HIV/AIDS

December 10th, 2010

Cartographic poem edited

November 29th, 2010

This semester…

November 16th, 2010

In this time period, I do not know exactly what I would like to complete except for my project. As far as class-related questions I have, there are questions I would love to have answered, such as are relationships are always doomed to fail (that’s the way it seems) because of cultural/race differences like in Sons of the Return. Is this novel of a particular time period a reflection of now? If a novel Wendt’s novel was published today, what place would it have in society? Issues with belonging, love, and attachment are themes and motifs that can be written about no matter what year it is, but is the way it is portrayed in this novel the way we see our world now? Is it us vs. them still?

My greatest challenge remaining in these three weeks pertain to my project honestly. I want to be able to present a coherent, poignant piece about HIV/AIDS without boggling everyone with statistics. Statistics are fascinating and essential to what I’m exploring, but I do not want to limit my project to just that. I want to emphasize that just because a person seems “clean” does not mean he/she does not need to be tested. I aim to strike a balance between numbers, understanding, and how can we move forward to help and prevent HIV/AIDS?

In this class, understanding the lives of other people from other cultures mattered to me (and still do), because the Canon set the tone and mode for what I read thus far. I wanted to hear from the other side, their truth, their history, their story told by them. Of course, there is the issue of perfect translation-there is none. Still, it is better that they give themselves voices with their own language or through mimicry. The challenge here would be to understand what the author’s truth is. What does he/she want me to carry from the text into my life?

Romanticism

November 11th, 2010

You want a New York State of Mind? Frank Sinatra, Jay-Z, and Alicia Keys all sang about it, but now all of you can actually wear it. Whether the Islands are in your blood, country plays in your soul, or Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl is your anthem, you are a woman on the go who deserves to carry the confidence, sex appeal, and glow that only a vibrant, brilliant New York can produce. Inescapable is this sexy new fragrance that embodies the city that never sleeps.

With autumn in the air and the crisp breeze caressing your skin, you instinctively know that New York is your home now more than ever. Just like the leaves change color, your inner femme fatale surely follows. Shy and sweet are great qualities to have, but to make it in New York, you need to be savvy and cunning too, and that is exactly what this perfume enables you to become. The best of both worlds. This is what New York is about: diversity, coexisting, learning, loving. Mastering both worlds is the second step to embarking on a journey all your own, maybe even creating your own utopia in the process. The first step is purchasing the formula in a bottle. Your every fantasy, every hope, every dream is not only possible, but Inescapable.

Update on my project

November 5th, 2010

The more and more time I reflect on the issue of spreading awareness for HIV/AIDS in regards to women, I feel as if there is so much to talk about, but my project will be more coherent if I rely on a few crucial issues. Queens College has great help regarding many health issues at Frese Hall and when I went recently, I was fortunate enough to sit and talk with Tsui-Fang Shen, the Health and Wellness Advisor in room 303 (of Frese Hall). Ms. Shen helped me find some professionals to talk to about my questions concerning stigmas and why the rates are so high, especially in the U.S., etc. I have several resources available, people I can interview thanks to the school sponsoring events with community healthcare speakers who will be here to talk about HIV/AIDS. I will be going to a couple events, where I will meet people trained to answer my questions. Shen even gave me numbers and addresses of how I could locate the same people if I needed more of a one-on-one session. I have the numbers of hotlines that I can call. The amount of pamphlets is remarkable, so I’m reading everything to have a basic understanding of the topic at hand. I look forward to the interviews.

People from Steinway Child & Family Services will be available on the Fridays of November 12th, December 3rd, and December 17th if anyone besides me is interested in learning more about HIV/AIDS, as they are dedicated to Q & A.

Aside from the Safer Sex Workshop on Monday, November 8th during free hour, there is also a Healthy Relationship Workshop on Wednesday of that week during free hour that relates to my inquires about the relationship between HIV/AIDS and the kind of relationship a person is in that affects the choices made and risks his/her life.

I wonder how objective I can be during this assignment. No one that I know personally has this. The one man I knew as a very little girl who died of AIDS I can barely remember. Anthropologists insist that detachment from the subject is necessary for accuracy, but subjectivity is unavoidable in my eyes.

Personification

October 27th, 2010

“A Case of Right vs. Justice”

Mr. Right was deeply disappointed with the turn of his conversation with Mrs. Justice. Her husband had other matters to tend to, but Mrs. Justice knew how to get a point across without her other half by her side. Freedom of religion was a fundamental piece of the pie that made the sweet taste of the United States the sweetest of all nations.

“Surely, you understand the gravity of the situation,” Mr. Right tried again, wanting to make his point not only clear, but irrevocably true. “A mosque a mere two blocks away from the catastrophic tragedy we now call 9/11 is preposterous.”

“Would you care to explain, Mr. Right?” Mrs. Justice calmly asked. “I’m afraid I’ll need your reasons for belief.”

“What is there to not understand? Muslims are responsible for the attack on 9/11. Muslims are responsible for lost fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives. They callously and diabolically murdered in the name of Allah. How is building the mosque right?”

“Let’s make it clear that Muslims are not responsible for what happened on 9/11…”

“Wait…what? Are you serious? How can you say that? Please tell me that you are not one of those crazy conspiracy theorists who think it was an inside job? Live in the real world, please. A famous political commentator even said, and I quote, ‘Muslims killed us on 9/11.’ “

“No, Mr. Right. Muslims did not kill us on 9/11; terrorists did. Terrorists and Muslims are not synonymous. They are not interchangeable terminologies and I hope you stop confusing the two.”

“Is there a difference really?”

“What about the Christian terrorists who bomb abortion clinics in the name of Jesus Christ.  I don’t see anybody up in arms about churches being built, but I do see people enraged when there is desecration of churches.”

“It’s not the same thing and you know it. What happened on 9/11 was…”

“Devastating and unparalleled to anything we have ever known in our time. It’s not that I am insensitive to what you are saying, but by denying Muslims their right to worship, we are oppressing them. We are blaming them for something they did not do; no one who worships God uses His scared word to hurt and kill others. Muslims were killed that day too, you know?”

“You propose what? We forget?”

“We’ll never forget, but religion should not be what divides us. Our nation was founded on freedom of religion and we need to show everyone everywhere that we not only tolerate, but accept all religions. We are strong enough as a nation to overcome this tragedy together.”

Shaking his head, Mr. Right stood up to leave but not before having the last word.

“That’s the problem right there: you’re the ideal, but I’m the reality. Your idea is utopian and romantic, but I do not see it being fulfilled, if it ever was to begin with. The situation at hand is too sensitive for mere logic. What about the heart?”

“I think that if we preach something, we should practice it. Otherwise, we’re liars and no better than the nations we say oppress their people. We let not love motivate us, but hatred instead by denying Muslims their right to have a mosque built. Are they not part of America too?”

Maybe it wasn’t that Mr. Right was as narrow-minded as Mrs. Justice gave him credit for. Maybe Mrs. Justice wasn’t the idealist he pegged her out to be. Maybe Right and Justice are, at times, not synonymous. Maybe what is right emotionally for one person is wrong morally for other people. We associate words with others we see as their twins, but it is not always so cut and dry.

Alienation Poetry

October 12th, 2010

“A Tale from Trinidad’s Lost Girl”

“Get ready for February,”

My best friend grins gloriously.

“It’s time for bacchanal!

We’re going to fete and

Won’t be home for

A few days.”

All I can think is,

“Carnival time is one of the

Sweetest times in Trinidad,

So it better get ready for me!”

She tells me mischievously,

As if reading my mind,

“It’s time to cut loose,

Lime, and give them boys

A wine they’ll never forget.”

I have to let my parents know,

And surprisingly,

They give me their blessing-

Then again,

They don’t know everything about to happen.

Mommy and Daddy say,

Beti, just come home safely.”

I’m worried about those dotish boys,

Those boys with no broughtopsy,

Who follow you around after you

Dingolay.

All doubts disappear at the thought

Of having Carib by the beach.

Can’t wait to have doubles for breakfast-

That’s part of what makes us Trini to de Bone!

When everything is said and done,

To my baby,

I’ll tell him,

“Don’t care who I horn you with.

Ash Wednesday will take care of everything.”

When I get back to the States,

I know life will never be

The party is was

Over there.

Back to all work,

No play.

Key terms:

Bacchanal: commotion, a wild party, a fight between neighbours, family or friends.

Fete: a party, usually the parties around Carnival time are referred to as fêtes.

Lime: a party or any get-together/to hang out, or (more recently) to date someone.

Wine: a seductive form of dance involving circular or semi-circular movement of the hips especially. Can be done alone, with a partner, or many partners.

Beti: daughter [from Bhojpuri or Hindi].

Dotish: stupid.

Broughtopsy: manners, upbringing.

Dingolay: dance wildly.

Doubles: a sandwich of sorts made with a saffron coloured bread and curried chick pea filling.

Trini to de Bone: Pride in oneself for being a Trinidadian.

Horn: to cheat on someone, to be unfaithful.

Definitions found through website: http://www.aboutlanguageschools.com/language/slang/trinidadian-slang.asp

Topic Proposal

September 27th, 2010

HIV/AIDS is a sensitive, but serious issue that deserves more discourse and awareness than we, as a society, give it. An AIDS awareness month (December) is a step in the right direction, but HIV/AIDS need more than one month of deep reflection. The impact on women is my main focus, because the number of females who contract it is alarming. According to WomensHealth.org, one in four American women is HIV-positive, with African American women most affected. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) claims that the number of African American women and Latino women infected is increasing and that most women contract HIV/AIDS by having unprotected sex with men. Even worse is the age that these women are dying: for African American women ages 25-34, HIV/AIDS is their leading cause of death.

There are so many concerns and questions that I look forward to addressing. For instance, why in the U.S. of all places are rates still high and among a certain groups of women?  Which community is most at risk and why? How are occupations/jobs/careers affected? How does HIV/AIDS affect the family dynamic? What are the misconceptions about HIV/AIDS and how does this correlate to the number of people infected with it? Are we reaching the right demographic? What progress has been in terms of treatment? Are we any step closer to finding a cure? How do we refrain, as women, from becoming another statistic?

To realize my project, I will use Queens College resources, such as Frese Hall to speak to a health counselor who may then assist me with a website or place to go or number to call for further information. I want to educate myself first by going on websites, particularly government ones, to gain insight on the issue and dispel myths about HIV/AIDS. I hope to volunteer and talk to female HIV/AIDS patients and get their perspective on what needs to be done to eradicate the stigma of “The face of HIV/AIDS” and how we can, if we can, eliminate this threat all together. The one change I hope to make is getting more people who engage or engaged in risky behavior (unprotected sex, sharing needles) to get tested. Most importantly, I want people to understand that HIV/AIDS does not have “a face;” looking at someone cannot tell you if he/she is infected.

Questions that my group can help me answer will probably be later on as I continue with the research and new questions surface with added information. The FDA site is very helpful with contact numbers for both women’s health and AIDS information. Womenshealth.gov has a contact number on its home page that will prove to be useful, as well additional resources. I plan on finding a community that helps counsel people with HIV/AIDS.

Resistance Literature: My Personal Manifesto

September 21st, 2010

Resistance literature is somewhat of a foreign concept to me. When I read a text, I do not usually see examples of resistance, or maybe I do, but just label it as something else. According to N.V.M Gonzales, there is more than one way to read and that is why we see certain messages in texts. The reader’s intention and the author’s intention may vary, so the text could be considered aesthetically pleasing or could feed the political mind.

Thinking of resistance literature makes me think of counter-hegemony; an intellectual fight against oppressors who set the rules of how to live based on superiority and ethnocentrism. Geoffrey Chaucer is an English author who used estates satire in The Canterbury Tales, in the 1390s, to send a message that society could not be stratified anymore; society was not as orderly or neat as it was once thought to be. Noli Me Tangere (The Lost Eden) by Jose Rizal was written using coded names and satire to criticize the government and Church.

Of all the genres, satire is a beautiful tool that should be utilized in resistance literature. It is the perfect way to seem tongue-in-cheek about serious political/social issues that matter and affect you as the author without having much trouble actually publishing the text. Without (hopefully) being accused of defaming people or a country’s way of life, you can showcase the atrocities and inequalities that others would not think twice about. Some people might say that the author is hiding behind satire since it is poking fun and makes the readers pause and laugh, but the pause is crucial. The pause could mean the difference between the text being read for aesthetics or the reader connecting dots to the larger picture. For those who prefer the straightforward, say what you mean and mean what you say approach, I suggest an autobiography. An autobiography will definitely capture the reader’s attention, because it is your experience as the author. Both options give the writer a voice behind the pen and paper.

I do not have clear-cut directions on how to write resistance literature, because I do not believe that there should be any rules in literature for the oppressed who are intellectually looking for answers and trying to break down barriers and show that the savage are sometimes the ones that claim to be civilized. Resistance literature is about more than writing in a particular language for your people. Resistance literature means taking the tools that you have and manipulating the system within the system to spread knowledge and to help others discover the truth not told by one part of the world.

Experimental Poetry

September 8th, 2010

Oil and Water

Sweet, words, always, befalling, your

Lips, made, the, wildfire

We, created, just.

Wrong: was, I, to, let,

Go, of, the, only, world

I, ever, knew

And, latch, on, to

You, like, crazy, glue.

Right: was, my, ignored

Conscience, begging, me

To, let, go, and

Remember, everything

My, loved, ones, instilled

In, me.

Remember: the, right.

I, am, no, one,

With, you.


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