Did Airbnb Kill the Mountain Town of Crested Butte

via Outside

This wasn’t politics with a capital P; it was something far deeper. One woman described how, in 2008, “after both of my long-term tenants walked, VRBO made the difference for me—it made me able to make my mortgage payment.” STRs, she suggested, were a symptom of a larger problem: “This is the middle class hanging on by its fingernails.”

The article does not pretend that there is any clear solution nor blame anyone. This is one of many documentation of the housing issues that various communities worldwide face when short-term rentals spring up in the competitive housing market.

In Singapore, short-term rentals are mostly illegal, with the assumption that renters want to rent for less than a month. This article gives a more precise explanation of the laws surrounding short-term rentals. That being said, while there are still places in Singapore that do short-term rentals, I think that the owners will only get caught when neighbours complain to the authorities. Shhhh.

A psychology professor explains why humans are cruel

via Vox

But our desire to do well socially can have an ugly side. If you can earn respect by helping people, that’s great. If you can earn respect by physically dominating people with aggression and violence, that’s destructive. So a lot depends on our social environment and whether it incentivizes good or bad behavior.

Consider the rhetoric of white supremacy. White supremacists know about the humanity of Jews and black people and whoever else they’re discriminating against — and it terrifies them. One of their slogans is, “You will not replace us.” Think of what that means. That’s not what you chant if you thought they were roaches or subhuman. That’s what you chant at people you’re really worried about, people who you think are a threat to your status and way of life.

Ultimately, we need better ideas, better ideologies. We need a culture less obsessed with power and honor and more concerned with mindfulness and dignity. That’s the best we can do to quell our appetites for dominance and punishment. Am I optimistic that we can do this? Yeah, I am. But it won’t be easy.

Fostering bridges different people

via The Guardian

About 100,000 young people go through the fostering system every year. In recent years an increasing number of these have been child refugees from Muslim-majority countries such as Syria and Afghanistan, many arriving here traumatised and in need of care.

“We estimate there is a shortage of 8,000 foster carers,” says Kevin Williams, chief executive of the Fostering Network, “and there is a particular shortage of Muslim foster carers.”

Once the children were asleep, Sajjad headed out on an urgent shopping mission. “We are Muslims and we’d never had a Christmas tree in our home,” says Riffat. “But these children were Christian and we wanted them to feel connected to their culture.” So he bought a Christmas tree, decorations and presents. The couple worked until the early hours putting the tree up and wrapping presents. The first thing the children saw the next morning was the tree.

“I had never seen that kind of extra happiness and excitement on a child’s face,” remembers Riffat. The children were meant to stay for two weeks – seven years later two of the three siblings are still living with them.

So much love! More info here and an article appealing for more foster parents, in case anyone is looking for more information on fostering in Singapore.

Rumi’s Garden – well worth patronising

via Rumi’s Garden

Rumi’s Garden is an “online store specialising in contemporary and reclaimed vintage heritage crafts from the Muslim world.”

A friend posted their link and an image of the product purchased on Facebook praising their service. In this era of influencer marketing, a genuine heartfelt review speaks volumes.

Curious, I clicked through and headed to Rumi’s Garden About Us page.

One of the biggest struggles we as Muslims face today, is a major schism and internal conflict when it comes to integrating the vast intellectual tradition and heritage of Islam into our daily lives. The reasons for this discord are many and complicated, but they have left us disoriented – to the extent that we are no longer able to understand ourselves through the lens of our own tradition. On the contrary, we have become a people with very little intellectual independence and we seek to understand ourselves through the lens of the other; a lens, that on many levels, is integrally opposed to our own worldview.

As Muslims, it is important for us to become familiar with our brothers and sisters in faith from other religions, because they too face similar obstacles to ours. Furthermore, since other religions are far older than Islam, we can learn much from their experiences both past and present. Learning from each other’s traditions serves a higher purpose than a mere interfaith dialogue – it grants peace within and around, to those who seek it. It grants acceptance, which goes above and beyond tolerance. It grants us a new way and opening into how we can understand our own religious tradition.

I was blown away at the insightful and humble text. Text that everyone, regardless of faith, can live by.

In Japan, you can pay an actor to impersonate your relative, spouse, coworker, or any kind of acquaintance.

via The Atlantic

His 8-year-old company, Family Romance, provides professional actors to fill any role in the personal lives of clients. With a burgeoning staff of 800 or so actors, ranging from infants to the elderly, the organization prides itself on being able to provide a surrogate for almost any conceivable situation.

“I always ask every client, ‘Are you prepared to sustain this lie?’”

“There is nothing more that I want. I’ve met so many clients. I’ve played so many roles with them. By doing my job, their dreams come true. In that way, my dreams come true as well. I feel fulfilled, just being needed.”

A trip through the shadowy, surreal world of an academic book mill

via Slate

LAP Lambert, I learned, is the print equivalent of a content farm: a clearinghouse for texts that generate tiny amounts of revenue simply by turning up in search and appearing to be legitimate, published works.

So, naturally, I replied to Holmes, telling her I was interested in hearing more.

LAP Lambert’s real plan finally became clear: They make money not by selling arcane tomes to readers, but by selling the books back to their authors after they’ve already signed away the rights. The company isn’t technically a vanity press, because it doesn’t charge authors publishing fees, but its model is essentially the same. Getting an author to buy tons of copies (presumably to give or sell to family and friends) guarantees enough profit that it’s willing to sell the books at a lower price.

In case you ever received an email…

How Kronos Benefitted from Launching an Unlimited Vacation Policy

via Harvard Business Review

At first I thought Millennials would be the most enthusiastic about an open vacation policy. But in fact employees in their thirties and forties with school-age children seem to be the biggest beneficiaries. In the past they struggled to figure out how to spread vacation time over various school holidays. Now they feel free to take more time, reducing this strain.

…our core business is providing workforce management software, and one of the things our product does is track and manage vacation accruals. If every company shifted to an open vacation policy, wouldn’t one of the benefits of our product disappear? Not if open vacation was deployed the right way. That we track our employees’ time off is a major reason our new policy works. If you don’t track it, how else will you know whether people are taking enough time to refresh and recharge, and whether managers are setting a poor example or unfairly managing time off? Tracking enables transparency and better communication, and if it’s done properly, it will build even more trust and loyalty among your employees.

Right now unlimited vacation for all employees is offered at fewer than one in 20 U.S. companies. There’s a reason for that. Not every organization has the combination of high-performing employees, passionate concern for work/life balance, and deep trust in its people necessary to make this kind of system work. I feel very fortunate to lead a company that does.

Care for and trust in your employees.

I used to not take holidays except when absolutely necessary, e.g. other half made his twice yearly trip back to Singapore and we spending time together meant taking leave as the job was so hectic we couldn’t spend time together otherwise. That being said, I did forgo all overtime leave when leaving the company as there was simply no time to use it up.

Tired was an understatement.

I think that employees simply want a company that care for them, and in turn, they will care for the company.

Hello and Goodbye Katie Lee

via Naseem Rakha

Katie Lee, the 98 year old Arizona activist whose favorite word was fuck, died in her sleep on Wednesday, November 1st. Katie had dedicated her life trying to take down the dam that had drowned the place she loved most — Glen Canyon — the contoured caverns and seductive streams that today lies beneath the 9 trillion gallon reservoir known as Lake Powell. Before the building of the dam, Glen Canyon was considered to be one of the most beautiful canyons in North American, if not the world. Then, from 1963 to 1980, it was submerged.

Pathological consumption

via George Monbiot

Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it.

….

Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.

Just.Read.It.

Why I decided not to try Thinx

via Put a Cup in It

I have been advocating for reusable menstrual products for years, and as exciting as it is to see safer, reusable menstruation products becoming more mainstream I can’t help but feel that we’ve all been betrayed… and I didn’t even use their program. I give props to THINX for their part in blowing the menstrual conversation up, but it’s disheartening to watch them build their company on the good faith of consumers and writers, and then turn them away because they were no longer needed. Commutations attempts have been ignored and trust has been broken.

Thanks to a Canadian friend, I was introduced to menstural cups in 2014. As they weren’t sold in Singapore at that time, the ever-supportive partner (who was based in Canada at that time) purchased them in Canada and brought them over to Singapore. He did get a weird look at the supermarket check-out. Haha.

I’m not very evangalistic about menstrual cups simply because just being open and casual about it has led to curious questions from other friends. We are all at different stages of comfort regarding resuable menstruable products!

Unfortunately, after about a year, the cup started leaking. Cups were changed, insertion positions were adjusted, but it didn’t go back to the perfect no-leak.

Occasionally using disposable pads made me uncomfortable contributing to landfill, which is why I switched to menstrual cups in the first place. So the research for other resuable menstrual products began.

Menstrual underwear seemed an easy introduction, so I purchased one Modibodi period panty from LiveLoveLuna, Singapore company (affiliate link). Coupled with the cup, it worked wonderfully. Even on days when the cup hath overflowed.

Eager to try other brands, I stumbled on the big cheese of period undies, Thinx, with a ton of gushing reviews and I nearly purchased them. However, after stumbling on the above article, the shopping cart was abandoned.

If you’re considering purchasing Thinx, please read the (really long) article and think twice!