Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Missing Children of Mumbai (India) May 14, 2009

Filed under: Family,India,Youth — Sam George @ 12:18 pm

Heard of this… on an average 2,000 kids are reported missing every year, but only half of them are found, reveal statistics. ‘Missing’ includes those who have been kidnapped, lost or run away. See report in Hindustan Times and Times of India.

In 2006, of the 1,569 kids who went missing, 582 were traced. In 2007, 4,000 children went missing in Mumbai, only 831 were traced – 3,169 kids have still not been located. In 2008 only 2,837 cases of children who went missing.

In a City of 18 million people, bubbling with life, business, glamour and decay, 2000 may not be much. Most of them never get ‘found’ and lost forever. Think about nearly 2000 families have to live with such incidents for rest of their lives.This is the dark side of slumdog millionaire city.

Call it the Slumdog Paradox. Oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire might have changed the lives of Rubina, Tanvi, Ashutosh, Ayush and many others, but numerous children like them in the slums of Mumbai are still awaiting a change in their destiny.

Some brush aside such news, while most tend to overlook. Life of these little ones does not mean much to many. ‘It is their fate,’ they say. But some steps into situations like that and wants to do something for these kids. Like Compasstion International. See what they are doing in India. They have over 100,000 kids under their care, many of whom would have become part of this statastics, but for their compassion. There are many individuals and organization

Leave it not to their fate or let their destiny be shaped by our compassion. May we be part of the solution, rather than condemning the problem or the goverment. God cares for the least and lost ones in our city. So must we. ‘Let the things that break the heart of God, break our hearts as well.’

 

Abduction of boys in China April 22, 2009

Filed under: china,Culture,Family,health,India,United States,Youth — Sam George @ 6:34 pm

Young boys are abducted and sold to families who are desperate for a male heir. Yet another fallout from the one child policy to contain population by the Chinese government. Little kids are stolen from play ground and even snatched from the hands of care givers. See the story in New York Times. 

Mother with a poster of her kidnapped son (source: NYT)

We all have heard of sex selective abortion plague in India and other parts of the world. In several Indian states this has led to skewed gender balance. Inherant gender bias, religious superstitions and preference for boys force many young couples to determine sex of the babies soon after conception and if it is a girl, they try to abort and keep trying to have a boy child. For more on female infanticide in India and China check out Gendercide case study.

I believe this is nothing but a curse that as society and future generations are bound to pay for. The intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females. Chuck Colson called it as a curse that keeps on giving in his breakpoint commentary on this issue.

Market forces are at play. When supply is low and demand rises, so does prices for boys.  Now demand for boys is on the rise. Much of which is a result of distorted social policy. Families are paying thousands of dollars (several months of earnings) in order to ‘secure’ their future by ‘buying’ a boy child. As the NYT story cites, this is not international human trafficking issue, but this trend is aimed at meeting a need in locally.

China has 32 million more males than females under twenty. In 2005, there were 120 boys born for every 100 girls. The preference for male children has led to the aborting of 16 million females in China. When they come of age, finding a mate is going to be serious problem. Growing up without siblings, they lack relationship skills and most remain ignorant of female species of their kind or how to relate to them. Not to mention rise of gay lifestyle and breakdown in marriges.

Several years ago, I spoke at a UN conference on families and had the previalge of having dinner along with China minister for social affairs. We discussed about family planning policies of India and China. He was well aware of  growing problems of the Chinese policy to contain it bulging population and yet had to stand by his government stand on this issue. So tragic!

Cry of the aborted infants are calling for justice to their Creator. The destiny of future generation should not determined by goverment policy, nor should kids become a commodity with a price tag on their head, nor families should be restricted in reproduction rights. Who will stand for the rights or ideoligical shaped policies of our national leaders?

 

Anti-Dowry Laws May 13, 2008

Filed under: Family,India,Leadership,Youth — Sam George @ 3:20 pm
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The Indian government is working on an amendment to dowry laws.

Dowry is an age old social evil in India. Everyday dowry related abuse and deaths go unnoticed in India. Battered women, domestic abuse and violence continues across all socio-economic sections of Indian society. A practise that prevails even in educated, well to do communities including Christians. Gender inequality and expolitative socio-economic forces lies at the heart of this evil practise.

Will a new set of law help reclaim diginity of women in India? Legislation banning dowry was passed in 1961 but is still flouted. According to police records, a woman is killed every 77 minutes due to dowry-related issues.  According to a study by the United Nations Population Fund, 60 per cent of married women are victims of physical torture or forced sex by their husbands.

So what we need to law enforcement and more accurately a change in mindset in the Indian society. We got to change how woman are viewed in the society, eliminate social stigma and empower women. We need a new worldview on genders.

But the popular feminist approach to dealing with this issues undermines and distorts our understanding of masculinity. I think that might do more harm than good in the long run. We need to develop a healthy and balanced view on genders.

 

Growing Women Smokers in India April 9, 2008

Filed under: Culture,Family,health,India,News,Youth — Sam George @ 3:08 pm
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Urban Indian women are leaving a new trail – smoke. Women are catching up fast and narrowing the gap across gender lines in the domain of smoking or chewing tobacco. See a report in India Today. It is based on a World Health Organization’s global survey of tobacco usage.

Here are some disturbing finding:

  • 31% women tobacco addicts in India are between age 15-49.
  • 25% Indian women light up over 10 cigarettes per day.
  • 62% of women smokers die in their prime compared to 38% of those who don’t.
  • 1 in 20 women in India to die between age 30-69 due to tobacco in 2010s.
  • 20% girls in Delhi and Chennai studying in Class 6 smoke (AIIMS study)
  • 87% Hindi movies show onscreen smoking; 26% have a heroine who smokes.
  • In spite of the labeling that ‘smoking is injurious to health’, tobacco companies continue to market new and imprved version to younger generations. Targeting women and young kids is a great marketing strategy, but why we don’t learn the damage it has caused to men and older generations. Why are bent on repeating mistakes all over again. Interesting that now they have a pink cigarette too!

    Social stigma is out and new trendy fashion statement is drawing scores of women to this addictive habit. “Me too” attitude among women and want to stand on equal footing with man prevails among modern urban Indian women. Smoking becomes a way of keeping up with men. They will not let gender disparity happen in tobacco consumption as well. How foolish!

    Some blame the media for promoting it, while other find government regulation insufficient. Bollywood now portrays many women smokers. Magazines continue to circumvent the advertisement ban on tobacco products. Sporting events continues to carry billboard of cigarette makers. Industry is promoting smoking as a cultural icon of sophistication, glamour and sexual allure and there is a large middle class women falling prey to it.

    Check out here for resource to help youth quit smoking: Anti-smoking, Teen health.

     

    Missing girls in India March 7, 2008

    Filed under: Bible,Culture,Family,India,Leadership — Sam George @ 3:36 pm
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    India is facing a new problem – girl deficit! Economy is booming and so is confidence level among the young generation for their palce in the world. Surplus can be seen in almost all facets, except for girl babies. Another progress paradox. Problem is more acute in North India and even in developed states like Punjab.

    UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report found that India’s already abysmal sex ratio is getting worse, with 80% of its districts recording declining child sex ratios (more male births than female) since 1991. Kerala, Pondicherry and the Lakshadweep islands were notable exceptions.

    For those girls who do make it out of the womb, survival isn’t a guarantee, say child rights activists. Many die in their infancy because they are given less food and medical care than their brothers. Those who do survive will generally get less of an education — in both quality and quantity — than the boys in the family. Life isn’t always fair to the fairer sex.

    Stricter laws against abortion, feticides, infanticides may be easier to pass, but harder to implement. The abhorrent practice of pre-natal sex determination and the many bogus doctors waiting exploit pregnant women cannot be easily contained. The cultural view of a girl child as burden got to be changed. Gender equality need to upheld. THey are not a liability or an investment without return.

    Only a worldview that values and nurtures life in every forms can release us from the bondages of the traditions and form a life-affirming culture. We become so self-absorbed that we stake our future with our own. A soceity or nation that does not defend its most vulnerable is destined for doom.

    Bible says, “God created human beings in his own image. God created them male and female” (Gen 1:27). After creating woman, God was very pleased and said “very good.” We are created beings and we bear a divine image. God values, affirms us and loves us dearly. That’s why God send Jesus to die in our place.

     

    Rise of Mobile & Internet users March 4, 2008

    Filed under: Culture,India — Sam George @ 4:18 pm
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    The number of mobile devices worldwide has surpassed 3.3 billion–roughly half of the world’s population. In Japan and several other countries, more people access the Web through mobile devices than fixed PCs.

    Several countries, including the United Kingdom, now have more mobile phones than people. There are over 500 million active mobile phone accounts in China, as compared to 275 million in India by the end of 2007. Luxembourg has the highest mobile phone penetration rate in the world, at 164% in December 2001. In Hong Kong the penetration rate reached 139.8% of the population in July 2007.

    The total number of mobile phone subscribers in the world was estimated at 2.14 billion in 2005. The subscriber count reached 2.7 billion by the end of 2006 according to Informa, and 3.3 billion by November 2007, thus reaching an equivalent of over half the planet’s population.

    What are its implications? Does your website content support mobile devices? Recently I tried browsing the Coconut Generation site over an iphone and realized that the flash based main page is not accessible easily, browsing is not easy. Watch out for the next version. Prepare exclusively mobile device strategy for dissemination of information,  newsletter, soliciting donations, customer service, networking etc.

    Are you ready for the new world?

     

    Changing Religious Landscape in USA February 26, 2008

    Filed under: church,Events,Family,India,Leadership,News,Youth — Sam George @ 4:12 pm
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    A new study is out on changing religious affliation in USA. It’s from Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. It says that – U.S. Roman Catholics and Protestants are leaving the churches of their childhood and either choosing other faiths or no religion at all. Read the report in Chicago Tribune, TIME, and New York Times. See also the article in Christianity Today.

    According to the findings, 28 percent, of American adults said they have left the faith in which they were raised. About 16 percent of Americans say they are not members of any religious group, making the “unaffiliated” group the fourth largest religious tradition in the United States. The Catholic Church has lost more members than any other religious group.

    Hinduism exhibits the highest overall retention rate with 84 percent of adults who were raised as Hindus saying they were still Hindu. Ninety percent of Hindus marry within their own faith, and eight-in-ten Hindus who were raised Hindu remain so as adults. Eight in 10 Hindus are foreign-born may help explain the high retention rates. Buddhists struggle hardest to pass the faith from one generation to the next.

    Other interesting findings – Mormons and Muslims are the groups with the largest families; more than one in five Mormon adults and 15 percent of Muslim adults in the U.S. have three or more children living at home. Black Americans are the most likely to report a formal religious affiliation.

    There has been lots of talk of church drop outs lately. This study continues to proves some rumbling in the ground. Mega chruch and many immigrant church leaders are taking note.  Denominational head are reevaluating their church planting strategy and approaches toward the new generations. It is so scary and exciting to live in such changing times!