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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Unofficial Appreciations

Many of the emails I get at Tarkan Deluxe ask about my tastes, my likes and dislikes. Usually I don't answer such questions, because for me tastes should change. In my life, as I personally develop throughout my learning, new tastes will be acquired and old tastes discarded.

However saying that, a lady from Hertfordshire in the UK has recently asked me a range of interesting questions about myself that I wanted to answer. She writes:

My dear Ali,

As many others, I love reading your blog! It tells me so much about you, but leaves so much unanswered! I have a few questions for you - some are just your favourites (like that really clever fairy tale question you use). Please answer them!

  1. What's your favourite kissing technique?
  2. Who is your favourite all-time singer?
  3. Do you have a favourite animal as a pet?
  4. Tell me one favourite story from your "fairy tale" that you'll tell your children?
  5. What is your favourite place in the world?
  6. What books made you think so much they took you longer to read?
  7. What current global issue bothers you?
  8. Do you prefer cinematic art or movies?
  9. Do you sing in the bath?

So in response, here's a slice of me in September 2007. Please note that some of these are appreciations at the time of my writing them, not necessarily at the time of your reading them.

My Favourite Kissing Technique

Studies have shown that in long-term relationships females not only rate kissing as more important than men, but they indicated that kissing was important throughout a relationship. So it is interesting you ask this question (as don't forget these questions say a lot about you too!). However, I rarely kiss and tell. Yes, I have a favourite kissing technique, it took me years of practice to perfect it. That's all I'll say, though.

My All-time Favourite Singer

I don't really have all-time favourites, but are certain styles of music that I like to listen to more, and of course I always appreciate those singers that are masters of their craft. One singer I listen to a lot at the moment is British talent Amy Winehouse. She is an amazing artist.

My Favourite Pet Animal

Although I'm getting interested in snakes at the moment - but don't feel it's right to take wild animals from their natural habitat to have as house pets - I have to say that it is dogs. I have loved dogs from childhood. My last dog Sampson was a Samoyed. I know it might sound crazy to those not like-minded, but he was as close to me as a brother. He was not my first pet, but the connection with Sam had been different. He died young. After his death I was so devasted that I still haven't been able to replace him with another pet, even though I miss having a dog.

My Favourite Memory

With a memory I detail further below, a recent one that involves losing my glasses and getting a replacement pair is joint favourite as reference for future generations.

My Favourite Place

I have lived in England from a very early age, but my favourite place is my birthplace Cyprus. You do not neccessarily have to grow up in a country to connect with it. I said to a friend in an email once that it's possible our souls are seeds given to fruit from other flowers of the same soil, blown across the generations, and when we step on that earth, something deep in our souls bloom in remembrance. It was like that for me when I first came to the island with my mother on a winter trip as a child of eight. It's still like that today.

Books to Read That Made Me Think

Growing up in England - but as a Cypriot from an island where half of the population still do not recognise you as such - books involving the convoluted Cyprus issue are ones that make me think the most. I try to scrutinise my own bias as I read about how there is no loved lost between old enmities.

On the subject, I'm currently reading Yiannis Papadakis' Echoes from the Dead Zone where Greek Cypriot Papadakis tries to explore the common humanity bewteen Greeks and Turks, and Tim Potier's analysis of the latest attempt at a settlement in A Functional Cyprus Settlement; The Constitutional Dimension. Guiding the reader through the Annan Plan, it highlights the errors and gaps in the plan that was rejected by the Greek Cypriots.

Throughout both books there is a sense of objectivity and balance, which is rare in most books about Cyprus, political or not. Both books try to address the needs and concerns of both sides. That alone makes them a worthy read, especially the latter since generally each side picks the parts of the plan that are most detrimental to them as a community. It goes without saying that those of us watching from a distance don't need to read any books to realise that without both communities swallowing a bitter bill, and allowing for some level of will and trust, no settlement plan will ever succeed.

<< Do you want to read more about the Cyprus Issue?

As an aside, I also recently enjoyed The Dangerous Book for Boys.

A Current Issue To Think About

Apart from wanting to see an end to global war zones and displaced refugees, this can change everyday depending on what I read in the paper. Most recently I wonder about the future of the European Union, as highlighted in the story where former communist countries such as Poland recently in the European Union are suffering from the mass migration of its workers to the richer northern European countries, threatening to choke off their own economic boom. It signals that the EU needs to question its own future.

<< Read about Turkey and the EU

My Preference in Moving Pictures

In my opinion cinematic art and movie entertainment should never be so strictly defined as to divide the cinema into art on one hand and commerce on the other; we must let all flowers of the garden flourish as it were to appreciate all its colours. My tastes aren't elitist; I have liked art-house movies and Hollywood blockbusters in turn, depending on the mood I was in at that particular time.

Singing in the Bath

Until very recently I didn't like to sing, and kept any vocal performance to a barely audible hum. However, during my 2007 summer vacation, a good friend called Saïd taught me to "find my voice" and not to be afraid to sing out loud. So, I now sing in the bath regularly, and get told that I have quite a good voice.

Want to read more about my life? >>

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