Why the IMF is bad for Jamaica

Published April 24, 2014 by fuschiapad

The IMF’s recent role has been to bail out countries who have found themselves in great debt, by offering them emergency loan packages which are known as Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs). The only problem is that these loan packages come with a lot of harsh conditions that are put in place in order to guarantee repayment of the loan. Countries in such a vulnerable state, have no choice but the follow these very stringent conditions if they want to be approved for hefty IMF loans. This can be compared to a country selling its soul to the devil because the IMF will then be able to decide, through its policies, how much money countries may spend on key sectors such as Education and Health Care.  These decisions are not always reflective of the best interest of these developing countries.

1. The SAPs are stringent conditions that ensure and strengthens harsh realities onto the people of these developing countries.

The conditions for these loans may be compared to a modern system of colonialism.  The conditions encourage countries to reduce spending on key sectors such as environment and health care, hence the populace suffers. Devaluation of the dollar is encouraged in order to facilitate cheaper exports. This in turn results in increased inflation rates on nationals. They encourage the privatization of government assets and this in turn makes these services too expensive and out of reach of the lower class.Also, wage freezes are encouraged, the impact of which is self explanatory. Therefore, with the provision of hefty loans to Jamaica by the IMF, local conditions will worsen for the average citizen and Jamaicans will be faced with high taxation and inflation rates.

2. The IMF is controlled by wealthy countries.

How do you think the IMF gets money to offer to poor countries in need? Surely, this money comes from rich countries that pay into the IMF quota system. Therefore, the common belief that one should put his money where his mouth is, definitely applies here- in a literal way though.  Therefore, countries which are able to put the most money into the system, have a stronger vote. Hence, the IMF is not here to serve developing countries- the IMF is here to serve the wealthy countries and their investors and wealthy corporations!  Hence, developing countries may very well be bullied indirectly, into accepting and implementing policies and beliefs of these world powers- if they want financial assistance that is….

3. The IMF encourages weakened labour laws

In an effort to encourage investors and multinational corporations to set up businesses in these developing countries, the IMF often encourages the weakening of labour laws and the offering of tax reductions/ breaks. Yes, this creates employment however it also promotes exploitation of workers because it allows these companies to treat local workers badly and to pay them below what they would normally pay workers in their own countries. Also, many of the local laws do not apply and workers who are wrongfully dismissed are unable to seek recourse from the local Labour Board in Jamaica, for example.

4. There are hardly any IMF success stories 

During some of the famous financial crises in the world, the IMF has hardly ever been able to sufficiently play its role as a knight in shining armour. The crisis in Mexico 1995, Indonesia, Brazil , Thailand in 1997 saw the problems getting worst and spreading to more countries after the IMF’s appearance. The policies suggested by the IMF proved to be bad advice and was bad for long term development. After the IMF’S influence in Mexico, the poverty level raised by more than 50%.

 

Therefore, it is safe to say that nothing good can come from this agreement with the IMF. Just look at the current economic and social conditions in Jamaica and you will see that many of the things mentioned here are already happening. Maybe getting back in bed with the IMF as the solution to our problems was not much of a good idea after all…

Hair Relaxers and Skin Bleaching

Published June 27, 2013 by fuschiapad

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Recently, I have noticed that many of my facebook friends have  posited that skin bleaching is equivalent to relaxing one’s hair. While I understand that whenever certain controversial topics come up (such as skin bleaching) it seems we   attempt to contribute our own opinions ,regardless of how far fetched they may be , in an effort to seem somewhat profound- or something of the sort. 

I agree that many people participate in both practices for the same reason. I agree that many black people participate in skin bleaching and hair relaxing in order to achieve a more eurocentric physical look.  The reasons for skin bleaching cannot and are not far removed from the effects of slavery, HOWEVER, the reasons for SOME black women relaxing their hair , are not buried in a lack of black pride or a desire to achieve some eurocentric physical characteristic. 

What is the texture of the average black woman’s hair?

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This CANNOT be easy to manage. The time and patience needed to care for a black woman’s hair  can be insurmountable for many women. The right products needed to manage such a texture in a easier manner can prove to be quite expensive also! A lack of knowledge about caring for such hair would also make this task a very difficult and tedious one. And don’t you dare speak of the numerous women who are enjoying their natural hair journey. Just because some women are financially able to do this and are not troubled by inconvenience does not shine a negative light on the women who are unable to do so! There are many different textures of black hair. After all, we are a very diverse set of people. Your hair story will not be the same as another black woman’s! 

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I personally find both sides of this photo to be equally appealing. However, it is quite understandable why a woman would find the left side of the photo to be the less time consuming avenue. Can’t punish her for that choice! 

Another irritable point for me is the claim being made that both practices are equally unhealthy. I agree that hair relaxers have very dangerous effects, however , to knowingly compare those, in this era, to those of skin bleaching is preposterous!!

What is a Hair Relaxer??

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“A relaxer is a type of lotion or cream generally used by people with curly-textured hair which makes hair less tangled and also easier to straighten by chemically “relaxing” the natural curls.”

From this definition, can this not be viewed as a woman’s choice to wear her hair straight rather than curly? We make hairstyle decisions every day don’t we?

Anyway…

Hair relaxers contain very potentially harmful substances such as sodium hydroxide, lithium hydroxide, guanidine hydroxide amongst other things. These substances may cause scalp irritations, skin burns, dermatitis, eye damage, deep ulcerations, broken and damaged hair, amongst other things. 

Of all these dangerous effects, I do not see one effect which cannot be prevented. Hair relaxers are put in for a certain amount of time in order to prevent burns. Women take extra precautions not to scratch an itching scalp before getting their hair relaxed. This prevents greatly skin burns and ulcerations. And of course, keeping this creme away from the skin and the eyes, greatly lowers the risk of ever developing dermatitis, blindness or any eye problem as a result of the relaxer. 

I have been getting my hair relaxed for 13 years and I have never had any of these dangerous effects. My mother has had her hair relaxed for more than half her life and she has never had any of these problems. Most of my friends, cousins, my sisters, aunts- in fact all the females I know who have been getting relaxers for years have never suffered from these problems. Therefore tell me again, on what grounds you may compare skin bleaching to hair relaxers!

I have discussed in a previous post, the effects of skin bleaching. These effects are disastrous! 

Yet,every single individual who has engaged in bleaching, has suffered from at least one very dangerous effect as a result of their actions. Whether this effect be skin cancer, ulceration and fungus on the skin, skin discoloration and peeling, among other frightening things. There is nothing to be done to prevent these effects because quite simply, the removal of melanin from the skin is down right destruction of the skin and body.

Lost in a Foreign Country… Really??

Published June 26, 2013 by fuschiapad

So the first memory that comes to mind, takes me back a few days after we first arrived in Santiago. Boy…were we in awe. All the buildings and structures  seemed so….historic? monumental? classic? Lol…well… yes, I think that captures it just fine. Don’t get me wrong… this was a positive thing. So great is a country which keeps alive its history! Anyway, one other thing that got me…and I mean really got me… is that not only were there ancient (really ancient looking) cars used as taxis, but so were bikes and horses! As it turned out, the bikes were the cheapest, so then, immediately we found our new means of transport. Well, naturally, the bike ride would carry one passenger, holding on tight for dear life (lol) to the owner of the bike. So then, for people like me, who at the time, struggled greatly with conversations in spanish, it felt frightening to be travelling alone, across the a city, which I barely knew. Well we all decided that we would have the Costa Rican in the group, tell the bikers where we would like them to take us and she would leave after everyone had gone. Well, she did just that, and off I went on the bike. Heart pounding, hands wrapped around his waist tightly… this was my first time  travelling on a bike. Well, as luck would have it, in the middle of the city, the bike came to a stop. I noticed the perplexed look on the man’s face. I could understand well enough, his simple instructions to get off while he check up on the bike. Well, after a few minutes, his facial expressions and hand movements made it clear what he had been trying to tell me in Spanish.  The bike was down and he would have to leave me. He walked away, pulling the bike with him, and I was left looking around the city, with limited amount of spanish words floating around my head. The tears struggled to burst through my eyelids as I tried to remember the name of the place we had planned on meeting at. I began walking quickly, looking around,  trying to stop random people. Many looked at me blankly as I tried to explain my predicament. Well, again, as  luck would have it (this time no sarcasm intended ), a dear old lady stopped, took  the time out to understand me… listened to my description of the place and figured out exactly where I had wanted to go. She walked with me, albeit slowly, and pointed towards the place. I couldn’t find adequate words to thank her. I ran over with excitement as my friends threw their questions at me. They had been waiting for awhile.

Then and Now

Published June 26, 2013 by fuschiapad
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Looking back on the way society was then and the way it is now, a huge sigh doesn’t even begin to demonstrate my awe at the big change that has taken place.
 Good Ol’ Manners
The blatant disrespect meted out to elders by children and adolescents is astonishing. Recently, there have been a surge in the number of incidents of disputes between teachers and student, that have caused me to wonder what really is the cause of this disrespectful behaviour that has been plaguing this troubled generation.
Being in high school 5 years ago,  I absolutely cannot remember a fight which included both students and teachers. I cannot remember an incident where a student was blatantly rude, without caring, to a teacher or the principal. It simply did not happen.
Family Structure
I strongly believe that the problem with today’s children, lies within the family. Children are having children. Grandmothers are in their 20’s and 30’s. Mothers cannot be role models for their children when they have not yet matured into their role as adults. It is the family’s responsibility to ensure that children are taught good morals and values. Therefore, when the family fails, we are left with a failed society. Wounded families result in wounded children and in turn, the society becomes wounded. “Children are the future” may be cliche but is by no means untrue. What shall we do with a generation of thieves, killers and otherwise immoral beings? What shall we do?
Families need to provide stable households for their children. The nuclear structure is by no means, always stable. Stable = Constancy.
When a woman becomes a mother, she should understand that she now needs to be absent from the hundreds of parties she once attended. Of course I am not saying that she cannot have fun, but parties of that nature usually begin at times that are inconsistent with the role she needs to perform. So, if she attends a party once in awhile, while grandma watches the child, then sure….but let that remain at once in awhile. The child cannot get used to the idea that Mommy leaves at 11pm and returns home at 4 am every weekend. Believe me, children do realize these things and it affects them in more ways than we choose to recognize.
When a woman is a single-parent, she has to ensure that her search for a dependable mate, does not involve having a different man walking in and out of her child’s life every month or too. That, friends, is not constancy and can result in many emotional issues for children. Eventually, such a child will find herself or himself unable to have healthy relationships also and may begin to change mates, quite as frequently, later on in his or her life.
Parents should literally check themselves, once in a while, in order to gauge the level of affection shown to their children. Affection, or a lack thereof, I believe, is a key problem affecting the behaviour of children in today’s society.
Well, whatever it is, I believe that the only solution to this wounded Jamaican society is lots and lots of Prayer and Good Familial structure.

Choosing a Church!!

Published June 26, 2013 by fuschiapad

With so many Christian denominations, it is not uncommon for people to feel a sense of confusion or a sense of worry  about choosing a denomination or a church that is they feel is “correct”.  Well here are some pointers to consider:

1. Well, first and foremost, a true church will base their doctrines on the Word of God. If there is a practice that the church condones, or a doctrine that it upholds, question where that said practice or doctrine is in the Word. Search and study scripture diligently . God expects us to b smart , informed and aware through HIS Word. Everything we need to know to live by him, is there.

2 Timothy 2:15- Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

  Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Therefore, your church should be centred around Christ. The Bible says that there is no other way by which a man may be saved. Jesus said that he is the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by him!! A true Church will acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour!!

2.  Your church should be led by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the comforter,  provided to us by our Lord Jesus Christ.  A true church is led by the Holy Spirit and is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-26
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

John 14:16
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—

3.A true church should be of an evangelistic nature. A true church will have programmes in which it shares the Word of God. Jesus’ last instruction was to share the Gospel. Therefore, be it going out into communities to spread the Good News, having televised services… whatever it is, a true church is never comfortable just worshipping with the members it has now. The eagerness to win souls for Christ should always be there.

Matthew 28: 16-20
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

4.Your church should be lively, as a result of the peace and joy that Christians have found in Jesus! How then can you show that the Lord has made you glad, if your worship is monotonous and dreary? How then can we show that we are happy to have received the good news if we do not act like it??

Psalms 63: 4
I will praise you as long as I live,  and in your name I will lift up my hands.

John 4:23-24
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

In addition to these, your church should be a place in which you are comfortable. It should feel like a second home. The congregation should feel like your family. They should be welcoming because in fact, God’s commandments can be summed u p in two sentences: 1. Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and 2. Love your neighbour as you love yourself.

Therefore, within your Church you should encounter people who practice this.

Prayer should be a lifestyle, Love should be experienced and Families should be transformed!

May God continue to Bless and keep you!

“Mi love mi house, mi love mi money an’ ting but most of all mi love mi browning”

Published June 26, 2013 by fuschiapad

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Back in the day, bleaching in Jamaica was something done under wraps. No one had the courage to admit outright, that he or she had yielded to the act of bleaching. Of course, like many other things, such as homosexuality, this once very controversial act, is now becoming widely accepted within society, and a viable option for members of both the lower and middle class strata in society. Many people would stop me there and say that bleaching is mostly a lower class phenomenon. I beg to differ. I do not believe that bleaching is connected to a inferiority complex  but rather, an ethnic identity crisis. When asked about their reasons for bleaching, many will say that it makes them feel better about themselves, it allows them to receive more attention from the opposite sex, it gives them better opportunities, job wise and otherwise… therefore…in essence… you will always hear the words “better” or “more” . Could it be that society’s perception of race and colour , contributes to this phenomenon that has sparked great public debate? Is it really the view of older Jamaicans that “nuttin too black nuh good” that causes one to feel so inferior and so self-insufficient that he is driven to an act that can do nothing but harm him, in the future? Why then, is it that men “pssssst” at the “browning” or why does  Buju Banton sing about his preference for the  “browning”? This can mean nothing more than a society’s preference for women with lighter skin complexions. Where does this leave the other beauties who simply have a bit more melanin, than we do? They are forced to find an alternative which will allow them to feel accepted and belonged in the only country they can call home.
The act of bleaching falls right there beside relaxed hair and hair extensions. When we relax out hair, as black women, we are truly rejecting the kinky hair unique to our race and when we choose to join the white and Indian race with long, straight hair extensions, again, we are showing our preference of the eurocentric, ideal look. How then, is this different from bleaching?  One difference: health.  The only thing that choices such as relaxing our hair (maybe the chemicals are harmful… I’m not sure) and wearing hair extensions, do to us is is prolong the centuries long belief that anything European (or in modern society…just plain white) is best. Whether or not this effect on us is just as harmful as the physical damage of bleaching, is really for us to decide.

How can bleaching affect one’s health?
  1. Bleaching removes the Melanin (dark-brown pigment in our skin) from our skin. The less Melanin we have, the lighter our skins shall appear.
  2. Melanin protects the skin from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. A such, with this melanin removed, the skin is more susceptible to skin cancers and other damage. Ever heard about Melanoma?? It is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of  death from skin disease.
  3. Many skin bleaching products contain topical steroids. It is a known fact that prolonged use of steroids may cause thin skin.These steroids can also enter the bloodstream and cause problems with blood sugar and pressure levels.

Need I say more?  The effects though, are common knowledge. However, many choose to risk it because the benefits seem far more enticing. After all, how many of us think that occurrences such as skin cancer will actually happen to us?….until it does.

Dancehall… My culture??

Published June 26, 2013 by fuschiapad

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When I tell people that I don’t really listen to dancehall music, what I would really like to say is that I detest dancehall music. Well… the response I get, when I say the former, usually is, “But is yuh culture” or “yuh cyaah be jamaican”. Well, Well… I beg to disagree. Violence is not  my culture. Promiscuity is not  my culture. Degradation of women is not my culture. Need I continue?
When people say that I could not possibly be Jamaican or that I am rejecting my culture, I feel offended because this can not be farther from the truth. I find very entertaining and will always respect artistes such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh,  Beres Hammond, Queen Ifrika and many more. These artistes represent true Jamaican culture. They represent true reggae music.  Their music carry a positive message ; a message that people, young and old, can use to influence some part of their life. What can dancehall artistes like Vybz Kartel say about their music in regards to such messages ?  For the die-hard followers of the “Gaza” , I am by no means subjective… simply stating as the introduction to my blog says…”the ultimate truth”.

Rough Sex
No Dutty Panty
It Tight Eeeh
Tek Buddy Gyal
Mek Mi Cum Inna yuh nuh
Gun Session
Tightest Punnany
Real Bad Man
Gunshot

I’m sure most will think I’m crude, after reading that list. Well, those are the names of 10 dancehall songs. It wasn’t very hard to find 10 songs that depicted nothing but what West Indians would term as “Slackness”. Every song listed above, covered the themes of Sex or Violence. And that depicts the Jamaican culture? Surely it must… if dancehall is Jamaica’s culture then “Gunshot” depicts Jamaican culture too. And the critics will now say  that the artistes are simply singing about reality.
“Reality” refers to the state of things as they actually exist. Sure these things are happening in society, but how helpful is “Jamaica’s cultural expression of music” being to this state of affairs in society? Obviously, the Jamaican society is in a state of moral decay, worst than it has ever been. And we owe this to…. the family ? yes. But also, greatly to the media. I have had the personal experience of seeing a boy who could not have been more than 5 or 6, singing every word of a Vybz Kartel song, including obscenities, previously held taboo for children his age.  I bet, if asked to recite something learnt at school, he would not have done it with such ease. Therefore, as right-thinking individuals of the society, it is absolutely important that we take a stand and choose the type of entertainment we choose to allow in society, for ourselves and our children.
Not only are the lyrics of the lyrics of these songs crude and inappropriate, but so are the public images of many of these artistes. Remember, the adoration that teenagers have for Rihanna and Beyonce, is no different from the adoration held for dancehall artistes who exhibit ilicit practices and inappropriate examples.