Friday, 25 June 2010

Democracy is YOU decide

This is my take on democracy for the 5th IYMS (International Youth Media Summit) which will be held in Belgrade from 11th to 20th of August 2010.

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home, so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Democracy. It’s such a powerful word. But what does democracy mean to me? What situations do I encounter that involve democratic treatment? Or don’t. How does it affect my everyday life?

Let’s say my friends and I are planning a girl’s night out. We are getting ourselves ready and discuss where we want to go and dance the night away. I want to go Plastik, but my girls prefer to go to Akademia. Who decides then where we are going?
In one scenario one person will ‘have to give in’ and do something they don’t want to do and in the other 3 people are doing something ‘against their will’. Is this a case of majority rule (after all it’s 3 against 1) or should every single person’s will be respected?

How would we solve this situation? We would probably make a compromise – going to Plastik first and then to Akademia or vice versa. This is a problem that’s easily solved.

But let’s look at another situation, one that’s a bit trickier:

Ben is 17 and just finished high school. He wants to take a year out/gap year, as he isn’t sure what he wants to do with his life. He is not sure if and what he wants to study. He just needs a break and he thinks the best way for him to get his priorities straight is to go backpacking in Australia for a year. His parents though, don’t want him to go. They think it’s too dangerous, irresponsible and besides they want him to become a doctor and insist he enrolls in medical school. But this is not what Ben wants; he wants to go to Australia. His parents tell him that if he wants to go to Australia he will need to pay everything himself, he will have to get a job and find another place to live. As long as Ben is living under his parents’ roof, he has to do what his parents want, they tell him. So, his parents enroll him in med school, even though this is the last thing Ben wants…

He is still a minor, so he has to do whatever his parents tell/want him to do, right?

Well, does he? I mean, doesn’t his opinion count just as much as his parents? Doesn’t he have the RIGHT to pick his own education/future? Yes he is still a minor and living under his parents' roof, but he should at least have a say - his parents should at least consider his will. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Most of the time, the parent(s) will decide. And this is too bad.

To me democracy means having the possibility to determine your own life and future. The focus could be the youth’s RIGHT to VOTE for their PREROGATIVE. Democracy is YOU decide.

Democracy is one of the new issues introduced in this year’s summit. The society cannot ignore the power of the youth – they are the adults of tomorrow. They should not only be included in the society but have the opportunity to participate. And this is where the IYMS comes in – it gives them a chance to express their viewpoints and get them heard on a worldwide platform. This is why democracy is one of this year’s 7 issues.

The other 6 issues are directly related to democracy. There are countries where women are still seen as the inferior sex, whose traditional role is at home taking care of the kids. They still don’t always have the same possibilities when it comes to climbing up the ladder in the work environment. And I haven’t even mentioned the lack of women in politics. Women should have equal opportunities – it’s DISCRIMINATION if they don’t. Furthermore, it should not matter what your gender, age, ethnicity, culture, religion, education, and sexual preference is or whether you have a disability or not – everyone should have fair treatment. Each and every one of us should have the same rights and possibilities to access HEALTH care, whatever their financial situation is. Still too many people in the world are living in POVERTY and are experiencing hunger. Every person should have enough food, water and a roof over their head. Every single one of us should have the right to live in a violence and war free environment. VIOLENCE doesn’t sort any problems. If anything, it just creates more. We should all take care of the ENVIRONMENT by taking responsibility to reduce our ecological footprint, so that we all have access to clean water, food and air. What’s more important, we should make sure that future generations can enjoy a healthy planet.

Today’s YOUTH is tomorrow’s future. Therefore, it is important that young people are aware of the issues facing our planet. They should have the right to receive education, information and opportunities to develop themselves. They should have the right to have a SAY. After all, they (and their children and so on) are going to be the ones who have to live on this planet that we are destroying. And the beauty is that they have the numbers and the power to really have an influence and bring about a change. The big shots can’t ignore them if they all stand together and speak their mind. All the youth needs to do is get up and just do it.

"Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society's margins, all of us will be impoverished. Let us ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies." -- Kofi Annan

I hope that the participants will come with an open mind yet at the same time with ideas of their understanding of democracy and proposals for the PSA. It’s their VOICE that should be heard – it’s their voice that matters. And it’s their future that’s on the line. So it should be their choice what direction they want to go with regarding the PSA. After all, democracy is YOU decide.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Get Rid of Me!

Yeah, you heard me right, I want YOU to get rid of ME!

The good folks over at On The Go Tours are giving away a 6 month trip covering 18 countries. For FREE! They even throw in visas and pocket money! There's one catch though...

You've got to fess up to your sins. What is it about you that people can't stand? What makes them want to see the back of you?

Well, this is why YOU should get rid of ME:

So vote for me here

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Wax on Wax off

Those were the first few words that I learnt.

-OK, that’s not completely true, but it sounded nice.

The Karate Kid was the first film I ever saw. My older sister was completely and utterly in love with the actor playing the main character Daniel. All I heard every day was how cute Ralph Macchio was. When the movie was shown on TV, she of course taped it. And from then on, for the next two years to come, the only thing I would see on TV was The Karate Kid. I had no choice but to watch it.

-Heck, there was nothing else on TV, for all I knew.

Amazingly enough though, I didn’t get bored of it. It's surprising how much you can stomach as a child. I mean, you can play the same video over and over again, and still they don't get bored. Gosh, wish I could have kept some of that childlike endurance.

Despite the fact that I have seen it so often (I can basically cite you every single line in the film), I still like the movie. It’s just a feel good story. I always enjoy stories where the underdog wins. I cheer for the underdog. They rule.

Mr Miyagi. Daniel San. Bonsai trees.Catching flies with chopstick. Cobra Kai.You’re the best. The crane...

-Fond memories. They bring me right back to my childhood.

So, now they decided to remake the film. First thing that came to my mind: God, I’m getting old. Second: Don’t touch the Karate Kid – it’s perfect as it is. Third: I am so old. I just watched the new Karate Kid. It’s not a bad movie, and mini Smith is adorable and doesn’t do a bad job, but he and the film cannot compare to the original. It just cannot measure up. It may look much slicker in every possible way, but give me the original. I just cannot relate to Dre, like I could to Daniel, after all Daniel brings me right back to my youth. And Dre? Well, he just makes me feel old.

-I think it’s time to wax off.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Wake me up when September ends

OK, I am just going to say it: I miss snow! I love snow. I want snow. Like right now.

As much as I hated it this winter - this heat is ten times worse. It's suffocating. It's killing me. I mean, if you're cold, you can do something about it. Wear some extra layers. But when it's 35+ degrees outside...I mean you can take off all you want, but it doesn't make any difference. I still sweat like a horse.

I am not used to this heat. I am from a country where it rains. A lot. A place where it gets to 30 degrees max. And that's only from mid July to let's say mid August. And only for like 3-4 days in a row tops. Then it starts raining again. And there's usually this nice breeze, bringing some much appreciated FRESH air from the sea.

That's the kind of weather I am used to.
Not this. Not what I'm experiencing here in Belgrade.

I mean, how do you cope with this? Really, I would like to know.

All I am doing right now is surviving. I am doing my best to avoid the outdoors during the hottest time of the day. That means I leave home at around 8.30ish and get back after 18.00. In between, I'm mostly hiding in some building. Preferably air conditioned. The supermarket has become the hottest place to be. It is like one of my favourite places to hide out. And in particular the freezer section.

Yeah, I know that sounds pretty pathetic.

There is one thing I don't understand though: The overcrowded buses/trolleys.
Why would anyone put her/himself through that?

I mean, in the winter, OK, I get it, not everyone likes to walk in snow. But now, when I see all those people stacked on top of one another, it gives me the chills. All I can think about is stickiness. Sweatiness. BO.

Just thinking about it, makes me wanna jump in the shower.

It's Friday night and here I am sitting at home, while everyone is out, partying and what not. Do I feel like I am missing out?

Hell no. I'd much rather lay on bed, in my cool room, reading some good shit, then sweating my ass off in some stuffy bar. I'm going to hibernate until the summer ends.

In the words of Greenday:

Wake me up when September ends.

PS. If you need me before September, you can find me at Maxi. At the freezers just on the left.

Monday, 7 June 2010


Last Monday morning I woke up. At 11.30 am. Now that’s late for me. Very late. I never sleep that long. But I slept like a baby. I slept through all the traffic noise outside my window - I even slept through all the noise my housemates make. You know, the kind of commotion that usually wakes me up at around 8 am. But no, not that morning. That morning I didn’t hear a thing. Now, either my housemates were tiptoeing around or, much more likely, I had lost my hearing.

- Unfortunately for me, it was the latter.

Well, I didn’t lose my hearing completely, but a huge part of it. It started with my left ear, and then gradually it spread to my right ear. By Wednesday, both my ears were blocked to the extent that I could only hear people speak, when they were standing 1 foot away from me, speaking with a LOUD, and I stress LOUD, tone.

While my hearing loss didn’t really bother me when it came to bed time (if anything positive came out of this experience, it’s the fact that I could sleep through ANY noise. Heck, if a bomb exploded outside my window, I would have slept right through it), I also realized how annoying it can be not to be able to hear fully.

Having conversations is tough (this includes face to face as well as over the phone). I mean, I like my personal space and I am sure that you do too, so standing 1 foot away from each other, speaking VERY LOUDLY, just so that I can hear what you’re saying. That’s not how a conversation should be like. I know this may sound crazy, but some people do not appreciate spit in their face. Or bad breath.

Not being able to hear my housemates come home or knocking on my door – that can be quite uhm…how do I put it…revealing for some and embarrassing for others. (By the way, sorry housemates, I didn’t mean for you to see that, I seriously didn’t hear you come in)

One of my biggest misses: music. I cannot live without music. I always listen to music, whether at home, at the office or when I’m on the road, I always have music on. But this past week, I had to turn the volume WAY up. Again, sorry housemates for turning our apartment into a temporary disco.

And God, do I miss the sound of the kettle, microwave, laundry machine, Diego’s faster than fast speech, Johannes’ soft spoken voice, MSN/FB/Skype (you know that distinct sound it makes when you receive a new message)…Those little sounds, most of which normally irritate the s*** out of me – but now I was missing them!

This past week made me realize just how valuable my hearing is to me. During the whole week, I felt like was asleep – dreaming – even though I was awake. I felt like I was there, but unaware. I just hope I get my hearing back soon, cause as much as I love my peaceful sleep, God do I miss the pandemonium my roommate makes when she wakes (me) up at 8 am!

Friday, 4 June 2010

The End

*This post is about LOST. If you know it and like it, keep reading, if you don’t, then skip :)

It’s the end of an era for me.

Ever since 23 May 2010 I have been living in denial. I just didn't want to face it. I just couldn't accept it.

LOST is gone. Over. Finito.

It’s time to move on. I never thought I would be the kind of person that would get addicted to a FICTIONAL world. It’s just a TV show, people tell me (obviously the ones that don’t get LOST). It’s not real, why are you so into it?

Well, LOST was not just a TV show. It was a philosophy. It made me think about certain things. It made me think about life, death, science, religion – the supernatural. Now, I was not a religious person at all, but LOST challenged my beliefs.

In the end though, the show was about people – what made them do the things they did, what made them become the person they are this day. It was about seeking redemption, it was about forgiving, but not forgetting. It showed that nobody is perfect – that everyone has flaws – but it’s how you deal with them that makes the difference.

The ending may not have pleased all viewers, but it did satisfy me. For some the ending was a bit too spiritual. I interpreted as people finally accepting, letting go and MOVING ON. Where to, well, that’s something every individual can make up for themselves.

LOST has brought me more than just entertainment, it taught me a life lesson:

Hold on to the people that matter and let go of the things/people that don’t.

And for now, I am letting you go, LOST. Not because you don't matter anymore, but because I accept. I accept that it's over. For the past 6 years many things happened: situations changed - I moved, people came and went - but you were the one constant in my life.

But now it’s time to move on and to find another one. One that matters. To hold on to.

As for you, LOST, see you in another life, brotha ;)
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