Freedom of Expression Gone Bad

29 May

I think freedom of expression is the most abused in the world right now.

Mean jokes, insults, hurtful words that are intended or not are now considered “opinion”.

When I was younger…back when the world was actually a lot nicer— when someone unintentionally said something that’s mean or hurtful to the other, that someone would properly apologize. “I’m sorry for what I said. I wasn’t thinking. I thought it would be funny. But after seeing you get hurt, I just realized that it’s not.”

These days when somebody says something hurtful and another reacts, that somebody will retaliate. “That’s my opinion. Why would you take it personally? Stop being sensitive. Gosh, can’t you take a joke? Duh, what happened to freedom of expression?”

What some people fail to see these days is that words can be hurtful too. One joke can be funny to someone and be hurtful to someone else. A statement that starts as a joke doesn’t always end in laughter. An opinion that may seem smart at the beginning may actually be negative in the end.

Effective communication – that’s easier said than done. The thing is we never know when our words will turn into daggers.  But when they do, we should be able to recognize the wrong, take the daggers back and turn them into words again.

We are not perfect but we can at least be nice, don’t you think?

p.s. This is actually one of the keys to a happy relationship.

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Family Planning: A Couple’s Choice

8 Apr

“Why don’t you have a baby yet? You’ve been married for 4 years and still no baby? You should have a baby already. Have you seen a doctor? You’re not getting younger. Is one of you unable to have a baby?”

These questions or statements really annoy me.

Being in a country where a family should be comprised of a mother, a father and children – I get them. Being in a country where it took 14+ years to pass a reproductive health bill and where family planning is still a debatable topic – I understand their need to ask. But do they really have to bring it up every single time?

Last year at the reunion, we told them that having a baby is not our priority. Last month we bumped into them, we said that the baby will come after my husband and I realize our goals together. Last time we met, we told them that there’s no need to see a doctor because it’s our choice not to have a baby yet.

Still they never get it. If they did, they won’t be asking or bringing the subject up for the nth time. It doesn’t even feel like they’re asking anymore, it feels like they’re dictating.

Seriously, why can’t these people realize or accept that there are such things as options. Just like renting an apartment or buying a new house and keeping an old car or getting a new one, family planning is an option. Having a baby or not can be an option.

There are so many things in life that we cannot control but there are also some things that we can. For those of us who are fortunate to have choices, I believe it is our responsibility to choose well.

Right now, we just know that we’re not ready to have a baby. One of the reasons we have and probably the most important is that we can’t afford a baby. We’re both artists and although we earn big, our works are usually project-based. For me that makes us financially unstable and we just can’t risk it. For so many times we were told that once we have a baby we will be forced to work harder and we’ll live on. Well we don’t want to be forced to do anything. If we’re going to work harder, it will be because we want to and not because we have to. We don’t just want to live on, we want to live well-off. My husband and I both had our shares of how hard life was growing up because our parents didn’t have enough money. We know the hardships that financial instability bring a family and we’re not about to underestimate it.

Right now, we are working our hardest. While we’re busy fulfilling our dreams together, we’re both learning. We’ve become really patient and frugal even. Most importantly, we’re in love and we’re really happy.

Then again, after all that I said, some people just won’t get it.

Chinese Tiger Net Fishing

6 Apr

Today I found out that in the past few years there had been a sharp increase in Chinese fishing vessels called “huwang” or tiger net fish boats. A few years back, Chinese from mainland China learned fishing is a good earning business and everyone just wanted to do it. Gosh, I’ve never seen so many fishing vessels in one port and that was just one port. According to these article, they have “nearly 10,000 boats from Zhejiang and Fujian Provinces“.

The thing is this tiger net allows the fishermen to capture a great number of fish in one swoop. Such method plus the number of tiger net ships they have in China equals depleted resources in their area.

The investors spent 1 mil dollars on each boat and depletion is not about to stop them. What they do is they go further out in the ocean… to waters that belong to their neighboring countries.

Thus the decades-old territorial disputes worsen. It’s not even about which country owns the waters anymore. I think the greater concern here is the ocean’s future condition. The way China has treated and is treating their natural resources makes me question if they deserve ownership of the disputed waters.

Also wasn’t it early this year (2013) when Beijing made it to the headlines because of it’s high pollution levels? Their airlines had to cancel flights because of poor visibility and the people were advised to remain indoors – that’s how bad it was. It would have been okay if the air pollution stayed in China – after all it’s their mess. But no, the toxic air particles floated to Japan- a country that has been going green for the past few years now. So I really find it unfair that Japan now has to work with China regarding this matter.

Anyway, the Chinese tiger net fishing vessels need to be strictly regulated. Overfishing is a threat to our oceans and must be stopped. China seriously needs to raise environmental awareness among its people. The country needs to address its environmental issues now.

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