Friday, November 08, 2002

Wow - it's been a while! This has not been a daily bog for some time now. But I hope it's still interesting.

I've gotten another job (I'm back at TIDCO - the Tourism and Industrial Development Company Ltd) - but now I'm, in Marketing instead of IT. I do the websites. There are quite a few, and they've been sadly ignored for a while.

There's some really interesting things about this job. Everyone knows better than us about how to market Trinidad and Tobago. It's so weird. All we hear about is what we're doing wrong in their opinion. But, if local people aren't our target market for Tourism advertising, then how would they really know what we're doing, and if it's effective? Doesn't stop everyone from the hairdresser to the waitress to the taxi driver from telling me how to do my job.

It's annoying sometimes. It's good that they care, but not enough to stop littering and making the beaches look like garbage dumps, though!
Arrrrgh!

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Provocation leads to 18 stab wounds!

WINSTON Junior Duffriend was yesterday convicted� for the second time�of killing his estranged common-law wife.

This time around, however, his conviction was reduced from murder to manslaughter, when the jury concluded that the woman had provoked him.

Ramkissoon�s cousin, Jennifer Lewis, testified that she was in the kitchen area of the restaurant when she and Ramkissoon shared a joke. Duffriend claimed that he was the butt of the joke.

Being made fun of is a valid defense in Trinidad and Tobago now - for murder. But being abused by a man has NOT been accepted as a valid provocation defense. This seems to me to be really messed up. I guess we have to be really careful about the jokes we make, as violent reactions to such include being stabbed 18 times!

on a happier note - Jamaica's election came off with some violence, but PJ PAtterson has won an unprecedented 3rd term. Seaga has now led his party to 7 consecutive defeats - think he should step down and let the party reorganise itself? Hmmmm?

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Politics in Trinidad - the silly season.

OK - so the leader of the UNC party has just offered an "investment" of $1500 for every baby born in 2003. Is this ridiculous or what? This country is overpopulated. We don't have anywhere enough school places, enough jobs, and to encourage more babies to be born? I couldn't believe it when I heard.

If the idea is to improve the economic lot of the people of this country, why not give the $$ to girls who finish high school with good grades and don't get pregnant? Offer them the money towards further education. This will encourage them to NOT get pregnant young, to finish school and set themselves up for a better position in life! But NO...... that's not an option in this topsy-turvy land of ours.

I'm getting fed up!

Monday, September 23, 2002

I just realised that many countries are going to the polls in the next few months and the opinion polls are showing (Germany, Trinidad, Jamaica) that these countries are virtually split down the middle - seems as if (like the US in 2K) no-one wants to elect a government with a strong mandate anymore.

Trinidad has been "kind of" functioning with an 18-18 electoral tie for 9 months now,(voting AGAIN on Oct 7) and there are predictions of 30-30 in Jamaica on October 16. Germany's election was a dead heat until the end...

Do you think that it is a defnite move by voters to deny governments the ability to rule with a strong majority, and always keep the upper hand? Or is it a reflection on the ethnic and other divisions and tribalism that seems to be starting to infect the world?
Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

So I haven't written anything here for almost a month. It is difficult sometimes.
So - now we're into election mode again - it's the 3rd general election in 33 months. Should we call it the annual election?

There are apparently 102 people going up for the election in 36 electoral districts. Of course, the main 2 parties will most likely win all the seats. The main new party - Citizen's Alliance - has a lot of very intelligent middle-class people going up, but ... it seems strange that we hear nothign about what they're planning, what they stand for - or against. We don't even know who is backing them financially. That is definitely disturbing to me, as my main issue is the increasing lawlessness, exemplified by the overt corruption at all levels of society.
I think that this country will become ungovernable if people don't start obeying laws - we don't even obey traffic signals, and the Police don't stop us.

If the ex-Prime Minister can say that it's no-one's business where he suddenly got 100,000 UK pounds while in office, and another Minister won't say where he got $52 MILLION while in office, and nothign is done about them, then... should we find it strange that one has to pay a fee to the cashier to cash a cheque in less than 1 day of standing in line?

What also disturbs me is that the population has reached the point where they seem to take this behaviour for granted.

This is NOT hte way things are supposed to work One is NOT required to pass a bribe to get basic Government services that are provided for free, or for the clerk to do the job that s/he is getting PAID to do!

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

I find it interesting that the anti-abortion groups have co-opted the term "pro-life" , and placed it in opposition to the term "pro-choice'. By definition, being pro-choice means that one supports the right of the woman to choose her own destiny. So - how does that mean that opposition to life? That does not follow. With respect to the decision of a woman to carry a preganancy to term or not, this is a decision that impacts her life in a profound way. Pro-choice is exactly that. Supportive of the woman's choice, whatever it is. Pro-choice advocates work with women and girls to assist them in an informed choice, whether it is to carry the pregnancy to term and give the resulting child up for adoption, to keep the child, or to abort the pregnancy. Anti-abortion advocates would remove that choice.

Being anti-abortion can in fact mean that one is anti-life, as is shown by the many bombings and other violent acts carried out in the name of the "pro-life" movement in the US and elsewhere. What is clear is that they ar opposed to abortion, as well as to the woman's right to determine what happens with her own body. So - anti-abortion or anti-choice would be a much better name for this movement.

Who are these people who appoint themselves MY guardians and think they have the right to make MY decisions for me? They think that I should not have a choice in determining my life, my future. I notice that many of them are men, who aren't the ones at risk, whatever the choice. They don't go through the pregnancy, they don't have the risk of toxemia, high blood pressure, hemorrage; they don't go through labour, they aren't around to raise the child. Why should they have the right to decide for me? There is a lot of talk about adoption. How many adoptions are there annually, compared to children left in the care of the State? How many of these who are purporting to decide for me have adopted children? How many assist the prospective mother through the pregnancy, with doctor's bills, living expenses, school fees, psychological counselling and other support?

I saw on the TV 6 program Morning Edition, a male representative of the recent march talking about a woman who went through with a pregnancy that was the result of rape, and she was glad. That's good for her. She was in the US, where she had a choice. If she chose not to live with a reminder of a violent attack on her person, she could have. If she chose to have the child, that's her choice. Unfortunately, here we don't have a choice, and there are people actively working to keep us that way.

The same gentleman also mentioned that childbirth was very safe nowadays. WHO statistics graphically contradict him on this point. Childbirth and pregnancy are some of the leading casues of death for women and girls worldwide, even today. We must also consider the number of women and girls who die becasue of illegal abortions, and the resultant cost to the society. Here, if you have the money, you can have an abortion done safely. If you're poor - you may die.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Took another Keirsey test today. Interesting how I change slightly on this test - I've gone from an INTP type - rational engineer, strategic thinker, to more of an artistic type - an ESTP. This will be the 4th different type I've tested in the past 8 years. I've found that I change somewhat according to what I'm doing at the time - right now I'm working with a lot of very creative people in a very flexible environment. Guess that's why I change my way of dealing with people - according to the people I'm working with.


However, according to the Jung test, I'm still the same as I always was. I guess that test measures more fundamental things than the Kiersey.
On the Jung, I'm still the same as always, INTJ, with almost balanced NT (both VERY strong), and a moderately expressed J.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Spent the day today trying to get a dead dog removed from my premises. I called around to every Government agency that I could think of, and they were all unhelpful. Shouldn't a dead animal be of interest to the Health and Safety department of the Government? All they would tell me is that it's a private matter. The dog was rotting, not my dog, and flies were infesting the neighbourhood. Eventually I paid someone $250 to remove it. Suppose I was poor, or a pensioner or otherwise unable to spend that sum to have it taken care of privately? Would the Govt have left it there, causing a health hazard for ever? What is the role and function of the health departments? They are even having problems spraying for mosquitoes int he middle of a dengue epidemic that is killing people here.


Oh well - the trials of living in a third world country !

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Recently I've been involved in a discussion about diets. I hate the concept of "Diet" as it has evolved. The original meaning was - what a person ate was his/her diet. Now diet means a slimming regime.


Why are so many people focused on the magic pilll of Slim Fast, Atkins, grapefruit, etc? Haven't you noticed the vast amounts of diet food that people eat?



1. The Atkins diet has been proven to have caused the death by kidney
failure of several people. I think that overdoing ANYTHING is
by definition a poor diet for omnivores. And too much animal protein is very hard to digest - check your own body and see, if you have a lot of steak etc. for 2 days, you will need to drink a lot of water, you will FEEL your body
working to process the protein, and you will feel like shit (at least I do).

2. Refined sugars and carbohydrates have NO place in a healthy diet. Whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and unleavened whole wheat breads, like pita and puri (in
limited amounts) are necessary, I think.

3. A major note is portion size. American portions are HUGE, and a huge salad or a platter of brown rice will put on weight just like everything
else.


As far as I can see, the major cause of obesity in the US is the "Supersize
it" portions. When I lived in the US, most times, when I got served food, I left at least 1/3 on the plate, or asked for a doggie bag. Even so, I lost 15 lbs almost as
soon as I got back to T&T. I put on weight in San Francisco, compared to DC, as I was eating out more, and it's definitely more difficult to control how much you
eat when you're out. Doesn't matter what you eat though, if you eat too much of it, and don't work it off, you will get fat.



Below are my musings on a healthy way to eat, and one that is manageable for a lifetime.


If you stop eating bread and white sugar, that alone
would improve your health in a major way. Then include the uncooked dark
green leafy veg, the unprocessed grains (brown rice, bulgur, etc). Lentils are GREAT, and I prefer them as a source of protein to most meat. Take
almost all red meat out of the diet and replace with beans, peas and lightly
steamed fish (no more than 3 oz) - lemon grass is a excellent seasoning for
steamed fish. My main thing is to have VERY few white foods on the plate - color is good, and food w/ lots of colors is good for getting all the vitamins & minerals, as long as you eat them mainly raw. What about beets w/ balsamic vinegar? Guacamole (good serving size is 2 spoonsful) - most people eat far too much. Kill the sour cream on everything. Replace with a yoghurt based sauce, if necessary. Kill the
sweets, chocolate, icecream, etc.
And most importantly - no "Diets".

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

I'm tired today. I heard that the police didn't offer ANY forensic evidence in the Christopher Lynch murder case - 42 stab wounds and no knife, no blood, no photos of the scene, no fingerprints. That's beyond homophobia - its sheer dereliction of duty. So now we hae a 2x murderer loose again.
We also have businessmen in Chaguanas clamoring for guns to "protect themselves". Right! And then they don't know how to use the gun, the thief steals it, and we have one more armed bandit. I think that crime is part of the price of progress, and something that we as a society have to work on, of course. BUT the way that we, as a society, have determined to manage crime is by the creation of a special force to deal with it - the police, ruled by law and restrained from the worst excesses by the Judiciary. This is so we don't have a vigilante society... with people with guns running around accountable to no-one.
We need to work at making our police service more effective. Not get ourselves guns; wall ourselves away in gated communities; lock ourselves up in burglar barred houses (so much so that we can't get out in a fire); and constrain our lives to the daylight hours. That's bad for us, bad for the society, and bad for the economy!

Monday, August 05, 2002

How do people connect in the fluid societies that are being formed by globalisation? People are being torn adrift from the old family-based social structures. When I was in the States, most people were thousands of miles from their families, and they formed new family structures from their friends. They didn't go home for Christmas etc. They cut off from parents and family, and make new ones. Huge numbers of people are very lonely, and are turning to the Net to form relationships, as people have a real need for other people. And then, in the beginning, communities were not a big part of the net, now they are. But I've also noticed, many of the communities have a real-world counterpart - like parties, mixers etc. People still want that face to face. I was amazed at the number of Trinidadians and other West Indians on some of these dating sites, becuase Internet penetration is still not that high in T&T. Our society is starting to change as well, apparently

Sunday, August 04, 2002

Missed a couple of days. That's not good, but I have returned! Perseverance is something that is grossly underrated and is also in short supply nowadays.

I've been hanging out. Went to a bar/restaurant yesterday for lunch. There were some students there who had just finished exams - a mix of male and female, all in their early twenties. I felt like an anachronism - they were LOUD, crude, and they seemed to have only one or two adjectives - some variation of f**king... They all seemed very unattractive to me. The girls were all overweight and unfit, the boys skinny and short. Their talk was inane, the grammar non-existent, and the vocabulary pathetic.

Thinking about the state the country would be in if there are the people getting degrees and moving to the top of the professional ranks depressed me totally! Where will we be in 15 years unless they learn FAST? Which I doubt, as they don't seem to value the thngs I've been talking about here.

Interesting, because I just read in the Atlantic Monthly about the "Organisation Kid" - how American kids at college are so docile, hard-working, conformist. I wish we had some of those problems here - at least the hardworking.
In Trinidad I believe we have an entrenched culture of entitlement. Everyone feels entitled to something, and there is no culture of having to work for it.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Well - today there is more interesting stuff in the news- politically. (According to the Trinidad Express ) The MP for my area - Carlos John, decided to quit politics after he was visited by the police with a search warrant in a corruption investigation. (It was about a $500,000 cheque). His family pressured him to quit. Apparently now he's being pressured by "constituents" to stay in politics. I guess corruption isn't important to people in Trinidad.

Corruption destrys a country. It adds cost to everything, it removes the value of quality.Why don't we think it's important? How can a politician (not Mr. John) tell the country that - yes he has a very large foreign bank account, but it isn't our business where he got the money from? Can anyone say twilight zone here?

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Hi
This is my first posting in a new blog - I hope to keep it up.
Trinidad is a bit stressful these days, if one pays attention to things - like the fact that we've had no parliament yet for over 7 months. Basically the government is running the country without a mandate from the country, and the citizenry is going along merrily without worrying about it!
To add insult to injury, our new chief justice just set a 2x murderer free. He killed a man with 42 blows from a kitchen knife, almost severing his head, while a friend held the man down. Guess what the reason was for setting him free? The CJ said that he was PROVOKED because the victim, a middle aged slightly built man, had propositioned the two young men. He said that a homosexual proposition was a reason to kill! That was a defense! No-one is taking it up as a cause, no-one is marching in the streets - we just go on to the latest party or concert.
What a place!