Monthly Archives: February 2010

Forgive me if I’m young, for speaking out of turn

To those who don’t know better, Uganda is a “success story” – a country saved by it’s democratic system and by large amounts of donations, a country who managed to reduce her HIV infection rates to just a one-figure percentage, a country with a literacy rate of 68% (in 2009).

There is, however, a much more despairing side of Uganda rarely broadcasted for the world to see.  (A side I doubt I would ever have known had I not stumbled on First Kill Your Family by Peter Eichstaedt, a recount of his experience in Uganda, where he was trying to set up her first independent news agency.) Nearly 95% of innocent civilians in North Uganda have been driven from their pastoral existence into refugee camps, and most of them live off food rations by the United Nations (UN). Due to poor living conditions and lack of sanitation and soap, people die from various diseases and illness by the second. That, or they eventually get killed. Unsettling fear sits permanently in their broken hearts; every single day is a battle of survival. And the most victimized people of the lot are the children of Uganda.

Why?

Because civil war between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been going on for twenty years now. The LRA is a pseudo-christian militia led by a sadomasochistic self-proclaimed prophet, Joseph Kony. Its fighting units consist of mostly children. (Yes, children who are involved in actual warfare and firing of arms while you play Counterstrike in an air-conditioned room.) These children are recruited by force, and are made to commit atrocious acts like murdering of their very own parents and slicing off lips or limbs of their enemies. This is the LRA’s common practice: They raid a house, take their crops and food, kidnap the children, and sometimes kill their parents and relatives; the boys are then trained to become soldiers, while the girls are given to other soldiers as child brides (to put it crudely, sex slaves). These children know not what they are fighting for, only that they have to. They become accustomed to shooting with their guns, prodding with their bayonets, torturing to achieve their means. It is a violent world they live in, and violence is the only way to live.

Child soldiers from Uganda who look like any other children asleep.

The LRA and the Ugandan government are still unable to come to a peaceful settlement. The LRA continues on their rampage, and the government continues in its mostly futile attempt to annihilate the rebels. The people believe that the cessation of war will come only when either one party is overthrown by the other – but even that will not guarantee peace. When two elephants fight, the grass suffers most.

Surely, something must and can be done by the global community. An international intervention maybe? The growing gap between better-developed and third-world countries is apparent in every nook and cranny, every corner of the street, every road and every city. Generous donations that come pouring into Uganda are but tiny plasters on a gaping, infected wound. We live on the very same Earth but our children grow up in utterly different worlds. The discrepancy is crushing.

Why is it that discomforting skin conditions brought about by spa centres with substandard hygiene can make the headlines, but a state of affairs as disconsolating and wrenched as this receive so little notoriety?

I just…. wanted to raise an awareness.
– sombre sarah, livid lightningpore

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CIP; It’s the thought that counts. Not the hours.

This post will do without a salutation so going straight to the point, dear readers out there I am going to expatiate on Kelly’s aka Stormypore’s post pertaining to the same article: CLICK TO SEE THE ARTICLE

Firstly, I would like to ask a few questions: Have you been involved in Community Involvement Programme (CIP) actively and more importantly, not how many hours you have earned but did the hours you earned come from the bottom of your heart and soul?

In CIP, you do simple deeds like going to an old folks home to read stories to the elderly. But, if not for the three alphabets C, I, P, would you have gone and sat next to the petite elderly lady, with a face that longs for care and concern, just to read her stories? Ask your conscience. 

CIP is not a programme that conveniently allow you to adorn your portfolio for the sake of your future, but its objective is to trigger your feelings and evoke emotions so that you do not grow up into inert human beings.

Curiously, why is it that teenagers nowadays do not have the correct mindset and attitude towards CIP? I find it interesting and will explore into the possibilities. It could be because this current epoch we live in shapes our mentality to one that always display the common teenage symptoms of self-centred and nonchalance. We do not bother about others because we only think about Me, Myself, and I. We do not see the need of CIP maybe because we have an indifferent attitude towards others. We are born in an era where we live comfortably and are not forced to view the seemingly pretty world in a different light; one that is cold, ugly and a place where people suffer but yet time do not wait for them.

Another reason why we tend to take CIP lightly and of no significance can be due to the rule whereby CIP is made compulsory and through the reluctant participation of students, they learn and value things in life. Sadly, this perfect ideology is a total misconception as it alarmingly becomes a ricochet whereby it backfires. Yes, sure students do participate in CIP but it is all involuntary and they feel obliged to do so and that is where the gist of learning is lost, like ships in the Bermuda Triangle.

The article speaks harshly but it definitely hits the bullseye:

“Youth is wasted on the young. They’re usually feckless, sometimes clueless, and fond of spewing cliché life statements and fighting words to show that they’re fiercely independent and want to change the world before dinner time. But more often than not, it’s NATO. No Action, Talk Only “

My post is written not to criticize on Youths in Singapore (including myself) in this modern time but to bring awareness to everyone that we should reflect on our mindset and mentality towards CIP. We do not help to benefit ourselves (earn hours) but help because we want to help.

You can sew all kinds of beautifully woven lines  into a neatly thought mitten of reflections, but at the end of the day it’s the sincerity and correct mindset that sews itself into a mitten that provides and spreads warmth .

A fellow who does things that count, doesn’t usually stop to count them.  ~Variation of a saying by Albert Einstein

Do you not agree with this quote? (:

Mistypore 😀

I call it Chocolate, love.

Good night to all readers (:
I believe that some of you have not heard about the issue regarding Cadbury and Ghana, so here I am, supplementing you with some basic  information you need.

Background Info:

“In January 2008, the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership was established in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, local governments, farmers and communities. 
This ground-breaking partnership aims to secure the economic, social and environmental sustainability of around a million cocoa farmers and their communities in Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean. 
Over ten years £45 million GBP will be invested through the partnership to improve farmer incomes, develop communities and build partnerships.
In January 2009 Cadbury announced that the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership was now active across 100 Ghanaian communities, marking the 100th anniversary of cocoa trading with Ghana.”

In my opinion, I think that this is a win-win situation for both Cadbury and farmers.

First of all, this is very fair play for the farmers in Ghana for they were paid accordingly to the work and effort that they have put in. Secondly, this will help Cadbury to build up a good reputation for they can make profits and not exploit others (the cocoa farmers) at the same time. As quoted from the September 21, 2009 edition of the TIMES Magazine, we are seeing the rise of the citizen consumer – and the beginnings of a responsibility revolution. That is, citizens are now engaging in the consumption of goods and services that are produced by corporations that are engaged in ethical means of production.

Indeed, Cadbury has proven that business and corporate social responsibility are not mutually exclusive.

Tell me, would you rather patronise a company that exploits child labour, or would you rather support a company that has commendable social or political values?
I would very much prefer the latter. (:

This was flimed in Ghana.

See you soon, Windypore 😀

Quickbites: Beach Cleaning = meaningful?

The young do-gooders who profit from their ethics

– I recommend reading this article before you take a look at what I think of it.

Well, wow. I’m pleasantly surprised to find out that there’s youths in Singapore who devote their time to social entrepreneurship. It gives me a nice warm feeling to know that there are youths of Singapore out there who are spending constructive time to contribute to the society.

Back to the article:

He’s designed a social innovation program for schools where students use design thinking to build more effective solutions to problems, as “opposed to merely going down to the beach to clean it up,” said Koh to CNNGo.

This line from the article makes me question myself, are our schools CIP (Community Involvement Programme) really useful then? We must understand the reasons why our schools want us to go do such activities such as cleaning the beach first. Ultimately, do we know the purpose of doing CIP? Perhaps you will get it too, once you read this article and reflect on it. I know that students absolutely hate doing such activities – whenever there is a beach cleaning activity, there are those who definitely complain and are absolutely unwilling to do it. Perhaps we should compare ourselves with these young social entrepreneurs. By asking us to do so, I’m not trying to bash everyone by saying that we are no-good, but what I’m trying to compare here is our attitude and mindset towards social entrepreneurship. I’m not asking that everyone should go and do the same as what they do, but I hope youths of Singapore can develop a healthy mindset and attitude towards social entrepreneurship and have more active participation.

Well, this is but only one small line in the long article. Why not click the link and find out more for yourself?

To end off, take a look at Shaun Koh’s informal interview (he’s the founder of Syinc)

This is brought to you by Stormypore~

Till then (:

Project Love Covers

Just today I was wondering what should I post about for my update. And like an instantly answered prayer, I caught this poster from the corner of my eye!  😀

It was a poster outside this store called Babyware, a shop that sells baby products. This poster literally caught my eye because of the pictures on the posters, and not to mention the poster is kinda huge too. Haha.

So Basically, Babyware is helping out at this Project Love Covers, which is a project that helps homeless children in the world. They are offering a dollar discount on their apparels for new or used baby clothings that are worn by newborns to 5 year-olds. As the poster says, and which I fully agree to,

Why are we doing this? Because we believe, every child deserves something good.

I think what Babyware is doing is very admirable. They are willing to give discounts to thier customers, in exchange for a chance to do their part for charity and to help the homeless children and babies out there in the world. While reading the poster, my heart broke when I read that there are so many cases of povety in the world. The children are all innocent, they don’t have any idea what is going on, and yet they have to suffer in povety, worrying if they will get to eat today, or listen to their stomachs growl away in the night while trying to sleep. Meanwhile being us, we have a sturdy roof over our heads, food provided everywhere, money when we need it and even luxuries like handphones and mp3 players. We have all that and so much more, yet all we do is complain about things we cannot get.

Does THAT sound familiar?

It is time. Time for us teenagers, and even adults to reflect on our behaviour and our attitude towards our lives. We have things that other kids in the world can only dream of having at our fingertips. Yet ask yourselves, do you really treasure what you have? Or do you just take it for granted and just want more, more and more? Do we really need all those things that we want, or should we sing praises to the heavens, because although we might not have all we want, we already have all that matters.

I sincerely hope that more people will get to know about this Project Love Covers, increase their awareness of the homeless and poor kids in the world and do something to contribute to help them. Even if people do not want to help, I simply wish that they will start reflecting on their lives and treasure each and every single happiness that they might overlook. I also hope that other organisations will learn from Babyware and help in this Project as much as they can. (:

Let us all cherish what we have, not take them for granted and do our part for charity! 😀

Toodles, Snowypore!

Casino-helping Singapore,or destroying?

I am sure many of you have come across this advertisement many times on the television. This advertisement is to advise people not to get addicted to gambling and to know their limits. The reason that this advertisement is appearing so often is probably because the casino has just opened in Sentosa, attracting a massive crowd. The opening of the casino might cause more people to be gambling addicts and go bankrupt. Hence, the Casino has placed some preventive measures to prevent that problem:

-family members are allowed to apply for a casino ban for their family member if the family member is deemed a problem gambler.

-citizens are allowed to get themselves a casino ban if they think that they are a deemed problem gambler, or for self-control over gambling.

-the government can also ban people with low-income or are declared bankrupt entry into the casino.

The reason for these casino bans is to prevent the casino from causing the problem of  causing more gambling addicts and families being bankrupt because of gambling. However, does all these casino bans have what it takes to help solve the problem or even improve the situation? In my opinion, having these bans is not enough. What it takes to solve the problem of gambling addicts and bankruptcy due to gambling  is all of the Singaporean citizen’s effort.

You must agree, that these application of bans are useless if no one applies for them. Hence, Singaporeans who are deemed as problem gamblers must exercise self-control and prevent themselves from getting addicted. Until now, it is very subjective whether or not the casino is helping the country or destroying it. What i am sure is that the answer to this question lies in the citizens hands. If Singapore citizens are willing to put in the effort and know their limits in gambling, hence helping to improve the situation with gambling addicts and bankruptcy, it is then clear that the casino is a great help to the country in terms of towards the problem as well as towards the tourism industry. However if the citizens do not cooperate, then the casino would be seen as the root of many families suffering from bankruptcy and gambling addiction, causing a more serious problem in Singapore.

Hazypore:)





Haiti Earthquake may be a good thing after all.

Do not get me wrong, I am not a sadist who takes pleasure in others’ agony.
Let me explain.  (:

Haiti Earthquke, as we all know it,  has a big impact on the human race this time. Almost everyone is every corner of the world heard about this tragic incident and is discussing about it, be it businessmen, housewives or even students. As mentioned by the rest of the pores, many help has also delivered to the Haiti quake-site; medical, physical and financial. As quoted from Mistypore,

And sometimes, when the storm is over and the rainbow starts to form, do you pause to think: “Good things can come out of something bad ? – Sophie Moore A food for thought.

That is what I meant by this tragic incident being a good thing.

I was randomly going through some articles about the Haiti Earthquake, and I came across three consecutive articles about the helped rendered to Haiti. I was touched after reading those three articles. No, touched isn’t strong enough to express how I felt.

The first article is about students from Aurora University selling self-made T-shirts. Funds raised will go to Convoy of Hope, a Springfield, Mo.-based nonprofit that has worked in Haiti and currently feeds 11,000 children there daily. Aurora University is not the only school organisation working hard to raise funds for the Haiti Earthquake. School organisations from around the world are all finding ways to help Haiti financially. Just like what Hazypore told you, even schools like River Valley High is finding ways to raise the money to help Haiti. Currently River Valley High is still selling self-painted drawings to their students, donating all their profits to help Haiti.

The second article that I came across was about an organisation that had this sale of music goodies donated by the likes of Coldplay and Arctic Monkeys. They managed to raise a final total of more than £120,000 to help rebuild Haiti. Coldplay’s Chris Martin’s Viva La Vida tour jacket itself managed to raise £9,600. It is heartwarming to see even rockstars playing their small little role of helping Haiti. Little acts like selling their jacket can help Haiti a lot, financial-wise. Instead of just sitting at a side, rockstars actually think of these ways to help Haiti, even though Haiti has nothing to do with them. Doesn’t that make you love them even more? ;D

The third article was a major one. “Open source network management services company, the OpenNMS Group, has been tapped by social enterprise organization Inveneo to help monitor a wireless network that Inveneo set up to support NetHope’s Haiti relief efforts. In addition, the OpenNMS Group has donated a year’s worth of 24/7 support services to Inveneo to help manage the rebuilding of wireless networks in Haiti.” After hearing about the Haiti Earthquake, it has never crossed my mind that wireless networks are needed to rebuild. I only thought of helping in terms of food, shelter and finance. Inveneo was very considerate to set up wireless network for Haiti, out on their own accord. OpenNMS Group has also generously donated a year’s woth technical support. Working hand-in-hand, these two organisations rendered great help to Haiti and with their help, I’m sure Haiti will be rebuilt very soon.

These three simple but impactful articles made me realise something. We, as a world, are one big family. Although we come from different areas of the Earth, speak different language, have different practices, when something epic happens, we are there to extend our helping hands to our family members. When one of the countries meet with a tragic incident, we try our very best to help them recover. We may seem so far apart on the World Map, but deep inside, we are closely bonded. This is because we all belong to the same family, the Human Race. Reading numerous newspaper articles about how people all over the world do what they can to help the Haiti really moves me. They might not know people involved in this Earthquake, but they are ever-so-willing to help them.

Through this Earthquake, Human Love towards each other can be seen. To me, I feel that this Earthquake has somehow bonded us Human Race together as we strive hard to raise money for Haiti or to even help them physically. This world does not seem so cold and cruel after all, because we now know there is a compassionate and wonderful side of the Human Race.

Now, don’t you agree with me that Haiti Earthquake may be a good thing after all? 😀
(I did say “MAY be”.)

Loves, Snowypore! ♥