The changing nature of totems

3 photographs taken at the end of September 2017 in the City of Duncan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada

The Native Totem pole used to be a ritual pole placed in front of Long Houses of Big Houses on Vancouver Island, BC Canada. Now the nature of the totem pole has transformed in the City of Duncan to be a tourist commodity. These totem poles in the City of Duncan have for the most part been carved by natives from the island, however the purpose of the totem poles is like a business. I have taken tours of the City of Duncan where the Entrepreneur foundation hired a local to show the totems to be in the City for a fee.

Advertisements

Mirage of truth. City of Victoria BC

Photographs from City of Victoria BC

The funny thing about these high rise buildings is that they appear to be representing of wealth and prosperity but from where I am standing and in my point of view this is a mirage and very far from the truth. These buildings are an encasement for individuals that may or may not even want to live in the City of Victoria, as according to the local news, many owners of the condo units use their property as an AirBnB.

The majority of the owners of the units in the high rises do not even come from Vancouver Island let alone Victoria. Recently in the Provincial meeting at the Vancouver Conference Center it was mentioned in a seminar by a Simon Fraser PhD professor (in the last week of Sept. 2017. The news article was in the Vancouver Sun newspaper), that the condominiums are going to the Global financial elite who buy from outside of Canada and have the unit as an investment.

That means that while the lower level workers in the City of Victoria are getting out priced of their hometown city, the global financially secure elite get the best units in the city and do not even reside here but instead rent out their units in what the City Hall in the City of Victoria called “Ghost hotels.”

The bottom-line here is that the low income employees living in the City of Victoria can (more often then not) not financially survive in this city because the price of rent for a bachelor apartment, one bedroom or two bedroom apartment is too expensive for their budgets. So this means that in no time, the service industry in the City of Victoria is going to go under, at least to a degree, because the lower financial class who has been doing the service jobs in the City are getting out-priced. This implies they will move out of the city. Already businesses in the City of Victoria has closed their doors because of the lack of staff. The image of tall new high rise buildings appears to mean that the economy in this city is going well, when it a round-about way, the opposite is true.

In a way, the City of Victoria has created a vacuum and we stand on the edge of creating a ghost town. This ghost town would be unique only to the City of Victoria, BC in the way that is was started and it will end in this city. What I predict will happen, and it is always hard to pin-point the financial and economics of a city to an exact science, but it seems that the service industry staff especially the lower spectrum of the working class in the city are going to pack their bags as in an exodus and leave Victoria. This will leave the small business without staff members. Without the lower level employees the economy will at least in part collapse, hence creating a real ghost town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would happen if society solved homelessness first? Sep 29, 2017

Within Human history and dating back into Biblical times, when Jesus tried to help the marginalized such as Mary Magdalene and Lazarus – Jesus got penalized and was reported. In the end he was forced to punishment and killed.

Is that how our Western society is still today, September 29, 2017?

Why has society not really tried to solve homelessness properly?

Is it because it has to do with the Medical Model? Is the Medical Model a completely separate unit from the rest of the other industries such as the homeless industry in the City of Victoria, BC?

Is that why no politicians has tackled homelessness in the City of Victoria head-on?

I went to a community meeting organized by the Mayor of the City of Victoria Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada at the start of September 2017. I listened to the community feedback to the Mayor and I started to see how many of the details from the audience were deterred away from being put of a high priority list to be addressed and fixed. This single act alone was symbolic to me of the City of Victoria’s Municipal political system. I believe the essence of the City Hall in Victoria City is to portray the impression that that City is the best, and at the same time to try to hide and make obsolete the problems and complaints the citizens in the sub-communities have. Of course, I am not saying this is true or false, as I often do not operate in absolutes, however it is my personal observation of the meeting.

If this operation was even remotely true, that means that the City of Victoria, BC has some transparency issues that may need to be addressed in the future. I do not believe that sweeping anything under the carpet in politics or in business is a good thing. In fact, I believe that when that is done, that it creates an environment and a community based on fear. Fear leads to censorship and when this occurs what will often occur within the hierarchical structure of the leadership is that an autocracy with form. I have my suspicions that this form to at least some extent is occurring in the City of Victoria, BC but it is based on impressions versus pronounced statistics. All in all, Freedom of Expression is one of the current freedoms we still have, at least to some degree, left in our city. It would be very sad if that turns obsolete too.

{Photograph taken in the staircase of Vancouver Island University (VIU) September 28, 2017}

22047877_10154794854727019_6717303610714817367_o

Engaging in a conversation, 2017

When you engage in a conversation, and the other starts judging you based on factors that are beyond your control – the best thing you can do is lead by example, by:

  1. not being afraid
  2. identify what is happening
  3. put the experience into perspective
  4. have an open mind

In other words, when you meet someone for the first time, try hard not to judge them.

When you feel yourself scanning the other person and creating your first impression on anything but the facts, try hard to contain that thought pattern and go back to listening with your heart to what the other is saying and base your impression on that instead.

You can learn techniques to enhance a good experience and there are ways to diffuse a bad experience but if the dynamic is not right, the best thing that you can do is acknowledge it within yourself and not to fight it. It is one of those mysteries of life.

Not everything in life can be controlled.

Not all conversations will flow smoothly.

In these cases, there are no techniques to use – the only thing you need to do is experience this when it happens.

Appreciate the mystery and respect the fact that life is full of surprises, unexplained circumstances and enriching enigma’s.

On a practical note, this invisible dynamic component could be:

  1. the positioning of your facial features
  2. the sound of your voice
  3. stereotypes
  4. prejudice

This secondary component can also be solely based on instinct and not on facts, emotion or logic of any kind.

When the secondary – dynamic component is in sync, this can lead to a good experience. For example, a good experience is shared when both parties resonate with each other i.e

  1. by sharing some kind of common ground
  2. having the same interests and
  3. sharing information with each other openly

When a secondary – dynamic component is off- balance – this can lead to a bad experience. For example, a bad experience could occur when:

  1. there is a personality conflict
  2. when information is kept secret
  3. when there is some kind of invisible unidentifiable tension between the two parties

This kind of conversation experience could occur on a conscious or unconscious level. It slips into the conversation like a garden snake slips through the grass and can leave the two conversationalists feeling very uncomfortable around each other.

In a conversation there are two primary components that highlight how to have a good flow conversation: on the one hand is the emotional intelligence component and on the other is the intellectual intelligence component.

Emotional intelligence means when you listen you use empathy to really feel what the other is saying to you.

You would say things like: “I feel (….)”

Intellectual intelligence means that you use common-sense, logic and rational thought to decipher the message conveyed to you.

You would say things like: “I think (…)”

However it is neither the emotional nor the intellectual intelligence components that makes the conversation flow. There is something else.

That something else is the third secondary component which is the invisible dynamic component. It can be considered the glue that pastes the emotional and intellectual intelligence components together. It makes everything fit  together like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. It is this invisible component that makes you succeed in the interview, share enriching conversations with friends and family and enables you to succeed in a personal relationship. It is the connection between you and the other that makes you a match and compatible with each other.

Funny enough this component is the most important but – it is also the one you have least control over.

Photo, September 19, 2017. Title: “Fall in Victoria”

21616373_10154648771547105_8860266833512476604_n

Twin Otter Aircraft

What kind of aircraft would allow me to fly through the Himalaya in extreme temperatures and land between the mountains on a tiny runway?

In order to answer that question let’s reflect on Canadian aviation.

After more than 75 years and some 3,500 aircraft later, de Havilland Canada stands proud as a symbol of Canadian achievement.

Thousands of de Havilland Canada aircraft remain in active use around the world. These DHC aircraft are sought after for the hardest jobs in the toughest places. They never fail to live up to their reputation for versatility and dependability.

One of their most famous aircraft is the de Havilland Twin Otter, which is a highly maneuverable, versatile aircraft that can be flown safely at various speeds from 80 to 160 knots. The Twin Otter is a high winged, twin engine turbine powered aircraft ideally suite to operate in all conditions and climates.

It can be used around the world in mountains anywhere where rugged reliability and short-take-off-and-landing are required. The hard working Twin Otter will be around. The Twin Otter can be fitted with wheels, skis or floats as the landing gear.

It is a fact that one of the customers that Viking Air, a Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canadian company supplies aircraft to is the Pakistan Army. This is relevant because one of my most memorable airplane flights was when I flew to Gilgit – a Pakistani city surrounded by the deep heights of the Himalaya mountains. This aircraft could have been paid for by the Pakistani army and it could have been a Twin Otter aircraft.

The experience was breath-taking. I remember looking out of my window of the airplane in total awe. The flight was so smooth, it felt like I was floating on the clouds. We glided just above the sharpest mountain peaks the world had to offer but instead of being afraid – I was comforted. It could have been the orange – yellow shades of the sun, that danced over the snowcapped mountain tops that made me feel this way or maybe it was the deep mystery of floating above a rough country side that triggered the feeling of intense safety within me.

The aircraft started it’s descent in a very gradual motion. I looked out of the window and noticed the rugged brown mountain relief – jagged staring back at me. I swallowed. I enjoyed the vast contrast between outside landscape and my inner feelings inside the safe aircraft.

After a couple of minutes the airplane dropped through the clouds and within, what seemed like seconds, the plane landed and we disembarked into the city of Gilgit. Which is the capital city of North Areas, Pakistan. Gilgit city is one of the two major hubs on the Northern Areas for all mountaineering expeditions of Karakoram to Himalaya peaks, the other hub being Skardu.

Twin_Otter_4_1997-08-02