In recent years, the boom in globalization has made the world “smaller” in the sense that the ability to travel from destination A to destination B has become much easier than it was historically. To put it in a clearer realm, I shall use my own migration experience as an example. In 1998, my family packed up their bags from the tiny island of Singapore and was fortunate enough to hop onto a plane in hopes of starting a “new life” in Canada, “Our Home and Mighty Land”. To me, Canada was still a foreign term that I had never heard much of. At the ripe age of four I could not grasp these terms “airplane”, “travel”, “migration”, “snow”. Prior to my first experience travelling in the air, the furthest I had ever gone from home “independently” was hopping onto a school bus that took me to preschool and back home, every single day. English was my first language, but in reality the English we spoke in Singapore was very distinguishable from the English in Canada. To reel it back to my point about “the ability to travel”, I will briefly discuss how technological advancements have enabled many individuals from intersecting social, racial, class, gender, sexuality, religious backgrounds to have the “the ability to travel”.
Here’s a fun fact:
“In 1904, the first flight lasting more than five minutes took place on November 9. The Flyer II was flown by Wilbur Wright.”
The reason I am writing about globalization and migration is because I have become extremely weary about the detrimental effects of globalization and cheap, unregulated, “sweatshop” labour. In grade 11 and 12, my Geography Teacher Mr. Hammerschmidt taught us about the brutal realities of many big corporations and their factories around the world. This class fueled my passion for Social Justice and Equality. In grade 5, I remember reading “Iqbal” a novel directed to the audience of kids aged 8 – 12. In a brief description the novel captivates its readers through the lens of Fatima, a young girl born into a poverty-stricken family, bonded by the poverty cycle trap of child and slave labor.
For more information about the novel, I encourage you to Google it or click here.
I remember attending a leadership conference in grade 5 at A.R. McNeill elementary school in Richmond where Craig and Marc Kielburger spoke about their experiences in dealing with Social Inequality and what they did about it. If you do not know the Kielburger brothers, they are responsible for the huge “Me to We” conference that has become a national and even global phenomenon. Back in 2005, their “Me to We” leadership conference I attended was miniscule in comparison to the movement today.
For more information about We Day and how you can get involved, click here.
Anyways, to reel it back in again into globalization and migration, I want to address the topic of shopping. Here is a confession I would like to make: In this day and age, I struggle with shopping. Why? Because every time I go into a store, for example Forever 21 or H&M, I am tempted to buy something that looks appealing to my eye, but revolted whenever I see the price tag in comparison to the country it was made.
Here are two hypothetical but plausible examples to grasp what I mean:
1) Forever 21, Cute Floral Chiffon Top, $24.99, Made in Vietnam.
2) H&M, Kickass Ripped Denim Jeans, $49.99, Made in Bangladesh.
What is wrong with the picture? What do we as consumers of materialistic things do about the issue of globalization, poverty and sweatshops? How can we even know whether or not these companies participate in unfair, unsafe, unclean, and unjust labour?
Here’s a few things you can do:
1) Be informed. Do your research.
In grade 11, Mr. Hammerschmidt made us do several “Case Studies” and for anyone in Geography, I can empathize strongly with the long hours it takes to do all of the researching, writing, analysis, and CITATIONS. However it does become second nature after the 10th Case Study, or at least I would like to think so.
2) Be a smart shopper, shop locally. (Or if you want to shop somewhere in the mall make sure you understand their manufacturing regulations and the treatment of their workers in the varying countries, cities and towns).
This Saturday, September 28th, the City of Richmond is having a “Youth Art Mart” – a craft fair targeted at local youth vendors, selling their originally crafted materials. My sister is going under the name of “SpeciaLee Made” so if you do swing by the fair please say “Hi Therise’s Sister” to give her the shock of her life. Also my friends and coworkers from Summer Day Camps will be there to showcase their amazing talents as “On Beat Collections” and “A Little Taste of Leaven”. Please feel free to say hi to “Berlin” from On Beat Collections and “Joanne” from A Little Tase of Leaven.
I will be there too (likely dressed in purple) if you happen to come by, do not be shy – I genuinely love meeting youth from the community. I will shake your hand, give you a hug, or smile, depending on the chaos of the market.
For more info about the Youth Art Mart click here.
Or check out and click “attend” on their Facebook Event.
Find your niche, and pursue your passion. My sister and friends are such positive role models in my life. They are people that put their heart and souls into doing what they love and I can only respect and admire that.
Social Media Contacts for the Local Artists:
On Beat Collections
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OBCollections @OBCollections
A Little Taste of Leaven