No Journalism, Just Truth.

Hyeonseo Lee, a regular citizen of North Korea, shares her story of how she escaped the DPRK. Not only did she set up her life in South Korea, but she then went back and saved her family from starvation and possible death.

This little “TEDwhim” is not a response to the big news headlines, but was sparked by this single. mighty story of courage.

I am sharing this TEDtalk at a very tense and serious time of global politics. Hints of nuclear war from North Korea have shadowed the world and the US have responded firmly to these threats. As international citizens, it is hard to gather the truth about DPRK. We are bombarded with Journalism an dramatic reports about the militant regime, the destructive leadership and the decaying population. However, we must wonder how much of this is true and how much of this is over-exaggeration of Western Media. As a politics student, I have recently become highly cynical of reports such as BBC Panorama on DPRK from Monday. Surely this is all just Western propaganda, showing the worst elements of an enemy nation while concealing the positives?

Hyeonseo Lee has put this cynic in her place. The negatives are the Truth. The positives are but Delusions; delusions of indoctrinated Korean people. Listening to Hyeonseo’s story and raw emotion has really opened my eyes to the struggles of the DPRK.

It has made me rethink the simple privileges I have grown up with – A wage, a vote, a voice.

Over & Out.

FGM: Frighteningly Gruesome Mentalities.

An issue that first hit my computer screen during my time in 6th form, was an issue that still sends shivers down my spine and boils my blood. It was through reading about such a practice that I realised how truly horrible culture and social convention can be to those who are, globally, most likely to be marginalized. It is all in this 3-word phrase:

Female. Genital. Mutilation.

a.k.a. female circumcision. I won’t bother with a full description of what it entails, as most of that information (and to be fair the views on this post) will be readily available on wiki. After reading a description, i’m sure all the women reading this will be crossing their legs and thanking their respective Higher Powers for being born in a modern or forward-looking culture.

You may start to question the very concept of cultural practices when you realise such a ritual exists. It is widely known and accepted, albeit very unfortunate, that girls in developing countries are married young, poorly educated and forced into early motherhood. However, I believe that FGM is the worst part of this social convention. It subjects girls to the most terrible forms of gender inequality through an act that does ALL harm and NO good. What does the ritual symbolise?

  • It symbolises the inferiority of Women and their duty to conform to their patriarch’s ideologies in all circumstances.
  • It represents a hypocrisy regarding sexual behaviour, whereby women should fear intimacy. It is seen as a prevention of premarital sex in communities where rape and abuse is all but uncommon.
  • It suggests it is acceptable for women’s health and lives to be compromised at the expense of cultural ideals.

At 8 years old, I was playing with my Barbie doll. At 10, I was studying to get into Grammar School. At 12, I met some of my best friends. At the same time, another 8 year old was having her clitoris publicly slit. At 10, she was married. At 12, she more than likely died in childbirth.

The purpose of this post was for awareness. Please take the time to read http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/ for a better explanation of what FGM entails and represents.
Over and out.

Inspiring TEDtalks – Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong!

Currently sitting on a busy train and decided to start my first (real) blog entry…

I want to share a video with you, which became the turning point for me to start adoseofpersonalwhim. It basically sums up everything I believe about social enterprise, philanthropy and alternative career paths.


Dan Pallotta is probably one of the most engrossing speakers that I have found through TEDtalks. He stresses the importance of business strategy in the non-profit sector, and that it should (in many respects) use for-profit sector models to achieve results and the big bucks.

I will leave you to listen and won’t give too much away… However I would like to make a few comments on my favourite ideas and on the criticms that that Dan Pallotta recieved for the ideas he shared.

Firstly, many of the criticisms revolve around how the for-profit sector strategies would ruin social enterprise and turn them into a business, forgetting the cause.. However these people clearly havn’t really listened to what Dan is saying.
To quote, “When you prohibit failure, you kill innovation. If you kill innovation in fundraising, you can’t raise more revenue. If you can’t raise more revenue, you can’t grow. And if you can’t grow, you can’t possibly solve large social problems.”

It’s the passion for a cause, mixed with the business strategy, that leads to results – not just a profit maximisation mentality. What I think is really important to realise is that if you start making these claims now, social enterprise will never take off… We aren’t at that stage yet where we need to worry about it – first let the firms take off and reel in the money for their cause on a large scale. Then, start regulating and changing things to make social progress sustainable.

Pessimism is the thief of success.

Secondly, something quite relevant to me, is Dan’s views on students and their perceptions of their own careers… He pins down perfectly the dilemma of socially passionate students who would love to apply their knowledge to the non-profit sector but feel that doing so would leave them worse of than their degree qualified them to be. To quote Dan – ‘it becomes a sacrafice between the wellbeing of their family or the wellbeing of the world…’. This is definitely how a number of students across a disciplines feel about their place in the Global arena.

So to conclude, although I am not an expert on the non-profit sector, I do know a bit about the problems my generation face when approaching the world of social enterprise. I thoroughly recommend you watch his TEDtalk and realise the potential of non-profit and philanthropy.

Over and out!