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Newsletter. Issue 2008-18. August 30, 2008
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International Goan Convention - Toronto 2008
Posting on www.goanet.org
By Herman Carneiro – Founder of Goanet
Wed Aug 20 12:55:08 PDT 2008

As a community it’s sad to see that we’re largely unsupportive of each other. I was disappointed to hear what the attendance was given that convention was organized in Toronto, which is meant to have the highest population of Goans outside of Goa. I’m ashamed, too, that to a large extent we’re so critical as a community. I was disappointed not to attend the International Goan Convention (IGC) in Toronto held earlier this year. I’ve been reading the exchanges about the convention and feel compelled to express my thoughts on it.

First off, I’d like to congratulate the organizers on what I heard was a very successful event. You deserve a great deal of praise for taking the initiative to bring the Goan diaspora together to make them more aware of issues in Goa and in the international Goan community, and to share in the traditions and culture that make us Goan. All too often we talk and nothing comes of it. It’s refreshing to see someone take some action. We’re indebted to you for all the hard work and time that you invested selflessly in community. We need more people like you in the community. Congratulations on a job very well done!

The organizers of the convention have shown us that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are; any one of us can make a difference in the community. Don’t be afraid to step up to do something for Goa or the community; whether you do something for your local community or something on a larger scale. There are lots of people who can help you. I, for one, am happy to support anyone who does anything for Goa and the Goan community. I think this is an important message, especially for the youth. We need more young people to get involved and we need to have an encouraging environment that gives them a chance to do so.

As a community it’s sad to see that we’re largely unsupportive of each other. I was disappointed to hear what the attendance was given that convention was organized in Toronto, which is meant to have the highest population of Goans outside of Goa. I’m ashamed, too, that to a large extent we’re so critical as a community. Here we’ve had a group of us trying to make a difference and do something good for Goa and the community and instead of being showered with thanks and praise they’ve faced lots of criticism. We’ve got to make a concerted effort as a group to change this. We really have.

I had a friend who told me once that Goans as a community as a whole never look out for their own. He then went on to give me an example of how Keralites take care of their own. One Keralite working in a company will bring in another Keralite and together they’ll bring in more. They are happy to see other Keralites succeed. That’s such a good example of a community being supportive and everyone trying to help one another. Unfortunately, my friend has had the opportunity to give business to another Goan in the community but he didn’t. The point is that we’ve got to stop talking and take responsibility for ourselves. Don’t tell me that Goans never help each other; you be the first to reach out to other Goans.

Folks, it’s high time that changed out ways and became better as a community. No one likes the “crab mentality”. So why not change? We need to take it upon ourselves to make a concerted effort to be more supportive. Now there’s always be some among us who either can’t change or won’t change. There’ll always be someone with “critical insights” or someone who discourages you. And, there’ll always be politics. In my experience you just have to ignore all of this and do what you need to do. Constructive criticism is healthy but ignore the rest.

At the end of the day if we’re unhappy about ourselves as a community then we have to take it upon ourselves to change. And, we *can* change as a community. Change starts with each one of us. Great job again to the organizers. Congratulations again! Many thanks to all those who attended the convention, especially those who travelled from far. And, many thanks to all of you doing you part in your local communities.


Goan Identity & the 2008 Goan Convention
Excerpts from posting on
August 21 2008, by Lisette Saldanha

As a Goan who has lived outside of Goa, but has an affection for her homeland, I must confess that I had always heard of the Goan crab mentality. I can see that in addition to such valid questions as Goan identity, this forum has also spent much time questioning "crab mentality.' To me it appears that both interpretations are based on personal experiences. For example to identify with Goa, one has to have knowledge of its history, culture, traditions and language amongst other indicators.

To have a Goan identity is more personal and will differ individually. For example, I am told that even the spoken Konkani language differs between Bardez and Salcette Goans. This does not make one category more Goan than the other, even though each may claim their Konkani is more pristine and better sounding, and represents the real Konkani. Through the convention I have learnt that Goan Identity is also prone to evolution. Our idea of Goan identity today probably differs greatly from that of what our ancestors four to five generations before us, might have described it as. Hence the key to keeping our identity alive is through communication with the next generation and building bonds and values that endear them to their homeland. This was the main goal of the convention.

We do this through example and transferring of knowledge. If we are proud of our people, our homeland, our traditions ....then our children will reflect the same values. If we encourage and support our fellow Goans when they endeavor to do good for the community, so will our children. If we share in the success of our fellow Goans when they have worked hard and achieved goals that will bind and promote our culture, bring awareness to issues that are hurting our ancestral land called Goa, and provide opportunities for our youth to explore their identity through interactive workshops, then we have taught our children to promote harmony and growth within our community…

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