Thinking Of You

Who are you thinking of today? For many aboriginal people in Canada, they are thinking of their missing daughters.

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Reports on missing aboriginal women in Canada are so frequent lately that it seems almost impossible not to be angered by this sad and frustrating reality, and be confronted with the emotional turmoil that so many aboriginal families have to deal with on a daily basis.

I have been reading a book, called The Inconvenient Indian, written by Canadian author, Thomas King. Although I’m far from finishing it; however, I have learned a tremendous amount of histories and facts, pertaining to the aboriginal communities both here in Canada and in the United States.

I now understand why aboriginal people want to occupy territories in certain parts of North America. I now understand why aboriginal people dispute constantly with their respective governments on the issue of the legitimacy, or should I say, illegitimacy of the various treaties. I now understand so much more behind all the headlines and stories about the aboriginal unrest and uproar.

Who are you thinking of today? You may have the opportunity to see the one, of whom you are thinking right now. Sadly, for many people in the world, they will never ever have the opportunity to see the one, of whom they are thinking at this moment.

Facebook Allows Breastfeeding Photos

Not too long ago, decision made by social media companies, such as Instagram and Facebook, to delete pictures that contained exposure of a female nipple or photographic portrayal of a breastfeeding moment caused a huge controversy online.

Many women, especially those, who were mothers, were outraged by this decision. In their opinions, breastfeeding a child was natural and an integral part of being humans. For social media companies, such as Instagram and Facebook, to block their access to show the world a loving moment between a mom and a child was disrespectful.

Now, in an interaction-based digital era, where online petitions and revolutions can engender real life changes, Facebook has reversed its previous made decision to unblock and to allow breastfeeding images proliferate in its landscape.

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As good as this reversal of decision is, according to some of those mothers, as someone, who has a mom, I can surely say that if my mom were to share a breastfeeding picture of she and I, I would be mortified, probably be embarrassed by and be angry at her.

We all have parents. One thing that we, the kids, don’t want to see our parents do is show their naked bodies. This is not to say our parents’ bodies are not beautiful; rather, is an instinctive reaction from a child, if we were to have been raised in a non-exhibitionist household. Think about babies in all those breastfeeding pictures, in their future adulthood, are they all going to be proud of their parents’ decision to publish an image, without firstly having obtained their consent, in which their little mouths hang on to their moms’ nipple, and to think to themselves, ” Well, what a sweet moment that I had spent with mom?” Or, will they be mortified by it?

I do agree that breastfeeding is beautiful, natural and good for the growth of the baby. That being said, being a responsible parent means having the awareness and foresight when it comes to making calculated decisions so that the future of the kids won’t be impacted.

Not every beautiful thing in life needs to be shared so openly. A loving and sweet moment is just as precious as it is kept private. For many parents, who have chosen to share the intimate moments of their lives with the world is mainly for the reason of showing off, though they may claim to be having the desire to spread the love in a world, where violence is so rampant or otherwise.

Sexual Consent

Canadian national debate on the issues of sexual assault, sexual violence, and sexual consent is very much in the front and centre these days. Fallout from the disgraced Canadian radio personality Jian Ghomeshi’s sex scandal has galvanized the entire country.

As pointed out just yesterday on a Canadian talk show, a student from Harvard University has recently stated that sexual consent needs to be a continuous dialogue from the start to the midway and to the end of any sexual activity; rather than just be like a contract, which comes with the indisputable obligations to fulfill.

I totally agree with this student’s statement. Communication is key in any sexual activity that we are personally involved in. That being said, though having communicated clearly different messages is important; however, our collective social culture concerning the realm of dating and relationship still needs to be examined further.

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In the screenshot above, we can clearly see a tweet, which reads, “Maybe it’s the way some men were raised, to believe that “no” means maybe or playing hard to get.”

In my opinion, it is unfair to put blame solely on some of these men, who hold this kind of thinking. Some women also have a part to play in perpetuating game playing tactic in relationships.

In dating show, we often hear the experts offer their “wisdom” to single women, such as “Don’t give anything away so easily.” “Playing hard to get. Don’t go after a man. Let the man chase you, because it is in his nature to hunt an object.” Of course not every single woman believes in this type of “wisdom”, but the more we are all exposed to this type of social and collective brainwashing, the less conscious we are when it comes to our absorption of it.

To raise our awareness and understanding of the issue of sexual consent and other related matters, putting all the responsibilities on one gender to make a positive change is not enough. Both genders need to put in the work to change the culture at large, collectively.

Leaders Should Lead, In All Ways

Adults are supposed to be modeling good behaviors. Adults are supposed to be setting good examples for youngsters to emulate. As someone, who’s been following the Toronto Mayoral race debates, I am appalled and disappointed by some of the revelatory instances over the course of these past few weeks.

1) Bad choice of words/Name calling. I thought that name-calling was a tactic people with maturity, who are applying for a public office position would not pick. Obviously, I was wrong. Offensive words, such as trash, liar, were being thrown around more than once, so freely, at various debates, which I found it to be inappropriate.

2) Overt racial and gender discriminations. Toronto is reputed as the most ethnically diverse and most tolerable city in the world. That being said, discriminations against one’s ethnic background and gender are still rampant covertly or, even worst, overtly. It is shameful for some of the debate meeting attendees to overtly target one of the mayoral candidates for her accent, ethnicity, culture and gender. How is this justifying and contributing to the racially diverse and tolerable reputation of Toronto?

3) Bullying tendency. There is a difference between being serious and aggressive in a debate and exhibiting bullying tendency.  A serious and aggressive debater speaks and gets his or her ideas across in a non-threatening fashion, without losing composure and getting personal. A debater, who exhibits bullying tendency, uses every attack to get down to the dirty and personal affairs, losing composure, unapologetically, as if a physical confrontation was about to happen.

The more that I reflect on all the televised Toronto Mayoral Debates, the more I feel like that I was watching a series of unscripted reality TV show episodes, because these debates got all the elements required to succeed in a so called “Reality-based” entertainment genre: bad choice of word, name-calling, discrimination, dramas, self-promotion, and less than professional manners.

Where Is The Equality? Where Is The Support?

There are people with different colors of skin complexion in this world. Having been living in multicultural city for more than a decade, I truly believe that the longer we know a person, the easier it is for us to see that person, who he or she is; also, the faster it is for us to realize that the difference of skin color doesn’t turn the boy or girl next to us into someone, who’s lacking aspirations and dreams.

Because of my belief in the value of and equality for all human beings, I am constantly made to feel powerless by the senseless violence that we, humans, inflict on each other, and the unjust reality that we have helped create, consciously or unconsciously. My sense of powerlessness isn’t due to there is nothing we can do to eradicate all the ills of the world; instead, it is triggered by the fact that in 2014, we still misjudge people, solely based on their skin color.

The rich kid (Jaycee Chan, aka Jackie Chan’s son) got busted for marijuana possession, a whole village of lawyers comes out to help. The poor kid (Michael Brown) from Ferguson, Missouri, unarmed, got shot at least six times by local police on his way to his grandma’s house for simply being who he was, an African American man. None of those Caucasian artists, who have been declaring their love for Black culture and their support for The Black community, have uttered words of significance, justice, and influence.

Where is the equality? Where is the support?

Be Yourself! But, Don’t Take It Too Far

If we were to ask those, who have successfully made a name for themselves online in this digital era of social medias, “How did you obtain your success?” They would probably say to us, “Just be yourself, because there is no other human being, who has the singular voice like yours.”

A piece of good advice! That being said, to what extent can we really be ourselves in the cyber space? Can we let loose completely, or some moderation and basic respect still needed when we roam from one news feed to another?

The disrespect and lack of personal characters exhibited by some internet users are appalling. The elimination of face-to-face interaction gives many of them the opportunity to incorporate into their written language many hurtful and low-class words, which they would never have the guts to voice them in a real life, in person conversation.

We all judge. In judging others, we determine, one-sidedly, whether or not we like or dislike the subject of our judgement. However, what makes us different from those, who publish their offensive languages with no restraints is that we uphold and value the basic human respect and courtesy so much more. We know that if we couldn’t voice certain comments to others in a face-to-face conversation, we would not put them down in written form online.

Figure Skating & Water

I just re-watched Patrick Chan’s spectacular performance at last year’s Figure Skating World Championship in Paris, France. I couldn’t help but be blown way again by the elegance, classiness and strength of this sport.

In North American culture, figure skating is still considered as a feminine sport in the mind of many people. The charming gentleness and deceivingly effortless presentation of figure skating are frequently used as acceptable excuses of mockery by those pro-hockey, macho jocks to make fun of men, who participate in it; a reality, which only shows the ignorance of those, who have chosen to believe in and act on this patriarchal prejudice.

While enjoying the softness and swiftness of Patrick Chan’s skating, I was reminded of the topic of water, of which was explored by Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Qing.

Water is perceived to be gentle and weak. Yet, its power of endurance and sustainability of force can penetrate any rock and uproot any tree. Appearance is misleading. Something elegant on the surface may not be gentle at its core. Something brash on the outside may not be tough on the inside.

Do what you love. Don’t ever hold yourself in hostage just to avoid others’ ridicule and bad mouthing.