Saturday, November 24, 2012

Legal Female Genital 'Mutilation'?

I wonder about this new trend of kids younger than 14 year old having designer vagina surgery. How much different it was with female genital mutilation practices in some countries, including Indonesia?

To my knowledge, the official stand of Indonesian Doctors Association is not to endorse FGM practices. That being said, I heard some doctors practice "FGM" in the notion to provide a 'better' care of the victims when the parents insist that their daughter must be submitted into FGM practices based on religious belief. In such case, the doctor didnt cut anything, only pricked the clitoris.

To my disgust, I was told that the traditional practitioners cut a little.

Now, reading that in the Europe kids, as young as 9 year old, go through surgical procedure citing due to some psychological reasoning is beyond me. Most of adults having the same procedure are because they compare their vagina to that of porn stars. I wonder if the internet helps creating such trend among young children, too.

I could understand the need of surgery if it was a congenital abnormality, but how many people out there having such problem?

What happens in Europe is a form of legal mutilation, because the underlaying reason of having such procedure is similar as in FGM countries: Someone (parents) wants that their daughter/ themselves conforming with certain idea that the small part of society holds about female genital that looks a certain way.

In FGM countries we could cite that people who do FGM are mostly coming from a low educated background. What can we say about their European/Western counterparts?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

BBC Big Read

Back in 2003 BBC had this programme called The Big Read where they asked the public what their favorite book is. The top 100 result is as follow:

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie 

Apparently I didnt (finish) read(ing) that many books on the list [all in the bold]. I have catching up to do! Perhaps I should be starting with finishing/re-reading whatever I started but never finished [all those in italic].  

All Time Favorite

According to internet the translation is as follow:
+ Chak de
- Phatte (apparently 'chak de phatte' in Punjabi is like 'Rock on')
+ Where are you from?
- From Pluto
+What are you here for?
- I just came for a stop at the cash and carry
+ It's a wonderful spaceship
- I bought it second hand
+What type of insurance did you get, third party?

my all time fave of BBC's Goodness Gracious Me

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Fave Patient

Years ago, I was doing my own thing when I met the ever sweet Mrs vdP. She was in her 50s, had an overjet and whole baggage of medical problems. Her dentist referred her to our surgery. Soon, she had to decide about getting a braces and an orthognathic surgery. Mrs vdP was hesitant and the doctor told her to talk to me. I discussed with her and her husband about my experience and showed her my pictures. In the end, she agreed to do the whole thing which would take more than one year of her life.

Each time she came by for her check-up, she looked for me. "Girl, let me see you teeth" asked her each time as soon as I showed up in front of her. I smiled. She said "Wonderful", then left. That's our routine.

After about three months, she had much less overjet that she could close her lips. I chatted with her, telling her how good her progress was. She was so happy. She told me some of her friends didnt recognized her and how doctor H is her angel.

After her surgery, due to her medical condition she looked black and blue for the longest time, we joked that her husband has been beating her up. I gave some tips about eating, cleaning wired-shut teeth and reducing the bruises. Her end result was splendid. She couldnt be happier. And her husband, too. She thanked me for encouraging her to take the step, while all I did was sharing my experience.

Today, I just found out that she passed away a couple months ago.

Dag Mevrouw vdP... Rust Zacht.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

On Working as a Minority

Most of the time I work with men. At the office. With clients. More than 90% of people I interact with for work are men. The last two weeks were an exception.

I've been working non-stop since last week Monday until this week Friday, including the weekend due to some client-related-events. The best part about it was for once, I worked closely with the fairer gender. It is rather different than interacting with the guys. Then again, it's just my luck,non-Indonesians I work with care more about people they work with.

We talked about in our line of job, most of the time, we are the minority. How when we have to travel we dont venture out on our own as much as our male counterpart because of security reason, or keeping up the image. How sometimes the guys are pretty sexist in this country and would do/say something that could be seen as sexual harassment abroad. How I make sure that I cover up and on my best behavior when I have to meet clients who are mostly foreigner at their hotels. 

I'm very aware how people judge young local ladies with an elderly (foreigner) gent. I'm also aware, that sometimes, due to my gender people are opening up doors. I managed to get a vital information from a Director General at one of our ministries just by conversing with him for almost 1.5 hours. Others confided about policies and other officials, which comes handy for my reference. I'm also aware that most would think that I'd be dispensing money to do my job of which I've never done. 

That being said, I've noticed I have better synergy with foreigners than with fellow Indonesian females. Perhaps because the females Indonesian counterparts I worked with are mostly civil servants. Some of them have the tendency of making things more complicated. I do wish that more female supports other female. However, most often I've experienced and heard that quite often female undermines other female, which is rather sad considering we are in minority.