there isn’t much else going on, almost half of Namibia’s workers are without jobs. Income inequality is absurd here—even though the country boasts a high GDP per capita, Namibia has the highest GINI coefficients: 70.7%.

6. Djibouti

Misery index score: 63.3
CPI inflation: 4.3%
Unemployment: 59%

Thanks to scanty natural resources and little industry, unemployment in Djibouti is ridiculously high. The only reason inflation is low is because the Djiboutian franc is tied to the dollar. As a result, the Djiboutian franc is artificially high, which make it even more difficult for the country to pay its debts.

5. Turkmenistan

fa79f1da-a2e3-48e9-a3c3-93c01cfc8856_5-turkmenistan.jpgFlickr/David StanleyMisery index score: 70.5
CPI inflation: 10.5%
Unemployment: 60%

Agriculture accounts for only 8 percent of Turkmenistan’s revenue, but employs half the country’s workforce. The country suffers from rampant corruption and mismanagement from its authoritarian government. And it isn’t going to get any better. According to the CIA Factbook, "Overall prospects in the near future are discouraging because of endemic corruption, a poor educational system, government misuse of oil and gas revenues, and Ashgabat’s reluctance to adopt market-oriented reforms."

4. Belarus

Misery index score: 71
CPI inflation: 70%
Unemployment: 1%

In 2011, a financial crisis began in Belarus, triggered by government directed salary hikes unsupported by productivity trends. Despite receiving billions of dollars from the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Community Bail-out Fund, the Russian state-owned bank Sberbank, and selling the Beltranzgas to Russian state-owned Gazprom for $2.5 billion, to try and help stabilize the economy, the Belarusian ruble lost 60 percent of its value in 2012 and is still falling.

But at least almost every Belarusian looking for a job has one—with around 50 percent of the labor force employed by the government, the country boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world.

3. Burkina Faso

2013-01-25T185858Z_272978706_GM1E91Q085I01_RTRMADP_3_MALI.JPGREUTERS/Joe PenneyMisery index score: 81.5
CPI inflation: 4.5%
Unemployment: 77%

Burkina Faso has a large population and very limited natural resources. The country’s economy depend on agriculture, cotton and gold. The country is still reeling from the after effects of a severe drought in 2011 which decimated grazing land and harvests, and the country suffers from rampant unemployment.

Even so, things are better than they used to be. According to CIA Factbook, "The risk of a mass exodus of the 3 to 4 million Burinabe who live and work in Cote D’Ivoire has dissipated and trade, power, and transport links are being restored."

2. Liberia

Misery index score: 90.5
CPI inflation: 5.5%
Unemployment: 85%

A low income country heavily reliant on foreign aid, Liberia’s economy was destroyed by civil war and government mismanagement. In 2010, Liberia was so poor that countries that $5 billion of international debt was permanently eliminated. Thought the local economy has been growing at a fast pace in the past two year, it has been mostly because of rich natural resources and high commodity prices. Which is why 85 percent of the country’s labor force cannot find steady employment.

1. Zimbabwe

e641f701-25fb-495d-b40a-e18000da60b6_1-zimbabwe.jpgMisery index score: 103.3
CPI inflation: 8.3%
Unemployment: 95%

Several human rights organizations have called out the government of Zimbabwe of violating basic rights like freedom of assembly and the protection of the law. Violence and intimidation are common in political tactics, and political leaders have mostly failed to agree any any key outstanding governmental issues in the past few years. Zimbabwe’s economic growth is slowing, in part because of poor harvests and low diamond revenues. According to the CIA Factbook, "the government of Zimbabwe still faces a number of difficult economic problems, including infrastructure and regulatory deficiencies, ongoing indigenization pressure, policy uncertainty, a large external debt burden, and insufficient formal employment."

The local unemployment rate is estimated to be 95 percent, though the CIA Factbook caveats that the true unemployment is "unknowable" under current economic conditions. Though the inflation rate has stabilized of late, Zimbabwe faced massive hyperinflation between 2003 and 2009.

Source: CIA Factbook

Suzi’s Bit: Jacob Zuma – Your support URGENTLY required

February 21, 2013

This has been circulating for 14 months and has been sent to over 22million people!

Please keep it going!

To show your support for President Jacob Zuma and the great job he is doing, please go to the end of the list and add your name. .

1. Mac Maharaj

Wots this warming all about: Infographic about How Climate Change is Destroying the Earth

February 21, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is sure you’ve heard about global warming. But what is it? Allison Lee of springs to the rescue with a great infographic. I strongly recommend this for parents who are being pestered by their children with difficult questions, teachers who are being pestered by children with difficult questions, people who can’t figure out what the heck is actually going on and why it’s so darned cold…in fact most of us. The inforgraphic is really nicely put together and it covers all bases without sending you into a state of science-speak hibernation or raising your blood pressure to boiling point.

Hugh Paxton’s Blog gives this noble effort that rare accolade – A Hugh Paxton’s Blog Five stars rating. Share it around.

People need to know this stuff!

Thanks to Allison Lee and for sharing it around!

Best! Hugh in Bangkok (currently veering between floods and drought)

Hi Hugh,

I appreciate the response. You can check it out here:

Title: How Climate Change is Destroying the Earth

If you like it and think it’s a fit, I would love for you to share it.

Thank you!


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