This great title hides 20 years of research by Elizabeth Pisani, an epidemiologist and researcher into AIDS. The Independent review
starts thus: There are many things to like about this book, beginning with the title. The Wisdom of Whores is racy enough to make one pause before flashing it around on the Tube. The press release is similarly direct: "This is a book about sex and drugs," it says, and the contents do not disappoint. I have seldom read at such length and in such graphic detail about the sexual practices of junkies, prostitutes, transvestites, and clients, some of which were hard to comprehend. (Double anal sex? Foreskin soup? Really?).The Guardian review
begins thus: When it comes to statistics, particularly medical statistics, most of us casually absorb what we read in the press with barely a moment's thought as to how the figures in question were arrived at. If we should read, for example, of a rise or fall in the rate of HIV infection among transgender sex workers in Jakarta, how many of us would pause to consider that behind those percentages are teams of dedicated field workers taking anal swabs night after night in red-light districts or battling with the difficulties of getting a cooler full of frozen blood samples past a police roadblock before the night's work defrosts (not to mention the difficulty of persuading clubbers or prostitutes to let them take the samples in the first place)?
If anyone finds this book in a Jakarta bookshop before the FPI do, please let me know.Urban parrots help educate the children of Jakarta
No, this isn't about the major faultline in Indonesia's education system wherein children 'learn' much by rote in order to repeat it all, parrot-like, at test time.City Parrots
is a website devoted to Urban Scarlet Macaw & Parrot Conservation. They've been sent some photographs of wild parrots in Jakarta by the Indonesia Parrot Project
which, together with Konservasi Kakatua Indonesia
join in the C-A-P (Conservation-Awareness-Pride
) campaign, which is directed at Indonesian schoolchildren who are markedly lacking in all three when it comes to their native parrots.
By observing the wild lives of these parrots the children of Jakarta will get a different appreciation of parrots, which they before only knew as caged birds.
The urban parrots get to play a very important role in educating the next generation of Indonesia's schoolchildren. Allowing them to witness for themselves how pointless the bird trade is when smuggled birds get released in Jakarta by people that realise to late that caring for a cockatoo is something people are ill equipped to. The suffering and the horrific loss of life that these birds go through in the live bird trade, is all a dreadful mistake.
(Thanks to T.Belfield of Jakarta Urban Blog for this story.)