Hi, you! Yes, you, you the one reading this. How are you? Thanks for dropping by and trying to see what’s been written. It’s been a while, I know. I decided that I should stop calling myself a “writer” because I don’t really write anymore, do I? I don’t actually know what I even do anymore and it’s safe to say that I don’t go out much, save for those who know me, because I feel uncomfortable answering that question. I think I always did. But recently more so, perhaps with the amount of integrity I’ve lost on the job too. Integrity to myself in not writing the words I want to or giving life to the stories that haunt my waking thoughts.
But I thought I’d write anyway.
How are you? If you are in Colombo, how have you been coping after April? Have you been able to move beyond what’s happened or move forward? Have any of your relationships being severed as a result of this?
I’m sorry I’m asking all these seemingly personal questions but these are ones that keep me up at night. I’ve been having trouble falling asleep at night since the beginning of the year, now added to that is having to wake up multiple times at night and investigate as to if things are in order or double check if that noise from actually just the cat from God knows where. Also, I wake up earlier than expected, even before the alarm goes off. I guess, some circumstances probably make other situations right.
How is your spirit though?
It’s an odd one isn’t it. An older, more learned gentleman, who was old enough to remember the events of ’83, popped by at one of the workplaces recently and spoke to us about how April left his spirit broken once again. I realised, despite not having been born in ’83, that’s exactly what has happened this time around. I wanted to ask him how long it was until he found the will to revive his spirit but it wasn’t the right time.
However, what was reiterated earlier, still stands true. This time around, I didn’t put it out to the universe to hold me accountable to it or to make sure it came true, like during other times where I would tell people that I would go to Kerala to reawaken my chi (or something to that extent), which I ended up doing, or the much spoken of Annapurna base camp trek this Autumn. No, this time around, it was words in my mind that I had to write, somewhere. And perhaps, the universe heard its calling, because nothing has changed since and I am still leaving.
But until I leave, tell me, how do you go about your day? What are your waking thoughts? What thoughts do you go to sleep with? What do you think about while you are in the shower? Are you still broken? Is there anything you do to make yourself better? Is there a prescription you are willing to share?
It started with being told that I had to cover my head from the airport to car park C. My arms too. I wore all black, for no particular reason but the dirt on my clothes will not be seen after a really long flight. I almost always pack a shawl, socks, cardigan and my statement pink batik wrap slash beach cloth so covering was not really big deal.
Another important point of interest was there not being too many solo female travellers. Hence, an Indian-looking / South Asia woman travelling without an accompanying male in liberal clothing too seemed rebellious, so to speak. Perhaps this might be my debut into my adult-rebellious streak. Always, always a late bloomer. Interestingly there wasn’t much segregation between males and females as I assumed there to be. I mean Indian airports have a sometimes-functioning “male-female queues”. Even the fact that I picked a corner in the bus from the airport to the plane in Dubai, and later found myself surrounded by Afghanis didn’t seem to bother them either. Besides a few odd looks that may have got them thinking about whether I was boarding the correct flight to start with, we were all good to go. I guess the choice of clothing though not robustly appropriate were not as entirely inappropriate as I would’ve feared. Thank bloody Heavens.
The First Afghanis
My first interaction with Afghanis was with the two girls sitting next to me on the plane. I took them for sisters and being in their pre-teen / teenage years. I assumed they too shared the same curiosity the men on the bus had in seeing a solo female traveller who was definitely not from the Middle East, travelling to Kabul. Having been travelling the whole day, I had a strong desire to sleep but trust me that was the last thing I was about to get. Despite the endless string of questions and my throbbing headache, I was not in a foul mood because after all, I was a long way from home and there was not much I could do about it anyway.
Perhaps one of the most striking characteristics I observed from these girls, was their lack of physical boundaries. Coming from the background I do and the sort of attributes I’ve imbibed over the past so many years, I did find it mildly invasive. Of course, none of it was done deliberately. The fact that they would ask me both peculiar and personal questions to the fact that their abaya-clad body weight would rest on the left side of my body, seemed completely normal. The first, they saw me scribbling these very notes on my notebook and ask me which language I was writing in. Of course, it’s a given anyone would ask that with my horrendous almost illegible handwriting. I then picked up the book I took with me to read, (because sleep was a dream too far away from the aircraft) and I was asked if it was the Bible. I did silently laugh, not at their ignorance but at the fact that how the red pages of the Bible may have transferred itself to the cover of my red book. Haha. I suppose had I told them of my half-Muslim roots, that may have not gone down too well. Having failed to read, I turned on my laptop to watch a film. It was the only sensible thing to do with my earphones on, as the girl next to me was watching a Hindi film on her phone without any earphones of her own. I was on The Hobbit and LOTR marathon during the time and since I didn’t have a few hours at a time, would watch the film in parts. To say that the girl next to me and her half-sister (or cousin – despite explaining the relationship, I’m not sure what their relationship was) put down everything they were doing and leaned their bodies’ weight on me as I cramped up against my little window seat, to watch the movie with me, despite not hearing anything, is absolutely not an understatement. In hindsight, I wonder had I been watching something raunchy on screen, how that would have played out!
I almost forgot. My plane row-partners opening lines were, “Have you ever had chicken pox?” and then when they went on to say about the almost chicken pox outbreak in their family and how many people were getting the infection. I’ve had an injection earlier as a result of a near chicken pox scare, but I then began thinking of the chicken pox virus circulating in the airplane and wondered whether it would be like the time I fell ridiculously ill in Nepal, almost about the same time last year.
Tranquility at First Sight
I had seen and been in the desert before, but seeing a desert and dry mountainous regions was a whole new experience. Landscapes have always fascinated me and most people and newer landscapes, I learnt that day, were even more enthralling.
The serenity that comes with seeing the Afghani landscape at an aerial view however, stops there.
The roads and barricades of Kabul – I was not fortunate enough to see beyond the streets of Kabul – are anything but serene. It’s interesting to me because as a country that was once at war, there was a sense of what was familiar. Barricades, an unfamiliar stronger kind made entirely of concrete and similar to a larger than life dressing room screen, were everywhere with the forces patrolling the streets and behind vehicles at all times.
It’s almost surreal at times, knowing that the country is at war, yet the poet in me that died a natural some years back found its way back amidst the dry arid mountains that became a beautiful backdrop to the country that looked almost at peace, from its hilltop.
In fact, I’m assuming that the surveillance system setup by the Americans (or that’s what I was told) provided an aerial view of Kabul city. When in Kabul, don’t be alarmed by the little aircraft like balloons you see floating about. Also keep in mind that it’s not a brand promotion either.
However, it was business as usual elsewhere in Kabul. We went out for dinner on the third night we were there. Perhaps our hosts thought that we were bored out of our mind with hotel food and my boss being vegetarian didn’t necessarily help with most of the meat-mixed meal options either. Those who were not suffering from war or perhaps because it was important to resume day to day activities (like we did before 2009 living in Colombo), it became important to indulge a bit. Or even watch the football highlights (this was FIFA season).
When in Rome Kabul…
One of the things I couldn’t help but notice were the ample amount of fizzy drinks being distributed before, during and after meals. I would like to think that some even substituted water – always mineral and always by the monopoly company – with sodas!
Now that we done with the unhealthy bits, is this a good time to talk about nuts? I mean, we cannot not go to Afghanistan and indulge in a bit of nuts, which were, even by Sri Lankan standards, cheap!
Also in Kabul are…
If you think reckless drivers and vehicles that seem to want to leave the road the minute they enter it are among the crazies Kabul has to offer well, no wait, there is more.
Apparently kids who go to school also require extra security because you never know who could enter your classroom. Also, despite being the sarcastic person I am, please know that nothing I say here is meant to be or sound sarcastic. If it does, it’s because that’s what the real situation is with no frills.
This would also be a good opportunity to speak on child labour, which I saw quite a bit of. Or maybe it wasn’t child labour and they were kids helping out parents during a school break. Maybe they have summer holidays when it’s ruddy 38*c out there. Too many maybes and too little clarifications.
Also, what do you know about romance in Kabul or in Afghanistan? I haven’t read enough and Google seems to show me search results for matrimonial website and other marriage scammers.
* * *
I know, I know. It’s taken me a while to write this one. But hopefully it’s the start of more frequent writing, which hasn’t been happening for a long time. It’s easier to write them as letters because I genuinely do enjoy writing letters.
See I’m a closed up person. I’m not the book type where the more you get to read, the more I open up. In fact, I feel as though you are the wrong type of reader or you just don’t spend enough time in a library, you will be getting to read a different book. Actually, for every reader that gets the right book, every wrong reader gets a different book because, different approaches and let’s face it: I don’t want you comparing notes with each other.
However, (keeping in line to the excellent book analogy because I’m fabulous for thinking of it in the first place) all readers alike get a common introduction. #NoHate #AllLivesMatter I like to (try to) be funny, a bit chatty, open to listening and being a cheerleader about saving the world and spreading sunshine on rainy days #haw
Still for all, there are few things I don’t speak much on for various reasons among which include:
(Local and International) Politics
No, I’m not trying to be diplomatic about it. Truth be told, unless it’s the UNFCCC or your names happen to be Trudeau or Macron, I’m not interested in knowing about you either. Mostly because I am a little blissfully unaware about what really goes on. Shameful I know, but I’m not lying when I say that it bores me. Sometimes to near death. I’m not proud of it needless to say but at least I’m being honest about it and avoid partaking in conversations I don’t quite understand much of.
On How Parents Should Parent their Children
Of course I will give ample advise on how I would raise my unborn children and in my mind write countless blog posts about how wrong I think you are raising your own. But, I for one will most likely not be able to afford any of my own and since you are bravely raising children, I genuinely do believe that you have a better idea of what you are doing with your kid(s), I think.
While education is essential and a right for all, let’s face it. In reality, not everyone has access to it and due to various reasons, those who do have access to it sometimes leave it behind due to commitments, financial concerns, more lucrative job offers and the genuine lack of interest in wanting to study. While education is one way towards the road of smart(dom), it isn’t the only way and learning happens in everyday life and not just in an institution.
Sexuality and Gender
I added both, despite knowing very well that one is different from the other because I am unable to clearly explain as to how one differs from the other. My Gender Studies lecturer from 2012/2013 will be disappointed, I know. But like what you may, who you may and do whomever you please, so as long as you stay away from my man, you and I can always, ALWAYS drink together. I’ll even buy you a round.
Let’s just say, #AllBodiesAreBeautiful
and they are! If you are unable to see beyond that, you and I clearly cannot be friends.
Facebook Relationship Statuses
If you are not on Facebook, well I don’t think this would apply to you, but irrespective of you being single, married, widowed, divorced and any other new type of relationship you choose to be in, I’m chill, with the exceptions of you either complaining about your chosen status or making out with you bae next to meet when we meet every four months for dinner. (ew)
These include the beliefs and practices of my own, of yours and those around us. Unless otherwise provoked with hateful comments on any religion, I will continue to believe that all religions speak of love, unity and togetherness because that’s what all religions preach. I think.
This also means that I bear judgement (maybe a bit on parenting one tho) and have no biases (unless you are a child of war or divorce) on the different perspectives you and the rest of the world choose to believe in.
Because, personal space right?
We will soon speak on religion and agnosticism. However, if the sun chooses to shine and rays of inspiration hit me, I will speak of travels.
I found myself panicking during last year’s floods. It was probably the first time in my “adult” life that I had seen a calamity of that extent and moreover, affected to those closest to me. Devastated would be a more accurate word to describe what was going on. You know how ‘news becomes news’ to you noh, “if it is in vicinity” or something to that extent they teach you in journo class. It changed how I saw things. It gave more perspective to how I see consumption in the light of climate change and God forbid, it probably even made me more sensitive.
Yes, I agree that people can’t sell their houses just like that and move away to higher ground. I understand not everyone has means to do so. But at least take precaution?
Let’s be honest, you had an year to prepare.
And no, this is not me blaming the government.
This is me blaming those who live by these riverbed areas who assume that their aeons of non-technical layman experience can overstep the word of science, measurements and accuracy. Almost, accuracy.
True, our DMCs and other organisations responsible need to up their game. They need to have better management, better organisation and the works. But for the latter, our private-funded ish volunteer-led associations have stepped up to liaise with them and there are better deeds happening. Or at least it seems so from behind this laptop screen.
But you, yes you who lives in these disaster-esq areas. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Are you taking precaution? Have you even looked into purchasing an insurance for your house? Do you have that emergency bag stacked up in a corner to take and go? The latter was a little practice we used to have (or imagining because I was little) during the time of the war, 94-96. We don’t have an emergency pack truth be told (I have one in my car), but should the necessity arise, my parents and I, will leave.
No material thing in your household is more worthwhile than your lives.
Yes, you might not be able to replace them for a long time, but someday you might or you could just steal them, I don’t know.
But this lack of preparation and organisation among the people affected really makes me angry. Why are they STILL not co-operating? Didn’t they lose enough last year? Christ, this scares me from behind a screen. Is this not real enough for you?
Also, has anyone posted a disaster-selfie just yet?
It’s a topic I’ve been wanting to speak on for a long time, but haven’t for the usual reasons, i.e.- procrastination and then for the more diplomatic reasons on whether we should speak about it at all. Because I mean after all, these sort of topics are saved for after marriage and I’m not married noh.
If you do want to know more about sex and the works, I would suggest some sort of magazine or website and in other unrelated news, Playboy is bringing back nudes!
This post on the other hand was inspired partly by one of my drivers. We were driving back from Kurunegala a few days ago and he tells me,
“මිස්දන්නවාද, Valentine’s Day වලතමයිවැඩියෙන්මගෑණුළමයිදූෂණයවෙන්නේ.”
Translation: Do you know that the most number of girls get raped on Valentine’s Day?
And no, I didn’t know that (and I don’t know if it is true). And yes, this post was to come out on Valentine’s Day but then I got busy with work (no there were no Valentine’s celebrations from this end as we are too old for that you know, lol) and never got around to it.
However, this conservation with my driver led to us talking about sex education, rape, contraception, family planning, STDs and unwanted pregnancies that these girls clearly knew nothing of.
See, before we go any further let’s throw out a few disclaimers for ol’ times sake but mostly because we live in a supposedly sensitive as fuck world where everyone seems to take offence for everything. Also since we are talking about “adult” topics, we will be swearing because, duh.
This post is not meant to draw sympathy on women.
Neither is this post aimed at penalising men.
Nor does it conform to the norm that women are victims and men are those at fault.
I will only focus on the male and female genders and heterosexual relationships because these are the populations that have easily accessible data and stuff.
Since this post has been coming a few days and I’ve lost my train of thought one too many times for my liking, let me try to go through a few reasons as to why I think we need to speak more on sex, having sex and well most importantly, having safe sex.
I usually refer the dictionary on themy Mac for definitions and this is what it had to say on consent:
A lot of the time, rape takes place when the “victim” (we are trying to be gender neutral here) has no idea that what is happening to them is wrong. This is true especially in the case of children and rape within their own families. I also have no numbers and statistics to back this information. If you are looking for a good read with numbers I strongly recommend the Bill and Melinda Gates Open Letter.
So it’s pretty simple right? If someone does something without the other’s permission, or consent, it is a violation of their rights or privacy or something on those lines.
Eg: – A few weeks ago someone took away the (my) laptop I was working on to show another some screen on Facebook, without asking me. No consent!
If you are still confused, the following video explains it thoroughly as well. I recommend you watch it as a family or a classroom – though I’m very well aware that my audience does not attract such people, haha.
The Birds and the Bees
Okay, I get it. I’m Sri Lankan too and my Mum never spoke to me about the birds and the bees. And still to date as a twenty-something year old I’m confused as to what the birds and the bees have to do with this. Why can’t we go more Freud about it and call it a lock and key or snake and window or you get the point. Or if you don’t, your mind is not dirty enough to be reading this post.
Again, if you do have five minutes at hand, this is a very good video to watch or show the children around you.
See, a lot of the time, when there is no education or well discussion on what really happens when people have sex, it leads to things like, you guessed it, rape!
There is no shame in talking about it to children and truth be told, if I were to have kids, I would start speaking to them or introducing the concept of sex from primary school. It would not only teach them what they ought to do to protect themselves but also teach them the right way of treating others and respecting them.
True we have Google and most in my generation, a few before and all those younger to me rely on the Internet for information. However, the Internet too has come a long way since early Millennium dial-up and information sharing. It has become more vital than ever for everyone to not only cross check news sites (because fake news brings money too, it seems) but also inquire on the authenticity of information provided. Hence, if parents or adults are not going to speak to their kids about this, they will only rely on the Internet for (mis)information.
I asked my Mother recently as to why she never told me about how children are made / babies are born. She laughed it off and said that I knew more than she did. While I did laugh along with her because it was funny, it did also dawn on me that there are many kids out there who are incapable of having such conversations with their parents. What are they to do then?
I saved the best for last because I believe that contraception becomes the solution to a lot of unwanted and unplanned situations including STDs and (not so) happy accidents.
Okay, let’s assume that consent has been attained and now two individuals (no I’m not looking at sexual relations with more than two people so don’t be offended) are maybe going to have sex for the first time. So no, they won’t get STDs and that box is checked. However, in the case of a heterosexual relationship, what about the risk of pregnancy?
If it amounts to anything on the lines of progress, which I think it is, some of the Healthguard Pharmacies here in Sri Lanka now not only sell condoms on shelves but also have emergency contraceptives as well. I think this is great as it not only reduces the risk of anything you are not really ready to have for but most importantly reduces the stigma and mental strain someone would have to go through when asking for it over the counter.
On another positive note, Sri Lanka is a country that does not require prescriptions for Oral Contraceptive Pills or OCPs. I don’t really know what this means in a medical sense, but as a layman or woman, I think this is a great progressive step as it again shortens the number of steps one would have to climb when wanting to have safer sex and access to contraceptives. While there isn’t a plethora of choices to choose from, I guess this is a start of sorts.
The least we can do from our end is to probably talk about it more to well, normalise it in to general conversation so that there will be no stigma when anyone would want to ask questions about it (as opposed to Googling for an answer).
There is no shame in parents or teachers speaking to their children or educating students on sex and all the other safety precautions they need to know because it would seriously do this country a world of good. See, once the discussion is out there in the open there would be criticism and probably a ban on speaking about the topic in open (like in the case of the big matches) but until that time, there is a sense of responsibility from every generation to the next.
A lot of people have already begun talking about it and clearly this post will not necessarily make a difference, but there are rants in my head that need to be written somewhere and if you don’t feel like reading it, no worries!
This is totes obvs with reference to the piece of shit writing on The Sunday Leader yesterday, which was shared by the lovely Aisha. I strongly suggest you read the ridiculous article by The Sunday Leader either way, in order to add some context to the story.
Let’s start by saying that I, for a long time have been bias towards the cause of prostitutes. I’ve always thought that there was nothing wrong with selling your body and making a living out of it, because a) at corporates people tend to sell their souls anyway, haha and b) the way men leer is actually no different to the “male” customer that goes in search of female prostitutes.
Few disclaimers too (because the world gets ridiculously offensive at everything we have to say now):
I’m not going to call them commercial sex workers because it makes no difference anyway. Or maybe it does and it doesn’t really matter to me. It’s different to the differently-abled / disabled debate. Let’s just call a spade, a spade okay.
All supposed relationships in this are for heterosexual people. I don’t know too much on homosexual / bisexual prostitutes to speak as much on it.
As my friend Aisha points out, “young girls are suffering from the loss of virginity” is not a disease. Sometimes girls, if not women, lose their virginity at a young age due to rape. Or maybe due to consensual sex with their teenage boyfriend. You don’t “suffer” because of this “loss”. Such sufferings occur in the “loss” of a family member.
More on the “loss”, you don’t really “lose” anything. True there is the story of the hymen breaking and what not, but really it’s not a loss man, grow up for fuck’s sake. It doesn’t even work the same way for all women.
“In most cases innocent but naive young girls, seduced by their boyfriends, lose their virginity due to their affairs. But then, instead of coming back to the right track, they wander away in life astray dipping deeper into the abyss.”
Like what the actual fuck. What if these girls who have gone “astray” have done so because it is a choice that they have made? Just as the misogynists would say that rape is something women bring upon themselves because of the clothes they wear (another rant for another day), sometimes women go astray, sleep around with multiple men, BECAUSE THEY WANT TO. Grow up lady, the world is not as rosy as you think it and there are women who enjoy having sex with one man or multiple men, and if they are sexually consenting adults who would do it for a fee, what on earth is your problem?
“However, in Sri Lanka, this has become a serious issue due to the ignorance of the authorities for many years.”
Dearest Ashanthi, have you stopped to realise why there is an increase in “commercial sex workers” and an increase in rape? Because men are fucking frustrated. I’ve always thought (and I know that I’m not alone in thinking so) that if prostitution was legalised that there might be a slight decrease in rape because of the increased number of sexually consenting women? I might be wrong, I don’t know, because I don’t have the numbers. But logically, this works out well in my mind and in my utopia, male and female prostitution will always be legal and girls can walk home in mini skirts at eleven in the night. (and so can men, without being harassed or mugged, because we are all equal here, Jesus.)
“But the second group which consists of the majority, are women who have become helpless without anyone to look after them…. The opinion in the society about these women varies as some have criticised their work while some have felt sorry about their misfortune. When we look into the real reasons that have compelled them to become sex workers, we too tend to justify their fate.”
I actually agree with you on this statement. When men who are husbands, fathers, care takers, breadwinners or whatever else you feel fit to call them, fail to do what “society deemed them to do”, women have to take on their role of providing for the family. Some women, who are fortunate enough to have basic education, finds work at a minimum-wage job and the more fortunate middle or higher-class ones are able to find work in the private sector. The rest of the women who are not at such an advantage have to fall back on either daily labour or prostitution. Those who are able to would naturally choose the latter because it’s human to want to make more money faster. I work three jobs, you see.
“In a corrupt society, the lack of solutions for their social problems have compelled many women to become sex workers.”
Our society is corrupt for a number of reasons that I think include: those who come in to power, mismanagement of people’s money, greed, lack of solid foundation for education (and the necessary tools that come with it) that can lead to things like prostitution yes. (I can rant on infrastructure and inefficient government services but I don’t think that’s what we are ranting about now).
Besides your blatant ignorance, supposed reasons for gallivanting at three in the morning in the name of trashy investigative journalism and most importantly the lack of really good sub-editor, I am yet to find enough reason as to why The Sunday Leader would run something on these lines. Or perhaps, they were needing a publicity stunt and thought that this trashy piece of writing would make us buy the paper despite the terribly cheap print quality they have.
It’s been nearly three weeks two weeks and four days after those terrible floods and landslides. By the time you read this, most likely on Monday or something, it might even be three. The “big rains” have now ceased and the monsoons have taken over. People have moved on in life, Muhammad Ali died at the age of 74, an armoury blew up some place close to home and caused massive fireworks in the skies, newer “news” has happened.
The flood victims too have moved “on” to their old homes. Most washed away by mud and other loathsome things with dead fish and rats floating about the place. There is only little left besides themselves, the possessions they took along with them and the ones unharmed as a result of having been left on a slab or second floor that can be saved.
Last week I drove to my Grandmother’s place to drop off some stuff. There is an unsustainable situation in the house as a result of having a few vehicles in the house, but at times like this, small vehicles are great for transport and deliveries I feel.
On my way to Mummy’s (I call my Grandmother “Mummy”) all I saw was rubble. Piles and piles of rubble. Clean roads, most likely washed away by the flood, but clean, yet rubble. Not just any rubble either, but possessions of rubble. Mattresses. Furniture. Beds. Cushions. Rubble that cannot be replaced as easily as buying a few groceries off the supermarket. Just piles of it, neatly stacked in the corners of the road every five to fifteen feet. What do they live with now, if most or all of what they own have been stashed against the sides of the road?
Then the lorries collecting these rubble. A line of lorries parked on the side of the road one behind the other, filling up the back of their vehicles with these piles of rubble. That’s all I kept thinking of as I drove to Mummy’s: rubble, rubble, rubble.
For those who saw (or went to see)
While multiple reports and rescue missions warned everyone on how people should stay away from the flood, something inside me asked how it would’ve been had I not “seen” the flood when waiting to get my grandparents out.
It’s something that I am still unable to explain nearly three weeks after but those who saw knew. Those who saw felt. Those who saw realised what was at stake and what we lost. Those who saw also took selfies, but that’s a conversation for another time.
I’m glad I saw what I did. While a lot of what was planned and expected did not turn out as it was supposed to, it did provoke within me a need to do something about what’s happening. And trust me when I tell you that such needs have not arisen before.
But then, part of me wishes that I did not see what I did. Because once you did, there is no going back really. There is no break from unseeing what you saw and that leaves you a little broken inside every time you buy something new or spend on something you shouldn’t because then you wonder on how that money could’ve benefited someone else instead.
The rains are yet to leave us. I will soon write on what’s in my handbag and carry-on bag, but until such times, #ThinkSunny
I’ll be honest with you. I thought this would be a one-off post. But we’ve made it to three so yay for me! I’ve turned into a poet in the process as well, eek. In today’s post, we speak of two things: racial or ethnic preferences and vulnerability. The latter is a bit of a hot topic in the development world so apologise in advance for the ranty-panties.
Not too long ago, the former government was responsible for teaching us the definition of the word, nepotism. Trust me, some English majors are not walking dictionaries or language gurus. However, once the new government came in we did see a bit of preferential treatment extended towards immediate family members and what not too – I don’t know what that is called to be honest or if that too is another form of nepotism. But don’t worry, I’m not here to rant about the government. I’m an apathetic “youth” that cares less about what it does with this country and frankly, I don’t know enough to speak on it either and hence I will not.
But somehow, this newly defined (by new I mean, new to our vocabulary as a result of not having used it as much in the past) term seems to have extended itself to the general public as well.
While I do agree on helping those close to home or reacting to the manner in which a news bulletin would and report what is most familiar, urgent and / or near to us; at times of crises when those not so near to us are among those near to us, I don’t see the need for the implementation of this newly defined word. Do you get what I am saying?
See, I’m a mix-bred child. In school I studied one religion, which I did practice up until a certain time of my life. Then in the name of education and supposedly worldly experience, questioning became a part of nature and the importance of balance and all that jazz became pivotal.
Hence at times like this when you hear a particular religious or ethnic group attempting to reach out to their own kind, the only thing I will do is discourage such practices and attempt to write long posts speaking on my displeasure towards this, because let’s face it: we all want to be an internet hero.
So excited to speak on this because, this word is something most NGO folks cannot get enough of.
V-u-l-n-e-r-a-b-l-e: doesn’t that sound magical to you?
Now there is this little notion floating around despite the drop in water levels, on how we should help the most vulnerable.
Pray tell me, who is the most vulnerable over here? Women and children? Senior citizens? The disabled community? Are we also throwing in a LGBTQ (++ other letters) over there too – no offence to you guys, just that the particular community keeps expanding a lot.
Let me tell you what happens on our side of the world. When it comes to provision of donor funds or drafting of proposals or tackling potential funding opportunities, we try to throw in a bit of the vulnerable because why not, the donors love it! I won’t say that it’s a bad thing as some countries here in South Asia and most countries in Africa are surviving to date because of the great work carried out by NGOs and other non-governmental entities especially when compared to the bare minimum done by the government.
However, in this context how does it work out?
Houses 1-5 are situated in an affected area.
Houses 1 and 5 are built on a relatively elevated-foundation (pray there be such things) with a second floor.
Houses 2-4 are not as fancy with a single story with the exception of house 3 that has gone up to slab-level and a staircase but stopped because building houses is expensive.
During the time of the flood, house 1 and 5 are lucky enough to remain in the house as they have another storey and remain there. The water level marks up to around 3 feet.
However houses 2-4 are not as lucky and reported a rough marking of 5 feet of water.
Now, when you go about your post-disaster work, will you provide rehabilitation equipment or facilities for only houses 2-4 while houses 1 and 5 looks on?
That’s all I have to rant about today. Until more flood times, haha. I joke.
P.S. – The sun is more or less out there and I suggest you go dry your clothes. Haha.