Gender Test and Humiliation of An Athlete Wednesday, Dec 20 2006 

Santhi Soundarajan won a silver in 800 m race in the just concluded 15th Asian Games in Doha, but was humiliated by the gender test that she failed and the subsequent decision of the games authorities to stripe her off the medal. The test is not compulsory, but unfortunately for Santhi it was done on the basis of a complaint from a participant. The test found that Santhi Soundarajan “does not possess the sexual characteristics of a woman” and had “more Y chromosomes” than acceptable in a woman!

The frenzied coverage the news received lacked any sensitivity and concern to the athlete and her background. Of the numerous news reports that I’ve accessed, only two reported the matter with care and attention to the details of the controversial test itself.

NDTV.com reports the observation of Dr P S M Chandran, Director of Medicine, Sports Authority of India. It’s a compassionate, critical assessment of the whole episode. He says: “It is very, very unfair that you victimize a girl who has failed a gender test, unlike doping. Doping is a deliberate attempt to do some mischief. Being born with some physical, anatomical abnormality is not a sin,”… The complicated gender test is fraught with problems since it doesn’t “take into account differences in genetic make-up, chromosomal variations and genetic abnormalities.”

It’s a long procedure that can take weeks for the final result to come out and involves various tests done on the person by a gynecologist, a hematologist, an endocrinologist and a psychologist.

Santhi, a female by birth, has never undergone any surgeries or therapies to alter her gender.

Washingtonpost.com had a balanced assessment of the matter. The chromosomal variations found in the test could be caused by “genetics, intense training, and even poor nutrition like Soundarajan may have experienced growing up in a poverty stricken Indian family.”

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi deserves praise for inviting the athlete and her parents to his chambers and presenting her with the cash award that he had announced, despite the news of the test and its findings. The chief minister was generous enough to present them a huge plasma TV as well, since her poor parents had told that they hadn’t had a TV to watch their daughter’s performance.

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Why So? Thursday, Dec 14 2006 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday told delegates at
an international conference questioning the Holocaust that Israel’s
days were numbered.Ahmadinejad, who has sparked international
outcry by referring to the killing of 6 million Jews in World War II…

His
words received warm applause from delegates at the Holocaust
conference, who included ultra-Orthodox anti-Israel Jews and European
and American writers who argue the Holocaust was either fabricated or
exaggerated….

Iran
says it organized the conference to shed light on the reasons behind
the formation of the state of Israel after World War II and to allow
researchers from countries where it is a crime to question the
Holocaust
to speak freely….(Link).

I fail to understand why ultra-orthodox Jews are ant-Israel and why it’s a crime in some countries to question Holocaust. Can you please explain?

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Can Success Repeat Itself? Tuesday, Dec 12 2006 

There was an interesting article in the Sunday Times, the supplement of the Times of India, Dec 10, 2006.

The gist of the article was this: success often remains elusive to many of the supremely successful people. However hard they may try, they fail to repeat the magic that had catapulted them to the peak once. There are a few exceptions, but they are very rare.

The examples cited are from Indian context, except in the case of Andre Agassi, who proved himself again at the French Open after a lull since his Wimbledon title.

I believe that even if one may not rise up again to the peak of success achieved once and which became an inspiring legend, one can continue to be successful in one’s chosen field of activity.

I think it is a topic worth discussing.

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A Tale of Woe Thursday, Dec 7 2006 

Link to Congoo

Since I prefer Firefox to Internet Explorer and Ff has a huge no. of add-ons/extensions available to customize it and enhance the browsing experience, I always try to find out about new add-ons/extensions.

Last week I came across CongooNetpass. After reading a review I installed it and signed up. But there was a bait: recommend the thing to friends; if anyone signs up and starts using CongooNetpass, a six month subscription to Libraryo.com will be yours for free.

I betrayed a friend.

I was happy to see a congratulation message in my mailbox from Congoo along with my free id and pw to log in to Librayo.com.

But, folks the id and pw didn’t work!

I’m rewarded!

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"Big Talk" Tuesday, Dec 5 2006 

Link to ABC News: Muslim Woman Gives Sex Advice on Arab TV

I think she is not familiar with ancient texts on this topic in other cultures. For instance ‘Kamasutra‘ of India, considered the first treatise in history on sex.

Although India prides itself as the land of Vatsyayana’s Kamamsutra, Indian society as a whole is conservative about sex and issues concerning it. Talking about it in public is taboo, but Bollywood movies are spiced up with scenes that are overtly sexual. Indian orthodoxy is up in arms about obscenity on TV and in films and demands a ban.

A local court in India has accepted a petition by a lawyer against the stars of a recent hit movie ‘Dhoom 2’. The petitioner contends that the film lowers the dignity of Indian women and conveys obscenity to youth.

Heba Kotb’s show is a bold move. There is great need for addressing issues related to sex decently so that many evils like AIDS that are direct consequences of ignorance concerning sexual matters among people, especially the youth, can be checked through increased awareness and openness.

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"These kids are growing up faster" Friday, Dec 1 2006 

Technology and consumerism have accelerated the growth of kids aged 8 to 9 (tweens) who are already behaving like teens, experts say.

I think all thoughtful parents and concerned teachers may already have noticed this disturbing trend all over the world.

Dealing with this problem is not easy, as many of them have noticed.

Little children manifesting the attitudes and preferences appropriate to adolescents upset parents. For instance, which parent will like to accept his/her 10 year old’s behavior showing embarrassment at  having parents be too close?  

This trend is not only psychological but also physical.

“Several published studies have found, for instance, that some tweens’ bodies are developing faster, with more girls starting menstruation in elementary school – a result doctors often attribute to improved nutrition and, in some cases, obesity. While boys are still being studied, the findings about girls have caused some endocrinologists to lower the limits of early breast development to first or second grade.” (Link)

TV, Internet and peers are identified as three of the major sources of influences on kids that encourage them to talk, dress and behave like grown-ups. In some cases parents themselves are to blame for it, because they don’t set limits and draw the line. Some of the parents even encourage such things thinking them to be fashionable and they don’t want their kids to be left behind.

Young children influencing the buying decisions and family vacations are common today.

“…tweens represent $51 billion worth of annual spending power on their own from gifts and allowance, and also have a great deal of say about the additional $170 billion spent directly on them each year.”

 

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