Wednesday, August 19, 2009

awareness of the obvious

I'm out of the country right now, in Vancouver, Canada - a much needed break. I'm having a great time of course ... but I've noticed something. As an outsider, its amazing the stuff you can see so clearly, that isn't as obvious to locals.

For instance, for all its wonders, Vancouver has a few serious problems. One being that culturally, Vancouver sexualises its youth so much. Now I know we all have different opinions on sex education etc. but seriously - when I used to live here, the age of consent was 14. That means by law, your kid could have sex as early as 14 years old and if you as a parent tried to stop them, the police could actually charge YOU. Girls as early as 12 are walking around wearing next to nothing -in high school. Family skinny dipping day is an event where families bring their kids and they all get naked at the local indoor pool, with other families. Infant beauty pageants are in. Dolling up your babies in bikinis and makeup and making them strut their stuff as sexily as possible on a model ramp - is totally normal. And all of this is just skimming the surface.

And what are the results?

The biological age for puberty is actually physically changing in Vancouver society -becoming earlier and earlier. Pregnancies, babies, orphans - all over the place. In a high school in my neighbourhood they hold maternity classes where all the little 16year olds bring their babies to class and learn how to be mothers. Some of these moms are still wearing braces and have barely hit puberty. They go out clubbing and leave their kids with THEIR moms. Or else, prostitution and becoming a stripper mom are options to supporting your kid.

Oh and child molestations are a HUGE problem in Vancouver. Raping kids, and kidnappings - even murder to cover the whole thing up happens once in a while. Every few days the news announces another missing kid.

See to me, it makes sense that if you sexualise your little children, some people out there will actually SEE your child as a sex object. Imagine that!? You make your child a sex object, other ppl see your child as a sex object. Ridiculously obvious? Apparently not to Vancouverites. They pull their hair out trying to figure out why there are so many sex offenders in Vancouver. And all the while it's staring them in the face.

Do you have to be a foreigner to see this? In India, apparently its completely invisible to us, that our system of classing people according to the 'caste' system is causing so many social problems. 'Untouchables'? Marry only within your caste? Religious frenzy causing people to do stupid things like marrying dogs and snakes? A religious guru telling devoted but gullible parents that the gods have said that he must have sex with their young daughter?

All countries have something to be ashamed of. There is no point at all in trying to maintain a sort of false dignity and trying to be a country where no one admits that things are going wrong. I'll be the first to admit it - my country has some deep and dark closets where some of the most shameful and disgusting things are hidden.

But the correct response to something shameful is to face it and change it -not blindly deny it. Bring it out into the light, into the open, Drag it kicking and screaming. The truth, as they say, will set you free.

Which of course brings us to our own home - Kuwait. Do you have to be from the outside to see how OBVIOUS things are? We expats see the cause - and the effects,the problem and the results... and the links between them. And yet government, newspapers, and yes sometimes even citizens, if they actually ever think about it - are trying to figure out how society got here and how to solve the problems.

The answers, Kuwait, are right in front of you.


Anonymous said...

Why not offer a few contructive pointers to those kuwaitis who obviously can't see it, rather than leaving an open ended and vague phrase like its "right in front of you".

nabeel said...

actually that's kind of what the last few months of the blog have been about. The obvious..

Its obvious that abuse begets abuse (abused wife abuses maid who abuses children who then grow up to abuse their wives etc). Obvious things that people cant seem to see. Its obvious that parenting has a lot to do with how one values a human being of another culture. Its obvious that not feeding your maid and abusing her may likely force her to do things such as steal food or other things to sell for food.

obvious, right in front of you but not seen,. after all people are still asking questions like why are the maids all commiting mass suicide. are they all insane? Obviously not but thats what people seem to think.

i dont know if these would serve as constructive but they are informative and the knowledge of mistakes makes it easier to correct them in the future.

Anonymous said...

nabeel, your ideas on Vancouver are completely wrong I'm afraid lol. I was born and raised here my whole life, and the things you described are entirely untrue. At least you have a vivid imagination.

nabeel said...

Dear Anon

not to point out what i just said but... youve spent your entire life there. doesnt that completely agree with what i just said?

which part do you disagree with?
You think children aren't sexualised here? that 'sex lives' dont start around the age of 14 and up? You disagree with the age of consent having been 14 until fairly recently? you think that there are an 'average' number of sex offenders in van? wasnt this the place where people were trying to figure out if child pornography had any 'artistic merit' due to several cases that popped up a few years ago? And where a surrey naturalist group meets every year at the newton wave pool where entire families hang out togel

I lived in vancouver for around 7 years myself. I was here when they caught that pickton pig farm serial killer guy who was killing all the hookers. do we not have east hastings where all the runaway kids from all over canada are.

i really dont think i have a vivid imagination. maybe its just like i said -it takes an outsider to notice all these things and put them together. Kuwait certainly has its problems but 16 year old kids aren't having kids there. There is definitely something wrong with the way children are viewed in Van.

Anonymous said...

the half empty glass u talk abt
has a half full side to it

i hate how ppl have this lobsided way of reporting facts...

i like u agree that there is abuse..but i also agree that a lot of expats built luxury homes where they are from .... from what they got in Kuwait....some openend restaurants shops etc...

so an avenue was opened thru kuwait .

nabeel said...

anon - i hate to say this but im also fed up with people who respond in the way you do.

so yet again i will say:

this is a blog reporting on the PROBLEM not on - hey these are the things that are going right in Kuwait.

What are YOU personally doing? Have you personally helped the situation instead waving it off by saying the glass is half full?

Have you also personally counted the number of luxury homes being built in these expat countries to report YOUR facts? Have you balanced these conceptual luxury homes against the number of deaths due to abuse in Kuwait?

no? Then please don't try and convince us that Kuwait is half full on this issue, with what is actually your own personal fictions!

if you want to criticise our ACTUAL facts. come up with your own actual facts.