Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Few Facts about "Honour" Killing

After a gruelling 10-week trial, the jury returned a guilty verdict in the Shafia "Honour" Killing murder trial in Kingston, Ontario. A father, a mother and a brother were found guilty of killing their own family members, all female. Despite the horrific nature of the crime, the usual suspects are already out claiming that "honour" killing is an epidemic in the Muslim community.

Tarek Fatah has already targeted multiculturalism, saying "everyone wanted to protect multiculturalism — not the lives of these young women" and that "Muslims consider women the possession of men". Given that Fatah and the MCC enjoy the ear of the Conservatives, it was no surprise to see Rona Ambrose, Minister for Status of Women, announce "the Shafia trial was a wake-up call to a lot of people that thought honour-motivated violence doesn't exist in Canada".

So here are some facts about honour killing and Canada.

  1. Since 2002, there has been 13 cases of "Honour" killings in the whole of Canada.

    13 murders. 10 years.

    To put that into perspective, in 2011 the city of Toronto had 45 homicides (down from 60 in 2010). By March of 2012, already 20 people will have lost their lives to murder.

    To recap, more black young men will lose their lives this year in the streets of Toronto than women who will die due to honour killing in the last ten years in the WHOLE country.

  2. Do you think it's only Muslims who have an "Honour" Killing problem? According to a poll done by the BBC’s Asian network, 1 in 10 of the 500 Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims surveyed said they would condone any murder of someone who threatened their family’s honor. So it doesn't matter if you are a Christian or a Muslim, the number of people in your community that condones "honour" killing is the same.

    And you think it's an Eastern problem? The survey was done in Britain. So to recap, Christians in Britain have an "Honour" killing problem, just like Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.

  3. Women are killed only in an "honour" killing.

    Think again. In 2010 in Canada, there were 89 victims of homicide by an intimate partner, with common-law spouses accounted for 45% of homicides committed by an intimate partner, followed by legal spouses and dating partners, both at 28%.

    To recap, the guy you are casually dating has a higher chance of killing you than your father in an "honour" killing case. Even if you are Muslim. Especially if you are Muslim.
So, to recap

Honour killing is a horrible crime. It is a dastardly and cowardly act.

However, it is NOT an epidemic in Canada.

It is NOT even the most serious crime against women in Canada.

It is HARDLY on the radar when cold hard statistics are taken into account considering crime in Canada.

Worldwide, it is not focused or prevalent in the Muslim community.

I am really sorry about those Shafia girls - but seriously, stop blaming me or my community for something one man did.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How To Plan A Trip To Europe - Part 1

I get a lot of hits on this blog searching for "Europe vacation planning" or seeking specific details of an European trip. They are probably attracted to my Europe posts. Even though this is a bit earlier in the year, it's never to early to plan your European vacation! Here's some advice I can give to anyone doing a tour of Europe.

Everyone Should Do It
Travelling through Europe via the train and experiencing all the diverse cultures is everything they make it out to be, and much more. It had been one of my life's to-do items, and I wasn't disappointed. And you won't be either. There's no vacation like an Euro-vacation.

Start With a Map
Europe is big!
When we started planning our vacation, I wanted to visit everything! Germany, France, England, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands, you name it - I wanted to see it! I wanted to visit all the big cities and little places! Soon though, we realized with the limit of our holiday time and cost, we had to prioritize. So my first suggestion would be - get a map of Europe.

That way, you can see how far apart the places are that you want to visit. Some cities are of course a 'must-see' (it depends on you) and some are 'nice-to-visit'. With a little bit of googling for travel times, you can have an idea of what cities you can reasonably visit with the time you have. For me, it meant omitting Germany and Netherlands as they were too far away from the other places I wanted to see.

Early Planner vs. the Impulsive Traveller

While there is some romance in the idea of not knowing your destination and deciding it on the day, I root for being the early planner every time. I travelled to Europe in July, but by March had all my hotels, tickets, etc. booked. While this does have some drawbacks (I wanted to later add Napoli to my trip, but changing the air tickets was not possible) I saved over $1500 by my calculations by booking in March rather than waiting till May. Basically the earlier you book, the cheaper some hotels and rail/air tickets are. I knew exactly what dates I would be travelling from one city to the next and had my route/trip planned to the minute.

Rail Passes vs. Tickets vs. Reservations

Rail travel is the way to go around and see Europe. Unless you have some specific place you want to visit that has no public transit (impossible in most of Europe) or you want the possibilities that a car gives you, rail travel is the way to go in Europe. The network is well connected, super fast and you get to see a lot of the scenery as you travel.

Buying rail passes for Europe can be complicated. You have to know the differences between tickets, passes, and reservations. Here's the primer:

When you buy a tickets from A to B, you can journey from A to B. For example, buying a ticket from Paris to Basel will allow you to travel from Paris to Basel only, on the day and time you bought the ticket for.

When you buy a multi-day pass, you can use one day of the pass to travel on that day on any participating train in any participating country. When you buy the pass, you can choose the number of days, the countries the pass will be valid in, and the class (economy or first class, etc.) and pay accordingly.

However, and this is the big however, some routes ALSO require you to buy a reservation if you are using a pass. So for example to travel from Paris to Basel using one day of the pass, you also have to buy a reservation on that route. Your pass will NOT BE VALID on that route without the reservation. A reservation costs way less than a ticket, but you still need it (for specific routes).

You can visit raileurope.ca to get started.

To Be Continued ...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Things I Learnt From The Movie Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl

  1. You can make a fully functional website for a hotel chain of hotels AND have it be on the top of Google search list, all in one day.

  2. If you walk into a Punjabi gangster's house in the middle of the night with his drunk passed out daughter in your arms, declare yourself as her boyfriend who has been clubbing with her when she is supposed to be at a friend's wedding, the gangster is likely to buy your house and pay by cash.

  3. In India, everyone buys land and property by exchanging bags of cash as deposit, without checking the land value, or even the title deed. After all, how can you not trust this face?

  4. If you are a steel titan and earn over $30 million a year, you will sell a painting for cash on advance to save Rupees 30,000 in tax.

  5. The ringtone that is one the biggest Bollywood hits of the decade has only 7 downloads in a country that has over 881 million cellphone users. And downloading a ringtone is the ONLY way to install a ringtone on today's smartphones.

  6. When you have a photo of the man who conned you out of your savings, AND 3 witnesses of similar cons, AND the present location of the man, do NOT go to the police.

  7. Everyone in Goa is at the beach with well oiled abs. In a city of 1.3 million, it's easy to spot one man on the beach.

  8. In India, to get billionaires to invest in hotels you are planning to build on an already saturated market, it is important to throw a big party. Business plans, market evaluations, cash flow statements, revenue predictions etc. are for suckers. And you don't even need to finalize a site for the hotel. You just need a party on a boat. WTF.

  9. Then, after 8 billionaires DO decide to invest in your scheme (WHY?), you decide they are not really necessary, as your dad is rich enough.
More Bollywood Lessons:

Things I Learnt From The Movie Race

Things I Learnt From The Movie Train

Things I Learnt From The Movie Vivah

Monday, January 09, 2012

Wife Space

Wife to Husband: We need a new wardrobe. All our wardrobes are so small. I need some where to store my new clothes. Right now they are all in a box. We need a new wardrobe. A big one. Are you listening to me?

Husband dutifully goes out with wife and together they select a new wardrobe. Husband lugs the furniture back to their place and spends the weekend assembling it.

Husband (proudly displaying the assembled wardrobe to wife): What do you think?

Wife: Hmm ... it's too big.