26 Feb 2016

Blogposts with Attitude #BWA - February 2016

If you missed LBM's #BWA January feature, you need to head over and check it, as you can expect attitude in spades, with flowers and grace! #BWA is back this month - and hush! - the feature might well turn into a fixture! February explored boldness under its many guises: bold design, bold decisions, and bold reversals in fortune.

So, here we go, in chronological order, my five favourite posts this month. Enjoy the read and feel free to add on to the list: -

No.1: Reopening London's Mail Rail by The Conversation
The London Post Office Railway, a.k.a. The London Mail Rail, is one fascinating feat of engineering which - as a cog in the wheel of Britain's bold, efficient and fearless industrial legacy - operated sleek, fast, automated, driverless underground train services, over a 75-year period, facilitating business right into the core of London's sorting offices and two of its train stations, along the Paddington-Whitechapel corridor, dodging ground level delays and traffic jams, tucked out of customer sight and right at the front of the mind of the postal services. At its peak, it transited no less than 4 million letters a day! As with what happens with the idiosyncrasies of post-industrial - erm - industry, such a bold innovation would have to be scrapped eventually. Royal Mail closed the operation down in 2003, in line with its on-going streamlining of operations and year-on-year drop in mail volumes. And as with cogs in the wheels that once drove our industry, they end up either getting scrapped altogether or as a museum display - which is exactly what is to happen to London Mail Rail. Check The Postal Museum's preview on the matter. If you prefer your preview on the raw side - understand down and dirty - check the documented footage direct from the frontline by Place Hacking (back in 2011).

The iPhone S (shown in Rose Gold)

No.2: A Message to Our Customers by Apple
If there is one brand that still oozes Silicon Valley free spirit, then Apple is it. And when we thought it had met its demise with Steve Jobs' passing and the company's multi-million-dollar market share in the mobile phone industry would sell out its credibility as an edgy brand, it proved otherwise. Now Apple CEO, Tim Cook, has taken it one unprecedented step further, in reaction to the US government's request to be able to access customer data, via a master key of sorts, a 'backdoor' to the iOS (iPhone operating system). Apple boldly refused to execute the command, and clearly laid out the reasons for encrypting customer data. You can only admire a company for refusing to compromise its core values in terms of privacy laws and digital security, while still abiding to the American Constitution, yet refusing to be part of the police state that the government is building, one bit of code at a time. Apple, you stand well out there in the wake of America's founding fathers for whom liberty was a right, not an option, and I hold you in high esteem!

No.3 Dogs Run Over, Cats Thrown in the Trash: Victims of 'No-Kill' Policies by PETA
'No Kill' or not 'No Kill'? That is the question raised by this article, when shelters have ceased to be shelters and ceased to welcome every animal in need, because they no longer operate an open-door policy, for whatever reason, genuine or otherwise: over-capacity, overcrowding, long waiting lists, management difficulties, selection criteria, or simply to keep turnover low, 'make it look good' and secure further fundings. As always, the unwanted, abandonned pets are the ones left to suffer and pay the ultimate price of neglect and cruelty. PETA notes that “No-kill” policies don’t prevent animals from dying. They simply leave animals to die elsewhere—and often miserably." The solution is not in No Kill, it lays in educating people about responsible pet ownership, and adhere to a spay-and-neuter programme.

A life of tears on Necton Hall Pig Farm, Norfolk, England!

Viva! Founder and Director Juliet Gellatley braved the night and the inhospitality of her surroundings. She pushed the door of an ordinary British pig farm (Necton Hall Pig Farm, Norfolk) to show us what is really going on behind closed doors and beyond the myth of happy husbandry. She unveiled to us an ordinary tale of daily cruelty, ordinary in its commonplace, ordinary due to consumer love for meat, and a finished packaged up product that desensitises them from the reality of a once-living animal, all flesh and bones and sentience, behind that lump of meat surrendered to carnivorous appetites. And the cruelty on the farm leads on to the antechamber of the abattoir where horror awaits. The tragedy of the farm animal happens everywhere in the world where animals are traded commodities. In fact, human rapport with animals is short of humane, and may be summarised by The War against Animals by Dinesh Joseph Wadiwel, Lecturer in Human Rights and Socio-Legal Studies at The University of Sydney. The tragedy is more acutely emphasised under the industrial farming model (whereby 10 million pigs are slaughtered in the UK each year!), where an animal is a living product with a price tag on its head. Viva!'s shock tactics are sure to pull on the heartstrings of the blissfully ignorant meat eaters out there. Some of them will end up joining our vegetarian ranks, while the rest will turn a blind eye and remain complicit of the pain on their plates. Years ago, thanks to organisations like Viva! I took the decision to stop eating meat. Simple question for you: if you truly love animals, why would you want to eat them? Hone that thought before you reach out for that BLT!

No.5 Oscar-Nominated Film Forces Pakistan to Confront 'Honour Killings' by The Telegraph
It is easy for a young Western woman to take for granted that general sense of freedom that comes with the territory, in terms of her choices around higher education, employment, fashion, travel, and love relationships. Our society is tolerant of our choices and orientations, and today's parents have taken it in their strides with greater ease than their elders. The permissiveness of the West stands out from the die-hard traditions and customs of patriarchal cultures from Africa, the Indian sub-continent and Southern Asia, where girls and young women have their choices taken away from them by strong family pressure for them to conform to cultural legacy, which includes forced mariages. If they do not abide, they are not only disgraced by their families, but also run the risk of losing their lives. Oscar-nominated documentary A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness by Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy relates the fate of 19-year-old Saba Qaiser, in a poignant true story of love and (t)reason. Every year, more than a thousand girls and young women are the victims of religiously-motivated honour killings in Pakistan alone!

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