Friday, January 23, 2009



Bekkie was a baby Cape White-eye that had fallen out of her nest no more than a day or two after hatching. My mom found her on Friday, 5 December and gave her to me. She was still naked and blind but immediately opened her mouth for food - hence the name Bekkie. It was love at first sight. I fed her Avi Plus and she slept (with a hot water bottle) next to my bed. She travelled everywhere with us and countless waiters and shop assistants told me that "God would bless me" for taking care of the little bird. 

As time went by Bekkie's tiny, soundless cheeps became audible, her feathers grew and she eventually opened her eyes. Her right leg seemed to have trouble gripping, perhaps from the fall, but still she grew. As her appearance changed we wondered what on earth she could be. When tiny white feathers started growing around her eyes, we were sure - she was a Cape White-eye.

We started taking her outside so she could catch insects and nibble on flowers. She started flying in rapid bursts, and liked nibbling on our hands. We had to bathe her once or twice after she'd jumped into her food bowl. She would sit with us in the evenings, flitting over my notebook or nestling in my lap, or lie on her back in my daughter's hand while we tickled her tummy.

On Thursday, 22 January, we found Bekkie lying dead on the floor of her cage. No warning, no sign of anything wrong. Just a life ended, without reason, without warning. All that promise, all that hope, all the love and care come to naught.


Luis was a 7-year old boy from Guayaquil, Ecuador. He was an orphan, living with his older sister and other siblings in absolute poverty. He was about to start his second year of school, and had learned to write beautifully in his native Spanish. He drew pictures of his friends and of animals, and enjoyed learning reading and sums. On 8 January, he complained about abdominal pain and was taken to hospital. The doctors treated him for pancreatitis but he passed away that same evening.  

Again I felt so helpless.  A life, full of promise, ended.  I know the hospital and medical staff did what they could but had he not been born into such a life of hardship, would he not have had a better chance?

Luiz was involved with an organisation called Children International. They do wonderful work with children in impoverished communities. Please check them out.

There is no real point to this post, no political agenda, no opinion I am putting across.  I am just sharing with you my sadness.  

I entrust them to your care, Mother.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Women's mags

This was a question on a mailing list I'm on:

19.What are your feelings on "semi-nude" pictures of women, specifically in public areas? Do you think it objectifies women? why?

One person responded that women objectify women, citing the fact that women's mags, like men's mags, have women on the cover and that women are always checking out each other's hair, clothing etc.

My response was as follows. It was quickly dashed off, but more or less got my point across:

"In the 18th and 19th centuries women of “gentle” birth were not allowed to work, except maybe as a governess (which was a k*k job), and therefore the sole object of a girl’s education was to render her “marriageworthy” for lack of a better word. This basically meant squeezing every bit of self-reliance and natural curiosity out of her and interesting her only in her own appearance and “accomplishments”, such as embroidery or, if the parents were daring, playing the piano. Ms Wollstonecraft said this better than I but you get the gist. In order therefore, for a girl to have a semi-decent life she had to marry well, and in order to marry well she needed to be pretty, meek and generally “feminine” i.e. interested only in girly stuff. That hasn’t gone away, especially considering that women are still paid less than men and are still almost discouraged (by their socialisation and education) to do “masculine” work like being a pilot or an engineer. Hence looking at what other women are dressing like etc., is almost to make sure you are able to compete for resources. In a similar vein to men reading up on investment, flashy cars or how to last longer in bed ;)"

I will expand upon this post later, but it gets the point across. In fact this poem does, too