Archive for July, 2007

My brother-in-law left this morning with his wife. His son stayed back, against his will. He started crying as they left. But he has no choice. His parents have to resume duty tomorrow and they can’t leave him alone at home. They’ve postponed his ticket and there’s no way he can travel as the planes are fully booked during this period. He’ll have to wait for his grand-mother, expected back from the UK on 4 August after a three-month visit to her daughter in London, to fly back around the 12th.

On Sunday, in a partly cloudy sky with a light but cool breeze, we rallied the southern half of the island all the way from the centre where we live to the south-eastern coastal village of Mahebourg near the airport. We then linked to Le Morne in the south-west through the southern tips of Gris Gris, Riambel, Rivière des Galets, Baie du Cap, Macondé and La Prairie before looping back to the centre. The roads were unusually jammed, probably because of school holidays when people flock to the seaside, if not to the fairs, or both.

Delicious Chop Soy (Chinese cuisine), gratin with cauliflower and bread for lunch; some boiled manioc for the mid-afternoon tiffin; and we refreshed ourselves with sweet coconut water on our way back. It was a little more than a half-day 180-kilometre-drive. We reached home at around 7.00 pm, all exhausted.

* * *

I just got a phone call from Reunion. My guests have reached home in good shape despite a shuddering descent at Pierrefonds (Saint Pierre) airport due to bad weather. They are relieved that their son’s doing better now. I can gauge how terrible it is to part from your dear ones, albeit for a brief period. I’ve experienced it on two occasions. The first one when I had to rush back home to resume work (I wasn’t granted longer leave), leaving behind the whole family in the middle of a two-week holiday in Reunion island. And the second when my family had to leave me alone in Rodrigues island where I was on a tour of duty in 2003. This time they had to be back for school. On both occasions my younger son (then in his early teens, grown up anyway) burst in tears, catching the airport crowd’s attention. Well, that’s life.


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Lost your blogging groove?

You should have noticed, and I apologize for not having shown myself up. I haven’t been posting much last couple of weeks. My blog seems to suffer. I can’t figure out what’s happening exactly; may be too much of festive time. Oh! And it’s still half way to the usual yearly celebrations.

Well, it’s got nothing to do with these. I’ve been busy attending wedding ceremonies nearly every weekend. Last week it was my niece’s wedding and we had dinner two consecutive days, Saturday and Sunday – in traditional oriental style, although we skipped the Monday slot.

We had also to mark our presence in another wedding at the same time. But that’s not all. There’s my brother-in-law from Reunion Island. He’s here with his wife and son for a week. This means I’ve got to organize for lunch, dinner and outings. Yesterday I took a leave from work… to drive them to the seaside; and the weather was hectic – rainy and windy. We didn’t get in the sea; just had some informal football with the kids along the beach at Le Morne, the extreme south western tip of the island.

I’ve also noticed reduced traffic on my blog. What about you? I don’t know if it’s the time of the year or what. I think many people might be on holiday, or perhaps the middle of the year is just uninspiring. It’s winter time here right now and you don’t feel like staying long at the keyboard. And the days are running fast, faster than I can cope. It’s like my blogging’s frozen.

Anyway, if you find yourself in my situation, it’s likely you’ve lost your blogging groove. In such case I’d therefore refer you, if you’re interested, to Darren Rouse’s 7 Days to Rediscovering Your Blogging Groove project. It might help boost you up.

Have a nice time.

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20 July is a day of remembrance. For various reasons. But I’ll single out two. Both are linked with what may be referred to as “small steps” that led to “giant leaps” in the history of mankind.

The first reason has to do with a child that was born on this day in 1919 in Auckland, New Zealand. That child later became a world famous figure. Named Edmund Percival Hillary he later became Sir Edmund Hillary. Nobody knew at that time that one day he would become an icon in the history of mountaineering. Several attempts were made in the 1950’s to attain the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world (29,035 feet; 8,850 metres high). But Edmund Hillary became the first man, accompanied by the Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay, also called Norkey or Norkay, original name Namgyal Wangdi, to reach the culminating point at 11.30 am on May 29 in 1953. He was knighted shortly after that successful attempt.

50 years later this day marked the first moon landing day. And that’s the second reason for remembering this day. At 10.56 pm (EDT, Eastern Daylight Time) on 20 July in 1969 two US astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, became the first humans to set foot on the moon. As soon as Armstrong stepped out of the Eagle lunar landing module he said: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” They were accompanied in the moon mission by Michael Collins on board Apollo 11, launched four days earlier, on July 16.

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Our Prime Minister’s visit to China during the last week has given a new dimension to the cooperation between the two countries. China has agreed to advance a credit of Rs 3.5 billions (around 50 million USD) over the next three years. “This agreement is of major significance to Mauritius,” said the PM, “as it marks China’s commitment towards Mauritius in this period of transition.”

The PM cherished the nearly trebled Chinese assistance compared to Rs 400 million (around 6 million USD) per year obtained previously.

This financial assistance will be vital in realizing a number of projects related to infrastructural development, which will include the construction of a fishing port, a new dam, a new link road from Verdun (village around the centre) to Terre Rouge (northern village near Port Louis) and a new town at Highlands (near the centre).

Other outcomes of the PM’s visit to the People’s Republic of China comprise promises for massive investment. Already one major group of companies, Shanxi Tianli Enterprises Group, has laid its footprints on the island with significant investment potential. The implantation of this group has necessitated the relocation of several small planters who earned their living for decades on the agricultural plot of land identified for allocation to the group.

In this period of difficult economic situation, with rising cost of living, opportunities like those from China and the discovery of potential hydrothermal sources in the territorial waters of Mauritius (which I mentioned yesterday) can only herald better days ahead. Provided they are managed judiciously.

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Gene Genie, the blog carnival of genes and genetic conditions, is up at Med Journal Watch. There’s quite a bit about genes – Junk DNA: from science to framing, Genes and diseases and New techniques.

My Childhood Asthma Probe is listed under Genes and diseases.

For upcoming editions see the Gene Genie carnival page. Gene Genie #12, which is scheduled for July 29, will be hosted by My Biotech Life. For any submissions clike here.

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Significant hydrothermal sites have been discovered in the territorial waters of Mauritius, which extend to 200 nautical miles. Minerals like zinc, copper and even gold may be present. But we are only at the research stage.

That’s what Prof. Kensaku Tamaki said at the Fourth National Ocean Science Forum held under the aegis of the Mauritian Oceanography Institute (MOI) on 11 and 12 July at the Octave Wiehe Auditorium of the University of Mauritius.

Prof K Tamaki of the University of Tokyo led a research team during November to January last in collaboration with the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Mauritian government and the MOI. The team comprising scientists from Japan, Mauritius, France, US, China and Indonesia found considerable amount of manganese, which indicates the existence of hydrothermal sources.

That reminds me of another research in our waters in the 70’s when an oil slick was discovered around Mauritius. Drilling works were initiated and lasted several months before they were abandoned due to sinking evidences.

Let’s hope this time we have positive outcomes. The ocean hasn’t revealed all the secrets yet.

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Just been listed in the Carnival of Financial Planning – July 12, 2007 Edition. This carnival as stated in the blog “focuses on efficient and sustainable personal financial planning practices that can lead to lifetime financial security”.

You’ll find posts about a wide range of finance issues from budgeting, debt management, estate planning, financial planning, financing a home, financing education, income, investing, retirement planning to savings and taxes.

Have a look and enjoy.

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