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Friday, October 30, 2009

Watched a documentary about the japanese mafia!

I have been watching a lot of Australian television these days.(Sick and tired of American Television)

I seem to have taken a liking to Australia network,Especially the documentary series . American television is no good anymore.Most American television has become shallow,senseless,full of worthless reality shows of the downright scummy order.

Australian television on the other hand is balanced with the right mix of art related programs,politics,science,documentaries etc etc..
Also,much to my relief, there are no repetitive pharmaceutical commercials on Australian television.

I am tired of the constant commercials on American television that end with, "Talk to your physician about yada yada yada drug" and me being in the cadre of the "physicians" that drug companies want all the viewers to talk to .. hmmmm.big sigh..
I know what those drugs can do to a human body.I know how the ads cleverly misrepresent information ..oh boy! Poor lil viewers actually believe those good-for-nothing commercials and come pestering me - They are not really aware of all the actual facts about each drug and yet they think that some drug company advertisement is to be taken at face value.I digress!

Anyways, coming back to Australian television.
I particularly like this program called FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT.Primarily because it is courageous journalism bringing to you stories from all over the world..
Very recently,prolly last week, I watched this documentary on the Japanese mafia..yakuza

Clearly, this documentary left me disturbed for a long bit after i finished watching it.
It is a grim scenario.Sigh!
In fact,Each time that i watch a documentary about any kind of mafia or drug trafficking or human trafficking scenario in any country, I get depressed.
These mafia stories are not a joke.. it is a dangerous game.. a dangerous life..much afar from the safe childhood and safe and clean adult life i am leading..IT SCARES ME to watch the ugly-confused-whirlpool lives of those involved in sex,drugs and mafia.
Funnily(NOT-so-funnily,actually)..all three co-exist most of the time..They tend to be seen together..It is the 'mess' part of it all that disturbs me the most.

It is like quicksand and once people get into this mess they can't get out and sadly, when get initiated into this lifestyle , they are far too young to know any better..Most of them are in their teens..early teens even..

It suddenly reminded me of the poor boys that are being pumped from all over the world into the Taliban..What these boy-men are fighting for?They themselves don't know..All they know is that they will now get some food to eat..Most poverty stricken dirt poor african moslem kids are prone/target to this kind of Taliban human trafficking mafia business..pch.. scares me once again

Anyways, coming back to the JAPANESE MAFIA documentary

As is usual with me,I managed to catch this documentary only at the fag end of it.. much like most all the other programs that i accidentally come across while i am surfing channels in the middle of cooking or doing other chores in the meager hours apart from work that I get to spend at home.

There was one particular section of the documentary that disturbed me the most.It is this part where this daughter(shoko tendo?) of this mafia man probably in her 20s or 30s (I just found out, she is in her 40s-from the program transcript) describes her messy life.

She starts the story with when her father was a henchman mafia boss and how someone cut their finger and gave it to him or some such..Again, i was only running around the living room while this part was running on TV.So didn't quiet manage to read the subtitles and she was speaking only in japanese and not in english.
It was only when i read the word CUT FINGER that i got alarmed and gave it my full attention.I gave up what i was doing in the kitchen and actually sat down to watch it further(whatever was left of the running time anyways)
She also then proceeds to shows her naked body to the camera.It is covered fully by tattoos as is tradition in the japanese mafia clan.Each clan has their own type of full body tattooing.Very artistic and thus Ironic and strangely again, It is scary..

What is most disenchanting is the POKER FACE with which she describes the whole thing,
her whole life,
as if she is dead on the inside,
as if nothing matters anymore,
as if cut fingers are nothing but just cut fingers,
as if it is the life of someone else she is describing,

She is so emotionally cut off, disconnected, when she describes this, that it disturbs me to the core.I just want to go and hug her and make her human again. Like become human so easily after years and years of abuse.Everybody bears the burden of their birth circumstances and childhood environment.

She then talks about how by the time she reaches her early teens she is already the girlfriend of another mafia guy and how he would first inject her with drugs or force her to take them and then how they would have sex all day and then how he would beat her up very brutally and just as she talks about being brutally beaten up, I am trying to look closely at her eyes to see a hint of a tear.No tear..the tears dried up long ago i guess..I am alarmed

I am suddenly reminded of Godfather-The movie..The italian mafia are a grim reality..a big grim reality.

I often wonder if the mafia arises from utter poverty..Utter poverty ,where 'life' doesn't matter anymore..Where a poor person's life is becomes dispensable..The poor person has nothing to lose anyways when his life is spent in squalor.. hmmmm

To read more about his documentary or watch video clips of it>go here

MARK WILLACY is the brave foreign correspondent who shows us this story..I think all trash journalists who sensationalize worthless news needs to learn and get inspired from such REAL JOURNALISTS..Mark willacy,in this time and day still understands the concept of what the job description of a real journalists constitutes of and adheres to doing what he is supposed to do as journalists.

If you want to watch video clips you can go here

Since I only caught the fag end of the documentary, I went and read the transcript of this documentary on the australian television website and realize that i missed most of it..I hope they re-telecast this documentary. I would so like to see the whole of it and then get scared some more

This documentary is a MUST WATCH in my opinion.

By the way,even if they want to rehabilitate the 80,000 odd mafia gang members,how would they go about it?
For one, all of them would be so messed up in their heads that no amount of psychotherapy would work for them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Down's syndrome child at the Supermarket

If you are a regular follower of My twitter stream You will remember that i tweeted about having bought a New oven.We all go to that mega sale super-applicance store to buy new electric appliances especially if we are smart enough not to want to pay more for the same product.I did too!
I went to one of these Sears/Costco kind of places where I was sure that I would land the lowest possible price for the oven I had in mind.The lowest price i did land.yes.
This being festive season and all,There was quite a crowd there. While I stood in a long long long long long line to check out my Chef's knife ,I was looking around to see if any other line would get shorter than mine so i could switch lanes.LOL.Somehow,the very line i stand in seems longer than the rest(Is that one of Murphy's laws too ?)
So,I stood there in line and I saw a young couple moving out through the large exit doors.The mother had a small child that she was carrying and only the child's face was facing in my direction while the parents had their backs to me .The child-The child clearly had DOWN'S SYNDROME. You can take a Doctor out of the hospital but she will still remain a doctor.We as doctors are trained to make spot diagnosis .We do it like second nature after sometime of training. So, even while I stand in a check out line in a supermarket, I will still instinctively make spot diagnoses .
So, there I was , A tired Female doctor,Standing in the check out line of a supermarket,and diagnosing a Down's syndrome from Afar.Geez!
So, as soon as I saw that the Kid had Down's syndrome, I quickly tried to look if the parents are perhaps related in some way or if they were too old.The parents looked young(coming to think of it>What if the the guy beside the woman carrying the child was the brother of the woman ?what if the woman was not the motherat all?Just some aunt taking out the kid to shop just so that the real mother gets relief from child care for a bit?Well!Well!) The parents also didn't quite look like they were related.But see,Not all first degree or second degree cousins physically look like they are twins or are related.So,Possibly,They were infact related biologically in some way.
You see, Genetic disorders occur (many of them) because of inbreeding, where similar genes have a greater chance to come together in an offspring(especially genes associated with some disorders which need two genes to become physically manifest).And the only possibility such two genes will get a chance to occur together is when you mate someone with a similar genetic set like your's >especially cousins, brother-sister pair etc..Which is why marrying within your family is a taboo all over the world.Incest is definitely frowned upon!
However there are certain communities where marrying your cousins is found to be socially okay/acceptable and sometimes even customary and it is in such communities that such genetic recessive disorders first become manifest or are more prevalent.
So,anyways, coming back to this Down's syndrome kid-You can easily identify such children from afar.They have special mongoloid features.That is, even if the child is caucasian or black it still will end up with oriental like features.I say 'Oriental LIKE' instead of 'ORIENTAL', because, the eye slant in Down's syndrome is actually NOT like the usual normal eye slant seen in Healthy asian populations.It is in the opposite direction.So, therefore, a chinese child with Down's syndrome will look different from a normal healthy chinese child.I just needed to clarify this!
Down's syndrome usually occurs due to a problem during cell divisions during early pregnancy and such problems usually are more common in zygotes that happen due to mating between elderly parents-especially an old mother. Any women over 30 substantially increases her risk to give birth to a down's syndrome.Having said this, there are two other genetic mechanisms by which Down's syndrome can occur.But,but,This is not a medical blog.This is a ramble blog,So, let's cool it!
So,why am I yapping about having seen a Down's syndrome child at a supermarket? Why?Well, I am shit scared that I will one day give birth to one(touchwood!).I recently hit 30..I look physically like a 19 year old(thanks to great genes and also my vegan diet) but let us not fool ourselves-My body still has worked for 30 years, my heart has been incessantly working for 30 years already-So , no matter how young I look on the outside, I am still on the inside have hit 30.
I am not one of these people who feels sad that i hit 30.Infact, i think hitting 30 is i get to be this person who can mentor teenagers without them raising an eyebrow(meaning, You are too young, so stop advising me).
When I say I am shit scared that I will one day give birth to a Down's syndrome child,I mean,I am not scared in a selfish way , where taking care of a child with special needs is a big burden and therefore I don't want to.It is about having to go through the physical pain of being the parent of a child that has few years to live and will have medical problems and you can do nothing about it and you have to witness the pain they go through.You are constantly worried that just incase you accidentally die before them, who will take care of them?
You might think that i probably recently developed this fear of down's syndrome given that i recently hit 30 and I haven't had a child so far..But the funny part is, I actually have been instinctively fearing this since the age of 20 when i first came across a down's syndrome case while in med school.It is funny how a 20 year who was planning on getting married by 27 and having kids prior to 30 would somehow back then have an instinct that one day she might end up giving birth to such a child and start fearing it.10 years down the line and a lot of breaking up with boyfriends, I end up not having had a child by 30.It was a wise decision .NM that.
I mean,These children are happy children with a keen appreciation for music.They lack much IQ though and suffer from many cardiac anomalies and live only to the grand old age of 25 and have the IQ of a 6 yr old.Its sad.
The first time, came across such a child during my Pediatric clinics while I was in Med school.Hmmmmmmm...That child.. that child..Would smile at everyone and dance to music .That child,Left an indelible mark on my silly lil med school student mind..Morbid fear...because it is tough as a parent to worry about your child like that.
So, I was 20 back then.I am 30 right now..standing at a supermarket check out line....I see yet another Down syndrome child on the shoulder of another mom--The mom looks barely 22..she is not over 30 and the parents don't look related(But, like I said, they may even not be the actual biological parents)... So,, not all Down's syndrome are born to women over 30...I stand there convincing myself
"I am 30, but come on.. IVF has come a long way. and yes,,we have villus sampling detects Down's, I am safe"

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