Category Archives: Opinion

Buddhist ethics

I should really name this article as “Why I haven’t given up on Buddhism…. yet”. This is my attempt at explaining the most complicated mess carted by the Western media and imperialistic forces that devoured the true Asian history. I have tried to explain the confusion on whether or not Buddhism a religion before. I make that side offline long time ago to make room for the current one. During that period of silence, my philosophical and ethical view on life have not changed. However, I have acquired new skills to explain the unexplainable to most close minded people on planet Earth.

Did you know that world first female Prime Minister was a Buddhist?

Cannot solve world problems, do not hide the facts

Well, I am not going to tell you if Buddhism and associated practices can be considered as religion and religious practices. I have given up on arguing against special interest groups such as UN, NGOs, Governments and individuals. Instead I will lay the facts in a simple point form list. It is up to you, the reader to decide how you should interpret it. At the end I will state my personal interpenetration of the fact which the Western societies trying so hard to alerted for their advantage.

  • Buddhism is older than any form of current organized religion/philosophy.
  • First developed by a man named Siddhartha Gautama over 2600 years ago.
  • Siddhartha Gautama called himself, Buddha which implies his teachings were “Buddhism”.
  • Buddha refuted and disagree with almost ALL forms of religious propaganda in 528 BCE including beliefs in mythical figure god(s).
  • Buddhists have been misrepresented and prosecuted for simply refused to follow a mythical figure, god by people from almost all forms of religious backgrounds.
  • It was the European imperialistic communities and the American CIA that classified Buddhism as a religion. In fact, most people in the Buddhist communities knew nothing about “rules” and “laws” that typically found in religions until the Western propaganda and media arrived in early 18 century.
  • Buddhists are generally not anti-god, but anti-blind believers. Refuse everything and anything unless otherwise a prof is provided.
  • Buddhism do not have rules, but principles. It also lacks punishment, but has consequences. For example, if you kill someone for fun, and now you cannot sleep at night because you get nightmares, that’s not punishment, it is a consequence of your actions. Did you know more than 90% of Americans and Canadians who own guys fear others more than those who don’t?
  • Buddha was against covert conversion. He has refused to teach Buddhism to selected people such as young children who cannot make decisions for themselves.
  • Buddha have refused to teach Buddhism on a grounds of wars. In other words, he has held back information that later turns out to be true to prevent conflicts. Even today Buddhist communities do this.
  • Yes it is true, Buddhist psychological warfare can be more detrimental than the strength of entire NATO Forces. There are incidences in the modern history in which CIA and SIS senior officers have been driven to suicide for killing Buddhist monks in South Asia.
  • Just because you practice Buddhism or visit the temple often, doesn’t make you a Buddhist.
  • Buddhism place a significant weight on ethics and moral values that if you want to be a Buddhist, then behave like one!
  • You cannot organize mass communities to commit harmful acts in Buddhism communities (et. terrorism), not because Buddhists are incapable of attacks, but because the standards of ethics are much stronger. It is difficult to a criminal to convert a Buddhist child into a criminal suicide bomber.
  • Yes, Buddhists fight wars. Sometimes bloody wars and they often ended up winning too.
  • Christians and Hindus have killed more Buddhists than the modern day so called “terrorism” which is coined AFTER September 11, 2011.
  • Yes, Buddhists can have sex before marriage, perform abortions, receive an abortion, get married to one or million, etc. Social issues like these are not suppose to be part of the original form of Buddhism. However, Buddhism has guidelines if followed, abortion for example can be considered as bad Karma.
  • Most Buddhists texts have been Scientifically carbon dated by the British, Japanese and the Germans.
  • Yes, Buddhists can eat meat, kill animals, drink alcohol. That’s mean nothing to Buddhism because it has no rules. However, consequences comes with them are generally considered negative by the Buddha.
  • Buddhist is extremely pro-feminist. Buddhists are more for equal rights than any other group in the history. Did you know that world first female Prime Minister was a Buddhist? Did you know that most Buddhist women were Engineers in 13-centurty when European women were sex slaves to their husbands and fathers? Why don’t you read that in your so called “democratically created” Canadian social studies textbooks?
  • Original Buddhism (Indian) is/was 100% against materialism and capitalism.
  • Buddhists develop ethics by long term practice, not by rules.
  • It is proven without an issue that Buddhist meditations can significantly increase satisfaction in social and academic life.
  • Buddhism is not against religions, but it is against the idea of creationism.
  • Not not all Buddhists are the same. In fact, like religions, you will find so many different forms of divisions within Buddhism.

Well I can write more… these are few of the facts that most people either are too ignorant to admit or very misinformed by the Western propaganda.

Benefits outweigh the risks

religion is a treat to my Science

Being labeled as a “religious nut” or and “anti-creationist” could cause a lot of headcheese to some people. The best example of these labeling causing a wide spread misunderstandings would be the perception of Sri Lankan Buddhists in the Western world. The Christian extremism in the Government of Canada for example goes unnoticed while most media would point the finger against the Buddhist communities. This often overshadow all the good deeds Buddhists have contributed to the society.

I have experienced both positive and negative discrimination because the Buddhist ethics I acquired over time do get noticed by others. One of the well known fact is that Buddhist people have the best, if not one of the best form of work and relationship ethics. I have received recommendations for my work ethics from EVERY SINGLE company and institution I worked for in my entire life.

Finally I had enough… You can call me whatever you want. What really matter is what you think of yourself. By that logic, I consider myself as a non-believer or an atheist. I am glad that Buddhism mostly agrees with the Evolutionary Theory. In fact, I can safety say Buddhism has contributed to the modern day Evolutionary Theory. No, I do not consider Buddhism a religion nor that I am religious. I hate god and the very idea of religion is a treat to my Science. However, I personally found the benefits of Buddhist practices such as meditation and work ethics translate well into Canadian and other first world societies. The ethical and moral values of Buddhism cannot be replaced by any other system (It does not mean other systems are bad). While others my imitate over the years (eg. Christian Mediation), it is difficult to duplicate the same benefits by stripping “Buddhism” from “Buddhist ethics”.

Ordinary tech heroes

The dictionary definition for the term hero reads; a person who, in the opinions of others, has heroic qualities or has performed heroic acts and is regarded as a ideal or model for the rest of the community. The classical definition implies that you know the person well enough to identify the hero. If you research any civilization, almost all heroes are popular characters with very unique social statuses. In this Information Age, not all leaders have the desire to be famous. But all great heroes from the history to the present have similar stories to tell.

..it is hypocritical for organizations like FoxNews, CNN and even BBC to criticize the lack of education and/or high moral backgrounds of people like Edward Joseph Snowden, while at the same time the workers in these media giants use iPhones made by a college dropout, Mr. Steve Jobs and Microsoft Windows OS made by Mr. Bill Gates who never passed a programming course.

They haven’t changed

In modern Information (technological) Age, often we disregard our history because we think the history is irrelevant. From my opinion, it is the opposite.

In 2013, most of the news in Canada has been dominated by privacy issues. Our increasing dependencies on technology has lead to redefining the term privacy. The key players in this privacy wars have both supporters and opposers. Just like in World War I or the French Revolution, a hero to some may be a villain to the others. Bradley Edward Manning and Julian Paul Assange are examples of modern day heroes or villains. Regardless if this is the 1800s or the 21-century, there is always a conflict between what is considered good and what is considered evil. The history has repeated itself and nothing much has changed. The only difference between the war lords like the Alexander the Great or the King Asoka and the modern tech world lords is the medium in which they fight. Unlike in the old days, it is not always clear what we are fighting for because the causes are often complex and dynamic. I think this is why most people are unaware of the growing problems in the modern world.

Birth of the IT heroes

Today in 2013 a Computer Engineer or a student with access to a network can cause more damage to a country than a nuclear weapon. From stock markets, educational systems, banking system all the way to the private family databases have been digitized. While it provides faster access to information, it has also significantly altered the way we fight. The same network and database that provide information on your family history like ancestry.ca can also be used to track you down by your enemies. The same fail proof DNA evidence is used in trials have been linked to wrongfully convicting innocent people.

You could be a 10 year old or a 90 year old with access to a high speed Internet connection. You could have no friends or lots of friends outside of the “networked world”. You could have Facebook and Twitter accounts or you may never had one at all. You could be formally educated as a network and computer specialist or you could be someone who never passed a single high school course. It does not matter who you are, we all can be tech heroes. I came across stories in which 90 year old using a mobile phone took pictures of a bank robbery in progress and called the police at the same time. The group of unorganized individuals known as the “Anonymous hackers” includes people as young as 10 years old.

Side note on the background of people. I found it is hypocritical for organizations like FoxNews, CNN and even BBC to criticize the lack of education and/or high moral backgrounds of people like Edward Joseph Snowden, while at the same time the workers in these media giants use iPhones made by a college dropout, Mr. Steve Jobs and Microsoft Windows OS made by Mr. Bill Gates who never passed a programming course.

To some this is a great opportunity to be a hero while to others this is a great time to be a criminal. It all depends on how you use the technology, for what purpose and what is defined as “good” and “evil”.

What is good for the society?

Who should decide what is good for our civilization? The Governments run by handful of people? The tech heroes which include people with hidden evil intentions? The large data mining companies like Google or Amazon? These are valid philosophical and logical questions we should ask ourselves. Even if we answered them who will keep these in checked and balanced? In my opinion, this will be a never ending war. Unlike the French Revolution or the World War I and II, this tech war will have much larger impact on our civilization. While you could argue that this is not as fast and violent as “traditional wars”, I can counter argue with the increased dependency on technology, we would only need a single mad person to push that button to explode a nuclear missile.

Introduction to Modern Warfare

Israel use of banned chemical weapons
Israel use of banned chemical weapons

I do not think that I have to explain to my readers who are Bradley Edward Manning and Julian Paul Assange. They became famous for WikiLeaks which released large databases containing US Government’s criminal activities around the world. They have been viewed as enemies in some politicians (who probably couldn’t even connect a computer to a projector), while others have hailed them as heroes. Either way they are only two out millions of tech heroes.

Edward Joseph Snowden is another leader in the tech war. He exposed the NSA (National criminal Security Agency) operations involving spying on multimillion droller trade deals for American companies like Microsoft and Google and spying on US citizens. Too bad the modern media controlled by the few Zionist elites do not want to publish the US spying on trade deals eh?

The group of highly unorganized tech experts known by their umbrella name “Anonymous hackers” have been exposing corruptions in Governments and Private Companies. They have also forced powerful people (similar to A. Hitler) in modern companies to step down. They have also fought for the rights of civilian victims, which otherwise have no voice to promote justice. I am not going to say if they are good or bad, but if you would like to read their projects like Occupy Wall Street, Child Pornography crack down or Rehtaeh Parsons operation, ironically Google Search is your friend.

There are other small cases such as murders like Derek Medina of Miami posting messages on Facebook admitting to killing his wife or police officers being questioned (and often not changed) after digital video evidence recorded by civilians (and even their own other officers) indicate abuse of power. The best example of this in Canada is the Robert Dziekański Taser incident which created a ripple effect in the RCMP (Royal Canadian Male-only Police). How about those RCMP male officers groping female officers or even raping them by forcing them to have sex while on duty?

Aftermath Boston Marathon explosions
Aftermath of Boston Marathon explosions

Yes there are good examples from conventional type wars. The video and photographic evidence of modern wars such as the ones in Middle East have disputed the official accounts. The use of banned chemical weapons by Israel Army OR the use of lynching of Black men by Nazis are great example of conventional hate spilling over to the tech world. Let’s not forget about the the role of technological age in Abu Ghraib prison scandal photos. I did not know US Army had sluts until I came across those images. The Boston Marathon bombings civilian video surveillance is another example of bad guys being tracked using technologies.

Bangalore : Karnataka Cooperation Minister Lakshman Savadi seen watching porn.
Bangalore : Karnataka Cooperation Minister Lakshman Savadi seen watching porn.

With mobile devices ethics of using it also can be come in to question. The Women and Child Welfare Minister CC Patil and the Co-operative Minister Laxman Savadi (BJP) of India have been cought watching pornography during the Assebly in Benglauru. While this is nothing illegal in India or even in Canada, it brings the spotlight to ethics of technology and how we use it. The irony in this particular case is the abuse of technology is proven by another technology; the TV broadcast of political proceedings in India.

Back to the basics

May be the solution for those who would like to secure data is to going back to the old technologies. The reason Sub.-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle of the Canadian military was able to copy data from secure servers in Canada to a USB drive and hand information over to Russia, is because our data on military intelligence have been digitized in recent years. After the incident, I was researching on the history of spying and realized may be physically writing down non-time critical data is not a bad idea. Think about it, if you only keep the essential data and services on digital format, it would be at least bit difficult for someone to copy the data. While it is still not fail-proof, at least it would be better than the current system of digital encryption. In old days spies are trained to memorize information not copy information on a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant, now known as Smartphones or Mobile Computing Devices). This will completely eliminate the need for secure networks all together.

In my opinion, separating data networks from one another is another way to combat security issues. If you have a NAS (Network Attached Storage) with family pictures, why not simply separate the entire Internet LAN (Local Area Network) connections from the NAS connections? This will still give you the access to data on your home network while blocking all access from outside. It may not be an ideal solution for some, since you cannot access your data from outside the house, but still provide much better security than an encrypted password.

Democrazy to democracy

The point is the complications of tech world goes on and on…and in this technological age, it is difficult for anyone to keep secrets from everyone. After all, when even the authorities commit crimes, I do not see a problem in civilians taking actions to protect their community form crime and abuse. However the accountability knife should be able to cut on both ends. Both the criminals and the heroes should be held accountable for their actions. It is scary to say that it is difficult for us to keep track on who is watching whom. With billions of people with access to technology, the power has truly shifted from “democrazy” to true “democracy”.

Scientists are running away from problems

On June 20, 2013 mandatory evacuation orders were issued for Calgary, the Alberta’s largest city by population, as a result of flooding. The days leading up to the “2013 Alberta floods”, Alberta experienced heavy rainfall. The 2013 floods effected several areas such as Exshaw, High River and other municipalities and townships. Later that summer, communities along the rivers banks and flood plains were devastated by the consequences of additional downpour. Several mitigation and disaster response ideas have sprung out of this 2013 Alberta floods. This is where opinions of scientists, researchers and general public clashed. I can safely say we hear a lot of strong arguments on different aspects of the “problem” when our neighborhoods are in desperate situations. We also bombarded with “solutions” to these from our politicians and scientists. As a young scientist in training, I find these two groups in North America either want to go against nature or go against social dynamics.

Million solutions without progress

A recent article written by a Geologist on the Calgary Herald newspaper regarding insurance and communities along the flood plains1 drew my attention . It is a well written article against the idea of flood insurance. Dr. Jerry Osborn argued because people are building on flood plains, the premiums for insurance have to increase causing them to be unaffordable for most. He strongly suggested restricting community developments on floodplain using Groeneveld report as a method to protect communities from natural disasters. This is a very good valid point and I agree with the scientific merit behind Dr. Osborn’s argument. However, I have to respectfully disagree with the concept of scientists running away from the problem rather than facing it head-on. I respect Dr. Osborn for being direct about his facts. But at the same time we as a society would have never advanced in our civilization if we ran away from our problems.

This is not the first time I came across well-respected Canadian scientists and researchers formulate their opinions solely on science itself. I have been told numerous times by Geoscience, Natural Science and Engineering professors on why we should not do something due to natural hazards. The problem is not a matter of if there are natural hazards; the problem is scientists are trying to find reasons to run away from problems. One of the best examples of this would be the arguments against placing our Calgary light railway transit system completely underground. Every time I asked a science expert, the arguments are highly negative such as “Calgary soil and strata is not good for underground projects” or “the engineering community needs more data before undertaking such projects”. It sounds like we will be famous in history for running away from problems because unlike the ancient Romans, Geeks or the modern day Indians or Japanese, we do not try to mitigate environmental dynamics, but we are just running away from it. I believe this attitude of too much emphasis of why we can’t do something, hinders our ability to defend our civilizations from natural disasters.

Most scientists who opposed building on floodplains in Alberta promote the idea that if we move away from developments in floodplains, most of our problems will be resolved. That is ironic because even according to scientific principles and the history of science shows that no matter what we do, there is always “side effects”. Let’s say that we move all our communities out of the floodplains. What are the implications for the natural environments? What are the implications for the natural environments? How would redistribution of human populations to other areas affect the environment? In Japan, they found building roads have significantly reduced permeability of soils. Hence the drainage systems have to be upgraded to transport the water that is not soaking into the ground to rivers and the sea. It was an unforeseen environmental problem as a result of human development. The point is to solve the flood plain problem; you may have created several more problems without the foresight of long term future for the City of Calgary. In the long term if we move out so much from current Calgary city limits, we would also move into farmlands and other areas of natural resources causing more problems for our communities. It is ironic that nobody who are against building within highly populated floodplains ignore these “side effects” that may arise as a result of any form of development weather it is on the floodplains or not.

Society and science

The Government of Japan has spend the tax money wisely to the benefit of the people..

Human civilization is unique because unlike animals we can make logical decisions. While we do our best to alter our natural habits, we often go back to the nature’s way. Have you ever wonder why we have large communities around flood plains and volcanoes? Almost every single civilization has been built around naturally unstable grounds. It will be unproductive for modern science to work against these natural social habits. You cannot change our social dynamics to fit the principles of science. But rather you should use the find solutions to social dynamics. This is where those scientists against development on the flood plains fall apart.

Japan has few active volcanoes and suited near a major active fault line. Hence, it is obvious that majority of Japanese are living in environmentally unstable areas than majority of Canadians. If you visit Japan, you will most likely take JR Rail, a service provided by a Japanese state own railway company. Not only the railway line is mostly underground, but they also have large underground shopping complexes in almost all underground train stations. It is ironic that Canadian Geologists and Engineers are against building underground railway system in Calgary because of their claim that ground in Calgary is not suitable. Either we are, as a group of scientist, very lazy or ignorant of possible solutions for our growing needs. I should highlight that I believe the problem of running away is found within our scientific community in Canada rather than the general public.

Here is another example from Japan. In a CBC documentary a Japanese elderly women who seen the volcano near her house erupted said “I am not afraid of the mountain. It provides great opportunities for farming. I have lived all my life here and I will pull myself back up each time it gets erupted”. Now that should resonate throughout Canada because she is right. She is using the nutrient rich volcanic soils to grow rice, which feeds the community. She works with the environment and she understands the natural hazards. The Japanese scientists are very mindful of not to insult these volcanic famers intelligence. In fact, the Government of Japan has spent the tax money wisely to the benefit of the people of Japan with new equipment and research on predicting natural disasters rather than moving communities away from so called “danger zone”. This is what the Scientists in Canada also supposed to do; work with the society. But instead they are more concerned of the bottom line of private companies. Canada is an extremely pro-¬capitalist nation that we look for the revenue and the profit margin over the natural flow of civilization. In fact, I can argue the reason we do not have completely underground commuter railway system in Calgary not because “unstable ground”, but because the Government and the private companies do not want any project that benefit the society. I can also categorically argue that insurance rates increase because the CEOs of Canadian insurance companies would like to take home million dollar bonus. In other words, the profit margin is more of a concern than human dignity and natural civilization.

Two extreme ends never solve problems

With or without the 2013 Alberta floods, these insurance companies will find another avenue to increase premiums.

The attitude should be, yes we can build on a floodplains. I would argue while Dr. Osborn is right, his principles on flood insurance are wrong. Yes the flood may increase the insurance rates. However, it is Canada’s capitalistic class system that causes the insurance rate to increase. With or without the 2013 Alberta floods, these insurance companies will find another avenue to increase premiums. Canadians are hell bent on criticizing the India’s caste system; we often forget to criticize Canada’s class system. Insurance companies increase their premiums to pay off their rich CEOs, not to help out the Canadian public. Unlike in some areas such as in Europe and Asia, there are no regulations to protect the consumers from insurance companies in Canada.

While we are busy arguing against people who would want to live in floodplains, we should also highlight other issues. Tight regulations of insurance providers should be one step. Another would be, just like Japan, we should spend our tax revenue on helping our communities. Why not build infrastructures to control floods? Do not say it is not sustainable to run away from the problems. Yes, it is sustainable because there are many other communities around the world have done it! India and Sri Lanka for example not only have relatively cheap (relative to Indian/Sri Lankan average net income) flood insurance, but they also have highly effective drainage system. During the Asian Monsoon season, the capital of Sri Lanka should be under water. But that is not true and the last time it was under water was during the 2004 tsunami. But in Canada, a small rain fall in Toronto in 8 July 2013 resulted in mass flooding. How come a first world nation be so negative?

Now let’s take the argument of insurance premiums from another point of view. If we have proper infrastructure to divert water away from our major cities along flood plains, why should the insurance premiums for homeowner go up? In fact, it should go down unless the greedy capitalists in Canada want a higher cut for their profit. Dr. Osborn, according Canadians behind you and their logic, ALL Japanese people should commit suicide while ALL Indians and Sri Lankans should drown. To my fellow young Scientists, please do not run away from the problem like typical “Canadians” due to political correctness or to be nice to your professors, but face it like typical “Japanese” or “South Asians”. I am not saying scientific solutions are prefect. But we should think outside the two extremes which our Politicians and Scientists try to promote. It is our responsibility as scientists, to move away from special interest groups and find solutions to challenges rather than running away from them.

References

1. Osborn: It’s foolish to think worst flood is behind us (PDF)

Idc wh@t wrds r +ed 2 dic

Some linguistics would say OMG WTF (Oh My God What The Fuck) to words and acronyms that came out of the technological age. I asked an English professor how languages evolve. She told me the words are often added to a language in two distinct ways; through academics such as Shakespeare and through general usage. In the last ten years most words added to English dictionary did not come from academics, but rather from general usage.

Evolution of Modern English

Unlike in the old days we are heavily depend on electronic devices to communicate with each other. When the telephone was invented, some thought that it will be the end of “letter age”. In 1950s a unit called Pager was introduced to medical staff for faster communication with the hospitals. This trend catch on world wide and almost all hospitals around the world used (and still use) Pagers. The time it takes to transmit data from one client Pager to destination Pager depended on the length of the message being sent. This is because each packet of data (like a photon of light) can only be so big. Longer texts will be “cut in to pieces” transmission. In addition the Pager displays only used one line. Shorter the message easier for the end user to read. Why would you page, “There is a medical emergency. Come in as soon as possible” when you can page “ME ASAP”? I think this is the birth of electronic age acronyms.

AOL Pager: Message is too long? "Hi mom, How r u doing?"... would be better.
AOL Pager: Message is too long? “Hi mom, How r u doing?”… would be better.

But in 1970s Universities and US Government successfully establish a communication system called TCP/IP network (today we call it the Internet). With this the text age has rocketed in it’s popularity. Now the Pager and the Internet has effectively replaced most conventional letters of the “letter age”. This wide use has created the stage for not only modern languages.

Spread of English

English became a popular means of communication thanks to the British imperialism. After World War II, it was boosted by the American and “new world” imperialism. My dad said, “if German and Japanese won the war, today we won’t be speaking English. But rather German and Japanese”. He is right because English is now almost universal.

The popularity of English can be good and bad depend on how you look at it. It is good because compared to hundreds of dead languages, British did a good job in securing the future of their mother language. On the other hand academic institutions that safeguard the rules of English like the Oxford University has completely lost control over their language. In fact a lot of foreign English speakers (English as a Second Language) have contributed to a lot of new words. In July 2013, English-German dictionary now includes “shitstorm” often used by German Chancellor Angela Merkel(1). It is not just her but also a lot of Germans use “shitstorm” to describe out of control situations. While most of the newly added words are profanities, there are a lot of useful good words as well. For example, the phrase “friend zone” describes as “a situation in which a platonic relationship exists between two people, one of whom has an undeclared romantic or sexual interest in the other”(2). It was officially added to Oxford Dictionary in February 2013.

Even in the past

Did you know that Shakespeare invented a lot of words to describe emotions in his plays? British authors were (are) the inventors of new words. Later by the South Africans, Australians, Americans and Canadians also added millions of new words to English language. I find it hypocritical about some modern conservative academics argue against addition of new words. From what I understand, there are more English words originate outside of native English speaking countries than any other language on Earth. Which makes English stronger and better not weaker!

In case you still cannot read the title of this article; Idc wh@t wrds r +ed 2 dic = I don’t care what words are added to (the) dictionary.

References

1. Guardian

2. Oxford Dictionaries

Tips for Emigration from Asia

Traveling outside the country is not something that most people in Asia would do. But with the growth of middle class, the interest in permanently relocating to developed countries have increased significantly. While some may argue that “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” is not always applied in countries like Canada. But if you are not willing to be flexible in your new adopted country, you will find it difficult to live. In 2012, majority of immigrants to Canada identified their motherland as Asia (including South Asia).

Your Name

Asians have a rich heritage. On top of that South Asians are very proud of their culture and history. In most communities we use the names to identify our cultural background. This is why you would come across South Asians with long names. These names are not random. They have a structure. I found this can be an inconvenient in the Western society.

The South Asian Buddhist culture have the following name convention. HISTORICAL_FAMILY_NAME YOUR_NAME_1 YOUR_NAME_2… SURNAME. The first name has historical significant and has nothing to do with identifying a person. For example, my dad, my brother and I all have the exact same first name. The last name, also known as surname is also common to family members. Therefore in my Buddhist culture it is a combination of middle name and the first or middle name and the last is the identifiable unique name of a person.

Now let’s look at Canadian legal documents and general conventions. Official legal documents in Canada will provide you with enough space to include the entire name. But the subsequent correspondence will only include your first and last name. This is a major problem because three of us in my household have the exact same first and the last names (HISTORICAL_FAMILY_NAME SURNAME). If someone send us a letter addressed to one of us, it can be confusing. This is what exactly happens when we get letters in the mail. To solve it, I decided to switch my middle and the first names around. But since I did not change it before we came to Canada, I had to go through the process of requesting the name change from the government. I highly recommend officially changing your name before entering an another country to avoid extra paperwork. Having three names or even more is OK, as long as the first name is your unique identifiable name. I recommend the following format; YOUR_NAME_1 YOUR_NAME_2… HISTORICAL_FAMILY_NAME SURNAME, which will translate into YOUR_NAME_1 SURNAME in most official documents.

Your Documents and Drugs 🙂

All documents from your native country either must be in English or the official language of the country you are immigrating. These documents must be translated by a respected and approved translator. In other words, the validity of these documents depends on the authorized translator’s accreditation and therefore go to the embassy and request for a list of translators. Do not discard the original documents. The translated documents must always be accompanied by the original for future comparison.

If you are bringing in controlled materials such as pharmaceutical drugs, do not remove the materials from their original containers. Such containers also must be in one of the official languages. It is better if you can bring them with the manufactures sealed caps(eg. without opening bottles).

Travel Documents

While in Asia it is a common practice to include dependents (children) in parent’s passports, please get individual passports even for the children. Countries like Canada and US will specifically inform you to have separate passports. But even if it is not specifically told, I recommend obtaining individual travel documents to avoid any unforeseeable issues.

Photocopy all your travel documents including the air ticket and leave that copy with a relative. This is for in case of an emergency and / or loss of the documents.

Regardless of if you are going to be a Permanent Resident(PR) or not, write down the information on embassy of your birth country.

Do not hesitate to ask questions… lots of questions from border security personals when you arrived at your destination.