Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I feel like wearing a red square

The little red square is the symbol of the student movement in Quebec. And, in case you haven't been following the news, there's been 100 days of student striking because of a fee hike.

At first, my reaction was "those Liberal Arts fellows are up to their usual antics" and I just ignored it. It kept on popping in the newspapers, and I would hear about a march every now and then, the usual.

I even felt that the way the students were denying access to universities and colleges in defiance of court orders was appalling, and was even thinking of wearing a green square, symbol of the students who support the fee hikes.

I liked that the student unions were protesting not only against the tuition fee hike, but also about wasteful university management. As a tax payer, I am always annoyed by the rampant mis-management of my money by a lot of government bodies, and the kind of blank cheque the government gives to universities (most of which are private non-profits in this province). Millions of dollars and no accountability... what could go wrong?

As I saw the government ignore the student demands, then bargain in bad faith, I started getting more and more angry. And as a draconian anti-protest law was voted urgently last Friday, I really got angry. Even the Bar association is calling the law unconstitutional, and they don't often speak up on legislation.

I am irritated that the premier and his ministers are so out of touch with reality that they just want to ignore the largest student movement in the history of the province and not try to compromise. This kind of arrogance will be paid very dearly in the upcoming polls.

Can I see potential for abuse? Oh ya. The police could just put agent provocateurs in the crowd, break a window, and get the whole march declared illegal, and then fine all the people in there. Or maybe they can use their power to change the march itinerary to change it while it is happening, and then declare it illegal and fine people. I am sure your imagination can come up with more scenarios for abuse.

What am I gonna do about it? I can't join a march because I don't want to be involved with the anarchists who break windows. The new law makes it nearly illegal to be in one of those marches, even if there are no anarchists. In theory, you could be fined thousands of dollars if you just get too close to a university building or if you deviate one step from the itinerary given to the police.

So, I signed the petition against the new law, and I'm blogging, asking you to also sign that petition.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Salaam Namaste

Salaam Namaste is a nice Bollywood movie about two NRIs in Australia who 'fall in love', their decision to move in together as roomates, eventually as lovers, and then as ennemies.

We don't see the topic of premarital sex and cohabitation often in Indian movies. Just for that, this movie deserves to be watched. Just try to close your eyes and ears in the scenes of the Indian-turned-Australian-Hillbilly landlord that make no sense at all.

The Census of Quirinus

As part of the usual in-depth study I am doing on the Gospel of Matthew, I tacked the question of the Census of Quirinus, which is considered an apparent contradiction between Luke and Matthew.

My study Bible wasn't helping much, nor the commentaries I saw. The summary was "well, maybe it was some other appointment he had before being Legate of Syria".

Thankfully, a friend gave me this detailed article, which establishes very clearly that imperial census orders were not rare in those days, and it was very likely that Quirinus had a de-facto administrative resonsibility in Syria near the time of Herod's death.

If you ever had this intellectual struggle, I urge you to have a read at this article!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Radical New Music

If you know me, you know that I like "old" music, especially the Baroque kind.

I don't often find much interest in contemporary musicians. I guess that one factor is that I see them performing the same songs in the same way, so it can be hard to notice.

Then a friend sent me a link about a video of The Piano Guys and I was blown away by the celloist. I listened to their music and I became an instant fan.

I think that the piece that really highlights my fascination is this one.

I have no deep knowledge of music, mind you, but I am not ignoramus either. I saw someone play the cello like I never saw it played before. It was not only enjoyable to listen to, but even addictive. Steven Sharp Nelson is bringing his instrument to a whole new level and may even spark a new wave of innovative sounds coming from instruments we would have never expected.

If you happen to know more sound like this, please please please give me the links.