Saturday, December 25, 2010

ASEAN CORRUPTION INDEX


It interests me that there are studies about the level of corruptness in different countries BUT corruption translates differently into different cultures.

           001- Singapore, New Zealand, Denmark Index 9.3
           008- Australia Index 8.7
           013- Hong Kong   Index 8.4 
           020- UK England Index 7.6
           022- USA, Belgium Index 7.1
           033- Taiwan, Botswana, Puerto Rico Index 5.8
           039- South Korea, Mauritius   Index 5.4
           046- Macao Index 5.0 
           056- Malaysia, Turkey, Namibia Index 4.4
           078- Thailand, China, Greece, Serbia, Lesotho, 3 more Index 3.5
           087- India Index 3.3
           110- Indonesia with five others inc  Gabon and Senegal   Index 2.6 
           116- Vietnam with 6 others inc Ethiopia, Guyana, Mali
           127- Timor-Leste with 7 more inc Uganda, Syria, Niger Index 2.5 
           134- Philippines and 9 more including Bangladesh   Index 2.4 
           143- Pakistan Index 2.3
           154- Lao. Russia, Cambodia, New Guinea and nine more Index 2.1
           176- Burma Bottom with Afghanistan –    Index 1.4
                  Somalia is lower  



Methodology for Asean Corruption Index

Transparency International(TI) defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. This definition encompasses corrupt practices in both the public and private sectors. The Corruption Perceptions Index(CPI) ranks countries according to the perception of corruption in the public sector. The CPI is an aggregate indicator that combines different sources of information about corruption, making it possible to compare countries. 

The 2010 CPI draws on different assessments and business opinion surveys carried out by independent and reputable institutions. It captures information about the administrative and political aspects of corruption. Broadly speaking, the surveys and assessments used to compile the index include questions relating to bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts. 

For a country or territory to be included in the index a minimum of three of the sources that TI uses must assess that country. Thus inclusion in the index depends solely on the availability of information. 

Perceptions are used because corruption – whether frequency or amount – is to a great extent a hidden activity that is difficult to measure. Over time, perceptions have proved to be a reliable estimate of corruption. Measuring scandals, investigations or prosecutions, while offering ‘non-perception’ data, reflect less on the prevalence of corruption in a country and more on other factors, such as freedom of the press or the efficiency of the judicial system. TI considers it of critical importance to measure both corruption and integrity, and to do so in the public and private sectors at global, national and local levels. The CPI is therefore one of many TI measurement tools that serve the fight against corruption. 



See you on the water, Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray

             
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holy Book; guaranteed BS - Part 2



We are all overgrown monkeys, the product of 18.1 billion years of haphazard evolution.  You are already the most remarkable machine we know in the Universe.  Isn't that enough?  


Why let a book do your thinking for you?
We are already a miracle of creation (evolution).


Religion is simply whatever organized insanity you are born into.  I wasn't, and when I turned 12 my parents - strong believers in freedom of thought - took me religion shopping. For 52 weeks, we visited every religion and denomination, interviewing the "Holy Man" on Wednesday afternoon and attending each week-end service.  I attended all the religions, faiths and denominations we could find – and I studied them with a clean slate, a truly open mind unbiased by religion from birth.


On my 13th birthday, they said, "Ok, you are old enough to make your own decisions.  Choose whatever you want."  We totally support freedom of thought, including religion.


I replied, "None of the above.  They are all based upon irrational fables."


If you are so weak-minded you cannot function without a religious baby blanket, be my guest to get sucked in by whatever bullshit you were born into.  As my parent said, make your own decision.  That doesn't make it fact, or correct.  It just means you are so weak-minded you accept organized insanity.  




My religion is the Stars - the rhythm of our marvelous Universe (and now we know there are even more).  I do my best to stay in synch with that rhythm - and I know that with nobody to lean on to forgive my sins that I cannot sin.  If I do sin, I must live with it for life.


Guess what - that makes me more honest - and holy - than any believer.  At least I've got my own brain - and I live my life in the service of all living beings.  It’s a simple life, with few possessions.  I don’t even own a motorbike, let alone a car, and my carbon footprint is about US$20/month.


And it feels great to help everything from a butterfly to a human with no ulterior motive.  I think that if he actually existed, Jesus would approve.

See you on the water, Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray

             
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holy Book; guaranteed BS - Part 1



The question is not if Jesus ever lived or not.  Maybe so, maybe not.  Who cares!?  


What really matters is fact - if religion is written in a book, it is automatically bullshit.  


Medieval, uneducated peasants may have been taken in by the grandiose ridiculous stories, but every prophet's words and purpose was immediately manipulated after their death by those who seek wealth and power from his existence.  


Use your common sense!  If Jesus lived at all, he owned - - - a dirty robe!  Tell that to the Pope and his Vatican - and all the poor people they impoverish every day.  Tell it to your minister the next time they pass the collection plate.     


Would you really spend time with somebody so vain as to call themselves the "Son of God?"  


Do you eat meat?  
Can you imagine Jesus slaughtering a pig, or a cow?  
If you eat meat, how can you call yourself a “Christian”?   


Since you believe, read the Bible again!   There are plenty of passages where Jesus promotes vegetarianism.  Just goes to prove my point that a prophet’s words are always twisted. 


Bullfighting, one of the greatest human embarrassments thanks to it's unfair cruelty, only exists in Catholic countries – the same folks who brought us the inquisition????  Can you imagine Jesus as a bullfighter, inflicting that monstrous pain?  Next time, cheer for the bull to kill the bullfighter and make this a better world – a monster dies and the bull lives.


There is only one truth - "If it's written in a book, its guaranteed bullshit."  I’m not biased – the Old Testament is as full of BS as the New, maybe more.


Who wrote the book?  In the case of the Bible, linguistic dating - accurate to the year - proves that none of the "Prophets" even lived during Jesus day.  The books of the bible were decided by political vote at the Convention of Antioch.  

See you on the water, Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray


             
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Monday, November 29, 2010

My reply to a comment from a guest



Sorry you felt the trip was over-rated and high price.  We pay our taxes and national park fees and are the only sea canoeing company that does.  There goes about B500 per booking more than many other companies right there.  


You also refer to “similar" boat trips to the caves, yet you comment on their noise and high volume.  If you sincerely think our quality and commitment is similar, I am astounded!  


We joke within the company that in fact we have NO competition.


The other companies are just glorified High Volume, Low Quality James Bond Tours who stop at a couple of caves to muck them up and destroy my original experience.  They are the same 2-stroke speedboats who have destroyed Phi-Phi, Maya Bay and Monkey Beach with unenvironmental mass tourism.  


They laugh at me for being so poor while they rape the environment to buy a mansion and a Mercedes.  Since 1983 our mottos are “We Put You In Your Own Documentary” and “Natural History By Sea Kayak Since 1983.”  We have to charge money to stay in business and maintain quality, but our real purpose is to turn our guests into knowledgeable environmental warriors.  


I also want to point out that our guide team is the only professionals in the bay, and paid accordingly.  While other companies pay B100-200/day, they often take kids out of school to avoid the minimum wage, and cannot teach sea kayaking, caving or natural history because they are neither kayaker nor naturalists, we train our staff to be professionals, then pay them accordingly.  (In 21 years I have never seen another owner or manager in the bay.) Our starting pay for English speaking guides is B500 plus benefits on up to B1,200 for lead guides.  I often put three lead guides on the boat just to guarantee top quality.




While the other companies buy cheap Chinese river kayaks, I custom design our caving kayaks and have them made from the world's strongest inflatable boat fabric in Oregon, USA.  


Doing sea kayaking right is expensive, and as you pointed out, we are the only one who does so.  If I were a hardnosed businessman I would charge B5-6,000 to make a real profit by catering to small groups from high-end hotels only.  However, I want to spread our environmental ethic to families and general tourists.  




I also point out that in the past 21 years I have collected 8,531 trash bags of marine rubbish from Phang nga bay, much of it with the logos our copy-cats.  I hope you noticed we use only glass bottles, and our Thai traditional coffee was not instant.  It all adds up.


All that considered I think we do a good job of just staying in business - but at the same time I am highly concerned that you were disappointed with your experience.  My apologies.  Perhaps for you, a James Bond trip would have been better. 


Again, I’m sorry that you were not over the moon with your experience, and I apologize.  If you have any feedback, I am all ears.  Especially on ways we can maintain quality yet save money.  I’m tired of being poor, and my backers have never received a dividend on their investment.


Now, if only I can find a motorbike taxi to take me home to my modest cabin in the jungle!


I look forward to your response.  My email is lingyai45@gmail.com 


Again, my apologies.


See you on the water, Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray

             
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Leagalize Pot



I worked in cancer epidemiology research in the early 80's.  Facts do not lie - the three most dangerous things you can put in your body are tobacco, red meat and alcohol.  I actually diagnosed a friend with colon cancer who died at 42.  His diet was steak and Johhnie Walker.  


My best friend was the New Picasso.  Everything he touched turned into art, and he produced the first ever UCLA Film School Final Project in Animation.  When he was killed by a shit-faced drunk driver, we all were denied his future talents.  


More than 30,000 people a year die from drunk driving.  Since the bootlegger Mafia bastards vilified pot in the early 30's, more than 1,000,000 people have died on America's roads thanks to drunk driving.  In forty years I’ve NEVER heard of a pot-driving fatality.  


How many crimes, wife battering, child abuse and Darwin-Award style accidents have killed or brutalized people thanks to Alcohol Junkies and pushers?  


I just won an EU award and ended up in Amsterdam.  I spent an evening in a legal "coffee shop".  There were no fights, no loud sloppy drunks (read Southern Right-Wing Congressmen), no red Neck jerks - but there were lots of smiles and really great music.  I asked the last time there was a fight, or a police call - the manager looked at me like I'm crazy.


Read a medical manual.  When a heroin addict kicks the habit, they suffer a week of hell, but survive.  When an alcoholic kicks the habit, they have a 50-50 chance of living.




At 65, I just paddled the 28K Na Pali Coast solo in my kayak - on a rough day.  Show me an alcoholic half my age who can accomplish the same.


Oh, I forgot, my grandfather died at 64 of beer-drinking.  When he went into the hospital they couldn't find a vein that could accept an IV.


Distillers are the worst of humanity, the ultimate drug pushers, murders and basic criminals.  They used their prohibition money to legalize their filth, and they will now try to deny freedom of choice in the land of the free.  


Maybe, just maybe I will see pot legalized in my lifetime.  I just took my "65" physical and my doc says I only have another 30 or 40 years left - unless I break my neck in a rugby game!  



Distillers are as black-hearted, murderous and irresponsible as Mexican Drug kingpins or Tobacco company execs.  Never shake their hand, but feel free to spit in their face.- as you remind them of the more than 1 million Americans alone who have died as a result of drunk driving.

See you on the water, Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray

             
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Frankenfish

Used with permission requested
Salmon is not what it used to be. You could easily say that about all or any wild fish (especially after reading Paul Greenberg’s excellent Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food) but wild salmon, which used to be a highly plentiful wild fish, in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, is now largely a farmed fish. From a conservationist perspective this is exceedingly bad, and from a consumer perspective this is unfavorable. Well things are about to get weird with our current farmed salmon stocks as the Food and Drug Administration just announced a 60-day period of consultation and public meetings over whether to permit a genetically modified (GM) strain of salmon to be sold for human consumption, even though it has been called a “frankenfish” by critics. The odds are (taking a good look at the power of the GM lobby) that this GM salmon will make it past critics and those skeptical at the FDA in less than a year, to find a home on American dinner tables nationwide.


Farmed salmon is a widely consumed and hugely popular form of seafood nationwide, and worldwide. Some estimates gauge that more than 30% of all seafood purchases in the United States are in the form of farmed salmon, and with this development, farmed salmon would have a new, somewhat tarnished, designate; as the first genetically modified animal bred for human consumption. According to an article in the New York Times from June, ” The salmon’s approval would help open a path for companies and academic scientists developing other genetically engineered animals, like cattle resistant to mad cow disease or pigs that could supply healthier bacon.”


The AquAdvantage salmon – a modified North Atlantic salmon (which ironically is almost entirely fished out of existence) – has been created by AquaBounty Technologies in Boston, Massachusetts, and has been created/modified, not to develop a greater flavor or nutritional profile, but simply because this salmon grows at twice the speed of similar fish, cutting costs for farmers and greatly increasing production. According to information released by the company (and gleaned from the Guardian UK) the genetic modification involves taking a growth hormone gene from a Chinook salmon and joining it with a control DNA sequence (called a promoter) from an ocean pout – an eel-like creature from a different family of marine organisms. The salmon, which normally feed only during the spring and summer months, would (thanks to this genetic upgrade) be literally switched “on” by the added pout gene, which will trigger them to feed year round. The result is, not necessarily a fatter fish, but one that grows larger and faster – considerably shortening the time to market. Translation: this development is only to benefit producers, not consumers.


Surprisingly, one of the opponents to this GM product is the International Salmon Farmers Association, which is concerned about the reaction of consumers and that it will undermine the popularity of salmon, which commands high prices in the US. Considering that the FDA still remains on the fence, as whether or not they will require the fish to be labeled “Genetically Modified,” it is fair to say that some cautious consumers may be ultimately turned off by the idea of consuming this dubbed “frankenfish.” 


While the FDA has established an advisory committee of veterinarians to consider the evidence and public views on the subject of this GM seafood, and consumers have a year or so to make a stink, this will likely be a messy fight over dinner. No doubt, if this fish gets ultimately rejected this time around (this particular crossbred salmon has been 15 years in the making) it will be tinkered and tooled with and again offered up to the FDA (and the American public) for their approval a few years down the line.


This is indisputably a difficult issue, and one that has a high emotional range. Consumers, ecologists, and health professionals remain highly skeptical when it comes to genetically modified anything, and for good reason – we simply don’t know how this particular trifling with nature will impact us, as consumers, as well as the surrounding natural world. 


Will GM fish make consumers sick down the line? 
Will the GM fish infect or impact other wild fish stocks? 
Will this open a Pandora’s box of biological exploitation and a general sullying of our natural food systems? 


Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, N.Y. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon App├ętit among other publications.



See you on the water, 
 Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray


             
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why I don't buy Japanese - Part 2




Most Japanese do not even know their own history.  They do not know that military planners projected 1-2 million allied casualties and 5 million Japanese civilian casualties, and opted for the Atomic bombs as the lesser of two evils.   


(War is Hell, and I'm a Pacifist - that does not change the facts.)


As a kayaker I've had numerous close encounters with whales and dolphin - "Look Them in the Eye" for up to an hour's conversation.  These are overwhelming, special, privileged memories - high points of my life.


Cetaceans are not cows and pigs (I'm also vegan - eat red meat and you die of heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes - the price you pay for eating your mammal relatives).  


Whales and dolphin are highly intelligent.  Cetaceans are HUMANS OF THE SEA.  Killing one is murder, organized murder is GENOCIDE.


I've written to most major Japanese Brand Name Corporations asking them to denounce whaling so I that can buy their products.  Not one Corporation has even had the courtesy to reply.

Vote with your wallet.  

Remember these facts the next time you consider buying "Japanese"


See you on the water, 


Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray

             
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