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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Women in prisons

"One of the most damaging features of the criminal justice experience for women is the prison, an institution that will just not go away not matter how much the damage it causes is demonstrated to governments and policy makers. For some (and they are but a fraction of imprisoned populations), locking up may be necessary for the security of the rest of the society. For women (and other vulnerable groups), it is a severe punishment that needs a hard second look. The wounds are more often than not invisible and therefore insignificant. The NGOs that have worked in women's prisons in South Asia are struck by the general indifference of the official machinery to the mental state of those who stay within walls and behind closed doors for months and years and come out worse than when they went in. The recommendation for Counselling Units in prisons (especially women's prisons) seemed an obvious response even as it was not an answer to a wider question of alternatives."
(Sage – In Conflict and Custody: Therapeutic counselling for women by Rani Dhavan Shankardass, p. 162)

Cardamom coffee

"Indians have so many divisions and one of the divisions between north and south India is the preference in beverages. Tea is the preferred drink in the northern part of India, while south Indians love coffee. Interestingly, during my travels in north India, I had often noticed a peculiar phenomenon. The tea shops and small dairies that dotted highways and roads along the entire northern part of the subcontinent, though grandiosely named, were actually merely small shops specialising in milk products, and almost always served coffee when asked. The era of instant coffee had arrived even in small towns. But there was always a smell of cardamom in it.'
"When these shops got their day's supply of milk in the morning, they always dunked a few crushed cardamoms into the entire supply while boiling it in the early morning to make it last through the business day. The cardamom-flavoured milk was pleasant in the milky tea they served most of the day. Conversely, it killed the flavour of the instant coffee they served the occasional drinker of coffee. The flavour of cardamom violated the very purity of the simple and elegant act of smelling one's coffee."
(Sage – Defragmenting India: Riding a Bullet through the gathering storm by Harish Nambiar, p. 164)

More vs enough

"When it comes to the good things in life, the majority of people want more – a bigger house, a shiner car, perhaps even a newer and better spouse. I remember being stopped dead in my tracks at a party where I talked to a couple; the husband had just received an important promotion and the wife spoke of wanting to 'upgrade our friendships.' The entire advertising industry pushes us to reach for more. Many people spend their lifetime in a mindless race, like caged animals chasing their tails. This endless race tends to become very dehumanising.'
"When people engaged in the rat race come to the market, they also tend to reach for more, more, more. Even a profitable trade brings them no joy; it burns them to see that they neither bought the bottom, nor sold the top, but left some money on the table. Their bitterness drives them to either buy too early or sell too late. People who keep reaching for more usually underperform those of us who follow tested methods.'
"Those who reach out for more than the market is willing to give often end up with much less.'
"The power word in life, as well as in trading, is 'enough.' You have to decide what will make you happy and set your goals accordingly. The pursuit of your own goals will make you feel in control. To always crave more is to be a slave to greed and advertising. To decide what is enough is to be free."
(Wiley – The New Sell & Sell Short: How to take profits, cut losses, and benefit from price declines, Second edition by Dr Alexander Elder, p. 77)

Corruption

"The firm anticorruption standpoint of Generation Y Asian marks a notable departure from their predecessors, who largely viewed corruption as a necessary evil in order to get things done. While a few dollars in the hand of the right people can expedite otherwise-interminable bureaucratic processes, get children into the right schools, or simplify business practices, young Asians express vehement disapproval of corrupt practices.' 
"Young Asians agree that the government itself cannot be trusted to make positive changes to combat issues of misrepresentation and corruption. They propose lessening governmental power through private-sector partnerships, nongovernmental organisations, or international bodies such as the UN as a way to make Asian governments more accountable. Young Asians similarly advocate increasing citizens' voices by empowering specific populations to take a more hands-on approach to government or by increasing the amount of governance at the local and municipal level. Young Asians call for increased transparency and accountability in order to ensure that their leaders represent their best interests. Like many challenges, implementing these changes is easier said than done." 
(Wiley – Through the Eyes of Tiger Cubs: Views of Asia's next generation by Mark L. Clifford and Janet Pau) 

Rules governing crosswords

"There are no hard and fast rules for crosswords. Nevertheless, over a period of time, efforts have been made to streamline the clueing pattern so that the puzzles are 'fair' to the solver. The most accepted norms for crossword clues are the ones sett by A. F. Ritchie 'Afrit' and D. S. Macnutt 'Ximenes.' Afrit set the basic principles of 'fairness' by asserting that while setting a clue 'you need not mean what you say, but you must say what you mean.' Ximenes came up with a set of guidelines, encapsulated in his book 'Ximenes on the Art of Crossword Puzzle.' According to him a good cryptic clue must have a precise definition, a fair cryptic hint (including the connecting words) and nothing else. As opposed to Ximeneans, there are Libertarians, who follow a more relaxed approach to clueing, with a view to making it more exciting and witty. Ironically, most of Ximenean clues, drawn from British newspapers in India are good, but not fair, because of a surfeit of British references, which are absolutely alien to the Indian solver!"
(Macmillan – Understanding Cryptic Crosswords: A step by step guide, Second edition by Vivek Kumar Singh, p. 22)