Monday, 3 June 2013

the most daunting task: putting my life into a suitcase

It’s that time of the year when exams are over. It’s the time for a break. Everyone is packing to go home, meet their families and loved ones. The excitement is killed by the time consuming task of packing. 

Packing; for most of us, is the most daunting task of all. The relief of exam stress disappears when you realise you have to fit all of your belongings in a bag. It is not easy to pack your whole life in a suitcase although that is exactly what we are expected to do. In the end, we are forced to get rid of some of the things we like to hold onto, in order to make room for “more important” belongings. Worst of all, for people having to fly across countries, they are forced to limit their luggage to a certain weight restriction. The entire house is a mess, and you are left to make dozens of decisions at the same time. Despite all this, we manage to get the packing done, and before we know it, it’s time to leave.

Students start leaving the campus, and day by day the student village seems to die. The university hallways and libraries, and the student union have never been emptier. The party town is quiet, while the music plays; there is no one on the dance floor. There is no more night-life anymore.

This silence and emptiness surrounds the student village on every holiday. Biggest holidays seasons like Christmas and Easter are just about the same though this time it’s different. Summer holidays mean people are leaving for good. This time no one is coming back. Not too soon anyway.

The train stations and airports are packed with people, luggage, and friends wishing them goodbye. The air fares go up like there is no tomorrow. The early bird gets the bait while the people who wait for the very last minute are left with no other option but to spend on ridiculously large fares. Some oversleep miss their flights or trains, while others get into some sort of trouble at the security at the airports.

They finally get into the train or flight, yet panic and stress isn’t over. All attempts to get some sleep is ruined when the baby on board cries non-stop, or you are squeezed in between two very big people because of the crammed train or flight.

After 5 hours or more, its eventually time that they arrive at their destination. Surprisingly, all the worries, the stress and panic is relieved. Coming home, seeing family and loved ones. Best of all, home cooked food. No matter how bad or good things are home, it’ll always good to be home, because home is where the heart is.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Backstage Photography: Fashion Show

To start off, I’m not an expert at this sort of thing, but here are some of the things that could be useful if you intend to cover such an event.
Shooting at backstage isn’t the easiest thing a photographer can ask for. It’s definitely not as fancy as the whole runway event, but there’s always a lot you can do with creativity. There are a million things you can capture at the backstage.

Having a photographer around would be the last thing models and stylists want, with so much going on at their fast pace. With the dozen things going on, no model would want to pose for the camera. (If it would happen, this would be at rare circumstances!) 

The makeup, the products the stylists use, plus the endless dress fittings is brings out so much stress at the backstage.

If you ever were to do photography at backstage, I’d advice you not to take your “big” camera with you. Use something small and handy that would make your life so much easier to get around and snap away. Always have an extra memory card with you, just incase, you run out of memory. The greatest advantage of a backstage is you wouldn’t want to worry about lightening, or carrying your flash. Backstage lightening is just perfect! 

Another tip, doesn’t stay too close to whatever you intend to capture. Chances are models would get annoyed, and the hair curlers would be still hot. So be cautious!  Don’t go into the dress fitting area unless the stylist is ok with you being there.  Most models wouldn’t want pictures taken while they are being dressed.
You wouldn’t have all day at the backstage. Things happen very fast, and a lot can happen within that time. Don’t panic. Just snap away as much as you can and enjoy! 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Wales Environmental Leadership Conference: A Summary & a Personal Note

The aim of the conference is to determine Wales’ position in international environmental politics, identifying how Wales could strengthen its policies in a sustainable manner as Wales is seeking international political response to climate change, biodiversity loss and universal change towards sustainable development.
The conference was organised by the Environmental Politics Research Group and the Institute of Welsh Politics with collaboration from the International Politics Department and the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, of the Aberystwyth University.

The conference that began at mid day on the February 8th had two panels and a Public event.

The first panel presented five papers, dealing with the question whether Wales can become an international environmental knowledge producer. The paper presented in relation to Environment and Malaria transmission in sub Saharan Africa, was of great interest. This project illustrated the involvement of Wales in the international environmental arena, as they were one of the world’s leading groups in the field. The project of the WISE Network in relation to sustainable businesses and development which was in progress with the collaboration of Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universities was also a highlight of the panel discussion. Issues of climate change; the role of IPCC and methods of exploring the political and ethical possibilities for climate change adaptation was discussed among the first panel.

The papers of the second panel questioned if Wales could be an international actor, and how the environmental policy practices and community action support could facilitate Wales as a global actor. The panel proposed five papers, which mainly dealt with Wales’ capacity to act as a role model for international practices, its relationship between different environmental communities, and lastly, of the political and legal basis for Wales position in environmental politics.

The last event of the conference was open to the public to participate, bringing different communities together, discussing the future of Wales as an international environment actor. This session was interactive and panellists answered questions posed by the public.

Personal note

I had little knowledge of Wales’ role in environment politics till I attended this conference. it was a new experience for me as an international student of Aberystwyth University. 

The first panel demonstrated various initiatives of Wales as a global knowledge producer in environmental politics. Reflecting on the papers presented, their research and work, was remarkable.
In their second panel, they assessed the political and legal perspective of Wales as an environmental actor. In this session the panellists also identified problems of coordination, issues of implementation, the relationship of Wales and the Westminster and the rest of Europe, and the challenges of crosscutting. On a legal perspective, the presenter highlighted that changing a global environmental policy was not the best solution. The lecturer of Department of Law and Criminology, stressed on positioning to change the behaviour and attitude of individuals, rather than making a legislation force what they can or cannot do. The last presentation was a proposal from a different standpoint, where she explained that the emphasis on individual behaviour may not be most effective way of tackling society’s reactions with climate change. She noted that in order to be heard, Wales had to be noisy, and that appropriately framed emotional appeals can motive action. This proposal contradicting with the legal perspective brought out reasonable arguments that one may need to think about.
The public event, being interactive, had many questions and discussions from participants and panellists. One of the most interesting discussions was, making the community involve in referendums as an environmental actor. The will to be sustainable was definite within the Wales. The public shown concerned towards the high level decisions that were promptly made, and I quote, “what the government say and what actually they do is different”. Answering the matter from the government, noted that the carrier bag legislation was put forward by the public, and not the government and such actions need more time to initiate within the community. The Sustainable Act is currently at working progress, and the white paper is available for the public.
The extent to which Wales can be identified as an international environmental leader can be identified by the policies created for the environment and people, with its decisions taken at the international arena.
The purpose of the conference was not to become “the environmental leader” in the international arena, nor to being better than everyone else. Wales may not be as economically largely important as other states, but in perspective of climate change, and environment, Wales needs to be heard in the international arena

Friday, 18 January 2013

CoFfEe lOvE

He sat on the open air deck, sipping his coffee and looking around. She knew he was secretly looking at her, because she was doing the same too. She was busy working while he just sat there and smiled at her.

Every time he ordered his coffee, she takes his order and treats him just like any other customer though she wanted to tell him so much. She was shy. She hesitated to attempt to start a conversation with him, having the thought she might make a fool out of herself as he was often surrounded by his group of friends.

This routine continued over two months, and both of them had not spoken much to each other except the times he ordered his coffee.
Her boss let her off early that night, so she packed her stuff and got ready to head out when he came and asked her politely if he could talk to her. She was nervous not knowing what he wanted to say, but agreed anyway.

He talked for about half an hour and told her that the day before was his birthday and he wanted to make his birthday really memorable that year. She said very little but listened to him very carefully. She looked at her watch, and he figured out she wanted to leave. He couldn't wait much longer. Afraid that she might leave before he had said what he intended, he pulled out a bouquet of roses, and asked,

“would you be my girlfriend, for it would not make this birthday the happiest, but all the birthdays to come.”

She froze for a moment, and then she smiled. She’s really liked him since the day he stepped into her coffee shop, and she’s wanted to say that to him since then.
She couldn't utter a word, she was really happy. She nodded in excitement.
That’s when she fell in love, he promised never to leave. He made her the happiest girl.
After two months of romantic dates, lunches and happy memories, he decided to leave without a goodbye. He was never seen, nor did his friends know where he left. His usual table felt empty. He never came back.

Years passed, she always never forgot him or his birthday. She visited the coffee shop every year on his birthday, ordered the same coffee he did, and smiles. she hoped where ever he was, he was happy.

Once again, she visits the coffee shop, orders the same coffee and whispers to herself, happy birthday. its been eight years today. I hope you're much happier than the first birthday you met me. 

Smiling to herself, she continues to  have her coffee.