Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ziya Gokulp

What's that? Well... that's the name of the guy whom I have been asked to study and present to the rest of my reading group. He is Turkish, of course, and I was asked to present his ideas because I went to Turkey. I cannot see how visiting sedimentary rock churches has got anything to do with Ziya, but hey... I think it is worth a study.

Like many other wise people, Ziya Gökalp was many things in one. He was a sociologist, a poet, a political writer, and a of course, Turkish nationalism. His work influenced the father of modern Turkey, Kemal Atatürk. Ziya was influenced by contemporary European thought and rejected Islamism in favor of Turkish nationalism.

What was interesting to me was that he was in a veterinary school. How cool is that! More of him when I have the time. Now, I have to prepare my Master's paper before I meet my supervisor on Thursday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Of Beautiful Horses and Wonderful Students

Just found out that the name Cappadocia was probably derived from Katpatuka, land of the beautiful horses, in Hittite language. Though I did not see any horses in that region.

Anyway, my students came to visit yesterday. Eli, Pearl, JZ, Jeremy and Pam. It is always nice to see the gang, no matter how busy I am with markings and meetings. They have grown a fair bit... all becoming young men and women. All of their cuteness have almost dissapeared. Hah hah hah... I did not get to see Zhixin though and for that I was a bit sad. I am very happy that he got his appeal though.

I do hope I could join the gang on the 6th. I was just told that I have yet another meeting that day. The school might be closed half day and they probably have to find a new venue. I wonder where would be a good place?

Monday, January 14, 2008

More on pigeon poo

I did more reading on ancient people who used pigeon droppings as fertilizers, just like in Cappadocia. Apparntly many other civilizations did. The ancient egyptians too used them for their crops. Studies have shown that they are rich in nitrogen.

Basically, these pigeons will go fly around in the day, eat wild seeds and berries elsewhere, go home and poo. Farmers take these nutrients and concentrate them on the soil they need to cultivate. So what these pigeons do is really just concentrating available but scattered resources.

Some modern garden composters too recommend using pigeon poo as starters. Though most warn of the fact that these poo from pigeons might contain somewhere around 26 known diseases. But hey, tell me which poo might not?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Valley of the birds

These houses and holes for bird are in a valey called Valley of The Birds. According to my tour guide, pigeons have long been a source of fertilizer to the farmers here.

Many believe that Cappadocian fruits are sweet because farmer used pigeon droppings. I wonder how they handle the bird flu threat?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My First Sedimentary Toilet Break

I was looking for the rock type of these carved mountains. I found out that these churches were carved out from sedimentary rocks and ignimbrite deposits erupted from ancient volcanoes millions of years ago.

What are sedimentary rocks? Well there are the three main rock groups: (1) igneous, those that came out of volcanoes as lava and then cooled, (2) sedimentary, those that has been eroded washed away somewhere, settled down and then hardened, and (3) metamorphic rock, are any of the two that, under pressure and heat is changed into something else. Actually, it is more complex than this but you get the idea.

In this picture, you see how neatly you can cut the sedimentary rocks in cappadocia, goreme region. Here you see tourists getting into one of the caves, now converted to be a public toilet. The toilets in Turkey are ALL super clean. I am amazed. When I asked the tour guide why this is so, they say it is because, 'we are muslims.' How I wish they can tell the Malaysians to do the same.

The only thing about the public toilets that I don't like is that you have to pay 50 liras to get in. That's about 60 cents each time you go. That means if you have a weak bladder plus the very cold weather, you will be spending a whole lot of money on toilets a day.

T'was A Good Friday

First of all, I must say that yesterday was a happy day for me. Manda and Xinyun came to visit me and it was so nice to see them happy. It was sad though that I could only see and talk to them for about ten minutes of so and that was because I sneaked out of a meeting. It is also nice to see my old students, all taller and bigger now, coming to visit me. I do hope it happens more often and how I wish my meetings would be less frequent.

Anyway, this photo here is the picture of all the churches in a row in the Gorame Open Air Museum. The rock type in this region made this all possible. It is soft enough to carve but yet strong enough to remain intact as monolithic structures.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Our guide explained to us what IXOYE meant. It means 'Jesus, Christ, Son of God, Savior'. According to him, it is all represented in the Maltese Cross. This picture here I took from one of the Gurame Churches. What happened was that during the reign of Emperor Nero in Rome, Christians living in that city were persecuted so they hid themselves. The cross became a secret code to mark this secret movements, where they had to meet secretly and practice their religion.

I believe forms of discrimination is wrong. I believe in the freedom to practice one's faith without being persecuted. As long as of course, your faith does not involve harming another. I think if you have the time, please read Gordon Allport on Prejudice. Worth the read.

On M.C. and Environmentalism

Today I am on MC. Have a chance to updte my blog. Strange thing is both my wife's and mine i-pod died today too.

Inspired by St. Basil's prayer, I have decided to look for some material about environmentalism in the catholic tradition. I found this:

In 1990, Pope John Paul II issued his World Day of Peace Message, Peace with God - Peace with all of Creation, in which the Holy Father announced, "There is a growing awareness that world peace is threatened not only by the arms race, regional conflicts, and continued injustice among peoples and nations, but also by a lack of due respect for nature.... Moreover, a new ecological awareness is beginning to emerge which, rather than being downplayed, ought to be encouraged to develop into concrete programs and initiatives." (source:

More later

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My wonderful day...

Today, while I was in a very long meeting. Jeremy sms-e me telling me that he'll be visiting. I said I was in a meeting and it might end late. Nearing the end of the meeting, I sms-ed him and he said he was already on his way home and he LEFT ME SOME DONUTS!

After the meeting, I went back to my table and there it was... SIX BEAUTIFUL DONUTS! Beautiful because they came from 6-1'o7 *sobs* My very first lunch treat from 6-1'o7

Actually he gave 24 but the other teachers got to it before I did so they left me only six. I would not be able to finish all 2 dozen anyways. Then Sharon, Eli and TJ came to visit too!

We had a nice chat but felt bad because I they were already starting to lock up the place. At least I feel better now being able to meet my beloved 6-1'o7. I do hope such moments are more frequent.

Till then...