India leads day of 'One Billion Rising' for women

Indians were at the forefront of global protests on Thursday in the One Billion Rising campaign for women's rights, galvanised by the recent fatal gang rape that shocked the country.

Flashmobs, marches, singing and dances were planned in about 200 countries as part of the campaign's day of action, timed to coincide with Valentine's Day and aiming to bring an end to violence against women.

In New Delhi, the site of angry protests just weeks ago after the brutal rape of a student on a bus, campaigners said they would use the day to keep pressure on the government to introduce new measures to protect women.

"Our programmes have started in colleges and I am going with women taxi drivers to spread the word of equality because today is the day of love," Kamla Bhasin, leading the campaign in South Asia, told AFP.

Along with protests and candle-lit marches, India's plans included a noisy "open drum circle" at sunset by the sea in Mumbai and a "ceremonial burial" of patriarchy and misogyny in Gurgaon city, near the capital.

Sydney, Singapore and Manila were among the cities to kickstart the day of action by One Billion Rising, founded by American playwright and leading feminist Eve Ensler, best known for her play "The Vagina Monologues".

The campaign is calling on one billion people to rise against violence and take a stand for the one billion women -- one in three in the world -- who will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes.

Among those supporting this year's campaign was Anoushka Shankar, daughter of legendary Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, who said in a video released Thursday that she had been sexually abused as a child by a family friend.

The US-born musician dedicated her message to the victim of the Delhi rape on December 16 by six drunken men, who later died in hospital from horrific injuries.

"Enough is enough. I am rising," she said. "I am rising with the women of my country."

As scores of flashmobs took place on beaches and city squares across Australia, Minister for the Status of Women Julie Collins told parliament it was "a sad fact that every day millions of women are subjected to violence and physical abuse".

"Violence against women has no geographical financial or cultural boundaries; it is, regrettably, happening everywhere, every day," she said.

In Singapore, dozens of activists with black balloons taped to their shoulders weaved through a jam-packed foyer of a busy mall to draw attention of the passing shoppers.

At the blow of a whistle, the participants dramatically covered their mouths and froze. After a minute, they shouted in unison: "Shout! Sexual harassment out!" and then released the balloons.

The demonstration was welcomed by Lim Shu Li, 28, who took part after her own experience of sexual harassment.

"It was an uncomfortable situation but I didn't dare to speak up about it at that time. So I thought this was a great message," she told AFP.

In the Philippines, the day began with celebrity-led flashmob dances in a crowded Manila park and will be capped by a concert of local artists, with events from bazaars to dance shows at 25 sites throughout the day.

Rallies were also held in New Zealand's capital Wellington and at Auckland's Bastion Point, where a Maori elder led prayers before about 100 women and and children danced by the waterfront.

"We danced and sang and talked about cherishing women and loving our children," organiser Helen Te Hira said.

"There was a real sense you were part of a world-wide movement that was taking a stand against violence."

  • Treasure trove of British newsreels reveals Top Gear's ancestors 3 hours ago
    Treasure trove of British newsreels reveals Top Gear's ancestors

    Long after television grew to dominate American and British homes, newsreel producer British Pathé kept at it, documenting the news of the day until finally ceasing production of new short films in 1970 after 60 years of effort. Last week, all of British Pathé's 85,000 films were put online — including dozens of fascinating, rare and often weird car films that resemble nothing so much as a jet-age Top Gear.

  • Nissan tests self-cleaning paint that could make car washes obsolete 5 hours ago
    Nissan tests self-cleaning paint that could make car washes obsolete

    During this vile, never-ending winter, motorists had three options to keep their cars clean: Shell out on regular car washes; slave away in the cold, wind and snow washing it yourself, or screw it and just drive a dirty car. I, like many, chose the last option. But if only I'd been able to test Nissan's self-cleaning car, all my troubles would have washed away.

  • Popular hot yoga myths debunked 11 hours ago
    Popular hot yoga myths debunked

    What’s the hottest new workout taking the world by storm? That would be hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga. Conducted in a heated room with sweltering temperatures of about 40°C (or approximately 104° Fahrenheit) and 40 per cent humidity, … Continue reading →

  • Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern
    Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern

    A new picture of Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who is now 90 years old, has drawn concern from people on Singapore's internet space.

  • Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls
    Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls

    After being photographed at work in Jurong pooling used oil near coffee shops, 50-year-old Valerie Sim has been struggling to keep her family afloat. Web portals STOMP and The Real Singapore published pictures of her in February, triggering a witch hunt for others like her and comments from readers like “Who knows if they’ll use it as cooking oil?” Some readers also said they filed police reports against her and other people they believed were doing the same thing she was.

  • I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind.
    I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind.

    I have committed a taboo – I have tendered my resignation without securing the next job. The reactions to the announcement were varied but they all pretty much hint at a deep sense of disapproval. “Why did you do that?” It was as if I had renounced my faith. “What are you going to do from now on?” Almost as though a misfortune had incapacitated me. “What does your family have to say about it?” As if I had offered to cook for the next family dinner. I was, and still am, certain of my reasons and motivations for the resignation. However the response I received got me thinking about why people are so concerned about the gaps in their careers. The developed world evolved from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy to the service age, then to the knowledge economy in the late 1990s and 2000s marked by breakthroughs in technological innovations and competition for innovation with new products and processes that develop from the research community. According to The Work Foundation, the knowledge economy is driven by the demand for higher value added goods and services created by more sophisticated, more discerning, and better educated consumers and ... The post I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind. appeared first on Vulcan Post.