Thursday, 17 February 2011

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

SMW will be away until March 5th.

Look for me at your local airport, train station, bus stop, taxi stand.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Growing up on Rastamouse...

The BBC has launched a new children's show called Rastamouse (clip below), in which the characters speak patois and appear to spend their time creating "boombastic" tunes and "shakin it." SkyTV's Colin Brazier has taken issue with this new show:

But with its latest acquisition the BBC has lost sight of the logic of what children's TV is for.
Rastamouse, which launched a few weeks ago on CBeebies, features an animated Rastafarian mouse. He sings with a band called Easy Crew. So far so good. But, and here's the rub, the characters speak Jamaican Patois.
They use phrases like "me wan go" ("I want to go"), "irie" ("happy"), "wagwan" ("what's going on?").
I can understand what the BBC aimed at. It wants to reach out to kids who feel excluded by the clear diction of 'mainstream' children's TV. It wanted a 'cool' character for kids who might not feel all that much in common with Spencer, Josie or, indeed, PC Plum.

But the idea is flawed. It is folly to think that patois is something kids need exposing too. It is an obstacle to social mobility in the very communities which need it most.

When my husband and I first moved to the UK I worked with teenagers in some of London's most impoverished and violent boroughs. These are neighbourhoods rife with violence, where teens have no respect for anybody (including themselves), where heroin and meth are the drugs du jour, where getting shanked (stabbed) on the way to or from school is a real possibility. There is no hope floating around on these streets. Every once in awhile I met a young man (or woman) determined to break the cycle, move out of the borough and make an honest living. One young man in particular was relatively well-mannered, bright and determined to forge a career in finance. Observing this young man and realizing that the moment he opened his mouth in a job interview with any City firm his barely comprehensible "English" would immediately disqualify him from the position was frustrating. Encouraging and promoting patois to youngsters in a population where the majority of young students do not speak English as a first language, and where many who claim English as a first language can barely string a grammatically correct sentence together, is not helping development - it is building barriers.

Colin finishes his post with this thought:
Young, black boys don't need to take lessons in cultural affirmation from Rastamouse. They need to learn how to speak in a way that will not bar them from opportunity

I could not agree more.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Travel Alert: PA tourism is booming

Palestinians say West Bank is safer than Egypt. Hotels are full. Tourism booming. But wait, I thought Israel ruined the West Bank and everyone lived in poverty and life there was hellish and full of despair. Why would anyone want to go there on vacation??
In economic terms at least, Palestinians in the West Bank have gained from the political unrest in Egypt, with a sharp increase in the number of tourists heading to the Palestinian Authority at Cairo’s expense.

The renowned Everest hotel in Beit Jala, overlooking Bethlehem, has seen lively tourist traffic over the past weekend, with Owner Makram al-Arja addressing with great satisfaction what has become known as the “Egypt effect.”

“Last week, almost all the hotels in Bethlehem were at full capacity, and there was also a waitlist for vacated rooms,” he said.

Hmmmm I wonder what the spinoffs of the Egypt effect will be.

Things you should read

Kaffir Kanuck's latest update from the Gan. Dispatch 40.

Lumpy's shots of the "pro democracy" rally for Egypt in Toronto. Look and learn my friends. Funny how these shots didn't make it onto the CBC's coverage....

A Conversation with a NeoConservative about Egypt. This is just awesome.
It's not in our ideals to support people who bomb churches and murder little girls. Most Egyptians want to see Muslims who leave Islam executed. Mubarak doesn't. Most Jordanians want the right to kill their daughters or sisters when they dishonor them. King Hussein doesn't. Do our ideals really call on us to support church bombings and the murder of little girls in the name of democracy? And isn't placing democracy above human rights ideological fanaticism?

Supergran. Have a go granny. Whatever you call her this lady is awesome. Honestly. She should be teaching the leaders of tomorrow.

Post Onslaught

In the wee hours of Thursday morning this week's update beings. I am in a mood so here comes an onslaught (I am pretty sure I did not make this word up) of posts.

Last night I found myself in a restaurant near a rather well-respected university. SMW was dining alone, trying to get some reading done which was rather difficult when the individuals at the table behind me were speaking above the acceptable restaurant chatter-level. Apparently they were studying for an American history midterm. Apparently they are the leaders of tomorrow (or at least they applied to some leadershipish post graduate program). Apparently the ability to carry on intelligent conversation is no longer a requirement for the leaders of tomorrow. I will spare you all the details, and instead provide you with a brief synopsis of the conversation:
I am like totally going out for lunch with professors A, B and C because I know that they have soft spots for me and will like totally help me get into the program. My dad knows someone on the committee and is like totally going to call him and put in a good word, but he told me to be careful because I don't want to come off as obnoxious. This course has like totally improved my understanding and stuff that I know, I like totally get now why America is so messed up. I totally understand why the North Hates the South. Americans are always going back to their constitution. It's like every time someone does something they don't like 'whoa hold on a minute that is like totally against the constitution,' which is so funny because the constitution doesn't really mean anything - it's just a guideline that was written to stop America from turning into the monarchy. They are so afraid of the monarchy. Canadians don't care about the monarchy. That's why we are like way more chilled. Let's talk about the 14th amendment......oh I am so glad we decided to come here and study together. I hope your girlfriend is not jealous.

When I got up from my table I was expecting to see some tart looking bleach blond fake tan half dressed girl, but instead I saw an attractive, well-dressed young girl who looked (key word) like she knew exactly what she was talking about which I think is what scared me a little.

Future leaders.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Saturday musings....

It seems I missed Thursday this week. Not sure how that happened.

Egypt is burning and gas prices are climbing. Lots of speculation going around about the Suez Canal being blocked but so far nothing has happened on that front. The public reaction to this situation is reminiscent of the Green Revolution (if you want to call it that) in Iran. Take note: things are still status quo there. What never ceases to amaze me is the willingness of the general public to jump on any bandwagon, even if they are completely unaware of who is driving it or where it is heading, as soon as they hear the word "oppressed." The Egyptian government has massive problems and is certainly not one SMW would ever want to live under - however the people who think any "real" change is going to happen in Egypt are just serving as useful idiots. Some "real" change may come, but it will not be in the form of a freedom loving, tolerant, democratic state. But nobody seems to care, the general public is ready to chant Viva la revolucion and the Muslims Brotherhood is now a totally peaceful, moderate group. Christians: Get out of Egypt now.
Daniel Greenfield has a must read article on the subject:
Mubarak has agreed not to run for reelection. ElBaradei said that he won't run for office, but then said that he might run "if the Egyptian people want me." (As if the Egyptian people have anything to do with it.) But the foreign backers of the protests, Soros and the Iran, want ElBaradei to take power without winning an election. They know he can't win an actual election and that the Muslim Brotherhood running directly would upset the West too much. This way ElBaradei gets to play the stalking horse for the Brotherhood. So the calls are not for "open and fair elections", but for an immediate transition. For Mubarak to leave right now.

The fundamental difference between the protests in Iran and those in Egypt, is that Iranians were protesting a stolen election, and in Egypt the protesters want to steal an election before it actually takes place.

David Cameron's mealy-mouth speeched about multiculralism failing: I am not really sure that is what he said. Every good thing he said seemed to be countered by some kind of weak balancing act he was trying to play. Passivism has allowed Islamic extremists to thrive in the UK. Ok. Oh but we need to watch out for those Christian hate preachers. Honestly. Speaking the truth isn't what it used to be. I guess this might be a step in the right direction but I am not excited about it, although apparently the Muslim Council of Britain is.

Remember the BA worker who wanted to splode himself on a plane while regular BA staff was on strike? Apparently he is budduy-buddy with Awlaki. Rusty has the goods.

Kathy Shaidle on Afraid to Lose MyJobness:You say to me, “Oh, Kathy, we can’t all be like you.” (i.e., a sociopath.)

Here is the paradox: until everybody is prepared to “be like me,” we will all be back here ten years from now, Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel — bitching about political correctness, and mopping up more blood.