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Welcome to my blog!

My name is Htoo Plaw Paw Gaw, I’m 18 years old and I’m in my Second year at Fagerlia Videregående Skole. This blog is a project in International English, at Fagerlia Videregående Skole. On this website, I’m going to post different posts related to the contents we learn in our lessons. The purpose of this blog is so we students can learn more by doing researches online and write about the different given topics from our teachers. By doing so, we’ll get a lot of writing practice and eventually improve our writing skills. I hope you will join me on this journey, and keep tuned for more posts!

¡Adios amigos!

 

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#Metoo

Sexual harassment at the workplace is very common while it is rarely unheard of. Why’s that? There are so many incidents that happens every single year and so many of them are untold. It has come to the point where the problem is no longer about sex, it is about having the upper power. Having a higher position at work makes you powerful, and especially in the business industry, where most of the harassers are superiors, with most of the superiors are men. It is a scary place, and people fear other’s judgments. Women fearing that they’ll be judged by their families, friends, co-workers, and everyone else around them. We’ve come to the point where you feel ashamed of telling your stories, because women are inferior, they have no say at such thing resulting in them getting fired at their workplaces.

The “metoo” hashtag is a trending campaign where women voice their stories while encouraging other women to do the same because we are all brave, and not alone in this. So many experience sexual harassment every single day, even the highest paid actresses we know of. We could use the Harvey Weinstein for an example, where so many known actresses were harassed by him while they were aspiring actresses and yet not that well known. Weinstein, being a powerful man, that has a lot of money and power over the film industry and that can easily pay off his lawyers, how scared would the young actresses be? The thought about standing up to someone with much more power than you, sure that can be scary, but what’s scarier is feeling smaller than you already are. You keep thinking about all those things that could have happened to you, where worst scenario would be losing your job, you not being able to work in your profession anymore because of shame. It is quite a brutal world.

Social networks being the most powerful place to voice out your opinions these days, you could be faced with both positive and negative criticism. Some may support you for voicing out your story about you being sexual harassed, while other accuse you of being an attention seeker wanting that one-minute fame and money to keep your mouths shut. And that’s the worst thing about this, even if it is a very critical case, there are a lot of sources that cannot be supported. Some might not be true, while some may be true, and that is social networks my friends. We have been too naïve that we’ve started to doubt everything that we hear about, and it is good to be doubtful about things we read on social media, but we cannot just go and call someone else a whore because they accuse a famous person of sexual harassment. As I see it, how much courage would you need to make such a decision? It is not an easy task, so remind yourself of that! The “metoo” campaign is supposed to encourage women who struggle to work in their workplace getting over their fear by releasing their anger and traumatic incidents, so they eat righteousness, not to be criticized for being weak and small. This is just my thoughts, but I think that we know better than to act like that. Spread encouragements to all the women out there, encouragement is contagious and if you could just take one minute to give someone else courage, you could make someone else’s lives better.

Gran Torino and its views on multiculturalism

The movie, which was produced by Clint Eastwood, who also stars in the movie, is a movie about an old man changing to a different person after befriending the Hmong people, who live in his neighborhood. He started off with being “the basic white American” who was being racist to the Hmong people, but later he realizes that they’re not as bad as he thought they were, and learned how to live together with them in a community.

The film showed us that knowing other cultures has a big influence on how you view it, and not just “hating” it because it is different than ours. We can act and be a certain way towards people with different backgrounds or looks as us because there is this stereotypical thing going on, but once you learn about the different cultures you are surrounded by, you will mostly like it better because you understand why it is like that and why they do and act in a certain way.

If we dig deeper into the Hmong people’s situations in the United States, like the one shown in the movie, it shows us that anything Hmong related, the police will just keep their mouths shut. It is like they don’t want to talk about it, they don’t want to meddle with problems that aren’t “theirs”. This raises curiosity about the Hmong peoples’ worth in this big country they live in. Most Americans are immigrants from European ethnicities with lighter skin color but are more accepted in the community. However, the Hmong people, who are also long-time immigrants, don’t get the same opportunities as the “white” ones because they speak a certain language that doesn’t sounds home in the US. We’re talking about inequality here, and even though the movie is from 2008, the situations hasn’t changed much till today.

When I really focused on the Hmong people in the movie, I saw that they were very tight together, they keep each other close. The situation is like the saying where they keep each other close, because they’re stronger that way. That if something happened, they would have each other’s backs. And it really hits me since no one would really want to hold this tight to each other if they didn’t fear something, and that something needs to be fixed, soon. It might sound impossible, especially in the United States, a big country with full of diversity, but it still needs to be fixed.

Lion

The movie «Lion», starring Dev Patel, raises questions about identity crises. Saroo, a young boy, played by Patel, got lost while waiting at a train station for his brother to return from work. At one point he fell asleep and when he woke up, there was nothing but an empty train on the railway. He went inside the train hoping that his brother would be there, but with no luck he found nothing but empty seats. He got tired and figured he wouldn’t find his brother on the train. He fell asleep again, on the train, but this time, the train was moving to an unknown place. Saroo could only speak Bengali and not Hindi so he struggled to find his way back home when he tried to ask for help.

But after some time went by, he got put into an orphanage and later adopted by an Australian couple living in Tasmania. Saroo grew up there as an Australian and wouldn’t refer to himself as an Indian to the people he met in life. But one day at a friend’s gathering, who is also an Indian, and served Indian food, he was reminded of his childhood. He became curious about his past and wanted to reunite with his real family that he could no longer seem to have a lot of memories of. So, he used every memory that he had to find the exact place that he was from.

After a long time, he found it out. But when he finally reunited with his family, a lot of things had changed over the years. Saroo was no longer a child, as more than 20 years had passed. He could not speak Bengali anymore. It was emotional, but you could see that even though he was one of them, he couldn’t relate to them anymore. He wasn’t used to the traditions or the lifestyle. These kinds of situations are very normal in the multicultural world we live in. Some kids from other ethnicities gets adopted and live an entirely different lifestyle than their ethnically correct one. You feel like you are a part of something, but somehow, you’re not. You don’t feel like you perfectly belong there, and I think that’s exactly what Saroo felt when he went back to his hometown. He wanted to be a part of them again, at the same time remain with his Australian family, but he knew things would never be the same. And that is something we all know. There is no chance that you can change something like this over a day.

International day at Fagerlia

Every single year, our school takes part in a campaign called Operation day’s work. The purpose of this campaign is to spread awareness about problems that occur around the world and finding solutions on how to fix them, little by little. The school project is divided into two parts; international day and Operation day’s work’s day. On the international day, every student can visit various rooms with lectures about different subjects they want to learn more about. These so-called rooms are all different, from the human library to different activities related to international challenges around the globe. However, on the day of operations day’s work, we get to choose to work for a whole day and donate a certain sum of the money given to the project-land, this year being Nigeria. In this text I’m only going to talk about the international day.
Since this year’s profit from the project goes to Nigeria, being the project-land after all, I decided to choose the room where they were going to talk about the situation in Nigeria and the oil problem there and find out more about this exact topic. Therefore, I figured out I had to do some research about the oil problem to understand why people are so against the oil industry in Nigeria. I also made posters after my research and chose the most important aspects about the room’s main topic.
While preparing for international day, I found out a lot of interesting facts about the oil problem in Nigeria. It was quite fascinating since I would have never known about this unless it was widely discussed globally. It is in fact a problem that has existed for quite a long time now. Though it scares me that a lot of innocent human beings are becoming victims of the oil industry down in Nigeria, it never occurred to me that big companies like Shell were one of the oil companies pumping out their oil, being one of the biggest polluters within the oil industry.

Children, adults, and elderly are getting ill because they cannot get clean water and must constantly live in this massively polluted society. It is not safe for them at any cost. Because of this never-ending problem, Naturvernforbundet and OD have joined hands to help the people in Nigeria with the after effects of the pollution and inform people about what kind of harm the oil is doing to the people.
I will say it was hard to work with the topic of the room that I chose, because it was heartbreaking to learn about all these things that have been going on in Nigeria, knowing that while the rich oil companies were pumping out their oil like crazy, they wouldn’t even bat an eye on those who suffer from it. Therefore, I’ll tell you that putting my efforts into this kind of matter really affected me emotionally. It was clearly effective because I wouldn’t have known about these matters otherwise. By acquiring such knowledge about the topic of the room, I could tell other students about the room I was going to be a host for. This way they could get a short introduction about the room. I googled everything, starting from the oil catastrophe to what OD is going to do to solve these matters.
I never really got around to look into different rooms to learn more about them, because I was literally stuck in Siem Pilot, which was very interesting by the way. A police officer had come to our school to talk about his experiences and his journey on the boat trying to rescue the refugees fleeing from their homeland by floating on a plastic boat. I must admit that I was very impressed by the good work they had done so far, even though they’re putting Siem Pilot to an end now. So, my biggest regret might be the fact that I didn’t go through a research about the Siem Pilot and the officer who told us his experiences. I also wanted to visit many other rooms, but I guess my duty as the host of the international day and spending my free time in Siem Pilot had me pretty much occupied all day.
Compared to last year’s international day, I’ll be honest and say that I learned a lot more this year. It was a good experience and it was nice to get a new and more exciting twist to an ordinary school day. The students were all over the school buildings. You could say that it was great to see other students involving themselves into the topics they were interested in, just like me. The library, however, could have been closed from the beginning of the day. Somehow, it managed to become the escape room where students would do nothing and just relax. Still, I think the day went quite well. It was a little bit chaotic at the start, but eventually it becamebetter. And we all learn from our past experiences so I’m sure next year’s project will be even better than this year’s.

Niger Delta Blues

Niger Delta Blues is a song by the BANTU crew featuring Tony Allen. The lyrics of the song is very informative about the history of the Niger Delta. Throughout the song, we can clearly see what the main purpose of the song is. That purpose is to inform others about the situations at the Niger Delta through rhythm and melodies.

Already in the first verse, we learned that it has something to do with the oil industry and that people are devastated because of it. Later in the song, we are informed that the people of Nigeria are living under inhumane conditions and that cruel diseases like malaria, typhoid and cholera is a given because they are living in the epic center of these diseases. However, even though these people live in the country where genocide is in its biggest proportion, the oil are still pumped out of their land for millions of dollars.

In short, the lyrics tells us that the rest of the world don’t want to involve themselves in this matter, and that all they care about is the money they produce from the oil. The Nigerians at the delta are crying and pleading for help, but no one seems to care. In some other ways, the lyric also shows us that things are happening all the time all around the world, but sometimes people just doesn’t seem to be bothered about it.

-Htoo

One voice can change another one’s mind

 

We just watched the movie «Girl Rising», a movie about the life experiences from girls all around the world. The movie underline gender equality and quality education, which are important topics to focus on. Many known stars, such as Selena Gomez, Anne Hathaway and Priyanka Chopra narrate of the different stories told in the movie. Girl Rising is also a global campaign for girls’ education and empowerment, and this movie is part of the campaign to increase awareness of the importance of the education and gender equality all over the world.

 

After watching the movie, I realized that these different stories, are just some of the few stories around the world carrying the same message. There are many other untold stories that we have not yet heard about, but that are quite like these. One of the girls, Suma from Nepal, made the biggest impression out of all the girls from the movie. She became a kamlari, and ended up in bonded slavery at the age of six because she was born a girl. She also spent five years living as a kamlari in three different households, where she experienced things a girl at such a young age should not have to go through. Those memories are still haunting her, and she will never forget that. Growing up in an unhealthy household derived of your childhood because your parents could not afford to send you to school, is not something we want to experience. It could cause traumatic sideeffects which could haunt you for the rest of your life.

 

The catchphrase of the campaign is “One girl with courage is a revolution”, a phrase I totally agree with. As for Suma ‘s story, her last master ever released her from the kamlari bond they had, so she finally received the education she had been longing for. She was lucky because she met a good teacher at the last house she was a kamlari at. She later met a teacher that had night lectures for other kamlaris like her, and who fought for Suma to become a free person again. Later, when Suma became older, like the teacher did, she and many other girls fought for the right of other young girls living as kamlaris. Suma’s story ended with the narrator saying; “I’ve seen where change comes from, when it comes, it is like a song you cannot hold back. Suddenly there is a breath moving through you, and you are singing! And others pick up the tune and start singing too. And a sweet melody goes out into the world and touches the heart of one person, then another, and another.” These words describe exactly what the catchphrase is trying to tell us, that if one of us dares to take a chance, many others will follow, so you alone, do not have to make the big change, because the change is within us all.

 

We all know that stories like these from the movie, “Girl Rising”are told everywhere. However these in particular are neither pure journalism, nor fiction. The filmmakers was really creative directing the movie because it really effected my thoughts about these matters. Because the way I see it, just because we talk about it all the time, doesn’t mean it is not happening. I felt like it was aiming at me, making me feel guilty for living the life I am living, complaining about going to school, while others don’t even get the opportunities to do so, and are suffering.

 

Though I can relate to the lives of the girls through the storytelling, I \felt more empathy rather than sympathy for them. That is because even though I`ve spent most of my lifetime until now in Norway, an amazing country that offers a lot of opportunities for both genders and offer a free education for all, I once lived in a poor part of South-East Asia, a place where you could be discriminated against just because you are a girl. It doesn’t have to do with how smart or intelligent you are, it could basically be just because you are a female, a girl, a woman, some that is considered less important than the opposite gender. Yet like those girls, I didn’t consider myself as a victim, because I wasn’t the one at fault, it was everyone else. Living in difficult circumstances, doesn’t have to mean that your life is over. It could be that you`re on the very edge of the cliff, but someone could help you pick up again or more importantly, you could raise yourself up again.

 

People like you and I, we need to get a grip of ourselves. We need to reach out and help those in need. We know that there are inequalities in this world. We know girls are treated and viewed differently. We have all heard about it, I know we all have witnessed it, because this is a topic that can be spoken and be seen everywhere. We can make a change, so girls like Suma doesn’t have to go through something like that. Girls shouldn’t have to suffer because they were born as girls. We need gender equality by trying to change this world we live in. We have the power to change people’s minds by speaking out, by voicing our opinions. We can make a change. I can make a change. And so, can you!

Knowledge is key to success

We’ve gotten a task to write about one or two of the sustainable goals made by the United Nations. And I’ve chosen to write about number 4, quality education and number five, gender equality, because these two goals are somehow connected to each other. I’m pretty sure that many of you guys already know that most of the country where there are small possibilities to get an education, it is often in a country where equality between the genders are a problem. In many countries around the world, men are often seen as more intelligent and more likely to gain success in life. However, most women who try to “get up” to where the men are, are often underestimated and looked down at, just because they are women.

According to the United Nations; “Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development. “. People need to get education to know that there are not big differences between the genders and that everyone can be well educated and achieve high status no matter what gender.

On this very day, the difference between highly educated women and men is less than it was a decade ago. Women have stepped up their game and shown that if only they get the chance to do so, they succeed, not only women, but children as well. Statistics on different sites have shown that many don’t even get to learn about common things like you and I. In a country like mine, Norway has given every one a chance to have 10 years of free education, and we are very lucky to get this opportunity. However, while many of us whine about not wanting to go to school, there are over millions of people around the world wanting to get one, but without being given the chance.

Therefore, think about it, don’t just waste the opportunity you’ve been given for free, when you can use the knowledge you learn at school to make a difference in the world, such as supporting different organisations helping children get education in poor countries, for example through Operations Day’s Work. You’ve got the key to make a change, don’t just throw it away like it’s nothing. Even the smallest thing can mean a lot to someone else.

-Htoo