Is It Time to Dump the Elitist Term Expat?

The majority of expats are white. That said, the term may be extended to well-heeled others – Blacks, Arabs and Asians — who speak English well, and have professional jobs with white friends who include them in their social circles. Africans? Sorry, no.

So what, exactly, is the difference between expats, immigrants and migrants? The answer is virtually nothing – except the elitist perception of the term.

What are the definitions?

Immigrants are defined as those who move to another country and plan on staying. Think of the people crammed into a boat trying to make it across to Europe. Or the refugees from Syria wading through snow at the Canadian border to escape from the United States before they get deported. “They” don’t want to go back to where they came from. And they” are often perceived as poor, uneducated and desperate.

Expats, on the other hand, have status. They may be married to a local or have plans of starting a business. And, yes, they do take jobs that might otherwise go to a national.

How about the migrants? They are people who move from one place to another in search of work. Migrants are the Mexicans who pick fruit in California and then go back across the border, the nannies from the Philippines who have work contracts or the laborers in Saudi Arabia who return to Thailand when their manual skills are no longer needed.

Expats, however, go from one contract to another in different countries or return “home” with a good bank balance.

In short, being an expat is desirable, exciting, and appealing. Being an immigrant or a migrant is not.

Why should I care about it?

The issues of prejudice, discrimination, classism, sexism, and racism need to be exposed at all levels.

When I went to work at the University of Waikato as a lecturer, for example, I wasn’t an immigrant. Instead, I was simply a Canadian who had moved to New Zealand.

When I crossed over to Australia, a “permeant visa” was stamped into my New Zealand passport at customs.

In both countries, I blended in with people, many of whom had come from England or other European countries. We never referred to — or thought of — ourselves as expats, or immigrants or migrants. Why should we have? We lived in cultures that didn’t question us because we were white.

Historically, the majority of people in North America, Australia and New Zealand were economic immigrants or migrant workers. As they took over the countries, however, they didn’t invite the indigenous peoples, the Blacks or the Mexicans to join them. Instead they marginalized these people. So even if a Mexican family has lived in the United States for a couple of generations, they are still thought of — and treated — as immigrants.

What is my situation?

I am a migrant who wants to become an immigrant in Colombia. Since I left Australia at the end of 2008 I have lived in Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Cambodia, Colombia and Peru. The periods of time vary from four to 18 months. I support myself my teaching and writing. Although I prefer the latter to the former we are all prostitutes when it comes to work. But that is a topic for another article.

I am currently living in Medellin where the locals refer to me as la gringa de Boston – the name of the barrio – as there aren’t any other foreigners here. Or if there are, they are in hiding.

Although I want to become an immigrant, the visa rules hamper the process as I can only stay in the country for 180-days per calendar year as a tourist. The choices to change my status are limited. The first is to marry a local. Even though I had a number of friends volunteer, it could become complicated and there is no absolute guarantee.

The second option is to invest 200KUSD – cough, cough – and start a business or buy real estate. Another possibility is to pay hideously expensive fees and study Spanish for five years at an approved university. The least attractive option is to teach 48-hours a week for ridiculously low wages at a school that will help English-speakers get visas.

In the other countries, the rule for migrants like me was that I had to leave the country every 90-days and then re-enter. The exception was Cambodia where I could have stayed forever and a travel agency could have arranged my visa for a year at a time.

When I lived in Morocco, for example, I once crossed the border at Ceuta in the entry line, and then walked across to the exit line. I had only been outside the country for 15 minutes, but it was good enough a 90-day stamp.

But the only reason I could do it because I was white and considered an expat. The immigrants and migrants from Africa were not accorded the same treatment and were often turned back.

What next?

Generally, I avoid people who call themselves expats. However, from time to time I will attend an InterNations event to remind myself of why I don’t do it more often.

From now on, when I encounter westerners, I am going to ask them if they are an immigrant or a migrant.

I suspect the inquiry won’t be terribly well received as it questions the romantic illusion of “living the dream.”

If you agree that the word expat needs to be dumped, please feel free to use the question. It may get some people to start thinking about narrowing the divide between “them” and “us.” And in the end we are all either “immigrants’ or “migrants.”

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Make Anything With Polycarbonate Fabrication

Polycarbonate is the most common fabrication material being used by many companies these days. It is a sort of plastic that can be used to produce a variety of materials; specifically in items that are impact resistant and transparent in nature. It is a sort of plastic named as thermoplastic or engineering plastic due to their transparency and impact resistance. These plastics are used extensively in many products such as eyewear lens, in medical devices, automotive components, protective gear, greenhouses, Digital Disks (CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray) and exterior lighting fixtures.

The Polycarbonate’s heat resistance combined with flame retardant material makes them more popular among many business houses which are into manufacturing of fabricated products. The impact resistance capability of Polycarbonate fabrication is much higher when compared to the other sorts of plastic. Like aluminum sheet metal, the Polycarbonate fabrication can be formed at room temperature. This flexibility of transition is the major reason for using Polycarbonate over other plastic materials by many companies.

Especially in industries where high impact resistance and transparency is required, the Polycarbonate fabrication is used extensively. Some applications where Polycarbonate is used over other sorts of plastic are clear windows on prototype models, color tinted translucent prototypes, clear tubes for sports equipment prototypes, diffusers and light pipes for LEDs, clear molds for urethane and silicone casting, 3D printed models for high heat applications when ABS is not an option and machinery guards. Apart from these, tinted Polycarbonate is used even to reduce the glare in LEDs. There are numerous varieties of Polycarbonate available for serving different purposes of the companies.

Different types of Polycarbonate sheets are manufactured by different entities basically; varying in the manufacturing formula. The variance in the Polycarbonate fabrication among different entities lies in the amount of glass fiber they contain and the variance in the melt flow. Some Polycarbonate fabrications consist of additives such as ultraviolet stabilizers that protect the sheets from long time exposure to the sun. Though there are certain types of Polycarbonate fabrications which are hazardous in contact with food they are equally safe and protective.

The hazardous Polycarbonates are generally avoided by the manufacturers; keeping in view the safety of the clients. You can order for customized Polycarbonate fabricated sheets if you are into manufacturing of a large lot of products. Fabrication by using Polycarbonate has become a most common process for many companies which are into manufacturing of heat resistant and high impact products.

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Charter Schools: Whether or Not They’re Part of the Problem or Solution and 19+ Should-Know Facts

As you read on, keep these facts in mind:

• The 2015 Kids Count report found that children living in poverty jumped from 18% to 22% between 2008 and 2013.

• According to the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau, the child poverty rate among African-Americans was 39%.

• In 2103, 48% of African-American children and 37% of Latino children had no parent working a full-time, year-round job.

• The Economic Policy Institute finds that, by age of 14, 25% of African-American children have had a parent-typically a dad-imprisoned; on any given day, 10% of them have had a parent in jail or prison, and that’s 4 times more than in 1980.

Now on to the charter vs. traditional public school controversy…

By the 1960s and 70s, innovative schools were opening in such cities as Philadelphia and Chicago. Then in 1988, Albert Shanker, as president of the American Federation of Teachers, spoke about the meagre 20% of students benefitting from a traditional public education. His solution: charter schools, “where teachers would be given the opportunity to draw upon their expertise to create high-performing educational laboratories from which the traditional public schools could learn.”

That was the intent, the promise, and, in 1992, the first true charter school, City Academy High School, opened its doors in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In the following years, charter schools found advocates in both Presidents Clinton and G.W. Bush, but it took Obama to make it a federal school reform priority and included it as an application incentive in his $4.35 billion Race to the Top grant program.

Now, Donald Trump is at the helm, and his controversial Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is a vocal charter school champion.

Indeed, her resume includes serving as chairman of the American Federation for Children (AFC). Describing itself as “the nation’s leading school choice advocacy group,” it boasts that it’s “a national leader in the fight to boldly reform America’s broken education system.”

Nevertheless and as an aside, a 2016 Gallup survey found that 76% of parents are “broadly satisfied with the education their oldest child receives;” 36% are “completely satisfied.”

Meanwhile, the AFC site further states, “The American Federation for Children is breaking down barriers to educational choice by creating an education revolution that empowers parents to choose the best educational environment for their children, so all children, especially low-income children, have access to a quality education.”

And that, say charter advocates, is the whole point-the ability to offer parents alternative school settings for their children, ones that are innovative, competitive, and accountable. Moreover, unlike traditional public schools, if performance standards are not met, the charter is revoked, said school is shut down.

What’s not to like? It all sounds so good, so promising, and yet there are opponents aplenty.

Their numbers include countless public school educators and administrators, and the likes of highly esteemed education historian Diane Ravitch and Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education Foundation.

Another is columnist and Education Law Center senior attorney Wendy Lecker, who writes that, “When charters replace public schools, parents lose their voice in education. Charter boards are not democratically elected. There is no requirement that board members live in the community or answer to parents. Often, corporate members are corporate executives with no children in charter schools.”

She goes on to explain: “In reality, choice in the form of charters increases segregation and devastates community public schools in our most distressed cities. As charters have proliferated in predominantly minority cities, children and parents of color bear the brunt of this destruction.”

Wherein lies the truth?

1. Today, charter schools operate in 43 states and educate some 3.1 million children.

2. Between the school years 2003-04 and 2013-14, public charter schools grew from 3.1% to 6.6%.

3. Between those same years, the total number of such schools increased from 3,000 to 6,900; 15% are for-profit.

4. Charters are tuition-free public schools; they do not offer any religious instruction.

5. Charters, for the most part, are funded by federal, state, and local taxpayer dollars.

6. These schools are open to all children, including English language learners and those with disabilities.

7. While open to all, when few seats are available, students are chosen by lottery-the luck of the draw, in other words.

8. In school year 2013-14, California boasted 513,400 charter school students, more than any other state and amounting to 8% of all its public school students. D.C. followed with 33,200 such students.

9. The number of Hispanic children in charters has increased from 21% to 30%; the number of white students has decreased from 42% to 35%, and for blacks, enrollment is down from 32% to 27%.

10. More than 50% of charter students are black and Latino and hail predominantly from urban centers.

11. As said, unlike traditional public schools which operate via a central office and a school board, charters do not.

12. Authorizers can be non-profits, such as universities, but more often are local school boards that, after evaluating a proposal, gives a charter the go-ahead-or not.

13. Charter authorizers cannot be for-profit companies, but can be managed by for-profit companies.

14. Once approved, authorizers monitor a charter’s performance and, after several years, determines if a school deserves to remain open.

15. A school’s charter is typically reviewed every 3 to 5 years-and revoked if curriculum, achievement standards, and managerial guidelines are not met.

16. Teachers can open charter schools.

17. Charters are not subject to the same regulations as traditional public schools.

18. Charters design their own curriculum and decide which companies to do business with in terms of food and paper suppliers, and the like.

19. According to the Stanford University’s 2015 Online Charter School Study, 70% of those online students are falling behind their traditional public school peers, losing the equivalent of 72 days in reading in a typical school year and 180 days in math.

And now comes Greg Toppo’s USA Today top-of-the fold, front page headline: “Few charter school grads earn degrees: High school success often fails students when they reach the college level.”

So much for all the charter school hype, right? Actually, though, that headline may be misleading.

Read down to the article’s sixth paragraph and find this: “Statistics for charter schools are hard to come by, but the best estimate puts charters’ college persistence rate at about 23%. To be fair, the rate overall for low-income students-the kind of students typically served by charters-is even worse: just 9%. For low-income, high-minority urban public schools, most comparable to charters, the rate is 15%.”

To be fair, indeed, and given those poverty and incarceration rates introduced initially, can any school, charter or otherwise, produce consistently top-notch performance results?

Carol is a learning specialist who worked with middle school children and their parents at the Methacton School District in Pennsylvania for more than 25 years and now supervises student teachers at Gwynedd-Mercy University and Ursinus College. Along with the booklet, 149 Parenting School-Wise Tips: Intermediate Grades & Up, and numerous articles in such publications as Teaching Pre-K-8 and Curious Parents, she has authored three successful learning guidebooks: Getting School-Wise: A Student Guidebook, Other-Wise and School-Wise: A Parent

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Sure It’s Fake – But the Hunger Is Real

Sometimes in anger, in fear, in haste, or maybe while being intoxicated, or consumed by infatuation, we speak, write, or through body language communicate to others a distorted version of what our true thoughts, opinions, or intentions are.

Distortion happens to all of us and we suffer, usually through embarrassment, as a result. It’s one of the many attributes which, for lack of a better label, makes us human. “I didn’t mean that.” “That’s not what I said.” “That’s not what I meant.” It’s almost a sure bet that you have uttered, firmly stated, or perhaps shouted one of the aforementioned quotations. No matter.

Slipping up when speaking never seems to be a mistake which is defeated by age, education, or faith. It just happens. I pose this question: What if your words or the words spoken about you were twisted by an individual or entity (media) and the sole purpose of this twisting was simply to add a little spice, awe, or head-shaking to what would otherwise be ho-hum?

Let me add this bit of information to give you a hint of where I’m going with all of this. I spent a block of my adult working life in the employment of a very large broadcast news organization. I was on-air talent as it’s called, and, as a result, I gained a “certain perspective” about the news media.

As a phrase, label, or headline, Fake News has existed, in my opinion, since the day news reporting began back in the stone age. Come on, admit it to yourself: Doesn’t everyone like a good story?

Getting the story is the toughest part of reporting the story. In college, in journalism class, they taught the mechanics of the interview, but not the reality. The reality is being under a time-gun, a deadline, dealing with a producer, or a news director. The clock is ticking and you have a story to get and you need it, now! And it better be good, because fresh college grads are lined-up and ready to take your place constantly.

So, let’s take our reporter, on any given day, with an assignment to get the story about Mr. Jones.

Back to day one of journalism class: The professor asks, “What is news?” And shocking, kick-in-the-head, almost comical answer is; Whatever the reporter makes it. That’s a pretty powerful position, wouldn’t you agree?

Back to our scenario. However, Mr. Jones cannot be located. The reporter has gone around, pounded the pavement and a few doors and there is no finding Mr. Jones. There’s still a deadline and all the rest of the pressure to produce a story. What’s the reporter to do?

Think fast. If you are a reporter, you have no choice but to think fast. The answer to this conundrum is to interview someone who knows Mr. Jones, which could be an immediate family member, neighbor, co-worker, former spouse, or how about that former employer. And the clock goes tick, tick, tick.

The reporter locates Mr. Smith, a good friend of the missing in action Mr. Jones. This puts Mr. Smith in what could be called an uncomfortable position. Feeling trapped and uneasy, Mr. Smith figures that he had better try and do his best to not embarrass himself or his good friend Mr. Jones. After all, once cornered for the interview, if Mr. Smith told the reporter that he had nothing to say about Mr. Jones there could be a problem.

The reporter, tick, tick, tick, could very well report that he asked Mr. Smith, a good friend of Mr. Jones, but Mr. Smith refused to answer any of a dozen questions and the reporter would take that nothing and intrigue his listeners, viewers, or readers with the speculation as to why Mr. Smith was tight-lipped about speaking about Mr. Jones. Remember, whatever the reporter makes it, is news.

Remarkably, no story becomes a big story based on the fact that there is no story to tell, but once a reporter knows that no answers are being volunteered by Mr. Smith, it opens the floodgates for the listener, viewer, or reader to draw their own conclusions. This sort of thinking can be applied even if the most preposterous questions are asked by the reporter on a deadline, e.g., Does Mr. Jones speak to aliens? When was the last time you witnessed Mr. Jones losing his temper? Is he rude to people less fortunate? Does he act differently around the Holiday Season? You get the picture. Not speaking can be worse than saying something.

This same thought crosses Mr. Smith’s mind, so he reluctantly and nervously agrees to an interview with the reporter who has been hounding him all day.

Face-to-face with the reporter Mr. Smith does his best to wear a smile while telling the reporter that Mr. Jones is always in a good mood and liked by friends and neighbors and impresses everyone he meets, because he has such a positive attitude. No clouds in Mr. Jones’ life, just sunshine the whole day through. He gives one hundred ten percent of his energy to his industry and prides himself in his work. Devotion to family is a testament to his character and all that he reaps he bestows on his wife.

Mr. Jones sounds like the Man of the Year to the reporter, but the reporter has to appeal to the listener, viewer, or reader, so it’s gotta have some kinks and some around-the-water-cooler good old-fashioned gossip attached, because without that, the listeners, viewers, or readers will be looking for greener (dirtier) pastures on which to graze.

Remember, whatever the reporter makes it. Time for the Fake News apparatus to be applied to this story. Pull out the seasonings and let’s spice this baby up. Start the twist party! And so, the interview is filed by the reporter.

Mr. Jones isn’t the serious type and has a salesman’s way about him that tells him which buttons to push to get people to like him. He devotes so much time to his job that you could label Mr. Jones a slave of the workforce in his industry and finds no time for devotion to anything that doesn’t benefit him personally. One habit he repeats at every turn is spoiling his wife, perhaps out of fear of losing her to a more well-rounded man.

Just think of the frustration Mr. Jones will have when he gets wind of the interview which Mr. Smith gave about him. Mr. Smith has nowhere to hide and I suspect that Mr. Jones will morph into an out-of-character clone of himself as he confronts Mr. Smith.

The reporter makes it seem credible by quoting a source, or in what has become more and more common, an anonymous source, or a source close to, or the Russians!

Now that you have read this piece, perhaps you’ll remember that news is whatever the reporter makes it and shock value is on the rise.

Lazz Laszlo is a Versatile Voice Over resource for Radio & Television commercials, Narrations, Corporate Videos, Animation, Infomercials with the ability to write swift clean copy for Radio, TV, Print, or Presentation. Lazz is a former Investment Executive and Radio & Television Financial Reporter with many entrepreneurial endeavors to his credit

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Suicide Is Not an Escape Route for Problems

Suicide is about people willingly, intentionally or deliberately planning to end their lives on this earth plane for now, for reasons best known to them.

The reason may be physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, financial, marital, educational or social.

But, there is life after the so-called dead. When we die or pass through transition, we are sure to come back to this earth in order to continue from where we stopped.

Please, reflect on the above statements and either agree or disagree with me. You have the right.

Karma, reincarnation, the law of sowing and reaping, etc, are some of the natural laws some of us have little or no knowledge about. Let me confess, I am still a student of life.

People who hang themselves, jump into the lagoon, slice their throats or drink poison think this is the best way to end their lives here on earth.

They may think it is the best way to escape from the problems they are facing in life.

On the face value they may be right. But, in reality, they are dead wrong.

Do not believe what I am writing here. Make your own independent research and investigation in order to be convinced.

Poverty, frustrations, hopelessness, loneliness, rejection, hatred, depression, joblessness, marital failures, financial loses, dead of loved ones, etc, should not be the reason for you to take your life. However, most of these reasons are created by us.

There is a definite relationship between our past, present and future lives here on earth.

Therefore, our present life is a manifestation of the past and the future, a reflection of the present.

Those who commit suicide may either be weak, incapable of facing the many and seemingly endless problems of their lives, setting high standards for their lives, extremely materialistic, with no contentment or simply frustrated.

It is also possible that by the thoughts, words and deeds of our past lives, we have a karmic debt in this present life to face the consequences of our actions and inactions in our past lives.

So, suicide is not an escape route for the problems you are facing. It is in fact a burden.

When a person commits suicide, he or she may be thinking that his earthly problems are over. Again, dead wrong.

Immediately after the act, the person will suffer severely and regret his or her actions in the next world.

It is like a person who is traveling from Lagos to Abuja in Nigeria by road suddenly stopping on the way without reaching his or her destination.

The person is postponing his or her “evil days” and refusing to take responsibilities and solve whatever problems he or she is facing in order to grow.

This world is a school and we are here to learn, sort out our karmic records and go back after many years of coming and going.

So, instead of committing suicide, take a pause and reflect on your life. Pray for guidance and inspiration to face whatever problem you are presently going through. This is the natural way to grow.

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