Tag Archives: musings

Living with 5 Cats, 2 Dogs, 1 Bird, 8 Fish and 4 Humans


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Since I moved to America a few months ago, I’ve been unable to work. It takes months for a work visa to be processed and in that time I can’t leave the country, or do much of anything really. To save on costs, my wife and I have been living with her parents and brother.

It doesn’t matter as much as you’d think. Most houses in America are huge in comparison to the UK. Living with other people isn’t a problem. If you need some time alone you can sulk off to your own wing of the house and pretend that nobody is there with you.

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Ninja cat lies in wait to scare the crap out of me.

When it becomes a problem, is when you also have enough animals in the house to open a petting zoo. My wife’s family seems to collect animals like most people collect useless kitchen appliances. Instead of an ice cream maker they’ll only use twice, they get a new cat. Instead of a popcorn machine, a dog. When you have as many cats as they do, it probably seems like something you buy regularly. “Hey, don’t forget to stop by the store on the way home and get a new cat!” “Cat food. You mean cat food, right?” “No no, I mean a cat.” Continue reading Living with 5 Cats, 2 Dogs, 1 Bird, 8 Fish and 4 Humans

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Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

Moments ago, I was happily clicking away on Facebook when all of a sudden this popped up in my feed.

Screenshot from 2014-06-09 15:40:13

My happiness was immediately replaced with anger. The last thing I expected to see on my Facebook was the image of young women being hanged. The image instantly caught my attention so I read the text.

Every 22 minutes, a woman is raped in India.

What the fuck, I thought. My anger was quickly replaced with a feeling of outrage. What a place India must be.

In a matter of seconds I had gone from being blind, to all of a sudden having my eyes opened to the true horrors of India. Obviously I clicked the link to see what I could do.

I read the first paragraph, my mouth beginning to foam with rage.

I need your help. Two young girls were hanged from a tree after being gang raped in the fields outside their home in India and a minister from the ruling party just responded by saying that rape “is a social crime … sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong.”

How could we live in a world where such gross injustices happen? Something needs to be done!

Thankfully, beside the writing was the perfect solution. A petition. I signed it feeling instantly gratified that I’d done something to prevent such horrible things from happening again. I then decided to share the link with all my Facebook friends so that we could all sign the petition together and truly help Indian women to escape from the torment of their society.

I closed the link knowing that everything would be all right in the world. I was getting hungry so I made a sandwich. Then I watched an old episode of Friends on TV. By the end of the episode I’d forgotten those Indian women even existed. But we all lived happily ever after anyway. The end.

Wait. No. Shit. That’s not what happened.

Ok, I saw the photo. Anger. Read the quote.

Every 22 minutes, a woman is raped in India.

Outrage. Clicked the link. Felt my rage building. I was almost over the edge, I was just about to enter my details into the petition’s text box when I had to stop for a moment. Went back to that quote one more time.

Every 22 minutes, a woman is raped in India.

That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Like…you could almost say that at any one moment in India at least one woman is about to be raped, is physically being raped or has just been raped. That thought disgusts me, which is good, I wouldn’t sign a petition unless I felt strongly about it.

I’m inquisitive though. I just really love to do some maths. I wondered to myself, how many women are raped a day?

Let’s say three women an hour. Twenty-four hours in a day. Holy shit. That’s 72 women in the whole of India raped every day. Seventy-two! Fuck. Let’s sign that petition. Actually, no wait, that’s not enoough. How many women per year. Just for curiosities sake. 72 multiplied by 365 days. 26,000! Fucking hell. To put it into perspective that’s almost a whole stadium of women raped every single year in India. That’s disgusting, there’s no doubting that. That statistic is a fact and it’s a horrible one. Still, now that I’m buried in statistics I must continue.

I wonder, how many women are raped in America each year? Let me just check. Lalala.

The answer is almost 85,000. Hmmm. I’m getting confused. That’s more than India. A lot more. Actually, let’s go backwards. That’s 232 rapes every single day in America! That’s almost 10 rapes an hour. That’s a rape every 6 minutes! Chances are somebody in America, somewhere is being raped right now.

Then why is nobody saying anything about it? Where’s the petition to save American women from rape? America clearly has problems too, so why aren’t thousands of Westerners signing and sharing petitions about it? Here’s my theory – India is a developing, far away country and really it has no effect on us or our lives. Secretly, deep down inside we don’t give a shit about India. But when we’re suddenly confronted with this fact – say when we read a website detailing the horrors of India – we have to do something to prove to ourselves we do actually care.  So we sign a petition and that’s enough to make us feel like we’re doing something and that we really do care, honest!

America is too close to home though – heck, for some of us it is home. But if somebody brought the fact up to us that rape in America is just as bad, if not worse than a developing country most of us would just put our fingers in our ears and go, “Lalalala!” Not literally, of course, but we’d just shrug the information off and ignore it. Otherwise those same good morals might force us to take real action, heaven forbid we might actually have to do something!  Who the heck wants to take real action when there’s old episodes of Friends to watch on TV?

Still,I feel like doing more math. Let’s find out the percentage of women raped in each country per year.

Rapes per year divided by population of women

America – (85,000 / 161 million) x 100 = 0.052%

India – (26,000 / 600 million) x 100  = 0.0043%

So every year in America 0.052% of women are raped, where as in India it’s 0.0043%. Each percentage is pretty minuscule. So minuscule in fact that it’s hard to even care.  Once you turn all those women into numbers they cease to be women anymore. They have no names, no faces. They’re just a percentage.

We’re learning something here. If you want to use statistics to argue, don’t use a percentage. It’s too abstract. Not like

Every 22 minutes, a woman is raped in India.

which is so lovely and graphic. Who is this “woman” who is being raped? You can almost picture her in your mind, almost feel her pain.

But how much can we really trust these statistics? Nobody knows how many women actually get raped in a country, these statistics are simply reported rapes. In other words, a million women could get raped in India each year, but there’s a possibility that only a small percentage of them are reported due to the systematic oppression of women in the country. Or (much less likely) less women could be raped each year because some of the reports may be false. So really we should take all statistics with a grain of salt.

The statistics aren’t used to inform or quantify the problem, but rather to create outrage. It’s so easy for us all to feel annoyed by the plight of women in India because quite frankly the majority of us know nothing about the place. We can easily imagine it to be some dusty hell.

America on the other hand, we’ve been there, we know it’s much like any other place, so it’s harder for us to believe it may also have a rape problem. Harder to create outrage.

With so little information about India at our disposal we have to base all our opinions on a sentence such as.

Every 22 minutes, a woman is raped in India.

It’s a trueish statement, but it’s sly because it’s used to create a world in our head based on our lack of knowledge and prejudices. We instantly believe India is a place much worse than it actually is.

Obviously, my issue here isn’t even connected to rape, but rather the use of statistics to influence our emotions as well as the instant gratification people get from what they believe to be charity.

I believe rape is completely wrong and if somebody gave me a button to end rape in India, I would push it. That button doesn’t exist though, yet I believe people online think of petitions (and other forms of Internet activism) in much the same way. They think you push the button and then the problem is solved.

At the time of writing 415,000 people have signed the petition and I’m sure it will easily reach the goal of 1 million. But what will have been achieved other than making thousands of non-Indians feel gratified by putting their name in a box.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. This fucking guy right here, this smug self-righteous asshole thinks he’s better than us, but what does he do? Does he selflessly give blood to help AIDS sufferers? Does he donate half his earnings to orphans? Does he spend 10 hours a week helping the homeless?

No, I don’t do any of those things. I’m just as crappy as the rest of you. The difference is I know I’m crappy and have learnt to live with it. The question is: what’s your excuse? Oh, you shared a link on Facebook, I see, I guess you are a better person than I am after all. Good for you.

I’ll make sure to give you a wave while I’m in Hell and you’re in Heaven.

Another Existential Crisis

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A few years ago now, not long after my birthday, I wrote a blog post that I was pretty proud of. It was entitled, “The Annual Existential Crisis (Birthday)” and was essentially how every year my birthday forces me to become introspective about my life and how I  usually don’t like the results.

In the three years since that post, I have worked 4 different jobs in 3 different countries. I have had the happiest period of my life yet really nothing about my situation has changed.

I’ve now arrived in another country and I’m looking for another job and all those horrible thoughts and feelings are swarming back to me. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been sitting around house-sitting for a few weeks and for the first time in a few years I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and think about…stuff. That’s the worst thing to think about.

Continue reading Another Existential Crisis

The Best Places to Not Visit in New York

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The main aim of all travel is to have a good experience. Something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.

When we travel we go to great lengths to produce a memorable experience for ourselves. Spend bags of money trying to create the perfect moment or memory. The ironic thing is that years later the things we remember aren’t what we originally set out to see.

A few winters ago, my girlfriend and I visited New York City. If you ask me what I remember from that time then I’d have to be truthful and say not a lot. My memories are hazy, made up of small seemingly meaningless images or moments that seem unconnected by any theme. The only connecting factor is that they happened in New York.

Continue reading The Best Places to Not Visit in New York

Leaving Bangkok

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On its surface Bangkok is a city that is defined by its roads and food. In Bangkok it is either rush hour or rushier hour, either breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time or supper time.

Everywhere you go food exists, in restaurants, bars, malls. The city is paved with food stalls. Eating is so intertwined with life that it’s hard to tell when one meal ends and the next begins. Life is like one long feast to Thais, all they seem to do is smile and eat. Smile and eat. And take taxis.

Continue reading Leaving Bangkok

Cute Korean Kids

The greatest thing about being in your 20s is that you still have the opportunity to be a hypocrite. I’ve often thought that it’s fine for me to be wrong about things because I’m still deciding how I feel about them. Once you get older, once you’ve experienced the world, you should probably know better than to have ridiculous opinions. Being young gives you a free pass – you can be as wrong as you like and get out of it later by claiming “I was young and naive back then!”

One thing I was perhaps wrong about is children.

Children. Ugh, children. The only thing worse than children is parents. Parents. Ugh, parents. Children and parents equal one thing: pride. Is there anything more sickening than pride?

Continue reading Cute Korean Kids