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Driving in Vaughan

Driving in Vaughan

Panic everywhere, no one looks and everyone tries to beat the other car. What is wrong with this picture?

York Region’s transportation services committee gave the green light to install 20 red-light cameras at intersections throughout the region. Will it do any good? I hope so. Some how drivers and those walking think they are the only ones in the world and someone else is looking out for them. Perhaps they believe that the other person is their keeper.

The age of entitlement.

Francisco De La Maza

Born in Cuba – American mother and Cuban father -. Now lives in Canada
Children: Katie De La Maza and Tony De La Maza.

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Media is not only bias but also Eurocentric in Human Rights views

Media is not only bias but also Eurocentric in Human Rights views

The Time magazine and AP which is then used by media outlets in the US such as Fox and ABC discuss a lopsided view of what is going on in Myanmar.
An example is a U Wirathu, 46, from Mandalay’s Masoeyein Monastery.
“I told their reporter when they came and met me that it was the Muslims who gave me this name. I didn’t refer to myself this way, but [Time] used this name in the story,” he said.

Reading the article which was sent to me by my Buddhist friends in Canada, I read “His face as still and serene as a statue’s, the Buddhist monk who has taken the title “the Burmese bin Laden” begins his sermon. Hundreds of worshippers sit before him, palms pressed together, sweat trickling silently down their sticky backs. On cue, the crowd chants with the man in burgundy robes, the mantras drifting through the sultry air of a temple in Mandalay, Burma’s second biggest city after Rangoon. It seems a peaceful scene, but Wirathu’s message crackles with hate. “Now is not the time for calm,” the 46-year-old monk intones, as he spends 90 minutes describing the many…”
Is this about Human Rights or is it about now finding a new cause in Burma selling abuse there when using terms such as Burmese thugs and Burmese Buddhist mobs? No longer having the army or police to call monsters these pushers of ideas have now turned their gaze on the religious conflicts/and ethnic conflicts that is taking place in this fledgling “free” Myanmar.

The peoples of Myanmar/Burma must question Western media outlets that had been working on as to why the extreme verbal language when describing the sectarian/religious violence. Perhaps they no longer have  to champion DASSK’s release and stopping the abusive behaviour of the army. I know it is to sell their papers and support getting media dollars for their organizations – But then ethics is not involved. Many do not have a campaign to champion for or to write about in Burma as most of the issues are economic and the coming together of the Developed governments to stop sanctions against the state. This is no longer filled with blood and terror. The same media no longer has images of the Boston Bombing and since they have a nine day attention span, journalist in their decision making have a new agenda – the Buddhist mobs in Myanmar. I am not discounting the violence that has taken place; it is an area that many within the country and around the world are trying to solve. This part of the story is underreported as it is not as sexy as putting “bin Laden” tag that their viewers understand.

Time and other Western media need to stop inflaming the situation. They view the Burmese Buddhist as the dominant group and will slant media coverage against them. The new found freedom of speech has not taught the peoples of Myanmar to push back and speak out. I did not hear anything about Somalia and the killing of 14 UN workers, or Malaysia and the killings and deportations from that country. I think pointing out the lack of coverage of how Christians are treated by the Saudi Arabians as well as the lack of coverage of Imams that speak hate speech against others while living in the UK, USA is left to the side – no story there. Therefore, there has to be a push back by those expats living in the USA, CANADA, UK and Australia to name a few areas.
Many reporters and human rights groups in the Western world want another human rights issue to champion in Myanmar so they like to push the idea that there are thugs and Buddhist mobs and mass genocide like Germany. Blinded by this worship of rights they cannot find information of the good will among people on all sides in the country who are coming together to live and stop the violence in Myanmar. My standard have been for the last decade to work with like minded people and advocate for rights with peace using love as the motivation and not the self centered ‘I know best ‘ attitudes.

Time and many journalists have to sell news. It is the people who have to sell ideas about communal living and solving religious/ethnic tensions like the article naming  Kyaw Min Swe, Chief Editor of the Voice Daily Dr. Ashin Dhamma Piyaka

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor at York U in Toronto. Equity Studies.

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88 Generation Conference (Canada) – 8888 Myanmar

88 Generation Conference (Canada) – 8888 Myanmar

28 June, 2013 ( Friday ) 5 PM : : Welcome Party , Concert and Reception
Cecil Community Center ,58 Cecil Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 1N6
(College St & Spadina Avenue)

29 & 30 June, 2013 ( Saturday , Sunday ) at 9 A.M : : 88 generation Conference at Toronto City Hall
100 Queen St W Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2N2

I will let my readers know after I attend this conference what I learned from the discussions.

My Burmese is now limited to listening but speech is harder.

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor at York U in Toronto. Equity Studies.

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Myanmar/ Burma economic development for all?

Myanmar/ Burma economic development for all?

With the two large projects such as the Thilawa Special Economic Zone with three private Japanese companies – Mitsubishi, Marubeni and Sumitomo, and the $214 million Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project it is understandable that Advocacy groups are speaking out about rights in the new period of democracy in Myanmar. This is an old country with customs, values that have eroded. With modernization and new economic growth comes new social dislocations as well as a lack of sustenance that was once a way of life such as farming.
Apart from Environmental reviews and certifications and social considerations that look at diverse impacts on indigenous peoples, there must be government accountability for economic improvement for those who are at the bottom of Muanmar’s financial structure. The promise of jobs and trade is exciting – but who gets and who gets left out is a major concern. Looking at the five area of an individual and community life; we must investigate and implement  finances (jobs), health and social services, social and community engagement, housing, and education becomes available to those whose land, livelihood and homes get displaced as well as to the current unemployed/underemployed. Everyone in Myanmar needs to be lifted up and encouraged. Those who are ill and who cannot work must also be part of this new beginning.

Workers in Burma generally receive wages ranging from 300 to 1000 Burmese Kyat a day – 1.15 US dollars a day. Workers only receive this wage if they complete 100% attendance which means seven days a week, 30-31 days a month, public employees are paid a minimum of Kyat 50,000 (US$56.8) per month, whilst day laborers are required to be compensated at least Kyat 2000 (US$2.3) per day of labor. A new law that grants workers the right to unionize and stage protests took effect on March 9, 2012 See more at: http://www.aseanbriefing.com/news/2013/04/16/minimum-wage-levels-across-asean.html#sthash.CaBP5BsU.dpuf.
The payment schemes does not allow those at the bottom to benefit from this new economic growth when elected members seem to be speaking more about development and less about education and job growth.

Daw Aung San Su Kyi voiced her fears around unemployment at World Economic Forum (WEF) in Naypyidaw and called for job creation. Her view that foreign investment can create jobs is not new. Growth helps to create jobs. With education come higher paid and better jobs. Trade schools and universities must be upgraded. In the Burma I left, all children went to school. University and hospitals were there for all. Schooling must be reinstated with new schools and new books. Women need to be able to feed, educated and clothe their children; not a new idea but one that new wealth in Myanmar must be a commitment to. As well, it is important to educate the country around the rule of law, reading and writing, and social responsibility. With new investments, foreign countries in Myanmar must be reminded that a higher standard of living must be made a propriety while they extract resources of this rich country.
Democracy is only a word if we do not attach to it physical, mental and social health. In the developed countries we know how some are left behind living in poverty and violence. Myanmar can take a different path as it develops using Buddhist principles for including others, sharing resources, stopping ethnic wars and developing a non violent society. The developed countries missed this opportunity  with capitalism and greed.

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor at York U in Toronto. Equity Studies.

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Richmond Hill, Ont. to ban the number four – This is Multiculturalism

Richmond Hill, Ont. to ban the number four – This is Multiculturalism

As an immigrant in the 60s, Canada is home. I lived in England, the US but chose Canada as there was comfort in how it was growing and understanding the world in which I wanted to live. Not perfect with the treatment of minority groups it was trying to change. We came from all over the world in the 60s to live together. Friends were from different cultures and ethnic groups. We were a Cosmopolitan space in the GTA and Toronto. Yes, there were groups who lived in enclaves in the city. However, their children mixed with everyone. With a high ethnic population today groups cluster together reinforcing their norms and values from their countries of origin not allowing integration into the larger Canadian society. There is a lack of inclusion, a lack of true mixing of the second generation.
What is difficult to understand is why one ethnic group with a larger population thinks it should get it way and why there is a lack of understanding that many of us left our countries to get away from that very thinking and from the divisiveness that exists in Asia, Africa and many parts of the world. Yes, Canada is Eurocentric but we knew this before we came.
One group with a larger ethnic population than another ethnic group within the same space can get what it wants despite the other group’s wishes. This is how strife is currently occurring in the Middle East between religious groups as well as different ethnic groups in that region. In Myanmar/Burma a new democracy they are trying to come together and stop fighting each other – this is a difficult process, hard to achieve. We saw the interment of our Japanese citizens in Canada during WW2. Why are we using Multiculturalism to build differences rather than coming together in diversity to celebrate what is means to be Canadian. To do this we have to leave our exclusions and bring our inclusions to Canada. When our culture teaches us that women are not equal, we leave that when we come to Canada. We do not come to Canada to change woman’s rights already achieved. The same goes for other rights.

Going down Young Street where Toronto starts, I find the signage to be confusing with scripts jumping out and making for what I call ‘Eye pollution’. Ethnic groups who want their own people to use their shops are not very neighbourly or considerate. It is only about their group with no consideration for those of us who need to find a place while driving, or an elderly person living in the area of a different background finding it difficult to read the signs. This is about civility – we are living in Canada and not in that country. Why are those of us who are not from that ethnic group subjective on a main street to this signage?
Now I hear that the Number 4 is not to be used in housing in Richmond Hill. This is wrong. The Chines do not have to buy #4 homes. This would be good for the city as it would then allow those who do not have the Si – 4 meaning death to buy those homes and make the city more cosmopolitan. Why is this issue important? There are numbers in every culture with meanings and their our words that are not politically correct. We need to be free to choose and speak.
I speak about The Cappuccino Principle and how the cream on the top needs mixing. We are very sure about racism and how we need more equity – we write about this openly. Yet the same scholars who speak to this are silent when ethnic groups push for their views over the views of other ethnic groups or the dominant group. What gives Diaspora groups more rights than the white population?  My answer:  we are afraid of being called intolerant. Politicians and city officials are scared of the loss of votes in the next election.

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor at York U in Toronto. Equity Studies.

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