Wednesday, March 31, 2010

hepimiz gececegiz bu kopruden

50 kurus

basbakan'in 'ucarak belirledigi' iddia edilen 3. kopru guzergahi

kopru gecis ucreti

Thanks: Ulas Akin

Thursday, March 18, 2010

do your homework

I just received the following email from the Human Resources Department of the office I work at:


Following an update to the Prevention of Illegal Working: Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2008 that came in to force on 29th February 2008, we are now required to carry out repeat checks of your documents showing your entitlement to work in the UK every twelve months.

Our records show that you commenced employment on 01 July 2008.

Please bring evidence of your entitlement to work in the UK into the HR Reception, Room W100, First Floor, Tower Three, by 12th of April 2010 for us to make the annual check.

Please see our website for detailed information on why it is important that we retain a copy of documents proving your entitlement to work in the UK:

If you do not produce documents to establish your ongoing entitlement to work in the UK, your contract with the School and your salary payments may be affected.

Please note that if these documents are not produced we may also contact the UK Border Agency Employer Checking Service to verify your continued entitlement to work in the UK.

Here is my response:

I will bring the passport over, but don’t you already have a copy of my Work visa? That should clearly state the validity of my work permit. I’d be happy to hear why non-EU residents have to go through such practices when all their records are kept at the respective authorities? This should be a co-ordination work between the HR of the relevant organization and the Home Office. I’d be happy to hear how this system is not able to maintain itself.

Why the hell, do we then have to go through interrogations every time we enter this country, every time we want to receive services that we are entitled to? Are you so confused because you've created so many different layers of mental panopticons? If this is the system you've decided to come up with and entangle yourselves, please do your homework before asking others to tidy up behind yourselves.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

i was thrown into the sea

I asked:
- So what is Danae the goddess of?
She replied:
- I was the lover of Zeus.

That was not really the answer I was after, but I was not as surprised about the fact that she referred to the source of her name as an "I" as I was surprised by the fact that 'we do not learn Greek mythology until 2nd year of high school, all other cultures do, this is stupid!'. She was in London for a few days for a dance seminar. She said she is from lower-classes of the society, she works in different towns, teaching all ages between 3 and 50, body movements for the former, salsa for the latter and any other advanced dance courses for whatever in between...

I moved to my new house finally about a week ago. It was a bliss waking up to sunshine and the noises of the ducks for the first week. After a temporary 9-day accommodation at R.'s kind offer and using the storage room in my office as my own, I finally started moving into my new home. Y. gave me a helping hand on Monday to move the final bits from the office to the house. She had never walked by the canal over the last half a year she lived in London, so I thought it would be a good idea to introduce her to this one of the most underrated features of London, despite the cold and the lonesome evening. After an just-over-half-an-hour walk to Angel, accompanied by mind puzzles (i.e. you tell the end of a story and the other has to guess the story and the only way to information is by asking the narrator 'yes' or 'no' questions), she took a bus home from Angel.

It was cold and I could not be bothered to walk back. I walked to a convenient bus stop where I could take the 349 for the first time ever: an easy 20-minute bus ride back home.

She had a bag of heavy books and she said she likes to learn more and more about dancing. She said she hasn't seen any of London although this was her 3rd time in the UK. "I come and attend the seminar, then I have to go back and continue working". She also said:
- The only thing I remember about that park is that huge writing about some "city farm". That's where I need to go, that's where my hotel is.

349 did not look as if it wanted to arrive. A Turkish girl made about 5 different phone calls in the meanwhile. "I came to London, it was not an easy decision, but I go on with my life now, I don't have to have a new one, I made this decision", she was saying in one of them. In the latter, she was telling N. Teyze not to worry, the bus was late, and she could walk if it hadn't arrived in the next 5 minutes.

Danae was confused and wanted to know whether 349 would take her to 'the park where the hotel' was. Another lady at the bus stop was complaining about the failing London Buses. I personally never trusted them! She said she will 'hit at the driver about this!' We told Danae that 349 was the only single-vehicle-route for her to get closest to where she needed to go. When asked 'how long do I need to walk?' and then said 'I don't want to walk in that area', we both said 'it is safe, don't worry'.

She exclaimed:
- The crisis is bad. But, it affects the poor much worse. The poor is even poorer now. You know, when we have a crisis in Greece, we all go for a coffee, if things go bad, we need some Greek coffee.
(I did not have any intention to go into the debate of the 'real name' of that type of coffee...)

349 arrived. Apparently the Turkish girl only needed 3-4 stops, if I were her, I would have already walked that distance! Well, maybe this was the only chance to make 4 phone calls without having to respond to N. Teyze whilst being kept away legitimately by the London Bus system.

We got off where I thought the 349 would divert from the main road with Danae. The short walk became a 12-minute one through the cold. I helped her carry the bag of books as she rolled me a cigarette. She said she spent the whole day in Old Street at the seminar and decided to have coffee with a friend in Angel. She did not eat anything in London since she came.

- What do you eat here? It's expensive and the food outside is really bad. I don't eat... or, hehe, I eat coffees, 3 cups of coffees, every day.

When I first assumed she was from Spain, I should have known from her accent that she was Greek. I asked what Danae meant. That was after when I accepted to have a beer at her hotel bar before I left for home. In fact, I was craving to go home, finish the rest of the tortellini and have a 'michelada' style of beer.

- I was the lover of Zeus.
- How many did he have? Lovers, I mean?
- Hahahaha, he had so many!!
- So what happened to Danae? I'm sure Hera wasn't happy about all this.
- Hera threw me into the sea, and I died.
- That's a shame. Didn't Poseidon or someone help?
- No.

She said she did not know much about London. I gave her the advice to walk around the canal, she said she did not even have time. I left after the round of beer she offered me. I learned more about Greece, dancing, Danae's fate, what Greek people do in a financial crisis, 3 new town names in Greece (which I now forgot), see the shiny eyes of a 'fallen goddess'. It was even colder outside, I was hungry and had to pee soon, so I took a cab back home. The cab driver said he grew up with Turks in Stoke Newington. I told him a bit about the similarities and differences between Turks and Kurds. He said 'yarrak' and 'pezevenk' as I left the cab. I told him he learned the 'correct words'. He was actually a joyful man who seemed to have a big heart. The cab was warm and I got off of the bridge. I looked over the canal and thought how underestimated some things are.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

why and why not

Unexpectedly and cheerfully, I woke up for the 4th morning in a row to sunlight and the noises of the ducks from the canal. A couple of video calls with my parents and they were happy to see my new surroundings. So was I. I didn't mind that it took me a couple of hours to get up, take a shower, have breakfast, read some news, organise and leave the flat. I cycled by the canal, bought myself a nail clipper, a suede shoe protector spray and headed up north towards where I lived a couple of years ago for a few months. Back there, when I had first moved in, it also felt right, and there was a lot of sunlight. What followed thereafter had impacts on where I am now.

I thought for a moment that I saw an image of London that didn't resemble anything of the sort I have ever seen here before. A row of new developments, but taller than they usually are (a mini-scale of Manhattan tall residences), in Dutch-like bright shades of yellow and red, lined up in a crooked street, resembling that of an ancient Roman city, bending towards the right as an inclining railroad tracks disappear into the linear perspective, at the end of which my eyes all but could miss the glamorous Emirates Stadium of the Arsenal Football Club. I was heading my way up to the Market Estate Project, a collaboration of 60-some artists who displayed their interpretation of the last remnants of a 1960's modern housing-estate that is going to be demolished in the next few weeks. But before I made it to the exhibition, I was drawn but what I had just seen. I cycled into what I then realised was a dead-end street, only to realise that, there was yet another one architectural feature, a house reminiscent of a Western European rural architectural features in the midst of a row of Victorian houses with a secured gate and a cobblestone pavement entrance with a wild garden on the back of it. Astonished as I was, I made my way towards that street where the colourful new developments led the way to the stadium (and, to my disappointment, they were nothing other than another fancy new development): It was 3 PM, I was cycling slowly through a crowd of Arsenal fans, it smelled of meatball grill mixed with ongoing chants for an industry that drags millions behind itself, and yet there I was, wheeling slowly but resolute towards a childhood memory. I was an Arsenal fan for that moment.

The Market Estate Project was the first highlight of the day. As the sun started hiding behind the clouds and the gloom settled in and out, I realised this was the estate, at a flat of which I had dinner with my friends O. and F. last July on an unexpected invitation last year. It was an apalling summer's evening with around 10 C of cold and heavy rain which got me soaking wet. Now, I was sitting in the courtyard with O. and the sun had shown itself again and before seeing the actual displays of the project, we were catching up with the recent developments in our lives. That was the first time in the day when I said "this is why..."... We've filled ourselves with some cakes and brownies, and warmed up with tea while one of the live bands was playing one of D.'s favourite songs that she had shared with me some time ago. Market Estate Project was a memoir, but looked determinately towards the future as memories from my recent history were coming right at me. I enjoyed it.

After about 3 hours later, I beat the cold of the dying day with a cup of tea and a fast ride through the northern suburbs towards Stoke Newington. Another one of those evenings and I did not mind having some Turkish food on my own on a restaurant that I never tried before. As I gazed through the other tables filled up by couples and groups, I felt the uneasy comfort of biding my time at a place where I could almost feel familiar. The familiarity was what T. was looking for when she called me and said she had arrived at the pub where everyone going to A.'s house was eventually going to meet. Soon after, me, T., M., N. and D2 were waiting for the signal to move to A.'s. Boy, was he surprised and he seemed to enjoy every bit of the unexpected fright.

Some things just started not feeling quite right. The last time I was there, I also felt a bit alienated, probably mostly by the fact that I did not mind being in my own corner and yet felt at ease. It was not particularly the same this time. Somehow, the feeling that I did not have a corner of my own, and if I happened to try and have one, it would mean that I was being antisocial started kicking in. Although I felt like the contrary and, as opposed to the last time, did not even want to have my own corner, it just grew more and more uncomfortable that I somehow could not fit in. Realising this was the first step to feeling that it was a selfish thought process. D2 reminded me of AC K. Added to the fact that I dreamt about him, amongst my other best friends in a weird dream the other night, and that I also dribbled and took a few shots with a basketball for the first time since god knows how long (and boy, did I love to play basketball in high school!) and that we'd frequently play with AC K; D2 did in deed seem to embody some of the characters AC K had, in what feels like a finely balanced introvertedness that can come out rather sharp but at times very entertaining to those alert. That did not necessarily provide any comfort to my own surrounding.

In the end, A. looked happy for all that matters. I was happy to be part of this. And this was the peak of my self-interested thought process. Maybe I cannot help but shape my behaviour mainly around such thinking and that does not necessarily mean I'm only selfish. I just realised that it is more frequent around here that I am confronted with this and where I look to find the immediate support from people that I would like to consider as friends, I just see walls between myself and them. "Who put them up?" is not the main question here. This is when I first said "this is why not..."...

I'm looking forward to the football tomorrow. I want to run as much as I can, provide my teammates and myself with the most I can and score some goals and let it out. Does trying to be part of a team also sound like a self-motivated action? I don't know the answer to this, but I know that "it is why..." that I can end a nice weekend with all that I did today and football tomorrow and "it is why not..." that I do not even know if those around me tonight and tomorrow alike will judge me for who I am and that I am not even sure whether they would ever bother considering me close to them.

Monday, March 01, 2010

colour-coded cars and airport car-parks

When I was a kid, my father told me why we had a black car. He said the colour black for your car shows your strong and serious character. White for a car's colour is too insignificant and the car gets dirty rather easily. Or at least, it shows easily. When I took over my sister's car when he moved outside Istanbul, it happened to be black and I liked it. Throughout the time, I gained a lot of awareness on different price tags for same car brands of different colours, different meanings of what colours meant for what type of cars from the perspectives of consumers, sellers, traffic police officers. I also realised that my favourite colour for my car would probably be a dark-red, burgundy. Maybe there are articles out there that study the relationship between certain communities and their choices of car brands and colours with the environment and culture in which they live in.

Look at these satellite images of the JFK Airport in New York and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta I cropped for you and compare the distribution of black, white and red coloured-cars in both. You'll be fascinated with the density of cars at Atlanta compared to JFK (please click on thumbnails to see larger images):



I do not yet know if one can come to any conclusions from this, but I will keep my investigation going.