Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Who Is Peter Varghese

It sounds just like another mallu name doesn't it,but it's not.The Peter Noozhumuri Varghese I'm referring to is a key person;both for India and Australia.
A few facts about Peter:

He was born in Africa(Kenya) in 1956
B.A(Hons)from Queensland University
Joined service in Dept.of foreign Affairs in 1979
Since then has held key positions including International Adviser to the PM in 2003
Married to Margaret O'Sullivan and has one Son

What makes him special are two facts,namely: he being the first Indian to be deputed from Australia as High Commissioner to India,and India currently on an economic boom.
The thing that immediately comes to mind is the attacks on the Indian students a few months ago and more recently the Indian students being left high and dry after many colleges close down courses.And not to forget the issues with Uranium being refused,on what grounds everyone knows.

Economic Pundits have been proclaiming India as the inevitable economic giant for years now,but the way it is positioned in another 10years,India may finally arrive.
Now that half of the world seems disillusioned with China's games at helping only themselves,their doubt able stance on Tibet,supporting Pakistan to spread terror in India and their own military enhancements;powers like the US are looking at redefining their relationship with India.Lets be honest,its all about vested interest.There is no free lunch and Hillary's visit to India was a multi-purpose one;some of it we can only guess,but some were obvious.China may well be the Frankenstein the US wants to ignore,and India the pacifist democracy with a booming economy.We have a lot to gain and so does the US,from the alliance.You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.But a line needs to be drawn.Now,Australia also wants a share of this giant pizza( I prefer that to pie).No harm in it,its business after all and we all have something to gain.

Now,what can Peter do for India and Australia is the big question.He has a tight rope walk ahead of him.He will be doubted as an Australian ally in India and maybe the same in Australia.Only time will tell as he will be hit as soon as he assumes office,by the attacks' issue as that is fresh in memory and will take predominance.He will need to be very tactful,as this has become a very sensitive issue for Indians.It will be safe to assume that his deputation is a wise move by Kevin Rudd to try and appease India.Whether it pays off or not remains to be seen.

Its going to be one of the toughest deputations for Peter and more so because of the high hopes pinned on him from both sides.Lets wait and watch if his shoulders are strong enough to carry this responsibly and smoothly,or he will crumble under pressure.I read that he has a very sharp mind,hope that comes in handy.I will sign off by wishing Peter all the very best and that God gift him the strength,wisdom,courage and vision to see him through.Jai Ho

Thursday, July 23, 2009

You Could Drop Dead

I'm not trying to scare you,but that was the essence of what an article in last weekend's Good weekend magazine was trying to convey.Now Good Weekend magazine is an insert into the weekend edition of Sydney Morning Herald and me and the wife have this tradition of reading the Saturday paper over breakfast.....either at home or in a Cafe'.Due to space restrictions in a Cafe', we end up reading the paper mostly at home.
Now this article caught my attention.It said about perfectly normal and healthy young adults who dropped dead.It said about a young athletic bloke who came out of the shower,towel wrapped around himself and was found on the dead bed.Also there was a young guy was jogging and dropped dead and many others who seemingly had no health conditions,but just died....suddenly.All of them had a common cause of death and post-mortem revealed it as Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy(HCM).It is a silent and quick killer.From what I understood,all these people had a hereditary condition due to which their heart muscles thickened and at some stage caused a cardiac arrest.

One school teacher also had a similar attack but she survived as her co-teacher and two other students had all been trained in CPR(resuscitation),I think it stands for cardio pulmonary resuscitation.Anyway,she was lucky that they revived her till the paramedics got there.She still goes about her life normally,with a defibrillator installed inside here.In future if she ever had a cardiac arrest,this device would give her multiple electric shocks.The experience has been described as feeling 'like being kicked in the face by a horse'.Fortunately this lady didn't have an attack after that.Defibrillation must begin immediately. Your chances for survival decline by 10% for every minute that passes without your heart receiving an electrical shock. After 10 minutes your chances for survival are less than 1%. The national average response time from the time you call a paramedic to the time the paramedics arrive is 10 minutes.So,a person who's just suffered an attack cannot wait for ambulance to arrive and defibrillation must have begun.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition in which the heart muscle becomes excessively thick. Hypertrophic means "excessive growth" and cardiomyopathy means, "heart muscle disease." The thickening affects the walls of the two main pumping chambers of the heart, called the ventricles. The right ventricle pumps blood from the body to the lungs, and the left ventricle pumps blood from the lungs to the body. The heart muscle thickening may occur in the ventricular septum, the muscular wall that separates the left and right ventricles. It can also occur in areas other than the septum, such as the apex (tip) of the ventricles, the right ventricle, or the entire left ventricular wall. In general, the effects of HCM are much more prominent in the left ventricle than the right.

For various reasons, HCM causes the heart's blood-pumping function to become less effective. Left untreated, this can lead to congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart can no longer pump enough blood to meet the body's needs, resulting in shortness of breath, fluid buildup in the legs, fatigue, and other symptoms.

Now,what was scary was that anyone could have this condition and not know about it.So to be on the safe side,it's suggested to have a cardiac check up where it can be determined if you have the condition or not.God forbid if you do,then the next best step can be suggested by the specialist. It was said that genes do have an important role,so you might consider looking into that as well.Cheers

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First Australians were Indians!

Whoa,hold your horses! I'm not a scientist to make such loud claims,this is what some Indian scientist is claiming.I'm just sharing with you what appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald today.So have a read and chew on it,and do comment on what you think.I seriously don't know if this report makes me happy or sad.Now I do remember seeing a programme called "Story of India",I think it was a BBC production and it had some really astonishingly revealing facts about South Indian evolution and they traced back the genes of South Indians to Africa.I used to always wonder why some of the mallus and Tamil's had African colour,curly hair and even features.Now it makes sense.Anyway read the gist of the article below:

First Australians were Indian: research

July 23, 2009

CLUES about how the first Aborigines arrived in Australia have been unveiled by Indian scientists. Based on a series of genetic tests, they believe Aborigines travelled from Africa to Australia via India.

Dr Raghavendra Rao and researchers from the Indian-government backed Anthropological Survey of India project found unique genetic mutations were shared between modern-day Indians and Aborigines, suggesting Australia's indigenous people had spent time on the subcontinent.

The scientists did genetic tests on 966 individuals from 26 of India's "relic populations" and identified seven people from central Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic tribes who shared genetic traits only found in Aborigines. "We found certain mutations in the DNA sequences of the Indian tribes … that are specific to Aborigines," Dr Rao said.

"This … suggests that the Aborigine population migrated to Australia via the so-called southern route."

Scientists believe the first modern humans began spreading around the world from Africa about 50,000 years ago. But little is known about which routes they took.

Some studies have suggested they used a single southern route stretching from the Horn of Africa, across the Red Sea into Arabia and southern Asia.

They were then believed to have moved along the coastlines of southern Asia, South-East Asia and Indonesia before arriving in Australia about 45,000 years ago.

Dr Rao said the new research, published by the online scientific journal BMC Evolutionary Biology yesterday, indicated there was direct DNA evidence about how modern humans spread from Africa 50,000 years ago. "In this respect, populations in the Indian subcontinent harbour DNA footprints of the earliest expansion out of Africa," he said.

It makes sense if you look at the path travelled........from Africa,it had to go through India and other parts of Asia and then down under.Interesting reading but how it will benefit us,I'm not sure.

Jai Ho

Sunday, July 19, 2009

India has well wishers in Sydney!!

Do pardon my ineptitude with technology.Its a battle that I'm fighting alone and don't seem to be winning or loosing.For the past few days I've been hit with some kind of influenza that's making the rounds of Sydney and did emerge more or less unscathed but my usually healthy wife,fell prey this time around.when you are sick,you are miserable,but when a loved one is rendered sick,it kills you even more.Anyway,shes a fighter and is back at work.So the issue that was killing me was the report in the Times of India about a prediction that China would attack India and that really bothered me.I read a lot about the issue and posted my comments also on various sites and discussion forums,but nothing reassured me like the two articles that I'm reproducing below.One of it is by a common man like me in Sydney,yet who one who has foresight.His short letter to the editor is worth reading and uplifting for all Indians,second is an article by Dr John Lee who is the foreign policy fellow at the Centre for Independent studies,Sydney.Both the letter and the article were very enlightening and threw light on why China is just the other bully on this side of the globe.If all goes well,then India should gain favour with countries like Australia and be prepared for a fruitful partnership,that could result in a trade partnership.Not that fast,as China won't go down without a fight and its vengeful nature is well known.Like I said before I tried to insert these articles but they were too large in size as attachments,so do pardon my ignorance.But the article and the letter are worth reading.Hillary Clinton's visit also is something to look forward to,but lets be warned that the US is primarily a big enterprise,which looks primarily at it's interest,and rightly so.They never said they were a charity organization,but we have to tread very carefully as we don't want to end up as a strategic point like Pakistan or China,only trading partner.Read on and do excuse the few errors that crept in whilst pasting the documents.So,first is the letter that was published in "Opinions" in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald and the second one is an article which came in the same edition.Very interesting!!

Court India and spurn China's advances(Letter)

Wade highlighted a serious foreign policy failure by successive Australia governments ("We must not squander Indian links", July 14):why China and not India?Australians have a right to ask why,over the past two decades, Our politicians have fostered such,close trade dependence on China, a country with a totalitarian government devoid of democratic principles, no respect for the rule of law-as has been Bone out by the detention of Stern Hu for more than a week without charge and no regard for human rights or respect for minorities such as the Tibetans orthe Uighurs. India,on the other hand,a democracy governed bytherule oflaw,hashardly been onthe radar screen with our governments when it comes to trade and political ties.
Why have they not Pursued,stronger and closer relationship with India?

India's economy is growing almost as fast as China's,and with a similar population its market would demand similar amounts of our raw materials,not to mention endless
possibilities for other Australian goods and services.As Wade points out,we share so many more interests with India than China, such as cricket, the English language and the, Commonwealth.'

For too long the Chinese Government has believed it can dictate to other countries'
politicians who they can or Cannot meet,including the Dalai Lama and Taiwanese Government officials, while it happily carries on arming the Robert Mugabe regime
The Hu case should be a wake-up.call to Our politicians to stop behaving as though China was the only market for Australian products: We should be Pursuing our wealth ethically by tying Our future
to democratic India and moving away from trade dependence on totalitarian


China not ready to lead the world(Article)
Ina speech given just before the
17Th Chinese Communist Party
Congress in 2007, Premier Wen
Iiabao rebuked those agitating for
political reform and told a domestic
gathering of policymakers and
intellectuals that China would not be
ready for democracy for 100 years.
Maybe Wenwas merely stating a fact but
events over the past week suggest that
China might not be ready to assume
leadership in the region, let alone the
world, for perhaps almost as long.
Several months ago, a group of state sponsored
Chinese scholars released a
best-selling new book entitled Unhappy
China - The Great Time, Grand
Vision and Our Challenges. It argued
that given the growth of Chinese national
strength, China should put prudence
aside, break away from Western
influence and come to recognise that it
has the power to lead the world.
But one high -profile critic of the book
is Hu Xingdou, a highly respected
economics professor at the Beijing Institute
of Technology. Hu called its publication
a sign of the "ideological
chaos" in China. According to Hu, extreme
nationalism is not the answer.
More than this, he argued that China is
not ready to lead. In Hu's opinion,
China cannot yet exercise international
leadership because its "value systems"
- cultural, political and ideological- are
not yet part of the regional or international
mainstream. Beijing's example
is not an attractive one for other
countries. Subsequently, reserves of
"soft power" required for leadership are
far from adequate.
Two events in the past week bring out
Hu's arguments.
First, tensions in Xinjiang, as in Tibet,
are complex. There were acts of violence
against both Han Chinese and indigenous
Uighurs. But the root cause is
China has a long way to go until it convinces
Asia it has the credentials to be a benevolent
leader and constructive dominant power.
a combination of historical animosity,
as well as the systematic cultural and
economic suppression of ethnic
minorities. In China, Beijing has a
genuinely held stated goal of social
"harmony" but this is defined as harmony
under the dominant Han culture.
Beijing's respect for the different minority
cultures within its country is still
superficial and for show.
There is no better example than the
children in traditional dress, representing
the 56 different ethnic groups
within modern China, who were
paraded to the world at the Olympic
Games opening ceremony last year. It
was subsequently discovered that the
children were all from the majority Han
Chinese race.
Second, the detention and arrest of the
Australian mining giant Rio Tinto's
Shanghai-based executive, Stem Hu, an
Australian citizen of Han Chinese heritage
on charges of espionage for illegally
attaining commercial information, is
deeply worrying. The fact that the arrest
comes shortly after a failed bid by the
Chinese state-owned company Chinalco
to increase its stake in Rio Tinto is unlikely
to be purely coincidental .:
Moreover, although details of what Hu
is alleged to have done have still not been
revealed, the fact that he has been arrested
for spying and charged with causing
grave economic loss to the Chinese
state, thereby causing harm to China's
national interests, is indefensible. It
merely confirms again that Beijing has
grave difficulty separating the public and
the private - differentiating national and
security interests from normal commercial
and business ones.
The fact that Chinese courts at all
levels explicitly remain under the ultimate
jurisdiction of the Chinese Communist
Party also means that judicial due
process in China which Hu will be subject
to has a very different meaning to
what we call "rule of law".
For China to displace America as the
regional hegemony, other Asian states
need to accept the legitimacy and desirability
of Chinese pre-eminence and
leadership. Although Asian states generally
use a "realist" framework in their
foreign policy outlook, they still recognise
that what Hu Xingdou calls domestic
value systems - cultural, political
and ideological ~ have strategic and
practical significance. Asian populations
can sometimes find American
rhetoric about values shrill and annoying,
but they also accept that America
has largely delivered on its rhetoric and
has provided a stable, fair, open and
liberal order for the region to thrive
since World War II.
Unless compelled by the threat of
overwhelming existential force or left
no option by American withdrawal,
Asian states will not accept Chinese
leadership, let alone dominance, in the
region while Beijing's value systems remain
closed, intolerant to differences,
vengeful and overbearing.
Much has been said about Beijing's
advances in building its soft power. This
is overstated. In soft power terms, China
has plucked what diplomats might call
"low-hanging fruit". It has convinced
the region it is a legitimate rising power
- that its re-emergence should be
accommodated. But it has a long way to
go until it convinces Asia it has the
credentials to be a benevolent leader
and constructive dominant power.
If Premier Wen gets his way this
could take 100 years.
Dr John Lee is the foreign policy fellow at the
Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney and a
visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute in
Washington. The second edition of his book Will
China Fai/?was released last month.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A few laugh's we shared in Sydney

From my previous posts it may have seemed to some of you that we never had a light moment in Sydney.That's not true! On the contrary we had a few,and after almost three years,when we sit and reminisce; we laugh about those moments.Friends,a wise person once remarked "Life is about making memories" and I would like to add "Make sure you make good ones also".So here goes down memory lane:

Sunday in Newtown:
Newtown is a suburb in Sydney's inner-west and is known for its fashion stores,eateries and live music in the weekends.My partner had been pestering me to go there and I didn't like the idea of going there during night time.We took the train instead on an afternoon and thought of catching lunch.We did our recce and had a quick Thai lunch and did some more gallivanting around the market.Now my partner and her fetish,bordering greed for ice creams is legendary in our circle of friends.We saw this cute gelato shop,I think it was called Dolce&Gelato on King street.A smart Italian gentleman was there behind the counter and he let my partner choose the flavours for both of us.Now as a rule when I'm with her I let her do all the ordering,paying etc as I'm too lazy.I have no silly notions of manhood which will diminish if a woman pays,or orders etc etc.What manhood is it that gets affected by such trivial things.I sympathise with all fools thinking in such a manner.All fools thinking like that should see a Shrink at the earliest to fix their misplaced manhood.Why do any work if its been done for you without complains and doesn't cost a dime?Anyway,I very boldly goaded her to have 2 scoops and the Italiano put big dollops of it.I don't remember the flavours but it was so yummm........and we kept eating and eating and eating but the bloody thing wouldn't finish.The Italiano had given it to us with such passion that we dare not throw it and he wouldn't budge.So we sat and waited till he moved to the store room and we quickly dumped the leftovers,I shouted a grazi mucho and stormed out.Once outside we laughed our heads off.God,we sat there constipated,for about 15minutes to throw it off without him noticing.

Girl on the bus:
In our initial days in Sydney,even taking a bus was a pain since we didn't know anything about anything.So one day we decided to check out the city and got on board a bus.My over smart partner shoved a $50 bill in the drivers face and the bewildered look he had on his face showed he didn't get many $50 bills.He politely told us that he didn't have change for that and we should either get change or leave the bus.In my whole life I don't remember asking anyone for help.My partner is a little more thick skinned read as street smart,and she looked around for a kind face.Everyone turned away and seemed to have their glance fixed outside the windows.A kind girl who was our knight in shining armour paid for us with her pass.So she swiped it twice in the ticket scanner.I was shocked.My partner was happily chatting.Like I said,I have a lot of pride,good or bad is another issue.I told my partner to ask her where she was getting off to return he money.Unfortunately she got off earlier and told us to give the money to charity.I plagued my partner to pay it off everyday and she never found salvation army or a charity.After a few weeks she gave the ticket money to salvation army.I then looked for that girl till we found her to tell that we gave the money to salvation army.She seemed amused,I wasn't.I was relieved.I don't take favours and if I do I repay it.My partner found that amusing.But that's me,a Delhi boy.But I could never forget that girl who saved me the embarrassment of being chucked off the bus.Good on you girl!!