Whilst domestic violence has long been a serious concern in the US, beyond the social impact some experts and activists are also examining the economic impact.
The direct medical, mental and health services costs for victims of domestic abuse exceeds $5.8 billion annually, said Sarah Perry, executive director of The Second Step, an organization that provides assistance to survivors of domestic violence.
The name is absolutely apt. It gives you truly a second chance for a new life!
Based in Switzerland, 2nd Chance, a non-profit organization, does reconstructive surgery in emerging countries. Their motto is: Reconstruction Surgery for Life Reconstruction.
The association provides the academic and technical framework needed by surgeons who are willing to use their knowledge to help traumatized patients. Mutilated by congenital defects, burns or war wounds, or suffering from crippling diseases, many people wait for a surgical treatment which will enable them to begin their lives anew.
A guy named Gregory Grobon in the U.S. rode on his bike across the country to raise funds for 2nd Chance. He travelled from Los Angeles to New York, covering 5,770 km through 14 states, in 9 weeks.
For more information on 2nd Chance, log on to their website www.2nd-chance.org.
My trip to Beijing would not have been possible without Prof Dong, the Chinese scholar who translated Tagore’s work in Chinese. His invitation gave me a chance to explore the mainland China.
When I was in Hong Kong as part of my assignment with China Daily Hong Kong Edition (2006-2009), I visited Shenzen and Guangzhou a number of times, but never did I get a chance to visit Beijing.
When China Eastern airlines landed in Beijing, I was fascinated by the airport’s infrastructure. The capital’s stupendous development and the nation’s awe-inspiring thirst for progress took me by surprise.
I boarded the airport express subway to reach Huangcunxidajie (the subway station is 20 minutes metro ride from Beijing downtown), where my friend was staying. My friend took a rented apartment there. He was on a scholarship (Asian Ford Foundation) tour for three months.
I had read about Beijing’s mind-boggling progress, and the frenetic pace at which all development work is being done, but what I saw with my own eyes baffled me.
What struck me particularly about Beijing is the scale and speed of work! How a nation was transformed from the late seventies when it started opening up its economy.
“Never miss a trip to Hangzhou,” said Prof Dong on my arrival in Beijing. Chinese people say: “On top is Heaven, and down below is Hangzhou.” Travelling to Hangzhou, for a Chinese, is a holy pilgrimage.
My friend and I took the Bullet train from Shanghai to Hangzhou (train fare 90 Yuan). It was only an hour’s journey. The train’s swank interior and the seating arrangement were awesome
A hotel staff was waiting at the Hangzhou railway station.
From the station, we took a cab to reach our hotel Hon Lieu, located very close to the West Lake (xi hu in Mandarin)
It was 3pm when we checked into the hotel. My friend ordered two bottles of Siwo beer.
Around 5pm we were out to see the Lake.
West Lake area comprises the Lake and the hills surrounding its three sides. The Lake has inspired poets, scholars and artists since the 9th century.
It comprises numerous temples, pagodas, pavilions, gardens and ornamental trees, as well as causeways and artificial islands.
The additions have been made to improve the landscape west of the city of Hangzhou to the south of the River Yangtze.
West Lake is an example of a cultural landscape that displays with great clarity the ideals of Chinese landscape aesthetics, as expounded by writers and scholars in Tang and Song Dynasties. The Lake’s landscape has a profound impact on the design of gardens not only in China but further afield, where lakes and causeways imitate the Lake’s harmony and beauty.
Famous Song Dynasty poet Su Dongpo (960-1127) paid a rich tribute to the Lake when he compared the West Lake to Xi Zi, the most beautiful woman in ancient China.
Tagore visited the town in 1924 and was captivated by the lake’s serenity and tranquility.