An Attempt at Doing the Philanthropy Thing

I complain a lot, but I’ve never said that I have it worst, because I’m actually pretty grateful for a lot of the things I have. Complaining is really fun and all, but I think it’s time for me to bring attention to some major world issues that will take a long time to fix, and we should start now.

Let’s talk about the DPRK. I’m going to attempt to do this without getting nuked by the DPRK or Russia, which has heavily influenced them over the years, but this might be a bit hard. So the leaders of those two countries are pretty bad people. They’re allowing their people to live  in really poor conditions, and those people have been brainwashed into believing that the the leader possesses the utmost authority in the universe and are being worked to death to attempt to display to the outside world of something otherwise.

I mean I guess it’s kind of difficult to penetrate the barriers when we’re all afraid that they’ve been building killing machines and they’d probably shoot down anyone that they hadn’t thoroughly checked. And then there’s the groveling at the feet of the statues of deceased rulers…with guards behind you to make sure you are sad enough. That and the fact that at every ceremony the current leader is present, the crowd automatically has to wish a thousand years of prosperity and health to them.

Yeah North Korea is pretty bad. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to admit that I haven’t educated myself enough about the conditions in Russia to be able to tell you the extent of the horror that exists there currently. I could only tell you that all of the things that are mentioned above are about North Korea.

On top of that, their economy is also so awful. Most of us have heard about how Kim Jong-Un is a huge basketball fan, and how he had his country’s team play against the Harlem Globetrotters last year, but not very many people know how much government funding has been rumored to have gone into that. What’s that again? Oh yes. Government funding. Yeah it was about $579 million. Only that much money. It’s not like it could have gone into reconstruction of roads, infrastructure, and food services. Basketball is definitely more important.

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It came as a shock to the world when the video came out of Kim Jong-Un feeding his own uncle to a pack of 120 hungry dogs came out last year. If he was able to do that to his own family, it would be very hard to imagine all of the things he could think of doing to the people that are under his jurisdiction. Actually we don’t have to imagine when there’s a translation of a firsthand account out there to watch. It’s so terrible and cruel.

Yes, there is universal health care and coverage, but at what cost? And who actually knows what happens to patients since doctors have no competitive motivation. Capitalism has a ton of flaws, but at least there are at least a group of people who are motivated to do better than others in order to receive a higher salary or whatever. The health care ‘professionals’ in North Korea will receive the same salary as their peers regardless of how hard they have worked, and all I can say is that patients are probably not being treated for all the disorders they could potentially have.

In order to protect themselves from such persecution, there are plenty of people who have attempted to escape, and numerous amounts of those people have been shipped back and sentenced to die in a camp or harmed by the Chinese after they had already escaped. Yeonmi Park is one of the people who escaped unharmed herself, but was still heavily affected by the harm done to the people around her.

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It’s very important that we recognize the severity of the situation and, as an international community, attempt to resolve for better for these people. Take for instance, Emma Blackery.

Upon hearing a defector’s story, she has been educating herself with the history of North Korea and how the government affects its people and the nations which surround it. She describes this at the end of her haul video in which she discusses the books that she has bought about North Korean leaders.


Onto the second issue. The world is immensely corrupt in its needs to buy goods all the time and there’s always a constant demand for things and goods and a desire to display wealth with things. But where are all these things coming from? Slavery and sweatshops and child laborers. See most first world countries have discovered the inhumanity that lies within forcing children into the workforce in order to push a company into a major world exporter, but there are still others that haven’t quite gotten the memo.

I understand  that in a lot of places of privilege we often feel very removed from the origin of the things we use daily, but it’s important to remember that someone, somewhere had to make this thing, or someone had to build a machine to build this thing, or someone had to pick these fruit off a tree and another person had to carry it to a factory and then another person had to clean it up and make it presentable and then another person packaged it. Picture that last example in mass amounts. And now picture those people being children, and now that they are being beaten because they were unable to meet their daily quota. That’s the reality of far too many children on this world in this day and age.

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Warner Brothers Studio was one of the biggest offenders of this in their Harry Potter chocolate frog product. This was actually the first time I had heard about modern-day corruption in the food industry. Warner Brothers did this even though they had plenty of income to support farmers to grow cacao, but instead they chose the unscrupulous route and used chocolate from an unethical source. The Harry Potter Alliance created the “Show Us the Report” campaign and petition in order to involve more people in the effort to produce more ethical goods. And it worked. After years of campaigning it worked!!!!

What we can learn from this is that if there are enough people educated about the industry they buy consumer goods from, there will be number of those people who will be at least vaguely interested in supporting the rights of the people who labored for them. I’m going to give you a challenge. I want you to make a conscious effort for at least a day to only buy and consume fair trade goods. This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart because of the story. It was probably one of the first social justice movements that I actively tried to make myself a part of.

I know a lot of people reading this will be extremely skeptical and say that there is no reason to try to do this because there will be corruption at every corner we turn at and this is hypocritical, and to you, I say no. Lex Croucher once said in a video,

“It is not hypocritical to try your best. It’s not a hypocritical thing to strive to not make other people’s and animals’ lives worse in as many areas as you can.”

That’s something that I definitely agree with and encourage everyone to do. Try to only use ethical consumer goods for at least a day, and to talk more about it. The sooner this becomes a more popular topic, the sooner we can start rebuilding ethical values within economy, as an international community.

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Alone in Our Thoughts

(After reading this through, I don’t feel like there needs to be a warning on this post. It’s back to being unnecessarily deep and there aren’t any mentions of anything triggering.)

I’ve often thought about what would happen if all of our decisions were completely made by ourselves; nobody else to have any say-so about it, nobody to have any influence over the decision at all, but ourselves. Most people would find this freeing and enjoy it, but I feel like there has to be more to it than just anarchy.

And then I usually come to the conclusion that we would all not lead very efficient lifestyles because there had been nobody to help us along at all. But then I think about how everything has been affected by everything else in one way or another. Our own decisions, our independent, unaffected opinion does not exist.

Tabula rasa

It’s a term that describes our state of mind when it hasn’t been affected by anyone or anything, a blank slate. And when people talk about it or explain it, they usually use the example of a newborn. I would agree; there is no other time in our lives where we are truly unaffected by anything. From the minute someone begins to raise us, their speech, attitude, tone, behaviour influence our attitude, behaviour, personality. Our living conditions also play a big part. We are not our own personality. We’re all just a combination of everything that has influenced us over the course of our lives.

I think the best example of this is the show Orphan Black. All the women are clones, but they were brought up in different environments and that’s why they have very different personalities.

(From left to right) Rachel, Allison, Sarah, Cosima, and Helena played by Tatiana Maslany

That’s why there was a study that said that we end up having the average personality of the five people whom we spend the most time around.

Personally, I wouldn’t consider myself the most independent person. I rely on a lot people to be able to help me throughout the week, and without the influence of these people, I doubt I would feel the way I do or have the same opinions about the things I care about. I wouldn’t be “Opinionated Li’l Kaity”.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t let anyone pressure you into thinking that your bad decisions are entirely your fault. What you do is simply a reflection of the way that you’ve grown. Nothing is entirely bad and your decisions aren’t your own. We’re all connected and end up affecting each other in one way or another.

You see, High School Musical knows what’s up

P.S. Does anyone confirm the rumor about there being a new High School Musical movie