Sunday, August 18, 2013

Not Ready Yet

One of my cathartic rants as it sadly sums up the way Guyana is headed.

I dashed into work to sort out a few last minute queries and was dismayed to find out in the mere half hour I was there some fool had parked a shiny new SUV across my drive - no note  where they might be; requiring me to make snappy enquiries at the card shop below my office and the photocopy place next door. The  unhelpful, bored and slightly belligerent guard on the other side had her usual response that she did not see whose vehicle and she didn't know if it was anyone visiting their premises.   It was 10.30 and I had booked a taxi to take me to the airport for  11 and had only half-packed! Talk about cutting it fine!

Hasty enquiries to the staff revealed ignorance of what transpired outside but thankfully a schoolchild on some sort of work-study said she thought the vehicle belonged to the doctor, I expressed my doubt as naturally one would expect more intelligent parking, also presumably not starting a clinic in the middle of the morning. I restrained myself from stomping down the corridor but couldn't resist an acid comment that maybe the person ought not to be driving if they were capable of such stupid parking. I would have happily paid my mechanic to tow away the vehicle but he is such a laid-back character he probably would not get there for another hour.  Went back to see if I could squeeze through by angling my car and ripping off the left side... Nope.

To my surprise, the doctor was one of my friend's trainees - one of the bright new hopes for Future Guyana,  on a program my friend had spent considerable time and energy to get off the ground with an American university to try and reach one of the Millennium Development Goals of reducing the Maternal Mortality figures. Now I had met this child at the local Pub Quiz and noted her and the other (younger) Guyanese way of doing the quiz which consisted of using cell phones. There had been a past hoohah between teams who took the quiz very seriously indeed over that same matter and the quizmaster  had several times tried to tell the new Guyanese teams that the point wasn't to be googling the answers on cellphones.

I told her that parking obstructing a driveway was probably not a good idea,  and although she said 'sorry' her tone implied the usual Guyanese attitude of 'what you getting annoyed at, can't you see I am more important?'  She then went on to qualify her remark that there was no other place to park her vehicle when she turned up. I debated about pointing out a note indicating where to find her, allowing enough time to find parking if going to work and treating other people's time with respect - both mine and presumably those people waiting to be treated, the foolishness of driving an oversized vehicle on roads not designed for them; but precious minutes weren't ticking by. She jumped into her vehicle and sat there instead of reversing into an empty space to let me out, as the focus was entirely about her parking on the other side of the street.  How on earth can you be a good doctor with such lack of empathy and surfeit of ego resulting in a peculiar form of entitlement?

My brother who has a great sense of humor, had us all in stitches with the picture of teaching Guyanese the mental equivalent of coming out of the jungle and learning to stand on two legs instead of four, then the painful and frustrating process of teaching them to  put one foot in front of the other to learn to walk but this lot have a misplaced arrogance and can be summed up with the local expression - you ain't ready yet!

Monday, August 5, 2013


'All the lonely people
Where do they all come from
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?'      Stanza from Beatles song Eleanor Rigby

According to the article below, 'They’re the outsiders: not just the elderly, but also the poor, the bullied, the different. Surveys confirm that people who feel discriminated against are more likely to feel lonely than those who don’t.'...'A key part of feeling lonely is feeling rejected, and that, it turns out, is the most damaging part.'
Read an intelligent article on the effects of Loneliness on Human Beings:

"we’ve known intuitively that loneliness hastens death, but haven’t been able to explain how. Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejiggers the molecules on genes that govern behavior, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack. They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you. Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking."
"Loneliness, ....—and this will surprise no one—is the want of intimacy."

The article went on to say that this is becoming a Public health crisis -- with a third of Americans reporting they don't feel close to anyone at a given time. The numbers growing from 1 in 5 to 1 in 3 from 10 yrs ago to now.
I felt pleased with myself when I read one of the researchers presumably back in the early '80s, thinking of imagining the world from a gay man's perspective, that I recognised a qualitative study -- considering the subject's point of view.
'If we now know that loneliness, a social emotion, can reach into our bodies and rearrange our cells and genes, what should we do about it? We should change the way we think about health. James Heckman, a Nobel Prize–winning economist at the University of Chicago who tabulates the costs of early childhood deprivation, speaks bitterly of “silos” in health policy, meaning that we see crime and low educational achievement as distinct from medical problems like obesity or heart disease. As far as he’s concerned, these are, in too many cases, symptoms of the same social disorder: the failure to help families raise their children.'
'As nearly half of all marriages continue to end in divorce, as marriage itself floats further out of reach for the undereducated and financially strapped, childhood has become a more solitary and chaotic experience. Single mothers don’t have a lot of time to spend with their children, nor, in most cases, money for emotionally enriching social activities.
“As inequality has increased, childhood inequality has increased,” Heckman said, “So has inequality of parenting.”
The article mentioned that depression- set to become the largest Public Health disease in the future - may be a symptom of Loneliness but is not the cause  (  but ended on a positive note that we can be masters of our fate and change the outcomes with a deterministic attitude. 

UPDATE 25-Nov-1013: Canada too:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Curvilinear Lines

Guyana television churns up the odd interesting program in the mish-mash of junk.  One such program I happened across was the ‘Looking at and Understanding Great Art’ series.
I caught the end of one recent episode which put up a picture painted by the German artist Franz Marc who preferred to paint animals, horses mainly, in bold colours and curvilinear lines. The lecturer narrating the series said that curvilinear lines are more pleasing to the eye and it struck me why men like looking at women’s bodies – ‘cos they’re all curvilinear lines!  
 I remembered being surprised that Page 3 of The Sun – a rubbishy newspaper but one of the most widely-sold in England when I was a student – pulled in wide sales because of the topless young girl it displayed with something trite — the girl in question purported to say something like – ‘this is for you Dad, because I know how much you like Page 3!’ (?!!?!)
So, the Saturday Woman’s Feature of Stella Says in one of the local papers, is entitled Blurred Lines and is talking about the objectification of women – being so widespread that the young impressionable women can see hundreds, even thousands such images per day so that they do not think it is wrong to put up ‘sexy’ images of themselves in social media and for the world to view generally. She then extrapolated the knock-on effect on the local men, who began to feel ‘entitled’ to pass comments on passing women and said ‘if a man thinks he has a right to treat a woman with such disrespect and aggressiveness in public, he will do far worse in private.’  This sadly referred to often violent response of men to the realization that ‘their’ women is/was planning to leave them after putting up with years of neglect and/or abuse;  the papers have practically reported daily a case of a man killing the children and woman before fleeing or killing himself. (The book I am reading has a great line- ‘Sexual jealousy is the greatest crazy maker we have.’) The article ends saying that ‘as long as society continues to objectify women, the violence against women will also continue.  Sadly, women play right into this trap. They want to feel wanted and they have been given a how-to manual on what they need to do to be wanted by men.’ She said that it is ‘sentencing ourselves and our daughters to more violence and death’.

Makes me wonder how things get taken out of context and get out of hand rapidly – the natural appreciation of curvilinear lines morphs in porn then exploitation (cos dirty old men persuading young attractive females to view their bodies as commodities could only be that!). The natural inclination towards sweet and fatty foods is then exploited when junk has high fructose sugars and artificial flavourings added to it to fool our senses that we are eating something good for our bodies. A Facebook post—always subject to exaggeration - found a fast-food burger had only 2% meat.