Tag Archives: Bangkok

U.S. Withdrawal From UNESCO A Travesty — And, Yes, Personal To I.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE and read here — along with my comments & highlights. From: state.gov.

Click to ENLARGE and read here. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNESCO

I was an UNESCO brat. That is why it is personal. My adoptive father worked for UNESCO from September 1968 to c. 2013 — Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to UNESCO from 1985 to 1992. From 1992 till c. 2013 (or even later) he had honorary (I think) advisory roles with them. During the 18 years he worked for UNESCO itself he was based in Paris (2 terms), New Delhi & Bangkok. When he was Ambassador to UNESCO be was based in Paris and was also the Sri Lankan Ambassador to France.

So, I am no stranger to UNESCO. UNESCO put me through school. Whether that was right or wrong is another matter — BUT such ‘financial support for kids’ is pretty standard with most ‘international’ jobs because there is this belief that the kids have been uprooted from their home country (which is, of course, true).

Yes, I have seen BOTH the good and bad of UNESCO — and in my youth there have been times when I have railed against and ridiculed the extravagance and waste. Yes, ‘senior staff’, especially the diplomats (such as my adoptive father) led a good life, but that again is par for the course for all diplomats.

Yes, UNESCO has done good and the ‘Silk Road Program‘ (and I was actually there for the Sri Lanka chapter of that in 1980) and the World Heritage Sites are but SOME of the examples. No question that, by and large, developing countries get more benefits from UNESCO than the developed ones. But, that was the point of setting up UNESCO. To spread and share the largess.

All that said …

The U.S. has NOT been PAYING its member contribution to UNESCO since 2011 and now owes upwards of $600 MILLION!

That UNESCO did NOT kick-out the U.S. during that time is a disgrace to UNESCO.

I do NOT think that the U.S. or any other country should be able to PICK-AND-CHOSE their membership affiliations with UN Agencies.

It should be ONE-FOR-ALL, & ALL-FOR-ONE.

If the U.S. wants to be a part of the UN it also has to belong to UNESCO and pay its dues!

Anywho …

This is not going to happen till December 31, 2018 and that is a LONG WAY away. Much water will flow under all the bridges in the World prior to that.

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by Anura Guruge

Obama In His Snazzy Philippines Pineapple Shirt — I WisH I Still Had Some.

Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnailshirtiiiiii


by Anura Guruge

pineappleshirtdsfgff pineappleshirt112

Click here for the U.K. ‘Daily Mail‘ original,
with a lots MORE pictures.

I used to have a LOT of this pineapple shirts from the Philippines. I now have none. I actually tried earlier this year to get one, online, but could not justify the price.

PLUS, to be brutally honest, I no longer have the figure for these translucent shirts, BECAUSE, unlike Obama, I wore them, they way they are SUPPOSED to be worn — with nothing underneath.

I used to get them from my adoptive father. He, especially when he worked for UNESCO, used to visit the Philippines often and he too liked these shirts — though he never really had the figure for them. OK. Full disclosure. He was GOOD friends with Ferdinand & Imelda Marcos! What can I say. Many times, when he visited Manila, in the 1970s, when he was stationed in Bangkok, he would stay at their Palace! Some of the pineapple shirts he had — and some which I acquired from him (sometimes by just helping myself from his closet) — had been given to him by the Marcoses! I even had one which was a genuine hand me down from Ferdinand. What can I say.

I just checked again. Amazon, to my amazement, does NOT have any! How is that possible. I, of course, Googled. WOW. $90!

IF anybody in the Philippines wants to go into business with me selling Pineapple Shirts in the U.S. please contact me. My contact can be found on the sidebar >>>>.

Smile. Happy Beaujolais Nouveau Day 2015.

That The Obviously Deranged D.C. Navy Yard Shooter, Aaron Alexis, Had An Interest In Buddhism Is A Total Red Herring; A Non Sequitur.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

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I am not (or should properly say ‘no longer’) a Buddhist  though I was born into a very devout (and influential) Buddhist family in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Given the total immersion I had when young, I still know quite a bit about Buddhism. So there are times, like now, when I feel obliged to pipe-in particularly when the western media starts talking tripe about Buddhism.

Non-violence is deep-seated and fundamental precept in Buddhism. The Buddha, all his life, was a very non-aggressive, prone to peace person. Though Buddhism does not prohibit the consumption of meat many Buddhist recognizing the emphasis placed on non-violence choose to be vegetarian (though few are vegan).

Though I know Buddhism quite well, I am not an expert in Asian history (given that history only started to intrigue me when I too was ‘history’, i.e., when I turned 55). But, from what I do know, in major contrast to Christianity and Islam, Buddhists never resorted to violence to spread the word; i.e., there were no Buddhist crusades. Buddhism was propagated in peace. As the story goes, Buddhism arrived in Ceylon, more than 2,000 years ago, just as a Ceylonese king was pulling the string on his bow to shoot a deer. He was interrupted in mid-pull by the missionary from India. So right there you get a gist of the Buddhist aversion against violence.

I would like to say that Buddhists are not into violence, but can NO LONGER say that with a straight face. Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand, over the last three decades, have been far too trigger-happy for my liking.

Now bloody Alexis’ fascination with most things Thai is more germane (though I, as a out-and-out male, would fully appreciate if his interest was mainly devoted to Thai women and food). Thailand, alas, has a history of unprovoked violence. I have lived in Thailand in the early 1970s — during the latter part of the Vietnam war when (the appropriately named) BANGcock (was that Freudian) was the #1 center for U.S. R&R. Thai taxi drivers would have an Uzi under their seats. Thai men, at least in the 1970s, would shoot first and think later. Thai women had a propensity for chopping off penises — which I think is an heinous crime. Every morning you could scan the English paper in Bangkok and read numerous stories of irate Thai women chopping off penises and sometimes throwing them out of the window. There was one story that I read that did have me in stitches. Women throws penis out of the window. Chicken picks it up in its beak and starts running around. The poor man, bleeding profusely, one hand trying to staunch the blood, is chasing around the yard trying to catch the chicken to get his wiener back. Thai hospitals had a lot of practice and success in sewing severed peckers back on — and I gather most of the time they would even work (without a splint on the side). I know that some of you think that I make this stuff up. I really don’t. But, I Googled it for a reference. How is this, from the respected U.K. Guardian — and it is from 2012. Q.E.D. (though I am sure most of you have no idea what I mean by that).

Click to access original Guardian article.

Click to access original Guardian article.

So, to even mention that this crazy idiot had an interest in Buddhism is stupid.

It is totally irrelevant. It is like saying he went to MacDonalds or spanked his monkey. Nothing to do with him going around shooting innocent people.

The Thai connection, on the other hand, might have some relevance — and it looks pretty patent that he had some sexual issues.

So, stop the mentions that he was interested in Buddhism.


Today, August 27, Marks 46th Anniversary Of Me Leaving Ceylon; 39th Of Me Joining IBM U.K. (Hursley), My Very First Job.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

December 1967 in Buffalo. My mother decorating a cake. This was her forte. I couldn't find any pictures from August 1967.

December 1967 in Buffalo. My mother decorating a cake. This was her forte. I couldn’t find any pictures from August 1967.

August 27 has been an important landmark for much of my life.

That was the day in 1967 when I left Ceylon, basically for good, a week ahead of my 14th birthday. It sure changed my life though I am never sure whether it was for the better. IF I had had a choice I would have stayed in Ceylon and taken my lumps along the way. My cousins who knew me quite well reckon that I would have been shot very early on during the Civil War that started c. 1980 given that they know of my propensity to say my piece and be passionate about causes. I kind of think that they are right. I know that if I had stayed in Ceylon I would have got involved in politics.

I still remember the day we left. Actually it was night. Around 9pm local time, I think. I remember the Airport well. About 200 people came to see us off. I remember the plane. It was a Boeing 707 — still one of my favorite planes. I think it has ageless beauty. I think we flew TWA or PanAm. I have a TWA poster for a 707, from that era, hanging above my desk — even as I write.

Seven years later, on August 27, 1974, a Tuesday, the day after a Bank Holiday Monday in the UK, was my first work day at IBM U.K. Research Lab at Hursley — then IBM’s largest research lab. outside of the U.S.

I had signed up to start work on Monday, August 26, 1974. I did not know when it was a Bank Holiday when I sent a letter from Bangkok, Thailand, in July of that year, to a Ms. McKragen, Head of Personnel, Hursley, saying that I will start that day. I had been communicating with her off and on for 2 years — that being when IBM made me an unconditional job offer, when I was 19, that I would have a job at Hursley whenever I wanted it, degree or no degree — and all that I had to do was contact Ms. McKragen and tell her I was ready to join. That was a nice insurance policy to have in your back pocket when you were a totally WILD, totally hedonistic teenager living the life of Riley in College with no regard for the next day — let alone the future.

I wanted to be a game warden in Africa, though I was doing my degree in Computer Technology. After my offer from IBM I spent a whole year writing letters to various Game Parks in Africa looking for employment. Never got a single bite. Then I didn’t want to work for a capitalist American company! I hadn’t cut my hair in 2 years and was a quintessential no-drugs, but plenty of free love hippy. A British company, Sicon, offered me a very attractive job but they wanted me to spend a year in Bahrain installing a computer system at an hospital. Going to Bahrain, in 1974, did not appeal. I wanted to work for ICL — a British company, especially since I was already an expert on ICL systems (which is why IBM offered me this job in my 2nd year at Uni). ICL invited me for a weekend overnight recruiting camp at a very posh and nice country estate. I checked in on Friday night and then as was my wont those days, when I really was wild, took off the next day, with some girls I met at the event, to a very posh local pub, on the Thames, called ‘The Bell’. I still remember that, because I used to go back to that pub if I was within 15 miles of it. Suffice to say none of us got job offers from ICL since we missed most of Saturday. But, I had IBM’s job offer in my back pocket.

Then in June I went to Bangkok. Some of you will put two and two together. July – August 1974. The last days of Vietnam. American troops and support staff were pouring into Bangkok. I was living in a gated apartment complex with a lot of ‘service’ Americans. So exciting times. It was then that I sent my ‘can I start on August 26, 1974’ letter to Ms. McKragen — it being a Monday. She, a delightful lady, with a great sense of humor, sent me a letter back. This was before e-mail — though I first used e-mail, at IBM, to talk with some fellow IBMers in Japan, in 1976. She told me that Monday, August 26, was a Holiday but it certainly could be my official start date, but she would see me on Tuesday. Tuesday was august 27. What a coincidence.

So, August 27 is always special.