Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In the House of Commons

For some, watching the debates or sessions in Parliament is like watching paint dry.  I quite enjoy it.  I wanted to see them in person.  And its possible!

So, adhering to the process, I wrote to my local MP for Kensington and voila, two weeks later I got a ticket to visit Westminster and attended the public hearing in the House of Commons (HOC).   That was yesterday!

As a London resident, I pass by Big Ben, and have taken numerous pictures when my clan visits, but I had not yet ventured inside.  And guess what, I wasn't in no ordinary screening gallery, but the 'Special Screening West' Gallery which might I add allows you to enter right after the ceremonial procession.  The procession lasts for all about 58 seconds...still, it is impressive as it rings in the Speaker (John Bercow) following very dressed-up guards, someone holding a golden mast, and then more dressed-up people behind him.   This was nice, but doesn't compare to the extent of ceremonial must-do's in Cambridge life.

The session itself was on Health.   I stayed for little over two hours.  All the Health Ministers from the government, as well as the Opposition were there.  So, was Keith Vaz, but he was outside giving an interview, which was probably just how he normally starts his day.

In the HOC, they talked social care, NHS, insulin pumps, Nursery Milk Scheme, MP's having to defend their responsibilities, and boob jobs and man boobs, no kidding!!

This is because a Cosmetic Surgery bill was presented to the House which included the details for doctors to adhere to certain Minimum Cosmetic Surgery Standards.   It is an important thing, but boy was it interesting to see the MP's faces with smirks, smiles, and pent up giggles around the house when stories of breast enlargement was talked about.  Those smirks didn't last long, or were quickly converted into a well-positioned comment with a colleague so that it didnt seem 'wrong'.  What followed so quickly was 'sad face' and 'shaking of the head', like the MP could not believe that such things were happening, that it was the saddest story on earth (even while she giggled inside).  How two faced!
Heated discussions ensued and made it interesting, and they silently peeked my interest in politics as a profession.  Very silently.  I think it was more to do with the exhilaration you must get to defend and support causes that you strongly believe in.  Plus, YOU are the voice for your people, that's a big deal.    This world comes with the downside too...and for that you need rhino-like skin.  People are brutal.   

So, back to the session, MP's are quite easily admonished by the Speaker, which reminds you of a class room session, only filled with more rules and tradition.

Some of what tradition dictates is: 

- you address the Speaker only - fine.  

- you follow the strict guidelines as imposed by the Speaker - fine again

- you address your fellow colleague not by their names, but by 'The Honorable Gentleman' or 'Honorable Lady'.  That is a requirement presumably to show respect to a fellow colleague especially useful during heated dialogue.   And yet, it is perfectly alright to follow it up as - 'If the Honorable Gentleman would please shut up....'   Hilarious.  Welcome to politics, ya?!

PS: Thank you Malcolm Rifkind for the opportunity to see our Leaders in action, and to get a glimpse of what they do everyday.

Today I'm humming:  Twist and Shout by The Beatles

Monday, July 16, 2012

I get it: Stephen Fry is very smart

TV in London is not great.   I guess I should mention that I'm not allowed to have SKY cable in my building, and I honestly believe that the Virgin Media package leaves you asking for more, a lot more. 
It's a struggle to find many decent TV shows to watch.   There are the NatGeo shows which are awesome, and some Discovery ones too. My default is the ones mentioned, and Food Food Food (which if cancelled will break my heart, but will make Oquai quite happy).   And then there's the reality stuff - chat shows, The Voice, and wide-hipped, but hot Dashians, the 'Housewives from....' all over the world I think, by now, but, it is so so hard to find a show that I can leave on for a good hour.

In the midst of all this TV madness, I've been introduced by Oquai to 'Quite Interesting' - and boy, I wonder where I was living all this while.  I feel like I've lost out on so much QI time!

It's a panel show, and quite an interesting one.   It's possibly the ONLY talk show on TV that does not discuss celebrity break ups, or the weight someone has gained, or express fake pity on someone who has OD'd.

Stephen Fry is a wonderful host, and has his sidekick Alan Davies on every night, with five different guests.  The USP of the show is in its ability to discuss topics that prove that you are really well read, have fantastic deduction and analytical skills, are a trivia hound, or are just plain smart - hence QI (you know, IQ, QI...I think).   So, as an example, can you tell me who received the first driving license? Or how the word Hagrid or Dumble Door originated?

It's not so much the correct answer that is is being sought after, as it is the process of arriving at what 'could' be an answer.  It's all about making it interesting.   It could be funny, it could be dead wrong, it could be that there is no answer, as is the case in the 'hypotheticals'.   It's all about the train of thought that any of the panelists start out with.   It's wonderful to watch them sometimes as a team, to take one word and lead it to another way of thinking.  Team effort you can call it, with words and actions thrown in that are simply quite hilarious sometimes, and silly the others.   Unless of course you get a braniac who just blurts out the answer - 'Hagrid came from Hag+ridden, meaning you were bothered by a hag or witch, or in other words, a nightmare'.   

Such a spoil sport.  Hmmph. 

Oh and as a by product, here's another tidbit, if you ever pronounced J.K. Rowling as 'Raa-u-ling', you're wrong, its Ro, as is 'Row Row Row your boat' Rowling.   There, that's better.

And seriously, how much does Stephen Fry know?   He's from Queen's College, Cambridge which probably explains it.   Did I mention, I'm from Queens' College, Cambridge as well?  Hmm...there's something about 'smart by association', no?

In other news, I'm off to the UK parliament tomorrow for 'Question Time.  I wrote to my MP, and got a ticket for the session.  It's going to be on Health.  Tres excited.

Today I'm humming:   Mais Que Nada by the Black Eyed Peas 

Monday, July 02, 2012

It's been a while


It has been a while.   It's one of those things.  You think you will be able to have the mindspace for many things.   And once you start work, there are many other things that occupy the mind and some things go on the back burner.  A pity really.  But, its the way life works, the items on the list keep changing per the priority for that time.

I'm hoping I will choose to write a bit more now because I have a bit more time on my hands as compared to previously.  Soon, itll be a lot busier, so until then at least I'm going to give it a shot.

I'm still in London and while the city has definitely grown on me, I'm not convinced by the sun's ability to ignore this piece of land far too often.  I hesitate to curse it because I wonder if it believes in spite.  At this point, I'll take any visits it makes, so wouldn't want them to reduce.  The past week has been glorious.  Today...hmm...grumpy!  But, I'll be nice and expect good things in return.

It's also a new time for me as I am now venturing to start something on my own.   Something within the kids space.  Its going to be quite the eventful, challenging journey as I tread through completely new waters in some respects.  It's just the beginning, but so terribly exciting.

I'm not sure who is around from the old blog friends I had, and who isnt, but in the coming week, I hope to pop by and see what everyone is up to.

Feels good to be back.

Today I'm humming Everyday I'm shuffling by LMFAO