Archive | August, 2014

Kopica Thayaparan narrows career choice through mentorship program

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

Samuel Getachew

Toronto

Kopica Thayaparan recently completed a summer mentorship program at the Universityof Torontofor prospective medical students. The program is managed by the Faculty of Medicine’s Office of Health Professions Students Affairs. The program recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Kopica reflects with me on the program and her ambitious and busy activism at her school and in the community.

Kopica – Tell me about yourself?

My name is Kopica Thayaparan, and I am 16 years old. I will be going into grade 12 this upcoming school year atStouffvilleDistrictSecondary School. Within my school, I take on executive positions on many committees. I’ve been on Student Council since grade 9 where I have been elected Junior Representative and Treasurer. I am also involved in Empowered Student Partnerships (ESP) where I have been the president. Another main committee I am involved in at school is the Science Club, where I competed in numerous competitions throughout the year. I also attend many leadership conferences and workshops to continuously develop my skills.

I have won the Principal’s List Award and I have received Honour Roll each year since grade 9. I am a former recipient of the Grade 10 English Award and the RBC Literacy Award. One of my biggest achievements was the York Region Student Success Award 2010. My area of interest in academics lies within the Sciences because of the never ending discoveries that you can learn about. I am particularly interested in human biology because it’s very fascinating to study the way we function. Outside of school, I live in a house with my parents, my brother, and my sister.

You completed the SMP (Summer Mentorship Program) program this year. Share with me some of the highlights and why it was a worthwhile experience for you?

The whole experience was a highlight in itself. Most of the time, we had many knowledgeable guest speakers who talked about various things. For example, we had speakers who talked about Immunizations, Presentation Skills, Public Health Research, and so much more. We also had the chance to visit different hospitals to learn more about various healthcare professions.

One of our visits was toSickKidsHospitalwhere we learned about Emergency Medicine. We also went to the post-graduate schools for Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work, and Kinesiology. During the faculty visits they gave us more information regarding the admission process and the career opportunities afterward. We also visited theAnatomyMuseumwhere we saw real organs and other parts of the human anatomy.

The hospital placements were, in particular, also very valuable. My job shadowing placement was atMount Sinaiwhere I had the opportunity to follow various health care professionals. For example, I was working in the Delivery and Nursing station where I witnessed the birth of a child. It was one of the most interesting and memorable experiences of my life. I developed a new respect for mothers and anyone who bare children.

I also had the pleasure of working with an Audiologist and learned so much from her.

She opened my eyes to a new field of medicine that I never thought of or experienced.

The tests involved in assessing the quality of hearing in individuals were a unique experience for me. This is because I learned the techniques they use to provide various aids to those who need them. Endoscopy was another placement that I got to experience. It was fascinating to see the digestive tract of the body and the method they use to diagnose problems within this organ system.

I had the opportunity to do a dissection on a cow eye which most medical school students have to complete before they graduate. It was a great learning experience and really opened my eye to Ophthalmology. The other huge highlight was the mentorship opportunity that the program offered. We were paired with post-graduate students to help us learn more about career paths. They also helped us with our final research project where we had to create a display board based on our research. The social aspect of the mentorship is something that makes this program as amazing as it is.

You have the opportunity to create life-long relationships that can support your throughout your academic and professional career. The entire program was worthwhile because it gave me a more realistic impression on what these careers involve and the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in them.

You have credited the program as you discover “different health professions careers”. Please Explain.

On one of the last day few days of the program, we all attended the SMP 20th Anniversary event. There were various Alumni who attended the event from all over the world. We had the opportunity to network with numerous professionals across different fields of medicine. The program itself and the placements opened doors I never knew existed before entering the program. There are so many facets of career opportunities that have to do with every single organ, tissue, limb of the body and it is interesting to see what each entails. Even through the lectures, placements, and faculty visits there were a lot to discover about the career paths available.

Where do you see yourself in ten years from now in terms of your career?

Before entering this program I was unsure about my career path, but now that I have completed it I’ve definitely narrowed my choices down. My top two professions that I am interested in are Ophthalmologist and Obstetrician. From my job shadowing placement, I learned the importance an Obstetrician plays in the process of child birth. I have always felt that this was a rewarding career to have, but this opportunity confirmed it and made me realize the real extent that this role plays.

In terms of Ophthalmology, my interest spiked when working on the cow-eye dissection and my research project. It provided me with a deeper understanding of this area that I knew very little about.

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How to Help a Kid With Back-to-School Jitters Get Ready for the Year

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

It is not uncommon for children to anticipate the beginning of the school year. For some, this anticipation is positive and translates into excitement. For others, the anticipation leads to high doses of anxiety and fear.

You may find out your child is afraid not to know anyone in his or her classroom. If you know anyone who will be in their class, you may be able to remind them of that. But if you’re new to the area and know that they won’t know anyone, don’t fret! The key here is to remain positive.

You may also find out your child is worried about getting bullied. Or not knowing where their classes will be. Or what their teacher’s name is. Whatever the case may be, first validate your child’s feelings (dismissing their anxiety, saying something like “Oh come on, it’s not a big deal,” won’t help). Then, address the fear realistically and in a positive way.

Some children have a more difficult time with change than others. Considering how big of a transition the back-to-school period is, it is absolutely crucial to help prepare your child.

Here are a few tips:

1) If your summer routine was different, go back to the school-year routine a few days to a few weeks in advance. If you don’t have a set routine, now is a good time to establish one.

2) Check with your child’s school if it’s possible to come and visit his/her class before the first day of school. This way, your child may be able to meet his teacher, and see where the classroom, washrooms, and lockers are.

3) For children with very important difficulties in transitions, it may be necessary to do a few practice runs of getting ready in the morning, including putting on the school uniform (if applicable) and walking/driving to school.

4) No matter how hard it is to get your child to school, don’t give up (and get professional help if needed). School refusal can quickly become a large and difficult to tackle issue.

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Iqra Khalid proposes “Inform. Reform. Empower” for change

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

By Saima S. Hussain

Mississauga

It’s Thursday evening and she’s sitting in a corner booth at the coffee shop. Wearing a dark jacket and red pants, she is busily tapping away on her phone while she waits for me. “Iqra?” I ask as I get closer. She looks up; her face breaks out in a big, bright smile before she replies: “Yes, that’s me!”

She looks like she should be heading to the movies with friends, or at least chatting with them over an ice cap. “Single women your age are either busy getting married or looking for someone to marry. What are you doing standing for election?” I ask her deliberately. Unfazed, she bursts out laughing. Clearly she’s heard this question before from inquisitive desi aunties. Her answer is disarmingly honest: “There’s so much to do, so much that needs to be done. Public service for me takes priority over self-service.”

“Why are you entering into the world of politics?” I asked. “Our country is going through a lot of changes. I want to be part of the change. I want to ensure that the change our country goes through is reflective of the people of the country.”

Iqra is seeking nomination to be the Liberal Party of Canada Candidate for the riding of Mississauga Erin Mills in the next federal elections. A soon-to-be-lawyer who works for the City of Mississauga, she is a first generation immigrant, having moved to Canada with her family from Pakistan when she was twelve. Iqra earned her Honours Bachelor of Arts from York University, majoring in professional writing and criminology. She then went on to obtain her Juris Doctorate after working for a number of years.

Only twenty-eight years of age, Iqra is a strong believer in giving back to the community so she started volunteering at a very young age. She has held many elected positions, representing various community initiatives and interest groups. Her success in these positions has always come down to neutrality, fairness and objectivity.

“Canada is a safe haven for so many different communities and cultures. We are famous for our multiculturalism but I think we need to work hard at increasing the bond and connection between different communities as well. We as Canadians are masters of tolerance but I think we need to go a step beyond. We have accepted our differences and now we need to embrace them. By working together and pooling all our resources, our skills and talents, despite our differences in age, gender, colour, ethnicity, we can really build a more united and stronger community of Canada.”

 Iqra feels very strongly about equality and minority rights.

“Our country is based on minorities working together. Our objective should be to level the playing ground for everyone so that we can collectively prosper socially and economically, at the local, national and international level.” Her words were very passionate.

“All that is great, but aren’t you still too young for public office”, I asked, again not hesitating to put her on the spot. “Age is just a number and youth is a curable disease. I may be young but my life experiences have given me the same maturity and understanding of issues as those who are much older than me. When I came to Canada with my family, our pockets were empty. Often times, just paying the rent was a challenge. My father worked as a security guard, my mother and older brother worked in factories. I went to weddings and parties to apply henna designs on girls’ hands. That’s how I chipped in. We all worked hard. But that is not something unique. My story is the story of the average first generation immigrant.”

Her honesty stunned me. Politicians are known to hide their less than prestigious past. Yet here she was, proudly recalling the struggle her family went through and the hurdles they overcame to be where they are today. Iqra worked hard for her law degree, one of her brothers is heading to medical school and the family now runs a well-established business in Mississauga.

Having lived through such turbulent circumstances, she has first-hand knowledge of issues that other politicians can only talk about: immigration and settlement; access to accreditation programs, professional and personal networking opportunities, affirmative action against discrimination and increased services for marginalized people.

 “If you feel strongly about different groups such as newcomers or youths or women who fail to find adequate employment because they are either considered over-qualified or lack experience, or if you feel that Canadian foreign policy is unfair and does not represent the sentiments of majority of Canadians then become involved and work towards changing the policies.” She said.

That is all well and good, but I wanted to know how she proposed to affect the change that she talked about.

“Saima, affecting change is not a one-man job nor is it an over-night phenomenon. Change is a three-step process” She said. “Inform. Reform. Empower. Information is always the first step. By raising awareness about issues, educating and discussing them, we find out the depth of a problem. With that information, we then look at possible solutions, how to reform our current systems and methods for tackling problems, and make informed decisions. Lastly, we empower each other to take action based on the information and collective decisions. Through empowerment, we affect change at the grassroots level. We maintain a strong foundation. We build to last.”

Clearly, Iqra Khalid practises what she preaches.

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Christine Elliott ahead in Tory leadership race

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

Tory MPP Christine Elliott has taken the lead in the race to replace Tim Hudak as leader of the Ontario Tories, a Forum survey shows.

 Tory MPP Christine Elliott has taken the lead in the race to replace Tim Hudak as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, a Forum Research poll shows.

Elliott, the widow of former federal cabinet minister Jim Flaherty who was the first to declare her candidacy, tested the highest as the best person to lead the party after its devastating loss in the June 12 election, which handed the Liberals a majority government.

“We have identified Christine Elliott as the best leader for the PCs well before this,” said Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff stated, adding the Whitby-Oshawa MPP would be a “formidable” opponent to Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“She is a centrist candidate . . . that’s why she does well, because she can appeal to a broader spectrum,” he said.

Of 1,229Ontariovoters polled by Forum, 33 per cent said they would vote for the Tories if Elliott led the party, compared to other names being floated, including federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, 29 per cent, federal MP Patrick Brown fromBarrie, 28 per cent and MPP Vic Fedeli (Nipissing), 28 per cent.

Other potential candidates who do not test as well include MPP Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton) and MPP Monte McNaughton (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex), both with 26 per cent.

The party’s leadership convention is expected to be held next spring.

In the meantime, the Grits are consolidating their spring election win, garnering slightly more support in the random survey.

Forum said if another election was held today, four out of 10 would vote Liberal or 39 per cent, the Tories, 32 per cent or just slightly ahead of where the two parties finished in the June election. The NDP, on the other hand, has seen its vote share drop to 19 per cent from 24. Support for the Green Party grew to 8 per cent from 5 per cent.

Wynne’s approval rating jumped sharply to 46 per cent from the 36 per cent she received in the election, while NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also made somewhat of a comeback. Her approval rating climbed to 35 per cent from 25 per cent following the spring vote.

Bozinoff said the Wynne government is still in the “honeymoon period,” aided and abetted by the fact the PCs only have an interim leader, MPP Jim Wilson.

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LONG MARCH AND DIVIDED POLITICS IN PAKISTAN

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

Dr. Hasan Askari

Lahore

  The current political crisis inPakistanhas positive as well as negative aspects. On the one hand it can be argued thatPakistanhas a democratic political system where elections are held regularly and it is possible to challenge the sitting government on political grounds. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz government led by Nawaz Sharif won the elections in May 2013 and established the government at the federal level and in theprovinceofPunjab.

 On the other hand, the working of the democratic political system often runs into serious problems. The quality of democracy has traditionally been poor and the complaints of unfairness of the elections are quite common. What has often landed Pakistani governments in trouble is their performance in terms of addressing the problems of common people.

 This applies to the PMLN government as well as the People Party’s government (2008-2013). The People’s Party government with Asif Ali Zardari as President and two prime ministers (Gilani and Raja Ashraf) ran into serious problems from time to time.

  The problems that threatened the People’s Party government in 2008-2013 have also created serious problems for the Nawaz Sharif government within 15 months of coming to power.

 The only difference is that political management by Asif Ali Zardari was better than by Nawaz Sharif. There were situations when the future of the People’s Party government became very uncertain.

 One prime minister was removed by the Supreme Court and the other managed to survive at the last stage. Fears were expressed with reference to the Memo Controversy (2011-1012) that Zardari would lose his Presidency. He managed to survive and completed his five-year term.

 There are strong doubts that Nawaz Sharif’s present government would complete five years and manage its affairs smoothly. The existing political arrangements face a strong threat of losing the grip over the affairs even if Nawaz Sharif survives the present crisis. He is expected to run into more difficulties even if he manages to continue for some time.

 What saved Zardari led People’s Party government from collapsing was a greater understanding of the troubled political realities and making adjustments with the political forces and the military.

The political approach was realistic and it did not get stuck with the issue of political ego.

Nawaz Sharif led a long march against the People’s Party government and Shahbaz Sharif threatened to drag Asif Zardari in the streets of Pakistan but Zardar played it cool and showed flexibility in restoring Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in April 2009 in view of the Muslim League led Long March and the pressure from the Army Chief. He also managed the Long March of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri in January 2013 through political negotiations and accommodation.

 For the present political crisis inPakistan, it can be argued that two opposition leaders and their fifteen to twenty thousand supporters cannot be allowed to stage a Long March toIslamabadand dislodge the government. This will create a wrong precedence and no future government would be able to function inPakistan.

 The Nawaz Sharif government also got supportive resolutions from both houses of the parliament while Imran Khan and Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri were threatening to overthrow the government. Some political parties also supported the government.

The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz group also invoked the support of hardline Islamic militant and sectarian groups that threatened to mobilize their madrassa students to counter Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri. If this dimension of sectarian polarization spreads,Pakistanwill face greater crisis which will create more problems for the Sharif government rather than saving it from the political pressure of Dr. Qadri.

 The basic differences between the People’s Party government and the Muslim League Nawaz Group government are how they managed it politically. Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif have run their governments as a personalized business company, relying heavily on their loyalists and family members that ignored professional competence and the experience of political conflict management. You can judge this by looking at the federal and thePunjabcabinets which included few leaders of political statures that enjoyed respect outside their party’s political circles.

 The Sharif brothers were less available to the parliamentarians than the People’s Party leadership. In fact, a large number of Muslim League parliamentarians are happy that the current political crisis has made the Sharif brothers more available to them for direct meetings. Previously most parliamentarians had to interact with the loyal bureaucrats of the Sharif brothers.

 There were corruption complaints against the senior leaders of both political parties. However, the Muslim League focused more on media oriented construction projects confined to a few cities and paid less attention to the problems that hurt the common people like electricity and gas shortages, inflation, price hikes and internal security.

A large number of the poor of different cities complained constantly about inflated electricity bill beyond their financial reach. The general assumption was that these high amount bills were meant to collect money from the people without any regards to their financial means. This problem was hardly addressed.

  The Nawaz Sharif government also undermined its relations with the military with reference to the case of General Pervez Musharraf, the GEO television issue and management of foreign policy issues that related to the military like the relations withIndiaandAfghanistan. The civilian government was not in favor of military action inNorth Waziristan. In the end, the Army went intoNorth Waziristanon its own and the Sharif government was left with no choice but to support it.

 We will continue to debate the reasons of the August 2014 crisis inPakistanbut the increased political division will make it difficult to make a realistic assessment.

 The pro Muslim League people accuse the military and the two political leaders of exploiting the situation. Others hold the poor governance and the arrogance of power on the part of the Sharif family as the main cause.

 However, all agree that the Sharif brothers had opened too many political fronts without addressing the problems of the common people. Like in 1993 and 1999, they overplayed their electoral mandate without realizing that winning an election does not give freedom to run the country to one’s personal preference.

Politics is working with other centers of power and listening to what people are saying beyond one’s loyal circles.

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Populist’s Brash Tactics Stir Fears of Crisis in Pakistan

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

Only last year, Imran Khan was casting himself as the savior of Pakistani politics: a playboy cricketer turned opposition leader who enjoyed respect and sex appeal, filling stadiums with adoring young Pakistanis drawn to his strident attacks on corruption, American drone strikes and old-school politics. When Mr. Khan promised that he would become prime minister, many believed him.

Now, though, Mr. Khan’s populist touch appears to have deserted him.

He led thousands of supporters into the center of the capital,Islamabad, a week ago in a boisterous bid to force the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whom he accuses of election fraud. But the crowds he attracted were much smaller than his party had hoped, and the protest movement has been messy, inchoate and inconclusive.

Mr. Khan, 61, delivers speeches every day from atop a shipping container opposite the Parliament building, while his supporters sleep on the streets of a paralyzed city. But because he lacks the clout to break the political deadlock, he has turned to inflammatory tactics.

In recent days, he has called for a tax boycott, threatened to have his supporters storm the prime minister’s house, and pulled his party’s lawmakers from Parliament. In interviews, he has compared himself to Gandhi and to Tariq ibn Ziyad, an eighth-century Islamic general. In speeches, he has threatened his enemies and taunted Mr. Sharif, at one point challenging him to a fistfight.

The rest of the political opposition and much of the news media in Pakistanhave turned against Mr. Khan, who is seen as having disastrously overreached. “Go Home Imran,” said a politically conservative newspaper, The Nation. Another writer called him “the Sarah Palin ofPakistan.”

But many worry that Mr. Khan’s brash tactics could endanger the country’s fragile democracy. Breaking its sphinxlike stance, the military intervened in the turmoil on Tuesday, urging politicians to resolve their differences with “patience, wisdom and sagacity.” Though benignly worded, the statement caused anxious flutters among the political class, who notePakistan’s long history of military coups.

The protests inIslamabad“threaten to upend the constitutional order, set back rule of law and open the possibility of a soft coup, with the military ruling through the back door,” the Brussels-based International Crisis Group warned on Thursday. Hours later, the American Embassy inIslamabadsaid pointedly in a statement that its diplomats “strongly oppose any efforts to impose extra constitutional change.”

On the streets, Mr. Khan’s movement has the boisterous feel of a midsummer music festival. Pop stars introduce his speeches, which are punctuated by songs during which his supporters, many of them women, burst into dance. A disc jockey known as DJ Butt is part of his entourage.

But Mr. Khan’s stewardship of that exuberant crowd has seemed erratic. When the marchers arrived inIslamabadon Aug. 15 after a punishing 36-hour journey fromLahore, the capital was being pounded by rain. While his supporters slept on the wet streets, Mr. Khan retreated to his villa outside the city to rest, drawing sharp criticism.

In speeches, he has used extensive cricket analogies, referring to himself as “captain,” and his heated, often intemperate style has alienated some supporters. At one point, he threatened to send his political enemies to the Taliban so the insurgents could “deal with them.”

Mr. Khan’s call for supporters to stop paying taxes and utility bills met with widespread derision because few Pakistanis pay income taxes, and the country is already crippled with power shortages. His attack on theUnited Statesambassador, Richard G. Olson, was seen as pandering to anti-American sentiment. “Are we, Pakistanis, children of a lesser god?” he said in that speech.

The protests stem from accusations of vote-rigging in the May 2013 general election. Mr. Khan accuses Mr. Sharif’s party of fixing the vote in a number of constituencies inPunjabProvince. Critics of Mr. Khan call his accusations sour grapes: Although international observers noted some irregularities, the election was accepted as broadly free and fair.

Suspicions that the military, whose relations with Mr. Sharif’s government have been tense, might have something to do with Mr. Khan’s protest movement were heightened by the appearance of Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri, a mercurial cleric whose parallel movement has, in recent days, outshone Mr. Khan’s.

Mr. Qadri, who wants to replace Mr. Sharif’s government with one of technocrats, appears to have attracted a larger and more disciplined crowd, and to be benefiting from a simpler message. Normally based inCanada, he controls no seats in Parliament, and his populist manifesto is filled with laudable but vague notions like an end to terrorism.

Mr. Sharif’s government, which initially reacted to the protests in a clumsy and sometimes brutal manner, has taken a more sophisticated approach in recent days. The police have allowed Mr. Khan’s and Mr. Qadri’s supporters to reach the area outside Parliament, although the building itself is surrounded by hundreds of soldiers.

On one level, the dispute is about control ofPunjab,Pakistan’s most populous province and Mr. Sharif’s political heartland. Mr. Khan’s party, thePakistanTehreek-e-Insaf, knows it must challenge Mr. Sharif inPunjabto stand a chance of beating him nationally.

Negotiations started Wednesday, but Mr. Khan called them off a day later, demanding that Mr. Sharif resign first. Addressing a crowd, he railed against the prime minister in language considered coarse even by the rowdy standards of Pakistani politics.

Pressure to resolve the crisis is rising, both from hard-liners in Mr. Sharif’s party and from residents ofIslamabad, who complain about the strain the protests have put on the capital. Protesters dry their laundry on the lawn of the Supreme Court and slip behind bushes to defecate.

The former president, Asif Ali Zardari, has offered to help mediate between the parties and met with Mr. Sharif on Saturday. But the situation on the streets remains fluid. An outbreak of violence or an overreaction by the police could shift the advantage to Mr. Khan and endanger the government, analysts say.

Few Pakistanis believe that a military coup is imminent. But the crisis has weakened Mr. Sharif, who has squabbled with the generals over policy towardIndia, peace talks with the Taliban and the fate of the former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who faces treason charges.

“The military doesn’t need to impose martial law now,” said Amir Mateen, a political analyst based inIslamabad. “Imran has weakened the entire political class, and the government is on its knees. The military can have its agenda fulfilled without doing anything.”

The next move, though, is up to Mr. Khan, who, having played an ambitious game, now needs to find a way to end it peacefully.

 

 

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Why giving your grown children an allowance may make financial sense

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

There is a saying “once your child, always your child.”

For many seniors, the new saying is “once a dependent, always a dependent”.

So does it ever end?

With reports suggesting that today’s seniors are the richest in history, maybe it shouldn’t end. As the pile of cash for some wealthy seniors keeps growing, the question of how to disperse this bounty is of growing importance.

Seniors often fear that by passing on their wealth too early they will kill ambition in their offspring, or leave the money vulnerable in a marriage breakup. Maybe they are just too inherently thrifty to give it all away or maybe they aren’t sure how much they will need themselves.

For those seniors inclined to help out their grown children, what about an adult allowance? Maybe this little handout isn’t something that needs to stop when they are 16 and get their first part time job. While the image of dear old dad handing out a shiny new quarter to his 37-year-old son each week may seem pretty comical — perhaps it is just our new reality. A BMO report recently said the typical senior today is nine times richer than the typical Millennial.

The practice of giving allowances to children began around the beginning of the 20thcentury. The idea was that giving children an allowance taught them how to budget, how to make choices in spending, and hopefully helped them to become better savers and smarter consumers.

An adult allowance has the same basic ideas as the child allowance:

  • The parent that has some excess wealth will provide some new source of regular income to a child, that will allow them to enjoy special treats or to live more comfortably.
  • Rather than simply buying things for the child, a more modest, regular allowance will teach the child how to save up for something that they really want.
  • Ideally a portion of this allowance might be saved for an emergency fund or some very long range but important goal.

I am sure that the idea of an adult allowance causes a stress inducing pain for many readers. I can hear the comments now…’why can’t the kids of today pick up their own bootstraps,’ ‘when will they ever stand on their own two feet,’ ‘they clearly didn’t learn any valuable lessons with their allowances as kids, why would they learn anything now?’

To those reader comments in my head, I share your pain. But if not an adult allowance, what are the options for wealthier older parents when it comes to ideas on what to do with their money?

The three standard options are:

  • Start spending more on yourselves. The only problem is that for many people, they already have what they need, and they are who they are. This means that other than a short term blip, they tend to go back to the same reasonable spending ways that helped to bring them their wealth in the first place.
  • Another option is to give much more to charity. This certainly has its merits, but for many people they would much prefer to keep their wealth (or at least the majority of it) in their family. Maybe there is much more room for many people to give to charity than they currently do, but it almost requires a cultural change to get this to take a larger place in someone’s spending.
  • If not on themselves or to charity, it means that extra wealth (whatever won’t be spent personally in your lifetime) will end up with the children or family members anyway.

If you are very likely to be leaving money to your children, probably the worst way to leave the money is still the most common method – through a Will.

Among the problems with a Will is:

  • in most provinces it faces a probate fee that can add up to a 1.5% tax on the estate
  • the funds will go to adult beneficiaries in one large lump sum that may not be managed appropriately by the beneficiaries
  • more and more people receiving the inheritance are already in their 60s, and could have used some of the money years before, but don’t need it now
  • in some cases the funds could be used in a much more tax efficient way by the adult children than by sitting in the parents large taxable investment account year after year
  • the parent never gets to see the benefit of their giving

You could choose to give while you live in one or more large lump sums. This could be a reasonable way to give as long as you are very confident that you can afford to give the lump sum, and that your children or other beneficiaries will do something reasonable with a large gift.

Another alternative is simply to go back to giving a weekly or monthly allowance – just like you did many years ago. While this method won’t help with major challenges like a house down payment (and it doesn’t preclude a larger gift), there are some meaningful advantages.

The first is that the parents maintain a greater degree of financial control. After all, it is tough to ask for the cheque back on a big gift if you change your mind. For the child receiving an allowance, it can become part of their family budgeting, and something that they can reasonably count on. It may not have the wow factor of a big one time gift, but it may also be something that the children can effectively manage financially.

Like all issues involving family and money, each family is different. Where the children are financially astute and responsible, there is much less concern with larger gifts. However, where those strengths may not be in place, a regular allowance may make much more sense.

One final note in favour of the allowance. We are seeing more potential issues these days when a parent gives a large gift to a married child, and the child subsequently gets divorced. While it used to be a little easier to put a gift in the form of a demand loan, and call it back, there have been some recent court cases where the judge ruled that a loan with no regular interest payments and no expectation of being repaid, is the same as a gift, and is therefore part of the family assets to be split in a divorce.

When it comes to helping adult children financially, it makes sense to be a little proactive if you have the wealth to do so. The typical approach to estate planning usually only helps the government to get more than its fair share.

 

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“Samya Baji”, An Authentic Traditional Newari Cuisine and “Indra Jatra Festival”

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

Uttam Makaju

Toronto

Nepal, the land of diversity in ethnicity, enjoys a great deal of cultural richness. Among the different communities of Nepal, Newar community is considered as richest community in culture. They are believed to be the most ancient inhabitants of Kathmandu valley.

Newar culture is very rich in pageantry and ritual throughout the year. One can observe festival or ritual each month in Newar community. Among the different festivals, “Indra Jatra” stands most attractive in Newar community. It is called “Yenya “ in Newari language.

Newars have lot of festivals and each ceremony holds different kind of food. Most of the festivals in Newar culture are celebrated according to the lunar calendar. Food, according to their ceremony, holds importance in terms of climate, health and nutrition. During the Indra Jatra, people prepare a combination of dishes called “Samya Baji” and give away to general public.

Samya baji is one of the intensely popular combination of Newari foods. It is believed that the system of Samaya baji came into existence after Newars started settling in Kathmandu valley. Samya baji is served to the family members and neighbours during the special worship of the God. It is also a public belief that distribution of Samya baji brings fortune, good health and prosperity. One of the basic characteristics of Samya baji is all the items are dried.

The “Samaya baji” combination is not only a food but also a super protein packed, well balanced appetizer that eats like meal. You will love the beaten rice, barbequed chicken, fried fish, boiled egg, soybeans, and diced ginger that this ‘all-in-one’ dish offers. The combination of spices and ingredients will boost not only the flavor, but your immune and digestive system as well.

Samy Baji includes a bara, a pie made out of black gram, fried musya ( marinated soybeans), lava (garlic), palu (fresh ginger rhizomes), stir fried tukauchha (mustard greens leafy vegetables), alu achar ( marinated potato), chhoyla (barbequed meat) bodi (beans), pannchkwa (a curry made out of five different vegetables and beans), full boiled fried eggs, fresh fried fish and fruits. At first sight, Samya Baji looks like more than enough for one person, but as you start of taste evolution , you’ll certainly ask for more. To further the experience, thoen (rice beer) is served with it.

As mentioned earlier, Samaya baji is a constellation of different elements like protein, vitamin, carbohydrates and so on. However, it is interesting to know that our forefathers have honoured some of the Samaya baji items to different Hindu deities. Like egg, fish and ginger are symbolized as Bramha ( creator), Bishnu (manager) and Maheswor (destructor) respectively.

Canadian Newa Guthi (www.canadiannewaguthi.org), a Greater Toronto Area based not for profit organization has been organizing “Samaya baji picnic” for last eight years.

 For the year 2014, the organization has set the picnic date on Sunday, August 31, at Wilket Creek Park, Toronto, ON.

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5 Back-to-School Organizing Challenges — and Solutions

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

Common organizing challenges during back-to-school time and how to solve them.

Getting ready for the new school year is an exciting time for kids — new teachers, new subjects, new grade level and new classmates. It’s also a time of familiar challenges — getting up early again, staying on schedule, keeping up with homework and preparing for exams.

To help you get ready for this coming fall, here are our top five back-to-school organizational challenges and the solutions to help.

1- Morning Madness? Set Up a Routine

One of the toughest parts of the start of the school year is making the transition from the laid-back summer schedule to the rigorous academic routine. Suddenly the alarm starts going off at 6:30 am, the kids start fighting for the bathroom, and your morning turns to mayhem.

To stay ahead of the frenzy this year, parenting strategist Natalie Blais recommends setting up a regular bedtime and morning routine. This can include everything from a lights-out time to a time for showering, brushing teeth, reading books or making breakfast. You can even test out your plan 10 days before school starts to get your kids ready for the first day.

The earlier you start, the more time you will have to get into the swing of things and adjust to the new schedule. “Kids thrive on routine,” says Robert Nickell, syndicated parenting columnist and founder of Daddy & Co. “It helps them know what to expect, creates a sense of calm and solves many morning meltdowns.”

2- Homework a Mess? Define a Workstation

Another common pitfall is the roving workstation. Although you want to give your kids room to choose where they’ll best concentrate, it’s important to help them establish a definitive work space. This way kids know exactly where to go when it’s homework time.

Organization expert Stacy Erickson cautions against defaulting to the bedroom desk. “Most desks in bedrooms end up as clutter-catchers rather than workspaces,” she says. Instead, think about the kitchen or a common area. “Kids generally like to do homework where they can interact regularly with adults,” she advises.

3- Missing Materials? Get the Right Supplies

Pens, pencils, protractors, papers — it’s a lot to manage and keep organized. Family therapist Dr. Fran Walfish recommends including your kids when you go school supply shopping so that they can help pick out their materials. Personalizing the process can also help them take ownership of their supplies and know what’s theirs.

Ann Dolin, president of Educational Connections Tutoring and Test Prep, adds that consolidating subjects into a master binder can help keep track of assignments. She also recommends a shower caddy for pens, pencils, highlighters and calculators to help kids easily carry around their essentials.

4- Unprepared at School? Make a Launch Pad

Like the shower caddy, nearly all parents and professionals champion the “launch pad” as a quick and easy way to make sure that kids have everything they need — from homework to lunch, sneakers or gear — while at school.

Colleen Ashe, professional organizer and CEO of Ashe Organizing Solutions, advises families to designate a “grab and go” spot where they place all backpacks, lunch boxes and activity equipment for the day ahead. Then, before bedtime, check in with the launch pad to make sure that you have everything you need to grab when you head out the door the next day.

5- Out of Touch? Get Involved

The flurry of back-to-school organizing can sometimes leave us so harried keeping up with our schedules that we lose sight of what’s actually going on at school. Try to stay mindful of the bigger picture at the start of the school year and make time to meet with your kids’ teachers. If you can, check out school events or get involved with parent associations.

Organizing expert Stacy Erickson reminds us that every family is unique and should develop their own system to stay on track during the back-to-school season. The key is to figure out what works best for you, and then get organized and excited for the coming new year.

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Romancing The Bums: Bollywooders fascination for female derriere revealed!

Posted on 27 August 2014 by admin

THERE use to be an era when romance and music of our Bollywood cine ex­travaganzas use to be circumscribed around eyes, tresses and walk of the dames in the center of the entire cine enterprise. But now it looks like fasci­nation of Bollywooders has somewhat deviated to some other body part of our gor­geous dames.

Yes! you got it right now the latest body part which has grabbed the fascination of our Industryvalaas is the derriere of these stunning hotties. And it is quite con­spicuously visible because these days our cine literati are seldom letting any op­portunity slip out of their hands where they can either make a mention of butts in the lyrics of the song. Or otherwise get the choreog­raphy thing tailored in such a manner that entire focus of the viewers get shifted to the rear of this bootilicious babes.

So to believe what we are saying check out these bum glorifying audio-visual delights from Bollywood movie where butts of our B-town belles have turned into a sort of center of attraction for viewers.

 

SHAKE YOUR BOOTIYA – FIND­ING FANNY

Latest in the league of these bootilicious aural delights is this song from Deepika’s upcoming cine delight “Finding Fanny”, where her co-star Arjun Ka­poor can be seen convincing her to “Shake her Bootiya” on the floor.

 

ENGINE KI SITTI MEIN MHARO BUM DOLE – KHOOBSURAT

Probably the creator of this Rajasthani folk song wouldn’t have thought in his or her remotest dreams that some day this pleasing composition of his/her will get rehashed to sound peppy where “Mann” will be re­placed by “Bum” and none other than Bollywood’s fashionista Sonam will shake her derriere on it.

 

BUTT PATLO – O TERI

Although this Pulkit Samrat and Bilal Amrohi starrer could not hog the limelight by its content, but one thing which for quite a some time kept on rock­ing the dance clubs is this Pun-Western peppy number, “Butt Patlo” featuring Pulkit and Bilal along with many svelte firang models.

 

TOOH – GORI TERE PYAAR MEIN

When Kareena and Im­ran were promoting their “Ek Main Aur Ek Tu”, Ka­reena once quoted in a press conference that she finds Imran’s butt quite sexy, but this time when they once again teamed up for GTPM, Kareena instead of praising Imran’s derriere prefered to flaunt her own curvaceous booty.

 

BUM PE LAAT – HIMMATWALA

Just like this entire cine venture even this song could fetch any limelight for itself but in-spite of that because of glamorous Tamannah and its lyrics makes this one an eligible aural chunk to be in this list.

 

BABY DOLL – RA­GINI MMS

Although “Baby Doll” song from “Ragini MMS 2” didn’t have the mention of any bootylicious word in it, but the way it was cho­reographed and picturised it quite conspicuously un­earthed the intentions of the makers.

 

ONE TWO THREE FOUR – CHENNAI EXPRESS

When it’s about the booty dominated songs of Bollywood then how can one forget this visuo-aural delight featuring Priyamani and SRK where latter was seen doing a booty shake with the former.

 

MUNNI BADNAM – DABANGG

Even Munni Badnam Hui song didn’t have the word bum or butt in it, but inspite of that makers somehow managed to get the limelight focused where they intended to. Thanks to those astonin­shing butt and pelvic moves of gorgeous Mallaika.

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