“It seems like every time I study an illness and trace a path to the first cause, I find my way back to sugar.”
– Richard Johnson, nephrologist, University of Colorado Denver
The worst possible ingredient we consume daily could be sugar which everyone knows is detrimental to health and is the root cause of diseases, including diabetes and cancer, among many others.
Worldwide, people are consuming sugar equal to about 500 extra calories per day. That is just about what you would need to consume if you wanted to gain a pound a week. No wonder we have many obese men, women, and children around us.
Dietitians and nutritionists have established that four grams of white granulated sugar are equal to one teaspoon of sugar. In the United States, the American Heart Association recommends a daily allowance of no more than six teaspoons a day for the average woman and no more than nine teaspoons a day for the average male. However, an American consumes an average of 27 teaspoons of sugar per day.
Why do some people add sugar to almost everything they consume? Perhaps they think that the lack of sodium or fat in sugar makes it less harmful or harbor a false notion that the risk of excess sugar consumption is less than that of having too much saturated and trans fat, sodium or calories in their diet. Some even espouse the adage “what you don’t know won’t hurt you.”
Sugar specifically promotes obesity. In the past 30 years, obesity in children has doubled and the rate of adolescent obesity has tripled. The main factor is fat accumulation in the trunk of the body. One cause may be the wide consumption of fructose-laden beverages. In 2010, a study in children found that excess fructose intake (but not glucose intake) caused visceral fat cells to mature that set the stage for obesity at a young age leading to heart disease and diabetes.
In contrast, there are many who know that excessive sugar in the diet is not good for healthy living and consume it in recommended amounts and place it at the top of their list of “foods to avoid”. They know that sugar specifically promotes obesity.
A typical sugar packet in the United States contains two grams of sugar while all soft drinks have an excess amount of sugar with absolutely no nutritional advantage. For example, Coca-Cola contains 10.6 grams or five sachets of sugar per 100ml. So, a 250 ml can has 26.5 grams or 13 sachets of sugar and a 330 ml can has 31.8 grams or 16 sachets of sugar.
To curb rising obesity, some sectors want beverages having high sugar content taxed in the same way as cigarettes.
In the following video, Jeremy Paxman with his forthright and abrasive interviewing style speaks to James Quincey, president of Coca-Cola Europe about the sugar content in their regular Coke on BBC Two’s Newsnight.
Gallup Analytics, the publisher of the Gallup Poll, a widely recognized barometer of American opinion, provides market research and consulting services around the world. In July 2015, as part of its annual Consumption Habits poll, Gallup asked 1,009 Americans about the foods they try to include or avoid in their diet.
In her article “Coca-Cola says its drinks don’t cause obesity. Science says otherwise“, Marion Nestle says:
“Sales of sugar-sweetened and diet drinks have been falling for a decade in the United States, and a new Gallup Poll says 60% of Americans are trying to avoid drinking soda. In attempts to reverse these trends and deflect concerns about the health effects of sugary drinks, the soda industry invokes elements of the tobacco industry’s classic playbook: cast doubt on the science, discredit critics, invoke nanny statism and attribute obesity to personal irresponsibility.“
In late September 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics ended its partnership with Coca-Cola after evidence emerged that the Coca-Cola company paid for research to downplay the role of Coke in obesity. The academy’s website, healthychildren.org was sponsored mainly by the Coca-Cola company. Of the $100 million the Coca-Cola company gives to various medical and health groups, the academy received $3 million.
Members of the American Academy of Pediatrics were upset after the New York Times looked at financial data that revealed the extent of the relationship between the Academy and the Coca-Cola company.
Many pediatricians aligned to the Academy who saw childhood health problems related to obesity on a daily basis, like type 2 diabetes and hypertension were surprised to find that their organization was aligned with Coke. New York Times reporter Anahad O’Connor said: “Some pediatricians said it was analogous to a major lung association group or university partnering with the tobacco industry.”
Recently I came across the following quote purported to be that of John D. Rockefeller:
Disgusting crap just like the idiots that drink it. More salt than a pizza. More sugar than a wedding cake to cover up the salt. Why salt? Cos it makes you thirsty and what do you do when you’re thirsty? Grab a Coke. The sugar makes you pile on the pounds. I hate this drink and all the other billion dollar fizzy brands that are filled with caffeine and other shit. Drink water for god sake. They did an experiment and took fizzy drink vending machines out of some school and guess what? The kids there were less fat than the ones that kept the vending machines. If you want to be fat, Coke is it! Just avoid it, guys… It’s what the Elites want us to do EAT & DRINK but not THINK.
It rained through the night in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. The incessant rains that plagued us for the past three weeks did not seem to abate.
At 7.11 am, while I was still in bed my boarding and classmate Sunderaraj Kagoo, former Managing Partner of Star Brand Sweets, Colombo, had given me a call. I was not able to call him back since my cell’s battery had run down.
There was no way to charge my cell because we had no electricity supply.
Of all the rainy days that started in mid-November, 2015, today it rained heavily and forcefully.
Since the cable TV line was completely out and my 100 MB internet connection was dead, there was no way to know what was happening around us. We were not able to go out of our house to shop for essentials due to the torrent.
My second daughter Subodhra living in Palayamkottai, 620 km away from Chennai, phoned my wife. She said it did not rain there in Tirunelveli. She inquired how we were faring since she saw several news channels on TV covering the floods in Chennai. She said that Velachery, about 5 km from our house was flooded and that boats were being deployed to evacuate the marooned from their flooded houses to safety. My wife assured her that we were safe.
At 6:45 pm electricity came on.
At 6:48 pm my cousin Lawrence rang up inquired whether we were safe. He assured us that his house safe. I could hear children shouting and music in the background and immediately knew that the first birthday of his second grandson Tom Philip was being celebrated. I blessed the child over the phone and told Lawrence that even if they had invited us for the birthday party we would not have made it.
At 7:00 pm my wife, daughter Sujatha and I ran to the house on the first floor of the flat opposite our house to attend the first birthday party of a year-old toddler.
At 7:30 pm while the party was on, the electric power was cut off and we had the birthday dinner by candle light.
We returned home at 8:00 pm.
It poured heavily.
At 9:00 pm since we had no electricity, TV broadcast nor the internet, I tried to call my daughter Subodhra at Palayamkottai to know about the situation in Chennai that she would have seen on TV . Alas, to our bad luck the Vodafone network was out of service.
At 9:20 pm remembering the phone call from Sunderaraj Kagoo, I tried his number, but I was not able to get through. Then I noticed that my service provider Aircel too was out of service.
Since there was no electricity, we were not able to turn on the electric mosquito repellers and had to sleep at the mercy of the swarming mosquitoes.
After the inundation of the arterial Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road south and north of Tambaram, all roads leading to Tambaram submerged at various stretches making Tambaram inaccessible to the rest of the city and for those heading towards Chennai city from Chengalpattu.
December 2, 2015:
It rained heavily in the morning.
I saw a few strangers in our neighbour Lokanayaki’s house. She told me that they were her relatives from nearby Pallikaranai and flood waters had entered their house up to their neck and so had come to her house for shelter.
Around 4:00 pm the rain ceased and there was only a pleasant drizzle. I took this opportunity to venture out on my two-wheeler to buy essential foods and medicines.
All the ATMs in our neighbourhood were out of service.
I went to one of the local medical shops. The proprietor was there and I asked him whether the card machine worked. The proprietor reluctantly said no. Then he asked how much my purchase would amount to. When I said more than ₹500, he said he would try to accommodate me since the backup battery had almost died out. He then took my order which amounted to ₹580 and switched on the card reader which came to life after a bit of coaxing. I thanked him for obliging and left the shop with the medicines.
The main road between Velachery and Tambaram is flooded in many places with hidden potholes lurking under the muddy waters. So, buses are not plying. I am not able to travel on my two-wheeler more than 100 metres either way from Pallikarani Oil Mill Stop.
I took the risk and waded through deep waters on my vehicle for about a kilometre and finally saw eggs stored on plastic trays at a shop. I bought a dozen eggs for ₹6 each.
On my way back home the engine of my two-wheeler stopped. I cranked the fuel tap to reserve and retraced my route. I found more than 50 people waiting in a queue to fill their motorcycles and cars at the petrol bunk. Finally, after waiting for about 30 minutes my turn came and after filling the tank with petrol and oil for ₹200, I returned home around 5:30 pm.
At 6:30 pm it was dark. I ventured out on my two-wheeler to buy a pair of batteries for my LCD torch. Almost all the shops were closed. Finally, I saw an electrical shop where an oil lamp lit the inside dimly. Luckily the batteries were available and I hurried home.
In the evening we heard that Chennai was officially declared a disaster area.
December 3, 2015:
Rains continued to plague Chennai.
Around 11:00 am we saw an army helicopter crossing far away from our house.
Around 1:30 pm we received electricity. We were able to see TV programmes.
We were made aware that the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu viewed the damages wrought by the incessant rains from the comfort of a helicopter. We also came to know that the Prime Minister who had come all the way from New Delhi too viewed the damages travelling on a separate helicopter.
At 6:30 pm some of our neighbours hurried towards the main road. My wife told me that the ATMs were working. I too took my debit card and ran to the main road. We were all disappointed for one ATM displayed the “Sorry. No money!” sign and the other two ATMs had shuttered down. It was a rumour.
Around 7:00 pm the electric supply was cut off and we were once again in the dark.
Around 7:30 pm my nephew Raphael Leo came home by motorbike to our house to inquire whether we and his mother-in-law who lives about 200 metres away from our house were safe. My son Subas Raj in Ellicott City, MD, USA had contacted him on WhatsApp and had asked him to check on us.
Though relief efforts were well underway across some of the flooded areas in Chennai, the lack of any coordinated relief response forced thousands of its residents to evacuate their houses on their own.
December 4, 2015:
From 5:00 am we had no rain and the sun shone through thick clouds. We were happy and thought the rains had finally ceased. With a letup in rainfall, floodwaters gradually began to recede in some areas in Chennai though 40 percent of the city remained submerged. Safe food and drinking water was in short supply.
Still no cell phone service. And there is no internet.
The electric supply comes in spurts. TV works intermittently even when electricity is available.
The internet was available from 1:45 pm today.
At 2:30 pm ominous dark clouds started gathering and it started to rain heavily.
Around 6:30 pm I saw the heart-wrenching news on TV channels about the loss of 18 patients who had died at the MIOT International Hospital in Manapakkam, Chennai, due to overflowing of flood waters from Adyar river that breached the hospital’s walls, damaging equipment in its path.
Two TV channels showed AIADMK Tamilnadu State Ministers Natham Viswanathan, Gokula Indra, and Selur Raju being chased away by the public when they visited the Chief Minister’s R.K. Nagar electorate. They had come to the CM’s electorate to meet the people in lieu of their head. The ministers arrived in a cortege of 18 cars, and without getting down from their vehicles, the ministers spoke to the people. This infuriated the people. They asked the ministers to get down from their vehicles and get their feet wet as they did. After an argument, the ministers with the protection and cordoning by the police escaped the fury of the mass.
Then we came across the shameful news that in some areas in Chennai the AIADMK hooligans are abrogating the work done by the charitable people and NGOs in Chennai by sticking stickers of JJ on the food parcels brought by them for distribution. If they could not help at least they should not steal the credits that are due to the helping people with their hard earned money and organizations who do not belong to their party. Instead, these shameless ruffians could have volunteered to work in the flood affected areas instead of stealing efforts made by others; or they could have pressured their higher-ups from the lowly municipal councilors to the Chief Minister to distribute free food from their “Amma Canteens” and distribute free “Amma Water” Bottles.
There seems to be a voltage drop and the electricity might be cut off at any moment.
For now, my family and I are safe. Please see the TV news channels for the overall situation now prevailing in Chennai.
A few days ago, during the incessant rain and floods in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India, a little boy wanted 100 rupees to buy food for his family who had not eaten for two days. He prayed to God. When nothing happened and no one officially came to help them, he decided to write a request letter to God.
A puzzled post office staff on seeing the letter addressed to God forwarded it to the Chief Minister.
The amused Chief Minister thought that 100 rupees would be a lot of money for a little boy to buy food. So, she instructed her secretary to send the little boy 30 rupees instead from the Chief Minister’s relief fund.
When the little boy received the money he was delighted. He wrote the following ‘Thank you’ letter to the CM:
“Dear God, I thank you for sending me money through the Chief Minister’s Office Secretariat in Chennai. However, I would like you to know that corrupt asses there must have swindled 70 rupees as their commission! “
Patti Frustaci, a 30-year-old English teacher at Rubidoux High School, in Riverside, California, and wife of 32-year-old Samuel Frustaci, an industrial equipment salesman for a Buena Park firm, had already conceived a child, a healthy toddler named Joseph.
Even though they already had a healthy child, Patti and Samuel opted for fertility treatment. From August to November of 1984, Dr. Jaroslav Marik, a pioneer in his field with a stellar reputation treated Patti Frustaci at Tyler Medical Clinics Inc., of West Los Angeles, where Marik was a part owner. He treated Patti with the drug Pergonal, a fertility drug used for fertility issues in women, especially women who are anovulatory and oligo ovular.
When ultrasound examinations performed during the following January revealed the presence of seven fetuses which meant that the fetuses had a slim chance of surviving until term. When Patti’s obstetrician warned of the possible outcome, and counseled her to have a selective abortion by which a doctor would remove several of the fetuses in order that the remaining unborn offsprings would have a better chance of survival. Being Mormons by faith, the Frustacis invoked God’s teaching and spurned abortion.
Patti Frustaci got admitted in St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California on March 25, 1985.
A 38-member medical team was constituted at St. Joseph Hospital to assist Patti’s obstetrician, Dr. Martin Feldman, in what was to become the first largest multiple births in the medical history of the United States of America.
The average duration of a normal pregnancy is 280 days (40 weeks), calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period, with 85 to 95% babies born between the 266th and the 294th days. Common deviations thus range up to 14 days in either direction. However, in the Frustaci case, the medical team determined that the babies would have a better chance of survival if they completed 28 weeks of gestation in the mother’s womb before their birth.
Patti’s hypertension threatened to deprive the fetuses of nutrition. As a result of hypertension, the team of doctors scheduled the surgery after her condition declined from good to fair.
On May 21, 1985, Patti Frustaci was wheeled into the delivery room at St. Joseph Hospital.
Beginning at 8:19 am, the operation went smoothly without any hitch led by Dr. Martin Feldman. It took only three minutes for the caesarean section team to deliver the first septuplets in the United States, prematurely at 28 weeks. For Dr. Feldman, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The seventh-born septuplet, later named Christina Elizabeth, was stillborn, apparently died in the uterus several days before. The 32-year-old Samuel Frustaci, had a moment alone with the stillborn baby and held it as did his wife Patti after she came out of the general anesthesia.
The weights of the septuplets ranged from 15.5 ounces (439.42 grams) to 1 pound 13 ounces (822.14 grams).
About 10 minutes after delivery, to compensate for the immaturity of their lungs and immune systems, the six surviving Frustaci septuplets requiring a higher level of care were transferred to the adjacent CHOC Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph Hospital and placed on respirators and antibiotics.
At St. Joseph Hospital, where the babies were delivered and as Patti Frustaci remained in the intensive care unit, the switchboard was flooded with calls of well-wishers. Many of the calls were from new mothers offering support, prayers and outgrown baby clothes. Also, bouquets of flowers and huge baskets filled with stuffed toys arrived at the hospital.
On Thursday, May 23, 1985, the sixth-born septuplet, David Anthony, the tiniest of the six Frustaci septuplets who survived birth, nicknamed “Peanut,” went into “respiratory distress” around 7 pm. The doctors were able to resuscitate him. He died the following day, Friday, May 24, 1985, at 12:34 am.
Peanut was brought to Patti from CHOC after he died, and she held him for about an hour. According to Samuel Frustaci, the hardest thing for Patti is the fact that she never got the chance to see (Peanut) alive.
On Wednesday, May 29, 1985, around 12:30 pm, wearing a lavender robe and cradling a bouquet of roses, a joyous Patti Frustaci emerged from St. Joseph Hospital on a wheelchair to the cheers and applause of employees of the hospital in a wheelchair. A jubilant Samuel Frustaci accompanied his wife Patti, passing a horde of reporters got into a waiting car en route to the home of Patti’s parents where she would continue recuperating while her five surviving septuplets remained behind at CHOC. A wagon full of stuffed animals attached to balloons followed her car.
The second-born septuplet, James Martin, who was in the most critical condition and had been given a 50-50 chance of survival died after 16 days on June 6, 1985.
Three days later, on Sunday, June 9, 1985, Bonnie Marie, the fourth-born septuplet, who for so long beat the odds against her survival, died at 12:25 pm. She lasted a week longer than they gave her.
All three infants succumbed to cardiopulmonary failure and arrest due to severe hyaline membrane disease, a disorder of the alveoli and respiratory passages that result in the inadequate expansion of the lungs.
The three surviving septuplets, two boys, and one girl: Steven Earl, Richard Charles and Patricia Ann, were on oxygen and medication to fight infection. Because of their traumatic birth, the doctors suspected that both boys may also have cerebral palsy. The Children’s Hospital of Orange County released them one at a time beginning in mid-August 1985 as they recovered from problems that afflict premature babies.
Extraordinary expenses such as the cost of their medical care amounted to more than $1 million, offset only partially by offers of free food, goods and services and an exclusive interview contract with People magazine. As the infants died, many withdrew their endorsements and many offers never materialized.
The first birthday for the three surviving Frustaci septuplets was marked by disclosures that the two boys have cerebral palsy and all three suffer from eye, hearing and breathing disorders. The two boys had hernia surgery and all the infants attached to monitors that sound a warning when breathing stops.
Initially, the Frustacis considered the births as a “blessing”” on their family, but grieved the loss of four children. Then the reality of caring for three premature infants quickly became an ordeal.
Since they followed the Mormon faith, it stands to reason that the outcome of the pregnancy was God’s will. But since they could not sue God, the Frustacis went after the next best candidates, the Taylor Clinic and Dr. Jaroslav Marik.
On October 7, 1985, the Frustacis filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Tyler Medical Clinics Inc. of West Los Angeles, the fertility clinic that treated Patti Frustaci, and her physician, Dr. Jaroslav Marik who prescribed and injected Patti Frustaci with the fertility drug Pergonal.
The suit accused the clinic and the physician of failing to monitor fertility medication properly and to perform tests that could have indicated the potential for multiple births before conception. It blamed them for health and developmental disabilities of the surviving three babies afflicted with eye problems and considered developmentally retarded.
The suit also alleged medical malpractice, four wrongful deaths of their babies, loss of earnings and of earning capacity as a result of the overprescription of the fertility drugs. The Frustacis sought $1 million for current and future medical expenses, and $1.25 million for non-economic losses – $250,000 for each parent and for each of the three surviving infants.
The fertility clinic admitted no wrongdoing.
In July 1990, the Tyler Medical clinic agreed to pay $450,000 immediately and the three children would receive monthly payments for the rest of their lives. If the surviving three children live to a normal life expectancy, the award could total $6 million.
Dr. Marik, the fertility specialist who treated Patti Frustaci, refused to participate in the agreement. The doctor said at a news conference that he was not to blame for the plight of the Frustaci septuplets because Mrs. Frustaci was a patient who did not follow instructions and had a tendency to decide what she wanted to do.
On Monday, June 22, 1987, Patti Frustaci was driving from Las Vegas to Barstow on Interstate 15 with her three surviving septuplets. Her van got stuck in the sand in the middle of the highway when she tried to make a U-turn across the center divider. California Highway Patrol officers arrested her on suspicion of drunken driving. She was released five hours later on her own recognizance and her 2-year-old infants were handed over to their father.
On December 21, 1990, Five and a half years after the birth of the septuplets, the 36-year-old Patti Frustaci treated with the same fertility drug, Pergonal at another clinic gave birth to healthy twins – a boy and a girl, at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, California. They named them Jordan Browne and Jaclyn Lee.
Pathetically, the family broke up. Samuel and Patti Frustaci divorced a few years later.
In Arabic, the word ḥadīth (Arabic: حديث) means a “report, account, narrative”. To Muslims, the word Hadīth connotes “report on the words and actions of Prophet Muhammad”.
The Hadith of Gabriel (ḥadīth Jibrīl) in Sunnī Islām, is the single most important Hadīth. It is found in both the Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and the Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim.
Though not mentioned in the Quran, but summarized in the famous hadith of Gabriel are the Five Pillars of Islam (arkān-al-Islām أركان الإسلام; also arkān ad-dīn أركان الدين “pillars of the religion”) which are the foundation of Muslim life – five basic acts in Islam, considered obligatory by believers. They are:
Shahadah (belief, confession, or declaration of faith – Muslim life)
Salat (obligatory worship in the form of prayer)
Zakat (compulsory alms or charitable giving or concern for the needy)
Sawm Ramadan (self-purification by fasting during the month of Ramadan)
Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime)
The Arabic word Ṣawm (Arabic: صوم; plural: صيام ṣiyām), regulated by Islamic jurisprudence literally means fasting – to abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.
The Muslims of Iran, Central Asia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh use the words roza/rozha/roja/oruç, derived from Persian.
The Muslim communities in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Southern Thailand and Southern Philippines call it puasa, the word derived from Sanskrit, upauasa.
Annually, Muslims, worldwide, observe self-purification by fasting during the month of Ramadan which lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon.
The word Ramadan derived from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, means “scorching heat” or “dryness.” It is “obligatory” for adult Muslims to fast, except those who are ill, diabetic, traveling, pregnant, breastfeeding, or during menstrual bleeding.
The Quran states:
The month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran was revealed, a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance and the distinction; therefore whoever of you is present in the month, he shall fast therein, and whoever is sick or upon a journey, then (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days; Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty, and (He desires) that you should complete the number and that you should exalt the greatness of Allah for His having guided you and that you may give thanks. [Quran 2:185]
Bowling Green is a small public park in Lower Manhattan at the foot of Broadway next to the site of the original Dutch fort of New Amsterdam. Built in 1733, originally including a bowling green, it is the oldest public park in New York City surrounded by its original 18th-century fence. At its northern end is the Charging Bull sculpture, which is sometimes called the Wall Street Bull or the Bowling Green Bull.
While my wife and I were in New York, we saw a faithful Muslim in the Bowling Green at 1:23 pm unmindful of the blaring noise surrounding him, perseveringly reciting the Dhuhr (Noon) prayer. We were spellbound by his faith in God and his steadfast adherence to his religious duties.
The above is a widely copied and circulated quote on Facebook and other social networks, but I could not find the source of the quote anywhere in the works of William Shakespeare. Even though the attribution of the above quote to Shakespeare is incorrect, some people due to their ignorance re-post it without verification. Even goodreads.com, searchquotes.com, azquotes.com, and a few other websites have this fake quote on their pages.
Someone had initiated this fraud by copying the part of the text starting with “Before you speak” from the short poem titled “Before You” by William Arthur Ward (1921 – March 30, 1994), one of America’s most quoted writers of inspirational maxims.
by William Arthur Ward
Before you speak, listen. Before you write, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you invest, investigate. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try. Before you retire, save. Before you die, give.
Even though we have now stepped into the 21st century, a few choose to remain ignorant. I just wonder why these copycats do not surf the internet, enlighten themselves, and verify facts before posting whatever they copy on social media.
On a lighter vein, I came across this comment by Rodolphe in RoDoLpHe’S wOrLd dated August 18, 2011.
“To blog or not to blog“, said Hamlet, in reply to Othello who told him “Put out the comment, and then, put out the comment.”
Both knew that Henry the Fifth was spamming Richard III’s blogger account on purpose because the latter dated Cromwell’s third girlfriend. It was Falstaff who discovered the plot because he hacked Iago’s secret identity database.
I hope no one will copy portions of Rodolphe’s comment and post them on social media and attribute it to the Bard of Avon.
Many Asians, kneel and prostrate before their elders invoking their blessings. The above down-to-earth photo of Khanittha ‘Mint’ Phasaeng, the beauty queen who won the title Miss Uncensored News Thailand 2015, prostrating and invoking the blessings of her 47-year-old mother Orathai Pormaun, a garbage collector, amidst garbage bins, has won the heart of everyone who saw it on the internet.
According to the Bangkok Post, the 17-year-old Khanittha’s parents had separated when she was young and her mother had remarried. Khanittha lived in a 4-by-5-metre shack with five other family members where her mother also stored garbage for separation before sale.
Because of the crowded conditions at her home, Khanittha had to move and live with an aunt. Due to poverty, Khanittha was then adopted by a salon owner named ‘Know’, who sent her to school until she completed primary school or Mathayom 3.
Khanittha adores her mother. She has never been ashamed of her background or what her mother does to earn a living. “What I am today is because of my mother. There is no reason why I should feel inferior because my mother and I earn our livelihood by doing honest work.”
The teenager helps her family by assisting her mother sort recyclables from the trash. She also takes on menial jobs and sells used clothes to help cover household expenses and her brother’s education.
Because she is tall and good looking, some friends suggested that she should enter the beauty contest “Miss Uncensored News Thailand 2015” launched by “Exclusive Star“, the Tabloid magazine, which had just celebrated its 3rd anniversary and entering its fourth year with aims to promote gender equality and same-sex marriage.
The aim of this pageant contest with the slogan “gender equality” was to bring all women together in a beauty showdown, whether identified as female at birth or have transformed to be one over the years. The contest allowed the participation of only Thai women and trans-women between the age of 17-25 years, to show off their beauty and talent for a reward. Applications were available from August 29, 2015, at Imperial World Samrong.
Encouraged by her friends, Khanittha decided to take part in this somewhat cut-throat competition.
The beauty pageant, Miss Uncensored News Thailand 2015 open to both women and Transgenders was held on Friday, September 25, 2015, at the Imperial World Samrong,
When the referee announced Khanittha the winner, she thought it was a dream and wondered how an ordinary girl like herself could have won the title of “Miss Uncensored News Thailand 2015.”
Almost immediately after crowning Khanittha ‘Mint’ Phasaeng as Miss Uncensored News Thailand 2015, many universities contacted the organizers offering her scholarships. This prompted the organizers to scrutinize her application form. They discovered that Khanittha had lied about her education. She had submitted that she had completed senior high school or Mathayom 6 (Level 12) whereas she has only completed primary school or Mathayom 3.
On Thursday, October 15, 2015, a news conference was held near Khanittha’s house in Samut Prakan province, to end speculation whether she would lose the crown.
Somchai ‘Daisy’ Leknoi, director of Miss Uncensored News Thailand 2015, told the press that the contest, held for the first time at the Imperial World Samrong, aimed to provide opportunities to people from all social classes. She said the organizers and the two runners-up held no grudge against her as the event did not limit the gender or education of competitors. Nobody would take away her prizes, but she should not have lied about her education. Somchai Leknoi said, “However, we think she should apologize for her mistake. We just want all candidates to tell the truth, so they do not face any problems in the future.“
Khanittha apologized to Somchai Leknoi, claiming she had no intention of lying about her education; her uncle had filled the application form for her and she had failed to check it before submitting it. She thanked the committee for not withholding her prizes. She said that she would spend the money on her brother’s education.
Khanittha THB 30,000 in cash as part of her prize.
After the win, Khanittha ‘Mint’ Phasaeng has gained advertising, film and television work which she hopes will improve the situation at home, and would continue to help her mother collect garbage for a living.
Three years ago, when Hurricane Sandy, unofficially known as the “Superstorm Sandy”, devastated the United States in October 2012, I was in Ellicott City in Maryland.
Hurricane Sandy was the second-costliest hurricane in the history of the United States. It was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It all began on October 22, 2012.
A Timeline of Hurricane Sandy’s Path of Destruction
Monday, October 22, 2012
Developing in the southern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Nicaragua as a tropical easterly wave causing areas of cloudiness and thunderstorms, The depression strengthened and six hours later becomes Tropical Storm Sandy, with maximum winds of about 40 mph. It moved slowly northward toward the Greater Antilles and gradually intensified.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
On October 24, Sandy became a Category 1 hurricane, moved northward across the Caribbean and made landfall near Kingston, Jamaica with winds of 80 mph.
Although Hurricane Sandy’s eye does not cross the Dominican Republic and Haiti to its east, the storm dumped more than 20 inches of rain on Hispaniola. More than 50 people died in flooding and mudslides in Haiti.
A few hours later, it re-emerged into the Caribbean Sea and strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane. Off the coast of the Northeastern United States, the storm became the largest Atlantic hurricane on record as measured by diameter, with winds spanning 1,100 miles (1,800 km).
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Sandy strengthened as it moved from Jamaica to Cuba and made landfall in the historic city of Santiago de Cuba with winds of about 110 mph as a Category 3 hurricane.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Sandy caused more devastation as it crossed the Bahamas and made a slight turn to the north-northwest.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Sandy moved away from the Bahamas and made a turn to the northeast off the coast of Florida. Sandy weakened for a brief period of time to a tropical depression and then restrengthened to a Category 1 hurricane.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Sandy continued moving northeast on a track parallel to the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. As it approached latitude 35 degrees north off the coast of North Carolina, the hurricane’s eye stayed well offshore. Even then, the storm still a Category 1 hurricane with peak winds of about 80 mph sent powerful tsunami-like waves onto North Carolina’s Outer Banks washing out some places in NC Highway 12.
Due to an unusual configuration of converging weather factors meteorologists warned that the storm as it churns northward would likely morph into a powerful, hybrid super-storm.
A high-pressure cold front to Sandy’s north forced the storm to turn to the northwest toward major cities such as Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and New York. And the meteorologists expected that in conjunctions with the effects of the full moon Sandy’s storm surge to be 11 to 12 feet in some places and a little higher as it made landfall.
Sandy expanded into a huge storm covering about 1,000 miles with strong winds.
Monday, October 29, 2012
At 12:30 pm, Sandy made its expected sharp turn. It curved west-northwest (the “left turn” or “left hook”) and then moved ashore near Brigantine, New Jersey, just to the northeast of Atlantic City, as a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds. The storm also has started interacting with other weather systems, gaining energy in the process. The storm dumped heavy snow in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.
During the afternoon, Sandy brought high winds and drenching rains from Washington, D.C. northward, toppling trees and power lines and cutting off electrical power for millions of people. The storm eventually affected more than 50 million people on the Eastern Seaboard.
At 8 pm, Sandy’s center came ashore near Atlantic City, New Jersey. The storm was no longer considered a hurricane, but was classified as a post-tropical Nor’easter. But the storm’s unusual path from the southeast made its storm surge much worse in New Jersey and New York.
A high storm surge, a coastal flood or tsunami-like phenomenon of rising water occurred in New York City with a high tide of 14 ft (4.2 m), a new record for a storm surge in the harbor, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. The surge tops the sea wall at The Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and floods parts of the city’s subway system. The surge also floods the Hugh Carey Tunnel, which links Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The wind, rain and flooding from the huge storm pounded New Jersey and New York throughout the night and through three cycles of high tides and low tides.
Staten Island also was hit very hard by the storm. The Seattle Times later reported that towns such as Oakwood Beach, Midland Beach, South Beach and Tottenville — which lost many residents who were police and firefighters during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 — were among the hardest-hit communities.
When I look back, I remember posting several times on Facebook on 29th and 30th October 2012 about Hurricane Sandy to benefit my friends and readers in the United States and to assure my kith and Kin in India that my family was safe:
7:00 amEDT: From the Carolinas to Maine, Hurricane Sandy will affect 50 million people.
Hurricane Sandy is churning off the East Coast and is expected to join up with two other weather systems to create a huge and problematic storm affecting 50 million people. Here’s a snapshot of what is happening or expected, state by state.
The storm lashed barrier islands off North Carolina and rendered several homes and businesses nearly inaccessible. About 90 miles off the coast, a tall ship carrying 17 people was in distress; the Coast Guard was monitoring.
The number of power outages increased quickly in a state where utilities’ response to past weather-related failures has become a political issue. Connecticut Light & Power says hundreds of customers are without power. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy asked a task force to ensure fuel suppliers are fully stocked. Many residents along Long Island Sound heeded warnings and evacuated.
Hundreds of people fled to shelters as the rough surf pounded the coast. Water covered some roads.
Snow is expected in mountainous areas.
Officials predict coastal flooding and beach erosion, and utility crews have been brought in from Canada to handle anticipated power failures.
Baltimore is opening six shelters; several city intersections are closed because of flooding threats. Early voting, which began Saturday and was to run through Thursday, was canceled for Monday.
Utilities brought in crews from as far away as Texas and the Midwest to cope with anticipated power failures. Most schools and colleges have canceled classes. The Boston transit authority said it would continue to operate as long it was safe.
Gov. John Lynch put 100 National Guard soldiers on active duty to help with preparations. Two shelters are being set up, and some schools have closed.
Sandy’s center is expected to make landfall in New Jersey late Monday. By daybreak, more than 5,000 homes and businesses were without electricity. Thousands of people evacuated low-lying areas, and many inland towns hit by flooding from storm Irene last year issued evacuation orders.
Many residents left low-lying flood evacuation zones, and the subway system shut down Sunday night. A storm surge of 11 feet is possible, the highest of all coastal areas being hit by Sandy. The New York Stock Exchange and other U.S. financial markets shut down for at least the day. Thousands of flights were canceled at the city’s major airports.
Residents of low-lying areas and along Lake Erie were told to watch for flooding; utilities are anticipating high winds that could blow down trees and poles. Snow is forecast in some areas.
Many schools closed. Philadelphia shut down its mass transit system, and hundreds of flights were canceled at the city’s airport. Dozens of people took shelter at evacuation centers. Thousands of members of the National Guard have been told to be ready for deployment.
Several communities have ordered mandatory evacuations and many schools closed for the day. Big waves are expected to cause flooding along Narragansett Bay, which bisects the state. Authorities told people to be prepared for long periods without power.
Snow is expected in higher elevations, where a freeze warning has been issued. High winds are expected in many areas.
About 2,000 customers lacked power, and a utility said as many as 1 million could ultimately lose electricity. Many residents of Chincoteague Island, popular with tourists, shrugged off the idea of evacuation.
Gov. Peter Shumlin declared a state of emergency to provide access to National Guard troops in a state still recovering from the devastating effects of the remnants of Hurricane Irene. Culverts and storm drainage basins in some spots have been cleared of debris.
The capital area’s transit system shut down rail service for the first time since 2003, and the Smithsonian Institution closed for the day.
As much as 2 to 3 feet of snow were forecast in mountainous areas, and flooding was possible in some areas. Several shelters were put on standby, and power crews were mobilized to handle potential failures.
3:30 pm EDT:
Here in Ellicott City, Maryland, the wind speed is 41 mph NW. Not menacing at the moment.
3:40 pm EDT:
Landfall for Sandy within 3 hours time near Atlantic City, New Jersey shore with a wind speed of 90 mph in the center. The system moves at 18 mph.
8:40 pm EDT: In Ellicott City, Maryland, the wind speed has risen to 49 mph WNW.
8:54 pm EDT: Sandy landfall in Cape May, New Jersey around 8 pm.
9:00 pm EDT:
Battery Park in New York City is now inundated with 11.87 feet high. Water might enter NYC subway. Trains and buses won’t run on Tuesday (tomorrow).
9:30 pm EDT:
Waters from Hudson river has breached the Manhattan Broadwalk. Battery Park in New York City is now inundated with 13.7 feet high. MTA confirms that the subways are flooded.
1.5 million homes experience power outages in many states. In Maryland, 195,000 homes are without electric power. We have still not been hit by a power cut.
9:45 pm EDT:
Power surges, outages and flashes being experienced in the New York City area. Everything is dark over there. Manhattan is in darkness as well as the Statue of Liberty.
10:47 pm EDT:
All bridges were closed for traffic. Chesapeake Bay Bridge that connects Baltimore-DC area with the northern parts of Maryland such as Kent Island too was closed for traffic around 4 pm.
Sandy is still on its way towards us playing havoc with everything in its path.
Sandy had its landfall in Cape May, New Jersey around 8 pm. Ellicott City, MD is about 210 miles from the landfall area. The system is moving around 20 to 25 mph and I expect it to come here on Tuesday (tomorrow) morning around 6 am EDT.
Tuesday , October 30, 2012
2:10 am EDT: Hurricane Sandy plays havoc: Widespread Power outages have occurred in all the north-eastern and eastern states. In Maryland, 391,005 homes are experiencing power cut.
2:15 am EDT: Sandy is 10 miles southwest of Philadephia, PA.
10:50 am EDT: Sandy has passed us. We did not incur any damages. We did not lose any power.
I thank all of you for praying for us.
However, my heart bleeds for those who have suffered and are undergoing hardships due to the havoc created by this “Frankenstorm” called SANDY.
11:00 am EDT: Sandy: The loss to properties has been assessed between 10 and 20 billion dollars.
11:30 am EDT:
Sandy slammed New Jersey last night and early morning today. At least 16 deaths reported. Massive flooding, high winds, and widespread power outages hit the East Coast as Sandy moves inland.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Hurricane Sandy dissipated over western Pennsylvania, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its final advisory on the storm: “multiple centers of circulation in association with the remnants of Sandy can be found across the lower Great Lakes.”