Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Banning the Burqa

The Dutch seem to be everywhere on religious blogs and news stories. They are now considering banning the burqa, one of many types of the Muslim woman's dress code. From the

“This is an enormous victory for traditional Dutch decency,” said Geert Wilders, the populist member of parliament who first proposed the burqa ban. “The burqa is hostile to women and medieval. For a woman to walk around on the streets completely covered is an insult to everyone who believes in equal rights.”

Ok, how is a piece of cloth hostile to women who choose to wear it everyday? A note about the whole equal rights thing to our flying Dutchmen: The term 'rights' takes precedence over the term 'equal'. Every person's right as a human being only corresponds to the extent of his/her will. You have an individual right, which let's you demand for things only you will for yourself. When this translates into national rights, they must be available to all individual citizens of the nation. Availability of rights indicates available choices that citizens can consider to better their lives.

The 'security argument' fails at all levels as far as I'm concerned. We might as well have a law preventing us from having any clothing at all, if the case is to be made that little time-bombs can be hidden inside the veils of Muslim women. And, if Dutch security officials cannot adequately distinguish a man from a woman "hiding" under a veil, then I guess the voices of their women are too harsh and their breasts are too flat thus enabling them to blend in with their men folk. I guess that's why the Dutch are hell bent on "equal" rights. In their book, men and women have the same physiological and psychological make-up, women are as physically strong as men and men are as nurturing and emotional as women.

My opinion is based on sociological reality: men and women ought to be valued the same, but they are ultimately responsible of different contributions to society due to the way we have been socialized for centuries.

France wants to eliminate Sikh turbans. I do not understand why the rights of individuals are being curbed for the sake of some sick version of utilitarianism. When "equality" comes to mean "marching to the beat of one drum" I have a problem with it. What happened to modern western values of individuality? What about personal belief? Do we now throw it all out the window just because we now want everybody looking the same way? If covering your hair is medieval, as Geert Wilders so eloquently puts it, why don't we put all our nuns in jail for devoting their entire life to their Lord. Choices make people who they are.

Respect others' space first and then live your own life. You will be respected ten-fold.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Always read your horoscope at the end of the day. If you read it in the beginning, you stand a fat chance to do exactly what it says just so it can appear genuine. I've often had a good laugh reading these silly snippets that have made it into newspaper supplements the world over. Sometimes they are totally off.. but today my horoscope in a weekend magazine describes my currrent situation so perfectly, I am nothing short of spooked. Written for my eyes only:
"The parallel alignment between your ruler Venus and warm-hearted Jupiter bodes well for the Libran... especially one who has been hoping for a fairytale ending. You may have felt uncertain about where a certain relationship has been leading or even whether it's been going anywhere at all. You seem to have reached a critical point several times before, but last minute hitches and obstacles have stopped things in their tracks and taken you back to square one. Now it's no more down the snakes, but up the ladders all the way and you can stop holding your breath. The proposal is all about to be made and the promises exchanged. All that remains is for you to keep to your end of the bargain and ensure that everything proceeds along the lines of 'happy ever after'."
I don't need to say anymore, except that horoscopes should be depended upon sparingly but if one like this comes along you may allow yourself a little hopeful laugh.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Designer Babies

Designer babies are the next fashion trend. My baby will have blonde hair, blue eyes, and a rock solid body to complement his Einstein-like brain. Genetic testing is allowing us to take our right to have children beyond the limits of natural process. We can now pick and choose who we would like to love.

A documentary on National Geographic (yes, I'm addicted) featured an Australian couple who's son inherited a genetic abnormality that could kill him before he becomes an adult. Genetic testing comes to the rescue of this couple when they find out that they could use it to create an embryo that would be a "perfect match".. this embryo will grow into another human being from whom tissue would be removed and used to save the older son's life. Playing with nature has no small consequence. Most countries have banned this procedure, called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) for the purposes of sex selection. For those unfamiliar with PGD, here is a simple 'About PGD' blurb, courtesy of

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis or PGD is a technology that allows genetic testing of an embryo prior to implantation and before pregnancy occurs. This technology is used in conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF), and allows only embryos diagnosed as free of a specific genetic disease to be transferred into a woman for pregnancy. The testing is performed by removing a single cell from a 3-day old embryo and having the cell genetically screened for a specific disease.

I have to admit that I've always been fascinated with Biology as a subject in school, but never would have thought about what it means for us as a "species with spirit" so to speak. Reading the above definition instinctively gives me the shivers. The process goes:
1) Test one cell from a couple of embryos that were popped up outside the womb by sperm and ova
2) Look for genetic abnormalities in all the embryos
3) Admire, love, and shed tears of joy at the embryo that is free of disease.. and keep it of course
4) Flush the embryos that are infected with genetic disorders down the toilet

Ok, the same website offers so-called alternatives to PGD:

If you are at increased risk to have a child with a specific testable genetic disease, an alternative is to achieve a pregnancy spontaneously and have genetic testing performed during your pregnancy... Unfortunately, if the fetus is found to have the genetic disease, the options are limited to interrupting the pregnancy or continuing the pregnancy.
Options to interrupting the pregnancy are limited huh?? Ever heard of deliberate miscarriages and abortions doctor? Are advances in genetic medecine getting us into deeper moral entanglements or what. We are going way back in history and bringing back Eugenics:

One path of genetic research branched off into the shadows of social theory, and in the first quarter of the twentieth century became immensely popular as eugenics. It was presented as a mathematical science that could be used to predict the traits and behaviors of humans, and in a perfect world, to control human breeding so that people with the best genes would reproduce and thus improve the species.(Source)

To all the parents who are tempted to play with nature -- know that there are many children who have been orphaned in this world who need and want your love, security, and resources so they can lead a dignified life. The couples who claim "We are desparate for a baby boy because we have four girls already" need to reach out to the world rather than confine themselves to a test-tube. To the Australian couple who engineered a baby to save their older son -- hope it works out for you. But you'll live with the fact that your intention for having your younger child might not be accepted by either of your children as they grapple with their adult identities.

Having stated my postition quite strongly, I will nevertheless respect a general statement made by all the couples who decided to use PGD: "You might think and react different if you really find yourselves in our position." Alas, emotions of the heart and thoughts of the mind battling it out as always.