Archive for January 13, 2019


By Atem Yaak Atem, Sydney, Australia

shisha smoking

Sunday, January 13, 2019 (PW) — Smoking shisha, * the pastime that is common in some middle Eastern and African countries, is known by several names. In its weekend edition the Australian daily newspaper, Sydney Morning Herald reported two bodies working for local communities, the Australian Lebanese Muslim Association and South East Sydney Local Health District, had come together in their concern over the effect of shisha on the users within the community. In their campaign to enlighten the public on the dangers smoking shisha posed to people, the state government of New South Wales (NSW) has contributed Australian $ 386, 000 (US $274, 368.80 at the time the article was being written) to support the campaign that aims at advising smokers to quit the habit.

Well-founded fear

The concern expressed over harm inherent in smoking shisha may appear to be the work of fear mongers. It is not alarmist; the campaigners have reputable source of information on which they base concerns. Claims that smoking shisha could be harmful to people’s health the way smoking tobacco has been identified as a culprit, is slowly but surely gaining grounds among scientists and health workers in the developed world. Australia is one of these countries. The Herald’s report has quoted NSW health minister, Brad Hazzard: “Smoking shisha for an hour is equivalent to inhaling the volume of smoke from 100 to 200 cigarettes”. Such frightening statements, similar to this one, do not come from a politician’s guesswork or imagination. The minister has a credible authority to back his claim. World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations’ body responsible for global governance of health and disease is the source. According to the 2005 advisory note from WHO’s research arm, TobReg or tobacco study group, the smoke that comes from water in the shisha “contains toxicants known to cause lung cancer, heart disease and other disease”.

The report adds that the campaigners aim at educating members of their community as well as the general public to rethink about the perception of shisha smoking as a pastime. In their drive to educate the public, the organisers are not alone. The head of NSW Cancer Institute, Professor David Currow, backs the campaign against smoking, when he told the paper that “shisha smokers were unknowingly putting themselves at risk of the same deadly diseases that kill cigarette and second-hand smokers”. (more…)


By Mabil Manyok Nhial, Gweru, Zimbabwe

 

deng-deng-hoc

Deng Deng Hoc, South Sudan minister for Education

Sunday, January 13, 2019 (PW) — Doing many things at ago is doing nothing! Is it not true and correct that South Sudan is sadly addicted to perennial confusions?! Logic has it that it is wise to do one thing at a time in order that it bears fruits.

As one of the participants in the National Curriculum Review conference that was held in Juba a few days before the December 15 incident erupted, I personally heard the then Undersecretary of Higher Education Science and Technology, Hon. Deng Deng Hoc Yai, now in charge of the Ministry of General Education, enthusiastically emphasising on the adoption of French and Kiswahili as well as native languages apart from ITC at both primary and secondary levels in the curriculum of South Sudan. The hall broke into a thunderous round of applaud since his words were interlaced with those of the majority in the Hall.

Recently, the same Ministry publicly made it known to the citizenry that the government is planning to hire some teachers of Kiswahili from Tanzania. This appeared in the news on 7th July, 2018. Firstly, no one had and still has a gut to question it because it is what is already in the curriculum. Secondly, Kiswahili has been adopted as the official language for the East African Community (EAC), of which South Sudan is a member. (more…)