Posted in Old Published Articles

Colour, Race, Another Wild Goose Chase?

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On a rare sunny day in winter the sudden ‘swish’ of Frisbees flying over your head and the cheery laughter of many students lying on the green lawn letting their hair down is a common sight at the Burwood campus.

If you were to look deeper, beyond that bright surface you’ll find a certain grouping pattern among the students. A pattern that separates those students into visually distinct groups in contrast to the multi coloured tile groupings of Mutant Way.

Mutant Way, Deakin University
Mutant Way, Deakin University (2009 During Summer Holidays)

Home to 34,409 students in total, Deakin University is also haven to over 4074 students who are from different parts of the world to sum up the international sector of the student population.

Half of this colourful bunch consists of South East Asian students that speak another language more fluently than they do English.

The groups in which these future academics hang out together hardly looked multiculturally inviting in the most renowned multicultural city in Australia. While local students conversed with other groups of locals, there were other little groups of three, maybe four, that were Asian, Indian or African distinctively keeping to themselves.

Was this a choice, a timid behavior or a situation caused due to the uninviting demeanor of local students?

Was there an explanation as to why they found their own ethnic backgrounds too comfortable; to choose not to move with the local students? Perhaps it was some cultural restraints that were keeping the international students apart from the local students?

Jaimee Eastwood, a 2nd year Media and Communication student says, “there are certain stereotypes that come with international students that they are really smart and the ones that come from Melbourne are in it for the whole experience of ‘Uni life’.” Perhaps, the priorities of the two groups were distinct enough for them to have separate preferences.

She says she has noticed that students from other countries prefer to stick to groups of their own nationality and believes it is “comfort” that they seek in doing so.

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In 2007 Nimedhi Katugampola, a Sri Lankan student then in her second year in Business went in for tryouts for the Deakin Dragons Basket Ball team. She was an indispensible asset in her high school basketball team in Sri Lanka.

However, she didn’t feel her standards were as good as the University’s already was since they had proved themselves well enough in Southern University Games.

It didn’t stop her feeling “being unnoticed” at the tryouts. She said, “Even after the try-outs I didn’t get feedback from them whether I was in or out.”

Some said they experienced uncomfortable situations with some lecturers who acted unfairly towards international students in their classes and “treated them as if they were a nuisance”.

Although the majority of the international students like Priyam Desai do not believe they are being victimised. She says, “I haven’t experienced any racial discrimination from my lecturers or in my classmates, but I know people who have.”

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Bharat Ramakrishna a Melbourne University Medical student views this matter in a different perspective. He says, “The truth is people occasionally possess racist attitudes but exercise their views in accordance with the freedom of speech, and it’s hypocritical to think that we Indians get a raw deal”.

“After all how many of us have questionable views towards other international students, Asians and people who live in Dandenong?” he added with a more unbiased standpoint.

The issue of race-provoked violence towards international students has raised the media’s attention over the past couple of months following the rising number of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne.

Federation of Indian Students of Australia secretary Gautam Gupta had mentioned to the media that he knew eight cases of Indian students in Melbourne who were victims of racist assaults and that two of them have returned back home fearing for their safety.

In comparison to the severity of the above incidents, international students of Deakin University are lucky to be able to feel safe with no threat of bodily harm thanks to the constant rights lobbying and student advocacy promoted by Deakin University Student Association (DUSA) in concert with the Deakin Sri Lankan & Indian Club (D.SLIC). Furthermore, the very supportive stance of the university’s administration is a major benefit; allowing improvements to be made as fast as possible.

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This issue is definitely open to debate; in fact the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Phillip Clarke met with executives of D.SLIC on the 27th May to listen to such concerns of the South-Asian student population. Some key concerns raised were more lighting in a few locations on campus, more on-campus vegetarian/halal food outlets, increased semester workload and the need for an awareness campaign of the significant assistance that Deakin provides for its student’s safety. Preeti Sharma, a 1st year law student, had “no idea” that Deakin security could walk her to the car at night.

Either way, considering that the international students are thousands of miles away from their homes and their comfort zones; it is natural for them to feel awkward in unfamiliar situations thrown at them. Therefore, it is important to be sensitive to their social conduct by putting yourselves in their shoes.

                                                                                                                 – jessiefer 

*Originally written on the 20/05/09 for for the Indus Age, Victoria representing D.SLIC of Deakin University, Burwood. There was a debate on how this would implicate the University and how its inclusivity policies may be represented at the time.

 

Posted in Her Opinions, Old Published Articles

The Flags of Division and Political Propaganda

(I don’t share or endorse the opinions expressed on the video itself)

In the eyes of the global population, Sri Lanka is having a conflict that is inflicting an ongoing humanitarian crisis. But how do we as the generation that was born in to, grown up with and lived their whole life in a war ridden country see it? Why are we expected to continue this rage between two races for another 26 years?

During the two and a half decades of war there was an immense number of casualties on both sides. This is no sudden newsflash, but why the sudden need for creating awareness when this age-old war is supposedly “coming to an end”?

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It is wrong to use the state of the innocent victims of war in pictures regardless of their ethnicity, in public protests in order to fulfill political agendas.

As for the Sri Lankan diaspora; it is refreshing to know that you are patriotic and like to voice your opinion. Nonetheless have you personally seen the devastation these victims has to endure or try to actively do something about it with the time and money that you spent on these patriotic outcries? Maybe we all need a reality check to set our priorities right.

The people who suffer because of this war are not just the ones that are killed and tortured, but also the families that lose their sons and daughters at the frontline while the brains behind the whole operation fatten their bellies in their air-conditioned rooms.

If it is a real humanitarian appeal based protest, why the need to wave all these different flags? Why further encourage division of the country?

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The victims don’t care which flag you are waving when you protest against genocide, may it be of the Tamil Eelam or of Sri Lanka in whole. All they need is a stop; an end to their suffering; the light at the end of the tunnel.

Our parents didn’t mind passing on the hatred to our generation. But we should take a stand and disown this violence that is about to be passed into another few decades breaking this chain of violence.

– jessiefer

*Originally written as an opinion piece for the Indus Age, Victoria representing D.SLIC of Deakin University, Burwood on 19/04/09. The opinion piece was written surrounding the ethnic protests surrounding the civil war that seemed to be escalating among Sri Lankan community in Melbourne.

Posted in Old Published Articles

VLOGS: Take Them Seriously!!

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I speculate sometimes perhaps just like many others whether vlogs are really the video version of blogging or is it simply Online TV.

It shares the characteristics of a blog showcasing daily updates, RSS feed, comments of viewers etc. The vlog sites can also be compared into online television that provides individual with channels to broadcast their video content.

It may not consist of the professional finishing touches of television network productions. Nevertheless it does contain equal importance in its user generated contents.

YouTube is a perfect general example of social networking site that provides its users with individual channels to upload post and share their video productions.

The issue is however, that the world is yet to absorb the gravity of the power of vlog content.

When potentially threatening information in a video is uploaded online the authorities tend to dismiss the threat it may impose for the future. In example of the Finnish gunman who went on mass shooting in a school; the video he posted on YouTube of his killing intentions were taken too lightly by the police.

This obviously proved to be fatal just the same way the other mass shooting incidents were early this year.

Regardless of criticisms on sustainability in sharing information on vlogs by many, I believe it certainly is the way forward for User Generated Content as it provides the visual, audio and text segments in delivering the message.

On a more lighter note here is a video hosted by Deepak Ananthapadmanabha on latest (rather weird) technology. (Hilarious!!!) It’s a regularly updated vlog by MOJO’S The Circuit hosted in MOJO HD website.

If you cannot view the following video click here.

 

– jessiefer

*Originally Posted on 24/09/2008 on Edublogs as an ongoing journal of what I learnt on a weekly basis as a journalism student at Deakin University.

Posted in Old Published Articles

To STOMP or not to STOMP : That is the question

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STOMP! No, it’s not another track by a Hip-Hop Mogul, but is the Singaporean website that represents Straits Times Online Mobile and Print.

STOMP encourages the regular citizen in becoming one with the now media process. Although unlike OhmyNews (mentioned in my previous blog), at STOMP they use a different model of citizen journalism.

Instead of the individual reporting in delivering the story directly, it is being mediated by the journalists at Strait Times in writing up the story based on their information.

However I did manage to stumble upon a blog post that argues this method use by STOMP is not citizen journalism by Cherian George blogging about Singaporean new media, politics and the law. 

The argument is that in STOMP the decision of which stories should go up on the website is decided by the editors instead of vice versa as it should be in citizen journalism.

Perhaps due to censorship laws prevailing in the media in Singapore STOMP might not be as broad minded as OhmyNews would be. 

Nevertheless it sure is stomping its way through into the world of media convergences in an era in which Mr. Nick Davies feels threatened by excessive PR campaigning.

                                                                          – jessiefer

*Originally Posted on 17/09/2008 on Edublogs as an ongoing journal of what I learnt on a weekly basis as a journalism student at Deakin University.

Posted in Old Published Articles

Tools of Reporting or Tools of Turmoil

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We are most certainly way past the era where we waited till every Sunday morning to pick up our Sunday broadsheet for that week’s scoop in the news.

The latest news is more of a click, stream and a RSS feed away as I munch on an apple while having morning tea. 

Coincidentally this week I watched the first episode of the new Beverly Hills 90210 to find out how quickly news (mainly gossip) get around within a high school populace through a blog including vlogs run by a fellow student, silver. 

This technology savvy global village is becoming more and more dependent on these tools used by media corporations, professional gossip mongers (i.e Perez Hilton) and citizen journalists to keep them in a newsworthy need-to-know arena at a mouse click away.

This is how the use of technology by anyone who has got a camera to produce information could violate and disrupt our right to privacy in our lives according to Mr. Kevin Sites.

– jessiefer

*Originally Posted on 10/09/2008 on Edublogs as an ongoing journal of what I learnt on a weekly basis as a journalism student at Deakin University.