God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

In between: holidays

The reader might wonder why the blog was so quiet the last days. Well, everybody deserves some holidays, so also the writer of this blog. 8 days in Thailand, one of my favorite holiday destinations.  But in the last 10 years the country is changing and it looks that stability is not one of the characteristics of Thailand in the next years to come.

In the last years, the battle between the “red-shirts” and the “yellow-shirts” rages on – some years ago the red shirts brought down the government with demonstrations and the occupation of the airport. Like thousands of holiday makers, I also had to prolong my stay for another 4 weeks till I got out of the country. Then Bangkok saw the siege of the red-shirts, blocking for months the financial and business hub of Bangkok – until the military and police brought the drama to an end –  bloodshed included.

Now the sister of convicted criminal and ex-premier Thaksin Shinowatra, who was ousted by a military coup and fled the country, is the new premier of Thailand. And one can see how fast the new lady and her friends in power move to get her brother back into the country and overturning the conviction. A royal pardon should do the trick and it is argued, that a pardon can be given even if somebody never saw one day in prison but fled the scene.

Inflation is a matter of fact and life is now more expensive in Thailand. The unstable political situation, the worries about the to age coming most revert king of Thailand, the unclear stance of the military adds up and one does not need to be a prophet to know that this situation will boil over again.

Thailand, the land of the smile is continuing to live on the brink of another bloody event – and like in so many other instances it is the political elite which does not care for the country but for themselves.

Self made millionaires turning politicians and running the country as their company with benefits (like Thaksin or Berlusconi)  – I guess those are as deadly for the running and the future of a democracy like politicians who never have learned to work in a proper job or see politics as a field of a life-long career than service to the population of a country.

Trouble in politics, unrest, bad governance always has also an impact on those who are depending of state services. In most countries the health services are state services – which brings the topic of HIV and AIDS right in the spotlight.

In Thailand during the siege of the red-shirts in Bangkok, a hospital was stormed and had to be evacuated. the use of weapons and explosive devices caused that some hospitals were stretched to the limits. Which also always impact on the usual services. Whatever happens in a country impacts on the most dependent ones.

Filed under: General, Uncategorized, ,

22.05.2010 Ball of HOPE

Coming back from Johannesburg yesterday afternoon – so many things happened in the last 24 hours… preliminary talk for recording the talk-show “Bei Beckmann” in Germany – to be screened on Monday, 7th of June 2010. Then farewell for friends leaving for Bangkok  to take on a new post. And of course all preparations for the Ball of HOPE taking place this evening. 320 guests are expected despite all the sports events taking also place today. All is ready now.. and soon the tuxedo will hopeful still fit 🙂

For the 13th time this meanwhile major charity event will take place – and I think back to the humble beginnings – 80 people and Archbishop emeritus, Desmond Tutu at the first event, at time still called “Dinner-Dance”. Lets hope that all is going well this eve – for the joy of the participants and the benefits of HOPE Cape Town.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , , ,

20.05.2010 At the airport again

After a day of preparation for the Ball of HOPE 2010 I am now at the airport again to fly to Johannesburg. Meeting a friend in the eve to catch up and tomorrow morning a meeting of the working group of the SA-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Then back to Cape Town for a pre-talk regarding my participation at the talk-show “Bei Beckmann” the week after.  In the eve a farewell party for close friends leaving to take a post in Bangkok.

At the airport I again and again notice how bad the SAA staff is trained, hardly able to handle any complaint or request – resulting in a mixture of unfriendliness and left in the dark. So we will not win the hearts and minds of those few coming to watch the Soccer World cup. SAA you can do better and instead of financing all the sports nonsense, give training to your staff and optimize what is called “service”! Don’t follow LH in this regard…

Before I left this morning I had an interesting interview for RTL on HIV and the impact on South Africa – an invite to join a TV session in Salzburg next Tuesday arrived, but not sure I can manage that.. Why don’t get priests a flight licence as part of their studies????

Filed under: General, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, , , , ,

30.04.2010 Human mankind

Does human mankind ever learn? Most people will answer with a clear “no”… We see it already in our small little world how difficult it is to keep peace with the neighbours or to avoid prejudice. In the finance sector of our days we see that the circle of failures already and those who have spoken about changing the system to avoid another crash of the markets are continuing their same old path.. some minor corrections are allowed to please the public.

In Bangkok people take a whole city hostage – stand-offs, shootings, killings, endangering of innocent people seems to be “normal” – nobody wants violence but everybody is captured so much in his own world and thinking that without “wanting it” one just jumps on every opportunity to gain and to damage those considered to be “the others”.

In our church, the “hype” about sexual abuse creates interesting reactions: the right wingers within our church try to equalise sexual abuse = homosexuality, the left-wing in the church proclaims the conjunction between celibacy and abuse – and instead of investigating the real reasons behind all these, one uses the opportunity for each convictions own gain. This is an abuse in itself and insults the victims. This times can be times of an honest review how church performs – as HIV and AIDS can be a subject to trigger an honest review of parts of our moral theology. Are we able to stand the test of times – or do we fail – again, as many would say.

Difficult times… indeed..

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

22.01.2010 Friday eve…

Discussion with a lecturer from Munich about a photo exhibition during the World Cup 2010 featuring the lives of people here in South Africa. We discuss the possibility to feature in this exhibition also a HOPE community health worker or the HOPE doctor. An interesting way of having a look on the life of a person from HOPE Cape Town: through a camera which keeps moments in a life’s time to show the reality of daily routine, hardship and joy. I think it is a good idea and for HOPE Cape Town also interesting to get a photographic feed back  on the work we are doing through our front people: the HOPE community health workers.

Luncheon with a friend – always good just to let go and talk and consider and plan for going together to Germany and Italy in May – unfortunately business related. But still: it is interesting to see after so many years, that friendship can create synergies assisting the work within the Archdiocese of Cape Town. A very good feeling about it – and an outstanding service at the so-called family restaurant.

Office work, phone calls, preparations – a decent dinner with nice people – this day brought a good mix of everything and looking back at the week, which started in Bangkok and will end in Newlands – a diversity of experience within a week which makes one grateful. I hope for more such good weeks to come in the next time…

Filed under: Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

14th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenNovember 16th, 2019
4 months to go.

Ball of HOPE 2020

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 23rd, 2020
10 months to go.
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