Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Seasons Greetings

Let me take this opportunity to wish all the members and our readers a Merry Christmas and a Joyous Happy New Year

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Three ways to make the world a better place: Kenya

Before i post, i would like to apologize for the long absence. Was quite occupied with work and most of the time on the move.

1. The major thing should be respect. People should learn how to respect each other and also other earthlings (yeah i saw the earthlings video, its very touching but that does not help me become a vegetarian :p).

2. Positive mentality. We should really adapt this positive menatality. Its become a trend these days to have a negative mentality in everything that we do and everything that happens. Whenever something bad happens, people start to make negative assumptions.

3. Learn how to solve problems instead of arguing on them. Whenever there is a problem we tend to argue rather than find solutions. Arguments lead us to nothing but more problems.

4. Kenya has a motto, Peace, Love and Unity. If only everyone adapts this. Kenya is a multiracial country where all races live in harmony with not a single case of racism ever reported. The country am currently living claim they are multiracial country but racism is a major issue here, i guess its worse than some european countries.

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3 Ways to make the World a Better Place - Colombia

1. Imagine... A world without strangers.

Sometimes we just think of the world as "us" and the "others", but what is the real difference? Every person have problems, needs helps, becomes happy when they receive it, and feel joy when they laugh and smile. I think we need to be more open to so-called "strangers", say hello to someone in the street, smile at other people, help someone out there, think of other people and the impact we can have in the world by making someone's day happier.
In other words... "Hug a stranger, Embrace the world"

2. Care2... Make a difference.

Take the time to do the small things, to take care of the world we live in, to open your eyes to what is happening around the world. All the problems and suffering around the world may seem overwhelming sometimes, and we may not be able to do something by ourselves to change things, but if each one of us did what we could to fight against war, against injustice, hunger, environmental destruction, global warming, animal abuse, etc... we may and we will change things~
Sign a petition, send a letter, turn off the lights, walk the way to the supermarket, reduce the consumism and the garbage, eat healthy, locally and organic whenever you can, help a friend, an animal, the world... Care2!
http://www.care2.com/

3. Widening our Circle of Compassion...

...to other creatures that feel pain and sadness just like we do. Whether you call it Animal Rights, Animal Liberation, or whatever, this is not about a group of people imposing a crazy idea in the society. It is just human nature to feel compassion for "others", and thanks to this human quality we have been able to free ourselves from racism, slavery, sexism, or in other words, from thinking that just because we have the power to exploit and injure another living-being then it is right for us to do so. I definitely think that as long as humans think this way, and exploit other creautes, they will exploit other human beings as well just because they are weaker.

"Historically, man has expanded the reach of his ethical calculations, as ignorance and want have receded, first beyond family and tribe, later beyond religion, race, and nation.
"To bring other species more fully into the range of these decisions may seem unthinkable to moderate opinion now. One day, decades or centuries hence, it may seem no more than ‘civilized’ behavior requires."
“What Humans Owe to Animals,” The Economist, 8/19/95

"True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power.
"Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.
"And in this respect humankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.”
-Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 1984

(quotes taken from http://www.veganoutreach.org)

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Three ways to make the world a better place: Lithuania

The history of the humanity is the history of the love. As we love more, the life we have becomes better than it was while we were just musing. The love is as the first so second and the third thing that brings us happiness.
However, in case we start counting the current results, we find ourselves damaged by the fruitfulness of our attempts to awake our surroundings.
We can either to love or to talk about the love, about the impact of the love to our life.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Three ways to make the world a better place: Scotland

I don’t think I’ve got much very original to add here – merely echoing other people’s sentiments but here goes:

1. Be more tolerant of people’s differences. We should celebrate our differences (it’s what makes the world such a diverse place) rather than fear the unknown.

2. Be more forgiving. When people do something to hurt you they usually haven’t deliberately set out to hurt you. So let go of all the grudges you hold against others who have wronged you, move on and forgive them.

3. An appropriate one for those of us who are celebrating Christmas. Be less materialistic. Things never made people happy. Take a moment to think of the real meaning of Christmas. For me, it’s about thinking of loved ones – family and friends - not receving piles of presents.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

3 Ways to Make the World a Better Place - Australia

My three things don't relate to big world issues. Instead, here are three things that will make people get along with each other a little better, a bit smoother:

  1. Smile more.
  2. Accept that change happens slowly and be patient and tolerant.
  3. Remember that the entire world, with one small exception, is composed of others.
Happy Holidays to One and All!

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3 Ways to Make the World a Better Place - New Zealand

Mahatma Gandhi said: "We must become the change we want to see." So the topic of what three things we can do to make the world a better place one has to start with oneself and our own circle of influence.

So my three things to make the world a better place are:

1. Treat people like you want to be treated. I am a firm believer in what you give out is what you get back.

2. Understand and learn from each other, respecting our own differences. Celebrating our achievements!

3. Recycle: Reduce our wasted energy in and around the home over the next twelve months.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

3 Ways to Make the World a Better Place: India

It is very difficult to chose just three, but here are my penny's worth. Three phrases while looking at the macro level in India: Education - access to all, Population - balance and control, Corruption - deal with the roots and make examples of the guilty. Big words, but not undoable (one hopes!).
And here is what I think can be done at the itty-bitty individual level:
-Tolerance and anti-fanatism, important to be tolerant of differing views. Especially in a multi-cultural, multi-religious social setting. Live and let live, as long as no deliberate harm is done to anyone.
-Corruption - Say 'No' and take a firm stand against corruption. Right from little things like buying pirated CDs to paying bribes to get small things done. Unfortunately giving money for 'chai-pani' (literally - 'tea-water' or slang for bribes) is common in India, even when there is really no need to indulge in such behaviour, it is assumed that giving that little bit will help speed things up. I think it is very important to remember that a) not everyone is corrupt, there ARE honest individuals in the system, and b) when so-called 'educated' 'empowered' and 'informed' people like you and I, indulge in this scourge, we become a part of the problem for other people.
-And finally, Politeness - right from one's family to the strangers on the street. In the rush of everday life often one forgets to be polite and gracious, very often it makes a world of difference.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Three ways to make a better world – Norway

1. Redirect Christmas consumption

This year Norway will spend the obscene amount of 6.6 billion $ preparing for the holidays. This means that the average person will spend 1500 $ Christmas shopping, and 435 $ on presents alone. Instead of buying crap that goes directly to storage, is exchanged the next day or simply thrown away, the Norwegian people could erase Togo’s external debt in just one month.

Plus, we wouldn’t have to deal with children like these:



2. Get some perspective

There seems to be a widespread stubbornness in this country, leading some people to place enormous restrictions on what is to be considered “Norwegian.” Every little thing is turned into an opportunity to discuss the downsides of immigration. When researchers worry that Norwegian drinking patterns stand in the way of integration, commentators exclaim that “If they don’t want to be like us, they can go home.” An article about a Norwegian politician holding a speech in parliament under the influence of alcohol is in the comment section somehow magically followed by xenophobic rants, even though this instance had nothing to do with multicultural issues whatsoever.

The most irrelevant cultural differences transform into irreconcilable conflicts. In a recent TV-documentary, the filmmaker interpreted the smell of curry from the neighboring apartment as the immigrant family’s way of intruding on his private sphere. People protest profusely against Ikea designing a hijab as part of the uniform for their Muslim employees. The discovery that most slaughterhouses perform Islamic rituals on all animals, not just those that are sold under the halal-label, leads to outrage and fear that Norway is heading towards Islamic rule.

If we think that the blessing of animals is a silly routine, why care that the meat we eat is made holy in the name of a god we don’t believe exists? Why worry, when we can be happy? The ninth Satanic Rule of the Earth states that one should not complain about anything one does not need to be subject to. Even if one doesn’t buy into the doctrine of Satanism, this commandment makes a useful mantra. The world would be a far better place if people gained some perspective and reserved their aggravation for more pressing issues.

3. Start with the Man in the Mirror

A lot would change for the better if we listened more closely to Michael Jackson. There is even scientific evidence behind his claims. The theory of facial feedback states that emotion is the experience of changes in our facial muscles. If you smile, you become happy - if you frown, you become sad. It’s simply a matter of pragmatics. One does not attract bees with vinegar. If life deals you lemons, don’t cry – start a lemonade emporium!





 

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Friday, December 15, 2006

3 Ways to Make the World a Better Place - Venezuela

Think Globally, act Locally: And that not only applies to save trees and water, if you think people are too rude, then change yourself and start being polite, that way of thinking can be applied to every aspect of your life. Stop complaining and focusing on other people, if you can change the man, the world will change by itself.

Have fun: Find what you like about your job, your family and/or yourself and enjoy it. Separate some time to spend with your loved ones and do something you really like together. That will help you live everyday and put a smile in your face to light the ones around you.

Share: No matter if its knowledge, food or any other resource, share it with the people who need it. Hopefully it will create a chain of understanding where lots of people will be aware of the situation of others and everybody will be a little bit happier.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

3 Ways to Make the World a Better Place...Philippines

1) Do something to meet the needs of others. Selfishness is the root of all evil. It is the seed that causes anger, greed, sloth, and a host of other sins that makes the world go awry.

2) Use 20% less of everything. We have become such an extravagant race that we produce so much waste: waste water, waste paper, waste food, waste smoke, waste clothes, waste everything! I know this may be quite a sacrifice to all of us, but we can surely STILL survive on 20% less of everything.

3) Surrender our lives to Jesus. To become His disciples, learning his ways, teaching His ways, even attempting to become like Him every day. But before we are even able to do this (because we cannot; our nature is simply sinful, we must surrender our lives to Him, to trust Him as our Lord and Saviour. :)

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

3 Ways to Make the World a Better Place - Brazil

My little suggestion is very simple:

1 - create a little tax on the richiest countries and get this ammount to fight against hunger, diseases prevention and cure.
2 - respect the difference - everyone should respect all the cultures, religions, colors, everything.
3 - respect the nature and preserve it - animals, forests, water, etc.

Those are my 3 little big things! :)

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3 Ways to Make the World a Better Place--United States

1. Use less stuff
2. Throw away less stuff and recycle everything you can
3. Breastfeed

It is hard to just list three items.

Peace.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

3 ways to make a better world - Malaysia

How to make a better world? I'm going to make it quick and short because it's year end, it seems like everyone is quite busy with work or even prepare for the holiday seasons.

1. Don't be greedy. Greed of power and money are the causes that condtribute to wars and all kind of discomforts to all of us.

2. Be open minded. Accept and understand each other differences will certainly make the world a better place to live.

3. Love our earth so that our future generation will have a place to live.

These are my 3 ways. An advance Happy Holiday wish to everyone!


Posted by, Sweet Surrender

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Friday, December 08, 2006

3 ways to make a better world

It´s not a big new that we, the humans, are the most destructive "thing" on this planet. Fortunately we the mankind have some great people, that are conscientious about our responsability on Earth and for the Earth.
The question here isvery simple, and very complex.

What are the best ways to make a better world?

_____________________________
Results of the poll:

3 ways to make a better world 21%
Religions of my country 21%
Abortion 16%
Gun control and gun laws 8%
The democracy in my country 3%

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Local customs of my country: India

I can think of a multitude of customs, with myriad regional manifestations, and many regional customs about which I do not even know! Nevertheless, here are some which can be included as generalisations.

- When greeting someone in India one joins the palms of the hands together, bows the head slightly and says 'Namaste' or 'Namaskar'. In the state of Rajasthan, one also bends down from the knee a little bit, - especially while greeting elders, and says 'Khamaghani' - 'Khamma' - greetings; 'Ghani' - many.

Indian food is made by using an incredible array of spices and flavours (and no, when I say 'spices', I don't mean just chillies!). Food clearly has regional dimensions, with the slightly sweet flavour in Gujarat to the incredibly hot (yup, chillies this time!) food of Andhra Pradesh, to the very distinct flavours of the 'southern' food items made of rice flour and with liberal use of coconut, e.g. like 'dosa' and 'idly', and the soft marinated dishes of Jammu and Kashmir. We eat a multitude of vegetables and lentils, with rice and a type of bread known as 'roti' or 'chapati', made primarily of wheat flour. The food also has a generous usage of 'oil' or 'ghee' which is clarified butter i.e. butter from which milk solids have been removed by gentle and long-term heating. Some states are known for their delectable 'non-vegetarian' food, especially parts of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. While, fish and other sea-food are the staples in the north-east and some coastal southern states. Indians primarily eat three main meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner. Usually all three meals consist of some 'warm' or freshly-prepared food. Dinner, is usually the heaviest meal (though now many people avoid eating heavy food at night).

-Another ritual is that of 'chai' or tea - prepared the Indian style! Usually this consists of boiling brown tea with some sugar, adding a few mint leaves, very often growing in a pot in the house, and in the winter also adding a little bit of ginger, cloves and black pepper, - and then adding milk and boiling the concoction a bit more. Aaaah, very soothing and addictive, especially in the winter. It is a custom to offer water and then chai to any guests visiting ones house. Also, between lunch and dinner, one has chai or tea, in the early evening, usually with biscuits or some other tasty savouries.

-During the hot summer months, it is customary to store water in earthen pots known as 'matka' or 'matki'.
These keep the water very cool, without the use of fridges. Though fridges are common in all households one does see a 'matka' in the kitchen for use! The usage of these pots is very common in villages and the water is usually cool even when the mercury is boiling!

-It is considered impolite in India, to sit in such a way so that the soles of the feet point at someone. Also, using a finger to point at someone is considered impolite.

-Generally, elders are shown a lot of respect in India, and one suffixes the sentences with 'ji' as a formal sign of respect. Elders and teachers are not called by their first names, except by adding 'ji' or prefixing with Ms./Madam/Mr. etc.

-One language use which people from outside India might find strange is the use of the word 'Aunty' or 'Uncle' for elders. If one is passing down a road and stops an elderly man, say to ask directions, it is common to ask 'Uncle, where is .... place?' Another usage is of 'bhai' or 'bhaiya' which literally means 'brother' but is also used to address men, whose names one would usually not know e.g. bus drivers or rickshaw/auto-rickshaw drivers, shopkeepers, etc. My friends from outside India, found it funny that every few minutes I would ask a shopkeeper 'Bhaiya can you show us so-and-so colour and so-and-so material, etc.! So many brothers! they used to remark!

- Another common slang use by youngsters is 'yaar' which can roughly translate to mean 'buddy', 'pal' and it is very common to use it when calling one's friends, e.g. come on yaar lets go to see a movie.

-Usually one removes slippers, shoes and other footwear, when entering a kitchen. Even though this is not so common in own urban households, when visiting someone's house, it is polite to ask whether footwear should be removed, especially when one sees shoes lined outside the house threshold or while entering the kitchen. Removing footwear and covering the head is also commonly used and a sign of respect, while entering most religious prayer places.

-I can't but add that the game of 'cricket' is much more than a custom. A large number of Indians are cricket crazy and one usually sees youngsters playing in not just sports grounds but fields, parks, and in smaller streets! (Sadly the other sports are neglected and don't get their due).

-A considerable number of people in India are also crazy for the Indian movies churned out by Bombay/Mumbai film industry, commonly called 'Bollywood'. Similarly, ‘Tollywood’ is used to brand the vibrant movie industry of the southern Tamil film industry. Most (both Bollywood and Tollywood) movies are romantic stories with lots of dances and songs and incredible (and unbelievable!) fight sequences!

-Let me dispel some assumed generalisations - no, not all roads/streets have cows walking/sitting on them! and no, not all Indians are IT professionals or doctors or engineers! Also, not all Indians are hard bargainers!

Whew..I think where Indian customs are concerned, I have not even scratched the tip of the iceberg, but this is enough for one posting methinks!

Best, D.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Local customs of my country: Cuba

My country has the great history, he is by which has many customs.
we have different dates to celebrate by different reasons, such as 26 of July when we celebrated the day of the national revolt, and others.
The December, 24 we celebrated the good night of very familiar way. The 25 we celebrated Christmas and many celebrate the Jesus birth.
In Cuba we say "guagua" to which everybody says bus.
The Cuban loves the ball, is part of our identity.
Coffee in the morning is of the custom but common.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Local customs of my country: Scotland

Unfortunately many Scottish customs have died out in recent years especially in the main urban areas and the cities. However, you will still find people keep local traditions going in rural areas and in the Scottish Highlands.

Highland games

Many towns and villages in the Scottish highlands hold highland games during the summer months. Typical events are tossing the caber (a long log), throwing the hammer, a tug-of-war (two teams on each end of a length of rope try and pull each other across a line), hill races and highland dancing.

The one o’clock gun

At one o’clock every day a cannon is fired from Edinburgh castle. Watch out for a loud bang if you’re walking along Princes Street, the main shopping street. The origin of this was to let ships set their clocks to the correct time.

Opening day on the Tay

The salmon fishing season starts on the 15th January each year and on Loch Tay there is a ceremony with a piper. A bottle of whisky is broken over a boat into the loch (lake).

Riding of the Marches

Many towns in the Scottish borders have a ceremony each summer called the Riding of the Marches. This involves riding on horseback round the boundaries of the town. This was done originally to check that the boundaries were intact and that land hadn’t been stolen. It is only in recent years that women have been allowed to participate in this – it was traditionally a male dominated event. Many towns like Linlithgow have a whole week of celebrations called the Linlithgow Marches. These days it’s an excuse for people to get drunk.

There are a number of traditions linked to weddings. Many of these are British so I’ll concentrate on the Scottish ones.

A hen night is when the bride and a group of her female friends go out on the town. This used to be on the eve of her wedding but nowadays is a week or so beforehand. Traditionally the bride is dressed up with net curtains with L plates pinned on her back. The women go round the streets banging spoons against pots and pans to grab people’s attention. They take a bucket to collect money for the bride – a donation in exchange for a kiss. Nowadays hen nights are more ambitious and often involve a whole weekend abroad in some place like Amsterdam or Dublin. Likewise the men have a stag night where lots of alcohol is consumed and they might have a stripper. If the groom is unlucky, his friend will get him drunk and play some sort of practical joke on him like chain him to railings.

And it is back luck for the couple to see each other on the day before they meet at the altar. It is also bad luck for the groom to see the wedding dress before the big day.

After the ceremony someone will through coins into the air for the children to pick up. This is called a scramble.

Finally Scottish men often wear full highland dress to get married: a kilt, a jacobite shirt or a plain white shirt, tie, jacket, sporran, woollen socks with a knife called a sgian dubh (pronounced skee-in doo) tucked in and lace up shoes called brogues.

The Scottish term for April Fool’s Day is “Hunt the gowk”. This is a day where pranks are played. The newspapers might feature a spoof story. One year the BBC had a story saying that eating the traditional food of a country made it easier to learn the language. They featured pupils eating spaghetti while learning Italian.

Unfortunately a lot of our customs seem to involve consuming vast quantities of alcohol. See Clare’s article on our drinking culture.

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Words you should know from my country - New Zealand

I remember hearing a story about an immigrant family recently arrived in New Zealand who were invited to a barbie. They were told to bring a plate. So the family turned up with an empty plate each for themselves thus causing great hilarity. “You see bring a plate” means bring a plate of food to share for a meal. Funny how as kiwis we take for granted that we think everyone knows what we mean. Some common words and phrases that you might hear in conversation between kiwis:

barbie: barbecue
bloke: usually a man, and often used when referring to a male stranger as in; "There's this bloke down the road who sells really nice pies.
brilliant: excellent; great; wonderful
bush: small and large trees and native plants densely packed together - sort of like a small forest.
cardy/cardie: short for cardigan, a woollen button-up-the-front jerseycheers:
goodbye or thanks or good luck.
chick: usually a female person when referring to female strangers, also used for women in general.
chick flick: usualy referring to a movie that girls like more than blokes, such as romantic movies
chocolate fish: a chocolate covered marshmallow fish. Also frequently given (literally or figuratively) as a reward for a job well done; as in "Good on ya, mate. You deserve a chocolate fish".
choice: very goodchuffed: pleased; as in "he was really chuffed"
crook: sick, unwell
cuppa: (cup of...) cuppa tea, cuppa coffee, cuppa milo
dodgy: bad, unreliable, spoiled; as in "that fish is a bit dodgy".
flash: sensational or "thats flash" meaning it looks really good.
good on ya, mate!: congratulations, well done
hottie: hot water bottle
hunky dory: everything's fine, as in "my life is hunky dory
jandals: sandals
kia ora: hello in Maori (often used by Kiwis in general), pronounced ki-o-ra
L&P: fizzy soda water, Lemon & Paeroa (L&P); originally lemon flavoured spring water from the town of Paeroa, but this is no longer the case
Maori: indigenous people of New Zealandmate:
buddie (common term, and can be used even with strangers) as in "how's it going mate" for "how are you"
pakeha: non-Maori person
she'll be right: not a problem, it'll be O.Ksweet: good, well (as in "I'm sweet" in response to "How's it going mate?")
sweet as: cool way of saying good, well, great, fine.... (pronounce 'sweet aaazz')
ta: Thanks
tea: dinner - generic name for evening meal
togs: swimsuit, bathing suit
wasted: tired, exhausted

So what is a Kiwi? Well there are two meanings for this word. There is the “Kiwi”, a New Zealander or a “Kiwi”, an endangered flightless bird native to New Zealand. Let me share with you a bit about the bird. The Kiwi is a flightless bird about the size of a domestic fowl. The kiwi has coarse, bristly, hair-like feathers. Females are larger than males. Kiwis grow to about the size of a chicken and weigh between three and nine pounds. They have no tail and tiny two inch wings which for all practical purposes, are useless. Despite its awkward appearance, a kiwi can actually outrun a human and have managed to survive because of their alertness and their sharp, three-toed feet, which enable them to kick and slash an enemy. The kiwi’s long slender bill has nostrils at the lower end. Using its excellent sense of smell and flexible bill, the kiwi feeds on worms, insects and grubs, supplemented by leaves, berries and seeds.

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