Tuesday, November 30, 2010



Is anybody out there still?

It's been a while...

This blog was begun merely for the joy of expression and it did give me pleasure weaving my useless gibberish for a while. Lately, though, there has been little joy. Not even scrabble gives me much satisfaction.

It's hard to find joy when you can literally taste the bitterness of an economic recession. Corporations are shutting down and the big black hole of joblessness is sucking in more and more people.

The pain hit hard last week when the chilly breath of unemployment whispered "You're sacked!" to my most beloved colleague. On his first day back from holiday leave he was stabbed with just one word - "Cutbacks!" He was given seven days to pack before becoming a part of the 15 percent unemployment statistic.

What saddened me the most was my own reaction...or lack of! Ten years ago, a feisty me would have fought for a fellow colleague's livelihood. The 42-year-old mother of two did not. I swallowed the pill and got dumped his work (which translates to him being sacked and me doing more work than what I'm getting paid for). "I'm sorry!" I kept apologising to him. "I'm so sorry!"

I did try to stick up for him. But just with words. As if words mean anything when not backed by solid action.

I did write a note to the spy...THIS SPY LOOMING OVER THE DOORWAY TO MY DESK...CLICK HERE IF YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE CAMERA.... I scribbled something cliche about worker exploitation and held it into the camera's face for a moment or two...

"Hello Big Brother!" I said as I eyed the lens. "Welcome." And I felt the noose of the new order tighten around my soul.

As for my other colleagues. They were even more silent than I. That's it about the economic crisis. People become dehumanised as they worry about the consequences of losing their little jobs, getting littler by the moment... until they become as little as our little lives. And rather than react to the constant degradation, unpaid overtime, we all clam up. Like robots.

Remember when I used to wonder if I was an alien.... CLICK HERE.... Those concerns seem so extravagant now... These days, I wonder if perhaps I have stopped being a living being altogether and have entered a robotic stupor. Worst still, I feel as though I am surrounded by robots... So much so that sometimes I want to kick them just to test if they are alive.

I want to scream - "Hey folks! Wake up! Stop being so bloody professional and take risks! Make mistakes! Stick up for each other! Love! Laugh! And above all be human!"

Thanks for listening anyone who's out there... Even if that "anyone" is none other than my new best "friend", BIG BROTHER! 

Friday, November 19, 2010


Good old Aunt K passed away at the age of 88. A long life one would say, but I guess not long enough for those who loved her. I wonder if it was long enough for her or if she would have thought it sweet to have some more - perhaps just a glimpse at being 89 may have pleased her.

Can it be so bad to die at 88? In Asian cultures, 88 symbolises fortune and prosperity (that's why the Beijing Olympics opened on 8/8/08). But all those 8s were not so fortuitous for the late Aunt K. Or were they? Was death a precious release? Truth is, there was too much dignity and deportment shown by her progeny during the funeral. All four of her seeds wept in silence, solemnly and to themselves as people of good upbringing so often do. I am often suspicious yet somehow strangely comforted when upbringing triumphs over despair. There is strange consolation when order and dignity are chosen over chaos.

But what can I know of the funeral party's real feelings? After all, I had only seen Aunt K several times in my life, and those times were so long ago. She was such a quiet woman who had not left much of an imprint on my memory. Her four children, however, had an abundance of joy in their youth that made me feel somewhat lacking as an only child. There was much warmth in their large living room. Well, at least it seemed large then when I was only 10.

Surely they had taken their togetherness for granted for the three sons had scattered across the globe and the daughter felt weary from having to deal with her mother's health problems alone.

The funeral reunion brought them together. The last time had been at a wedding or some baptism, I think. Now they were grey-haired, no longer boisterous or looking like they had once had fun. So dignified and grave. Reserved.

Once again, I remembered my own age and cringed at life's inevitable cycle. Oh, the irony that this boring woman lived so long, when Alexander and Vivi had died so young even though they were so memorable...but, we shouldn't think such things, especially at funerals...

Unable to handle this thought and incapable of handling the feeling that I was voyeur to other people's pain I looked away. And then I left, leaving them to deal with their loss. After this blog entry I may even forget about it... After all, I knew Aunt K so little and was never quite drawn to know more.

Thursday, November 11, 2010



Do we miss you?

At first it felt like numbness, followed by a poetic type of sadness as I frantically sought you in Ekhart Tolle books and Freud. And bit by bit, life went on. I even made new friends - Saturday Morning Friends as part of my "this is how I keep alive" routine...Many times, when I'm with these "friends", I resent them a little for not being YOU and Alexandra.

Oh, it's not their fault. It's just me being elusive...not quite ready to let new people into my heart. Wanting to prove that our friendship was strong enough to withstand your absence.

Trying to keep you alive by bothering you with my thoughts, chatting with you in the dialogues of my mind, conjuring you in my dreams, prodding you to be a middle person between me and God when I pray is not exactly letting you Rest In Peace like you're supposed to. But, regardless of the meditation tapes and energy channeling, you never really did like peace very much, did you? Isn't that why you married the saxophonist?

I hope there's lots of music where you are. And booze, too! Have fun with Alexandra tonight. I'll be with you soon, darlings. Maybe I'm just as much already there as you are here.

Love you, babe.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Dear Dipsomaniac Cartoonist,

Over the last few days we have come close. Indeed, you are pervading my thoughts, my life, my real existence.

When first we met at that damp, languid, flea infested, intellectual Cafe Kundera, there was a void in my life, a trace of nihilism I held dear.

Then you quenched my thirst. Yes, you said, "Here, let me feed you." I opened wide like a hungry blind bird and inhaled the generous smoke of your joint, held it deep within me, letting it turn into unbridled lust. How could I possibly resist transcendental decadence such as yours?

"The whole idea of lightness permeates our lives in the form of meaningless emptiness. Our existence is kitsch, a beautiful lie, which helps us to defy the reality of death and mortality," you say, citing Milan Kundera, at - where else - but the enigmatic cafĂ© bearing his name. You always know just what to say, always ready with a “Big Lebowski” quote up your sleeve for any occasion.

And while you cheat on your Dipsomaniac Cartoonist's Wife and I on my Purple Bull Husband, do I feel guilty? Heck no, there is not even a tad of remorse! That's the beauty of it, my friend with the sullen face who hides the funniest jokes! He knows all about you, and has accepted our torrid affair, patiently waiting for it to end like others before. I ask him if he's jealous and he just tuts complacently, leaving me free to trap you in the boudoir of my mind.

Besides, who could accuse us of breaking our wedding vows when you don't even exist! Infact, you don't even have a proper name as you're just a secondary character, a snippet from a novel that jumped out and bit my brain so hard that what was real no longer mattered.

Anyway, my darling figment of Elif Shafak's magical imagination, I just wanted to tell you - a few pages before the end - that my feelings for you are real even though you aren't. I'm so sorry our affair is doomed, but I guess that's one of the reasons I am so absorbed in it while it lasts (yesterday, I even missed my stop on the metro just thinking about you!) .

I could not resist sneak peaking to the end and gather you'll leave your wife though you don't know this yet. And soon after, the novel will end and I'll be available for my next Crush, because passionate relationships like ours can never last longer than the book of the moment.

Who knows? Maybe we'll pick up where we left of another time - we'll always have our bastard of Istanbul to return to. Or maybe I'll come across you again in another novel or another disguised version of you...

Take care dear love,

Thanks for the memories...

Your Dipsomaniac Purple Cow Reader.

The Dipsomaniac Cartoonist is a secondary character in Elif Shafak's Novel "The Bastard of Istanbul". My feelings for him are true and, alas, I don't even know his name...He is a nice release from the other issues focused upon in the book written by Turkish novelist Shafak, who tackles Turkish national identity and the Armenian genocide in her signature style.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Abstention: The act of withholding one’s vote

In a country where politics is hot, half the voters decided not to head to the ballots during yesterday's regional and local elections. That’s not only because we can’t stand GAP (CLICK HERE IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE LIAR!), it’s because we can’t stand any of the major candidates, hence, either way, we would lose.

When close to one in two voters abstain, it is not - as party leaders like to interpret – on account of citizens being “mildly dissatisfied” but because there is clearly a restricted sense of democracy and justice. A vote does not always equal democracy when the choices are strained. On the one hand, not-so-socialist GAP who has done his utmost to undermine the Greek economy with wreckless statements and lies to serve his hidden agenda and pump up spreads, all the while winking at stock-market profiteers. And then there is the "liberal" New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras stating he does not support the Memorandum, all the while grinning at the IMF and rubbing his hands with glee.

Yes, sadly democracy is dead in Greece, or at least comatose. We think we have rights and freedom of speech, but all this is just iconic.

So what can be done? For me, there are only two options - both of them radical (of course) - and yes, I am aware painful, but more equitable than Troika's fascist austerity measures striking at the backbone of workers without punishing tax evaders or profiteers. Here are the only solutions I can see: a) A military dictatorship, a few tanks rolling trampling down Panepistimou St and restoring some order to this place would be nice, or b) the people could take the situation into their own hands and actively show their displeasure by tossing out a corrupt system that no longer works. It will be interesting to see what the response will be at the next protest rally! Oh, and c) we can pray for divine intervention, but forgive me if waiting for GAP and his chronies to get their cummupance in the life after doesn't sit too well with me.

That’s it from the front. Promise to come back in my next post being my usual pleasant lame, superficial self. Maybe to talk about shoes or Lady Gaga (I nod in respect to Michael at Archive Five as I say this).

Until of course next week...when we have the second runoff vote.

PS Your responses to my previous post on SCRABBLE made me chuckle. Indeed, biting my opponents is something I have considered...thankfully, with FB scrabble I'm just biting air...


Thursday, November 4, 2010


Dear Fellow Bloggers,

Forget electronic communication, the lost art of letter writing is making a big comeback in Greece. Not just letters that blow your mind, but also letters that blow your fingers. Little bombing devices insidiously placed inside envelopes and couriered to embassies around town, conveniently just days before the local elections (November 7).

The Greek police has intercepted most of this explosive correspondence, claiming a victory of sorts to polish its tarnished image for all the other mishaps, such as the accidental shooting of a teen two Decembers ago that prompted massive riots or the James Bond-styled escape of prisoners using helicopters.

Not that much harm would have come to the recipients: People like French President Nicholas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and good ol' Silvio Berlusconi (who likes to get his fingers burnt, anyway...more recently he got a bang out of a 17-year-old). And how much harm can an itsy bitsy bomb compact enough to fit in a letter actually do? It's not like anthrax. At best, it may prompt a fire or a burnt finger or two.

Just in case you were wondering, though...My fingers are still intact. It's just that I've been using them to do other stuff...evidently not blogging. (SCRABBLING has been frantic though).

I've also been stalking your blogs. Shamelessly. Yes, I have! (And speaking of letters - What's with the 30-day letter challenge so many bloggers are hooked on? CLICK HERE FOR A RECENT ONE! (Seems to me that we may be on the verge of a global letter-writing epidemic. Remember when people used to put ink to paper way back then?)

Promise to write soon.

Hugs and kisses,