The child has been hot for days. She shivers, she coughs—she’s weak, that’s clear enough. Mother tries to cool her down, but she fails. The child has been ailing, and now it’s gotten worse. The light, from the lone candle, dies down.

If only Mother had money. If only she did.

Mother wails.

She is gone.

Justice Includes Access to Water (Potable Water, Of Course)

In Ramallah, Palestine, 70 liters of water/day is allotted for each Palestinian in the West Bank. Meanwhile, 300 liters of water/day is allotted for each Israeli (including settlers). The Israeli state controls all major water sources in the West Bank and determines how much water Palestinians can use.

Humane? Just? Equitable? NO.

Not Enough Water in the West Bank? (By: Visualizing Palestine in partnership with EWASH)

Visit the Visualizing Palestine Team for more info-graphics:

Destinations Missed: India and South Africa

They say that once an opportunity passes by, we should “always” grab it. Not all opportunities come by so easily, and sometimes they only come once.

Months before today, I’ve actively worked for achieving two specific “opportunities.” MAY 2013 was supposed to be a month of immense discoveries for me.

One opportunity that was handed out to me was the chance to travel to India, on a sponsored trip by the Asian Development Bank. I could have been a social media correspondent, who actively engaged in the discussions and who learned from the different sessions being held. I could have met several inspiring individuals and groups, and gained many worthwhile memories along the way. I could have also explored India (with some college friend/s), and could have visited these places in person:

India’s Taj Mahal (Photograph by Apratim Saha)

Agra’s Red Fort Temple (Photography by Martin Bauer)

Henna Hands (Photograph by Petra Warner)

Random memory: When I was in Malaysia last year, I met a friend (she’s from Bangladesh) who made henna art on my hand. It was a simple design, but lovely nonetheless. When I headed for the airport that night and checked-in, one of the airport crew asked me whether I just got married! Haha. I guess, since he saw my henna, he might have thought that I attended a special wedding ceremony. (Marriage? Noooo! Too young for that! Haha.) That was my first and last time to have henna on my hand. I wonder though how it would be like, to have one done by a seasoned artist in India. 

Amber Palace and Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur (Photograph by Patitucci/Aurora Photos)

The other opportunity that was also due for this month was the chance to participate in a prestigious youth leadership event. Apparently, I was the only one selected from my country. Around 26 young leaders and change-makers, from around the world have been selected to participate in this event to be held in Durban, South Africa. When I found out that I got admitted, I was definitely excited. I imagined myself attending the trip in India first, and then flying over to South Africa a few days after. I just wondered how much I could learn from this event, especially in terms of developing the socio-civic idea that I had in mind. By being able to network with more people and organizations, I was optimistic that many people could help me fuel my idea. I was also very eager to join in and be part of a bigger network of youth, who were all actively engaging in various socio-civic and political endeavors. I believe that the passion that these young individuals brim is infectious.

Of course, the thought of landing in South Africa thrilled me too. Aside from Durban, there’s Cape Town and Johannesburg–some places that I would love to see, during this lifetime.

Durban’s North Beach (Photograph by Stuart Fox)

Cape Town: From an Aerial Tram (Photograph by Roger de la Harpe)

Cape of Good Hope: Touchdown (Photo from

Cape of Good Hope (Photograph by April Badilles)

Johannesburg’s Lion Park (Photo from TripAdvisor)

Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum (Photo from TripAvisor)

The photos look amazing, right? I bet being able to see such places in person would dazzle us all the more. Imagine living through these photographs by actually being there.

Unfortunately though, I’ve let these opportunities pass. I’ve missed them.  There are many factors that poured in, making me miss these opportunities. I guess, this is not the right time yet for me to avail of these opportunities. I don’t know if I would be able to come across such offers in the future, but I still remain hopeful. Part of me believes that this isn’t the only chance that I’ll come across.

I fervently believe that in the future, once all my priorities and resources are set out straight, then I could grab hold of similar opportunities. There are others to come, I believe.

All I’ve got to do now is make sure that I spend this month well enough. I must be productive and disciplined, knowing that I’ve given up such opportunities for an important commitment that I must focus on. The drive to fulfill this commitment must be consistent and strong. I cannot let petty distractions (no matter how appealing they may be) shatter my drive to focus and deliver.

I’ve let go of these opportunities, in exchange for a lone commitment that I believe, upon fulfillment, will open up more doors for me.

All That’s Left to You: Three Palestinian Writers in Conversation

ArabLit & ArabLit Quarterly

This past Saturday, Suneela Mubayi was at the PEN World Voices Festival, for the talk “All That’s Left to You: Palestinian Writers in Conversation,” with novelists Adania Shibli and Randa Jarrar and poet Najwan Darwish:

By Suneela Mubayi

Palestinian 1The three-author panel was part of the PEN World Voices Festival, held at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium, and was moderated by Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury. The panel’s title was taken from a novella by Ghassan Kanafani, who was assassinated in 1972, apparently by the Mossad, along with his 14-year old niece. “All That’s Left to You” is considered his most experimental work in form and style. The hall was just about filled, although the prohibitive cost of the tickets — $25 — must have kept away a lot more people who would otherwise have come.

Khoury opened the round table by talking about Palestine in the Arab consciousness and modern…

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An Anti-Child Abuse Advertisement

Featured above is a brilliant campaign for a very important cause. The video explains how ANAR Foundation manages to send out distinct images and messages to two specific target markets: The adults and children.

By utilizing an outdoor lenticular, this advertisement gets its messages across, and reaches out to abused children even when they are walking directly beside their aggressors.

Simple, but brilliant idea.

Video Description:

Título: Sólo para niños
“ANAR Foundation manages in Spain the european unique phone number 116 111, to attend children and teenagers under a risk situation. On this telephone number, only for minors, they can find the help they need in a totally anonymous and confidential way. But, how can we get our message to a child abuse victim, even when they are accompanied by their aggressor?

Knowing the average height for adults and children under 10,GREY has created two different messages. Using an outdoor lenticular we show adults an awareness message, while children see a message where we offer them our help and show them the telephone number. A message only for children.”

Thoughts: Herbaria “Fears” Commercial

While it is creative, I wonder whether this advertisement sends its message across well. To “drown your fears with a cup of soothing tea” may indeed be a good message to send but I’m not sure whether this commercial does just that. If eerie shots are shown, with no clear resolution of calmness right after–for as you can see, this might still disturb, scare, or haunt some viewers–the ad may fail in creating a positive connection with its target market.

Personally, I like how cinematic this ad looks, along with the dream-like portrayal of the tea bag drowning one’s fear. The bloody-like contamination of the water, which you can say is the tea bag filling your cup, is also an exquisite shot. When you usually think of tea, most ads produced are “calm”, “peaceful” and “soothing”. This ad, however, with its ghastly music bed, is its complete opposite. Think it works?

Lawrence Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

All I can say after watching this presentation is: “HEAR, HEAR!” It’s not only the USA that suffers from this type of corruption. Other countries too, which seek to emulate the democracy of the world’s reigning superpower, most probably also suffer the same type of problem. Lo and behold, the corrupted political economy existing in many republics today.

Hello to all the politician-puppets of the super elite club.

Video Synopsis:

“There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. That’s the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way, and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond.”

Hong Kong: Hustle and Bustle

Whenever I travel to another country, I always take photographs. My digital camera’s with me, and I try to snap at any interesting sight that my eyes lay upon.

Weirdly enough though, I’ve lost that eagerness to snap photos in Hong Kong. It’s Day 3 here, and my memory card’s still barely filled with any worthwhile photo to remember. All I have so far are images of streets crowded by shops, people, and well, by more shops again.

If you’ve been here, you’d realize how consumerism is at its all-time high. Areas like Tsim Sha Tsui and Mongkok, for instance, seem to endlessly thrive upon a cycle of constant selling and buying of various goods and services. HK, with its small territory, manages to cramp up thousands of shops along streets and shopping malls. Billboards abound in every corner, creating and heightening the need for material goods. High-end brands populate nearly every street and the drive to spend, spend, spend, is always there. There are other famous recreational areas of course, but most I believe, are artificial–such as HK Disneyland or the Ocean Park. Of course, this is not to say that HK doesn’t have its own culture and heritage. Hong Kong’s cultural facets, which are encapsulated by a greater China, are not undermined. It just so happens that from a tourist’s perspective–specifically, from my perspective–it seems as if consumerism outshines all the other facets in this city more, just like how a bright pink and white Sasa billboard catches one’s eye amidst all the other competing sights.

Take note though that this is not my first time to visit HK. I’ve been here a couple of times before, usually as a tourist. I’ve been here as an exchange student too, but only for a quick period. I guess those prior experiences seem to have made me “complacent” about my current stay here.  I’m not really that excited to roam around here. I love to keep on walking–entering different streets and bustling through the MTRs–but my zeal to explore around seemed to have depreciated.

Maybe, if I get to visit HK again with a friend or more, my level of eagerness would change. However, that’s just because the thought of touring with a group of friends to a different place (well, to any foreign place actually) is always exciting. I suppose I’ll bring up this travel proposal to a friend or so, once I get back.

Now, I’m just wondering how my experience would be if I just pursued that trip, sponsored by ADB, to India. If not for the timing of events and other prior commitments, I would have grabbed that trip instead. I would have attended the Asian Youth Forum as well as the ADB Meeting, reported on the events while making a sideline tour of New Delhi instead. I’ve seen photos from some of my debater friends who are currently there and it seems like they’re having a grand time. Oh, well. There’s always another next time (I hope!).

Signing out again to plunge myself in this crowded arena.

Somewhere in Tsim Sha Tsui