Monday, May 31, 2010


None of us know what we don’t know and because of this nothing is clear-cut or a given. Everything is in a state of flux – truth, justice, our constantly changing society with evolving morals. Life is an arduous dilemma. And as if real dilemmas aren’t tough enough, here are a few hypothetical ones to tease your mind.

DILEMMA 1: We believe that it is wrong to kill. But would euthanasia be wrong in the case of an old, decapitated person who no longer wishes to live within an eroding body? Furthermore, would it be wrong to sacrifice an elderly person if this was a tribal tradition required for the soul to pass to the afterlife in a ceremony carried out with the consent of the person being killed?

DILEMMA 2: A philosophy professor is late to class in order to save a drowning dog. The entire auditorium is forced to wait for him and miss most of the lecture time. Was he right to rescue the dog?

DILEMMA 3: Three brothers, all married to the same girl, journey together to a strange land. One night the girl is murdered by a robber, and the eldest brother, with whom she is sleeping is condemned to death on suspicion. He is allowed to visit his father before he is executed. In his absence, the second brother offers to die in his place, but, as he is about to be executed, the third brother steps forward and “confesses” that he is the murderer. Which of the brothers is the most noble?

DILEMMA 4: Now here’s an example of an infinite regression paradox. Which of the following statements is true?
“The statement below is false.”
“The statement above is true.”

DILEMMA 5: Our professor from dilemma 2 sees the same dog drowning the next day. The entire auditorium is waiting for him. Once again, most of the lecture is missed. Was he right to save the dog again? And if the same dog is seen the next day, should the philosophy professor just keep saving it day after day after day while missing out on his lectures and keeping his students waiting?

DILEMMA 6: Imagine you are placed in a room with Adolf Hitler when he is only 3 years old. You have a gun, know exactly what he does during World War 2 and will not be charged in any way if you choose to kill him. At the time he is just an innocent baby. Would you/Should you kill him?

DILEMMA 7: You are against the cameras that have been installed in the office to spy on employees but your wallet gets stolen from your desk. Would you use the spy camera to see who stole it even though you are totally against its presence?

DILEMMA 8: A huge asteroid strikes the Earth and wipes out 90 percent of life and all infrastructure. Would you want to continue to live in such a decimated world or would you be tempted to take your own life?

DILEMMA 9: The plank of Caneades is a thought experiment first proposed by Carneades of Cyrene that explores the concept of self-defense in relation to murder. In the thought experiment, there are two shipwrecked sailors, A and B. They both see a plank that can only support one of them and both of them swim towards it. Sailor A gets to the plank first. Sailor B, who is going to drown, pushes A off and away from the plank and, thus, proximately, causes A to drown. Sailor B gets on the plank and is later saved by a rescue team. The thought experiment poses the question of whether Sailor B can be tried for murder because if B had to kill A in order to live.

DILEMMA 10: After days of rescuing the dog and keeping his class waiting, the philosophy professor from Dilemma 2 and 5 lets the dog drown. He tells the packed auditorium, "Today I came on time because I let the dog drown!" Should they be outraged by his callousness at having let the dog drown or should they be relieved that they may actually get some lesson time without distractions from now on?

These dilemmas are for your perusal. Personally, I find them a handy way to spend time when travelling on public transport or waiting for the kids to finish playing at the park. They also come in handy at parties. Feel free to answer any or submit some more.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I've not been feeling very blog-orientated lately. It's not really bloggers' block, but a case of being caught up in a mad frantic rush and not finding time. Or maybe its just the hot, humid weather that's making me lazy. Iced tea by the sea these days seems more tempting than a hot cup of coffee with chocolate to blog by. (So I guess you could say that this is not exactly a blog break, but a tea break).

Or maybe the cameras they've installed in the office and the thought of big brother (or ex-whatever) watching me has subconsciously affected my blogging. But nah, I've always been one to speak my mind regardless of the consequences. Infact, the feeling of being suppressed usually prompts a roar rather than silence in my case.

But figures show a slump.

Maybe there's a global epidemic out there because many blogs seem to have lost speed (or maybe it just seems that way to me). Even zealous bloggers are threatening to tone it down.

As for me?

I intend to soldier on.

By the way, this is not really a blog post. The point of it is just to say:
"Hey, I'm still here. Hello! I love you guys!"

Friday, May 21, 2010


Cameras were installed in our office a few days ago. "Oh, brother...," groaned L.

"Big brother," I corrected him while trying to make sense of the situation that left me feeling violated.

Marilena had a different opinion. "At least now they'll know who does the work around here!" I made a mental note to put her on my black list in the category reserved for rats, snitches and people never to trust.

Magically, it was at this point that our boss dropped anchor from his ivory tower. "So what's the camera for?" asked L.


"Strange place to put it," I said, fingering the one shooting directly onto my computer screen. "Shouldn't it be pointing to the windows? Unless of course, I'm the suspect."

"Does it bother you?" he asked. "Don't worry. It's just for security. In a few days you won't even know its here."

"That's exactly what bothers me," I said. "The thought that I may get used to it, consider it natural even, bothers me more than its actual presence."

He raised his eyes to the ceiling. "If we really wanted to spy on you, we'd use other methods that are not so obvious. There are systems we can place to track everything you do, and according to these devices its amazing what employees get up to during work time." (He gave me a meaningful glance...I wonder if he knows about this blog.)

Thankfully I wasn't the only one bothered and by the end of the day he promised to remove the cameras. But they're still up there, hovering over our shoulders. And I'm doing my best NOT to get used to them.

"There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


A LIE is not just saying what isn't true but also saying more than is true. Just a few moments ago I feigned caring for a colleague who called in sick. "Oh, you poor thing!" "How high was your temperature?" "See a doctor." "We miss you, get well soon." Blah blah blah! Though by no means did I wish her ill, I did feel somewhat annoyed that I'm going to be doing her work today and was hardly as nurturing as I appeared to be. Nonetheless, I played the game. We all do it...saying more than we feel just to make life simpler.

Then there is the honest-to-God TRUTH that we believe to be the opposite of lies and pretence. And yet, even this truth based on actual facts and feelings, should be taken with a grain of salt. Just because something is our belief does not mean it is the truth even if the evidence is in our favour. The facts keep changing in a constantly evolving game so open to interpretation and fallacy. Today's blog post written by me in all honesty right now may be a lie by tomorrow.

It's a bit like Zhuangzi's taoist parable: "Last night I dreamt that I was a beautiful butterfly fluttering through the fields. Now I awaken. My question is this; how do I know if I am Zhuangzi, who dreamt himself a butterfly, or if I am a butterfly now dreaming himself Zhuangzi?"

All we can know for certain is that we exist... Everything else is just our interpretation of this existence depending upon our perspective. Reminds me of the famous tale of the six blind men and the elephant that originated in India.

"A number of blind men came to an elephant. Somebody told them that it was an elephant. The blind men asked, ‘What is the elephant like?’ and they began to touch its body. One of them said: 'It is like a pillar.' This blind man had only touched its leg. Another man said, ‘The elephant is like a husking basket.’ This person had only touched its ears. Similarly, he who touched its trunk or its belly talked of it differently. In the same way, he who has seen the TRUTH in a particular way limits the TRUTH to that alone and thinks that IT is nothing else."

And the moral of the story as I know it is this: None of us have seen the elephant!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


My baby turns 6 today and I thought I'd write her this letter that she'll never read... It's addressed to her, but is really for me. (I have a whole stack of 'em!)

Dear Z,

With an air of certainty, you say that you specifically asked God to send you to me when it was time for you to be born. Other times you ask: "If you had to pick a child as your own from a group of children, would you pick me?"

Without a moment's hesitation, faster than the blink of an eye, I say, "Yes!"

"And what if I was in the toilet while you were picking? Would you know to wait?"

Again it's a resounding "Yes!". It's always been "yes" with you Z, even though I'm told that an occasional "no" would be appropriate. But I prefer to listen to my heart, so how can I refuse you?

I guess you set it up that way as part of your negotiation with God during the mother-picking stage, arranging it so that I would never be able to take you for granted.

"Yes," I knew I'd have you even when they said that I had to spend most of my pregnancy bed-ridden. So I gorged down Duvadillan and tried not to move.

"Yes," I insisted on keeping you even though tests indicated Down Syndrome. I even remember writing you a letter, pledging that no test would ever influence my love for you. A letter addressed to you, but for me.

"Yes," I said, even when Daddy said "no" and with that one sweeping syllable amputated a part of our relationship. But he came through in the end, as daddy always does. And now you've got us all wrapped around your little finger.

And you were born perfect because you, too, said "yes" to life itself. That's why we called you Zoe - the Greek word for LIFE. It's a name you earnt.

Love you always,

PS The party was great with lots of cake, music, balloons and the pitter-patter of little feet...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


So, here is the second bloggers award I am the lucky recipient of...again, from fellow blogster and writer extraordinaire Robin (to read her is to love her).

I still haven't figured out what the whole point of these keep-the-chain-going awards is. I guess its a way to generate blog traffic and get to know each other better. Anyway, here's what I'm supposed to do (the red bits are just me being loopy):

1. Get really excited that you got the coolest award EVER!
Here's my acceptance speech: "Thank you, Robin, for this prestigious award. Little did I believe back in January when I began this BLOG that it would receive such recognition. I'd like to thank my family, especially my husband who provides fodder for so many of my posts, but most of all I'd like to thank YOU, my audience - each and every one of you!"

2. Choose ONE of the following options of accepting the OMB award:

(a) Get really drunk and blog for 15 minutes straight, or for as long as you can focus.
Yeah, right! If I were to get drunk I wouldn't get as far as switching on the computer.
(b) Write about your most embarrassing moment.
Do I seem to you like a person who gets embarrassed?
(c) Write a "Soundtrack of your childhood" post.
I don't even know what this means? Youtube? 
(d) Make your next blog a 'vlog'/video blog.
Basically, you're talking to the camera about whatever.
Too high tech for me
(e) Take a picture of yourself first thing in the morning before you do anything else (hair, makeup etc) and post it.
OK, It'll have to be's a photograph of my alter ego first thing in the morning if I were a purple cow.

3. Pass the award on to at least three, but preferably more, awesome bloggers as yourself.
Don't forget to tell them.

Here are the folks I am nominating...
(a) A Random Stranger...because he just received another award and apparently will get a pecan pie from his wife. (Always willing to help a stranger, even a random one, especially when pecan pies are involved).
(b) Indiscriminate Ideas...because he just started his blog and this might encourage him!
(c) The Dunderhead Guy...just to freak him out ;-)

Truth is, I would really like to nominate MORE but don't wish to put anybody out. If you're reading this, though, feel free to join in the FUN and consider yourself nominated!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


"Thankfully you sit by the warm stove, thankfully you assure yourself as you read your morning paper that another day has come and no war has broken out again, no new dictatorship has been set up, no particularly disgusting scandal been unveiled in the worlds of politics or finance. Thankfully you tune the strings of your rusty lyre to a moderated, to a passably joyful, nay, to an even delighted psalm of thanksgiving and with it bore your quiet, flabby and slightly muzzy half-and-half god of contentment; and in the thick warm air of a contented boredom and very welcome painlessness, the nodding half-and-half god and slightly greyhaired half-and-half man who sings his muffled psalm, look like twins." (STEPPENWOLF by Herman Hesse)

What have you sacrificed as an offering to the "god of contentment" in the belief that perhaps contentedness could bring inner peace, stability and ultimately lead to happiness? Was this visit to the pseudo-place of paralysis where there is no pleasure nor pain, just peace, worth the price of your lobotomy?

Beware, contentedness may lead to complacency. Personally, I'd rather bear discomfort, disappointment, dissatisfaction while hungrily devouring each and every moment of life. Why tarry at the sanctuary of stagnation when you can be a Steppenwolf? Of course, the price of this is isolation and the queasy feeling of swerving from a perpetual state of frustration to extreme delight. Still, that is much better than to be a smug half-living half-dead  zombie going through the motions of a shallow, "happy"-like existence.

So the next time you feel comfortably content and a little too smug for your britches perhaps it is time to break down the barriers and experience real emotion. Kick down a bureaucrat's door, smash an illegally parked car, dye your hair purple, have an affair with someone half your age, turn your life upside down and try again...Punch the face of that god of contentment!

P.S. Make sure you let me know how it goes so that I can try it too sometime...


Saturday, May 8, 2010


Today we celebrate our selfish need to recreate in order to give purpose and meaning to our lives. Naturally, this desire is cloaked by our unselfish yearning to give unconditional love. Yeap folks, that is what mothers’ day is…the day we get presents and thanks from the people that WE are the ones to owe the most to – our kids!

It is also the day we say cliché words and buy chocolates and flowers to thank “the womb” - the nurturing source of our life that has inspired such great artworks, literature, music, mythology and high expectations. And because of the miracle of motherhood and the inspiration it is, we will forever fall short in its fulfilment.

But just for trying, for making the effort, I say
The woman in this photograph by Dorothea Lange, aged 32 when it was taken, was a mother of seven. She and her children were living off gleaned vegetable seconds and birds they were able to kill. She had just sold the car's tires to get food money when this photograph was shot. It is titled "Migrant Mother With Seven Children" (1936).

Friday, May 7, 2010


What a powerful weapon people’s ignorance can be in the hands of those who know how to orchestrate it! Propaganda promulgating puzzlement has split the tide of public opinion in the aftermath of the huge May 5 rally that resulted in three deaths (and a multitude of political cock-fights over who should be held morally responsible for these...)

Fury is also a dangerous weapon. And fury was so dense at the rally numbering 120,000-150,000 people that you could carve it up with a knife!

The hate, squabbling and social arrest hovering over Athens is like ash from  Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano bringing everything else to a standstill. (I guess revolutions are always much more romantic before or after they actually take place...there's just a lot of pain in the middle...and if we stand close enough to the crater's edge, we may well see a revolution brewing.)

By the way, if you want to read one of the most spot-on perspectives I've read about the causes and possible solutions to the crisis, CLICK HERE FOR ARCHIVE FIRE'S BRILLIANT ANALYSIS.

As for those who are not interested in their own country's economy, let alone that of Greece, I humbly apologise. It's just very hard for me to talk about picnics, what I had for breakfast, my latest hair cut, how I'd like a weekend on Myconos at a time when there is rioting every day and such disarray in this beautiful country. But Mother's Day is coming up and I promise to take the focus back to the usual soon...whatever that is, of course. Still haven't figured out what this BLOG is really about...or what it wants to be when it grows up. (All suggestions are welcome).
Also, Robin, I haven't forgotten you...I WILL get round to your award soon.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


The story of the lady who pawned her two gold teeth for 140 euros to pay her electricity bills captured the attention of the Greek media.

It got me thinking of the Nazi regime when Hitler would forcefully yank out the gold teeth of Jews and members of anti-fascist groups.

The only difference is that Hitler used brute force but the fascist Capitalist system has made people pluck out their own teeth as voluntary offerings.

And that is just the start of debt enslavement in Greece. The end is hard to see now that the population of 11 million has 300 billion euros worth of debt that we will never be able to pay off because even when we do we'll still be owing the interest rates. (Even the politicians imposing the austerity measures are not guaranteeing that these will successfully rescue Greece from bankruptcy).

If you do the math, you'll find that each Greek baby is born owing 300,000 euros plus a mortgage hovering over its head. In my family, the four of us owe at least 1.20 million euros worth of money we did not even have the pleasure of spending! 

This is money to be extracted from the golden teeth of the working classes and NOT from the government officials who became wealthier at the expense of the people who they have robbed with deceit and double dealings with Goldman Sachs that advised Greece on how to keep a double set of books and invest in fraudulent derivatives (as they did in Spain and Iceland).

So what can we do now? Turn a "new page" and put our noses to the grind as Greek Prime Minister/IMF-US-ECB-EC errand boy George Papandreou suggests or do what British MEP Nigel Farage predicts? His prediction is this - "at some point in time there's gonna be a revolution where the Greeks fight and insist to get back their own country."

Frankly, I don't feel that my kids should pay for other peoples' debts and have all their workers' rights crushed and the tables turned against them even before they enter the job market. So for them, and for when they ask me - "What did you do, mum, when they robbed us blind and forced us to rip out our golden teeth with our bare hands?" - I plan to join as many rallies and strike moves as I can.

The right people should pay for this mess with their golden spoons and not our gold teeth.

This is the treatment that these thieves deserve. We have to despise these government traitors, we have to reveal them, we have to expose them for the economic crisis they have helped engineer along with US credit houses and other profiteers. Not only that, but they would have us pay for their golden spoon with our golden teeth!

Monday, May 3, 2010


In conversations with others of my sex these days I find my interest waning when they mention hairdressers and grooming treatments. It's almost as though a man has invaded my thoughts.

Just this morning, my colleague, Leo, asked, "So who is Evangelia?"

And I said without even blinking, "You know, that chick with the mellifluous voice. Dirty blonde hair and droopy eyes. Slim, petite, nice butt. Sexy in a not too overt and clean-cut kind of way. Definitely doable if you like the mousy sort."


I looked up and sensed his awkwardness. "I said it like a man so that you'd understand," I excused myself.

Or maybe I've been working with men for way too long. Long enough to be conversant in soccer and for them to not have to censor themselves when in my presence.

A friend - one of those "real" friends unafraid to criticise you to your face - told me to stop this de-feminisation, to wax my legs, pluck my eye-brows, go for a manicure and to get my act together. She told me I was not "taking care" of myself - neglecting me, setting a bad example for my daughters...



I chose this photograph of Frida Kahlo because I think she has unbridled sexuality, managing to break through stereotypes of beauty despite her unibrow and mustache. What makes a 'woman'? Perhaps it is passion and warmth more than fashion and fake nails...

Saturday, May 1, 2010


When my husband and I have pockets of together time we enjoy going to the movies. Unfortunately THIS is how we pick which film to watch: “How long will M be at the party?” “She’s fine until 8.30pm but we have to pick Z at 8pm from my mother’s?” “OK so what’s playing at the nearest cinema at around 5pm.” “'Iron Man 2' or 'La Rafle' (Round-Up) with Jean Reno.” No tough choice here, La Rafle!

So another Holocaust drama it is, even though we’d both been silently hoping for an adventure or comedy to take our minds of the fact that everyone in Greece, even in the private sector, will be having mandatory pay cuts effective immediately and our daughters’ private school fees will be counted as assets on our next tax return and - here comes the worse - my husband is being forced to lay off workers to stay afloat...etc etc...

Five minutes into the film and we are both already bawling like babies despite being hard-boiled cynics. Perhaps we really needed to see this film just so that we could have an excuse to snivel. “Hey, I’m not crying cause I can’t bear this miserable life anymore but because this is a sad film with a plot based on actual events!

As the wretched Auschwitz-destined Jewish parents are split up from their children at the French transit camp, my husband and I are comfortably holding hands while being swept by a tide of emotions. “I miss the kids,” I whisper, forgetting how we complain that we rarely have time together without the kids.

By the end of the film we have forgotten the pending doom and inevitable poverty looming ahead. “So what if your company shuts shop (something very likely), so what if I get sacked (not on the cards yet), we’re still so lucky!” I say. He nods in agreement.

Thank goodness for the little jolts that come our way just at the right time to jump-start us out of our routine. And indeed, this little film about the biggest tragedy in French history is perhaps what I needed to gather my courage and remember that what matters more than what happens to you is how you deal with it and who you are. Sometimes in this world of artificial emotions, bogus heroes and misguided priorities it's easy to forget exactly who it is we want to be.