Friday, July 28, 2006

SACA Birmingham to London (Annual Cycle ride)

Over the last 17 years SACA, Sikh Arts and Cultural Association (SACA) have
raised over Thousands of pounds for children's charities, for example:

Help a London Child (Capital Radio FM), Cash for Kids (BRMBFM), Wolverhampton
Children's ward, Ealing Hospital, 'Playground in the Sky',
Dr Barnado's, Contact a Family, Red Cross, dEBra (skin disorder charity)
Downs Syndrome Research Foundation, SCOPE and NSPCC.

This year's charity is the Whizz Kids – aiming to help disabled children to become more independent.

On route!

Over 250 cyclists started from Smethwick Gurdwara on Saturday morning. (22nd July at 8am). At 3pm the ride hit major storm conditions but the cyclist persevered.
Cyclists - rode all day taking only 5 breaks between steep and subtle hills, closing off the first leg of the weekend event in Luton.

Amazingly alongside the entire 2 days Team Fauja – a relay running team including Fauja started at 8.15am By Fauja Singh (the world marathon record holder (oldest male at 96).

On the second day on the cyclist's had reached the infamous hill in Elstree - happy to have tackled the final hill, lunch was served before the final leg home to West London!

A Fantastic Reception that encouraged everyone.After the finishing parade on the Southall Broadway at 3pm, the ride finished at Southall park - with a Thank you from the Mayoress from Ealing Council.

The following examples show how everyone that was involved in making this ride a success also made it an enjoyable event for all those that took part:

On Friday night, the overnight accommodation and hospitality at Smethwick Gurdwara was fantastic. On Saturday evening, the riders reception and overnight accommodation and hospitality at Luton. The Gurdwara was as normal outstanding.

During the event's finale, in Southall the ½ mile procession that included musicians, cyclists, official support vehicles and open air sound systems from Hypnotise sounds.

The SACA organisation are grateful to all the support teams, 250 cyclists and their receiving families. The langar and reception was excellent and enjoyed by all.

A team effort
In addition, the SACA organisation would like to Thank all that took part in this ride, the list of organisations below is not exhaustive.

* Of all that took part:The support of all the riders and their families, everyone that took the time to come to Southall to welcome the riders, Cyclist support team, Metropolitan Police, Gurdwara's in Smethwick (Birmingham), Luton, Park Avenue Southall, Rocky's, all the truckers and support teams (inc: SACA ride marshals), the ride medical doctors: Dr Rajdeep Khatter & Dr Rosy Arora, SACA Team members: Jas, Dave, Sandy, Raj, Harmi, Savinder, Dave, Bobby, Dobbs, Raps, Ranjod, Chas, Pala, Sati.., all sponsoring organisations (including The Sikh Times) and all that took part to make this ride a safe and fun event.

The annual Ride presentation evening

SACA's next event in support of collecting and presenting the consolidated funds raised by the bike ride to Whizz Kids, will be the Riders Presentation evening. It will be a chance to formally thank all those that have given for charity (inc sponsors) and to share in the joy of helping others. This event is planned to take place in October 2006, please look out for up & coming details.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Look up, what do you see? Dark Clouds

The sky is dark, not with the richness of moisture. Instead, as a result of the constant pounding of missiles and mortar attacks. The question to ask is where are we? Whether it be South Lebanon or Northern Israel the situation is the same

In hospitals the casualties arrive with their individual stories of horror. These people are the innocent. Stuck between hell and fire with no place to go. When they look up at the sky their minds are in shock as they wait to see whether one of the rockets will land near or on them.

A mother in an open hospital ward sits in a chair crouched with her head in her hands. Moments earlier she had lost her husband. On her left side is a cot with her baby battered by a bomb, sedated, still and silent in shock with pain. To her right side lies her young son. He lies on his side with his left check exposed – red and bloody from the attack. Freckles of shrapnel cover his face. He too lies still. The mother continues to sob and all we can do is feel for their pain.

As I sit here blogging in front of my computer I feel inadequate, helpless and sorry for the innocent. What have they (the innocent) done? Amongst the propaganda the truth is the pain of the innocence.

Thousands of foreigners are being evacuated in anticipation of more attacks or a major ground move / offensive. There are no boats of safety for those that remain.

The pain of the innocent is unseen but a fact, a reality and the truth behind the new rain of attacks between the two countries. The situation is complicated by statements such as ‘right to defend’, the apparent support being given to the Hezbollah. and the current non involvement of the: Lebanonese army. In addition, further words are used by the media: ‘Excessive force’ and ‘Hidden bombs’. When two fists collide then a 3rd party has to step-in to ‘iron out’ some sense. Can Connie broker a deal?

What can we do? How long will it be before a ceasefire is realised? Can we assume or belief in the United Nations? Is blogging, reading newspaper updates or watching events being unravelled before us all we can do? Unfortunately the answer is yes? It appears that humanity is passive and self-centred. No one stops to help the innocent. No one wants to get involved. Maybe in the risk of becoming implicated – yet we are implicated by being passive.

We need to dig deeper into finding a solution. Where are the arms coming from? Who are their suppliers? Why is there not a greater sense of urgency to resolve the issue? I still believe that if we collectively campaign for peace with our respective governments the attitude of apathy can be removed.

The picture of an innocent family suffering the pain of destruction should be powerful enough for anyone to grasp the urgency of the need for a resolution. Those that press the buttons only have to look up to the sky and realise that we are one world with different cultures that can live together –

As the earth beneath us is only divided by ourselves.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

11/7 a day of destruction

Terrorists in my view can best be described as hidden or unseen predators that prey on the innocent in the form of a shadow of evil. You know that they are there but you cannot make them out because of their silhouette of deceit. They are deceitful to themselves as they cowardly hide behind an identity that they themselves cannot face. They are unable to 'come to the table' and discuss or address publicly their issues. They resort to coversion to generate fear, uncertainty and doubt. They do not hesitate to put across their sense of distortion.

On 11th July in Mumbai, India during the rush hour explosions occurred within 11 minutes during. More than 714 people were hurt and 185 people shockingly killed. Hospitals sent out urgent appeals for blood donations.

Early Wednesday, hundreds of people at a station 440 kilometres (275 miles) from Mumbai. Two rail lines were restored by dawn, and a third was expected to reopen in the morning. The city's suburban train system is one of the busiest in the world, carrying more than six million commuters a day.

On Wednesday morning the Red Cross said that bodies are still being found and hospitals in the West Indian seaport are scrambling to care for survivors. Heavy monsoon rains hampered rescue efforts, bystanders wrapped people in blankets and helped transport the injured to hospitals.

Maybe by no coincidence the attacks struck just before of the G8 (group of eight) summit of world leaders that begins on Saturday 15th July in St. Petersburg, Russia. Last year's July 7 terror bombings in London that killed 52 people came as UK Prime Minister Tony Blair was hosting the G8 summit in Scotland.

Maybe the terrorists are trying to show that they are still alive and a deadly force?

I hope that one of the Indian government's immediate areas of focus will be on stability rather than seeing the ignition of rumours or on apportioning blame. In the past Mumbai has seen violence quickly spark to counter-violence. I really hope that any right wing extremist groups does not use the current situation as a way of raising further fears in people.

The aftermath of such an act as we have seen in many other countries is one of shock and worry. Madridites’ after they suffered train bomb blasts the next day showed a sense of defiance against the terrorists by bringing together over one million peple to march united into the city of Madrid. Maybe Mumbai can do the same.

Improvements in security will help but they have the risk of impacting on human rights and will need regulatory procedures.

What we need today is unified approach. Progress on issues need to be faster but not under the duress of the terrorists.

In a country that is still defined as 'developing', especially from the perspective of a wide gap between those that have and those that have not, I worry deeply for those that have lost family members or friends. I hope that a fund (national and international) can be established to help them.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

A year on 7/7

Much has happened since last years disgusting London bombing. Unfortunately, we are no closer to understanding the mentality of those involved. It is also unfortunate that that few initiatives appear to be in place to identify the reasons why the bombers did what they did.

This could be due to a number of reasons:

1. The media continue to use misrepresent general public opinion and avoid talking about communities where people are living peacefully.
2. Muslim or even non-white accomplishments are down played in the press.
3. Commentators, interviewees and community representatives are from ‘the chosen few’.
4. There is less focus on educational needs.
5. There needs to be more focus on the value / contribution that each member of a community brings to the UK.

The latter is something I’ve mentioned before. The media has its favourite’s. They chat to each other like old chums. Is there something more sinister at work? For example a hidden old boys and girls network, a jet set. Or is it that because many of them went to Oxford/Cambridge/Ivy league type educational establishments where their ticket to a podium is automatically allocated? Quite simply it may also be that those that shout the loudest tend to get heard.

Even if we look for those in the public eye (our already accomplished teachers, scientists, authors, researchers, doctors…) – where are the role models – those that set a positive view for their communities. These issues bare true for all segments of society.

Ethnic Minorities represent 7.9% of the UK population. They are a growing population with the majority living in London. Multi-ethnic representation continues to be marginalised. This in stark contrast to a survey commissioned by the BBC and in Ipsos 2003. For example:

- The fastest growing ethnic minority groups are Mixed Race, Black African, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese
- Apparently, young black and South Asian origin people are much more ambitious and optimistic than their white counterparts and feel as much a part of British culture as white people.
- Viewing habits in ethnic minority homes are different from white households - for one thing, digital penetration is higher - perhaps due to targeted channels such as Zee TV.
- BBC ONE has the largest share of any channel in ethnic minority homes, followed by ITV, Channel 4, Channel Five and then BBC TWO.
- In terms of radio, ethnic minority listeners find garage, rap/hip hop and children's programming more appealing than the population as a whole.
- Young ethnic minority listeners are using new technologies to tune in more than young white people. Though black people in general are less likely to use the internet.

I noticed that Sir Ian Blair stated on Breakfast TV this morning (7/7) that he (paraphrased) was not confident that another attack could be prevented. However, he confirmed that other potential attacks have been halted.

Are we missing something here? Has anyone thought of using / opening up the current channels rather than continuing to intellectualise about the issues.

Communicating Collaboration for good works - not isolation and abandonment!

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Fun with!

Lots of pics and value statements that I made up...

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Arrogance is unacceptable

You cannot miss the hype of the soccer world-cup even if you tried. It’s in your face from the moment you step out of the front door of your house. What with flags and quiet streets and lets not forget almost every street based advertisement attempts to vainly link itself to the footie fest.

The World-cup also focuses or mind on one thing – Television! The worldwide audiences must be in the Billions. It is also a time when we hope that any images that we are exposed to show people in a good light. I’m afraid that even though the number of yellow cards, false dives and acting-up is in my view at an all time high I can’t help thinking how closely such behaviour reflects real life.

On 2nd July it was reported that Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) has been widely criticised for his antics during England's defeat to Portugal on Saturday. Ronaldo insists he did not try to get Wayne Rooney sent off in the World Cup quarter-final. It appeared to viewers that that he (Ronaldo) rushed up to the referee Horacio Elizondo and seemed to encourage him to punish Wayne Rooney for a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho. Rooney then pushed Manchester United team-mate Ronaldo in the chest and was shown the red card by the Argentinean referee. The England striker left the pitch, 17 minutes into the second-half, and Ronaldo was caught on camera winking at the Portugal bench. Ronaldo, 21, said: ‘I tried to talk to the referee and say it was a foul but I didn't say he should give a red card. I felt very sorry for him (Rooney) because we are team-mates and very good friends.’ Based on them being team mates in Manchester United, maybe this is the truth?

Ronaldo then scored the winning penalty in a tense shoot-out in Gelsenkirchen to fire Portugal into their first World Cup semi-final since 1966.

Eriksson, who now leaves his job as England boss, said: "I'm sure Wayne Rooney does more good things than bad things. ‘He has a temperament; you have to live with that. I have spoken to him about it in the past but I always said you can't take the temperament away from Wayne Rooney because then he wouldn't be that kind of player.’

We need to ask the question that although adrenaline is running through all the players’ veins - can there not be more sportsmanship on the field. The desperation / desire to win are so high that careers, reputations and injuries can result. In addition, why is it that it sometimes appears that those with a sense of arrogance and a high temperament get away with it!?

Why do we have to put up with such behaviour?
The out-burst by Wayne is especially frustrating when you consider how much maturity Rooney displayed in other situations - he handled the transfer to Old Trafford very well, and was the definition of restraint on his difficult first return to Goodison in February 2005.

In summary, those who want to behave can. Those that are arrogant I believe will suffer under the same arrogance. We should not have to put up with a bad temperament. If footballers are earning millions they have a responsibility to set a good example - especially to those in their influential years.

There is more to life than football. We’ll all find out post 8th July!

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