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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Angie’s Leg……..

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We have chicken legs and turkey legs and now……..Angie’s leg. The talk of the 2012 Oscars.  Wow….now there’s a woman who never gets ignored!!!  Good for you Angie. However, what is mostly INVISIBLE and disproportionately reported are her actions and time spent aiding those in need around in the U.S. and around the world.  And it’s not just giving part of her fortune,  its actually being in countries that badly need the help and global visibility and working with a segment of our global population that is most vulnerable……the children.  Not nearly as interesting as seeing her leg stuck out in a provocative pose but maybe we can leverage that into more focus on what really matters………….

P.S.  Apologies to my brother…He wanted me to write something about Angie’s leg but I don’t think this was quite what he was hoping for.

The “B” word…….

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Bullying is becoming an epidemic it appears.  It’s been on my mind a lot.  Is bullying a new phenomenon….of course not.  The “playground bully” was a fixture when we were growing up as was hazing new students whether at high school or college or sometimes even in the workplace.  So why has the “playground bully” become more powerful?  What’s going on?

 Pre-Social media most bullying was more tangible and visible…something you could see happening if you were paying attention.  Growing up I remember having the view that if you saw someone being “bullied” you did something to stop it.  Tell an adult….we rarely did that, but we did join forces to “protect” the person being bullied.  What we didn’t do is look the other way.  But now: For example: when I see a parent slapping their kid around in public, why do I and everyone else avert their eyes and walk away?  If a parent can do that in public to their child I can only imagine what happens behind closed doors.

 So, that got me thinking…..what have I said to my children on this matter?  In all honestly because of the desire to protect to them I am sure that I have directly and indirectly encouraged them to turn a blind eye.  I don’t know: I need to ask them.  All I know is that I want them to be safe which is what we all want for our kids.  

 As a society we have to protect our own and have to teach the next generation to be as alert.  Social media is amazing but it has created a society where the sea of life is calm above and underneath the water it is a dark and dangerous place.  When someone is calling for help we have to step up, tell someone in authority, try to help in a responsible way……”I didn’t think they meant it”  or “I thought it was just a joke” isn’t acceptable. 

I have to change my own actions I hope we can all think about what we each can do as well……………

Our Moral Compass………

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The current political season has been over flowing with talk of moral “values”, contraception, unwed mothers, family values, teenage pregnancies……the list goes on.  As one of the members of the voting population this is becoming annoying beyond belief and insulting of this generation.  Supposedly teenagers are irresponsible and having sex and babies, children are being born out of wedlock and these families are doomed to become the dregs of society and ……well you get the picture.  But I disagree with this very public generalization of the moral state of our society and the degradation of our young people by politicians for their own interest.

 I am not a pundit, I am not a politician (thankfully) but I am a citizen of this nation.  So lend me your ears or eyes in this case……

 I will freely admit that I am “old fashioned” in my values for myself. We live in a community that has lovely homes on manicured lawns, great schools playgrounds, tennis courts etc. etc.  Yes I am lucky….the benefits of education and opportunities that this great nation offered us when we landed here for college.   Yet within the broader community we have a stronger middle class as well as a neighborhood on the outskirts of hardworking and yet poorer in terms of income levels.  Nowhere is this multi-faceted community more evident that at our public high school.  So with respect to the preconceived notions being planted in the minds through the political rhetoric let me lay out some facts and one specific story:

 I see young people and families for whom life isn’t easy working hard both at school, sports and often jobs and responsibilities both inside and outside the home.  Of course teenagers make mistakes.  I remember my son having a study group meet our home. He seemed a bit defensive when I asked him who was in the group and he finally told me that one of the girls in the group was going to have a baby, very soon…….he knows my own views on that matter, I guess he thought I would freak out!. 

 A pregnant teenager and what and impressive and determined young lady she was….she told me that after the baby was born the school would assist her with home study and then she would be back to school for senior year.  This young lady is now in college close to home and working and supporting her child with the help of her family.   Ideally should she have waited…..YES.  Am I encouraging teenage pregnancies….NO!!  But is morality a one size fits all in our world today?  Absolutely not….so we have to find ways to support and nurture and encourage….for when people have that support they also find the strength to succeed and doesn’t that build a stronger nation?

When does the Glass Ceiling become a Concrete Ceiling?………..

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It has been many decades since the concept of the Glass Ceiling was first put forward in the U.S. and since that time there has been a highly publicized and often very structured plans put in place by organizations to attempt to allow Caucasian women and minority men to crack that barrier.  Yes, you read that correctly:  I did say Caucasian women and minority men.

However, when you are an Asian minority woman that glass ceiling…..well that can become a solid concrete ceiling without you even realizing it.   At first it’s amusing in a bizarre sort of way….you walk into a room, or see senior management in public, or you’re in casual clothes at an event and you are simply ignored….no WAIT…not ignored on purpose…..they just don’t SEE you!!  This when just the day before you were in a meeting with these same guys!  In everyday dealings, (when they do know you are present!), if such a female is confident or is forthright and not afraid to express her opinion then more often than not it is viewed as “abrasive” and “surprising” and met with a somewhat condescending reaction where in corporate culture those same traits are viewed as a clear display of leadership potential.

It took me a decade before I finally “got it”.  There is an age old adage that many male leaders like to see a mirror image of sorts in front of them and when there is mentoring to be had the same principle holds true.  Some rare exceptions to that do exist,  but if a research study were performed I absolutely believe the results would support my thesis which , by the way,  is not a theory but a fact of life…..I have experienced the “Concrete Ceiling” first hand and it is frustrating and angers me no end.  But I am not going to change who I am or the pride I have in myself and will hold my head high and make myself heard……..if for no other reason than for one very important one….I owe it to my daughters……and to my son…..each for a different reason but both equally important.

Who is a Christian after all?………..

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If you have  a chance today go to MSNBC and find the interview this morning, Tues February 21st, on Morning Joe, with Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham.  What a pompous, narrow- minded, sanctimonious and DANGEROUS man.  In a slimy snake oil sort of way he apparently is a true Christian and anyone who doesn’t meet that “purity” is simply not.  Catholics are seemingly “different” but could be acceptable if you are like Rick Santorum but not acceptable if you are Mormon like Romney and “Christian with a Muslim “seed” like Obama – I’m summarizing the good “Reverend’s” views by the way.

Mr. Graham, and I cannot bring myself to refer to you as “Reverend” Graham, you are a hypocrite.  To take the name of Jesus Christ to preach your views on national TV to the detriment of faith and open mindedness is dangerous and insulting.  I’m going to keep this short Mr. Graham and remind you of one of the most powerful teachings of Jesus Christ:  “Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself ” a theme that is repeated in all religions……..maybe you should try to practice that teaching Reverend” rather than sow the seeds of discontent to further influence narrow minded bigotry and acrimony.

Yin-Yang …….

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On February 11th Iran marked the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution.  I was in Colombo, Sri Lanka visiting my father, yes the end of the “Marco Polo” trip he teased me about.  Feeling quite pampered and relaxed I opened the morning newspaper and what jumped out at me literally made me gasp. ….A double full paged corporate sponsored spreads to congratulate the Republic of Iran on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of its Revolution.   “what the %^#* ……..?”  was the first thought that came to mind.  Then I noticed that the corporate sponsor was the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.  I turned the page and there was another one from an Industrial Development group.

 Sri Lanka is a third world developing nation.  People are kind and peaceful and proud. That hits you as soon as you land at the airport.  Literacy is at 94%. …and although primarily forgotten the original gripe that started the bitter ethnic strife that ended a few years ago was inequality in awarding of university spots based on ethnic population percentage versus pure academic ranking.  But Sri Lanka is a poor country and it appears when help was needed it turned to and did and does receive substantial aid in the form of reduced cost crude oil, development aid monies etc. from Iran and other countries that do not have, to put it mildly, the best relationships with the West.  And when actions by countries with regimes like Iran result in the developed nations taking actions with embargos and so on the impact on countries like Sri Lanka is heartbreakingly profound.  The government there is imperfect but a country has to develop and its people have to grow and prosper without leaving the island in droves.  The World Bank is a shadow of its former self and really quite useless….something needs to be done.  You cannot have a broad embargo and tell countries to toe the line without being willing to be a part of a broader conversation that looks at all sides…..we are a global village after all.

 The Yin-Yang factor at its most obvious………heart breaking but let’s do something about it.   A hand stretched out willing to think out of the box could change the course of history……..

That “One Moment in Time”……

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Like many others around the world I was stunned when the news of Whitney Houston’s death hit the airwaves.  But should we feel stunned or is this a sad inevitability of super star fame and celebrity?  I am of the same generation as Whitney……the amazing rendition of what was the anthem for the 1988 Olympics brought shivers down our spines and she inspired and awed us all at that moment.  What an amazing God given gift and at the time combined with a waif- like, natural and almost naive personality …….and there lays the tragedy of this story.  Are we as a society to blame for lavishing such attention and focus on mere mortals?  Isn’t there any way for the truly gifted to share their talent without the personal destruction that seems inevitable.  True, every individual is ultimately responsible for themselves but we don’t live in a vacuum…..and it does take a village and I can’t help wondering if there was something that could be done to change our pop culture.  The end of Whitney’s life is a tragedy.  For the population at large she left behind a legacy of music that never fails to take you to another place and away from the everyday.  But she also left behind a child who more than anything else would simply love to have her mother alive……….