Trying new things isn’t always so easy

I am a picky eater. I am also vegetarian. This means that I quite consciously exclude certain food groups from my diet. However, despite being a vegetarian, I will try something new once. This was a rule my parents came up with when I was young. So, I tried vegetarian sushi yesterday. My brother who had sushi before liked it a lot. So, in some ways I was excited to try it. Anyway, the whole experience was rather gross. Since, I paid for most of the food, I felt a lot of regret. I could have gone for Dosa or some Ravioli. In hindsight, it was a waste of money, yet I did gain a valuable experience. I tried a new cuisine, didn’t like it. Now, I know I hate Sushi. Anyway, despite the terrible experience of last night, I will keep trying new things. I want to try some Korean dishes but I’ll get my mom to prepare them at home. I don’t enjoy paying money for terrible food. Anyway, I heard some dishes in Korea use gochujang(a spicy red pepper paste). Yeah, I just need to stick with spicy foods or dishes with lots of cheese and butter. Now, I am craving quiche. Dang it!

Have you ever had a terrible experience with certain cuisine? Was it too spicy or bland for you? Was it the texture that made the dish horrible?

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Nerdy Sundays: Pew Survey Edition

Do you think you know more about Science and Technology than average Americans? Do you care to find out? Then take this quiz at Pew Research Center. It is a quick, short quiz. After taking the quiz, tell me about your results. Be honest. I got 12 out of 13. Not happy. The questions are very easy, so do not be worried. I think your results will be better then mine. I know all my readers to be very smart because I read your blogs and you all write thoughtful, interesting posts.  Anyway, I am a Canadian who is smarter then average Americans even though I totally messed up one of my answers. If you want to remain anonymous, just send me an e-mail. There is no naming and shaming in this blog.

BTW, if you cooperate and comment, it might lead to a more serious discussion about education in US and Canada.

Looking forward to your results.

In Third World, Life isn’t black and white.

In the wake of tragedy in Bangladesh, many people are trying to be socially conscious. People want to buy local made products and yeah, that is all fine. But, they miss the big picture. In this Globalized world, you sadly cannot rely on just products made in Canada/USA. It is impossible. You don’t want to buy products from big corporations that outsource labor to third parties. I understand that. These parties work as middlemen where they give those contracts to local companies that pay low wages. The workers have no protection at all. However, if you feel that you will wash your hands off such unethical practices by merely buying products that are made in your first world country, then you are sorely mistaken. Those 14 cent wages that those Bangladeshi workers earn saves them from starving/begging. Taking away their jobs is not the solution. You want to help? Why don’t you support education initiatives in that country? A citizenry that is educated is more likely to pick less corrupt officials and more likely to know their rights. You really want to help? Why don’t you push corporations to stop using middlemen to outsource their dirty work? Push for greater accountability from them. But, please stop taking jobs away from the poorest of the poor. They don’t want you first world charity. They want your support. An Industrialized Bangladesh is more likely to increase its wages over the years. So, let them industrialize their country but support projects that allow for sustainable development. Stop imposing your first world morality on them.

Brown Parent Quirks: Comparing children

Brown parents have a habit of comparing their children to other relatives/friends/neighbors/colleagues offspring.

Typical conversations in our family.

Mom: You know my friend at work. Her daughter is 12 but cooks all the food at home. Look at you, you are so old but lazy.

Me: Mom, I am busy with school.

Mom: Busy? You just laze around. Go learn to cook some dal.

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Dad: You know our neighbor  I was talking to him and he has a daughter around your age. She is a pharmacist. You know she has a good job and makes lots of money.

Me: But, I love History and Political Science.

Dad: What will you do with a B.A? At least go to Teacher’s college?

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Both Parents (when they vacationed in India): We saw some of your childhood friends from India. They are so smart, mature and pretty. Look at you? Who will marry you?

Me: Who wants to get married? Not me. Nope.

Mom (Horrified): Don’t say that! You will get married. Not now but eventually. If you follow my advice, you will be healthy and pretty.

 

My parents are perpetually annoyed with me

 

Canada and Immigration Reforms

So, I had a good break yesterday. But, I am back to blogging. Yay!

Immigration is highly vital to Canadian economy.  Canada has a falling birth rate and an aging population. To offset that, Canada brings immigrants to increase the growth rate. Therefore, immigration is an important topic for all Canadians

In this post, I will go through some of the immigration reforms that have been taken by the current Federal government.

The Good:

1. Under the Federal Government, Expression of Interest System has been created. This system will allow the employees and the provinces to pick people from a pre-screened pool of applicants.

Why is this good? Each province has shortages in certain workforce. For example, Alberta might need more Construction workers. The provincial government can pick immigrants who have these qualifications and fill the market need. It helps the immigrants because they actually have the chance to work in their field. How many times have we heard of doctors or engineers working as taxi drivers. Hopefully, this system will help minimize that.

2.  The government is focusing on younger immigrants from 18 to 35. It will fast track their applications if they are fluent in one of our official language and have a job lined up in Canada.

Why is it good? It will help a lot of students from foreign countries who are studying in Canada. Also, we need a young, dynamic workforce in order to have a healthy economy.

3.  The federal government has emphasized language proficiency (English or French) in order to obtain citizenship. If prospective applicants are not fluent in either language, they will not be granted citizenship.

Why is this good? This is a no brainer. They are working and living in Canada. We need people who can understand our languages.

4.  The federal government has tightened rules for spousal immigration in order to prevent marriage fraud. The new rules stipulate that they must live with their partner for 2 years before getting a permanent resident status.

Why is this good? It is good in the sense that it will prevent people from defrauding Canadian nationals. The rule is flexible if there is an indication that there is domestic violence or abuse between the couple.

The Grey area:

Under Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, applicants from 29 countries will have to provide fingerprints and photo identity while entering Canada. These countries are third world countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, and Vietnam etc. They introduced it to prevent fraudulent applicants from entering or re-entering Canada. On one hand, it protects Canada from people who might abuse the system. On the other hand, it is racial profiling of sorts. I think this policy has both pros and cons.

The whole Refugee system has been changed. Again, I think the government’s intentions are good and I understand the need to tighten the rules. But, the rules can be abused and individuals put into detentions.

The Bad: Temporary Foreign Workers

Under the new system, temporary foreign workers will increase. These workers tend to work in unsafe environment with  lower wages, low or no benefits and are exploited. I don’t think this is good for Canadian job force as a whole.

 

Overall, I think the Federal government has made some important improvements. I know that the Conservative party has a reputation of being anti-immigration. So, some people will see the rules as such. However, being an immigrant myself, I am pro-immigration. 

Let’s be honest, most immigrants are good and hardworking. However, there are a few that exploit the system . Tightening the rules to prevent such individuals from entering Canada is a good thing. However, there are some potential areas mostly pertaining to refugees that the State might abuse.

What do you think? Do you think the current government is on the right track with immigration? Things that you think the government can improve upon?

 

Important Sources: Source1, source 2, source 3, source 4. source 5.

 

P.S: I am not a Conservative party supporter but I cannot fault them for their immigration policy. Their environment record on the other hand is dismal. I try to judge each party and government on policy by policy basis.

Happy Ram Navami

After the events of last night, and the new rape case in India, I was full of anger. All those negative feelings caused me a lot of anxiety.Today, I went to the temple and actually had great time. It really calmed me down. I prayed for the victims and for the recovery of the little angel. Ram Navami is a festival celebrating the birthday of Lord Rama. Yes, India is a land of festivals. Everyone in the temple was extra sweet today and we had delicious food cooked by the devotees. Anyway, I hope to be more positive and hope the good people outnumber the bad ones.

The curious case of Boston Bombing Suspects

If you are reading this, you already know that the two suspects were identified as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. One of the suspects is dead after a shootout where he killed an MIT police officer. The other is on run, armed and dangerous.

They both hail from Chechnya which has a long, turbulent political history. When the FBI released the pictures of suspect, the most uncouth behaviour by commentators started. Some of the people on the political left hoped they were white. Some on the right hoped they were brown and Muslim. They turned out to be white and Muslim. Yes, Chechens are white according to U.S census. While the FBI and the Boston police were investigating and doing their job catching these perpetrators, media decided to speculate and mess up people’s lives. Hence, a Bangladeshi man was attacked by a bunch of racist dudes because you know he was brown and Muslim. Sunil Tripathi and Mike Mulugeta were misidentified as  suspects by redditors because police chatter is so conclusive? It is not. We still don’t know if Sunil is alive or not. He went missing before the bombings and his family was trying to search for him.

This is why normal citizens who are not part of law enforcement should lay off speculating. You are not a detective; you do not have the training or the skills. If you think someone is a suspect, contact the police. They follow up the tips to see if it is legit or not. Media is culpable by not vetting their sources and just making up a bunch of theories.

Hope all the people who were misidentified sue the hell out of media companies. Hope Sunil’s parents find out his whereabouts. Hope the second suspect is caught without bloodshed. We don’t need more by-standers and brave police officers losing their lives.

Update: Dzhokar Tsarnev is caught alive. Bravo to the law enforcement in United States. Their competence and professionalism more then made up for the kerfuffle caused by the media.

Selena Gomez, Bindi and Cultural appropriation

So, Selena Gomez wore a bindi during her MTV Awards performance. A Hindu group in America released this statement:

The bindi on the forehead is an ancient tradition in Hinduism and has religious significance,” Hindu statesman Rajan Zed told WENN (via MSN). “It is also sometimes referred to as the third eye and the flame, and it is an auspicious religious and spiritual symbol … It is not meant to be thrown around loosely for seductive effects or as a fashion accessory aiming at mercantile greed.”

I don’t know. They are right that she is culturally appropriating bindi. A pop star wears a bindi and it becomes a fashion statement. But when my mom who is Hindu wears a bindi, it becomes something alien and strange. Suddenly it is that strange Indian lady with a weird red dot. Look at her not trying to assimilate to Canadian culture. On the other hand, it is just a bindi. I don’t get annoyed when people wear henna even though it is culturally important to south Asians. I guess it all comes down to respect. Try not to make other people’s religious and cultural clothing into an exotic, alien, fetishized thing. Try not to dress as an “Indian” during Halloween. Our clothing is not a costume. I don’t wear t-shirt and jeans as “costume.” If you realize that, I am happy if you spot a bindi on your forehead or Indian bangles on your wrist.