By: on 5 Jul 2006

The first goal was great; the second was delicious ;)

Now that we are set to have a World Cup final full of the beauty of Romance rather than guttural noises, I thought I would take the opportunity to pose that question of questions: Why were all four semi-finalists European?
And some others:

Why has only one team won the World Cup in Europe that's not European?

From 'No Dogs or Indians Allowed'...To 'No "Ethnic" Clothing Allowed'...The Evolution of Colonized Minds and Elitism

By: on 3 Jul 2006

This isn't the first time I'm posting my qualms with the New York Times Travel section on the Roti. Maybe I'm slowly developing some animosity towards travel writing, but really this time my problem is more about the going-ons they mention in passing than with the travel-journalism which fails to comment on it...

FIVE years ago, a typical night out in New Delhi was a family trip to the latest Bollywood blockbuster. Then came the so-called children of the liberation. The young heirs to India's new market economy grew up on Indian MTV, made more money than their parents and now wanted to party.

Flushed with disposable income, they carved out a kinetic new night life in south Delhi, an upscale collection of neighborhoods stretching from Humayun's tomb in the north to Qutab Minar in the south. "Delhi is no longer a snake charmer city," said Sandeep Gandotra, a nightclub promoter who is planning to publish Delhi's first party listings magazine.

The south Delhi scene has even spread east and south into the neighboring suburbs of Noida and Gurgaon. The most popular club is Elevate (Centerstage Mall, Sector 18; 91-120-2513904;, in Noida, a four-story, techno-playing joint that forbids traditional Indian attire like saris and is known for its pickup scene. The taps flow until 4 a.m.

This article has stirred some discussion on the South Asian Women's Creative Collective listserv, where some members have chronicled their own experiences trying to get into uber-chic Delhi hotspots and getting the boot by managers and bouncers due their donning of saris or shalwar kameez. Because THAT attire did not reflect the "scene" or "tone" the management was looking for. It also connects to a discussion ensuing on another blog about how even in the Desh, desi clothing is increasingly being referred to as "ethnic" in marketing & advertising [read: exotic, foreign, maybe backward or "other"?]

Indians, Pakistanis, and Bachelors in Dubai, oh my!

By: on 2 Jul 2006

As you all may know, Dubai has a sizeable Desi population. Dubai is one of the seven emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates. According the the US State Department, the population of the U.A.E is 4.3 million. Only 15-20 % are actual citizens of the U.A.E. As of 2003, 93% of the workforce is foreign. South Asians- namely Indians and Pakistanis- make up around 45% of the U.A.E's total population.

Dubai's own population is of 1.4 million, of which 10% is "native" [link]. Its population is mostly composed of expatriates, with South Asians and Southeast Asians comprising the majority. The official language is Arabic, but English, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, and Malayalam are spoken widely. Dubai is the only emirate that has Hindu mandhirs and a Sikh gurdwaara [Link].

So when I came across the Al Jazeera article Booming Dubai alienating natives, I read it with interest. According to the article, some of the natives- "Emiratis "- are feeling alienated due to the massive influx of migrants that has been brought by the "construction and development" of Dubai:

Many of the small native population are proud of Dubai's achievements, but an increasingly vocal few speak of alienation, question the social and political cost of fast modernisation and even say they should have been consulted.

Suhail al-Awadhi, 37, a senior municipal official, says he "was living three years ago in Hamria [an area in Dubai's historic center], but it was invaded by Indians, Pakistanis and bachelors, so I moved out"...

Al-Awadhi, who is married with four children, said he felt more comfortable and secure living among Emiratis.

"I like the fact that my children play with other Emirati  children," he said.

Todos somos latinos

By: on 2 Jul 2006

Courtesy a friend, some comedy from the AP wire...

The first effort to count Hispanics came in the 1970 census, and the results were dubious. The Census Bureau counted about 9.6 million Latinos, a little less than 5 percent of the population.

4 Pakistani Men Hanged (Hung?) for Gang Rape of Christian teenager

By: on 29 Jun 2006

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Four men were hanged in Pakistan on Thursday for gang-raping a teenaged Christian girl at gunpoint in the central city of Faisalabad seven years ago.

Calling All Non-Homophobic Conservatives!

By: on 29 Jun 2006

I've recently been embroiled in a ridiculous blargument about the way some parts of the American rightwing undermine the rights of people in a category without being overtly bigoted:

We Want You...To Support Tax Cuts

Person A believes LGBT people are entitled to human rights.

Person A supports the American War in Iraq for X,Y,Z reasons.


Person A is both "not homophobic" and supports destructive policies that result in LGBT people getting killed, possible spikes in hate crimes, discrimination, etc.

QED :)

Apparently, though, this is beyond the scope of some people who support LGBT "rights" without extending that support to the vast majority of LGBT people in other aspects of their lives. The question is this: is this kind of "not homophobic" useful to most LGBT people in the world--most of whom are also presumably of color, not US citizens, poor, and in other ways distinctly intersectional? So you support gay marriage--is that the highest priority for the LGBT people who don't have access to health care or are living in war zones?

from the arse-end of the diaspora...

By: on 29 Jun 2006

The polite little Indian girl in me wants to scream out 'No, I'm sorry, 'auntie/uncle who I'm not really related to' for writing that toilet-humour title!' But I couldn't really talk about my next multicultural, non-American topic  without talking about arses. Because thoughts of arses lead to thoughts of poos and wees. And that's just a part of what bro'Town is all about.

        TheBro's               TheWeakestLink!

Wha--- town? Poos? Wees? Why? 'Cos we're New Zealanders and that's what we find funny! Seriously (as Meredith Grey would say), though, bro'Town is our very own Simpsons, the coolest animated show I've ever seen and a new cultural phenomenon centred around a different diaspora which has made Auckland the largest Polynesian city in the world (yes, there is more than one diaspora and no, Indians do not have a trademark for that word).

The creation of the Naked Samoans, a group of Pasifika (Pacific Island/Polynesian) actors/comedians/writers/one of them is really hot I know that's not strictly a job but click on the link above and see... bro’Town is NZ's first prime-time animated show.

A modern day fairytale about five Auckland teenagers growing up in the big, bad Auckland suburb of Morningside, bro’Town chronicles the schoolboy misadventures of Vale, Valea, Sione, Mack and Jeff da Maori in a proudly suburban, non-P.C. satire. What makes this show awesome is that not only does it break the stereotypes, it manages to do so by laughing at them. Memorable episodes include 'A Maori at My Table' where Jeff da Maori must go back to his tribe and save their ancestral land from evil Japanese investors, 'Half Caste-Away' where the boys find the half-brown half-white abandoned offspring of a 14-year old white-trash mother and almost give it away to a retarded couple for adoption, and the classic first episode 'Go Home Stay Home', where Valea gets fostered out to a Mr and Mrs Rich-White because of his alcoholic, porn-obsessed dole-bludger father's crap parenting and utters one of the best lines ever brainwashingly taught to a brown boy by a rich white man, 'Capitalism is fun. War is better but you run out of people.'

Playing Nukey: US-India Nuclear Deal Passes Through Congress

By: on 29 Jun 2006

In an effort to halt nuclear proliferation (*cough*), Congress has approved the US-India Nuclear Agreement. According to the New York Times,

A key committee on Tuesday took the first step toward approval by the U.S. Congress of a nuclear cooperation deal with India that lawmakers said would promote historic new ties between the two democracies.

After months of delay during which the deal was mired in controversy, the House of Representatives International Relations Committee voted 37 to 5 to make changes in U.S. law that would allow the agreement to proceed.

The deal had been discussed by our Dear Leader Bush II and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last July 18. The nuclear deal was announced during Bush's recent visit to India in March. The deal would end a "moratorium on sales of nuclear fuel and reactor components to India's civilian nuclear program" and

Under the proposal, India, whose nuclear reactors are controlled by the military, would place most of its nuclear reactors under civilian control, thereby opening them up to international inspection. About a third of the reactors would remain controlled by the military and beyond inspection [link].

The problem? India hasn't signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NNPT). One could argue that neither has the US, the country with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, and thus it would be hypocritical for the US to hold any country up to this standard. However, most of the critics worry about accelerating an already existing arms race between India and Pakistan:

Football Fans & the International Sex Trafficking Industry

By: on 28 Jun 2006

With the FIFA matches in full swing and with only 8 contenders left (Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Ukraine) my initial World Cup excitement has settled down and reality has begun to filter back in.

Those adidas "impossible is nothing" ads still get me hyped up imagining how the last 8 games may turn out, but all the while I'm painfully aware a lot of hopes and dreams have already been shattered. Superstars Trinidad & Tobago and Ghana have gone home despite playing incredibly and the usual European and South American teams are left in the running (except maybe the Ukraine? I didn't see that one coming...) Even a referee has gotten sent home for, well, bad refereeing.

So. Imagine Germany right now. 3 million + football fans filtering into the nation: staying in Germany hotels, eating in Germany restaurants, buying bootleg national team apparel. Yeah, those sports fans bring in a lot of cash flow. We all know something about this.

But what about the money they bring into red light districts?

In a country where prostitution was legalized in 2002, that large and presumably heavily male guest list has caused a flurry of preparations by women's groups and European Parliament members to thwart the sex trafficking of women into the country.

The trafficking of women is a shadow behind all the large festivals for sport and similar big money-making ventures, said Lissy Groener, a German Parliament member and women's rights spokesperson for the Parliament's socialist group. "We will not accept this violation of human rights and this violation of women's rights."

The European Parliament along with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, based in Amherst, Mass., predicts that as many as 40,000 women could be trafficked into Germany for the World Cup, where an estimated 400,000 sex workers are already employed.

After coming across this article by accident, I tried to do some further research. Everyone from Amnesty International and the UN to the Vatican has issued statements against the trafficking of women and children into Germany during World Cup season. Obviously, they anticipate sports fans to come into the country with more than just love for the beautiful game on their minds.

ATTN Students: Lock in your student loan interest rates BEFORE July 1

By: on 27 Jun 2006

If you're one of the circa 8 million who has taken out $60 billion dollars in federal loans this year to finance your education, LISTEN UP

YOU MAY WANT TO CONSOLIDATE YOUR FEDERAL LOANS*. This Washington Post article lays it out:

A combination of rising interest rates and legislative changes to the student loan program will alter the student loan landscape on July 1...Last June, rates on Stafford loans in repayment stood at 3.37 perce

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