From the Sydney Morning Herald today:

A man was killed after his car collided with a large cow,
sending the creature flying into the air before it landed on the
car rooftop and crushed the driver.

Read the whole (short) story here.

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That Indian accent again!

Friday, 11 May 2007

Via turbanhead a link to MC Vikram and Ludakrishna’s Greatest Hits, here.

More information is provided:

For those who have never heard of MC Vikram or his sometimes sidekick Ludakrishna, they are two Indian-Americans who have fused comedy and hip-hop / rap along with their experiences growing up as Indian Americans. There are plenty of references to the burping “uncles” (burping out loud after a meal or whenver you feel like is not considered rude in Indian culture but makes young Indians cringe when elders do it here in the States), drinking Frooti (a very popular mango drink available in small cardboard squeezeboxes), wearing lungis (sarong-like cloth worn my men in India) and of course being an FOB (fresh off the boat).All the songs are parodies of popular rap/hip-hop songs interspersed with short skits. Both MC Vikram and Ludakrishna have performed at various colleges and universities in the US (usually at Indian Student Association sponsored events.)

So sit back, relax and get FOBBED out.

I have no idea what getting ‘fobbed out’ entails and don’t think I care too much either after having listened to a few of their juvenile ‘songs’. My apologies for sending you there, if you did go.

What interests me here, though, is that it seems that making fun of the Indian accent is a growth business; not just caricatures by Westerners but by Indians themselves. When desis do it, it seems to be a reverse cultural cringe: Indians seeking to ingratiate themselves with an Indian and/or Western audience by making fun of the Indian stereotype. It serves a dual purpose, perhaps, as a form of rebellion against their parents by caricaturing them. Their embarrassment at being offspring of such Indian Indians is palpable. If only the songs had been funny, I’d have forgiven them. Sadly, they are not.

Wonder what those who take offence at the ‘racial’ depictions of the Indian accent make of this phenomenon.

Related post: The Indian accent, Apu and racist depictions of Desis

You think you’ve got traffic problems? What if you had to maneuver around a Boeing 737 fuselage parked in your street!

The Boeing 737 stuck in city road By Monica Chadha BBC News, Mumbai No-one is assuming responsibility for moving the plane Enlarge Image Residents of the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) are wondering how long it will take to remove a disused Boeing 737 that has been abandoned in a busy road. The decommissioned aircraft was being driven through the city at the weekend when the driver got lost and then abandoned the plane.

Reminds me of a photo I’ve seen of a collision between a boat and a bus after floods caused by heavy rains in Bangkok some years ago.

In the time honoured tradition of being one of those who talk about people who do things as opposed to those that actually DO things, I’m pleased to start posting information about desis I read about or hear or see in the media (in Australia and New Zealand). The definition of desi’s is very broad here- anyone who looks like one, has a name like one or even sounds like like one will be featured here. The first one that caught my eye is (drum roll, please) geophysicist Dr. Prame Chopra.

Dr. Prame Chopra

I read about him in the Sydney Morning Herald in a story about how he was forced to choose between his job in academia at the Australian National University and a role as a Director in Geodynamics Ltd, a company that seeks to tap geothermal energy from hot rocks deep below the earth’s surface to generate power. There was a nice photo too of a distinguished looking gentleman, but the online version of the story does not carry the photo. The photo above is from his profile at the company’s website.

Geothermal energy is getting a lot of attention as for its potential as a renewable, clean, quiet and substantial source of electricity without greenhouse gas emissions. How substantial? Dr. Doone Wyborn co-founder of Geodynamics Ltd, says

“If you had one cubic kilometre of rock at a temperature of say 250° and you drop the temperature of that cubic kilometre by 100° then the energy equivalent that you would obtain is the energy equivalent to about 40 million barrels of oil which is quite a large oil field by Australian standards.”

Story in Sydney Morning Herald Link

Profile for Dr. Chopra at Geodynamics Ltd Link

Story about the use of ‘hot rocks’ to generate electricity Link

Hindu Asylum Seeker

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Via Shrimpy’s blog at chingrimaach comes a link to a story about Kunal, a boy of Indian parentage who is driven to excel in spelling bee competitions. His parents were refused political asylum in the USA and had to return to India- Bihar, it seems. While the story in the NY times that Shrimpy links to is about the problems he faces and his anger at having to live without his parents, I found this bit about his father very interesting:

Mr. Sah, who was born in India, came to the United States in 1990 and shortly before his entry visa expired the next year he applied for political asylum, saying that if he was forced to return to his home province in southeastern India he would be targeted by Muslims because of his involvement in a group called Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which he described as committed to Hindu nationalism.

Mr. Sah acknowledged in his application that he had been active in organizing a campaign against Babri Mosque, in northern India, because it was “built on our sacred land” and that he “actively participated” in riots intended to demolish it.

In 1992, after Mr. Sah had immigrated to the United States, Hindu extremists destroyed the mosque.

In denying him haven, immigration officials noted that Mr. Sah “had participated in the persecution of non-Hindus and thus was ineligible for asylum.”

Surely, Mr. Sah can move to Gujarat where the government (and people) seem to be quite favourably disposed to Hindu nationalists? Instead of facing persecution he may well be treated as a hero!