søndag 22. mai 2011

Jamaican Creole

Jamaican Creole is something we associate with reggae, dreads and a specific type of brownies. At least some of us do.
Jamaican Creole also known as Jamaican Patois is a language mainly developed from English, with some re-grammar and with the influence of some West-African vocabulary. The language is a mix between African Creole and Anglo-American English.

The language was developed in the 17th century when slaves from the western parts of Africa were exposed to English by their colonists with Irish, Scottish and British background. This is the origin of the Jamaican Creole and distinguishes the language.

The Jamaican Creole’ characteristics come from the West- African influence, and can be recognized by the pronunciation of the vowels. They pronounce the vowels very clearly and put pressure on them. Underneath the blog entry is a song by Bob Marley, the most known Jamaican reggae artist. In his song you can hear the characteristic pronunciation for Jamaican Creole.

The Jamaican Creole is an oral language and they write standard British English due to the colonists that brought their language with them in the 17th century as earlier mentioned. You can picture yourself a British person speaking contra a Jamaican person speaking. Knowing that their written language is exactly alike is hard to image when the pronunciation is so different. The Patois (Jamaican Creole) is a part of the Jamaican culture and history, and I believe that the language through the reggae has given the country a public face.

I think that we need varieties of English to keep developing the language, and the Jamaican Creole is a great contribution to this development.


fredag 15. april 2011

Lesotho - can we make a difference?

Moliehi Sekese is not an ordinary woman; she is more of a hero. Moliehi is a teacher from Lesotho, the poorest country in the world. She has spoken in front of big assemblies and she has even met Gordon Brown, the previous prime minister in the UK. She is a symbol and a role model for many other teachers and also students, and shows us in the western society that money is not everything, but courage and the ability to not give up is the key to success.

These days she is visiting our school, Sandvika in Norway. She is here to speak about her project and what got her so far. Moliehi’s and her project’s main focus lies in preserving Lesotho’s indigenous plants and making the inhabitants in Lesotho aware of the situation. Further she wants to make a botanical garden where these plants can grow without any interference from people. She also wants to enlighten the fact that if these plants are used without any limitations, they will disappear.

Moliehi was sent from Africa and Lesotho as their representative in the Microsoft Innovative teachers’ event. Other African teachers believed in her cause and wanted her to represent Africa. In 2009 she was sent to Brazil to present her cause at the international Microsoft Innovative teachers’ event. There were gathered many teachers from all over the world in Brazil that week in 2009, and among those where my English teacher and Moliehi. Later that week Moliehi won the most prestigious price at the Microsoft event; she won the teachers’ choice. From all the ideas that were represented her idea was according to the other teachers the best idea.

With that price came many opportunities for Moliehi, and she has traveled a lot in the time after the event to present and speak about Lesotho, her school and the innovative project. I find her spirit and her mind-set very inspiring. In the end of the presentation she held for our class she reminded us how lucky we are that grow up with all the opportunities to get an education, and how there is no excuse to not get one. In Lesotho many of the children are orphans due to the high HIV and AIDS rates. Basic needs as food and clothing is not a matter of course for the children in Lesotho, and with that in mind it is even more remarkable that she has accomplished all she has with very few resources.

I found her courage and set of mind very inspiring, and on a bad day when I might don’t feel like doing school work, I will remember Moliehi and her words, and how I am privileged to live where I live, and having these opportunities that we often take for granted.

The video on top of my blog post is a Animoto I made myself, and the picture in this post is a picture of Moliehi and my teacher, Ann visiting a school in South-Africa.

fredag 18. mars 2011

Gran Torino

Gran Torino is a movie directed by Clint Eastwood, and he also plays the main character in the movie, Walt Kowalski. Walt is an old man that survied the Korean war, an lives in a multicultural neighbourhood. He seems to hate everyone around him, including his own family. Without his beloved wife that just died, there seems to be no good left in the old guy.

Walt lives next door to a Hmong family. They are asian people who came to America as refugees. He doesn't like his neighbours, and that doesn't get any better when the son in the family, Thao tries to steel his 1972 Gran Torino.

Thao is a young boy struggling to fit in with the other Hmong teenagers. He doesn't want to be a part of their gang, but they convince him to try to steal Mr. Kowalski's car.

Sue is Thao's sister, and a very clever girl. She wants only the best for her younger brother, and wants him to stay out of the the gang, lead by their cousin, Spider.

After an incident where Sue get her self into a bad situation, Walt helps her, and they develop a friendship.

Friendship is the main theme in this movie. How meeting new young people changes Walts life, and he sets his mind to help these two young siblings. He develop a sort of friendship with the priest, that keeps nagging him about coming to confession in church.

There is also a great conflict in the movie between Walt, Sue, Thao and the gang. The whole neighbourhood fears Walt, and they know he is very skilled with guns.

One day when Thao is walking home from work, the gang confront him, and burns his face with a cigarette. Walt revenges Thao, and warns the gang by beating up one of their members. Later that evening Thao and Sue's house where the target in a drive by shooting. Sue wasn't at home, and they all feared for her life. She came home later that night, raped and beaten up.

Thao wants to kill those who raped his sister and tried to kill his family. Walt want let him do that, and sacrifices his own life. Walt dies as a hero while he is lighting his own cigarette.

torsdag 17. mars 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

These days I'm reading a book in class called Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. The action takes place in Seattle, in the areas around Chinatown and Japantown. The book is about friendship, and in the beginning we get to know Henry. He is a man that just lost his wife and have a distanced relationship with his son, Marty. Henry Grew up in Chinatown during the bombing of Pearl Harbour. We learn that it was not that easy to be an asian young boy, easily mistaken to be japanese during those years in America.

Right now I'm reading about Henry's childhood and his japanese friend, Keiko and how they develop a friendship, dispite the fact that she is japanese.
So far I really enjoy reading the book, and I will update my blog with a new entry every week until I'm done reading the book.

I found the picture on this site.

fredag 4. februar 2011


A megacity is a city with a population over 10 millions. On the page you can find a survey over all the megacities in the word. The survey is from 2006.

The statistics on page 136 shows how over the two last centuries the worlds population has gone from living in rural areas, too 60 % of the population living in cities.
Asia is the continent with the biggest amount of people living in rural areas, but there are also many people living in cities. In fact Japan has two of the biggest megacities in the world. After Asia comes Africa when it comes to the amount of the people living in rural areas. In Europe, South America and North America the majority lives in cities, and the statistics shows that as the population increase the population in cities will increase as well. So the majority of children in the time to come will grow up in cities.

In the cites in the southern part of the world the slum is a very big issue. One of three people living in megacities lives in slum areas. In Brazil for example many people live in so called favelas. Crime is a huge challenge in these areas and the people living there, especially the children do not have the safe surroundings that a child should have growing up.

For the last centuries there has been a huge growth of people within the cities and suburban areas. I think this development is going to continue, but I believe that the best solution for some people would be to settle in rural areas and live of growing crops and going back to the old way of living. Especially in the biggest cities where poverty and crime is a huge problem. Very often these people have no education and therefore no work.

An other question that we have to answer is how we are going to make room for all these people, and how we are going to feed them. Someone have to produce food for the next, big generation. We cannot afford all people in the world living like we in the western part of the world do today. The earth doesn't have the resources so everyone can live the life of a Norwegian or an American.

fredag 28. januar 2011

Robben Island

Robben Island was a prison for political prisoners from the period between the 17th to the 20th centuries. The prison was first taken in use by the Dutch settlers that are the ancestors of the white minority in South Africa today. The name Robben Island is Dutch for Seal Island, and the island is only a few meters above sea level caused by an ancient erosion event.

The prison has been the home to many South African politicians that have fought for the South African people’s rights.
Among those prisoners were Nelson Mandela and the current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma. They fought against the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and Nelson Mandela was the first black president in the country. Before the Island was used as a home for prisoners during the Apartheid, it was the base for a colony by the Dutch settlers. During the World War Two the island was the first point of defence against an attack on Table Bay. Right before the war it was considered that the island should be made into a holiday resort, but this did not happen. It was reserved for military use and later a maximum security prison.

Robben Island is about 12 km outside the coast of South Africa and Cape Town. Totally separated from the rest of the world these prisoners sat in small cells for years without any contact with their families. The reality at the island where long days with manual labour when they were not sitting alone in their cells. Many of the prisoners became blind after working long days outside with white metamorphic rocks that reflected sunlight.

Today Robben Island represent something else than it did 30 years ago. Those who spent decades there fought for freedom, democracy and equality for their people. That is what the prison and the island itself stands for today. We can find Robben Island as one of the places on UNESCO’s World Heritage List among many other unique places all over the world. Today there is a museum on the island where the prison used to be, and they have kept it all authentic. It is possible to visit Nelson Mandela’s cell and see what condition these prisoners lived under for several years.

torsdag 20. januar 2011

9 11

9/11 was the date when many thousands Americans dialed 911, more than usual. It stands in memory as milestone, and was a change in American history as we know it today. This film 9/11 tells the story from the inside, from a firefighter’s perspective and role.

Two French brothers had for months been filming for a documentary that was meant to be a film about the life off a firefighter at the New York fire department. Instead it turned out to be a chocking and real documentary telling a strong story from an insider’s perspective on the event of 9/11.

In the movie we get to know Tony, a rookie at the Manhattan, New York fire department. The two French brothers have decided to follow him on his way to becoming a real fire fighter. Tony seems to be a white cloud as the guys at the house call it. There are white clouds and there are black clouds. The white clouds are rookies on duty without experiencing fires for a long time. The black clouds are the opposite, and when they are on duty it seems to always be a huge fire somewhere.
“Be careful what you wish for” the guys always tell Tony, because they can see that he is waiting for his first big challenge.

On September 10 the French brothers are making dinner for the fire department. They are all sitting around the table eating a leg of lamb. They only made three, and I bet on of the fire fighters could eat one each. Despite the lack of lamb, they where all having a great time, and the brothers really felt as one of the guys. This memorable night was everything the next day wouldn’t be. Almost without worries and not a thought of what was waiting them the next morning.

On the morning of September 11, one of the French brothers was with the chief just checking a gas leak. That was when a plane was seen flying over New York City and crashed into the World Trade Center. Everyone was looking against the two towers, Manhattan and New York’s trademark. It was as taken out from a movie, but this wasn’t a movie, it was real.

Not more than fifteen minutes later the center was filled up with fire fighters from all over New York that wanted to help the civilians inside the Trade Center. As they entered the center, one of the brothers saw a woman on fire, but he didn’t want to film it, because he thought no one should see such a horrible sight. Some people where helped out from the building and brought into security, but many thousands died. As time went by the started to hear big cracks as people jumped and landed on the ground.

On the other side of town, Tony the rookie was sitting as the only one left at the fire department taking calls. It was unbearable sitting there alone not being able to do anything knowing that his “brothers” where risking their lives inside the World Trade Center. Tony said in an interview after the film was done that the reason he wanted to be a fire fighter was because he wanted to save lives, but after this he was prepared to go to war if he had to. Go to war to kill.

In this picture fire men are carrying the pastor out from the tower that just collapsed.

After a while on more plane hit the building next to the World Trade Center, and soon the Twin Towers would be leveled with the ground. People all over New York where in shook, and running around trying to get a hold of their loved ones.

Both the brothers where involved in very dangerous situations that day, but they both survived as all the other fire fighters at the department. They caught it all on tape; the people running around in the streets, fire men in their uniforms sitting dusty and covered in blood after trying to save as many lives as possible, and the World Trade Center falling to the ground. They filmed it all from the inside, and that is what makes this documentary so special. The solidarity at the fire house and the Americans united in the streets, no matter race or skin color.

In the film you can see the pastor praying when he stands inside the lobby helping the other fire fighters.
The memory of those who died that day should never be forgotten and we should work hard in the future to prevent something like this happen again. This day was not only a loss for USA, but for the whole world. We all remember what we did that day, and how the fear wouldn’t disappear for a long time. This film tells a story that should be told and I highly recommend it.

Photo from this site.