Ponderments, Raisin Pickneys

The real “dog eaters”: 2015- the dark ages of Chinese xenophobia in T&T

racism

Dear Frizzlefowlers.

This one hit so close to home that it blasted me out of writing hypernation.

Trinis of Chinese heritage across the nation are in uproar about the effervescent Health Minister’s controversial comments that stirred up the age-old issue of Chinese xenophobia. And worst yet, are the responses of some.

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Dog carcasses left hanging outside local Chinese establishment: CNC3 Television

Now my personal exposure to this racial intolerance has been existent as far back as I can recall. And the funny thing is, I don’t even look that Chinese. .

I’m of mixed heritage and Trini to the bone, but since my tender years have been affiliated most with my Chinese ancestry. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been labelled a “Dark Chinee” or “Chindian, and gathered multiple nicknames such as “Ting-a-Ling”, “Ping Pong”, and “Stir Fry”.

I’ve been taunted throughout childhood with “Chinee, Chinee, never die, flat nose and choonkie eye”, been shunned because of my apparent love of dog meat, and feared because my Chinese-looking “cut eye” was dragon-fierce and backed by some karate training.

I’ve even had rude supermarket attendants refusing to help me (a “dog eater”), out-of-timing comments about half Chinese women and their subservient sexual tendencies, mimicry of my “Chinese accent”; all still occurring up to present day. This post was even more inspired by an incident just a few days ago, when, with my boys (one of whom looks quite Asian); I was  accosted by ignorant perceptions about Chinese people, and their “nasty” Chinese food dog-eating habits. And the realisation that my five year old son would soon be exposed to this xenophobic madness, jolted me.

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Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome. ~ Rosa Parks

I have grown increasingly fed-up with the ignorance, so I’m going to address these three common acuities:

1) All Chinese are dog-eaters:

Just no. My goodness people; in certain, NOT ALL, Chinese sub-cultures, dogs are eaten as a local delicacy. And historically, dog meat has also been consumed in many other parts of Eastand Southeast Asia, West Africa, Europe, Oceania and even America. For me, growing up with a Chinese-African grandfather who had a finer taste for wild and exotic meats, I’ve been exposed to the concept. My Grandfather, while serving in World War II in China, ate dog meat as a means of survival during food shortages. And I personally think that that was an awesome survival strategy, and would damn well do the same.

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2) Only Chinese people like to eat nasty things:

Among some delicacies that local sub cultures partake of in China include insects, uncooked /half formed eggs, and unwanted animal parts. But let’s put this thing into perspective: we in Trinidad embrace local delicacies like black pudding, pig foot/ snout and chicken foot souse, cow heel soup and geera gizzard which all comprise of less than desirable “reject” animal parts. Also, agouti one of the favourite local wild meat delicacies (now illegal) is closely related to rats, and shrimp (another local favourite) is a bottom-feeder that feeds quite a lot on literal crap. Nice huh. Who are we then to judge?

pig-feetWild meat

Pictures of local delicacies and confiscated wild meat Trinidad Guardian

3) The Chinese have no right to be here and are sucking us dry of opportunity:

Gah @ the stupidity… These immigrants are allowed legal entry into our country. And they generally make much better use of their time here. Asian and especially Chinese work ethic is ranked among the world’s best. Sacrifice and intense discipline is the way of life. Compare a Chinese grocery or restaurant to a locally established one in your area. Which is opened first and closed last? We Trinis, with our laid-back island mentality, love to point fingers and find flaws with anyone who surpasses us; especially against the industrious Chinese immigrants, who take serious strain with intense personal sacrifices. The immigrant population and their descendants have contributed tremendously to our society and economy. And it would be good for us to adopt some of their mentalities.

ZHENGZHOU, CHINA - JUNE 09: Thousands of students at Tagou Kung fu School play a Kung fu performance on June 9, 2012 in Zhengzhou, China.  PHOTOGRAPH BY China Foto Press / Barcroft Media  UK Office, London. T +44 845 370 2233 W www.barcroftmedia.com  USA Office, New York City. T +1 212 796 2458 W www.barcroftusa.com  Indian Office, Delhi. T +91 11 4053 2429 W www.barcroftindia.com

Picture of thousands of Chinese students demonstrating the art of discipline

We have proven to be a people of little tolerance. We are offended by anything that is different, and have shown immense narrow-mindedness. In this year 2015, I am ashamed to see that my countrymen (amongst whom include the descendants of African slaves, East Indian labourers, poor Europeans, and the enslavers themselves) have regressed and are still stuck in the dark ages.


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JOHN-CHINAMAN
Racism in any form, is not ok.

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I write this in full support of Lily Kwok and the countless others in their online appeal to combat ignorance, xenophobia, intolerance and racism.

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“Fight ignorance. Proclaim your humanity. Spread love. #IAmAPerson” Lily Kwok

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Please, let us end intolerance and embrace the cultural variety that makes us such a unique Caribbean melting pot.  Differences fabricate the colour of life’s tapestry; without it, our world would be meh. It is up to us to stop racism by adjusting our attitudes (and jokes), revisiting personal stereotypes and prejudices, and resolving to teach by example and through love.

 #EndIntolerance #EmbraceDifferences

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About, Ponderments

Emancipated? My foot.

Today marks our country’s 29th national holiday in remembrance of the momentous August 1 1838; when enslaved Africans of the then British Caribbean were freed from bondage.

emancipation-1And this of course, in the midst of Malala Yousafzai’s visit; the young Pakistani girl who was shot in the head because she stood up for equal education, who in turn praised T&T for our free education..

malala

Poignant movements; freedom for humankind, great strides for humanity. Hooray for us right?

Wrong.

We belong to a local and international body that still reflects age-old ideals that rights are subject to. Whilst strides were made over a century and half ago to free millions of people from chattel slavery, and stop the genocidal slave trade, there is still a growing sex trade that touches our sands and the bloodshed of innocent children and adults continue at the hands of criminal elements. Malala for whatever reason was banned by an Imam from speaking at a local mosque and all sources seem to point at the fact that it was a matter of elder perception that as a female she could not address the congregation at the masjid.

The rights to being born free and equal in dignity and rights are subject to conditions and mind-sets…the “UNLESS”es.

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Let’s take a brief and uncharacteristically cynical glance at some statutes of our Human Rights’ Act and its attached modus operandi, shall we? http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

  •  Everyone has the right to life, UNLESS you are still in your mother’s womb and not considered “anyone”.images (2)
  •  Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms without distinction of sex, UNLESS you are a woman in a man’s world.
  •  Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind, such as race or colour, UNLESS you are one of the millions who experience frequent racism.images (3)
  •  Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms without distinction of religion or politics, UNLESS you are a Christian in China or an Arab in America.images (4)
  •  Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person, UNLESS you were born into poverty, child neglect, or to parents like Lena Fokina https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7ihdsjIqhI or those who believe in capital punishment with a shovel.8179048
  •  No one shall be held in slavery or servitude in all their forms, UNLESS you are the victim of sex trafficking or have to earn your keep as a child labourer.images (1)
  •  No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, UNLESS you are a prisoner at Golden Grove facility or a prisoner of extremist militants like Boko Harem.download (2)
  •  Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law, UNLESS you are a prisoner on death roll.images (5)
  •  No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile, UNLESS you are a bearded Muslim at the airport or a black American in a white neighbourhood.images (7)article-2126299-12682458000005DC-233_468x286
  •  Everyone is entitled the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according and full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of any criminal charge against him, UNLESS you are a youth man from Morvant, Laventille.plan
  •  No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation, UNLESS you are a political whistle-blower or activist straight arrow. download (5)
  •  Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution UNLESS you are a Serb, Albanian, Turk, Haitian, Libyan, Syrian, Pakistani, Lebanese, Ugandan, or Cuban.download (3)
  •  Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, are entitled to equal rights in marriage, UNLESS you are a Sudanese Muslim marrying a Christian.images (15)
  •  Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses, UNLESS you are a Yemen child bride.images-3
  •  No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property, UNLESS you are a national of Cuba or a member of an indigenous tribe.
    chief-raoni-cryingimages (8)Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, UNLESS these beliefs are too extremist, too unnationalistic, too queer or too liberal.

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  •  Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers UNLESS you are a journalist for the Trinidad Express.press
  •  Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives, UNLESS you are a migrant citizen.download (4)
  •  Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment, UNLESS you are a temp, trainee or factory worker in Bangladeshimages (13)
  •  Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, UNLESS you are a local worker on obligatory periodic contract.images (9)
  •  Every author has the right to the protection of any scientific, literary or artistic production, UNLESS you are unsigned, unpatented or live in piracy capitals. images (14)
  •  Everyone has the right to education and parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children, UNLESS of course you are in the “care” of parents who value extra income from selling pimentos at the roadside over books.download (1)
  •  Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality, UNLESS you are an orphaned child at the St. Michael’s home for boys, or an innocent civilian in a country that is at turf war, under siege, or ruled by corrupt officials.62011126183659337521_20             images (11)
  •  Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control, UNLESS the government’s priority rests elsewhere
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And the list goes on.

Human Rights should not be ambiguous or conditional. It is a natural law that is the epitome of our progress as a species. We are conscious and intelligent beings whose interdependence on each other should fuel a resilient brotherhood, but still we bicker. We spew hatred and intolerance, we place our needs above others, and we treat others’ life as insignificant. We sit back and idly observe as some do the rebelling for us against tyranny and oppression. We converse in general indifference that human rights should be protected by the rule of law but do little ourselves. When it is essential to support friendly relations between nations, we debate who’s right and wrong and pick sides between the Palestines and Israelis or state that payback is required for any Eastern Caribbean aide given.

It is imperative for us to recognise that “inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights” for ALL comprise of “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

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Yes, we have made lots of strides that mark “human triumph over evil”, but our world still bleeds blood and tears as there are many who show blatant disregard and contempt for these human rights in favour of barbaric acts for control and self-rise. Only through this unshackling of these prevailing egocentric and dated mental mantels would true emancipation and intellectual progression prevail.images (16)shackles

About, Ponderments, Raisin Pickneys

Happy Fathers’ Day 2014

Happy Fathers' Day 2014

A heartfelt Happy Fathers’ Day to all those biological and stand-in men and women who rightly fit the role of father. You have remained the altruistic giants in our lives whose protective hands steer us onward. I encourage you all to remain stalwart in your duties as it your stance that strengthens and sets the example for us. (Frizzle Fowl)

Infobits, Ponderments

Congratulations to Pastor Dewrena Bhagoutie, 1st winner of The Alese Awards- for beautiful souls!

Congratulations to Pastor Dewrena Bhagoutie, the 1st winner of The Alese Awards- for beautiful souls!!!

We’re all truly inspired by her contributions, and are very pleased to give this unsung heroine the appreciation she deserves! Nominated by Amos Isiah Jaglal, see the original post here>>>https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=682579128456398&set=o.793710750644397&type=1&theater
(221 likes: Friday May 30th 2014 at 11.59pm GMT)Special homage to all our other Alese nominees, you are all truly “beautiful souls” and we thank you for your good works and benevolent contributions to humankind. You remain our heroes!!!:
Ebi Kelvin George (nominated by Jus Jodi)
+ Riaz Ali (nominated by Arlena Mohammed Ali)
+ Emiliya Ramoutar (nominated by Rufat Ahmadov)
+ Ahsrama Agui (nominated by Shivani Petal Seemungal)
+ Kemba Radhay (nominated by Kwesi-Paul THomas)

Thank you all for your wonderful participation and support in this venture! Stay logged in for our next Alese Awards installment!

Sincerely,
Your Frizzle Fowl

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Original post:

Amos Isiah Jaglal‎ > Frizzle Fowl #thealeseawards

“I nominate Pastor Dewrena Bhagoutie ………….. my pastor, mentor and spirtual mother.
~ she wakes up everymorning at 3am praying for our church and those in need.
~ she would go from siparia to debe to st madeline to barrackpore to credos and mondeablo giving out hampers
~ she has counseled many together with her husband Pastor Joel Henderson Bhagoutie
~ full-time mother, intercessor and pastor
~ she would stand up for those who are too quiet to speak
~ she would stand up to those want to take advantage of others
~ she has a heart for the widows, orphans, and the poor, offering help to them anywhere and anytime …………”

 

Ponderments, Raisin Pickneys

To beat or not to beat? The corporal punishment issue in Trinidad

So I’m expecting some major backlash from the traditionalists for this…but I need to put my two cents in…

Recently, a Facebook video (originating from Trinidad) showing a woman beating her 12 year old daughter with a belt after the girl posted indecent pictures of herself on the site, went viral. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=626995590715013&set=vb.377192209028687&type=2&theater

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It sparked a tremendous amount of controversy and public discussion, and in response, PM Kamla Persad- Bissessar stated that government is now looking at legislation to offer protection to children in their homes. However, the Point Fortin mother Helen Bartlett defends her actions, saying she is “prepared to go to jail” to set her child on the right path. The single-parent mother of four said her daughter was her “problem child” who might be “acting out” because of neglect on her father’s part. http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/READY-FOR-JAIL-256468741.html

Her children (an elder sister and the 12 year old in question) bravely posted a video in reply to the public’s reaction; defending their mothers’ actions. The older sister stated that the mother had tried everything to discipline her younger sister and indicated that she is a good mother, and the 12 year old child issued a public apology stating that she had learnt her lesson and was sorry she had caused her family embarrassment. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200938915675545&set=vb.1845430046&type=2&theater

The general cry of the public seems to be in support of Bartlette’s actions as local media sources revealed that in polls conducted,more than 70% of the respondents support her deeds. Many individuals believe that it is a time-proven method that they have a right to practice as child custodians.

But after watching the video, cringing with every flick of the belt and listening to the young girls’ loyalist defense of their mother, I can’t help but feel that we are settling and remain content with a system that is ambiguous and detrimental. Is corporal punishment really worth its weight as a form of punishment? 

Let’s examine the facts.

Support for corporal punishment of children remains widespread in the United States and most of the “developing” world. Scott Bloom, 1995. “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? A Legal Framework for Recent Corporal Punishment Proposals”. Golden Gate University Law Review, noted that “Corporal punishment is a physical punishment in which pain is deliberately inflicted on a perpetrator of a wrong in order to exact retribution and to deter similar behavior in future. An accepted form of discipline through the ages, it has been upheld by all the Abrahamic religions, and has been practiced in some form in almost every human civilization. Corporal punishment was for a long time considered an appropriate method for disciplining children in schools. The birch rod was once a fixture of the schoolhouse. In the latter half of the 20th century”.

So we know it’s been around for a long-time but is it effective?

Have a look at some graphical representations of found data about “paddling” (aka spanking) compiled by the US Center for Effective Discipline:

Paddling and School Shootings

Paddling proponents say: “If we still had paddling, kids wouldn’t be shooting one another in schools.”

Fact: Studies show significantly more fatal school shootings took place in states that allow corporal punishment in schools.

Figure 1

Information contained in Figure 1 was taken from The National School Safety Center’s Report on School Associated Violent Deaths (1992-2007). … Student shootings were more likely to occur in states where school corporal punishment is permitted.

A study by Doreen Arcus (2002) found that there were significantly more fatal school shootings in states that permit corporal punishment in schools than those that don’t.

Arcus, Doreen (2002). School Shooting Fatalities and School Corporal Punishment: A look at the states. Aggressive Behavior, 28, pp. 173-183….

Paddling and Violence Against Teachers

Paddling Proponents Say: “Since paddling was taken out of schools, kids have gotten more violent and aggressive toward teachers.”

Facts: Paddling is declining (Fig. 2). Violence against teachers is declining in U.S. public schools (Fig. 3). The decline of paddling in U.S. public schools is correlated with a decline in violence against teachers.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Data from Figure 2 on the number for students paddled can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. During the years from 1994-2004, paddling numbers decreased from 470,683 students to 272,028 students…..This graph depicts the United States percentages of teachers who experienced threats or physical injuries by students. It shows a decrease in violence against teachers over this ten year period.

• Threats against teachers in U.S. public schools show a decrease of 41.4 percent between 1994 and 2004.
• Physical attacks against teachers in U.S. public schools show a decrease of 16 percent between 1994 and 2004.
• Paddling decreased in U.S. public schools by more than 42 percent between l994 and 2004.

Dinkes, R., Cataldi, E.F., Kena, G., and Baum, K. (2006). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2006 (NCES 2007–003/NCJ 214262). U.S. Departments of Education and Justice. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office….

Paddling and ACT Scores and Graduation Rates

Paddling Proponents Say: “Since paddling was taken out of schools, kids have gotten lazy and are falling behind in academics.”

Fact: Non-paddling states have higher ACT scores and higher graduation rates.

Figure 4

Figure 4: Each state’s average ACT composite score was compared to the national average (20.9) and determined whether it was above or below the national mean. At the time of these test results, there were 22 states that allowed corporal punishment (Pennsylvania has since changed its position on allowing corporal punishment in schools)…. 36% of paddling states had a state composite score average above the national mean; 89% of non-paddling states, however, scored above the mean. Likewise, 64% of paddling states scored below the national average, while only 11% of non-paddling states fell into that category.

Figure 5

Figure 5: Among the paddling states, 57%, 12 states, had graduation rates below the national average, with only 43% keeping students in school to the end of 12th grade. Among non-paddling states, two-thirds, 66%, had better than average graduation rates….

Paddling and Adult Incarceration

Paddling Proponents Say: “If kids were paddled more, they wouldn’t end up in jail as adults.”

Fact: School corporal punishment is associated with higher incarceration rates of the adult population. Eight of the top ten paddling states are in the top ten states with the highest incarceration rates.

Figure 6

Top 10 Highest Incarceration
Rates by State (12/31/06)
Rank State Incarceration Rates
(per 100k people)
1 Louisiana 846
2 Texas 683
3 Oklahoma 664
4 Mississippi 658
5 Alabama 595
6 Georgia 558
7 South Carolina 525
8 Missouri 514
9 Michigan 511
10 Florida 509

Figure 7

The 10 worst states, by percentage of students struck
by educators in the 2006-2007 school year:
Rank State Percentage
1 Mississippi 7.5
2 Arkansas 4.7
3 Alabama 4.5
4 Oklahoma 2.3
5 Louisiana 1.7
6 Tennessee 1.5
7 Texas 1.1
8 Georgia 1.1
9 Missouri 0.6
10 Florida 0.3

(states in bold are on both lists)

Figure 6: Incarceration rates for each state were found in the Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin – Prisoners in 2006….

Figure 7: The percentage of student struck for each state was found using information from the Office of Civil Rights 2006 National and State Projections….

Eight of the top ten paddling states are in the top ten states with the highest incarceration states.

http://www.stophitting.com/index.php?page=factsvsopinions

I’ve pored through scholarly articles from around the world and realised that the overwhelming majority report the same thing…that corporal punishment does more bad than good. In Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol 13(4), Nov 2007, 231-272. (doi: 10.1037/1076-8971.13.4.231)The case against corporal punishment of children: Converging evidence from social science research and international human rights law and implications for U.S. public policy, authors Elizabeth T.Gershoff and Susan H. Bitensky observe that substantial amounts of research from psychology and related fields point to the facts that corporal punishment is “ineffective as a disciplinary practice and can have unintended negative effects on children”.  Many countries have banned all forms of corporal punishment, and the practice has come to be regarded as a violation of international human rights law.

Corporal punishment methods varies in terms of the severity. Where it is administered, with what it is administered, how it is administered, and in which context are questions that must be evaluated. Sadly, we have ambiguous guidelines about what should be accepted and not. The AAP, on their evaluation of suspected physical abuse, stated:

The recognition and reporting of physical abuse is hindered by the lack of uniform or clear definitions. Many state statutes use words such as “risk of harm,” “substantial harm,” “substantial risk,” or “reasonable discipline” without further clarification of these terms. Many states still permit the use of corporal punishment with an instrument in schools; on the other hand, the American Academy of Pediatrics has proposed that “striking a child with an object” is a type of physical punishment that “should never be used” and has recommended that corporal punishment be abolished in schools. The variability and disparities in definitions may hinder consistent reporting practices.

Some disciplinarians practice it in moderation to avoid excesses or misapplications, but as we are an excessive people, many parents and guardians, often get wrapped up in emotion, and may become too harsh in their dealings. In lieu of the previous, let me remind you about the extent of child abuse experienced in Trinidad.  Our track-record is awful, and child protective services very limited. This remains a major concern of mine. There is a thin line between love, anger, hatred and abuse, and we have had cases of child abuse (often as a result of feigned “discipline”) being reported.

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We live in a society that knows very little boundaries. Here in the Trinidad, we experience high levels of gruesome crimes, horrific violence on our streets and at schools, and extremely concerning levels of domestic and child abuse. Above all, many citizens subscribe to the disconcerting mentality that bad behaviour and violence should in turn, be put down by violence. A move that (based on the above international studies) would statistically result in a vicious cycle.

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I’ve always known of the “Spare not the rod and spoil your child” saying, and witnessed it being reflected by many members of the society. And I myself have had my own little share of “licks” (not excessively though, my parents used it only as last resort, and even then, it usually included just a smack or two with a ruler). But generally, my parents used reasoning with my brother and I, and I think we came out better for it.

On a very personal note; as a mother of two young ones who possess an inglorious knack for being naughty, I had been thrown into the moral dilemna of deciding the best forms of punishment. Though I had deliberated a long time ago to never use corporal punishment, that stance shifted when my elder began a series of seemingly uncontrollable behaviour. I had purchased books upon books about all sorts of creative punishment, but none semed to work. So after lots of frustration and discussions with parents of “well-behaved” kids who all seemed to ascribe to the “licks” thing, I decided to try my “hand” (quite literally) at it for a bit. However, the fear that was eventually instilled in my son was unsettling, and I still recall the hurt in his beautiful eyes whenever the deed was committed. Equally bad was his eventual copycating of the behaviour with his younger brother, as he began to resort to using violence to solve his squabbles. Needless to say, the “hand” was quickly put away and comes out only in the form of an occassional pinch. I have gone back to my creative correction books and have realised that the best form of discipline is the use of reasoning— the discussion and portrayal of consequences of naughty actions— and the removal of priviledges.

This extends to my classrooms where I deal with quite a number of troubled and “difficult” kids. Interestingly enough, these very kids are actually disciplined with very strict corporal punishment at home, many of whom are beaten by their parents or guardians. They in turn, return to school with violent attitudes. I have seen how these kids respond to disciplinary measures at school, and often they meet hostility with hostility and resentment, but react to kindness and logic with submissive gentility.

On a final note I would like to include this status taken from an Aunt who helped raise us in love:

I am looking at all the posts related to the beating of the 12 year old and the mixed comments…can u imagine being beaten like that almost everyday of your life…well it was like that for me not only with a belt but, potspoons pans pots crookstick, umbrella anything u could think of…no it did not kill me but i died a thousand times……..maybe that made me who i am today….and i can learn from that …….you see i was not only hurt physically but the emotional pain was more…. i never understood why…and to date i still do not know why…maybe it helped ease whatever frustrations…. i dont know…….the physical scars have almost vanished..but the emotional scars would never never leave……so today i have a chance to hold my little girl and tell her how much i love her, to be her best friend and cherish her because God blessed me with the responsibility of taking care of her and i will certainly do my best.

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Corn Soup for the Soul, Ponderments

The Conditioned – El Condicionado – Poeta Raimundo A Sobrinho

“Damned is the man who abandons himself.
These six words show that the worst a situation is,
Never, ever should a man consider it lost.
Signed ‘The Conditioned’.”

An incredibly powerful true-life story about one man who seemed to have nothing, and about the redemptive power of a single act of kindness…

Support his work at:
https://www.facebook.com/ocondicionado

Ponderments

Victimised Vaginas…. Bullying at its best.

2014. The year of ‘femine’ scandal.

So far we’ve witnessed locally infamous female-on-female fights at schools, the rise of Trini Homewreckers.com (an adulterous-expose-type website that targets mostly female ‘home-wreckers’, now with a following of nearly 10,000 folks in just about 3 months), the drunken boobie abuse of a female flight attendant by the Minister of the People himself, and lastly of course, the Sharma on Sasha fiasco (no pun intended)…

ImageHere’s my take on the mis-glorious affairs; we Trinis (and other people of the world) have a time-proven tradition of cyber-bullying perpetrated against any woman who expresses sexualism or sexual liberty (be it conscious, misinformed or otherwise).

Let’s be honest, lots of us have our own kinky moments, but many wisely keep them private. Nonetheless, we are an exhibitionist culture, with an annual Carnival that’s renowned for the attached bad behaviour and drunken looseness.

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Usaine Bolt ‘daggering’ with a young woman in pre-Carnival Trinidad 2014

But we are unforgiving. Especially to our women. (The machismo men are glorified for it.)

Case in point, our multi-talented fashionista, guru and design-challenge winner Anya Ayoung Chee. Despite Ms. Ayoung Chee’s fabulous track record of international accomplishments and philanthropic work, she remains primarily known as the ex- Miss Universe contestant with the threesome sex tape, who won Project Runway 2011 (Season 9).

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The fierce and incredibly talented Anya Ayoung-Chee.

Fast-track to the most current local fiasco with Sasha Singh and the now resigned, ex-Minister Chandresh Sharma, at its helm. We all know the story; Singh, a young, established entrepreneur and ex-girlfriend of the much older and still married Sharma, decided to step in on a school teacher’s behalf (who is apparently the mother of Sharma’s unacknowledged and unsupported love child).  Things got even more hairy when mediator Singh was pushed roughly in a public parking lot, losing consciousness, right in view of Sharma’s alleged 12 year old girl child.

Here’s what peeves me most about the scenario: the dumb comment about Brahmin caste, Sat Maharaj’s dotish comment about it only being of a domestic nature, and the leakage of Singh’s personal nude/ semi-nude pictures to the social media (allegedly by UNC supporters).

Yup. Especially that last one. Singh is now being singled out as a promiscuous, gold-digger, and fingers are being pointed at her colourful bedroom past instead of the abusive issue at hand. The public’s focus seems to have generally soured against the support of the young lady in her brave stance against the abuse encountered (and to some extent, against dead-beat dads).

It’s sex scandal upon sex scandal. And always, the blame seems to lie with the females.

This present-day scenario reminds me about how this worldwide phenomenon perpetrates every sub-society:

And unfortunately, there are countless more.

These instances of bullying, cyber-bullying, abuse, and rapes, all have two main factors in common: (1) after these girl’s moments of misjudgement, they were publicly slandered during their moments of weakness, and (2) opposing sides all tried to point to the female victims’ ‘promiscuous’ track records and glamorised the misgivings that the ladies “looked for it”.

Sadly our rape-culture mentality is still very alive. Woman are not protected but stigmatised. And it is horrifying.

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Please acknowledge that I am in no way a supporter of damaging extramarital affairs, nor do I hold extremely unattached values or extreme liberal views about sexuality and the like. Another person’s bedroom business is not my business, and most persons never expect their private affairs to be shared on public forums. However when this principle is violated, parties involved become victims of show when their trust is betrayed. Then, in their moments of intense vulnerability, we Joe public, pounce in, like packs of lascivious, ruthless hyenas, and rip ‘em further to shreds. We judge, criticise and condemn slander, bash and name-call; and mostly without having even the remotest interaction with the victims.

I will conclude on this note from Anya Ayoung Chee’s winsome mother. During her interview with the Newsday’s Carol Matroo for the 2011 article “Anya’s life was Hell”, Ayoung Chee stated:

“I think the ethical issues are also the fact that people saw it. They were not yours to see, yet people passed it on. I am still stunned that you could actually send that tape on to someone else when it’s not yours. I think a lot of people just had a good time…
There is something in the human condition that can take you to the lowest of yourself and we saw a moment like that. In my view, individuals went to the lowest of themselves, and society went to the lowest of itself.” http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,150137.html

…. Ponder ‘pon it.

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