JellyBaby's Blog

Archive for the ‘Stuff In The News’ Category

So the BBC have made their controversial decision to axe two radio stations, 6 Music and the Asian Network. This decision, made in order to save money, has been met with hostility from fans.

It seems that digital radio just hasn’t taken off in the UK, meaning the numbers of people listening to these stations isn’t high. However, those who do listen, love what they hear.

I for one will miss the Asian Network when it goes off the air. Being bought up in rural Wales, I’d never really been exposed to much Asian music. It was only when I bought a new hi-fi complete with digital radio that I discovered bhangra, bollywood, and punjabi tunes and I loved what I heard. These genres simply don’t exist on mainstream radio – A.R.Rahman may have hit the charts thanks to his collaboration with the Pussycat Dolls and every so often tunes with Asian flavours might make the playlist, but on the whole stations like Radio 1 cater to more western tastes.

Now, artists like Jay Sean are concerned that many artists will find it harder to breakthrough without the station.

He tweeted “This is crazy. We (Asians) have no mainstream platforms as it is.”

Sunny Hundal, editor of Asians in Media, agrees. He said: “Axing Asian Network would kill off vital media space for a lot of British Asian content and culture (documentaries, fusion music) which does not get represented on commercial alternatives.”

Bhangra singer Jassi Sidhu said: “If they get rid of Asian Network it will be the final nail in the UK bhangra coffin.”

How will Asian music reach national audiences now?

Will Radio 1 introduce more Asian music into it’s schedules? Somehow I doubt it. The Asian community is now the largest ethnic minority community in the UK and as such they need to be catered for in the media.

Go into your local HMV or log onto iTunes and Asian music is hidden away in the “World” section, making it near impossible to discover new music unless you know what you’re looking for.

I’m really going to miss Asian Network, just as I know a lot of people will miss 6 Music. However, I can see how the BBC came to the decision to axe it, as it’s simply not popular enough. I hope the axe doesn’t mean the end of Asian music on the radio. For example, they could transfer some shows to Radio 1 or 1Xtra to ensure that new artists have the chance to make their music heard. Implemented well, this could still give Asian music a platform and perhaps even a wider audience. Cut it completely, however, and an entire community is swept aside in pursuit of a larger audience.


Apple recently unveiled their newest gadget – the iPad. A mix between a laptop and an iPod Touch, it enables the user to surf the internet, send and read emails, watch movies and read books, all on the same screen.

Nowadays, browsing the internet wherever you are, on phone or wi-fi enabled laptop is something pretty common, but reading books on a handheld gadget isn’t such a usual sight. Depsite the Kindle and Sony Reader making this kind of technology more and more available, most people are sticking with the traditional. It seems that readers prefer holding a proper book.

Me – I’m a big reader and I love settling down at the end of the day with a nice book. I can’t see myself relaxing in bed with a mini computer! I also do a lot of reading in the bath. There’s not much that relaxes me more than a hot bubble bath, some girly tunes playing and a favourite chick-lit novel! I wouldn’t dare take an iPad into the bath with me – I’d be far too scared that it would slip in the water. At least a book can be dried out.

But I can see that e-books would come in handy. For example, if I go away on a beach holiday I usually pack piles and piles of trashy novels to enjoy while I’m sunbathing. It’s always hard to pick out what I’m going to read and carrying four or five books in my suitcase always eats into my precious weigh allowance. Having an e-book would be great. Likewise, when travelling by train or plane it would be much handier than carrying a hefty hardback.

Will the iPad change the way we read, much like the iPod has changed the way we listen to music? I look back to when I was a teenager, before the age of the MP3, and I can’t believe I even managed to listen to music on the go – carrying round a portable CD player and a case full of different CDs. Now I carry my entire music collection on a contraption smaller than my palm.

Perhaps in ten years or so I will look back to my life nowadays in disbelief – thinking of all the books on my shelf. As for now, I can’t imagine even owning any sort of e-book. There’s something special about buying a crisp new book; or picking up an old favourite with a creased spine and dog eared pages, that would be lost if this new technology took over. Maybe I sound like an old lady reminiscing about the olden days, but when it comes to books, I think they’re fine the way they are.

For some, it’s a symbol of segregation and inequality. For others, it’s a way of life. In France, it is banned in schools and could soon be banned on the streets, and here in the UK there are calls for it to be outlawed.

The burkha is a full length covering worn by Muslim women, which covers the entire body and face, leaving only the eyes visible. It was originally worn in desert times as a protective covering against sand, and also has a security aspect. During raids, women of child-bearing age would often be kidnapped, but behind a veil it was impossible to tell the age of the women, and the chances of being taken was substantially reduced.

The burkha was originally not meant as Islāmic dress, but is now synonymous with the religion. According to the Qur’an, both men and women should dress and behave modestly in public. For some Islāmic women, this means wearing a scarf, but for others, it means wearing a full length burkha to cover their entire body and face outside the home, something that is not specifically mentioned in the Qur’an. Like a number of requirements in all religions, it is open to interpretation.

The UK Independence Party has now said that they believe the burkha should be banned in Britain.

Neil Farage, the party’s former leader, said: “What we are saying is this is a symbol. It is a symbol of something that is used to oppress women. It is a symbol of an ­increasingly divided Britain, and the real worry – and it isn’t just about what people wear – is we are heading towards a ­situation where many of our cities are ­ghettoised and there is even talk of Sharia law becoming part of British culture.”

The party claim that the burkha shows a lack of integration into British culture, and is also a threat to security. Farage told the BBC politics show: “I can’t go into a bank with a motorcycle ­helmet on. I can’t wear a balaclava going round the District and Circle line.”

Perhaps surprisingly, a number of British women, including Saira Khan, a former contestant on The Apprentice, support a ban on the burkha. A Muslim herself, she despises the burkha, saying “it is an imported Saudi Arabian tradition, and the growing number of women veiling their faces in Britain is a sign of creeping radicalisation, which is not just regressive, it is oppressive and downright dangerous.”

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Despite these concerns, I feel uneasy about the idea of controlling what women can and can’t wear. Here in the UK we enjoy freedom, unlike many other countries. We are free to wear what we like, when we like. If it’s hot, I can go to the beach in a bikini or wear a mini-skirt and vest to the shops. I am allowed to choose between trousers or a dress; I could even strip off on a nudist beach if I wanted. Go out to any city at night and you will see clubbers dressed in miniscule outfits. Every morning, when I look in my wardrobe, my decision of what to wear is completely my own. I am not forced to wear something I don’t feel comfortable in. Surely this is a fundamental British right? By banning the burkha, the 200,000 British women who choose to wear it on a day-to-day basis, will be forbidden the chance to choose.

Of course, there is a dark side to the burkha, and that is that some women are forced into wearing a burkha. But is this reason enough to force those who have chosen to wear a burkha, to wear something they are not comfortable in?

Perhaps the history behind the burkha could be taught in schools to allow all children the chance to decide whether they want to wear it?

I will never get behind an argument for banning a burkha, as I believe every British person should have the right to wear exactly what they want. If the burkha was banned, what would be banned next? Cross necklaces? Saris? I wouldn’t want to live in a country where the government dictates what we can and and can’t wear. I agree with Schools Secretary Ed Balls when he said “I think that’s not British. It is not ­consistent with our traditions of liberty and freedom.”

According to a study by a team at the University of California, blondes are more agressive and competitive than brunettes or redheads.

Being a blonde myself (admittedly with a little help from hairdye) I had to laugh. Comparing myself to my friends, I am definitely not the most competitive or aggressive. In fact, when it comes to competitive games, whether it’s rounders or monopoly, I’m more likely to sit on the sidelines and let everyone else get on with it than be in the centre of the action. Of all my friends the most competitive is a brunette, but apparently this goes against the norm.

The scientists conducting this study have a number of theories why blondes are more aggressive. According to them, blondes have a sense of entitlement that brunettes and redheads lack. They are used to being treated better than their peers and this makes them more likely to get angry to reach their goals. Studies have suggested that men are more attracted to blondes and therefore they are treated as “special”, even though they may not realise it.

Personally, I don’t think this is the case, and I have a completely different theory as to why blondes are more aggressive. Blondes earn less, on average, than darker-haired women, and have to put up with constant streams of “dumb blonde” jokes. Of all the hair colours, they are the most likely to have their intelligence questioned. Perhaps this aggressiveness and competitiveness is all just a way to prove that the dumb blonde stereotype does not ring true.

The tiny island nation of Kiribati is not one that many are aware of. Out in the Pacific ocean, it is a beautiful collection of islands, surrounded by tropical blue seas and golden beaches that has remained off the tourist radar. In the not too distant future, it could be off the tourist radar for good, as rising ocean levels threaten the country and mean that the inhabitants are having to make very real decisions about their future. The children of Kiribati may not grow up there – their parents are having to decide whether to move to neighbouring Fiji or emigrate to New Zealand.

The plight of Kiribati is one that I’ve been aware of for a while. One of my favourite books, Exodus, was inspired by the story. The author, Julie Bertagna, read about the islands and the threat of the sea, and decided to write a novel set one hundred years away, in a world where rising sea levels have consumed most of the globe. Here in the UK, the idea of our hometowns being drowned is very much a worst case scenario; something that Hollywood producers would make films about. In Kiribati, it’s not fiction.

As government leaders meet in Copenhagen to discuss climate change the usual debates have arose as to whether global warming is actually our problem. Many believe that climate change is natural and any efforts we make to try and reduce it are pointless. Yet others say that it’s humans who are responsible. Our rising dependancy on oil; our obsession with gadgets, cars and convenience foods are a threat to the world and to the future.

I’m not at all scientific so the different debates confuse me to no end, but I do feel that we all need to take responsibility. I believe that becoming energy efficient benefits us all, whether or not it has any difference on climate change.

Take the car as an example. We are constantly being told that we shouldn’t use our cars all the time; it’s wasting oil, it’s causing pollution. There are many  alternatives. Public transport for example, or car-pooling to work or school. These alternatives may help the environment, but they also help us. Petrol is so expensive that using the car for short or pointless journeys is a waste of money. I recently had a long journey to make and I was wondering whether to take the train (not my favourite form of transport by any means) or drive (avoiding waiting in cold train stations, more convenient). I discovered that if I took the train, using my young person’s railcard, it would be about five pounds cheaper than the cost of petrol to and from my destination. With Christmas coming up that small saving really made a difference.

In our homes it is just as important to adapt our lifestyles. Making small changes to our homes such as using energy efficient lightbulbs; insulating our homes or getting double glazing fitted may cost money but in the long term can actually save money on electricity and heating bills.

  • An energy saving lightbulb could save £40 before it needs replacing.
  • A new fridge freezer could take up to £36 a year off your bills
  • A better dishwasher could save you £12 a year.
  • Insulation can save up to £400 a year
  • Double glazing could save you around £135 a year

There are even grants available in order to help you get started. For more information visit this website.

So even if you are a global warming sceptic, there are still benefits to living an environmentally friendly life. Even if we find out that global warming is one big myth you’ll have saved money; and if you discover in ten years that our lifestyles are having an effect on the atmosphere you’ll know that you’ve done what you can to save the world. It’s a win win situation, isn’t it?!

The BBC along with six major social-networking sites has recently started a campaign to make both kids and adults across Britain Bullyproof.

Bullying is a major problem. 69% of children in the UK have reported being bullied at one point in their lives, and shockingly, 16 kids or adolescents commit suicide because of bullying each year. I remember when I started secondary school for the first time my biggest fear was that I would get bullied. Luckily I never was, but many children and teens aren’t that lucky.

Bullying is not just a kids problem either. One in four adults have reported being bullied in the workplace.

So what effect does bullying have on people? Obviously, confidence is effected when someone gets bullied. It’s easy to feel alone and vulnerable if you’re being picked on. Confidence doesn’t magically increase once the bullying stops either. It can make it harder for victims to make friends or build trusting relationships. 1 in 3 children who have been bullied in school play truant, leaving them at risk of doing badly in lessons and exams and not gaining the qualifications they deserve. This can then have an effect on the career a bullying victim follows. For those who have to leave a workplace because of bullying it has a similar effect – not allowing victims to climb the career ladder at work because they have to leave the company.

Visit the BBC Bullyproof website for tips from celebs such as Cheryl Cole and Alesha Dixon, advice and links to social networking sites who are behind the cause.

My own top tips on staying bullyproof are:

  • Surround yourself with people who love and respect you. Bullies like to pick on those who have no-one to stand up for them.
  • Tell someone if you’re being bullied. This can be a friend, who can watch out for you and help you stand up to the bullies; a teacher or a parent or guardian. You could also talk to a youth group leader or religious leader.
  • Remember that not everyone is a bully. Just because you’ve been bullied once it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be bullied again. Try and keep your trust in others.
  • Build your confidence by making friends. Why not join an after school club such as dance or drama lessons, Guides or Scouts, or a music group?
  • If you aren’t being bullied yourself, remember to keep an eye out for people who might be. Stand up for others, and they will stand up for you.

Remember that bullies are usually cowards, who have to pick on others to make themselves feel big and powerful. This quote from the movie 17 Again really says it all…

One… underneath all that male bravado there’s a insecure little girl just banging on the closet door trying to get out. Two… like a caveman [the bully’s] brain is… underdeveloped, therefore [he] is unable to use self control so he has to act aggressively. Three… [he] has a small wiener.

Stay strong, respect yourself, remember you’re loved, and stay BullyProof!

Check out helpline numbers here if you need advice.


Watford council recently made a bizarre move when they banned parents from supervising their children at an adventure playground. They claim that every adult who enters their playground needs to have a police background check – known as a CRB check – before they enter, and this not only covers staff but parents and carers too.

I understand the need to ensure children are safe but surely this is a step too far? Yes, paedophiles exist and there are a very small minority of people who want to harm kids but it seems that Britain is becoming so scared of this small threat that it is effecting the way we live our lives.

I don’t have children, but I may do one day and I have to wonder what kind of world they might be born into. Will I be forbidden from letting them go to a friends house to play, because the parent or guardian in that house hasn’t been CRB checked? If a child is playing unsupervised outside my house and falls, will I be branded a paedophile if I give them a plaster and walk them home? Will I have to hold my child’s hand and walk them to school every day until they reach 18?

It sounds ridiculous but sometimes I wonder if that is the future – wrapping our kids up in cotton wool just in case they get hurt or meet an unsavoury character. Whereas I was allowed to play outside around my estate as a kid I fear that my children will have to be stuck inside playing computer games, not running around outside socialising.

Why not take a look at this blog before you go – it’s a refreshing look at parenting, and reassures me that the world hasn’t gone completely crazy -yet.