Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Wednesday 21 October 2009

Doctor Beat 'Beatocello' Richner

President Obama has recently been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.
The committee have made the award on the basis of the President's plans to improve world safety through his foreign policies.

I have written to the President this week to suggest that he might like to contribute some of his prize money (1.4 million dollars) to a man who has a proven record of saving lives over a 35 year period. I refer to a Swiss man who I first came across in a visit to Cambodia to see the Angkor Wat temples.
Doctor Beat Richner, by his selfless devotion to the country and people of Cambodia is a hero. He has devoted almost his own life to help the people of this war ravaged country. He has succeeded in spite of the negative attitude of such as the WHO, World Health Organization and the Save the Children Fund.
The Kantha Bopha Foundation, he set up, has built and run hospitals in this desperately poor country, treating, from 1993 to 2008, 8.2 million outpatients free of charge. Furthermore, they treated 650,000 in patients and conducted more than 90,000 surgical operations.
550'000 children would not have survived without those hospitals.

I have never met the Doctor and wouldn't even have known about him but for his concerts in Siem Reap.
We were told of the concert as soon as we reached our hotel and having no other commitments after visiting the magnificent temple complex, my wife and I went. We thought it was a cello recital. The first clue that it wasn't a normal concert came when we took our seats in what appeared to be a hospital lecture hall.
It was a weekend; the good doctor only holds his concerts on a Friday and Saturday; probably the best days to fill his hall with tourists.
At the appointed hour he enters, a slightly plump man, thinning on top, holding his cello. He introduces himself, using his stage name 'Beatocello'.
The concert, music mainly by his favourite, Bach, is interspersed with a talk on the medical situation in Cambodia. The presentation includes a slide show which traces the sad history of this country, right up to today, including the effects of the American war in Vietnam and the murderous regime of Pol Pot. During this time, doctor Richner had to leave the country. At the time of his leaving there were in excess of 500 doctors and surgeons in Cambodia. By the time Pol Pot was overturned there were barely forty left. The savage dictator had killed them all in his bid to eliminate the intelligentsia.
One of the biggest problems Dr. Richner faced was HIV, particularly the transmission of the disease from mother to unborn child. One of the biggest causes of HIV in the country was the American GIs use of prostitutes in Phnom Phen, during the Vietnam conflict. Doctor Richner, himself a pediatrician, and his team have pioneered techniques which have drastically reduced the transmission rates.
Despite all this good work, he has struggled to secure funding for expanding his work outside the capital and Siem Reap. The WHO and Save the Children fund felt that the money could be better spent elsewhere. So, Doctor Richner and his cello began their concerts. During the talk he asks the older visitors for money, the younger ones for blood and the in betweens for both.

It is almost impossible not to be moved by the Doctor's humanity. After seeing him I was inspired to write my first novel 'Apsaras', introducing a ficticious character who after seeing Beat Richner also decided to do good works. I wish I could do more to help him with his endeavours, having to make do with bringing his name to the attention of as many people as possible. When you see daily in the newspapers reports of people, so evil it is almost impossible to find the right word to describe them, it is uplifting to hear of a human being that puts others first and epitomizes the ability of humankind to do good.

For more information on Doctor Beat Richner, either Google his name or go to his web site at:

Kevill Davies, author of 'Apsaras'. Available from online book stores.

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Night Paralysis

I have suffered this condition for many years although not so often in recent years.
It is frightening, and I've often thought that while trying to wake up completely I'd suffer a heart attack. Researchers do not understand what is happening but I do know that it happens in countries across the globe, where people often associate it with a 'devil' sitting on the person.

What happens?
I wake up, normally during a dream, but although I am aware, I cannot move as I'd wish. In my case the condition persists for some time, causing panic to set in. I become more and more desperate to move a leg or arm say, putting enormous amounts of stress into the effort. It is at this time when I think I could induce a cardiac arrest as failure to make the muscles respond increases the panic and stress. I can think clearly about trying to relax but its almost impossible to lie there dormant while constricted.
I don't know if I'm lucky but I don't suffer from total paralysis. I can make some grunting noise, and make minimal use of my finger tips or toes to alert my wife who now recognises my condition. She wakes up and vigorously shakes me until I fully wake up, a process that can take some time and effort.

What is it?
I can believe it's a stress related condition, probably most common during ones middle years. I can't remember suffering as a youngster and now that I've retired I've had only one attack this year.
That doctors cannot find the cause should be no surprise, particularly as it seems to be associated with REM activity and dreams.
It is my opinion that dreams are a fuction of brain activity subject to actions and reactions involving the function 'i' or the square root of minus one. It is impossible for our brains, as currently constituted, to understand this function, but the workings of the brain use it. In the future, evolutionary development of the brain will enable us to fully 'see' this dimension.

Monday 19 October 2009

Race and IQ. Science's last taboo.

Race and IQ. Science's last taboo.

Channel 4 are to air a controversial programme, 'Race and Intelligence: Science's Last Taboo', challenging the scientific proposition that the IQ of different races varies, from the Australian aborigines at the bottom of the pile to the most intelligent from North Eastern Asia; people from Japan, parts of China and Korea.

This is sure to upset those whose sensibilities are hurt by any form of racist comment or suggestion. Am I upset that, as a European, I am not as bright as a Japanese person? Are my Human Rights infringed by these revelations? Not a bit of it and neither should anyone else be upset by the findings, even IF they are true.
I, however, wouldn't be surprised if it's true. Never mind intercontinental variations, I find that there's a huge variation in IQ within, say, the British. From the super intelligent people like Stephen Hawking to the Neanderthal like creatures that cause so much mindless trouble trouble in town centres.

To test whether there is any validity to these findings I have devised a short test for you, the readers. Please answer these questions with a 'yes or 'no' answer.

1. Can you identify an indigenous African winner of a Nobel Science Prize?
2. Can you name one indigenous African composer whose work has been performed at the Proms or broadcast on Classic FM?
3. Can you name any indigenous African artist whose work has appeared at a major art gallery.

If you record three 'nos', I suggest that either the proposition has some validity or that I've chosen the wrong questions.

Now, in case you think that the latter is correct, I want you to repeat the questions but this time in place of 'indigenous African', I want you to insert the word, 'female'.

There are no prizes for giving Marie Curie as a female Nobel science Prize, she won it in successive years, but I suspect you can think of no others. Nor will I accept Tracy Emin in the third category on the grounds that she isn't accepted as a 'Master'.

I wonder if Channel 4 have the nerve to ask the same questions?

For those of you who think that I'm being unfair, please be consoled with the fact that I can't think of one North East Asian person that answers the questions either.

Kevill Davies is author of 'Apsaras'. Available at most on line book shops.
Read more on his Indaloblog at

Richard Davies on the BBC

Richard, my son has had his picture of a fairgroung ride in Huercal Overa featured as todays picture of the day in the 'Have your say' feature on the BBC web site.

Well done Richard! Great effort.

To see more of Richard's work go to :-

Celebrity back scratching

I was watching Alan Titchmarsh the author and broadcaster on the 'One Show' an early evening chat programme, promoting his new book. Whenever the TV celebs publish a new book, they seem able to move from one show to another, regardless of channel, promoting their work and simultaneously inviting their hosts on to their own programmes in a self serving merry-go-round. I expect to see Christine Blakely on the A.T. show when her first autobiography, written by a ghost writer hits the book shops.
It has been suggested that Jonathon's Ross' agent makes sure that all his writers get a slot on the programme. I can't blame him; it makes sense but are the public being, in some way, cheated. Why should I be bothered? As an author myself, knowing how hard it is to breakthrough in the business, it is galling to find that the so called celebs are able to get so much easy promotion. Others, more gifted than me, are also being denied access to a wider audience by all this 'nepotism'. I wrote to ITV, the makers of the A.T. Show and suggested that they make a slot available where the host interviews a complete newcomer. It need not be every day or even every week; but now and again where they find a writer with an interesting story to tell. I will own up here and say that I did push my own name forward but I doubt very much if my letter will get passed the waste bin.

I finished 'The Green Man at Buddleigh' last week. The story is finished. I'm at the same stage as a painter who's fiddled with his finished picture and has to put down his brush for fear of overdoing it. The story has finished at just under 112 thousand words which for me is about right. I don't like to have too short a book, because a buyer wants value for money, but on the other hand I don't want it to be so long that by the end the reader is bored. I've now sent some chapters to pdf or Peters, Fraser and Dunlop, the agency. Hopefully, they'll look at it more seriously than I suspect Curtis Brown did. I like my story. Most authors would, of course, say that, but with a successful blending of several different stories within the whole, I think I've succeeded in making an entertaining book.

The US President has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I'm delighted for him but wonder if there wasn't someone more deserving; someone who has already saved countless lives by their selfless devotion to their quest. I talk, of course, about Doctor Beat Richner, the Swiss pediatrician and founder of the Kantha Bopha foundation. I have said it before but I'll say it again. If my novel, 'Apsaras' makes money I'll be happy to make a donation to his cause. In the meantime, I've written to the President suggesting that he might make a contribution with some of his 1.4 million dollar prize money.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

God- The creator?

God is not the Creator, claims academic
The notion of God as the Creator is wrong, claims a top academic, who believes the Bible has been wrongly translated for thousands of years.

The Earth was already there when God created humans and animals, says academic
Professor Ellen van Wolde, a respected Old Testament scholar and author, claims the first sentence of Genesis "in the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth" is not a true translation of the Hebrew.

She claims she has carried out fresh textual analysis that suggests the writers of the great book never intended to suggest that God created the world -- and in fact the Earth was already there when he created humans and animals.

Prof Van Wolde, 54, who will present a thesis on the subject at Radboud University in The Netherlands where she studies, said she had re-analysed the original Hebrew text and placed it in the context of the Bible as a whole, and in the context of other creation stories from ancient Mesopotamia.

She said she eventually concluded the Hebrew verb "bara", which is used in the first sentence of the book of Genesis, does not mean "to create" but to "spatially separate".

The first sentence should now read "in the beginning God separated the Heaven and the Earth"

According to Judeo-Christian tradition, God created the Earth out of nothing.

Prof Van Wolde, who once worked with the Italian academic and novelist Umberto Eco, said her new analysis showed that the beginning of the Bible was not the beginning of time, but the beginning of a narration.

She said: "It meant to say that God did create humans and animals, but not the Earth itself."

She writes in her thesis that the new translation fits in with ancient texts.

According to them there used to be an enormous body of water in which monsters were living, covered in darkness, she said.

She said technically "bara" does mean "create" but added: "Something was wrong with the verb.

"God was the subject (God created), followed by two or more objects. Why did God not create just one thing or animal, but always more?"

She concluded that God did not create, he separated: the Earth from the Heaven, the land from the sea, the sea monsters from the birds and the swarming at the ground.

"There was already water," she said.

"There were sea monsters. God did create some things, but not the Heaven and Earth. The usual idea of creating-out-of-nothing, creatio ex nihilo, is a big misunderstanding."

God came later and made the earth livable, separating the water from the land and brought light into the darkness.

She said she hoped that her conclusions would spark "a robust debate", since her finds are not only new, but would also touch the hearts of many religious people.

She said: "Maybe I am even hurting myself. I consider myself to be religious and the Creator used to be very special, as a notion of trust. I want to keep that trust."

A spokesman for the Radboud University said: "The new interpretation is a complete shake up of the story of the Creation as we know it."

Prof Van Wolde added: "The traditional view of God the Creator is untenable now."


Readers of my blog will know that I do not subscribe to any God and that the universe came into being as a result of a quantum fluctuation. Furthermore, the universe is composed of two parts, one we experience and can understand and another part that we cannot. We cannot experience or understand the other half because it is composed of objects defined by dimensions containing the factor 'i' or the square root of minus one.
In common with the article above, my universe also comes from nothing and in totality sums to nothing at all times.
This idea of a universal duality is common in religions and ideology from the earliest times. How early teachings, passed from generation to generation by oral tradition, were translated to include the existence of a Creator God or Gods I can only speculate. (see my other blogs) However, this new offering, in suggesting that the planet earth was not created by a God is a step in the right direction but still fails to answer the first important question. "Why did God do it?"

Tuition Fees

Tuition Fees.

It was never going to work! The Labour Government under Tony Blair, set a target of 50% of students going on to higher education by 2010. One wouldn't mind them setting such a laudable target if it wasn't for the real and underlying aim; namely taking numbers off the unemployment statistics.

It is unbelievable that they thought the taxpayers wouldn't notice their deception and it is a measure of their arrogance that they simply shrug off any criticism as the rantings of the loony right.

Now, of course, higher education isn't suitable for every child. Some youngsters would prefer to learn a trade and when I was leaving secondary school, it was still possible to become an apprentice and do day release at a technical college.
I believe that apprenticeships are making a comeback as Companies recognise the advantages of training their employeees from a young age. The Government, or should I say the Tax Payers, already pay the cost of the tuition fees but they could go further, particularly if Government makes it more attractive for companies to take on school leavers with tax incentives; possibly through lower national insurance contributions.

The cost of tuition fees is a daunting prospect for many school leavers wanting to go to University. Now, many colleges are warning that costs are set to spiral upwards, leaving many graduates facing years of heavy debt. All this at a time when the United Kingdom badly needs a generation able and equipped to drive a new economy which is not only lacking in manufacturing, but will also need to sustain an ever older population. The old reliance on 'Invisible earnings' to balance the Country's books may not be possible in the future with the shake up of the financial services industry.

What to do? For some years the traditional subjects, especially the sciences, have been neglected in favour of new and fashionable subjects such as Media Studies. Apparently one can now study for a degree in 'Star Trek'. However, to my mind, it is the old science subjects of engineering, physics and chemistry that we need to encourage for the future prosperity of the Country. Yes they are harder; you can't tell me that a 2.1 in media studies is the same as a 2.1 in physics, for instance, but youngsters must be encouraged to look again at the sciences. Why not pay the fees, or a large portion of them, for students of approved subjects? There will, of course, have to be controls; graduates will have to work in the relevant industry, say for six years after graduation, as part of the arrangement. It's only a suggestion, but I believe it might work.

Kevill Davies is author of 'Apsaras'. Available at most on line book shops.
Read more on his Indaloblog at

Friday 2 October 2009

Mobile phone 'Happy Hours'

Mobile Phone Offers.

Have you noticed that mobile phone companies are offering more and more free call time in an effort to attract more customers. To my mind it's not unlike a pub drumming up business with 'happy hour' deals and with possible similar disastrous consequences. The pub deal encourages people, particularly the young, to drink to excess in the belief that they are getting a good deal.
So too with the mobile phone companies; they are encouraging predominantly young people to hold an electro magnetic device close to their brains for longer and longer.

I don't know about you, but I'm not convinced they're safe. A good friend of mine died a few years ago from a brain tumour. Since then I've heard of countless such deaths from a disease hardly heard of in days gone by, before mobiles. Naturally it's not in the interest of the big companies, nor the Government to highlight that there may be a problem, not only with masts but with the actual phones when they are held so close to the ears.

As a precaution, ALL mobile phones should be sold with earpieces, so that users needn't hold the device close to their heads.