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Way beyond normal (in the wrong direction)

I’m seriously starting to wonder what the hell is going in with South-East Asia in general. (If you’re sick of rants about China, North Korea and/or politics, skip the next two paragraphs.)

As you may’ve caught, China strongly disapproved of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 2010, Liu Xiaobo, as they consider him to be a criminal. They’ve gone as far as sending letters to the Oslo-based embassies of Western governments, urging them to disapprove of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize (and not attend the ceremony on December 10), as it interferes with Chinese domestic affairs. All mail sent from the Norwegian Nobel Committee to the Chinese embassy lately has been returned unopened. Liu’s crime? Signing a public manifest (Charter 08) which disagrees with some of China’s politics. Something which is strongly encouraged in most of the rest of the world, and in all of what’s considered the Western world. It’s just silly.

And today, it was revealed that North Korea has a new device on its market. Where the concept of a PDA is more or less outdated in the rest of the world (or at least in developed countries), this appears to be “cutting edge” in North Korea just now. From what Engadget could tell by the photos, this PDA runs Windows CE, a half-sibling to the Windows Phone platform (previously called Windows Mobile). It doesn’t have Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi, broadband, or even phone capabilities, which more or less states that it doesn’t have many areas of practical use. The cost? Around $140 for the high-end 8GB model with a microSD slot. And that’s in a country with an estimated $150 monthly income per person (btw, that’s pure guesswork based on the GDP numbers per capita from CIA’s World Factbook).

In more positive news, my blog article on my little backstage tour of the Blue Man Group production in Stockholm was recently featured on Blue Man Group’s official Facebook page, as well as shared on their recently created Twitter feed. My, I feel proud. 🙂

I just hope I’ll be able to repeat such a trip next year. I’m hoping to either visit one of the stops on the U.S. National Tour (which has brand new material) or see the permanent show in New York (which is the classic show, going “back to the roots”). I’ll have to see what direction the economy takes me once 2011 has begun. If I’m extremely lucky, I’ll go for both options, but there’s also a chance the outcome will be neither one – I’ll just have to take it as it comes. I won’t know for sure until the end of March or beginning of April, though. Mid-April would be the last opportunity for a well-planned trip in July (although I could plan it as late as mid-June, but that would be pushing it to an uncomfortable level). Until then, I’ll happily accept suggestions for possible destinations. 🙂