{ Under The Bluegums }

A personal blog with craft tutorials, reviews of books, films, and music, parenting advice, and opinions on society and politics.

March 30, 2009

Dead Animals

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30 March 2009

Undercover investigators went to Chinese fur farms recently and discovered some horrifying facts. Many of the animals being skinned were still alive and struggling with desperation when the workers began to cut the skin and fur from their bodies. Workers go on to stomp on their necks and heads when they struggle too hard to allow a clean cut.

Some of these newly skinned animals, thrown onto piles of those who have gone before them, are still alive, without their skin, in desperate pain, with their hearts still beating five to 10 minutes after they are skinned.

Chinese fur farms in China's Hebeo Province ban outsiders from visiting, and this makes it all too clear why. There are no regulations governing these farms in China, and this means that all the animals housed and slaughtered are at the utter mercy of the workers. They are denied even the simplest acts of kindness.

Participants Take Part In The Cartier Polo World Cup On Snow
Because the fur trade continues on such a global scale it is almost impossible to know where fur products come from, as skins move through international acution houses and are purchased and distributed to manufacturers around the workd. Over half of the finished fur garments are imported into the United States. It is likely that, even if a garment's label says it was made in Europe, the animals were slaughtered elsewhere. Why is it that we feel we need to look pretty with the fur of animals who have died in pain keeping us warm, now that we have such advancements in the clothing world?

Complete Peta's opinion poll regarding this practice, and you can also make a pledge to be fur-free here.

Easy kill

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30 March 2009

As I was driving to work today, I saw a car run into a bird. Its life was ended as suddenly as it had begun, and I don't know why, but seeing this made me very sad. As it is, I become sad when I see an animal dead in the road.

I know that it is sometimes very difficult to stop your car in time to avoid crashing into an animal as they cross the street, but this morning was different, because we were not travelling that fast, and it could have been avoided.

While driving to work, this got me thinking that humankind is being trained to ignore the little lives in favour of ourselves. Look at all the advertising for killing pests like cockroaches and flies. These tiny deaths might not seem so much in the larger scheme of things, but these are still little lives. I don't know if anyone else feels this, but whenever I squash an insect, I have this horrible feeling in my stomach.

It is as if we've been taught that it's okay to kill, and so don't feel as much remorse as we might had we killed a human. Because they're a real life aren't they?

March 27, 2009

Recession?

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27 March 2009

I've been wondering about this supposed economic recession that we are all being plunged into.

Aside from newspaper posters blaring that another car company has gone under, or another bank is for sale, there are even films being made regarding the recession.

But when I look around, just simply driving through the city, I see nothing that shows that we are all struggling. There are still people who can afford the price tag of the most expensive cars on the market. Just as an example, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the 65 AMG, is at a happy price of R1 950 000. And I know I've seen quite a couple of them speeding past me and pushing in in front of me because I'm going too slowly.

There are still tons of people shopping on random days at the shopping centres and spending money that supposedly no one has.

I wonder sometimes whether the powers that be are merely trying to make everyone scared.

March 26, 2009

Speak to Me

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see the storm is broken - in the middle of the night - nothing left here for me - it's washed away - the rain pushes - the buildings aside - the sky turns black - the sky - wash it far - push it out to sea - there's nothing left here - for me - i watch it lift up to the sky - i watch it crush me - and then i die - speak to me baby - in the middle of the night - pull your mouth - close to mine - i can see the wind coming down - like black night - so speak to me - like the winds outside - it's broken up, pushing us - hear the rain fall - see the wind come to my eyes - see the storm broken - now nothing - speak to me baby - in the middle of the night - speak to me - hold your mouth to mine - 'cause the sky is breaking - it's deeper than love - i know the way you feel - like the rains outside - speak to me (lyrics from Moby - The Sky is Broken)

March 19, 2009

Bored Button

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19 March 2009

I'm not particularly bored today, but I was curious about this link that I saved under my Favourites to try later.

Why don't you try it out as well? The link is Bored Button, and it entertains you with quizzes and such. The quiz that I took today, "How Many Five Year Olds Could You Take in a Fight", is easy enough, and takes only a few minutes. Apparently, I could take on 15 five-year-olds. I had a little giggle!

I just picture myself at the bottom of a dog-pile, to be honest! :)

March 18, 2009

Earth Hour

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18 March 2009

Earth Hour, it seems, is taking the world by storm!

The event began in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned off their lights for an hour. The event has now seen as many as 100 million people from 35 countries take part. It is hoped that Earth Hour this year will be even more popular, and that the switching-off of global landmarks such as the Coca-Cola billboard in Times Square and the Colosseum in Rome would inspire everyone to do the same and take a stand to demand the beginning of crucial conversations about the future of Earth.

The Facebook group alone already has 254 931 members! According to the global site, 1 672 cities, towns and municipalities in 80 countries have committed to switching off: Earth Hour was hoping for 1 000!

South Africa is also determined to be a part of the movement this year, with Earth Hour South Africa encouraging those who sign up to switch off all their lights on Saturday, 28 March at 20:30 for an hour. Those who sign up will also see their name form part of a petition that will be sent to the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

Even to me this seems to be a sort of fruitless act - will it really harm the massive corporations making their billions from electricity and oil? Will it really cause everyone to change their behaviour?

Um, I don't think so. I for one will be reaching for that light so that I can read my book (*she admits with guilt*). But symbolically, I think, it will go a long way to prompting some kind of conversation about what the world needs - seeing dark skylines and dead landmarks might at least get people to think, and will also demonstrate a co-ordinated action.

After all, humankind really just needs to unite together for a good cause and humble ourselves to realise what and who we are.

March 11, 2009

Pro-ana? I'm pro-food!

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11 March 2009

The South African edition of the Marie Claire this month made me aware of an Internet trend that has been increasingly favoured by anorexics and bulimics.

There are sites all over the Internet that claim to pro-ana or pro-mia – ‘ana’ used for anorexia and ‘mia’ used for bulimia, presumably used so the victims of these eating disorders have someone ‘real’ to which they can refer.

It is not easy to become anorexic or bulimic, as these sites announce. Some even go so far as to feel that anorexia and bulimia is something only a few people can do, as though they are chosen to do it. They feel anorexics and bulimics are stronger, because they do not give in to the weakness of hunger and eating food in the name of beauty.

Although these sites are usually introduced with disclaimers, saying that eating disorders are dangerous, and that if you are recovering or considering recovery, you should not enter them, this warning, to these people who are very obviously suffering from some sort of mental problem, can certainly be seen as a dare.

I feel that these disclaimers are contradictory to the content of the sites: many visitors to the sites do ask for advice - advice on how to avoid eating, advice on how to go about your next deprivation diet, advice on how to hide the fact that you’re not eating from your family and friends…they give support to those who are being “victimised” because of their lifestyle choice.

It is a strange, and seemingly illogical, dichotomy of warnings and support.

I was wondering after I read the article how many people who were suffering from these disorders were now aware of the sites, and would go searching the internet for them – not for ways to get better, but for support to continue.

However, an article by Time magazine, from way back in 2001, believes that, beyond the obvious “ick” factor, the sites opened up a path of insight into the world of the anorexic. The very language that these sites employ provides insight into the psyche of those with disorders. Some believe that they are begging for help, but at the same time they defend themselves and their lifestyles vehemently.

The problem is also that those visiting these sites often are not in peak mental condition, and they are bombarded by images of the waifs of stardom. Furthermore, the target market of these sites is incredibly vulnerable: the Time article goes on to say that studies back then indicated that 80% of anorexics experience their first onset of the illness by age 20, and this age range was only getting younger, with an increase in 2001 of cases in the eight- to 11-year-old range.

Eight to 11!? These are children who are still growing, and need all the nutrients possible to grow up healthy and happy, and they’re depriving themselves?

I have to wonder what the world is going to be like when these children grow up and have to become the leaders of the next generation.

The Altantic's column The Daily Dish of No Party or Clique reported that the phenomenon has now taken Facebook by storm, and users’ real-life profiles can be linked to their eating disorders. I did some searching myself, and just under Groups there are pages of pro-ana groups.

Although many think that the exposure of these sites can be dangerous, some think this is not necessarily the case: it is making society more aware of these disorders, and if teenagers are more and more willing to talk about their problem, perhaps they’ll be more comfortable asking for help when they or someone they know is showing signs of having an eating disorder.

For myself, however, I love food too much to even think about starving myself! :) Bring on the tinkies!

March 6, 2009

No time

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6 March 2009

I haven't written anything for so long!

I feel genuinely sapped and mentally exhausted. Work has been very hectic, and I have had never-ending responsibilities. I'm not really complaining, though, because I asked for a job that was challenging and constantly giving me new and more things to do. So, despite coming home and feeling like doing nothing but sit in front of the television and eat, I am relatively satisfied.

The reason that I'm writing this today is that I was thinking about how much work saps from your life. It takes five out of seven days of every week, or 40 hours, depending on how hard you work! :)

It takes maybe 20 days of every month, and so maybe 240 days out of your year. This is all time that is taken away from your family, your friends, your hobbies, your relaxation, your self. Unless, of course, you have the perfect job, and love everything about it, and it's more of a hobby than a job. Then I don't think that you would feel this way at all.

Imagine having the job you've always dreamed of. I wonder if it will really be all you dreamed it would be though, or just another way for you to lose time by thinking that you enjoy it!