Thursday, 30 June 2011

All these equal rights are taking away our religious privilege!

Don't worry, these aren't my words, per se.  Rather, I was translating what one Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has been saying.  It would seem that he, along with other religious leaders, are worried about the lack of "religious liberty" and that the number of believers in England are "extraordinarily low".
"I share a real concern that the attempt to impose the current prevailing template of equality and discrimination on religious organisations is an erosion of religious liberty."
He suggests that with the rise of equality laws and rights in England, many religious people will be repeating history by leaving the country in what he calls a mass exodus on the same level as the Mayflower pilgrimage from the 17th century when English Separatists left England for America. 

At face value, you would feel sorry for them if there was a good reason for why they feel like they are not being given their religious liberty.  What then is it that these people are disappointed about? 
> Charles Wookey, the assistant general secretary of the Catholic bishops conference of England and Wales, told the MPs that religious organisations were struggling with “rapid social change”. This meant they were forced to alter practices that had been in place for many years, he said.
 > Roman Catholic adoption agencies have closed because they cannot reconcile the requirements under the new laws with their belief that children should not be placed with gay couples.
So....Lord Sacks and other religious leaders are angry they have to keep up with the times, drop out-dated and irrelevant practices and not be bigotted?   Oh dear, poor them!  How dare we treat gays, women and the secular society as equal human beings?  How dare we allow gay couples the right to adopt, to tell people that they cannot pass their bigotted ways down to children, that people cannot use their faith to mistreat others as they see fit? 

Lord Sacks has it all wrong.  England is one of the few countries in the world where ANY religion can be practiced freely, without fear of prosecution as long as it does not infringe on the rights and welfare of others.  So no, sirs, you cannot complain that you are being singled out, silenced and downtrodden.  You are only complaining that you cannot do the singling out, the silencing and keeping the heathens down yourselves.  If you want the Government to stop telling you to open your doors and stop being such bastards to others, then by all means, hop on a boat and leave (I think you might find some brethren in America who would gladly take you in).  The people left behind will be grateful for it. 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

News from the Motherland

Those close to me know that I wasn't English-born; I in fact hail from the exotic sounding (and sometimes difficult to spell correctly) land of Brunei Darussalam, a tiny little speck of a country nestling on the equator over in Asia.  Although its population is diverse, it is mostly made of of Muslim natives and thus a lot of the laws and ways of life is influenced as such, with religious ministers sitting in government and the Sultan of Brunei being the figurehead of religious piety for the country.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, I point you to an old post of mine talking about Zamzam water, the "holy" water from Mecca that Muslims are inadvertantly killing themselves with.  And now, I point you to this article from the old country, particularly the following quote.
The other book, 'Air Zamzam: Untuk Apa Ia Diminum' (Leila's Translation - Zamzam Water: Why do we drink it?) , which is divided into three sub-topics, details the significance of drinking 'Zamzam' water and explains how the water could be used as a medical cure for illnesses.
Now, since learning that the water is contaminated with all kinds of "tasty" barteria and high levels of arsenic, I fail to see how it can be used to cure illness, short of killing the drinkers themselves. 

I am curious to read what he has to say, I'll have to admit.  I may get my mum to pick me up a copy whilst she's out there visiting family.  And given the exchange rate, £2.50 is a bargain for a paperback book. 

Friday, 17 June 2011

Oh look, a bigoted Conservative politician!

It's nice to see how far equal opportunites has come along since the days where only the healthy, wealthy, white men were allowed rights.  But look!  I see a healthy, wealthy, white male politician who thinks that a disadvantaged group should be treated less fairly than others.

Phillip Davies, the MP for Shipley, suggests that those with mental health disabilities should be able to opt out of the national minimum wage to be more competitive at the work place.  Because, according to him, disabled people are less productive in the work place.  Yeah right - I'm sure my dyslexic, dysphraxic and depression-prone hard-working friends would be very pleased to hear that.   Especially the following quote made by him.
“Given that some of those people with a learning disability clearly, by definition, can't be as productive in their work as somebody who hasn't got a disability of that nature, then it was inevitable that given that the employer was going to have to pay them both the same they were going to take on the person who was going to be more productive, less of a risk, and that was doing those people a huge disservice.”
Apart from discriminating based on disability being against the law, I don't see how anyone with a learning disability would be less productive.  Many people cope in work with a learning disability and prove themselves just as capable.  In fact, in some cases, even more so because they feel like they have to work twice as hard as "mentally abled" people just to prove they can do it.  Some of the most successful people in history and in the world have proven themselves to be far more successful in life because they refuse to let such prejudices get them down.  In fact, I did a quick Google search to prove the point; apart from Richard Branson and Winston Churchill whom the Telegraph listed, we also have

  • Hans Christian Andersen (dyslexia)
  • Daniel Radcliff (dyspraxia)
  • Beethoven (dyslexia)
  • Leonardo da Vinci (dyslexia)
  • Agatha Cristie (depression)
  • Michaelangelo (depression)
  • Anthony Hopkins (dyslexia)
  • Albert Einstein (suspected dyspraxia, Asperger's syndrome)
  • Bill Gates (Asperger's syndrome)
I can go on, but then I would overload this post with names.  Fact is, often so called mentally disabled individuals are the most mentally abled of us.  They are more determined to overcome what people would assume to be a disadvantage and provide role models for others.

Despite the critism and the outrage, Philip Davis is unapologetic, claiming that disabled people have to "prove themselves" before moving up the payscale and that "left-wing hysteria" is to blame for the criticisms he received.  Well, sounds like this MP needs a pay review because if we were to follow his suggestion, I think he is earning far more than his brain cell states he should earn.

Is there a doctor in the house?

If there's anything to be learnt in politics, it's that photo opportunities are great for public opinion.  Especially involving children, the elderly or ill people.  So of course, Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg would be found in a hospital ward, speaking to patients.  However, their little chat with the patients was interrupted by a very irate surgeon.

Doctor Nunn, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon of Guy's Hospital, took offence to the camera crew and political aides who did not adhere to the strict hygiene rules of the ward (i.e. rolled up sleeves and scrubbed arms), which were put in place to prevent to spread of superbugs in hospitals.  It was reported that a ward sister had authorised the staff's attire because they weren't coming into close contact with patients.  However true that may be, I do feel more inclined to agree with the doctor.  With the NHS in the state it is in most of the time, it's hard enough to be able to keep a hospital clean and safe for the people who go in to get better.  The last thing you want to do is to go into a hospital only to contract a horrible infection and die as a result.  Doctor Nunn was only thinking of his responsibility to his patients, and rightly so. 

I am not medically trained by any means, but I do think that the state of hospitals in the UK could stand to do better.  I miss the days when I could walk into a hospital and be overwhelmed by the smell of antiseptic and at the stark cleanliness of the building.  Then again, I have been called a bit of a weirdo for actually finding the smell comforting.  But why shouldn't it be?  Unless someone accidentally dropped a bottle of Dettol, I think it is a sign of good hygiene to be able to actually smell how clean a supposedly sterile environment is.  Or at least be able to tell at a glance how clean a hospital is if their cleaning products are odourless.  It could well be that the reports of infections such as MRSA are only feared because it's being reported more, but given how many hospitals are under review, have closed or are under going investigation due to outbreaks of infection or accused of neglect, I'm more inclined to think declining staff care and increased bureaucracy are to blame. 

Doctors like Nunn are a credit to their hospitals for not putting up with the bull of publicity stunts at the risk of patient health.  Sure, he came across as a bit of an arsehole about it, but in the medical world, I think someone who isn't afraid to storm up to the country's leaders and berate them on camera for allowing their staff to contaminate a ward is someone who can be a good example for other doctors in the country.