Archive for June, 2006

A sad comment on intercultural understanding

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

You’ve heard of a storm in a teacup, I’m sure. Now listen to this tale of a spoon and fork — that has generated international repercussions.

Filipinos traditionally eat their meals with a spoon and a fork and seven year old Luc Cagadoc is no exception, But his teacher at a Montreal school is and in an extraordinary display of stupidity told the boy he shouldn’t use a spoon and fork

According to Luc, she said he was disgusting, a pig, and a clown for eating that way. Luc says he was punished and moved to another table away from his friends.
His mother said she tried to get help from the school principal, but was told Luc should adjust to the Canadian way of eating. “‘Every time your son eats like a pig, he’ll be disciplined” he said

The protest spread from Filipino Canadians in Montréal to communities across Canada and even to the Philippines, where the culturally insensitive act of one person has besmirched Canada’s name. There have even been demonstrations outside the Canadian Embassy in Manila.

Life without Father

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

(Canscene) — Last month, I was captivated and moved by the honesty of film maker Nina Beveridge in The Idealist, a documentary on the life and work of her father, James, one of the great Canadian names in the history of documentary film.

FatherThe film, televised on TVOntario twice last month allows us a revealing glimpse into the life of a man to whom the documentary movement owes an enormous debt. It does not, however back away from showing the distance of not only the father-daughter relationship but Beveridge’s neglect of his two sons and the treatment of his wife and collaborator, virtually ignoring her valuable contribution as editor of much of his work. More »

Lalita’s film scores at Sprockets festival

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

Canscene) –Lalita Krishna’s Move your World, reviewed in Canscene’s April issue, received the Audience Choice Award at the recent Sprockets International film festival for children.

Move Your World beat out such crowd pleasers as Lassie, Heidi and Akeela and the Bee, all highly publicized features at the ninth edition of the festival sponsored by the Toronto International Film Festival. More »

Mission to Africa for 25 youngsters

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

(Canscene) — Improving the lives of people living in under-serviced villages in Kenya and Tanzania is the goal of the “Changing Lives Group” Mission that will take place from June 8 to 24, 2006.

The mission will visit Maseno, Kenya and Musama, Tanzania and other villages. The Changing Lives Group is an all volunteer effort made up of 25 dedicated young volunteers from the Canadian Coptic Centre who have made both the financial and personal commitment to travel abroad and deliver assistance to those in greatest need. More »

A conundrum for our police forces

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

Something seems strange about the  way people are looking at Stephen Harper’s avowed intention of giving stiffer sentences for serious criminal offenses.

I’m not arguing one way or the other about fine-tuning the Criminal Code; in many ways I feel that the punishment should fit the crime —  always barring  capital punishment. Then  we must consider the other — and sociological  side of the argument — but that as I said isn’t my purpose here.

Right now we have our police forces across Canada understandably applauding the idea of stiffer sentences and at the same time understandably urging tighter gun control. Now haven’t Harper’s Tories many times over voiced their  wish  to scrap the gun control registry.

To my mind, what should be written into the criminal code is that possession  or sale of handguns and automatic weapons  should be regarded as a  criminal offense punishable — not by a fine —  by imprisonment and confiscation and destruction of the weapons.  Collectors, too often vulnerable to theft would have to give up their toys.

Arms manufacturers, too, should be placed under tight scrutiny to determine to whom their products are being distributed– and how.

An “honest reporter” honoured

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

clipping(Canscene) — Prime Minister Harper’s recent acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 came more than 80 years after the facts of this dreadful act of inhumanity by Turkish forces became known.

Well documented evidence was ignored in the good old fashioned way of turning blind eyes and deaf ears to fact and it is only in recent years that a number of nations have officially recognized the act as genocide.

Similar short shrift was given to stories of the deliberate starving, on Stalin’s orders, of millions of Ukrainian peasants in spite of the pleas of Russian-speaking Welsh journalist Gareth Vaughan Jones. After travelling secretly in the USSR filed a number of stories about the horrific man-made famine in what had been the “breadbasket of Europe.” More »

How to avoid biological genocide

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

A Texas scientist recently said that the  best way to save the world from overpopulation would be a massive outbreak of the Ebola virus, killing off  90 per cent of the people.

Probably he was stating this not as a wishful thought but merely to illustrate how serious is this problem of overpopulation of a planet that cannot sustain such a vast amount of humanity.

“What we really need to do is start thinking about controlling our population before it’s too late,” Professor Eric Pianka told the Associated Press. “It’s already too late, but we’re not even thinking about it. We’re just mindlessly rushing ahead breeding our brains out.”

To my mind, that’s what it all comes down to. Contraception.  Population control — now — overriding all religious prejudices against it  and reaching the people through every known agency working in the common good.

Come to think of it an undernourished overpopulated world is a prime target for a pandemic of any sort and there are quite a few waiting in the wings, it seems,  to enact biological genocide on all races, all religions.

Welcome back, Kunuk and Cohn, filmfest openers

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

Canscene) — The following release from TIFF is good news for all who greeted Atanarjuat — The Fast Runner with such delighted surprise:

The 31st Toronto International Film Festival® opens September 7 with the highly anticipated world premiere Gala Presentation of The Journals of Knud Rassmussen. Directed by Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, the film follows Kunuk’s critically acclaimed success of Atanarjuat and explores the history of the Inuit people through the eyes of a father and daughter. More »

A wounded community

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

“Take a look around our vibrant and dynamic community and one thing becomes abundantly clear. The quality of life we have enjoyed for more than 50 years is truly a reflection of good, caring neighbours.”

Those are the words of some spin doctor at Cadillac Fairview,  on the website of its Don Mills Centre, soon to be razed to make way for an open mall and presumably bIg box stores to replace the many small businesses there now.

I went there recently looking for bargains at the stores due to be closed.   I didn’t leave   without a sense of guilt at having profited at the expense not only of the merchants at the doomed shops  but because  Don Mills  has been a real community centre. Many of the residents have lived there since 1954 when the centre opened. Many seniors have moved there. They appreciate the covered space soon to disappear

A grocery store and a drug store will remain standing, the rest will go. “We want to create a living space where our community can once again live, work” says Cadillac Fairview.

Spring skies recall a moment 70 years ago

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

train

(Canscene) — Several times this past April and May cerulean skies and gentle breezes in the GTA have brought Bardonecchia to mind.

In September, 1936, my father and I were returning to England after a month’s stay in Italy. In the early morning, our train had stopped for twenty minutes at the last Italian station before crossing the border into France. Our papers had been cleared by the Italian border guards and we stepped down to the platform to enjoy hot coffee and rolls from a vendor’s cart. More »

Blogging goes personal

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

(Canscene) — Oddly enough — or is it so odd ? — I find myself devoting much space in this issue to films and film makers.

It’s often been said there’s no such thing as completely objective reporting. Whether or not the reporter chooses to remain unnamed in his/her report, the human element always creeps in and colours their stories to some degree.

So why not own up to the personal factor?

My own life has been much involved with the moving image, the dominant new art form of the 20th century.

Among nations, Canada is the most qualified to speak for the idea of Multiculturalism. And nowhere is Canada’s pluralism better depicted than through films and television –whether on city streets during news broadcasts, in the faces of television anchors, hosts and reporters or in the documentaries and fictional features now being made by Canadians.

So, unrepentant, I’m blogging it my way. Here, you’ll continue to read quite a bit about film and I promise, I’ll try to avoid spoilers.
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