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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Women who got in

I was interested to see (in "Os Tempos que Correm") the proportion of women who were voted in during the elections (in Portugal) on Sunday. Bloco Esquerda, the smallest party who doubled their number of votes, had 50% of women voted in. The Communist Party had slightly more than fourteen percent of women. The two parties who lost a huge percentage of the electorate had a bit more than 8% of women. And the winning socialists had 28+%.

BE: 4 em 8 (50%)
CDS/PP: 1 em 12 (8.33%)
CDU: 2 em 14 (14.29%)
PS: 34 em 120 (28.33%)
PSD: 6 em 72 (8.33%)

All in all, a good sign for the BE and for women. In fact the only policy that really separated the Socialists (who won) from the Social Democrats (who lost) was the one on women's right to chose ("aborto"). The Socialists, who got an overwhelming majority, have promised to ease the laws and hold a referendum. Women on Waves have done a good job of getting the issue into public debate, so hopefully there will be more people voting than the 32% who voted in the last referendum. (I wasn't one as I can't vote in referendums).

Monday, February 21, 2005

Octavio Paz ... and I kept trying!

Today a friend asked me if I knew this poem by Ocatvio Paz:
Imprisoned by four walls
(to the North, the crystal of non-knowledge
a landscape to be invented
to the South, reflective memory
to the East, the mirror
to the West, stone and the song of silence)

I wrote messages, but received no reply.

He saw the context of it as knowledge sharing networks - reaching for your virtual world, knowing there is some "invisible" knowledge but needing to create a landscape to be invented.

I see the poem also as a search for identity.

Today the guy from Cabovisão asked me if I intended to to back to my "terra". I thought of the terra I have on my varandah. Was he asking me if I was going back to work on my plants? I found it helpful to remind myself of my friend's suggestion that "Stone and the song of silence" was about the need for meditation and metaphor.

I've made my addition to the last line of Octavio Paz' beautiful poem:
I wrote messages, but received no reply.
So I kept trying!

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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Os eleições

Irrita-me que não tenho voto hoje. Irrita-me imenso. Vivo aqui treze anos. Estou investida na sistema, pago os impostos, estou dependente na reforma, na sistema de educação etc. etc. e não tenho voto.

Acabai por convencer um amigo do meu filho, que já tem voto, ir lá por o teu cruz. Além disso convenci-o votar para o Bloco Esquerda ("faz parte de partido de Paulo Portas?" perguntou o rapaz). Não tenho vergonha nenhum que abusai o meu papel como adulto. O seu voto era meu!!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Getting over the wobble

OK. I've got to get over this blog crisis I'm having where I just can't writing anything. What happened to me today reminded me of why it can be complicated.

I'm close to being a nobody in Portugal. Or rather, officially I'm a nobody. In other words I don't have any papers (especially carimbada) that say what I'm good at, what I believe in, what I strive for, what I am passionate about, what I dedicate my life to. Therefore I'm not. It's that simple.

If I write my story in Portuguese I need to contextualise that tantos papeis, tantos provas de competência não é uma norma em muitos partes do mundo, incluindo os países que tem uma sistema de alto produtividade e eficaz.

Se eu escrevo o meu estória em inglês tenho que contextualisar que you must have a piece of paper and a stamped certificate, by a recognised authority, to prove that you are competent in something.

I completed a formulário today for some work that involves teaching online. But because I don't have the requisite papers, my formulário remains empty. Supposedly i don't know enough about pedagogy or learning or training or ... anything I'm good at. My life didn't fit in the formulário.

Eu sei, se és Português estás a dizer - mas a problema é tua. Deve ser chato mas não é tão difícil recolher, preencher e/ou entregar. Vives em Portugal, são os nossos leis que tem que ser cumprido. So fazes, ou paga as consequências. É obvio!

And if I'm writing in English I say that I don't have a mindset which pays attention to getting certificates that may (or may not) represent what I've done - I'm too busy learning and doing. And to many people - that will be obvious.

So depending on who I'm talking to on my head I will frame the problem in a different way. And who I am talking to in my head is often represented by people who speak different languages. But the different languages represent different world-views and different taken-for-granted assumptions - so I need to do different contextualising. And if you get different feedback from different communities that you are invested in about "who you are" then it can get wobbly somethimes.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Ellen MacArthur

Can anyone not be amazed by Ellen MacArthur! She's just beaten the record for sailing solo round the world and only the second person ever to sail solo non-stop around the world on a multi-hull boat. She took on the world record holder (which four men before her tried and failed) and if you've ever seen the dimensions of a multi-hull and those masts and sails, it's just incredible to imagine the strength and will-power that went into the journey.

She breaks all stereotypes of big strong sailor men. She's short for a start. She kept a blog during the voyage and a video of herself talking (often emotionally) about her day. Sadly, in exposing herself and being publicly vulnerable she's come up for a lot of criticism in the British press. She was letting down that stiff upper lip I guess.

An interesting thing. The two sides of her boat were painted completely different colours. One side was "English" (with a British sponsor) and the other side was "French" (with a French sponsor). All the images of the voyage in English had one style, including the boat and the website (visually orange) while all the images shown in France had another (visually blue). The reporting on the website was different for the different British and French audiences. In other words it wasn't just one text translated into two languages.

Oh yes, there's a Portuguese lover in this story too. He's ex- now, since she set off on the voyage. She met him two years before when he rescued her and her boat that capsized off the Portuguese coast. He, Luis, apparently risked his life to cut the mast so the boat could be towed to safely. He's now selling the story ...

Sunday, February 06, 2005

A blogistential crisis

I haven't written anything here for a while. I think I'm having a bit of a blogistential crisis. A friend, who is Portuguese, lives in Moscow and reads my blog, said it wasn't what she expected.

Her comment threw me.
What do "people" expect? And who are the people?

I distract myself and google blogistential crisis. Does anyone else in the world has one? Yes! "Nina turns 40" has one. Not least of all because she's turning 42. But she's a "lustful vagabond wild woman feminist writer social scientist woo woo chick" whose entertaining style of writing catches me in an insecure moment and my crisis deepens.

So I turn to the other person in my online universe who is sharing the same problem. She's "a mormon woman living in Gotham. She's sexy! She's single!....She's celibate." She's also decided to stop writing about her online dating stories and get back on focus - her teaching and her PhD.

Gasp! maybe there's more to a blogistential crisis than meets the eye. Perhaps it's a crisis that only intelligent, sexy, wild women who write blogs go through. Hey! Maybe this is what people should expect.