Its a new semester, and the weather's also changing - slowly, but surely. We emerge from the cold, wet, winter season into...spring is after winter, right? Yeah, that (I've always been bad with my seasons). Anyway, Im very heavily affected by these kind of things, so I reckon my perspective, and my focus in the coming weeks will change as well. To what? I'm not really sure, but I think my interests will swing back to political and human issues. Theres a lot of factors that make me think this. Im reading quite a few political and social books at the moment, including:
- The autobiographies of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King
- "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" by John Perkins
- "Resource Wars" by Michael T. Klare
First two books are self explanatory. Resource Wars is about how wars around the globe these days are fought not for religion or politics or higher ideals, but for resources. I havent started it yet, but its exactly what I was looking for, and Im hoping it lives up to my expectations.
Confessions of an Economic Hitman deserves a blogpost by itself. Its about US foreign policy after WW2, how Empire Building took place, and continues to take place. How the US and the World Bank and other financial institutions lend billions of dollars to LDCs (less-developed countries) to help with development - on the condition that all work is carried out by American companies, which basically leads to the money being funnelled back to the US. The LDCs are in turn shackled with huge debts with interest that they cannot possibly pay back. Trapped in bondage, the US extracts its 'pound of flesh' - military support, votes at the UN, etc. Gradually the government and let the Multinationals do its dirty work for it. Its quite interesting. The book reads like a novel, but is very factual - well worth reading.
As well as all this reading, Im doing a course this semester called 'Development Economics' which is all about the Economics of LDCs. Promises to be interesting.
The Diabolical Nature of Shopping Malls
I was in London last week, visiting some relatives and enjoying my short break between the exams and the new semester (enjoying? really? kind of enjoying I guess...). I went to this big mall where I live there, called Brent Cross. I've been to this mall countless times, but for some reason, today was different.
Let me describe this mall to you. Its long, basically. The entrance is through Fenwick, which is a shop kind of like John Lewis. So theres a Fenwick on one side, and on the far side is John Lewis. Everything in between is different shops - 2.5 stories. On the Fenwick side, theres a Costa Coffee. Its a very small Costa, and what makes it cool is that its kinda sunk into the ground. On the far side, outside John Lewis, theres a Starbucks. Now, this Costa and this Starbucks look exactly the same. So if you look at it without looking at shop names, this mall is kinda symetrical.
I'm a shopping retard. To me, John Lewis may as well be Tesco, and Fenwick may as well me IKEA. I dont know the difference between Zara or Mango or Barrats or whatever, not really. So I got very, very lost, very, very quick. And what kind of mall doesnt have a foodcourt! We spent probably a full hour looking for a foodcourt. Turns out it was on the third floor, and the only way to it is an escalator neatly tucked away next to Fenwick. When we finally found it I was starving. Good news is they had this place called Bagelshack or something, I dont remember the name, but I really should because it was delicious. Its like Subway, but with bagels.
Oh, and another thing about Brent Cross, I always remember it being miles and miles away. When I was a kid I remember I used to fall asleep in the car on the way. And to me it used to be huuuuuuge. Now, its pretty close by - 10 minutes by car. Ten minutes?! And ok, its a big mall, but its not gynormous. Its just big. I remember thinking, how things have changed, but then I realised its probably not things have changed, its just that in my old age, I'm getting dumber. Yeah, that must be it. Or is it something else: malls that relocate when you're not looking, shrinking, and changing their layouts so that you dont recognise them even though you've visited them your whole life?
Nah. Must be my imagination.
This morning I woke up at 7:30am and ALL MY FLATMATES WERE AWAKE. This is an absolute first - its never happened before. I dont know if its for the new semester or what, but lets hope its a change that sticks!
Posted by illogicist at 11:07 AM