Will, Skill or a Bill

I have often pushed the Mantra of Charity as something to be approached in a sensible way.

Do what you can and what needs to be done. If you cannot pay or have the skills to help then you can still spread the word. You can get others to donate and or volunteer.

The story of HIV in India is an incredibly tragic one with the stigma being so strong that HIV+ people often don’t tell their loved ones that they are sick.

And this causes more tragedies. For many HIV is a death sentence, but the creation of ARVs mean that HIV and AIDS are treated as Chronic Diseases now, like Diabetes or Hypertension. With ARVs one can live decades and hold down a normal life.

And part of that normalcy is love and companionship. [Read more...]

Why I Made A Short Post…

No! Bad! Stahp!

Sometimes I get some rather bizarre mail and this one is particularly no different.

Avicenna thinks his readers (well, the advertisers he “writes” about, are dogs. His whole post, titled : “No! Wrong! Bad!” (I personally think he needs more caps and some more exclamation points), followed by a “sexy color ad”

His Ophie-like contribution:

No…
If you don’t get why this is wrong or how wrong this is then what’s the point in explaining why this is a terrible idea?

Well, maybe to help explain to those who see nothing wrong what it is you find wrong about it? Was that hard? I hope he really has no teaching duties – I suspect any doctor trained by him will kill any patient they come into contact with.

I find it rather amusing. I produced a rather small blog post for once. Most of my posts exceed the 800 word mark and I think I have the largest post on FTB. I am also NOT a professional writer but in healthcare. I assume this is from the anti-FTB faction because frankly most people complain my posts are too longer rather than short?

This I find rather amusing. See I know I write at a furious pace when I have the time. My posts generally have high word counts. Even professional full time writers don’t keep up a similar pace. I know that’s because I take very little care with editors or checking for mistakes of grammar, spelling and punctuation and that I tend to write without any structure. Why?

Because I write for catharsis. It’s a way of calming down and keeping cool. It gives me a space to vent. I was suprised that peopel wished to read what I wrote. Eventually people made requests hence I read all the email that comes through to me. I was astonished that so many people were willing to donate and help out in keeping A Million Gods functional and helping out in the various causes and all throughout that not one…

I repeat not one person has complained about the occassional short blog post.

So I ask the question? What do you want me to say? Oh Noes! The person who came up with this advertisement is whitewashing an already whitewashed festival? That Thanksgiving in the USA whitewashes the genocide of Native Americans and destruction of culture to the point that the Native American cultural diversity is unified under a single banner of Native American. I know that Indian Culture is a catch-all phrase for all the cultural groups in the Sub-Continent. I know there is a diverse range of Cultures in the UK. I know that despite being under 200 years old, the USA’s cultural diversity is so widespread. Florida and Seattle are in the same country. Hell there have been actual fisticuffs over culture WITHIN the USA within the same communities such as the East/West Coast Rap “beef”.

And you are telling me that Native American (sorry! Indian! Feather not Dot) is a single monolithic culture to be remembered in passing during Thanksgiving and generally ignored throughout the year except for “one day”.

Okay… what else can I rant about?

Oh! The actual photo!

The Native Americans brought MORE than “corn”. Personally I don’t know what the inverted commas are meant to signify or what sort of euphemism we are applying to corn but I will say this.

The entire world’s cuisine could not happen without the addition of native american food. Particularly the cuisine of my own culture. Indians (feather) helped make Indians (dot) cooking a reality.

When the Mughals came to India they made a very strange (for now) complaint. They found Indian cooking bland and tasteless. The Indian spices are mainly from the South but the things that gave Indian cooking it’s immense hitting power had not arrived yet.

The Portuguese, French and British began to bring in crops from the New World. Domesticated crops such as corn. Indian corn on the cob venders can be found on every street making grilled corn. Potatoes are added to almost every dish? The subtle spice mixes of the south would have no counter point if not for the chillies that Indians bred to frankly terrifying strengths. Potatoes, Tomatoes, Aubergines, Maize… the list keeps going on and on. So many of these things are such staples of our diet that we cannot go a day without eating them.

And then there is the “other” Indian passion of the south. Coffee. South Indians Love Coffee. I can easily get a cup for breakfast, another around 11, one for lunch, another around 3 another at 6 and one after tea. Why? Because anytime is coffee time. It’s not strong coffee but a bitter sweet, milky one that’s hand poured to a froth.

Okay so we got the corn out of the way.

Oh we can talk about the image here where you either darkened up a white lady with dark hair to look like what you think the Native Americans looked like and then dressed her up in what you think the Native Americans wore if the Native Americans were dressed by Ann Summers.

We can talk about all that but let us talk about why I produced such a small piece…

I am in the South Of Asia.

Pay Attention to the News Haters…

Leyte is the area of the Philippines hardest hit.

See when the Cyclone hit the damage was so extensive that the mechanisms that tell you how damaged things are was damaged. This means no one has the blindest idea of what happened. The Philippines Communication Network was smashed to pieces. Only now reports are coming in and many villages are still silent.

The worst hit is Tacloban. It’s a deadly combination of poverty slum housing, incredible windspeed, rain and bad roads.

Just one hospital is functional but more are being resurrected. Power, water and food shortages exist and there has been looting and violence. There is already an outbreak of dysentery.

It’s really fighting uphill. I started writing this on Saturday before getting the call to move out.

So I am asking you to donate. And please, I know people like donating clothes and shoes but remember these things are considered an insult in many parts of the world. They are victims of a cyclone storm not beggars. No Old Shoes, No Random Cans of Food, No Medicine Boxes. Donate to people who are skilled humanitarian workers who have a long and proven track record of solid relief.

With clothes what often happens is that they are never used. They wasted valuable space being shipped down and they often harm the local wildlife or contribute to garbage. The shoes? Come on? How many people send 4 inch heels? Medicine? We have medicines, we buy them wholesale or even get them for free from some companies who wish to donate in “kind”. We have deals, we cannot use half a tube of Preparation H…. It’s the same for tinned food. We prefer dehydrated foods because tins are heavy and honestly one tin of peaches or pineapple (my favourites) can cause a fight if another person’s tin doesn’t contain that.

It won’t make my life here easier but it will help those who come after me.

Oxfam

And if you like to see what your donations PRECISELY can do?

MSF

 

Hags of Lag – Despicable Action, Help Correct It

For the gamers among you, most of you realise that my gaming posts don’t do all that well. There are but a handful of us who play around here and many say it doesn’t suit the tone of the blog (Look all my posts can’t be about quacks, horrible people and religious fanatics). I am aware that these are some of my least read posts (It’s why I label them under Hags of Lag – Those who don’t want to read about digital shootemups can ignore the piece).

For those who are unaware, the Extra Life is a charity where gamers do what they love and fundraise money for charity. It was seen as a way for the gaming community to give back. It was seen as a way to make games do some good and be more than just about games and having fun. [Read more...]

Light The Night – Ideas for Forfeits and Fundraising Links

If you haven’t heard already, I have agreed to be on the FTB – Light the Night Fundraiser Team along with Greta Christina, PZ Myers and Ed Brayton.

I assume I bring youth, vibrancy and a funny sounding name to the team…

But we are here for two reasons. One to think about pledges for forfeits and two to drum up money!

It’s for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and this mainly applies to “Americans”.

So first things first. Let’s set some goals.

Our overall goal is $10,000. Ed Brayton, PZ Myers and Greta Have all been asking for ideas of what we should do.

So let’s set forfeits at $2,500, $5000 and $10,000.

If you wish to donate specifically to all of us then use the main FTB donation page. If you want to donate to me and me alone then use the user specific pages on that or go here.

And I suppose we can have personal forfeits if we hit goals too. So make your suggestions in the comments. As of now, all I have is this.

If we hit $10,000 and exceed it, I will attempt to sign on and speak at an FTB Event in 2014 or 2015. You may add conditions but at the moment I got that and that alone.

Its mainly for the society so give. How about the first forfeit at $2,500 being that I will write a guide to Leukemia and Lymphoma (and let’s not leave out Myelomas) that explains the lot from a medical standpoint.

Mission Congo

I don’t like missionaries. I don’t like the idea of missionaries. The idea is simple. Go enlighten the blighted heathen and wow them with technology so that we can replace their unenlightened dark gods with our rape excusing, slavery begetting, incestuous, murderous god who is more civilised simply because we wear pants and they do not.

I understand that’s the older version of the missionary but the modern mission’s purpose is similar. Sure there may be more oversight and the emphasis has increased on helping people but the oversight is not there. And very often the miissionary doesn’t help so much as sweep into and out of their lives in a whirlwind of iPhones and temporary technology. Or worse, are so unfit for field work that they actually end up doing harm.

And no where is this seen as badly as in Pat Robertson’s Operation Blessing International which is the subject of a documentary called Mission Congo. [Read more...]