Thursday, November 19, 2009

We seek, conquer and then...?

“Love is not blind – it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.” – Julins Gordon. We human beings often long for love, compassion and mutual comprehension. Many of us have a dream to find the love of our lives and live happily ever after as Cinderella did. We seek to spend our lifetime loving each other, just like it is shown in movies. In fact the movie we saw in class, last Thursday, The White Masai (Originally: Die Weisse Massai ), directed by Hermine Huntgeburth, which is actually based on a true story, made me aspire for true love.

Talking on behalf of all my senses, the movie was above everything else, a wake up call for me. A Swiss on a vacation in Nigeria with her boyfriend instantly falls in love with a Masai warrior. The Swiss, Carola, leaves her boyfriend, abandons her life back at home, follows her heart and probably also her brain and decides to set in a search for true love to find the Masai warrior, Lemalian. Back to the first sentence in this paragraph: my wake up call: The spontaneity that Carola shows is daring, fearless and risky. How many of us today would leave everything we possess for someone we fall in love on first sight on a vacation? My last article was about travelling differently and being spontaneous. Her behaviour was my wake up call to follow my own words.

According to me, the director has shown many contrasts in culture, traditions, lifestyles, beliefs and feelings when Carola and Lemalian meet. The movie is actually based upon Carola´s decision and her life with Leliman, resulting further in how the cultural differences and the ultimate cultural crash moulds her personality once again. After watching the movie, I googled up the author, Corinne Hoffmann , and she still lives today.

The cultural crash was predominantly focused on the way of loving each other equally as husband and wife. One of Carola´s first biggest shocks was the way the Masai had sexual intercourse and how women were treated while having sex. The director also levitates other cultural topics such as female circumcision, gender discrimination, social norms and values and respect. Although I wasn’t shocked by the earlier mentioned topics that led to several arguments and fights between the couple, I was certainly surprised by the sacrifice they committed. They both changed and were willing to change for each other in several ways, such as Leliman willing to change his way of making love to “the European way”, Carola getting used to the life as the wife of a Masai Warrior and settling down in a hut probably not bigger than 30 km2. They both wanted to preserve true love.

Though the movie being very comprehensive about the story, I felt it could be longer. I wanted to know for example how Carola´s daily life was in the hut. I wanted to know more about Carola´s communication skills, and how they developed. I found the movies focusing mostly on Carola and Leliman and not much on their relationship with the others in the society.

Through life awakening music, light, scenes, sets, and editing the director made me live in the movie for the 131 minutes the movies lasted. Many lines were drawn for the audience to understand, and some were left to open discussion, such as why does Carola act the way she does in the end? And what is it in the first place that makes Leliman sacrifice his pride? Will true love be kept and preserved like a new born for ever, or…

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Traveling Differently

We human beings have travelled since the birth of time. It is assumed that we started the journey of travelling as nomads, shepherds, gypsies and then resulting as the modern tourists. When I travel, I try to focus on traversing through a physical change of state as well as a spiritual and psychological voyage. I like to feel, explore and live the traversed state of existence.

One of my favourite travelling destinations is India. No matter how many times I have visited my own motherland, the journey never seems to end. There is always something that I haven’t seen before. This is perhaps why I keep visiting India almost every year, rather than wandering around the globe. I think it is important to see my own country of birth and learn more about it before I explore the rest of the world.

Travelling from Norway to India is not like a fresh breath of air you inhale. It is rather the pollution, traffic, heat, crowd, poverty and various hullabaloos that greet your arrival. You are exasperated by the constant nagging of road-sellers, rickshaw and taxi bargains and the paparazzi-beggars. Money opens certain doors and shuts some others. You feel as if you have ended up in a mess you would never understand, a chaos that you would probably drown in. Therefore, you play safe. You drink mineral water, avoid eating offered anything outside a five star hotel, stick to your tour guide and hope not getting lost and shop only branded clothes in hope of buying quality. You trip rapidly comes to an end, and you conclude probably by stating that India is a nice country to visit, homely hospitality, spicy food, chaotic but interesting and last but not least cheap shopping and modern culture.

The above-mentioned paragraph falls on my list of ten things not to do in life (not that I have a list). Dear author, please forgive me for not remembering your name, but you (a famous man) once said, “Be like the Romans, when in Rome.” I am aware that it is difficult to walk in someone else´s shoes when you are a tourist and a nomad in another country, but we can always travel differently by living and feeling the life.

I refuse to drink mineral water, and just have regular-boiled-water offered in the homes of the people. During my stay, I do not use toilet paper, and wash my ass as the locals do – with water. Do we, Europeans, ever prospect this habit as an alternative to save millions of trees being chopped for toilet paper? I do get sick by eating all road-side-meals, but what is the point of me calling India as my country of birth when I cannot even drink the water of my rivers?

Have you ever heard of the Marwaris? The next time you are in India, you should crash a Marwari wedding. They are known to be one of the world’s most expensive weddings. People send lavishly on the decorations, jewelleries, food and clothes. Most of the poorer part of this caste end up in depths for life after a family member gets married.

Did you know that the Indus Valley Civilization is one of the oldest civilizations in the world? The civilization mostly centred the Indian Subcontinent around the Indus river basin. You should try to make a visit to some of the world’s oldest cities, which were built for more than 2500 years ago, such as Harappa and Mohenjadaro. Experience an art culture, handicraft techniques, galleries, museums, traditional Indian markets - something you would have never imagined of – get lost!

Along the trip, you could maybe also make a halt in:
  • Gujarat (known for it's various festivals such as the kite-festival and also the birth place of known leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi)
  • Rajasthan (where the pink, blue and yellow cities lie, and also where India’s largest desert is located)
  • the Andaman and Nicobar islands (where a primitive stone age society still exists along some of India’s beautiful coral reefs)
  • the backwaters and the biodiversity of Kerala 
  • the temples and the spirituality of Tamil Nadu
  • the sages by the feet of Himalayas
  • hear the story of Ram and Sita at Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of India
  • the churches and lighthouse built by the Portuguese in Goa
  • the IT-capital of the world – Bangalore
  • the fashion and Bollywood centre of India – Mumbai
  • the beaches of Chennai
  • the hosiery and knit centre of the world - Tiruppur
  • the capital of India containing antique British buildings and palaces, the parliament and Rashtrapathi Bhavan (India’s white house) – New Delhi. Learn about the politics and the government!
  • the numerous dances, culinary art, traditional art and food culture of India!

My list could go on and on and on…

But my point remains constant for the time being – travel differently, as Paulo Coelho once wrote.

Feel, explore and live the common man´s life!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

H1N1 vaccine – to be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated? – a major confusion!

Why are people hesitating in taking the H1N1 vaccine whilst millions of doctors and health personnel are urging people to be vaccinated for free or at a very low cost?

7 reasons why to take the swine flu vaccination:

  1. Though 99% of the population suffering from the H1N1 virus suffer regular flu symptoms, 1% die a sudden death.

  1. Because the virus is probably new, most people lack immunity.

  1. People who are in the prime of their lives, could be severely affected by the virus. This risk group can also suffer from bacterial ammonia after the virus attack on the respiratory organs.

  1. The pandemic influenza virus travels rapidly from person-to-person. It would benefit by preventing infection or more severe consequences of flu.

  1. 2009 H1N1 is a relative of the 1918 virus that killed 50 million people worldwide. 

  1. Pregnant women, caregivers for children younger than 6 months old, health care and emergency personnel, anyone between the age of 6 months and 24 years old and anyone with a medical condition that could increase the risk of complications are in the high risk group due to lack of immunity and severe exposure to the flu.

  1. The vaccine will determine between a lots and lots of deaths or a way fewer deaths.

On the other hand, why are thousands of people against the vaccination?

7 reasons why not to take the vaccination:

  1. No vaccination is 100% safe. It can cause both mild reactions such as headaches, mild fevers, but also trigger serious reactions such as the Guillain-Baré syndrome. There could also be several unknown side effects since the vaccine is relatively new to be documented about.

  1. H1N1 vaccinations contain thimerosal, a preservative that prevents bacterial contamination of the vial. But thimerosal contains a form of mercury. Thins ingredient is related to ADHD, Autism and Alzheimer. The vaccination in similarity to the virus has also caused deaths .

  1. Many more die from the regular seasonal flu than H1N1.

  1. The 1976 U.S outbreak lead to a vaccination program, which resulted in many more deaths than what the flu had lead to.

  1. Many researchers warn that over-use of the flu vaccine and antibiotics could apply genetic pressure on viruses resulting in viruses to more likely mutate towards an ability of resistance and leading to a more deadly strain. We don’t know how virulent this virus can become.

  1. There is a possibility that the vaccination could cause more harm than the virus itself due to its side effects.

  1. Many vaccine creators have refused to take the vaccination. In addition has half of health care refused the vaccine. Are the authorities hiding something from us?

To be vaccinated, or not?

Monday, November 2, 2009

When will we take an action?

We human beings often tend to talk about changes. Changes that would hopefully make a positive difference to the world. Differences that would give us a satisfaction of living. A satisfaction that many of us long for. But do we ever stop to wonder why:

1)… condoms in Norway cost around 100 NOK for a pack of ten? Do we query about the actuality that birth controls are so expensive could coherence with the fact Norway having a pronatalisim policy – an ideology promoting childbearing. Hence leading to my point that condoms cost 100 NOK for a pack of ten! Why don’t we, as citizens of this country, stop and question the authorities just for a moment, rather than streaming with the flow?

2)… the public transportation is so expensive considered the global environmental challenges we are facing today? Isn’t the Norwegian government promoting the use of public transportation? Are the political leaders being excellent examples to follow by driving cars and not utilizing any form for public transportation in their daily lives?

3)… people up north are much colder, angrier and non-friendly compared to the population around the equatorial regions? Isn’t it ironic that people living in the north travel all the way south to get a tan but never really learn the hospitality or the warmth given there? Is it not paradoxical when people really want to change but they never try?

We human beings often tend to only talk