Sunday 01 June 2008

Leaving My Digital Footprint

Having recently celebrated my birthday, I reminisced about the memories of my own childhood in Hong Kong. After searching long for old personal memorabilia, I only found a handful of dated photographs taken of me as a baby and a young boy. The colors in the pictures had mostly faded, and many of the prints were badly cracked. There were no negatives kept for these photos because of the added film expense at the time. Looking back, I regret for not having kept a better pictorial record of myself—not for reasons of vanity, but for the prosperity of my family in the future.

Today, it is much easier for anyone to create and keep a record of one’s life (even after one’s death). This “digital footprint” can take the form of digital photographs, digital recordings of audio and video, digital scans of handwritten documents, personal blogs (such as this blog I am now writing), personal websites, and many other online presence. As technology and the internet continue to grow, so will our footprint left in this digital world. Unlike our ancestors, our legacy will not be pieced together by morsels of rotting artifacts buried in the earth but by streams of bits and bytes of digital information perpetually stored for eternity.

By Philip Jong • At 12:01 AM • Under Column • Under Family • Under Life • Under Tech
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Saturday 01 March 2008

When Is A Holiday Not A Holiday?

Last month, the province of Ontario (where I live in Canada) held the first ever Family Day, a statutory holiday created by the Liberals back in October 2007 as part of the government’s election promises from the last provincial election. The goal of Family Day (the third Monday in February each year) was to give Canadians more quality time to spend with their families. Sadly, like many other social agenda put forth by the government, the inaugural Family Day was a near failure in practice. Many employers were unaware of (or chose to ignore) this new holiday, leaving many in the workforce still on the job for this weekday. Worse yet, many civic agencies, including the police, had no opportunity to establish a holiday schedule for the day for its workers. In the end, the hastily planned holiday created more of a nuisance than a blessing for Canadians living in Ontario, many of whom were unable to enjoy the holiday with their families who ended up working on that day. Poor planning of the holiday’s arrival had largely ruined this opportune celebration.

I was among the fortunate few who got to enjoy Family Day. Many Ontarians, however, were not.

Then again, there is always next year…

By Philip Jong • At 12:01 AM • Under Column • Under Family • Under Life • Under World
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Friday 15 December 2006

The Meaning Of Christmas: A Cultural Perspective

With the holiday season approaching, I wonder what the true meaning of Christmas is in a multicultural society such as Canada today. As a secular tradition, Christmas Day is originally a Christian celebration that marks the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. It is now celebrated worldwide, partly because of the widespread of Christianity and the influence of western culture in many countries. The tradition of winter festivals, such as the Natalis Solis Invicti celebrated by the Romans or the Yule celebrated by the Pagans, to which Christmas in part owes its origin as a festival holiday, has largely been forgotten by history. Instead, in modern times, Christmas is often celebrated in conjunction with or in place of other religious holidays. Hanukkah, a Jewish celebration that starts on the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, is observed by those who are seeking a Jewish alternative to Christmas, even though the Hannukkah festival can fall in as early as November and as late as January instead of December that is for Christmas.

Today, Christmas is recognized as both a secular and non-secular holiday. As a Chinese myself, I do not celebrate Christmas as a religious festival but an opportune holiday to spend time with my family. In a multicultural society, the new meaning of Christmas goes beyond that of the celebration of a single religion; it is an opportunity to celebrate family values and to be together with those who love us and those who we love back, regardless of religious beliefs.

By Philip Jong • At 12:01 AM • Under Column • Under Family • Under Life • Under World
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