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“Where de Lizard?” Why the Caribbean is Fascinated with Them

These little creatures have different meanings in other cultures. Ancient Romans believed that the lizard symbolized death and resurrection, because it sleeps during winter and reawakens in Spring.

For the Greeks and Egyptians, the lizard represented divine wisdom and good fortune.

In the Caribbean, lizards have special significance as well. Jamaican blogger Nadine Tomlinson examines the many ways in which lizards feature prominently in local folklore and old wives’ tales:

In Jamaica, old-time people say, ‘If a lizard jump on a woman, it mean she pregnant, or soon pregnant. […]

Old-time people say, ‘If you dream ’bout lizard, it mean you have an enemy.’

She likens the fascination with lizards to the region's African heritage, noting that “throughout the entire continent of Africa, the lizard recurs again and again as a motif in popular culture.” She cites the carving of the lizard icon on doors in West Africa, saying that in some tribes, it represents household tranquility; in Cameroon, it represents fertility.

Interestingly, one of Trinidad and Tobago's most beloved calypsonians, The Mighty Sparrow, sang a popular song called “The Lizard”, which humourously deals with aspects of sexuality:

Playing in class with a lizard in a glass
The lizard get away from Ruth and run by the teacher foot!
Oh Lord, the children frightened hmmm…wonder what gon’ happen,
But the teacher laughing out ‘kee kee kee’, only watching everybody.

The lizard run up she foot and it disappear…
Everybody still searching everywhere.
Where mih lizard, teacher Mildred?
Under she dress, taking a rest.
The way she jolly and happy, I swear the lizard must be tickling she!

While Tomlinson, like most Caribbean dwellers, take the presence of lizards as a given and feels a certain affinity to them, for her, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule: the Jamaican croaking lizard and ground lizard, both of which “creep [her] out”:

Normally, the former tends to be pale, although I’ve seen some in darker hues, and one with spots a couple of times. Yes, they croak, yes, they’ve kept me up at night, and yes, they can be brazen. […] Once, one fell off the ceiling, and almost dropped on my head. Never mind that it didn’t. Just the thought of it stuck in my hair, and the sound of its sticky plop! on the floor was enough for me to start hollering.

As for the latter, as its name suggests, you would be hard-pressed to find it in a tree. This kind is large and long, with an even longer tail, and slithers. They’re fast, too. One chased me when I was a little girl, so I’m convinced they bite. […]

I wonder what old-time people have to say about those two.

An Online Joke Captures China's Censorship Practices

Image from Flickr user: Eric Constantineau (CC: AT-NC)

Image from Flickr user: Eric Constantineau (CC: AT-NC)


Letscorp, a site devoted to bridging information across Chinese speaking communities, reposted an online joke on Twitter that vividly captures mainland Chinese censorship practices.

Man on top [implying Chinese president Xi Jinping]: Whether a government official is performing well should be judged by ordinary people. The Propaganda Department: Add on to that, the majority of people don't know the truth. Central Communist Youth League: Don't worry, we have 10 million internet commentators to make sure that the public opinion is on the right direction. Police: Moreover, we will arrest those who don't follow the lead. Central Television Station: Catch them prostituting. Global Times: We can say that they have received money from the U.S.A. Foreign Ministry spokesperson: Our law and policy ensure freedom of speech. People's Daily: Look, this is the result of people's choice.

Your Post-Election Guide to Cashing in on Nigeria's Oil Wealth

In March 2015, Africa's most populous country held its third general election, an historic vote that saw power change hands democratically for the first time since independence. The new government means the coming months will see a reshuffling of political offices, including key positions in the oil industry. Not on the appointment list? Not to worry! Tolu Ogunlesi has a funny, informative guide to how you too can cash in on Nigeria's oil wealth.

Here's step four:

Lower the Bar. This is simple common sense. If you want it easier, you’ve got to make it easier. Again, let’s go back to 2011. Pre-Jonathan, the requirements for qualifying to be issued an oil import licence were quite stringent. You had to prove that you had the capacity to pay upfront for a minimum shipment size of 5,000 metric tonnes of product. You also had to prove that you owned retail outlets for the distribution of the imported product.

Mocking Ecuador’s President Can Cost You Online Anonymity

Imagen del autor, utilizada con autorización.

Image by the author, used with permission.

The public battle between social media satirists Crudo Ecuador and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa continues. 

Que soy financiado, pagado a tiempo completo, que tengo un software de inteligencia, que soy parte de la restauración conservadora, y todos mis otros “secretos”… escúchelos aquí :)

Posted by Crudo Ecuador on Saturday, January 17, 2015

That I am funded, paid for full-time work, I have intelligence software, I'm part of the conservative restoration, and all my other “secrets” … listen to them here :)

After sending a threatening gift of flowers and exposing the individuals behind Crudo Ecuador, however, the Internet satirists surrendered, using the hashtag #UstedGanó (#YouWon).

Bueno señores, hasta aquí llegó todo.Gracias a todos los que moralmente me apoyaron en este proyecto, pero no puedo…

Posted by Crudo Ecuador on Thursday, February 19, 2015

Well, gentlemen, everything's come to this. Thanks to everyone who supported me morally in this project, but I can not …

On February 25, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights posted a statement urging the Ecuadorian government to protect the rights of the individuals behind Crudo Ecuador, as well as their families’ rights.

Además, la Relatoría Especial recuerda que “[t]anto el derecho a la libertad de pensamiento y expresión como el derecho a la vida privada protegen al discurso anónimo frente a restricciones estatales. La participación del debate público sin revelar la identidad del emisor es una práctica usual en las democracias modernas. La protección del discurso anónimo favorece la participación de la personas en el debate público ya que –al no revelar su identidad— pueden evitar ser objeto de represalias injustas por el ejercicio de un derecho fundamental”.

Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur highlights “the right to freedom of thought and expression, as well as the right to privacy and anonymity against state restrictions. Participating in public debates without revealing one's identity is a common practice in modern democracies. The protection of anonymous speech cultivates individuals’ participation in public debates, as concealing their identity can protect them against unfair retaliations for exercising their fundamental rights.”

Nationally, few civil-society organizations have joined the Manifesto for the Freedom of Expression, Anonymity, and Online Privacy in Ecuador, though several international organizations have signed.

Is This What UN Special Adviser on Yemen Has to Say on Current War: “? tmnoppbbnpbkpb”

Assistant UN Secretary-General, Special Adviser to Secretary-General on Yemen Jamal Benomar's Twitter account has sent out the following message earlier today:

Adam Baron, a journalist covering Yemen, remarks 13 hours after the tweet was first published:

Screen Shot of BenOmar's Tweet still up on his account 13 hours after it was tweeted

Screen Shot of BenOmar's Tweet still up on his account 13 hours after it was tweeted

This is BenOmar's second reaction on Twitter since Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against Yemen on March 26, which continue today. His first was linking to this statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

If I Were FIFA President…

After the recently reelected FIFA president, the Swiss Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, surprisingly resigned on June 3 amidst a corruption scandal that hit the supreme football organization, Twitter users started to speculate not about who might become the next leader, but what would happen if they were.

The result was the satiric hashtag #SiYoFueraPresidenteDeLaFIFA (If I were FIFA president)

Some proposed “improvements” to the game and championships:

If I were FIFA president, the Champions (UEFA) days would be worldwide holidays.

If I were FIFA president we would have a World Cup every 2 years of there would be a Clubs World Cup with 36 teams.

If I were FIFA president, MORE SUPPORT TO THE MINOR NATIONAL TEAMS!

Others spoke about broadcast rights:

If I were FIFA president I would forever forbid Televisa to broadcast any football event

And some others preferred to think how they would change the past:

If I were FIFA president It would have been goal by Yepes

If I were FIFA president I would repeat Brazil's World Cup with a goal kick by Mexico on the 90 minute and a yellow card for Robben

Meanwhile, more than one proposed to award players with potential:

If I were FIFA president I would give a Golden Ball to this awesome player…

#IFellAsleepToo: Sleeping Latin American Doctors Go Viral

It's a trending topic under the hashtag  #YoTambienMeDormi (#IFellAsleepToo). In one week, there have been 17,500 comments on Twitter. The stories of tens of thousands of doctors in Mexico and Latin America who are sharing pictures of them sleeping during their long hospital shifts have gone viral.

It all started when a blogger criticized a physician whose photo showed him sleeping, according to the BBC.

“We know this work is tiring, but they have the duty to fulfill their responsibilities while there are dozens of sick people who need their attention at any moment,” Noti-blog site reports, showing the photo of a medical resident at General Hospital 33 in Monterrey, México, who fell asleep at 3 am while filling out the records of that night's patient number 18.

I Fell Asleep Too, because we are not machines but human beings like everyone else

In addition to showing solidarity, the spontaneous campaign has also been a way to put a face the sacrifices people in the profession must make, including long meal-less, sleepless shifts, which are not always financially compensated nor always provide the necessary basics for the job.

Parenting 101: How to Raise Children the Arab Way

Satirist Karl Sharro dishes out some parenting advice on Twitter to his 51K followers, on how to bring up children, after reading news today that Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has announced a major cabinet reshuffle.

The Saudi king has appointed his nephew, Minister of Interior Mohammed bin Nayef, Crown Prince, and his son and Defense Minister, Mohammed bin Salman, has been made Deputy Crown Prince.

Sharro tweets:

He adds:

Sharro explains the importance of having parents hang their own pictures all over the house:

For more parenting advice, wait for Sharro's new parenting book:

Did I mention Sharro is a satirist?

Boy’s T-Shirt Pokes Fun at Ecuadorian President

Detalle de imagen ampliamente difundida en Twitter.

Detail of image widely shared on Twitter.

When Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa agreed to take a photo with a boy, he probably didn't imagine it would go viral — and he would end up being the butt of the joke. The boy was wearing a T-shirt printed with the phrase “I’m with stupid” and an arrow that pointed toward the head of state.

The image's publication resulted in the hashtag #IAmWithStupidMashi on Twitter. “Mashi” is part of President Correa's handle on Twitter: @mashicorrea (“Mashi” means colleague or teammante in Quechua).

A picture with you, man, so I can wear my T-shirt for the first time. LOL!

#WeAreWithYouMashi all the idiots with you, oh!! Mashi, oh!! Mashi!!

And this is the photo that's causing a stir around the world.

It's clear he urgently needs some lessons with #OpenEnglish.

Bus Users Fight Over Seat in Peruvian Bus and You Can't Imagine How This Ends

Captura de pantalla de video publicado en Facebook.

Screenshot of the video posted on Facebook.

A video posted on Facebook by user PeruRec show two men almost coming to blows over a seat in a bus of the Metropolitano, Peruvian capital public transportation system. At one point, the stockier guy sits over the other guy, while other bus users laugh out loud. Immersed as they were in their quarrel, none of them realize there is an empty seat just in front of them.

On Facebook, some made fun of that and others got to some conclussions:

Johnny Jecs Si estaban jugando a las sillas , en que momento fue que paro la música ? XD

Johnny Jecs If they were playing musical chairs, when did the music stop? XD

Juan Carlos Ortiz esos son un par de choros, hacen un “quilombo” para robarle la cartera a la señorita de azul

Juan Carlos Ortiz those two are “choros” (petty burglars) that make a fuss to steal the purse from the lady in blue.

Other users took to Twitter to express themselves:

LOL! This is ridiculous! Such old guys…

Are they really fighting over a seat in the Metropolitano? Underclass.

So idiotic: I fight over a seat in the Metropolitano while there is another one free.

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