Is that karma?

Sharon Stone is getting a bunch of flack for a comment she made regarding the earthquake in China recently.  She raised the question as to whether or not the earthquake might be punishment for the Chinese ‘not being nice’ to Tibet.  While it’s a little unclear exactly what she’s talking about (not being nice?  are we in preschool?), I still think there have been overreactions.  Ng See-Yuen of UME for example, is now talking of banning her movies from his theaters.  So let’s ban the legitimate work of countless actors and filmmakers for one person’s possibly disparaging remarks?  Especially when Stone’s comments were possibly meant to be forgiving?  You can decide for yourself – the interview clip is below.

While I myself take offense with the way Stone talks down to the interviewer, there’s a positive spin on the whole thing.  She’s trying to say ‘we should all learn from the Tibetans, and forgive, and unite to help each other when things get tough’.  She’s trying to say her initial reaction to the disaster was negative, but that she reconsidered and eventually felt sympathy for those in need.  She’s trying to continue to garner support for the cause of Tibet’s independence at a time with China’s disaster is pulling attention away from a cause she values.  We can all see and understand that, even while we wish she had done so in a more sympathetic fashion.

Finally friends, if such a disaster really were just punishment for civil rights abuses in Tibet, it wouldn’t have been centered in the western provinces.  It wouldn’t have been centered where a variety of minority groups without real political power would suffer.  It wouldn’t have destroyed a landscape that is beautiful and remote and arouses sympathy around the world.  Sichuan and the other provinces affected are not responsible for Tibet.  Just as I do not always agree with my own government, I continue to love and respect the Chinese people while not reserving the same respect for all the actions of their government.

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What could be better than a glorious Friday afternoon in the sun?  How about a bit of the ridiculous – a glorious Friday afternoon in the sun on a Segue?

While there are further reports of frustrations and losses in Myanmar, I would prefer to focus on the positive: people doing some good in the world.  And that’s what’s going on for a few U.S. veterans right now – Disability Rights Advocates for Technology is giving 30 veterans with amputations Segues for free.  The group sponsors a ‘Segs-4-Vets’ program in an attempt to give further mobility and support to a group of people that have already made sacrifices for us.

While I myself find Segues somewhat silly – why not walk, or even ride a bike? – I’m grateful that the technology exists.  Especially in this case, it gives people the freedom to move about without being looked down on, as they would literally be in a wheelchair.  Many of these machines are sold at reduced rates by individual retailers, rather than the manufacturer, giving stores the opportunity to prove they support their troops.  While it doesn’t make me want to go out and buy my own motorized personal transport whatever, it does shift my perspective a little.  If I see a Segue store, I’d be more likely to smile than snort.