Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Divorce hurts children – China & India June 28, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,News — Sam George @ 2:52 pm

This recent report I read on China Daily (written by an Indian guy from Beijing) really resonates with me. Chinese society is discovering harmful affects of marital breakups what was obvious in many western nations.

According to the report by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Chinese government, more than 1.9 million couples got divorced in China in 2006, an increase of 128,000 couples or 7 percent over the previous year. Between 1985 and 1995, the separation rate more than doubled; it had tripled by 2006.

In the name of progress and development, societies are cracking along its most susceptible faultlines. Families are being ripping apart and the next generation are growing up without the security of a safe home and caring adults. All our economic growth would mean nothing when our homes falls apart and leaves us with no sense of belonging in a increasingly strager world.

What happened few decades ago in the western society is begining to happen in developing nations. Break up of families in China and India are most obvious. Embracing free market capitalism and swelling prosperous middle class, also comes with the weakening within the most fundamental unit of society – family. A nation grows weaker when its families grow weaker. When we strengthen families, we strength communities and we build a stronger nation.

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Blending faiths – Episcopal Muslim June 26, 2007

Filed under: church,Youth — Sam George @ 8:14 pm

Heard about an Episcopal Muslim priest? On Fridays she wears a black scarf and prays with fellow muslim in a mosque in Seattle and on Sundays she wears an Anglican collar to conduct communion service. Read the story in Seattle Times.

A black Christian lady minister in seattle has send some ripples in religious landscape saying, “I am both a Christian and a Muslim.” There is no need to convert from one to another, but simultaneously upholding various irreconciliable differences together.

What next? A Christian Islamic Swamiji?

An attempt to blend faiths in to order to develop a cocktail religion. Will it satisfy human longing for ultimacy? What happens when logic or inherant incompatibility are overlooked for the sake of being politically correct? When everything matters, nothing really matters most?

This episcopal lady priest could never be religious leader in Islam. Women can never become cleric, neither can they worship in the mosque along with men. Christian faith has been at the root of her racial, gender and religious development. Yet she is trying to concoct some absolutely irreconcilable differences?

Last month I was at a liberal theological institution in Boston where I saw onthe notice board seminars on Christian Yoga, Christian Rekhi etc. Is this cultural engagement or sycretism? Can we preface everything that is out there with Christan to make it sacred? Is it an attempt to find a common meeting place to dialogue or trying to baptize it with christian and biblical jargons to make it sound ok?

Read Chuck Colson’s breakpoint comment on this.

 

Growing Divorce June 21, 2007

Filed under: Family,India,News,Youth — Sam George @ 3:32 pm

Divorce rate have declined in America, but is growing like weeds in China, India and other developing nations. The Western society has exported its popular culture around the world effectively. 

Study after study have confirmed what many have intuitively known – divorce is bad for the children. Children often pay most price in unstable and broken marriages. They get caught up in conflicts between parents, forced to witness angry and abusive fights. Daughters often follow the example of their mothers when it comes to relations with men.  Each relationship transition for the mothers – including divorce, widowhood or new cohabitation – increases the likelihood of cohabitation for their daughters.

Is this really progress? When economic advancement comes at the cost of familial poverty? Developing nations are made great strides in prosperity by embracing modernity and capitalistic ideology. But the dilemma of progress is clear.

 

Global Indian Diaspora June 20, 2007

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 11:54 am

Diaspora means scattered people. Some 20 million people of Indian origin make their home outside of India. Early scattering happened as result of British Colonizers tooks Indians to work in the plantations in Malaysia, Fiji, Guyana, South Africa etc. Then Indian skilled labor began to take flight soon after independence to places like middle east, Hong Kong and Europe. In 1970s and 80s professionals and students began to migrate to Europe and North America.

No matter where they had gone. They have done exceptionally well professionally and economically. In fact, the 20 million scattered people of Indian origin make more money than a billion people in India. The Indian Diaspora asset exceeds $1 trillion, while entire nation’s GDP totals to some $950 billion or so. No wonder goverment of India is so keen on tapping their wealth for developmental projects in India. See Ministry of Overseas Indians and India Day.

The scattered people also took their faith with them wherever they went. You can see Hindu temples, Sikh gurudwaras and Indian Christian churches on every continent. Being away from home and faith of their forefathers many have renounced religious association or given in to an popular ideologies (materialism, consumerism, prosperity or irreligious). Some have converted to evangelestic faiths like Christianity and Islam.

Later in August, I am looking forward to be part of a global gathering of South Asian Chritians in London. check out www.SAGC2007.com for more details and join us if you would like to learn about faith of the emerging generation of South Asians from around the world.

 

When does spanking become abuse? June 11, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,News — Sam George @ 10:39 pm

Heard about the proposed ban on spanking in California? How do you differentiate between “reasonable” spanking and “unreasonable” hitting? Where do you draw the line between discipline and abuse.

A dilemma that most Indian American parents face – whether to follow the “Indian” way and the “American” way when it comes to spanking. First of all, I am a product of parents who shamelessly believed in spanking. But I must admit that as younger of two boys, my brother took a lion share of it.

Parents in the ’60s raised kids with the Spock mentality and in the 70s were daring to discipline with Dobson mindset. I grew up in the ’80s with a set of parents who most certainly did not “spare the rod.” And guess what!? I’m alive, and have done well!

I do not mean to diminsh the concern there is for children who truly are in abusive situations. But come on, people, it’s easy to recognize a parent that is in control (spanking responsibly and purposely) and one that’s not (abuse). So here’s what I want to know, is the real problem people have with spanking about the fine line between reasonable punishment and abuse?

I do have one thing to say, the future looks like it’s going to be an interesting battle for us future parents out there who desire freedom from the state or allow state intervention in how we raise our kids.

 

Desi Sexual Practises June 8, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,News,Resources,Youth — Sam George @ 12:57 am

Here is report on Indian American sexual practises. It appeared in Columbia Science Journal. Once a topic that is never talked about in public, now being researched by professionals and published for all to see. May be that is why it is of lots of interest to find out what goes on in the private lifes of people. Read reports in Indolink and Economic Times.

The study explores the decision-making processes, attitudes, and belief systems of young Desis with respect to their sexual behavior among 18-24 year old young adults in New York.

Findings: a) 77.8% of first-generation South Asians reporting never engaging in any sexual activity, whereas 81.8% of second-generation South Asians reported engaging in sexual activity. b) Only 11% of first-generation as compared to 45% of second-generation participants reported engaging in sexual intercourse. In simple terms, second generation more sexually active than first generation.

What is disgusting with such reserach is that they studied 20 people’s opinion (male & female, hetrosexual Indians in New York, both first & second generation combined) and quotes findings in %s about entire South Asians. South Asians are diverse group of people with variety of cultural, religious and assimilation patterns in United States. Such generalization was too dangerous. It is more like a poll result, than a academic research publication! There is no mention of the context of marriage, belief system or family morality in the decisions of sexual activity. More over New York desi youth world is so different from rest of the country.

No major break through finding at all. Most of youth workers know what this research has to say. But nevertheless, I appreciate research being done in this area and hope it will help us develop strategies and programs for future generations to stay not just safe, but pure.

 

The Other India – Poverty June 6, 2007

Filed under: Bible,church,India,News — Sam George @ 2:34 pm

Most coverage on India on the global media is bouyant, fast growing economy, largest democracy, shining stars etc. Let’s not forget there is another side of India – 300 million people who are considered poor. Read a series of insightful articles in Outlook about the other side of India.

Rising income disparity, urban poverty, malnourishement of small children, inadequate health care and educational opporutnity, no electricity or running water etc. are still a crude reality for large masses of India. They are yet to send their first email (or even to see a computer in a country that has made great in roads with its computer skills) or make their call on a mobile telphone.

If you have not brushed shoulders with poorer masses of India, it is hard to even imagine. I suggest you take a trip through northern Bihar and Orissa on a second class coach on a local train (some of the least developed regions in the country).

As followers of Christ, we are challenged to make a preferential option for the poor, namely, to create conditions for marginalized voices to be heard, to defend the defenseless, and to assess lifestyles, policies and social institutions in terms of their impact on the poor.

What are you doing today for the marginalized masses of the world?