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Newsletter. Issue 2008-20. September 27, 2008
Newsline Canada
Convention News
News Clips From India
News Clips From Goa
Goan Voice UK
People Places and Things
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People Places and Things

Strong Turnout in East GTA for Life Lease Housing Presentation
By Sal Rocha, VP, Toronto East Goan Seniors Association

The Meeting, held on Sunday September 7, 2008 was well attended in spite of the rain which may have stopped a few from coming. There were 150 registered for the presentation , 75 from St. Francis Xavier’s Senior club and 75 from T.E.G.S.A.

Over 150 attending - Toronto East Life Lease Housing project

The presentation was made by Darrel Carvalho who is heading the initiative, sponsored by the Goan Overseas Association in conjunction with the Goan Charitable Organization Darrel did an excellent job explaining the differences between the Life Lease project and a condominium with the tax savings advantages of the G.O.A charitable status. Other advantages included a whole floor designed for Senior’s amenities and will also include facilities for medical and religious services. Judging from the questions asked there appeared to be a lot of interest . What remains is to translate this momentum into action and get the project on the ground .

Other communities have achieved this result and include :
Yee Hong Terrace at 90&100 Scottfield Drive T.O.,
The Gallery at Bennett Village , Princess Anne Drive, Georgetown and
Shepherd Gardens at 115 Bonis Ave,Scarborough.

The presentation in the West GTA will take place Sunday, October 26,2008, from 3 to 6 pm: Sunday, September 7,2008, from 2 to 5 pm Burnhamthorpe Community Centre, See Announcements section for details.


Slumdog Millionaire gets people's award at 2008 Toronto International Film Festival
Excerpts from article
By Preeti Thandi
Thursday, September 11, 2008 10:21 AM

“It finally took a Britisher to get an Indian film right,” exclaims a journalist after the press screening of Slumdog Millionaire. Acclaimed director, Danny Boyle’s film at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival is a tribute to India but is not quite about India.

The film has not only received repeated rounds of applause by the TIFF media but is destined to be a major crowd puller and even an Oscar frontrunner. Set in Mumbai the film is the story of an underdog who strikes a jackpot on India’s version of ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire?’ But at the core, the film is a love story interwoven with ecstatic moments. Slumdog Millionaire represents the essence of Mumbai with a sweeping flourish. The film is a high energy bonanza with a musical score by A.R. Rahman which will keep your pulse pounding and your senses exhilarated. Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), a kid from the slums of Mumbai ends up on a games show. With millions at stake, the question everyone is asking is, how could he get all the answers right? The gullible chai-wallah from a call centre is suspected of foul play and he ends up in a police station and that is where his life story unfolds in reverse gear.

Each question that he’s asked on the show is somehow linked to his own life story in a bizarre yet believable way and he just knows the answer. The film pursues the life of little Jamal and his brother Salim who make an adorable and mischievous duo running around in the filth. But soon they are left to fend for themselves when their mother is killed in religious riots. Soon they find Latika (Freida Pinto) who becomes Jamal’s love interest. But as circumstances would have it the two are separated. As the two brothers smarten up on the streets they travel to the Taj Mahal and set up shop as phony tour guides who give hilarious bits of history to the tourists, none of which is of course true. As they escape rough situations Salim ends up in the world of crime whereas Jamal’s quest for Latika ends up in his losing her. Yet he is focused to get her back any way he can.

British actor, Dev Patel effectively bears the brunt of the underdog. Irrfan Khan plays the investigating police officer while Anil Kapoor is the egotistical game show host.

The screenplay by Simon Beaufoy (Full Monty fame) is based on Vikas Swarup’s book Q&A. The film portrays contemporary Mumbai with all its’ raw ambition, progress, squalor and poverty. The sights, sounds and even the smells of India come alive in the film. Yet nothing jolts the eye. The filth is just a backdrop for life that is constantly teeming. Neither is poverty depressing. The slumdog fights the system and even though he looks weak, he is smart. “He’s built of steel,” says Boyle, “as they try to humiliate, embarrass and torture him.”

Boyle who had difficulty finding his lead man in India chose Patel because he didn’t quite look like the young Bollywood guys who work their muscles in the gym all day. Patel effortlessly loses his British accent in the film.

“I loved being in Mumbai so much. I have to be honest, I didn’t see very much of India,” admits Boyle, “but I saw a lot of Mumbai. I loved it. I love cities. It just set me on fire. I read that book by Suketu Mehta book, Maximum City and I couldn’t put it down it was riveting. I read it two, three times and made notes of all the little details he talked about. It was the energy of the place and I think cinema loves energy.”


Nativity Feast : By German and Dutch Konkani Association
Report and Pictures by Kevin Coutinho

Sep 17: German and Dutch Konkani Association (GDKA) met on 13th Sept to celebrate Nativity of Mother Mary (Monti Fest). People from most parts of Germany and Holland participated in this gathering.  The celebration started with honoring Mother Mary with fresh flowers along with traditional hymn ‘Sokkod Sangata Meliya’..‘Moriek Hogolsiya’. Then we had blessing of new harvest (which was being brought from Mangalore) by Fr. Robert Rego and Fr. Ivan Lobo, followed by Eucharistic Celebration.

After the Mass Celebration, every one marched towards the Church hall. The program started with President Anthony D'Silva delivered the welcome speech. Fr. Francis Corea from Mumbai, who was on a visit to Germany, inaugurated our new web site www.gdka.org  All the new members were welcomed and they were asked to introduce themselves to others. We had a welcome dance, which was presented by Sr. Maria Saures. Soon after the welcome dance was over, we had a delicious lunch consisting of 7 vegetables, Manglorian style Pork, chicken fry and Sanaas (Idlis).


UNESCO award for Old Goa Palace
3 Sep 2008

PANAJI: UNESCO 2008 Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards have been announced and the Archiepiscopal Palace, standing between Se Cathedral and Church of St Francis of Assisi at Old Goa, has been selected for 'honourable mention' for conservation efforts undertaken by the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman.

The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for culture heritage conservation have been instituted to recognise the achievement of individuals and organisations within the private sector, and the public-private initiatives, in successfully restoring structures of heritage value in the region.

UNESCO announced six 'honourable mentions’, three awards of 'merit', three awards of 'distinction ' and two awards of 'excellence'. The Archiepiscopal Palace is the oldest Western style civil building in India, where formerly the archbishops resided.

The ground floor was allotted to the subordinate staff and for storage. The Archdiocese of Goa and Daman took the initiative and made available funds for the conservation of the building which has been described with vivid details by Pyrard de Laval in his Voyages, during the tenure of Archbishop Raul Gonsalves and the conservation works were completed during the tenure of Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao.

The scientific conservation of the building was undertaken under a committee appointed by the archbishop with the financial administrator of the archdiocese, Fr Victor Rodrigues/Fr Arlino de Melo as chairperson.

UNESCO's mandate is to promote the stewardship of the world's cultural resources, including the built heritage that constitutes collective cultural memory, and the foundation upon which communities can construct their future. In Asia and the Pacific, UNESCO supports conservation activists at all levels, and particularly seeks to encourage the role of the private sector in preserving the region's cultural heritage.


Costa Santan, the life and times af an able-bodied Goan Tarvotti
By Selma Carvalho
Posted On:
September 16, 2008 7:56:07 PM

I have a theory that if you separate the Goan from the sea, he'll wither away. All of our history ebbs and flows with that vast, undulating expanse of blue water. One does not look at the sea with tired eyes but always with hope and anticipation.

Sometime in the late 1800s, able-bodied Costa Santan, embarked on a career at sea, which at one point had him working on a ship listed as the 'Wartern'. Possibly in his twenties, and through the help of a 'Ghat Sarhang' as they were called in Bombay, he landed a job in the merchant navy.

To his family in Goa, Santan was a 'tarvotti', a term believed to come from the Konkani-Sanskrit word, taranti meaning boat, but to the British that employed him, he would have been a 'lascar'.

I found Santan, at the National Archives in the UK. What makes his journey fascinating is that seamen like him who sailed on ships of the English East India Company, some as early as the sixteen hundreds, were amongst the first Goans in the diaspora overseas. What was life like, for these early tarvottis? Read On

Santan's ship docked at London port. It was winter and he was not keeping well. Weary, perhaps suffering from malaria, cholera, yellow fever, or any number of accidents that likely befell seamen, possibly he made his way to a sailor-town around the docks. Hilton Docker (1809) a medical doctor to the lascars wrote, "The natives of India who come to this country are mostly of bad constitutions. Numbers are landed sick from the ships, where they have been ill."

Some of the original houses still line-up shoulder to shoulder, on either side of narrow alleys criss-crossing through Wapping, Shadwell and Limehouse. Walking through these alleys, Santan, would have watched as Chinese men smoked opium in the dark lodgings known as 'joints', foreign-smelling food hung from the rafters, soliciting prostitutes scoured the streets and lascars, mostly from Bengal, milled about peddling knickknacks to keep body and soul together.

Mortality rates from disease, venereal amongst them, were high. Conditions were so wretched that it caused an outcry in Victorian England. In 1857, the Strangers Home for Asiatic Seamen was built on West India Dock Road, to assist with boarding. Even then, as late as 1920, Health Inspectors condemned the "godown", used by P&O liners to house their sailors while docked.

In a world of perfect racial inequality, Santan was engaged because he cost much less than an English seamen. A 1901 census puts the wages for British seaman between UKP3 to UKP4 pounds per journey, while an Indian might be paid between 15 to 20 rupees, which was just about 14 shillings. (In those times, 20 shillings made a pound).

Onboard, Santan Costa had been a steward attached to the ship's saloon, Topaz. Clifford Pereira, noted British-Goan, Historical Geographer, tells me that "Goans were rarely employed below deck. They were almost always engaged either as cooks or stewards."

English Captains developed a liking for Goan cooks, who had no restrictions for handling pork, beef or fish. Pereira has also uncovered evidence of Goans cooks being paid higher wages than their Indian and African counterparts on East India vessels in the eighteenth century.

In 1957, Captain Baillie of a P&O liner wrote, "I have never failed to appreciate the cleanliness, discipline and comfort of our ships in which the deck hands are Lascars and the stewards mostly Goanese."

But life at sea was hard, and the ship was often a jutting splinter of racial discord amongst crew members. English seamen called Indians, "coolies" and saw them as servile, obsequious and "damned useless in cold weather". To the English sailor, the poorly paid Indian seafarer was a threat to his own livelihood.

Beatings were common on-board ships. A Sebastian Dias who was hired in June 1915 died of a heart-attack just eight months later, while at sea. And a Joaquim Souza, who was engaged on-board the Baron Balfour, in 1914, committed suicide nine months into the voyage.

Despite the inequities, Pereira says, Goans might have enjoyed a fair amount of privilege, perhaps on account of being Christian. An article which appeared on the Port of London Authority (PLA) Monthly of December 1957, had this to say about Goan seamen:

"The Roman Catholic Goanese have an 'altar peak,' with its own small altar, aboard every ship in which they serve. During the voyage. if there is no priest on board, they choose one of their own number to conduct the prayers."

And another paragraph reads:

"The Goans are more clannish and less inclined to shore excursions. When two or three ships that
carry these nationals are in the Port together, a play or a concert may sometimes be produced by the Goans on board one of the vessels."

Michael Fisher writes in Counterflows to Colonialism, of bonds that developed with fellow Indian seafarers, mostly Muslims, "the binding force of the harsh voyage produced strong solidarities with evidence of cooperation in religious ceremonies."

Although religious restrictions largely prevented Hindu Brahmin Goans from embarking on a career at sea, I find a record of a Dinkar Nadkarni, born in 1900, who was employed on-board the SS Rizwani, as medical officer. There were also Konkani-speaking Moslems from Ratnagiri on board British ships. A Jainoo Ebraim, from Ratnagiri set sail on the Worsley Hall, in 1914.

Did Santan return to Goa or did he think of staying on in England and making a new life for himself? We certainly know that many Bengalis and Sikhs stayed on in England, later applying for Peddlers' Certificates which would allow them to peddle whatever they carried from the ships, which at times
included their bedding.

My mother recalls, that wives would sometimes lose their husbands to the sea. A Coutinho C, from the 'Nova Conquesta' who sailed on-board the Okara, drowned in 1914 at the tender age of 20.

Many women were left widowed during World War II; Pereira contends as many as 700 Goa sailors died, but being abandoned by a tarvotti husband was not common. Clifford Pereira, nonetheless, has found records of small bands of Goan tarvottis who settled in the port-towns of England. These became the first Goan immigrants to the UK.

I like to think Santan wanted to return home to Goa, to the loving arms of a wife and family. He might have colluded with a Goan cook on-board and put aside salted and cured meats which he would take as presents for his family. A small token for the lonely lives the sea and separation wrought upon them.

Sadly, we know, Santan Costa died on 5 January, 1915, at the Seamen's Hospital, Greenwich, London.

* National Archives, Kew, Richmond, UK.
* Clifford Pereira, British Goan, Historical Geographer


Russell Peters is: Red, White and Brown
Newest DVD/CD releases September 30, 2008

Excerpt from:

TORONTO, ONTARIO, Sep 03, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Canada's biggest stand-up export Russell Peters, releases his new live DVD/CD combo, RED, WHITE AND BROWN across Canada on September 30th, 2008 with Warner Music Canada.

Recorded before a sold-out audience at The WAMU Theatre at Madison Square Garden in February, RED, WHITE AND BROWN features material from Peters' record-breaking HOMECOMING TOUR and includes tales of his travels to India and Dubai, as well as his own issues with body hair, the World Cup and yet another take on cheap Indians.

The DVD/CD combo of RED, WHITE AND BROWN features an extended 78 minute version of the broadcast special. It also includes over two hours of bonus features including commentaries, featurettes and deleted scenes. Cover art designed by NYC artist, David Choe; designer of the titles for the film Juno and the cover for Jay Z vs. Linkin Park.

Teaser link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wnDuoboJno


Massive diamond found in Lesotho

Miners in Lesotho have discovered a huge gem stone which may become the largest ever polished diamond. The stone weighs 478 carats and is the 20th largest rough diamond ever found, said Gem Diamonds.

The company said the uncut rock was recovered recently from the Letseng mine, owned by the company in Lesotho. The diamond, which is as yet unnamed, has the potential to yield a 150 carat cut stone, and could sell for tens of millions of dollars, the company said. The stone would dwarf the Koh-i-Noor diamond in the British Crown Jewels


Image from: http://www.midlandtours.com/Serendipity/barrie.htm   

It was a balmy September 13th morning when TEGSA members filled two buses headed for Rama. Dreaming of the millions that could be won, some imagined that the chips and cookies they were munching on were made of the finest ingredients that only kings and queens were afforded.

And what better way to start a day of gambling, than to begin the trip with prizes?! First up was a quiz to test Members’ knowledge on the inauguration date of Casino Rama. Although there were many educated guesses, there was no correct answer so the award was rolled into the bingo prizes. Anxious to win some money, Bingo quickly ensued and prizes dispersed from the total cash received. And to top this all, three lucky numbers were drawn and prizes given to the winning members.

On arrival at the Casino, members hurried off to try their luck at the tables and slot machines. An afternoon buffet was provided once our hunger for great food overcame our hunger for playing the slots.

At 4:00 p.m. sharp members once again boarded the buses to head for an evening cruise in Barrie. The Serendipity Princess set sail at 5:00 p.m. along the Kempenfelt Bay where members floated away to either revel in our winnings or forget our losses. While enjoying the refreshing cool summer breeze, we were struck by the luxurious homes along the shores and wondered if bonanza winners at the Casino were now living there.

The atmosphere on the boat was lively. For our sailing enjoyment, a delicious feast of roast beef, potatoes, chicken parmigiana, salads and rolls was enjoyed by all. To wash it all down, drinks were served at the cash bar. Live entertainment featured a selection of songs from yesteryear which got everyone singing, rocking and rolling. The highlight was when our very own Elvis, none other than Crispin Noronha, gave us his rendition of Jailhouse Rock. The evening ended with a smooth ride home to a selection of John’s good ole oldies that had many singing along.

The event received rave reviews and excellent feedback. Thanks to Flavia D’Souza, our Trip Coordinator, for organizing this fantastic trip.

By C. D’Souza
September 18, 2008

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