Merry Christmas to All

Venturing Vietnam

Merry Christmas to everyone around the world, no matter what day it is right now, what you are eating, who you are with, or how you are celebrating. Though many of us had a very different Christmas than usual this year, it was filled with touches of Canadian familiarity, lots of friendly faces, and three awesome helpings of Mr. Bean.

Just to provide a bit of a visual, here is what “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” meant for us in Vietnam:

On Christmas Eve, it was so cold in the office that I could only type for five minutes at a time. I took breaks to sit on my hands.

There was a very skinny man dressed as Santa standing outside a store on my street (that sells who knows what) giving out free stuff to kids (and who knows what the free stuff was.) He was…

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Singapore: Orchard Road

A trip to Singapore would not be complete without visiting Orchard Road. This road is like the high-end shopping zone of the city, but because it’s almost Christmas it was covered in lights and decorations.

Among the unexpected sightings was this owl…

Why?

Why?

Now enjoy some of the photos that made a little more sense.

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These were my favourite

These were my favourite

 

Democracy, freedom, apologies and rights

‘Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives.’

What kind of image does that bring up for you? One where citizens have the right to choose what happens in their country, with themselves? That’s what I picture. It’s not one where other nations determine the rule of law, rights, freedoms; it’s not one governed with weapons, fear, or oppression.

It is also not grant one nation the right or ability to impose views or beliefs onto another person or nation; it does not reign superior over any other thoughts, actions, or systems of beliefs. It simply one option.

I believe that it is inherently un-democratic to enforce ‘democratic’ beliefs on other nations by force, economic sanctions, tied aid, or any other means. I believe it is inherently un-democratic to invade other nations for the ‘sake of democracy.’

Now, I understand that ‘military interventions’ have the unique ability to stimulate the economy; particularly the economy of such nations that have large investments in weaponry; but it halts and harms the economies of the nations that are invaded, devastated, and destroyed.

Now, does having these beliefs make me un-democratic? No. Does believing this make me anti-USA? No. Even if I chose to protest or partake in a protest? No, still in the clear.

Then why must singers, performers, actors, etc. apologize for doing this very thing and/or risk being banned from the country?? Isn’t it democratic for them to be able to voice their opinions and act on those opinions? Particularly if those voices and actions are causing no harm. Why must all ‘leaders’ and ‘role-models’ dissent to popular opinion? Aren’t they simply doing what the definition of ‘democracy’ encourages them to do: have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives?

Gender-swapped Children’s Toy Catalogue in Sweden

So happy some companies are doing this! I actually remember the day I realized that I didn’t have to like the colour pink just because I was a girl. It was eye-opening and toy catalogues and stores did nothing to support that.

Women and Leadership

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The latest holiday catalogue released by Sweden’s toy retail chain Top Toy is making some buzz for breaking the gender-role stereotypes in its product pages, which features girls with Nerf guns and boys with doll houses and Hello Kitty. According to Jezebel, Top Toy’s gender-swapped catalogue may have been inspired in part by the widespread debate over the issue of gender equality that has been ongoing for the past few years in the Scandinavian nation.

here is a link to the entire article: [x]

I think it’s a great way to change social ideologies: start teaching the kiddies that it’s okay for a girl to use the nerf gun and the boy to use the vacuum!

What do you guys think?

*note* — I know that this doesn’t show women in leadership but it’s a start to changing what we see as typical gender roles, reminded me of…

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