-9- Packing Light for South East Asia

-9- Packing Light for South East Asia

I guess I could be talking about Donald Trump right now, but I’m pretty sure I’ve spent the last 48 hours already talking about it. A lot of the most obvious things have already been said and until I come up with anything uniquely pertinent to say on the subject I’m going to stop saying much at all.

That being said, maybe this has a shred of relevance if you or someone you know claims to be one of the crowd that wants to pack up their shit and get the hell out of the US.

I tried my best to pack pretty minimally when I travelled to Asia last year in April. I just discovered a picture I took of the contents of my bag before I left and thought it might be interesting/helpful for anyone considering a trip to South East Asia (or anywhere else) in the near future.

I admit that some stuff was accidentally left out of this picture (but not much!)

I don’t pretend to really have the whole minimalist thing down pat; some people out there have done a way better job of this than me. Seeing as it was my first major trip, I needed to overpack for my own sanity, and I needed to discover what was useful and what wasn’t for myself.

Most Useful Items

  • Passport/Money Carrier (pictured bottom left): My sister lent me this little document and money organizer thing she got from MEC, and it was honestly the most useful thing ever. Everything sorted, in one place, zippered pockets: godly.
  • Compression Sack (pictured center, below sunglasses):  I jammed all of my clothes into this thing, and then I buckled it down and tightened the straps turning all of my clothes into a manageable little clothing brick. So awesome, honestly.
  • Quick-Dry Towel (green towel, top right): Need I say more? They’re tiny, they get the job done, and they dry so damn fast.

Least Useful Items

  • Plug Adapter (center above batteries): You seriously don’t need this in most places in South East Asia as far as I encountered. Two months of travel and I didn’t discover one non-American (Canadian?) plug in any hostel I stayed at. (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia)
  • Pants: It is a good idea to have them possibly for visiting Temples because you have to your legs covered past the knees at some. I did visit in the hot/dry season, but still–it is f*cking hot there. Be prepared to walk around pretty much the whole time with them in the bottom of your bag, never putting them on.

Here’s a full list (possibly missing a couple things, I’ll update if I discover I missed anything):

  • 3 t-shirts
  • 2 button up shirts
  • 4 pairs of underwear
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • Hoodie
  • Rain Jacket
  • One pair of pants (swear to god I didn’t where them more than twice)
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • Bathing Suit
  • 8 Large ziplock bags
  • Compression Sack
  • Quick Dry towel
  • Backpack rain cover
  • Travel Guide
  • Journal
  • Pen
  • Passport/Money Organizer
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries (for the flashlight)
  • Lock
  • Digital Camera
  • Camera Charger
  • Phone Charger
  • Plug Adapter
  • Travel Shampoo
  • Travel Sunscreen
  • Travel toothbrush
  • Toilet paper
  • Mini First aid kit
  • Mini Aloe Vera (saved my ass on multiple occasions)
  • Touque
  • Sunglasses
  • Bandana
  • Painkillers
  • Gravol
  • Ear Plugs
  • Capo
  • Guitar Picks

-7- “Council approves controversial growth fees”- an analysis of newsworthiness

Blog Challenge #7: Choose a story from the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press and discuss what makes it newsworthy. 

City Council just voted in favour of a bylaw that imposes growth fees on new developments. This story was given front page coverage by the Winnipeg Free Press, and I will discuss why they made that choice. In order to unpack this story, let’s look at the things that make any story newsworthy.

  • New:  The story came out on October 26, and the bylaw was voted in on the same day. Obviously this issue is a very current story, and the event it highlights only occured very recently. Naturally it is more relevant through that alone.
  • Proximity: The story is centred around city hall in the centre of Winnipeg downtown, and the bylaw affects nearly everyone in our city. It’s a local story.
  • Impact: This new bylaw will have a large, and progressively larger, affect on the homebuying market in our city. Increased fees for buying/building new houses will cause people to want to either move into established neighbourhoods, or reconsider moving out of the ones they may already be living in. This means that prices will soar for buying resale homes. This also makes it harder on businesses that are currently working on these new housing development projects. The mayor says revenue will be exclusively put towards community building.
  • Human Interest: Most Winnipegers could be affected by this bylaw in some way, especially if they’re buying new homes in the near future. It could cause some homeowners to have to move out to different resale homes in the future. Some new home building projects that are already in progress could potentially be stopped. These fees will place more of a burden on new homeowners trying to get by, and as the developers too.
  • Conflict: There is a lot of controversy and debate over this bylaw. Some outspoken Winnipeggers say that it’s being rushed, whereas Mayor Brian Bowman thinks that they are trying to just delay the problem for the sake of delays. Mike Moore of the Home Builders’ Association said will be looking the legality of the bylaw and whether or not the city acually has the authority to introduce it.

Whenever a bill is passed in city hall it is newsworthy, but this one especially because of the contention between council members, Bowman, and citizens, lobbyists from the home building sector. The continuous coverage of the story by the media, and build up to the decision further exemplifies why they’ve decided to make this front page news.



-6- Amy Goodman dismissed of charges for reporting on the Dakota Pipeline Protests

For now, Freedom of Speech has been upheld by North Dakota judge

On Monday charges against Amy Goodman for covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protest were dismissed by a North Dakota judge, and thank the lord that they were. The protest has been going on for several months, but as bulldozers and pipeline workers began tearing up the land, things became even more serious.

Goodman, journalist and host of Democracy Now!, was reporting on the scene as confrontation escalated swiftly between the protestors and private security. As they tried to drive out the construction crews, security sprayed some of the protestors with mace, and their attack dogs lunged and snapped at the crowd.

In the video report from Democracy Now! they interview a man who had an open bite wound on his bicep. As even as Goodman spoke to one of the security workers her dog’s snout dripped red with blood, while she ignored the reporter’s questions.

I don’t understand how reporting on such an intense and key moment of conflict at these protests could possibly be misconstrued as a crime. The prosecutor even flip-flopped the charges from “trespassing” to “rioting” once an warrant had been issued for her arrest by Morton County.

So far, mainstream media has neglected to give these protests the coverage they deserve. So, what—as soon as someone steps in to cover the news, it’s somehow a crime all of the sudden? The prosecutor, Ladd Erickson, claimed that she was basically acting as a protestor and not a journalist.

“Everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protesters action,” said Erickson to The Grand Forks Herald.

If you watch the video, she does no such thing. She simply narrates the scene and asks the protestors questions amongst the chaos. She even speaks directly to the security personnel, asking them why they were letting the dogs attack the protestors, but is met with minimal response, obviously. Is it Goodman’s fault that security used pepper spray and attack dogs on protestors? Of course not. That is simply what happened.

The prosecutor’s rational for the charges basically seem to be that-if you report on the news and one faction is more in the right than the other, it’s no longer journalism.

That is absolutely ludicrous. Do the implications of his claim suggest that he thinks any form of journalism that tells us a story aside from, “Both sides are somewhat in the right and in the wrong,” is criminal?

Thankfully, the judge did not see it that way. For now we can rest easier knowing that journalistic freedom was protected by the court system, this time. At the very least more interest and attention has been generated around the protests. Hopefully it will persist.

(This Blog Challenge was to take a stance on whether or not Amy Goodman should be arrested for reporting on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests)