Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

The speed craze

Speed has become a modern addiction. Fast cars, fast food, fast talk, fast bucks; subtlety suffers for the sake of speed. Not only small, but also slow is beautiful.
By Jay Griffiths
Take the cow. It can be hard to understand the deification of the cow in Indian villages. But pause. In westernized Delhi or Bombay, amid the fizzing pandemonium of the fast lane, watch the awesome cow in awesome slowness chew. Then you know.

New features of cultural colonialism

Contemporary cultural colonialism (CCC) is distinct from past practices in several senses:

(1) It is oriented toward capturing mass audiences, not just converting elites.

(2) The mass media, particularly television, invade the household and function from the "inside" and "below" as well as from "outside" and above.

The myth of an international culture

Western deception, distraction & domination

One of the great deceptions of our times is the notion of "internationalisation" of ideas, markets and movements.

It has become fashionable to evoke terms like "globalisation" or "internationalisation" to justify attacks on any or all forms of solidarity, community, and/or social values.

Living my truth

Having resolved to live without oil for one year, Mark Boyle discusses the impact this has had on his life, and what the future holds for him.

It’s impossible to tell how far down a certain path you’ll walk once you’ve taken that vital first step. Ten months ago I decided that I was going to live as oil-free a life as possible. Originally this consisted of me using no plastic, only buying products from local craftspeople, having no bin and eating nothing but local, organic and vegan food.

To begin with, people constant­ly questioned why I was acting so “extreme”, my answer always be­ing that I had just become tired of being a hypocrite. I’d be march­ing for peace through the streets of London, criticising Mr Bush and Mr Blair, whilst expecting them to keep me supplied with cheap oil through my purchases at the check­out. I was sending them completely conflicting messages. Why should I expect them to care about some­thing I obviously didn’t really care about?

Languages dying out the world over

Linguistic diversity is threatened in all four corners of the Earth. That’s the message in a ‘map of endangered language “hotspots” compiled as part of a project called Enduring Voices, which is backed by the US National Geographic Society.

Most attempts to document linguistic diversity simply count the number of languages spoken in each geographic area. By this measure, Papua New Guinea — with more than 800 languages — stands out as the most diverse country.  Africa, meanwhile, boasts some 2,000 of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages.

However, neither feature in the top 5 language hotspots identified by David Harrison of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and Gregory Anderson of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages in Salem, Oregon.