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And on The Seventh Day

The clouds parted and so descended from the heavens a most majestic beast. The sky filled with light over the small confines of the rugby club. A great hand lowered into the realm of men. Finally after years of waiting a great wait was to be completed. His great hand lowered toward the realm of mere mortals, in it was the holy grail.
Would you believe he has a Tralee accent and the Holy Grail is not some dodgy bird but actually the Heineken Cup.
"Alryt boys, heres the cup like and a few players too." Nice one.

Spent yesterday in the company of the Grail which was escorted to Tralee by Barry Murphy. Fun was had and pictures taken on a phone which doesnt like my computer. If i ever figure out how to get the bloody things on to my laptop you are all gonna see them. Until then my heart and soul are still aglow at having been in the presence of something so special. C'Mon Munster.

5.30.2006 » Author: Cian » Comments:

Hello And Welcome Back

The eagle eyed among you may have noticed that ive been finished since yesterday, I am free of the beast for another year. My plan for saturday worked a treat. 4 essays in 1:15 arrived into the pub at 3:20 to catch Stringer going over for the try. Given that it was ballsbridge the place was thronged with red jerserys and limerick accents. It was like a slice of home.

There wasnt a dry eye in the house at full time and rightly so. The passion, determination and mental strength that pulled this team through coupled with the almost supernatural link with the following are rarified aspects of sport in this age. We were both honoured and privelaged to see the men from Munster reach the highest point of their careers in an almost karmic manner. Returning to Cardiff was about exorcising demons and proving that this team was not built from passion alone but from the very stuff of legendary rugby sides. The professionalism and talent that coursed through that side, even the underrated backline, are the difference between the Leicester final and last Saturday.

Monday mornings exam passed thankfully and I returned to my bed. Tuesday's exam too was fine and Im confident that my August is free. But my weekend belongs to the boys in red. Thank you lads, though you dont read me probably, for the most emotional years of sport and I hope its not over. Personally I feel there is a Phil Mickelson in this team where once the duck is broken there are three or four majors in them. They now know how to finish the deal, the experience of getting to the top and earning every single inch will stand to them.

The development players are coming along well, Murphy (though injured) Dowling, Manning and the two lads off to Leinster are all in the squad on development contracts. Add to Saturdays team the following factors- a fully fit Marcus Horan, fully fit Paul O Connell, Alan Quinlan, possibly Cullen if they renew the contract, fully fit John Kelly, Murphy and Chris Wyatt from Wales. Youll excuse me if I think the future has a bit more red in it.

And if I'm right, it wont be long before the munster bloggers come together and sing the online praises of the boys in red. Stand Up and Fight? More like Come and Get Us!


5.24.2006 » Author: Cian » Comments:

Ahern Supports One China Policy

Its not often I get to bring the issue up on this blog, but today's Irish Times reports that Dermot Ahern has given assurances to China that it will oppose Taiwan's application for observer status at the World Health Assembly. The Chinese regulalrly stipulate that recognition of Taiwan is off the agenda in order to do business with China. This stems from the time of the cultural revolution when the Chinese KMT Nationalists went into exile o the island. Taiwan was claimed by the KMT (in contravention of the rights of native inhabitants) as the true Republic of China, independent of the mainland. China however has always seen Taiwan as a renegade provence and done all that it can to limit sovereign expansion of the state.

The USA has traditionally acted as guarantor of the sovereignty of Taiwan with a series of US Army bases on the island, one of which I happened to reside in for a while. The military infrastructure in Taiwan defies belief. Rumours abound of the degree to which Beijing has plans for invasion. Missiles aimed at strategic targets and areas of northern China reconstructed to exactly resemble bases, cities and towns in Taiwan. Its a surreal scenario, especially when one considers that on the ground the people of Taiwan and China are inexorably linked economically.

Since the mid-90s Taiwan has experienced boom-time and been forced to move up the value chain. Factories have been moved across the straight and into mainland China. Taiwanese factory owners maintain R&D bases on the island while taking advantage of the production environment on the mainland. So despite governmental differences, the people on the ground are pragmatic as ever. Until the KMT got kicked out of office and President Chen began making independence noises. Disrupting the status quo was perhaps not the best idea. However it is guarantees of security from the United States, a position I fully support, that keeps Mr Chen from triggering a cross-straits war.

Ill be honest, I think that Ahern's slavish utterings in the Irish Times represent the worst of all possible worlds. China and Taiwan are not "one China". Taiwan has worked itself into a position of relative prosperity. Its social protection is impeccible, its community spirit is inspirational and its smoggy, grey skies stand as a great reminder to how hard it is on the environment and intensive on capital it is to drag countries up by their bootlaces. All that has been achieved is done against the constant background of Chinese intervention. Its is a non entity, dressed in the names of Chinese Taipei and Seperate Customs Territory of Taiwan. Yet it exists, its people exist and Taiwan is a country rightly proud of its achievements.

George Bush is unlikely to be allowed get too cosy with China and it seems unlikely that Congress will support a draw down of American positions in Taiwan for reasons of Taiwanese sovereignty and American strategic interest.

Ireland is a country that ought empathise with Taiwan, open economy, intensive growth, standing in the shadow of colonial masters, proud of their democracy. Yet instead this government has sided with a Chinese obsession of defining Taiwan back into the mainland. Such a policy is in contravention of notions of self-determination and sovereignty. We are simply standing by so as to line our own pockets.

I have lived in China and it is indeed an amazing place, the people are amazing and the unfolding story there is nothing our wetern paradigm could ever hope to comprehend. Yet Taiwan and China are different in kind. Taiwan is an ever developing democracy an intelligent and unique part of the world. Ireland should have more respect for this country and not cowtow to a one China policy.

Im not arguing that this turn into an either your with us or against us issue, certainly there is room within an international community for criticism of the ongoing shoehorning of Taiwan into the PRC. The state is entitled to its own status and its own place at the international table. There is not one China, there is hte PRC and ROC. Ireland can and should happily work with both and lead calls within the International community for the false dichotomy of either or to be dropped. Ahern's willingness to disregard the status of the Taiwanese is a disgrace to Irish sense of solidarity and a disgraceful bout of self-interest. Self interest which in this case can happily live alongside concerns for recognition of the freedom, independence and equality of the Taiwanese people and its democratically elected government.

Some random thoughts im afraid, exam nerves preculde me from making too much sense.


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5.20.2006 » Author: Cian » Comments:

C'Mon Munster

Stand up and fight. Ive got a knot in my belly and study is rapidly becoming a futile exercise. For my readers in Cardiff, it seems that you are to be treated to the joys of the Evening Echo over there tonight, with a full match report and all.

I wonder if TCH paid for the lad who shout EEECHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO on Patrick Street to go over aswell, feel just like home then.

» Author: Cian » Comments:

Ends Not Means

An interesting post from Michael White at the Guardian blog, his general assertion regards the treatment of individuals in society. Discussing the coverage of murders of young boys from ethnic backgrounds, he notes the decline of stereotypical reactions and the emergence of seeing people as individual.

Does the public reaction in the Prince case matter ? Yes, just as it did in the cases of Damiola Taylor and, belatedly, Stephen Lawrence, who was eight days older than one of my own sons. The killing of Christopher Alaneme, murdered in Sheerness, aroused much sympathy. The more we see other people as real people, rather than stereotypes, the more our common humanity can assert itself.
Its an interesting notion he is tapping into there, particularly in terms of political and social theory. One of the forms of Kant's categorical imperative being "that we should treat people as means rather than ends" suggests that the notion of cosmopolitanism is alive and well. I wonder though, in light of the Afghan protests in our own fair land and the general politics of immigration and identity how much there has been a shift toward the intuition of people in our polity as ends, as beings in themselves, people of awareness, consciousness full of experience.

Clearly White's thesis has an element of idealism to it, what he seeks to posit is a vision of a global polity, where we come to see others not as extentions of a discreet homogenous entity (Asian, Muslim, French etc.), but as an individual.  Like most idealist exhortations it has two readings, as a literal end to be achieved or as a point of criticism representing the possible condition of society and using that to critique what currently exists.

On the first reading, it is hopelessly early to begin to assume that because the media generated an outcry over the murders of Damilola Taylor and others that society en masse has generated a mentality of openness to otherness. That the rage of the London Evening Standard and others has begun a reaction in the wider public to come toward the Kantian ideal. I am sceptical of the degree to which media lead opinion (and am of the opinion that the ones run for profit tend to follow it). It is neither in the presses interest nor other interests that members of society come to see potential others, potential differents, as beings in themselves, beings of history and story and behind it all individuals.

Such a shift in mindset would see the natural degeneration of nationalist politics in that the exchange between the new other and the existing member of society is a two way street. Feeding into the realisation of commonality, of lack of difference comes the jettisoning of previously held convictions of my own difference, my 'irishness', my 'whiteness', my 'Europeanness'.  It is difficult to sustain the suggestion that society has come to a point where this is beginning to happen from the reaction to a number of high-profile stories. Those stories were genuinely tragic, they represent a natural compassion in human beings, a natural empathy.

We are sensitive beings, capable of immense compassion toward others, the issue being that those traits require time and exposure to build up, neither of those are things society has a lot of these days. The general need for stereotypes is as a means of experience. We build up general stereotypes so as to spend less time on the engaging part of living and more on the reaction. Stereotypes help to bypass what is the ethical process of deliberation and judgement and allow for thequick determination.

As such they are indespensible to modern life. We cannot, for all of the idealism in the idea, do away with stereotypes without doing away with our models of engagement with the world. This is where the second element of the idealism is more effective. What the picture offers is an ideal from which to begin to examine our own current status. The stripping of stereotypes to make way for individual intuition and perception is indeed laudable but what are the wider conditions needed to facilitate this. Personally I doubt that more of the same from the Standard and others is sufficient to bring it about.

Could we even begin to imagine a world where our perception was consciously uncoloured by stereotypes, which render what we see dead and lifeless at the point of encounter? What would such a society look like? Those are the more interesting implications of White's short submission. While we may from time to time (as in the case of Taylor) catch a glimpse of common humanity, unity among diversity, its the exception rather than the rule.

That exception, that position of idealism is perhaps a way of engaging with what we have, exploring difference and coming to think in terms of difference and undertanding rather than sameness and utility.

That is but one interpretation of Kant's second formulation and one response, I am sure you have instantly read this and written it off, or agreed, as a stereotypical piece of _________. That is precisely the point its addressing. Socially.



5.19.2006 » Author: Cian » Comments:

Leinster Baiting

Got this in the email, not sure how many of you have spotted it so here is some good old fashioned Leinster baiting;
Dear Lynnster supporter (all 16 of you),

Where to start? Ok, in no particular order then ( bit like your forwards
display ):

1. Thanks for taking out Toulouse for us - nice gesture, we really appreciate

it.

2. Love the way you and your journos raised yourselves higher than God over
the last 3 weeks - loved even more taking you back down to earth Sunday

3. Thanks for selling us most of your ticket allocation - and you were surprised

when you saw the sea of red? You just don't get it, do you?

4. Thanks for the fabulous weather on the day - perfect for Lynnsters running
game!

5. Thanks for losing by such a margin that there can be no " what if's" over

the next 100 years

6. Special thanks to Felipe for spectacularly losing the head when rattled
by Dennis

7. On behalf of my friends in St John's Ambulance, thanks for a wonderful
opportunity to put our Heimlich manoveurs to the test, although next time
could you phone in advance to specify that there will be 15 chokers, not
just the usual 2 or 3 - you nearly caught us off guard there.

8. Thanks to Girv the Swerve for recapturing his form of last 3 seasons at\n
just the opportune moment. It was a close run thing but cometh the hour,
cometh the choker......

9. Thanks to Brown Thomas for cancelling the sale - at least there were some
Lynnster supporters in their home ground for their biggest challenge ever\n
( oops, nearly forgot about Perpignan 2003 - refresh my memory, wasn\'t that
a 30 pointer as well? )

10.Trevor wants to thank Guy for the pass ( how can you have a guy called
Guy on your team and expect to be taken seriously ?)\n

11. Ronan wants to thank \' Big Mal\' for thinking we were playing tip rugby

12. Thanks to Reggie for his standard knock on in a promising attacking position
- you can always rely on Reggie

13. We\'d like to thank the fella in the second row with Mal for not turning\n
up at all - another super Lynnster Southern Hemisphere investment - does
anyone know his name or if he actually touched the ball?

14. Thanks to Checks and Knoxy for getting the Lynnster boys to actually
believe that they could beat Munster - makes the victory all the sweeter!



TO THE FAITHFUL AND THE BRAVE, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE

» Author: Cian » Comments:

To The Brave and The Faithful

Nothing Is impossible.


Happy Munster Day.

» Author: Cian » Comments:

Browne Goes Munster Red

Ha Ha he is red already, yes i get it, but I actually mean to turn your attention to his special show tonight on the forthcoming matter of reaching the Holy Grail.

Brendan Foley, Michael Corcoran and others wax lyrical about the privelage of being from the best part of the world. The show is live from Shannon RFC. If you have been looking for something to wind you up further before you step aboard your carriage to Cardiff, this ought to do the trick.

The show can be listened to once its been posted here.

Some omens for you all, Heineken sponsor both European Cups. In the one on Wednesday the team in their away kit lost. Hopefully the real Heineken Cup will generate the same outcome.

The match with Leinster brought Munster fans out into the open of the blogosphere so a question for you all; what superstitions are you engaging in before the match? Jersey not washed since start of season (a friend of mine)? Pop your pre-match or during the match superstitions in the comments.

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5.18.2006 » Author: Cian » Comments:

Dick Roche goes Nuclear

Not a fan of nuclear myself until all else has been tried and exhausted but with regard to Tony Blair's CBI speech last night which has Dick Roche hot under his collar;
Lenins Tomb

TB: "The facts are stark. By 2025, if current policy is unchanged there will be a dramatic gap on our targets to reduce CO2 emissions, we will become heavily dependent on gas and at the same time move from being 80% to 90% self-reliant in gas to 80% to 90% dependent on foreign imports, mostly from the Middle East, and Africa and Russia."


Where, exactly, does the Prime Minister think uranium comes from? Organic farms in Wiltshire?


Irishelection
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5.17.2006 » Author: Cian » Comments:

Red is Gonna Get You

Nice piece by Frank Keating in the Guardian on Heineken Cup Final on Friday, my favourite;



"I once asked front-row commander and all-time Limerick legend Keith
Wood to define Munster's basic tactic. Keith thought long, then came up
with perfection: "All-out pandemonium based on demented harassment of
anything that moves."

Elsewhere, keep an eye on the Limerick Blog for regular daily build up to the match.

5.16.2006 » Author: Cian » Comments:

Pope Intervenes (again) In Gay Marriage

Interestingly coinciding with my reading of Richard's post on Ruth Kelly Opud Dei and fitness for office, the Pope has announced it's the duty of Christians everywhere to oppose moves towards the recognition of homosexual marriage.

I think this wholly contravenes ideas of an open society in many ways. Homosexuality cannot be defined out of existence because the state refuses to recognise it. What the church chooses to do is neither here nor there. If the state is indeed the preserver of freedom and security then it must open up public space for the recognition of an event which occurs in private, the happy loving marriage-like existence of homosexual couples.

While marriage as church recognition of relationship is entirely within the papal prerogative, I see no scope for a society that supports freedom of conscience to deny the freedom of two people to engage in an open and loving relationship. Like most things, sweeping reality under the carpet serves not to diffuse any issues over difference but to take them indoors and let them go unrealised.

This chestnut crops up regularly out in the Irish Blogosphere, I wont go on at length but you can read more, on both sides.



5.13.2006 » Author: Cian » Comments:

Feck Off Cup!!

Every year the press and tv sports departments happily forget themselves. They forget that this time last year two teams came together to compete for the most prestigious trophy in the world TM and played out a miserable encounter with a smattering of goals and interest.

This year I refused to be sucked in. "No way," I thought to myself, "am I going to fall for the usual hype and subject myself the usual dour end of season fare".

Self confidently tucking in to a meal of comparative politics and Rationalist philosophy, I felt content. I had beaten the system and it felt bloody great. Switched on the telly while having a bit of a tea-break to the beeb. 93:41 Liverpool 3-3 West Ham. Just caught the replay of Gerrards goal.

Bollix.
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» Author: Cian » Comments:

In the Cutting of Cheese

Knives suck. Use unflavoured dental floss and robert is your mothers brother.

» Author: Cian » Comments:

Fancy Blogging Tools

Im probably the last person to have come across this [non-tech bloggers always seem to say that, we sell ourselves short ;) ] But its a pretty sweet Firefox plugin that allows me to post to any of my blogs from the comfort of the bottom half of my Firefox Window.

It saves posts and supports Wordpress and categories and all in all is pretty sweet. Performancing its called, be aware that the metrics are pretty pants though. Still a big fan of statcounter.

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5.12.2006 » Author: Cian » Comments:

Nearly Home

Its been quiet round here of late, what with the general study and preperation for exams and trying to get Irish Election up and running, i am pleased to say that I am nearly home. With four exams in four days out of the way and a bit of a break before a double header on Wednesday, I found a bit of time to return home and dust down the place.

Exams are going well for those of you who are subsumed by worry over my general wellbeing, they tried to break me down but failed. Study also seemed to help which was an odd occurence. Still five to go but the back is broken on them now.

Wednesday is a double header but the real sickener is the Leinster supporting bastards put my exam on Saturday 20th May at 2-5. Well news for them, im going to squeeze four essays into an hour and a bit and hop down to the heart of Leinster rugby for the second half. I would dearly love to be travelling over especially after the monumental events of the semi-final. The match and the crowd were a testament to the passion and fraternity of following Munster. The fans and atmosphere were only bettered by the inspiration of the Munster team.

To any blogger/technophile who is heading over please please please take good photos, or movies if you feel so inclined. It
 would make a Munster fan in the pale very happy.

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» Author: Cian » Comments: