Tag Archives: history

On this day remember: Zhao Ziyang

Addressing the students - AFP

Zhao Ziyang was a senior member of the Chinese politburo and Communist Party chief, a reformist who campaigned hard against corruption and a supporter of dialogue with students leaders during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. He famously told the students: “You are not like us, we are already old, it doesn’t matter to us any more”. As the Party declared martial law and sent in the tanks to crush the pro-democracy uprising, Zhao was placed under house arrest. He remained incarcerated and shunned by the Party until his death aged 85 from pneumonia on January 17, 2005.

Two offerings for Remembrance Day

Lest We Forget.

“Take these men for your example. Like them, remember that prosperity can be only for the free, that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.” — Pericles

“Beach Burial”
by Kenneth Slessor

Softly and humbly to the Gulf of Arabs
The convoys of dead sailors come;
At night they sway and wander in the waters far under,
But morning rolls them in the foam.

Between the sob and clubbing of the gunfire
Someone, it seems, has time for this,
To pluck them from the shallows and bury them in burrows
And tread the sand upon their nakedness;

And each cross, the driven stake of tidewood,
Bears the last signature of men,
Written with such perplexity, with such bewildered pity,
The words choke as they begin –

‘Unknown seaman’ – the ghostly pencil
Wavers and fades, the purple drips,
The breath of wet season has washed their inscriptions
As blue as drowned men’s lips,

Dead seamen, gone in search of the same landfall,
Whether as enemies they fought,
Or fought with us, or neither; the sand joins them together,
Enlisted on the other front.

(Photo courtesy opf Stuart Buchan via Creative Commons)

From the Klan to Hitler: dining out in Indonesia

Happy Halloween! There might be a weird form of logic to the image below if it was some kind of horribly misguided Halloween prank. But it’s not. It’s Indonesia.

This is the latest wall art at the Chopstix noodle restaurant in one of Indonesia’s swishest malls, Plaza Indonesia in central Jakarta. It shows Adolf Hitler sneaking behind a curtain to devour a box of noodles. The swastika isn’t depicted in full, but diners are left in no doubt what they’re looking at.

Funny isn’t it? The folks at Chopstix certainly seem to think so. Fascist extremism, genocide and race hatred really seem to tickle their funny bones. Before Hitler appeared in their restaurant, the wall was filled with a similar depiction of a Ku Klux Klan member. Hahaha!

Sadly, what the morons at Chopstix don’t understand, is that their sense of humour only illustrates the pathetic state of Indonesia’s education system. So many people in this country – 240 million people, world’s third biggest “democracy” blah blah blah – have no understanding of or interest in historical events outside Indonesia. The Enlightenment? Don’t bother us with your Western cultural imperialism! Holocaust? Who says, those evil Jews? Doubt it!

No one who understood the history of the 20th century (and the world as we know it today) would happily take their kids to eat at a restaurant illustrated with a picture of Adolf Hitler. Yet this is what was happening when I visited Chopstix the other day. None of the Indonesians, including a family with two young girls, gave the image a second glance.

What else does it say about the Indonesian mentality? Do people in this mainly Muslim country sympathise with Hitler and Nazism?

If you’d like to make a complaint here’s Chopstix’s number:  (6221) 3983 8792.