Sunday, 22 June 2008

Chirayliq Football Semifinals!!

I can't believe both Russia and Turkey are going to be in the semifinals! Hamit Altıntop is already brimming with excitement. Turkey will meet Germany on June 25. Our favourite Permyak, Konstantin Zyryanov, is looking forward to Russia's second battle with Spain - it's payback time!
Right: Zyryanov and Bilyaletdinov, celebrating.
Below: A lovely pile-up of Turks.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Sikh models

A reader suggested we feature nice guys from India. And who in India could be more Chirayliq than the Sikhs?

Sikhs can be easily recognised by the five articles of faith that all baptized Sikh men and women (Khalsa) wear at all times, "for identification and representation of the ideals of Sikhism, such as honesty, equality, fidelity, meditating on God, and never bowing to tyranny": a strapped sword or knife (kirpan), a wooden comb, a steel bracelet, specially designed underwear, and uncut hair.

As Wikipedia tells us, "the concept of saint-soldier is a unique feature of Sikhism. Every Sikh is required to aspire to sainthood by his devotion to God and service to mankind, but also, according to the situation, to adopt the role of the soldier. A Sikh is also commanded, if necessary and circumstances allow, to lay his or her life down to protect the poor and weak, regardless of race, religion, sex or creed."

I still remember clearly reading this BBC news article about the first ever agency with Sikh models finally being launched in Delhi back in 2003 by Gurmeet Singh (in the photo to the left), breaking the tradition of sleek-faced, boyish Indian models and actors. The article quotes one of the models, Jaskirat Singh Rekhi, 19:

"Sikh models are very macho, very masculine and very passionate. They are not like those hanky-panky guys, you know those girl-like guys," he says.

Here is another article about the agency.

What has happened in the Sikh fashion world since then? Well, for certain, Sikh models continue to conquer the world.

(c) Andrew Kelly

For example, in 2007, Australian photographer Andrew Kelly did a fashion shoot with Sikh models, and socially aware fashion line Kenneth Cole had an ad campaign in early 2008 with the concept "We All Walk In Different Shoes", with the quite stunning Sonny Caberwal, aka Sandeep Singh. (The latter is discussed at SikhNet and SikhChic.)

Library Lover

Sorry, I just couldn't resist the cheeky title. But there is an entirely valid reason for it...

As a (former) university employee, I for some reason keep receiving Lund University's internal magazine LUM. Usually I leaf through it and recycle, but this time - Chirayliq opportunity!

The Raoul Wallenberg institute is assisting the modernization of the Public Defender's Office library in Tbilisi. Lund University has contributed with a financial grant to a teacher who will help educate librarians at Tbilisi State University. The public libraries in Georgia suffer from financial cuts, lack of modern literature and international contacts, and lack of modern database technology. Hopefully the co-operation will also have some effects here in Sweden. In spite of all their problems, the Georgian libraries have something that we seriously lack...

... hot librarians.
George Amariani works at the Public Defender's Office library. And now he's famous in Sweden. Note the little pink and white button - it's the Library Lovers button, in support of The Swedish Library Association's campaign for increased political commitment to publicly financed libraries. Sweden is able to export librarian skills, but what about the libraries back home?

Don't take your free public library for granted. Libraries (and librarians) need love!

Friday, 20 June 2008

A merry meeting

A merry meeting, originally uploaded by Ainurel.

Swedish crown princess Victoria meets the crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Spotted in Svensk Damtidning, some May issue.

I think the monarchy should be abolished, but there's one thing Vickan could do to make me a bit more interested in the Swedish royal family. I have no idea why she keeps dating those greasy Swedish gym teacher brats called "Daniel" (they all look alike to me and the king anyway) when she could vamp us a real sheik instead.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

URAAAA (Russia vs. Sweden 2-0)

2008 - Kiitos, Venäjä - Спасибо, Россия!

Goal hero Andrei Arshavin pauses for a bear hug by Konstantin Zyryanov. Molodtsi.

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov had been a bit nervy before the match, but the Russians have seriously shaped up during these games: "Football is a man's game and character comes into it a lot. Maturity is when you learn quickly from your mistakes and don't repeat them in the future. You shouldn't fall into the same trap twice." Apparently, coach Guus Hiddink had given the boys the Marine sergeant treatment before the battle with Greece - and it paid off against "well-disciplined" Sweden.

Photos stolen from and, if anyone's interested...

Traders across Asia

diegas is a Flickr user who works as a guide in Asia, specializing in the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway, China and the Silk roads. He has amazing photos from all over Eurasia. Here are three examples, all of them portraits of traders and shopkeepers from different countries.

Click the photos to see them bigger.

A butcher in Uzbekistan (he is really handsome, I think, so do go look at the bigger size!)

A fishmonger in Turkey

A silk trader in Mongolia

All photos (c) diegas.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

From the Russian Team

From right to left: goalkeeper Vladimir Gabulov, native of the Caucasian federal republic North Ossetia-Alania; midfielder and likely Tatar Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, who has scored 2 goals this far; and unknown but cute Israeli player in the background.
The Russian team also features a brother duo (this seems to be a meme): the undeniably Russian-looking Berezutski brothers, Vasili and Aleksei (I hope I got them in the right order):
Finally, just wondering if Konstantin Zyryanov, who scored a goal against Greece, by any chance is a "Zyryan", that is, of Komi heritage (related to Udmurt)? After all, he started his career in Perm, and while I disapprove of the confusion of linguistic and racial categories, I think it's physically impossible to look more Finno-Ugric than he does. While Zyryanov might not be a dark-eyed charmer, he seems to be very witty, the "joker of the team". His personal life has, in contrast, been marked with tragedy. I understand now why he looks so old (or should I say, mature) on the portrait at UEFA's website, He is, after all, only 2 years older than I am...

Saturday, 14 June 2008

More football brothers

The Swiss have left the championship - after losing 1:2 to Turkey. But we can still celebrate the one guy who shot the Swiss goal - Swiss-Turk Hakan Yakın. Like Mr Altıntop in the Turkish team, he just happens to have a brother who is playing football, too. Here's their website: Welcome to Yakin's World!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Chinghiz Aitmatov

The great Kyrgyz author Chinghiz Aitmatov passed away yesterday. He wrote in Russian and Kyrgyz language about nomads, cosmonauts and leopards, about the past and the future, about identity and change and love - and "our little brothers", the animals. This literary superstar was chased by fans at the Leipzig book fair as late as last year. Aitmatov turned 80 this year, and Kyrgyzstan dedicated the year 2008 to his honour.

A collection of papers on Aitmatov's literary work (and some translations)
Farewell, Gyulsary! - a short story about an old Kyrgyz herdsman and his horse (1966)
Article in Der Spiegel
Photo source

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Portugal - Turkey 2-0

ARD: Hamit Altintop findet Vorwürfe übertrieben
Altintop hält die Vorwürfe gegen die türkische Mannschaft für übertrieben. Nach dem Relegationsspiel zur Fußball-WM gerieten türkische und schweizer Spieler in einen handgreiflichen Konflikt.
[morgenmagazin; 0'22]

Turkey didn't get an easy start in the Euro 2008 cup - first they upset the Swiss, and now they lose to Portugal. I just want to say that my heart goes out to the Turkish team, who fought valiantly - the Portuguese were just better this time.
In the Turkish team, I especially tried to pay attention to our Chirayliq favourite, Hamit Altıntop. The last time I announced the European football (or soccer, for the Norteamericanos among our readers) championships, I posted a photo of Hamit celebrating a victory with a smooch on the head of teammate Nihat Kahveci. A quick google tour for other cute pictures of the German-born, Bayern München midfielder (yeah, I know that ARD screen cap says FC Schalke 04, he used to play for them recently) revealed an interesting fact: he has a twin brother, Halil, who is 10 minutes younger and plays as a striker at FC Schalke 04.

Both brothers have their own official websites: Hamit & Halil. If you read German, there's a super-cute lie-detector interview with Hamit at He loves his Mama, eats Fruchtzwerge in the night, and lies only rarely...By the way: Altıntop means "golden ball".

Georgians With Pets #2

me, originally uploaded by

Mr Vardanashvili is a Georgian photographer. Check out his Flickr photostream for beautiful photos from the Caucasus and around the world. His website is

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Mustafa Shokay

Our reader Netania drew our attention to this video with a song from the soundtrack of a new film about Mustafa Shokay from Kazakhstan.

Mustafa Shokay, born into an aristocratic family in the village Aulie-Tarangyl in the Kyzyl-Orda region and of Kipchak and Kazakh origin, was one of the leaders of a revolt in 1917 against the Bolsheviks . After the revolt was crushed, he fled the country and lived in exile in Europe. During this time, he became one of the leading authorities on the history of Central Asia and was an ardent Turkestani nationalist. He later went on to help form the Turkestan Legion, who allied themselves with Germany during the Second World War, hoping to establish an independent state in Central Asia.

Mustafa is played by Aziz Beyshenaliev.

Anyway, (at least according to this clip) he also had a very dramatic love story with his wife, a Jewish redhead called Maria Yakovlevna ...
The music is by the duo Musicola. The singer, Karina Abdullina, apparently also plays the role of Shokay's wife.

My favourite scene:

*sigh* ...

Here are some more screencaps from this film, and here's a bit more about Musicola.

Apparently, Shokay is buried here in Berlin.