Book Hippo

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Two-way Street Is Really An Avenue

One of the problems immigrants to Canada have is Canadian attitude towards old age. The older people themselves don't feel respected like they did when they lived in whatever country they came from.

I have to say, I don't feel that much sympathy for them. Let me explain before you all think I hate old people.

Now, one of the things I don't like about Western culture is the idea that to show intelligence, one needs to get away with things. Thinking that if someone's word is not taken as valuable it is okay to commit crimes on them because they're stupid.

Well, I find that idea alive in old folks in Canada. Along with use what you've got to get what you want idea that also I find a pain to deal with.

This just means that an old person who feels that way will pretend to be a feeble person or innocent because they're old after they've done something like harass you. It bothers me. I remember one old teacher at an art school I went to. His 'persona' was that of a sweet old man. Yet he would sexually harass women whom he felt were beneath him.

I know that's a strong statement, even an accusation, but it's true. That's why I didn't mention the school or the teacher's name.

Now that they've passed elder abuse laws it can be even worse with old people being rude, knowing they can always call the cops and say you're abusing them.

I don't mean to suggest that all Canadians are like that but it happens more than you'd like to admit. It's annoying and disgraceful that perfectly strong elders are pretending they're in the category of feeble or sick and weak old folks that actually do need the law to protect them.

Now I do want to say, I do believe in respect, but of they type I've noticed in good Native families. With Natives they listen to what their elders say and treat them well but old people do not take advantage of this privilege. They in turn love and respect the young ones. They don't humiliate the young like I've seen some Western people do, and they think about what comes out of their mouth so they don't hurt the little ones.

I think good Euro-centric thinkers do that, too, but still there's so much abuse of the system. I just try to remember that not only is respect a two-way street, it's an avenue to show love.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Toronto Zoo

Always around this time, when Christmas is just around the corner, I think of something: the Toronto Zoo is open every day except Christmas.

I don't know why I think of that except that I used to go there every two years or so. It's quite a trip from Ottawa. The six hour bus ride to Toronto, then, once in Toronto, a couple of hours ride on another bus to the zoo.

I always caught the Voyager bus in Ottawa at 11:00 PM. I figured I could sleep all  night and wake up refreshed at my destination. One year I got on the bus and a little, slim drunk got on behind me.

"Let's get rolling. I want to go to Toronto." He chirped happily. Then he said it again two minutes later and a couple of minutes after that, too. In fact he kept on all the way to Kingston, Ontario, merrily calling out, "Let's get rolling. I want to go to Toronto."

At Kingston, there is a stop at an overnight diner where passengers can get something to eat and drink. Most people got off to get something. The little man did, too. He got a pie and headed back to the bus with his plate and pie.

I was sitting there when another passenger came up to complain about him, then another man came up.

"People like that need their own bus. They need their own bus company and their own bus." This man looked like a nice man, a decent hard-working man, but he was very angry. We all got back on the bus.

The little man was still eating his pie when the bus pulled out. I wondered if he knew that he wasn't supposed to eat on the bus or take the plate with him. When he finished he lay the plate on the seat next to him and went to sleep.

I couldn't sleep right away and didn't get to sleep until 3:00 AM. I woke up as the bus parked in Toronto. I waited for the man to start cheering or something but he just got off and walked away. I drifted over to the all-night cafe. It was 5:00 AM. I never saw the little man again. He was not on the bus home.

I went the zoo and took photos of the animals. I was into painting then and wanted to have some of my own photos to work from instead of getting a magazine.

But I'll never forget  my bus ride to Toronto that December.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ferguson Falls

In watching the marches about Ferguson I began to realize that I don't really know much about racism in America. They say stop shooting black men. So are they saying that the authorities are terrrorizing black men or are they saying that they are so afraid of black men that their first response is to shoot them?

The first one is unacceptable. So is the second one but in that case, maybe you can change attitudes. It's been done before. I think in America, the fear is based on the fact that everyone has a gun and can use it.

We see that is true in all the mass shootings, even though black men do not seem to be doing these shootings. All the culprits I remember are white. But I think that is still the fear.

In Canada, blacks claim to be discriminated against, too. I always say that I don't see it and they laugh at me. But I've changed my mind about that and now think they're right.

Up in the Great White North, however, I believe racism is based on cultural reasons. Most of the early Canadians were from England or Scotland and these ethnic cultures were considered 'Canadian'.

The Irish, the Quebecois and everyone who came after has felt the sting of not 'being Canadian' because of their culture.

Take Sikhs for instance, they wanted to wear their turbans and carry their ceremonial knives when they became cops. They weren't allowed. Not Canadian. Not turbans certainly. That's foreign. So they took it to court and won. Now Sikh mounties wear their turbans with a yellow band around it to designate who they are.

I passed one on the street and noticed his ceremonial knife and warrior-caste certainty that anyone who made trouble would find himself in a bad place. They are such good cops that it makes me glad such a small thing was solved.

As far as blacks are concerned, the main problem seems to stem from the fact that they still think about slavery. I've met many people upset about that and I never took it as racism before. But then I thought about the saying, 'those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it' and thought, well they're saying that it's not going to happen again and they're remembering history, right? That's what we're told we should be doing, right.

So that's what it's like to remember, to be angry and aware. Is that a bad thing?

But I do know that there are many people who are not racist, who love black people as they love East Indians and all others. And I'm glad to say a lot of those work in book stores. I love people into books and non-racists, too.

I'm just hoping that this ethnic idea of Canada falls, that other cultures dances and such will be seen as Canadian, too. I mean, Vietnamese love Canada as  much as the next person so shouldn't their culture be considered 'Canadian', too?  I think so.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Wrong Convictions

Detective Nicholas Power. Wait...who?

He was once known as the Sherlock Holmes of the maritimes and had a %100 case solved rate. Fantastic, right?

Well. A researcher has gone in and looked at all his cases and researched his life. Remember Princess Diana? How she had to read all the newspapers for what they said about her and was affected if it was bad?

That was the same state of mind of Detective Nicholas Power. And he must have been severely flawed because he would do anything to get those good press stories about himself.

I'll explain. His method of crime solving was to look at the evidence, such as it could be collected in the late 1800's, then think about who had done it. Once he decided a certain person was guilty, he happily suppressed contrary evidence that proved innocence and coerced witnesses to lie.

He would do anything to support his decision of who the guilty party was. A good book written about this is The Lynching Of Peter Wheeler. He was accused by Powers of murdering a girl. He had been to see her the night before, in the morning when he went back, Peter found her murdered.

The problem is, she was seen alive after he left her and his whereabouts are definitively known from that time on. He went home and everybody saw him there. There's no way he could have killed the girl. But he hung based on what Nicholas Power said and did.

Did I mention that all the people hung because of Detective Power were dark-skinned?

This cop had a definite Jim-Crow darkness inside of him.

It's not that we can bring them back or change history in any way but I do think that it is time to have a good look at these old cases. It is thought now that not one of Power's suspects was guilty. He made the whole thing up.

The sad thing is, these men are still considered guilty, their cases still on the books at the National Archives. It really is time to change history.

I would feel a lot better if history could give these men back their good names.