28 March, 2011

April 2011 - Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month (CSAAM)

Child Sexual Abuse is more common than any of us like to think, believe or accept.  Sex offenders do not walk around with any particular visible traits.  They may lurk right among us, they may already be in our midst, they may already be mingling with a lot of children.  Scary thought, is it not ? 

But fact remains that it is true.  The situation too, is pretty complex.  The abuse which starts off as a physical one, has huge ramifications on the child's mental health, emotional health and the psyche as a whole.

This is a hugely social issue and it is one whose awareness needs to be promoted. 

That is precisely what is happening in Blogsville or the blogosphere all through the month of April 2011.  Many bloggers, including me, are going to be blogging about various aspects of Child Sexual Abuse in an attempt to raise awareness. 

This initiative is aimed towards increasing our awareness of this burgeoning issue, as parents and in turn, for us to teach and empower our children to say NO. 

If you would like to add to the discussion or know somebody else who would, please note that we welcome entries

a. mailed to csa.awareness.april@gmail.com OR

b. posted as FB notes and linked to Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month Page OR

c. posted on your own blog with the badge and linked to the main blog OR

d. linked or posted on Twitter tagged twitter.com/CSAAwareness OR

e. sent via some/all of the above methods

The list of topics is available here.

Anonymous contributions are accepted and requests for anonymity will of course be honoured. I will probably be hosting at least one guest post and encourage you to do the same for non-blogging friends.

Please remember to send in a mail with all necessary links or just your input to csa.awareness.april@gmail.com so that we can track your contribution and make sure that it is not inadvertently lost or something.

U can also support it simply by adding the logo of our initiative in your blog's sidebar. Grab the below code to do so

We owe it to our children to make this world as safe a place as possible, for them to grow up in.

24 March, 2011

The Art of Conversation

Image courtesy : 101nights.wordpress.com via Google

If there’s one thing the younger generation are masters at – it has to be “The art of conversation”. I mean, they are so prolific that it simply takes ones breath away and leaves one totally speechless.  Well, it sure leaves me speechless. The vocabulary is so abundant that it teems with words and is seemingly inexhaustible. Their versatile vocabulary is an apparent panacea for all the evils of the older generation.

Huh !”

That, just about, says it all.

Ever noticed how the younger generation needs just a “Huh” and “Really ?” in their linguistic repertoire to carry on, what they deem, is an active, two way conversation ?

They’ve successfully transplanted an elephant’s head onto a dog’s body.”

While a normal human reaction would be a gasp or a “What” or a nonplussed “What in the name of God are you talking about ?” and the like – a pre teen would probably respond to that with a simple “Huh ?” which, by the way, will have the capacity to make you feel like the biggest dodo on the face of this earth.

Take Macadamia, for instance.

Anything and everything, at first instance, is met with a standard response “huh ?”. And the “huh” goes hand in hand with what we’ve now begun to recognise as “the look”. “The look” is a combination of glazed over eyes, lips pursed together or slightly stretched as though she’s doing something really tedious (don’t get me wrong – that is not a smile I’m talking about), both eyebrows raised about as high as they can go. The effect is even more powerful when just one eyebrow gets raised and the other one stays put where it is supposed to. “The look” says it all. You feel totally on top of the world – if that’s where self-made dummies are generally found, that is.

The other day I mentioned something to Pecan and he responded with something that sounded like a bunch of sounds strung together. I, for one, could simply not figure out what he said or meant. The only thing I could make out at the end of all those funny sounding syllables was the sentence “Whoa ! That’s so cooooooooaaaaaaaaa”. Well, to be honest, it took me a few minutes to figure out the “cooooooooaaaaaaa” bit too. Did I not mention earlier that I’m kinda right at the top of the dummy ladder ??!!

Oh ! and just about everything now is a “thingy”. In any given sentence, every two words uttered in what was hitherto known as human language, is interspersed with “like” or “whatever”. One normal Macadamia sentence would be something like this ...

I’m like going to schooaa and she like calls my cell and like keeps asking about that test thingy. We have like this Science test thingy like sometime tomorrow. It’s like not exactly like a test but like it’s like a test thingamajiggy. And she like calls and asks me about some History stuff. What a doofus ! I mean – she’s really like ...... sheeesh, whatever !!!”

By the time she’s done speaking those Latin and Greek sounding sentences, I’m, for the most part, found reeling around someplace at home, trying to look normal and struggling to figure out what is being said.   By the time my brain comprehends what's being said and forms a suitable response in a more human language, the siblings would have moved on to something else altogether.  My response time is deemed "too slow" for their quicksilver responses.  Come to think of it, Google Translate should be inbuilt into parents and Google should seriously think of including "teengage" (a cooooaaaaa short form for "teen language" - or so I think) as one of the languages to translate.

Like I said earlier, my personal opinion stands at – The younger generation are masters at the art of making conversation. I know I am doing something I never do – generalize. But this conclusion has been arrived at after being at the receiving end of many a “conversations” with many pre teens and teens.

But then again (*wicked grin*) – who says there cannot be a payback time ?

We’ve been trying it out randomly on both Macadamia and Pecan and we’re rather delighted to see that paybacks are indeed effective – albeit in the short term. When Macadamia or Pecan say something, they’re randomly met with a “HUH ?” from Mom and/or Dad. Not always. Like I said, the magic word here is "randomly”. They don’t know when to expect it. And it sure bugs the hell out of them. (*evil grin once again*).

Well, what can I say ? We’re rather wicked parents, that way !!

Did I hear you say something ?

"HUH ?!”

12 March, 2011

A horse, Mr.President ....

(Image courtesy : cool-clip-art.blogspot.com)

It's been ages since I've posted here and boy - does it feel good to be back in blogsville !! :-)))  Oh Yes - it does !!!!  The aim is to post regularly from now on but the time factor (read - lack of time) does have its effects in putting to rest any aims that one may plan towards.

Anyways, not to digress .......

What is the connection between a horse and a president ? 

If your answer to that question is "nothing", I'd say it is time to think again.

This happened a couple of months back, during one of my ESL classes.  These were a bunch of kindergartners and the topic for the day was "animals".  Now everybody has an Achilles heel and so did a little boy in my class.  A little boy who is always full of life, happy with life, happy with himself, comes bounding into class and whose answer for just about everything is a huge smile and a loud, resounding "yes".  To top this bubbly attitude, he also has round black eyes that speak volumes. 

This little guy's Achilles heel turned out to be none other than a horse.  He simply could not remember horse.  It just proved a little too elusive for him.  He could remember and place all the other animals correctly in English but even after three classes, the horse proved consistently elusive.  Instead of "horse" the only thing that would come to his mind when he looked at the picture of a horse, was the word "Mah".  "Mah" is horse in Cantonese (the local language in HK). 

On this particular occasion in class, his jaw was set stubbornly and he meant business.  He'd decided that "the horse" was not going to elude him any more.  "Enough of peek a boo" was the attitude on that little face that day.  Out came the picture of the horse from the flashcards and his eyes widened.  Those brows furrowed and he was thinking, fast and furious.  I could not help a little smile.  I just gathered him close to me and put one arm around him.  He was still thinking - I could almost hear those wheels cranking and turning. 

"Ah" he said - his face brightening visibly.  "This" he said, pointing to the flashcard of the horse on the table "is Obama". 

OK- that was the last straw as I could not hide my grin anymore.  I was grinning from ear to ear and so was he. 

His logic was fairly simple - he recollected the "Mah" which is Cantonese for "Horse".  He recollected the "O" sound from the English word "horse".  He put them together and came up with "Obama".

And yes, in the midst of laughter, the little genius did get a huge hug :-).  Kids - their imagination and the way their synapses connect - never ceases to amaze me.

Now who was it that said teaching ESL is boring ?????