Friday, 31 August 2012

A Woman's Place?

Women. Why is it that I keep hearing how you want to be so equal with men?  You want positions of power within the workplace, you want to run large companies, flying from country to country to do business and conduct meetings. You want to leave the home early in the morning and return late at night and when you do have a moment, you want the luxuries of going out to dinner, expensive holidays and all the freedom that many men have. Hmmm. That's all well and good if you have no responsibilities to take care of. 

But wait! Have you forgotten that you have children languishing at home with no mummy in sight? The children some of you planned to have. Are you happy for another woman to raise your child, cook for them, attend the school plays, tuck them into bed, kiss them better when they fall over, and teach them the way to live?  Really? Some children are even left home alone, fending for themselves for periods of time whilst mummy progresses her career!

So I ask the question - should women with children be working at all until a child is of a certain age?
Doesn't it come down to an unavoidable choice between two options:
EITHER - suspend the career to have children OR - pursue the professional career and not have children.

I'm really not trying to offend career women or women who have to work to put food on the table, but rather have a constructive discussion about those who are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

You see, certain women are putting pressure on their employers by trying to juggle home life, work life and a social life. Women with children are likely to take more time off to deal with child illnesses, school holidays, extra dental and hospital visits etc throughout the whole year. They want to start work later in the mornings and leave earlier in the evenings to do the school runs. They want reduced flexible working hours without complaint. 

What if you are a small business owner? How could you continue to run a successful business if your employees were continually taking time off work due to their children? Can you imagine telling your boss you can't attend the next meeting because little Johnny is having difficulties at school?

If I was to tell you that a mother was neglecting her child, we would all be in uproar, but can neglect also be that the mother is never home to see/take care of her own kids, regardless to how much money she throws at them? 

Is it such a bad thing for women who want to have children to stay at home to raise them properly, then continue later with any career plans they may have?

We continuously blame the parents when children are raised by the streets and go crazy. Is it right to blame society for failing in raising children who should have been raised at home in the first place? We just can't have it both ways. Something has to give. 
How important is it to have a mother at home raising her own children?
Would you give up a career to have children or vice-versa?
Men, what is your opinion about career women having children or Stay-At-Home-Mums?
Ladies, how do you juggle working and being a mother, especially if you are in a prominent position at work?
Would love to hear your views, comments and opinions of this. 

Friday, 24 August 2012

Paralympics - Deadly Hidden Harm

The Greek hero Achilles was given a choice. Go to the battle of Troy, win great victories and have his fame live forever or stay at home, live in anonymity and have his name be forgotten. That same choice is being made here and now as London gears up for the 2012 Paralympics.

News agencies are reporting a cheating scandal far more drastic than the doping of regular olympic athletes.

Known as 'Boosting', Paralympians with spinal injuries are causing stress to their bodies which increases the heart rate and blood pressure because this can enhance their performance, giving them a greater edge over other competitors. Those who have spinal injuries may have difficulties raising their blood pressure and heart rate naturally with physical activity, so in order for them to maximise their performance they practice Boosting, which was banned in 1994. 

These same paralympians would go as far as to break bones in their feet, strangle their testicles, electrocute their scrotum (Yikes!), legs and/or feet, or sit on pins and use tight leg straps. 

These are only some of the techniques which have come to the attention of the authorities and it is likely there are more that have not yet come to light. It should be noted, however, that due to their condition, they are insensitive to the pain this would cause.

Boosting can lead to heart attacks, strokes, hypothermia, epilepsy, hypertension and and you could end up bursting blood vessels. All of this to win a medal? Good grief.

Nevertheless, all this raises some questions.

Would you live a mediocre life of everyday struggles and pleasures if you had the chance of immortal glory? Wouldn't it be worth the risk of throwing in all away for that? Just imagine you name in lights forever!

Is Boosting really cheating? Aren't they just manipulating their own bodies to achieve its full potential? 

How about Boxing, Formula One and Free Diving, recognized sports which have cost people their lives? Why can't paralympians have the same right to decide for themselves what risks they wish to take in their pursuit of excellence?

Not everyone will have the chance to go for olympic gold in this way, but is there anything that you would consider risking your health for? Isn't this what firemen, police and soldiers etc. do everyday?

Whatever your views, I would love to hear them.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Worth Killing For?

How far would you go to defend your property? Stab a person several times blinding them in one eye, shoot someone in the legs, attack them with a bat or hockey stick or even go as far as to kill them? These are just some of the varied lengths that homeowners have gone to in order to defend their property. Some homeowners, rightly or wrongly, have even had legal action taken against them by the burglar due to the injuries they received whilst carrying out their unlawful activities. Cruel twist some may say! 

How about if your handbag or jewelry was grabbed from you in the street by a robber, or your car was being 'jacked/stolen' by a thief right in front of you. How far would you go to defend your goods? Some people have chased down the thief and given them a good beating. Others have been killed by their own car wheels whilst struggling to get back what was rightfully theirs. 

I know how hard we have all worked to buy the things we want in life. 

Why should we tolerate a stranger stealthily sneaking through our homes during the midnight hours freely taking what doesn't belong to them? 
Why should we be in fear of our lives and scared to death knowing a trespasser is in our house? After all, if we don't attack them then they may attack us. Burglars don't come round to sit and have a chat, they don't knock the door and leave if you are out. They have one job to do and that is to take your goods. 

Some people even go to the extreme length of keeping a gun in their house for that 'special occasion'.

On the other hand, if we catch them red-handed, why attack?
Isn't it more dangerous to attack, leaving them no choice but to get physical in order to defend themselves? 
After all, we pay hard-earned tax money for a police force to deal with this. Is it really wise to try and do a D.I.Y. job instead of leaving it to the professionals?
Isn't it better to have some security measures such as an alarm etc. and make sure you keep your mobile phone within reach at all times?

What are your views on how the law should respond to this issue?
Do you think those that attack people in their own home deserve to be prosecuted?
What if the person is attacked from behind by the homeowner whilst they are in the process of leaving with the goods?
What if the person is already captured and no longer a threat and still the homeowner goes on beating them into a pulp. Can it be justified?

These are the nitty-gritty situations that occur everyday in the real world.

I would be delighted to hear your answers or viewpoints to any or all of these questions.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Majority of Men Are Evil

“The majority of men are evil” - One of the most earth-shattering statements in the history of philosophy. It was coined by a man called Bias, the most famous of the Seven Sages.
So acutely aware was he of its implications that he was actually reluctant even to express this judgment. It’s easy to see why, if we just think about it. 

Can you imagine what would happen if we took it seriously to heart? It has the power to devastate the foundations of relationships, families and whole societies.

Relationships are based on trust – but how can we reach out to our fellow man, if we harbour in our hearts the suspicion that he is, more likely than not, evil? We wouldn’t even be able to get started.

Businesses are built on contracts – but who would join in a venture if he didn’t trust his associates? The meaning of even money itself is based on a promise to ‘pay the bearer’. Would it be possible for such mass cooperation to take place without faith in our neighbour to act fairly?

Societies are built on law – but how can the law function in an environment where most people are evil? Sooner or later it would have to disintegrate.

But surely with the advantage of hindsight we can see he was mistaken… wasn’t he?

But then again, how do we account for the holocaust, the transatlantic slave trade, the genocidal wars that have marked human history across the globe into ages past? How do we account for the greed and selfishness that surrounds us every day?

Is there any hope for humanity?

Is it rational, or even sane to have any hope at all in human nature?

I would welcome any thoughts any of you may have on this.

This post has been written by a guest writer called Alex, who I know personally and have invited to contribute this week. He'll respond to any comments.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Earthly Paradise or Living Hell?

London, one of the most amazingly beautiful, culturally diverse places on this planet. East London, where I live, is a place of hope for the privileged and despair for the unfortunate. A clear divide between the rich and poor. As I look out of my windows I'll give you a glimpse of what I see and tell you what I know.  

I see cars that cost more than houses being privately parked by valets, whilst the poor fight and struggle to get a parking space on the streets. I see security guards patrolling and protecting assets whilst at the same time keeping out those of no monetary value. ME. I see well groomed communal gardens, maintained to a high standard set aside for the wealthy whilst the 'not so wealthy' others have to find a dirty old park somewhere else to stretch their legs. I see multi-million pound flats all around me, unoccupied most of the year whilst others live in damp, over-crowded housing conditions, waiting on a list for something better, like a decent place to live. 

Walk our streets and see the private nurseries, over priced designer shops, high end restaurants, cafeterias and top class hotels then look at the prices and tell me who this is for. Yachts of all shapes and sizes are docked by our window. Speed boats zoom by on a warm day, flaunting their wealth for all to see. Now listen to the locals, those who were here before money took over and you will hear a different story. 

Something that outsiders don't always see is that my London is splitting at the seams. The riots were evidence of this tension spilling out into the mainstream. For a brief moment the public were exposed to the frustration, violence and fury that are an everyday reality for many.

For some, the difference between heaven and hell is the balance of your bank account.

Please listen carefully to the words of this 2.48 minute video from George the Poet, a young 21 yr old man studying at Cambridge University who gives us an alternative view of London. It's brilliant. 

How's life in your neck of the woods?
Do you see such a huge contrast where you live?
What are the tensions in your area?
Is what is happening in London unique or typical of big cities across the world?
Isn't the divide between rich and poor wider now than it was before?
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