Best of Blogs: January 19, 2006
From the left, the right, the in-between: we include the political,
the social, the cultural and the undefinable.
Featured Blog I: Shits & West
MARGARET CHO/JANUARY 12
[Hold your noses if you needto, but get ready to laugh your way through some fascinating sociology on the scatologies of East and West. Margaret Cho has been traveling Asia for weeks. Our luck...]
I thought I was ghetto, before I went to India. I was so painfully mistaken. I saw a man in a three piece suit take a shit on the sidewalk. That is gangsta!!! He just squatted down and went for it, all the while, casually reading the paper. I love that he had such an air of weary decadence, so that the act of defecating in the street wasn’t enough for him. He still needed something to read. The amount of shit everywhere is something that you just have to deal with, being there. There is all kinds of shit too. Cow shit, dog shit, goat shit (little and pebbly like rabbit shit so less offensive and more petting zoo like), and of course real live BULL shit, which I thought was just an expression. Then the many faces of human shit, unpleasant and instantly recognizable. The shit didn’t bother me as much as the piss, which was a surprise. I didn’t like to encounter the public urinals placed on busy street corners. Read the rest at Margaret Cho's blog...
Featured Blogger II: A Different Tet Offensive
Triumphs and Tragedies for Vietnam's Homeless Children
VIETNAM STREET KIDS/January 17, 2006
[Thirty years after the end of the war, Vietnam is still, to most Americans anyway, primarily a bad memory rather than a country of living and surviving human beings—a disproportionate number of them homeless children who could care less about another era’s idiocies, but who live those idiocies’ consequences daily. Vietnam Street Kids is written by Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, “a grassroots charity working in Vietnam with street kids and the poorest of the poor.” This post candidly describes the triumphs and heartbreaks in the children’s daily lives, and the foundation’s attempts to ease their way.]
Vietnamese New Year—Tet—is looming like a storm cloud. The streets are crazier than usual (yes, it is possible!) as everyone rushes to get ready for The Event of the year. For Blue Dragon kids, Tet has a particularly pertinent meaning. Will the Year of the Dog bring luck, success, employment, or hope? Will things get better or worse? The fortunes of the new year begin with the passing of the old. Right now is the time to give and receive gifts such as new clothing, and also to hand out Li Xi—lucky money. A child who does not receive any of these gifts in the coming weeks will start the new lunar year with little reason to hope for happiness or prosperity. Over the coming week, the staff here at Blue Dragon are preparing two Tet parties: one for the kids in our Hanoi program, and one for the 250 or so girls and boys sponsored in rural areas, through our Stay In School program. Both events should be a lot of fun, but for the moment they are a lot of hard work! I hope to post news and photos of the parties next week. Since my last post, the center has been in overdrive preparing for Tet and dealing with lots of urgent kids’ issues. If I was superstitious I would be wondering if this was related to Friday the 13 th.... But it wasn’t all bad, of course! Lots of good news too. We have made good progress in dealing with the attacks on some of our kids. During last week, we found where some of the thugs lived and were able to take the police around to visit them. Looks like at least one of the kids who was robbed and beaten will be receiving compensation—and the attacks have definitely stopped for the time being. Read the rest at Vietnam Street Kids...