Saturday, May 9, 2009

Another Day In Paradise

During this economic downturn it is very easy to feel melancholic. Recently, I went to get my passport renewed, and I saw that a whole bunch of stores in the mall, where the government office was located, were having a "closing down sale" because they couldn't keep up with their lease. The thought of so many people losing their jobs made me extremely sad. Which sort of worked in my benefit, since due to the new government policy, Canadians are not allowed to smile in their passport pictures. I guess, this is the government's way of defying the stereotypical view of our innate Canadian niceness.

One of my friends has X-linked myotubular myopathy. Meaning where his twin sister has healthy legs and muscle strength, my friend has trouble moving around. Earlier today, he was telling me that he has a very hard time staying in touch with people, and going out, because he has to either rely on others, or on TransHelp to get to places. This made me realize, here is another thing I take for granted. The ability to walk. The ability to drive.

Tens of thousands of civilians have fled the fighting [in Northern Pakistan] this week and provincial authorities have estimated that as many as 500,000 people may have been displaced.

One of the colossal mistakes we make is that we focus on what we don't have, instead of being grateful for what we do have. There are people getting laid off, and shops getting closed, but at least in this country we have a welfare system, where the unemployed would be looked after, by the government. Unfortunately, we can't say the same about the people in the third world countries. For instance, there is a humanitarian crisis in Pakistan right now, but the country's president instead of being with his people in their time of need decided to travel to the US to ask for more aid, which he would eventually end up spending on himself.

Pakistani children displaced from Buner reach out for food at a United Nations camp in Takht Bai, about 85 miles northwest of Islamabad.

We do not get to determine our place of birth, family, or country; but for the most part they shape our destiny. Any one of us could have easily been one of the individuals in this picture above.


Maria Sondule said...

OK, I'm sure that I should be commenting on something more important in this post, but Canadians can't smile for passport pics?? What kind of a rule is that?? What is it supposed to do?

Zany said...


I don't blame you. It's a dumb requirement. Put a camera infront of my face, and my Pavlovian response is to smile. But, the government introduced this measure to prevent identity/passport fraud. A neutral expression makes it easier for the facial recognition computer program to work effectively.

So, you have something else to be grateful for :). You have the freedom to smile for your passport picture :).