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Monday, May 4, 2009

Women in Brazil Beware!


"In Brazil a woman gets hit or beaten up every 15 seconds. As long as the hitting or beating up takes places at home, people think it is not that serious.”

Those are the words of a beautiful judge, Vanessa Ribeiro Mateus, who just took office as head of Sao Paulo State’s judicial branch in charge of domestic violence against women. Vanessa is married, 33, has no children, and was born in Santos, a city in Sao Paulo’s seaside. She is the first woman to occupy such an important position in Brazil.

The special branch is the only one that can provide women with all the law requires: psychological help, social workers, a place for children, women’s shelters, etc. The law in question is called Maria da Penha, to honor a battered woman who got paraplegic, read more about it here.

The branch allows the same judge to handle both the civil and the criminal case. They can keep husbands from seeing their children; provide separation from bed and board, refer women to NGOs, etc. Unfortunately, most women do not seek help when they are being beaten up by their husbands. They themselves think it is okay to get hit around every now and then; it has become part of the culture itself, but luckily, this culture is changing, not only because of the law, but also because Brazilians are being made aware that it is not okay to hit women and children.

Many people from several countries and cultures think it is okay to hit the weaker, I’ve never thought so. I am against hitting women and children, no matter how old they are. I know many will go against me on this issue, they’ll find reasons to justify hitting children even in the bible “spare the rod, spoil the child”. But I think children learn to be violent from their parents. I’ve never hit mine and he’s great.

There is an expression in Brazil, “Ele bate, mas é trabalhador” (Eli bahti, maiZEH traballyadOR). “He hits, but he is hardworking (a good provider). Not only do women use that expression often, but their family, friends and lots of people around them use that as well. So there is kind of an idea that if a man is a good provider, he can hit his children and wife. I believe Brazil is not the only country with that kind of culture, but my purpose here is to talk about Brazil. Because of this philosophy, among others, women won’t report their beating husbands. They are afraid they’ll get stuck with their children with no one to take care of them and so they choose to put up with it.

Therefore, they are willing victims as well because they don’t think they can be successful in life on their own, they need a man to take care of them. Many that get hit think like that. They get into a psychological cul-de-sac because of a total lack of self esteem that gets worse every year they stay in the relationship.

I’d say most people in Sao Paulo think it is okay to hit a child to make them obey, or for their own good, etc. And women talk too much and irritate men and they should be put in their places. People who think like that should be living in a cave, but I hear that every day. I was hit by a woman once, and I showed her I could beat her up, but didn’t, I just held her and kept her from hitting me and made it very clear I could beat her up, but I chose not to. This woman is what Brazilian's call “mulher de malandro” (moollier di mahLUNGdroo). A mulher de malandro is a woman who teases men, nags them no end and practically begs to be hit. Or at least, that's what many men say about women who won’t do anything about it if hit. And of course, there are those who are secretly into S&M and will in fact pick up a fight to hit and get hit. They find it exciting, that's the case of the woman I mentioned.

And there are women called “Amelia” (amEHlia), they are called so because of a very old song, lyrics and mp3 here.

Amelia is regarded as a woman who will accept a man no matter his circumstances. She won’t go away just because he has no money or is going through hard times, etc. But it took on the meaning of a woman who will stay with a man no matter how much crap he puts her through. So, it is common for a woman to say to another she is an Amelia because she will stay with a man even though she is mistreated every single day. And a man will call women who put up with their crap Amelia, too.

Galinha (gaLING-ya) is a slut, but now they call guys galinha, too. So galinha (chicken) is not associated with cowardly behavior as it is in the English-speaking countries. Here a chicken is called “bunda molde” (bOONGda mAWli), (soft ass). Anyway, some men are regarded as “corno manso” (kORnoo MUN-soo), a guy who stays with a woman even though she cheats on him all the time. They are called “manso” “tame”; because they apparently know their wives are cheating on them and won’t do anything about it. But until recently, a guy could beat up a woman and allege she was cheating on him and practically nothing would happen to him because authorities called beating up or killing a woman under those circumstances “legitima defesa da honra” (lezhEEtima defEza da ONG-ha), legitimate defense of the honor, in other words, you have the right to beat up or kill a woman if she is cheating on you. But things are changing and it is very hard to get away with murder by claiming that now.

Anyway, I think it is a cowardly act to take advantage of the weak, and I know many women will say, “Hey, don’t call me weak!” The fact is, physically, most women can’t beat up a man. I’m not talking about intellectuality or anything like that here, I'm talking about physicality. And I know martial arts, so for a woman to beat me up, it would be very hard anyway, even if I weren't usually stronger.

A lot of guys hit women because of a lack of self esteem. Why don’t they try to beat someone their own size? They’d get whipped if they tried, so they think it is nice to be the big guy somewhere. Many of them beat their family up when they are drunk and then get really sweet the following day to make up for it.

I think an opponent has to be strong enough to give me glory by defeating them. What’s the point of beating someone who doesn’t deserve the name of adversary? But I guess men in Brazil hit women and children because they can. The same way a dog licks his balls, because he can. Some men have fast hands, in other words, they hit pretty fast if the child or woman doesn’t do what he wants, democracy, outside the walls of their home, not inside.

So I sure hope that beautiful judge and the law in general put a lot of guys in prison to change this aspect of our culture forever, and good riddance to it.

Author: Joe da Silva


Bolsa familia and its unexpected results

One of the good effects of Bolsa Familia (BOAsa fumMEElia), besides helping the poor, was to get the impoverished in big cities like São Paulo to go back to their places of origin, and keep people in the disadvantaged regions from coming to São Paulo. Immigration is good, it can bring plenty of diversity and options to a country, but if it is uncontrolled, it can generate lots of problems, unemployment and crime among them.

How can a state deal with an inordinate rise in its population every single year?

Before Lula, migration from the poverty-stricken regions of Brazil into São Paulo was staggering. Now things have changed. Lots of people in here are going back to their places of origin, thanks to Bolsa Familia. I belong to a family of internal migrants since my parents came from the Northeast, my mom from Pernambuco and my daddy from Paraiba. “Paraiba masculina, mulher macho, sim senhor” (paraEEba maskooLEEna, moolyEH mAHshoo, SING sing-Yoh) (Paraiba is for macho man, even women are macho”. So goes a song.

I like it here in Sao Paulo. Even though my parents came from the Northeast, I’ve never set foot there. I intend to travel around there someday; people say the beaches are great, I digress.

Anyway, migration to the South has been so common that we call Mineiros (miNAYrooz) (people born in Minas Gerais (MEEnaz zheddEYEZ), “Baianos cansados”, tired Baianos, Baiano (buyUNG-noo) is a person born in Bahia. Since Minas Gerais is midway between Sao Paulo and Bahia, the expression was coined. I guess Cariocas (Rio de Janeiro-born) are baianos cansados, too, but they love the beach, so they took a different route. Joking aside, the fact is this internal migration is good as long as it is not totally uncontrolled.

At any rate, I don’t believe everybody should embrace the capitalist ideal. Capitalism is good, consumerism is good, they force humans to evolve, but I know people can live without it, just look at the Indians in the Amazon and the aborigines in many places. They don’t starve, they have fulfilling lives, they enjoy themselves as much as a person with plenty of material things. And they can’t miss what they never had.

Capitalism makes you think if you don’t have a lot of stuff, you are poor and suffering. But that’s not true; I know plenty of slum dwellers who are very happy and lots of rich people who are always unhappy. Many people are not ambitious, so let them lead their simple lives. We don’t need to keep increasing the number of consumers exponentially, and Bolsa Familia is helping control this influx. Hooray for that! Let the ambitious keep coming, not people who are coming because of starvation. But I guess the ambitious could stay there and move it up as well, or down, depending on whether you think defining yourself as a big consumer is a good thing. I love consuming, but I was brainwashed by society as well, I'm just another victim, even though I do believe capitalism can bring advances like no other system, but the price you pay for that is constant worry.

So worry and consume, or don’t worry and be happy, whatever makes your world go round.

Author: Joe da Silva

License to procreate


Let me tell you a little story about a guy in São Paulo who lives in my neighborhood and is a true stud, at least if you are talking about the past, when men were used as reproducers. Today, he is an irresponsible procreator. Just imagine, he has 4 kids with one woman and 3 with another one, 3 with another one, and he just made another one pregnant and he doesn’t support any of them. He keeps going from woman to woman, and they keep getting pissed at him because he is not a good provider. But maybe now he’ll go to jail for not paying alimony and palimony. At least, I convinced one of his ex-wives to report him to the authorities. Now he’s pissed at me and her and keeps threatening us. I did it because she happens to be my niece. I told her the guy was good-for-nothing before she had 4 children by him, but she didn’t listen to me, now her whole family, meaning myself and other members of her extended family, helps her support her children.
It’s really funny that you need a license to drive a car and to do a lot of other stuff, but any stupid person is allowed to reproduce. I believe anybody should be allowed to have the first two children, but after that, they should prove they have the means not only to support them, but also to give them a good life. Supporting doesn’t mean just giving them food to survive, just like you do with any animal. In Portuguese, there is a stupid saying, “Onde come um, comem dois, comem três” (Ongdi kongmi oong, kongmi do-iz, kOngmi trays). A lot of the poverty in Brazil is caused by irresponsible reproduction. And I believe the way to control it would be by having those irresponsible men and women sterilized. Those irresponsible begetters are a burden to society as a whole.
People complain about China’s abuse of human rights, but as regards reproduction, I don’t think they are wrong. I live in a country where irresponsible reproduction abounds. People say society should never try to control that because it would be against the most basic human rights. Well, I agree to a certain extent, in my opinion, two children would be the limit just to appease those advocates of the right to free reproduction, but if it were up to me, I wouldn’t allow many people to reproduce because they make children that become a problem for society since they give them no education, not enough food, and as we live in a capitalistic society, the class differences are huge and so those kids will resort to crime due to envy.
Capitalism encourages envy because it makes the world move forward. The neighbor’s wife is always hotter and if he has a car, you should have one as well. Those children in Brazil who are the product of irresponsible reproduction have the odds against them to begin with so chances are they will become criminals since according to statistics most criminals are the product of a single mother and an absent father. I’m not just in favor of family planning; I’m all for punishing irresponsible reproduction by neutering irresponsible people.
And the Catholic Church doesn’t help at all, quite the opposite. They know the best way to get converts is by brainwashing children. Children are easy to manipulate, so they convince the stupid to procreate like hell, the physical conditions of the children the stupid poor produce doesn’t matter, what matters is their souls. If children suffer a lot, they have their place guaranteed in heaven. That’s the problem with overemphasizing spirituality; sometimes the result is ignoring the flesh. At least, that’s what History shows us.
I went to a mass with my mother, the priest was Father Marcelo Rossi, a singing priest, the answer of the Catholic Church to the evangelical movement. Well, he was praising women who had more than six children, calling them “heroines”. Cows, that’s what they are, ignorant cows. I'm not blaming them for being ignorant cows, that’s just what they are due to life’s circumstances, but I blame whoever promotes this way of thinking.
Well, enough of my rant, long live family planning!

Author: Joe da Silva

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

São Paulo: Smoke-free Zone


If you want to smoke in the state of São Paulo, now you’ll have to do it in the street or in the open air. Forget about smoking anywhere else, except your home, of course. Hotel and bar owners didn’t like the idea very much and protested vehemently, but I doubt very much they’ll make any headway in their attempt to get the governor to veto the bill.


Smokers are not complaining because I believe most of them want to quit but don’t have enough will power to do it, so anything that will keep them from lighting up is welcome. Therefore, fumódromos (fooMAWdromoz), designated smoking areas, will be a thing of the past. Elevators will certainly be more crowded the whole day since fumantes (fooMUNGteez), smokers, will have to take them to get to the street in order to puff on their cigs. Smokers will have to walk more in malls, which is good for them, as they’ll have to go out in order to smoke.
And if you think boates (Bo-AH-teez), nightclubs are exempt from this law, think again. There is more, only owners and proprietors will pay the piper. If a smoker is caught dragging on a cigarette in a banned place, the owner has to make sure they are kicked out since there’ll be no fines or punishment for them as they are regarded as addicts, therefore, sick. The owner can call the police to make sure they are expelled, but can’t make use of any violence to get them out. And they'll have to get them out somehow since owners will have to pay a huge fine if anybody complains, and I mean huge, depending on the situation, up to R$ 3 million.

If you take a taxi in São Paulo (Soung POUloo), don’t light up. Remember, streets and open air, that's it. Of course, with the “jeitinho brasileiro” (zheyTING-you brazeeLEYddoo), the sneaky Brazilian way, taxi drivers and bar owners, among many, will find a way to sidestep this law, but this is better than no law. Sneakiness and underhandedness are practiced all over the world, not just Brazil, so I kind of resent the implication of the expression jeitinho brasileiro. It makes people think only in Brazil do people act underhandedly. You just have to read newspapers around the world to find out that sneakiness can be good or bad, it depends on the law you are fighting against. A sneaky person in Nazi Germany was the good guy and the same can be said about people living in totalitarian regimes all over the world.

So, long live sneakiness, who doesn’t make use of it every now and then? It is not the act that makes it bad, but what you are getting around. But I like the legislation, it’ll force lots of people to be sneaky or to quit smoking, and since smoking is hazardous to your health, more power to the law!

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Joaquim, Manuel and Maria versus Jane...


Joaquim, Manuel and Maria versus Jane and Mary

Blonde jokes, an American influence on Brazilian society.The Internet strikes again. I don’t believe I heard any blonde jokes before the Web made its debut in Brazil. So another cultural icon is fighting to hold its place in Brazilian culture, the stupid Portuguese. We have hundreds of Portuguese jokes here the same way English speakers have Polish ones. We usually translate Polish as Portuguese in the joke department. Lots of people search for Polish jokes and convert them into Portuguese ones. So maybe the blondes are fighting a battle for the kingdom of stupidity on both fronts since the Polish won’t give up their presidency of the United States of the Stupid that easily, either, no pun on the US intended. And even though I don’t have a degree in morology, I can tell it is a vast kingdom with millions of subjects all over the world.I wonder who the stupid are in other cultures and how they gained the notoriety.

But anyway, do you have any animal that stands for stupidity? In Brazil that animal is the “burro”, jackass or just ass in English, that’s why we say “loira burra” (LOIdda bOOha), stupid blonde. But the word “burro” (bOOhoo) has become so widespread in this usage that “estúpido” (izTOOpidoo) in Brazilian Portuguese usually means “rude, impolite, crass, uncouth,” and not, lacking in intelligence or with a supply scarcity in the brains department. And “mal educado” (mow edookAHdoo) means “rude and not ill educated”. Most people understand ignorante (ignorANGti) as rude and impolite and not ignorant, even though it has this meaning as well, so be careful if you call someone “ignorante” here.

I know calling the Portuguese stupid is a generalization. When people say they are stupid they mean most of them are, not all of them, naturally. If you find a clever one, they’ll say he’s the exception that proves the rule. Once a stereotype sets in, it is hard to get rid of the stigma. I don’t take it seriously, it’s just a stereotype, like many others. But I do wonder how they got that reputation.

Some say it’s because they traded gold for clothes with the English, others have different explanations. But Joaquim(zhohaKING), Manuel (mahngnooEHoo) and Maria (maDDEEa) have been parts of the Brazilian culture for a very long time. They don’t make up a threesome, it’s just that all the women in the jokes are named Maria. Do you know why these exemplars of foolishness are called Joaquim and Manuel? Because, people say, 80% of the Portuguese male population are named either Joaquim or Manuel; all the women are named Maria. I guess I’d have to check their phonebook to find out whether that’s true. Maybe if you name someone Joaquim, Manuel or Maria in Portugal, you are practically predetermining their coming to Brazil.

That’s one of the mysteries nobody can explain. I guess that one “só Freud explica” (saw Frawi dizPLEEka), only Freud can explain, (another way to say God only knows), but “ele foi dessa para melhor” (Eli foi dehssa pra meliAWR), but he went from this one to a better one, in other words, he died, in English people would say, “He went to a better place.” Unless he took the elevator down, of course.

Although, I don’t think the Portuguese can be overthrown. For instance, we have a one-liner that goes like this: somebody asks you, “Do you know how the Portuguese have oral sex?”

“No, how?”“They stand in their bedroom and shout at each other, “Fuck you!” (Excuse my French)

Yes, it would be hard to convert that into a blonde joke unless we made them lesbians. Yeah, I suppose it can be done since the gay movement gains momentum every year. So I guess Joaquim, Manuel and Maria have their days numbered.

But we have some jokes with mustached women, and Maria sometimes is the butt of it, in other words, she’s the one that “toma no rabo” (TONGma nooHAHboo), takes it up the ass, and in Brazilian Portuguese that’s always unpleasant, even if you’re gay, at least, idiomawise. I can’t imagine a situation I’d make a joke with a mustached blonde, but there aren’t many of those jokes anyway, as I said, the Marias are not depicted like that so often, so I guess the blondes can take over.

Joaquim and Manuel always sport a voluminous mustachio. Again, I guess if a Portuguese is named Joaquim or Manuel and they wear a mustache, odds are they’ll come to Brazil, or as soon as they get here, they’ll grow one. There is a joke honoring the Portuguese mustache.

Somebody goes to the bathroom,”passa um fax”(PAHsaoong fahks), sends a fax (euphemism for defecates), wipes his behind with his finger, goes to a Portuguese guy sleeping on the couch and smears his mustache with the product of his bowel. What a shitty thing to do, wouldn’t you say?

A few hours later, Manuel wakes up to an overpowering stench all around him. He can’t believe the smell. He goes to the bathroom, no crap in the toilet. He goes to the yard, no dog doo-doo. He looks around the garden, no, the pigeons haven’t been crapping like there’s not tomorrow all over the place. So he thinks for a moment, and it finally dawns on him, “Shit, somebody crapped in the whole wide world.”

Those caricatures of a people are really funny, come to think of it. How come the Portuguese are always of middle-height, wear a mustache, and are hairy and stupid? If somebody
can explain that to me I’d appreciate it. By the way, if you’re Portuguese and are not named Manuel, Joaquim or Maria, come say hi.

But I wouldn’t mind trading an old mustached Portuguese for a beautiful stupid blonde, and I belie ve the Portuguese see that as something good, too. But maybe a stupid Blonde Maria will
come along and become the unequaled, consumate ultimate Queen of the Stupid.

And then we’ll all say, “Long Live Queen Maria!”

Author: Joe da Silva. joedasilva.wordpress.com or joedasilva.weebly.com