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Thursday, May 31, 2012

International Manager

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[1] Out of the old, into the new

At this point of time, we are at a stage where modern business management and global organisations have become synonyms with each other. Though the word ‘International Business’ exited many years ago, its application and presence has been noticed only since a few years ago. Multinationals like IBM, GE, Motorola and many more are carrying out business in more than 50 countries. Even small and medium sized companies are getting involved in globalisation. Skilled manpower being the most crucial resource for success in carrying out the strategies, there is involvement of interaction and movement of human resource across national boundaries.

This essay hereon would throw light on what the abilities and skills required by a manager to perform efficiently in another country. It has its implications mostly on workforce upon one particular group of individual’s i.e. expatriate staff. Also, included is the social and business culture in India, for expatriates from foreign countries, with analysis from a few authors mentioned in books & websites, and added personal experience.

[] Highlighting the need for a competent executive

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Human resource management deals with recruitment and more importantly selecting the right people for the right job. Since management today is highly multi-cultural, national population have become more heterogeneous and less isolated, consumer varieties and demands are on a rise and there is an upward movement towards a global marketplace . Expansion, diversification, joint ventures, subsidiaries, mergers, acquisitions have all been merged with routine business practices. This brings about collaboration between two or more companies, also countries which possess two distinct organizational cultures. These kinds of situations require utility of multicultural skills to enhance the management systems. Investors from abroad bring along, not only capital but also buy companies, resorts and seek partners in the other country. Cut-throat competition further emphasizes the importance of an effective manager who can enhance the competitiveness of the organization (Harris, P. & Elashmawi, F., 1).

[] What makes a successful manager?

Employees in an organization are the most important resource and are considered assets of the firm. KSA’s (Knowledge, Skills, and Ability) of employees are features that organisations dig for in them. These are those assets that cannot be mimicked, duplicated and are hard to find. Competent managers are those who possess global (cultural, political, economic), business (competition) and personal (individual knowledge) skills. Strategy of any entity to some extent does revolve round ‘Think global, act local’ (Kidwell, 00).

Multicultural competent managers are those who think beyond local perceptions, eliminating old mind shifts and replacing them with new ideas and thoughts. Adoptions of new situations, lifestyles, languages etc are features that categorize efficient managers. Similarly, effective performance in a new environment, flexibility in dealing with diversity in people and thereby creating an optimistic and feasible scenario for the forth coming events makes one a successful performer in another nation. Another important characteristic that cannot be ignored is to seek cultural synergy between and among the different systems and strategies involved (Simons et. al., 1).

Cultures even though passed from generations have evolved with time, and changes that emerge gradually have significant impact on them. These changes are based on economic, social, political and technological factors. However, a few things those are considered bad or illegal are nevertheless similar in other countries and likewise, some considered good or ethical are just the same elsewhere. But, it is also true that there are significant changes in different cultures. It is for this manager to prove his/her competence by evaluating the differences and similarities in both countries and making decisions accordingly, that will enhance his/her role as a manager.

[4] Managers in cross border business arena

What is it that an expatriate has to consider while entering a new firm? Mission, strategy, objectives, vision, cultural synergy, co-managers, boss, colleagues and a few more critical issues that immediately relate to his/her performance. There is certainly more to this. A few other issues are not given enough importance but are equally important. Optimum use of time, listening habits, body language that conveys almost 80% of the message including manners and mannerism, ethical issues in contracts, humour across frontiers are critical enough to go un-noticed.

It thus makes it evident that expatriates do face problems in a different country, not just their individual issues but also family and other social areas of concern that include depression, loneliness, stress and many such mental traumas. In other words, the environment is perceived to be more aggressive to foreign culture and conducive to the domicile culture.

According to Parks et. al., (18), expatriates are generally regarded as a hybrid group, in which they tend to be traditional full-time workers but in the international assignment, they represent a temporary contingent work relationship.

[5] Adapting to Indian Culture

(5.1) Overview of the Indian Culture

In 188, the then Prime Minister of India, Late Rajeev Gandhi had paved way for globalization and opened doors to Americans businesses. Since, The US has become India’s largest trading partner with a two-way trade of around $4billion annually (Harris & Moran, 16).

‘Made in Japan’, ‘Made in USA’ and such other tags are those that are commonly seen on products sold in India.

India being a highly multi-cultural country has lots to learn about and study. If one knows the culture of India, it is very possible to make tentative predictions in relation to its outcome and behaviour with a high degree of accuracy. But, it is also true that there are changes that are taking place with time. Cultures within organisations are different in different companies.

While honesty, sensitivity, optimism, risk taking attitude are highly appreciated, the laid back attitude, procrastination, negligent law, that are a few cultural drawbacks. The following topics describe in detail the individual attitudes and behaviour patterns.

(5.) Social & Business Culture

Loyalty is the most appreciated attribute in Indian Business Culture. Indians prefer working in teams, which they would refer to as ‘One Family’, not always useful though. There is lot more than just performance at workplaces; it includes social gatherings after work, with the entire family being a part of the event. This attitude sometimes leads to biased and hasty business decisions taken over the dinner table. Expatriates would generally have no problems if prior networking is done in India, since most of decisions are based not always on merit but due to some other social relation.

Often business deals are initiated and closed by the ‘shake of hands’ and through verbal commitments. Documenting agreements is not very common especially where low capital is involved. Trust is an important factor. A common phrase would be, “I am selling this to you only because I promised you, although I am not making much profit out of this deal”. Indians generally stick to their commitments even if made verbally. Similarly, contracts take long to get initiated, because ‘Bargaining Power’ is a characteristic, businessmen generally possess. Even, a CEO of the Indian origin would believe in bringing this power to practise, in order to get a good deal.

Lawyers are required in any country for business contracts for documentation, especially in case of International businesses. But, organisations generally avoid, settlement through lawyers. The reason being, files with court cases in them only pile up higher with time, having no outcome or solution. Hence, there is conciliation in contracts or if ever taken to court, may not get resolved for years together.

‘Status’ and ‘Self Esteem’ are other issues that are of major concern. Though treated equally; for success, effective and 100% performance is crucial, hence, criticisms and weaknesses in employees are put forth in person rather than in public. Mocking and sarcasm is another aspect Indians dislike particularly in public. This is an important aspect managers would have to keep in mind. Low at tone though, comments made in public could sometimes lead to resignation by the employee. This in turn could have a negative impact thereby losing skilled and important staff. Indians also do not take pride in labour jobs like cleaning. For example executives and top level managers would not prefer making their own coffee, transferring documents from one place to another or even taking a photocopy. Indian companies generally employ ‘peons’ to do such activities for their bosses.

In India, ‘Punctuality’ is not given that much importance as compared to other countries. Like in case of a western culture, meetings scheduled for particular time do start without delay. ‘Time Management’ is taken care of, but in India practised differently to some extent. Humour in India calls this ‘Indian Standard Time’, which means reaching the desired destination atleast an hour late. This factor however, is changing and shifting towards respect and realising that time cannot be replaced as rightly quoted ‘Once lost, lost forever’.

Richard Lewis (001), states that the reasons for achievement are certainly good effort, but when it comes to failure or results lower than expected; mostly it’s the destiny that is blamed. This encourages individuals to accept more risks and invite challenges. Indians believe in destiny and generally take failures in their stride.

In relation to speech, it is advisable if the expatriate would know one of the languages usually used like Hindi, Marathi, certainly not with his higher level colleagues, as communication is mostly carried out in English. To make interaction comfortable with other employees and staff, minimal acquaintance to one of the other languages is crucial. The national language is Hindi, but very rarely used, mostly by the public sector companies.



[6.0] Conclusion

Today, the world demands a more culturally sensitive management. Hence, analysing and evaluating cultural issues is important in many aspects, both in single-country and multi-national settings, also cultures prevailing within different organisations. Culture has been altering with time. The social and business cultural features about India include a few that existed a few years ago and still existing in a few firms with changes in many others.

Expatriates would face culture shock, is highly predictable but Indians being helpful in nature would definitely make them feel more comfortable, moderately. This culture shock not only refers to executive but also, a matter of concern is his/her spouse and children. Adapting to the different culture is not as simple as it sounds. It is more than just changing ones lifestyle temporally. Also, repatriates, though back to their home country have a possibility of facing the same issues.

Just like different countries have different cultures, so do organisations within a nation, posses different cultures in them. Hence, on transfer to another country, it’s not just the country analysis, but also is the company culture that is to be studied.





[7.0] References

Harris, P. & Elashmawi, F., (1), Multicultural Management New Skills for Global Success, Golf Publishing Co., Houston.

Harris, P. & Moran, R., (16), Moran Managing Culture Differences, rd ed., Gulf Publishing, Houston, Texas.

Kidwell, 00, Strategic Context of IHRM & Inter-Cultural Issues and IHRM, Notes made available in the lecture.

Lewis, R., 001, When cultures Colide Managing successfully across Cultures, nd ed., Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London.

Parks, J., et all, 18, Fitting Square Pegs into Round Holes Mapping the domain of contingent Work Arrangements onto the Psychological Contract, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, pp. 67-70.

Simons, M., 1, Transcultural Leadership Empowering the Diverse Workforce, TX Gulf Publishing Co., Houston



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Costing System

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1. Costing System

1.1 Illustrate the costing system currently used by Devon Quality in Cost Centre

The costing system currently used by Devon Quality Dairy in the Cost Centre is a traditional costing system this is because in this case study Devon Quality Dairy are allocating there expenses to products using volume based drivers. In this case study, the resources consumed by Devon’s Cost Centre are depreciation, labour, utilities and other, which are all of the costs that have been incurred in production that cannot be traced directly to the products.

The traditional costing system uses a single plantwide overhead rate based on output volume to allocate factory overhead costs to the products. The factory overhead rate is total factory overhead divided by the cost driver. In this case the cost driver is pounds of butterfat. The pounds of butterfat sold are chosen as the cost driver for Devon’s because the pounds of butterfat are attributed to Devon’s purchase costs, which were indicated in the information in the article.

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1. Comment on the appropriateness of “pounds of butterfat” as an allocation base for the overhead costs in Cost Centre . Would you suggest a different allocation base?

Pounds of Butterfat as an allocation base for the overhead costs in Cost Centre aren’t very appropriate. This is because the costs in Cost Centre don’t actually reflect the specific activities that are performed or costs in this cost centre. In Cost Centre , the overhead costs are depreciation, labour and utilities. These overhead costs have absolutely no correlation with the amount of pounds of butterfat used per product. Depreciation expense is incurred from the devaluation of the factories machinery, labour is used to operate and maintain this machinery, and utilities are all of the utility costs that are incurred by the factory within their daily operations.

It is because of this that we believe that Devon should use a different allocation base, and that base should be annual batches produced. We believe that annual batches produced will be a far better allocation base because from these batches you are able effectively determine the actual volume of ice creams mix that is produced by Devon Quality Dairy.

Knowing the annual batches that are produced are a far better method of cost allocation because this cost driver actual does reflect the indirect costs that are incurred by Devon. Depreciation, labour and utilities are directly correlated to the amount of batches that are produced, because the more batches that are produced the more the cost are going to increase.

Therefore, we deem that Devon Quality Dairy would be far advantaged if they were to change there cost driver from the pounds of butterfat, to batches produced annually.

1. Reconstruct the cost allocation formula for the overhead rates shown in Table .

Factory Overhead Rate = Total Factory Overhead

Annual Batches Produced



= 61860

000



= $180.1 per batch



Delivery Overhead Rate = Total Delivery Cost

Annual Batches Produced



= 108400

000



= $54.0 per batch



Selling and Administration

Overhead Costs = Total Selling and Admin Costs

Annual Batches Produced



= 600

000



= $146.80 per batch

. McDonald’s Order

.1 What are the relevant costs to this order?

Relevant cost are defined as costs that change under two or more decision alternatives, thus the relevant costs associated with the McDonalds order are

The required purchase of additional refrigerated delivery trucks

Extra gas and maintenance cost for the trucks equalling $000 per truck per summer months.

Five additional summer drivers, costing $500 per month per driver through out the summer months

Therefore the relevant costs are

Direct Costs (1,000,000$1.607) = $ 1,607,000

Indirect Costs (1,000,000(0.17+0.11+0.014)) = $ 78,000

Additional Truck Costs (150,000) = $ 450,000

Extra Gas and Maintenance Costs (,000) = $ 18,000

Additional Summer Drivers (,5005) = $ 5,500

Total Relevant Costs for McDonalds Order = $ ,405,500

. Should the order be accepted?

To determine if we will accept this McDonalds order, we need to find out what the unit contribution margin is for this special offer.

Unit Contribution Margin = Unit Sales Price - Unit Variable Cost

McDonalds Order

Unit Sales Price 1.4

less Unit Variable Costs

Direct Costs 1.607

Indirect Costs 0.78 1.885

Unit Contribution Margin 0.055

From these calculations we found that the McDonald’s Order will produce a positive contribution margin of $0.055 per unit. Meaning that for this order Devon would receive a contribution margin of $55,000 (0.0551,000,000). Therefore, we believe that Devon Quality Dairy should accept the McDonald’s Order.

. Will your decision change if all orders have to yield the desired target of 15% mark-up?

McDonalds Order with 15% Mark-up

Unit Sales Price 1.4

less Unit Variable Costs

Direct Costs 1.607

Indirect Costs 0.78

15% Mark-up 0.8 .168

Unit Contribution Margin -0.8

From these calculations we found that the McDonald’s order with the 15% mark-up will produce a negative contribution margin of -$0.8 per unit. Meaning that from this order Devon would receive a contribution margin of -$8,000

(-0.81,000,000). Therefore, our decision would change if all orders had to yield the desired target of 15%. When the 15% mark-up is desired we would advise Devon not to accept the order.

4.4 Identify any qualitative issues that should be considered prior to accepting this order.

The first issue that Devon Quality Dairy has to consider is weather the extra mast order of 1,000,000 gallons would cause a strain on the quality of the product? Even though the new equipment enables the company to double its packaging capacity but the production process still remains the same and with the sudden new product requirement would this set the quality of the products back.

They will have to determine if the other departments such as the quality control can cope with the increase number of productions.

They will need to evaluate if they would need to increase their services from the administrative department, as they will have to take up new ordering processes for this new contract. This could also result in unseen future costs that might be involved, with a new ordering system.

An important issue that Devon should consider is how their existing managers will react to the special price they are offering to McDonalds? Currently they are charging their existing customers $.11 per gallon but if they accept the McDonalds order they will be charging them only$1.4 per gallon.

A problem could also arise from their current and potential customers who might also demand the same price that McDonalds will receive. Which could in the long run lose these customers or mean that Devon would have to find improved ways to lower their costs, to be able to sell at this lower price.

They would have to determine how long the McDonald’s Ordering contract would last for, and if the price could be evaluated after each financial year. This would become apparent because costs can change from year to year, and if Devon isn’t able to change their prices to correlate with the added costs, they could be losing significant amounts of money through the McDonalds deal in the future.

. Activity Based Costing

.1 Briefly comment if activity based costing would benefit Devon Quality Dairy?

Activity based costing (ABC) would benefit Devon significantly, because ABC is a cost allocation system that assigns costs to products, services, or customers based upon the consumption of resources caused by activities. While there current costing system is a volume-based costing system, that is only useful when direct labour and materials are the only predetermined factors of production.

In the case of Devon where they have many predetermined factors ABC analysis is far more accurate. With ABC resources are assigned to activities, from which these activities are assigned to cost objects based upon the activities used by the company.

It is because of this we that an activity based costing system would be extremely beneficial for Devon’s analysis of their costs.

. Devon Quality Dairy have asked you to undertake an initial ABC analysis using the following activity breakdown.

Activity Total Costs Cost Driver Cost Driver Cost Rate

Amount

Pasteurisation and Separation 1,111,550 Raw Milk Gallons 60,000,000 $ 0.0185

Bottling Labour 500,000 Gallons of Mix 11,600,000 $ 0.041

Other Mix Department Costs ,007,070 Number of Batches 000 $1,00.550

Delivery Stop Costs 840,000 Number of Stops 84000 $ 10.0000

Other Delivery Costs 1,068,000 Gallons of Mix 11,600,000 $ 0.01

Selling and Administration ,600 Number of Orders 84,000 $ .45

. Prepare a new cost estimate for the McDonald’s order using the activity cost rates.

McDonalds Order using Activity Based Costing

Sales Revenue 1,40,000

less Variable Costs

Direct Cost 1,607,000

Indirect Costs

Factory Overhead

- Pasteurisation and Separation 55,500

- Bottling Labour 4,100

- Other Mix Department 0 8,600

Delivery Costs

- Delivery Stop Costs 46,800

- Other Delivery Costs ,100 18,00

Selling and Administration

- Selling and Admin Costs 16,57 16,57 5,857 1,860,857

Contribution Margin from McDonalds Order using ABC $ 7,14

Calculation

Using batch size as an allocation base.

a One batch can produce 10,000 gallons of mix. So ,000 batches can produce 0,000,000 gallons of mix.

b Devon currently produces 0,000,000 gallons of mix, but only sells 11,600,000 gallons of mix, meaning they will not incur any additional batch costs for the McDonalds Order.

c With the McDonalds Order Devon will need to deliver to 0 restaurants, three times per week.

Sales Revenue = $1.41,000,000

Direct Costs = $1.6071,000,000

Pasteurisation and Separation = $0.0185(60,000,000/0,000,000)1,000,000 a

Bottling Labour Costs = $0.0411,000,000

Other Mix Department Costs = $10,00.550 b

Delivery Costs = $1005c

Other Delivery Costs = $0.011,000,000

Selling and Administration = $.4505 c

.4 Would you accept the McDonald’s order?

After using the activity based costing to calculate the overhead costs in relation to the operations involved with McDonald’s order, we believe that Devon should accept the special order. With the application of ABC, we found that Devon actually incurs less costs than it did before, when it was operating under the traditional costing system. With ABC being a more in-depth system of costing you could be reasonably sure of the costs and would definitely accept the McDonalds Order.

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Krashen's Monitor Model Theory

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A news item appearing in a Sunday weekend paper has alleged that an arms shipment could not be apprehended as a result of the information reaching the Sri Lanka Navy being leaked out to the LTTE by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).

The news item refers to instructions given by the Secretary of Defence a few months back that resulted in engaging SLMM Monitors on board Navy ships while on operations at sea. The Ministry wishes to explain that the above instructions were given after the incident at sea causing the engagement of a ship in June this year, where the SLMM alleged that such incident could have been averted if the Navy used the services of the SLMM in interdicting the LTTE vessels.

The Navy asserts that there was a shortage of Monitors and had and impact on the operations as a whole during the past weeks. It is confirmed that the referred information in this instance has been made known to the LTTE long before it was brought to the notice of any authority of this Ministry. The SLMM has informed the Ministry that SLMM had no intention of divulging any information but queried on any ships belonging to LTTE that were heading towards the eastern coast.

A meeting was held yesterday in the Ministry with the Head of the SLMM Gen. Tryggve Teleffson, Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri and the Secretary of the Ministry Austin Fernando where clarifications were sought from the SLMM as to whether and under what circumstances this information came to be passed on to the LTTE. The Secretary of the Ministry and the Commander of the Navy have explained to the SLMM the grave repercussions of such information falling in to the hands of LTTE, whatever the intensions of the SLMM were. It was agreed by the Head of Mission of the SLMM that any information of this nature will not be dealt with in this manner in the future.


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A meeting was held in Trincomalee today on the same issue attended by the Minister of Defence Hon. Tilak Marapana, Secretary of Defence, Commander of the Navy, Rear Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda COMEAST of the Navy and Naval Officers Dissanayake and Ruwanpathirana who participated in the operation on the 16th in the eastern area. It was decided at this meeting that new operational procedures have to be prepared immediately in dealing with this type of situations and they should be adhered to by all parties in the interest of Navy, its personnel and the Peace Process, in which conflicting situations have to be avoided whilst ensuring the security of the country. The Minister of Defence will hold a meeting very early next week with the SLMM and the Navy to discuss further on this issue.



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Rosa Parks Hero Essay

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Rosa Parks

“Concerned About Equality for all People”

What if you changed the world by merely sitting down? It’s hard to believe that such an insignificant action would change much of anything. We normally don’t think about taking a seat on a bus. The only thought that comes across our minds is to find a pleasurably comfortable seat to relax our exhausted and weary bodies. Rosa Parks, an unknown seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama, took a seat on a bus and the whole world changed.

On December 1, 155, Rosa Parks had had a dreadfully long day at her job. Her entire body moaned and throbbed longingly to sit down. Absentmindedly, she boarded a bus when after a few stops, the driver swiveled around in his chair and asked her to allow a white man to have her seat. She replied, ever so sweetly, yet with an abundance of confidence in her voice, one simple word, “No.” The driver, completely flabbergasted, threatened to phone the police and have her arrested. “You may do that,” the small, dainty woman responded softly. Soon the police arrived and escorted her to jail. “I can imagine how disarming and how troubling that was for the police.” States Rep. John Conyers, a friend of Rosa Parks, “They didn’t want to arrest her.”

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This small action unquestionably showed Rosa Park’s amazing audacity and bravery. She, without a doubt, had a huge amount of perseverance and definitely inspired many others to stop racism. Such a heroic and courageous action achieved by such a dainty, demure woman was indeed hard to believe. Rosa Parks fought for what she believed in, yet constantly remained friendly and kind towards everyone. A major inspiration to Rosa Parks was her husband, Raymond Parks. His heroic qualities were alike to Rosa Parks’, and greatly impressed her. She stated, “that he didn’t seem to have that meek attitude-what we call an ‘Uncle Tom’ attitude-towards white people.” When white people began to finally treat Rosa Parks without hostility, she wasn’t satisfied. It wasn’t enough for just her to be respected; her goal was for all black people to be treated with respect.

By standing up for what she believed in, Rosa Parks began the civil rights movement. Her small yet defiant action changed the world from the moment that one word slipped from her mouth. Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said, “ Rosa Parks made a courageous decision and started the civil rights movement. Dr. King took it from there.” Rosa Parks is truly one of the most remarkable heroes of all time. She had such determination to fight against racism and had the nerve to fulfill her dream. “People always say that I didn’t give my seat up because I was tired, but that isn’t true,” Rosa Parks wrote in her autobiography. “The tired I was, was tired of giving in.” In conclusion, Rosa Parks is my hero for her heroic and gallant qualities and for successfully completing her goal to stop inequality between whites and blacks.



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Friday, May 18, 2012

guys

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Castilla la Mancha, is located at the very center of the Iberian peninsula, it


is surrounded by a huge level area, although there are mountainous landscapes


too. One of the most famous tourist location in the province is Toledo. It was


once the capital of Spain and it is known for its many monuments from the


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Moorish, Mudejar, Gothic, and Renaissance Periods, it is also known for its


famous swords. Another popular sightseeing attraction is Cuenca, or the


“Enchanting Medieval City”. This is known for its “Hanging Houses”, the Gothic


Cathedral and the Museum of Abstract Art. In Cuenca there are numerous


amazing natural preserves, amongst them is Ciudad Encantada, the “enchanted


city”, where erosion had shaped the most peculiar forms. Ciudad Real is noticed


by the history of Don Quijote who is said to have fought against the windmills at


the nearby Campo de Criptana.


The province La Mancha is known for its recognized inhabitants. One of


the most contemporary and popular of them is film director, Pedro Almodovar,


who is fifty-one years of age. His most famous film is “Todo sobre mi madre” or


in English “All About my Mother”. The talented actress Penelope Cruz, who is


seen around the world and is also from La Mancha. The tall-tale character known


as Don Quijote has a famous route after him, although his creator wasn’t born in


this province, this character is not just famous in Spain but also in every other part of the world.


Castilla-La-Mancha was created by a statute of autonomy approved in


18. This province is governed by a regional parliament. there are 47


congressmen and woman from Castilla-La-Mancha. The province’s economy is


known all around Spain for its agriculture production, and cattle raising. The


agricultural vicinity of this province is known for its classical farming techniques in


dry areas of farmland, where they produce cereals, Vines, and olives. The


Agrarian sector has a forest full of prosperity and makes many riches for this


region of Spain.


Castilla-La-Mancha is a very beautiful and cultural province in Spain. It is


known for its distinct foods and artistry because of the unique cultural history of


this region. La-Mancha’s cities are described as architectonical treasures with


magnificent monuments. The province has a great economy and is home to


many famous Spaniards. This is why Castilla-La-Mancha is recognized as one of


the most unique and elegant provinces in Spain.





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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Roma people and they struggle- A proposed project

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Introduction to the


“They travel endlessly and seem to appear almost everywhere, yet they are the worlds most mysterious people Gypsies.” Moreau, 00, pp. This essay is a description of a proposed community theatre project to be held in Sarajevo (former Yugoslavia) in August next year, touring through Europe and hopefully ending up in Australia.


Gypsies or Roms continue to be excluded from our society both culturally and economically throughout the entire world. This isolation is hardly hidden. Assault and harassment as well as ignorance of this community’s situation continues to be accepted and unaddressed (first article). This project aims at tackling this issue of dislocation, celebrating their culture as well as communicating the hardships of their lives. It will combine tragedy and comedy, realism and fantasy, dance and music, as well as many other talents of these people, giving them an opportunity to be proud of their culture and history and tell their stories to the rest of the world.


Firstly, the essay will outline a brief background and history of the gypsies, looking closely at their way of life and challenges they face. This particular section will help justify the purpose of this project. Then, an artistic plan will be outlined describing, in detail the style and character of the performance as well as the involvement of the Roms in the project. A production plan outline will also be included with information about expected size, duration, and attendance of the project as well as an initial project budget. Next, some of the effects and details of audiovisual technology will be outlined in an attempt to create a picture of the project. Finally, the philosophy of the project will be discussed with a deep focus on the rationale and evidence of its capability to be a success.


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History, background and lifestyle


In justifying the purpose of this project, it is worth introducing the history and facts of Romani people and the uniqueness of their culture. Although this is arguable, evidence indicates that Roms originate from India. Their first destination from India, in 10th century, was what became Former Yugoslavia. Latest statistics show that Gypsies occupy 0.04% of Former Yugoslavia with a population of 41 000. Throughout their history in this region, Gypsies suffered from varying levels of persecution and racial discrimination. It is reported that even local governments participated in harassment and intimidation, not to mention the discrimination in employment, education and social services.


Their living conditions are beyond any human standards and their appearance reveals their hardships, mere struggle for survival and acute malaise. Imagine broken down caravans and clusters of precarious and crumbling shacks, thrown together from material scavenged from dump heaps, in which children cry awaiting a never known destiny of being sold to another family or busking on streets with no education. This is what the message of Gypsies looks like (see Appendix 1). This is a social emergency and must be treated as such. (first article)


Many people cease to care about this urgency due to the incorrect belief that Gypsy people are not trying hard enough to progress. For example, research shows that Gypsy children do not attend school on a regular basis and their attention span is very short causing their behaviour to be disruptive. This in turn creates adults that do not have an education and do not have the skills to pursue a career and create stability. The Gypsies owe this to their culture. It is passed on verbally from one generation to the next. Their tradition is about learning from stories told by their ancestors and telling them to their children. This is how they learn essentials of life and what it is about. School, to them is like “Utopia”. They do not understand such a way of learning, or the point to knowing arithmetic, grammar and science when everything that we need is provided by mother earth. Hence they find it difficult to adapt to this environment.


Secondly, they are usually discriminated against and teased by other children causing general discontent and dislike of school, which leads to a lack of attendance. Gypsy children are used to spending their time outdoors, looking after the younger children, singing, dancing, playing instruments or looking for ways to earn money for some food for the day. Concentration involved in school tasks is foreign to them. In desperation to keep this beautiful culture in existence with all its colours, they are reluctant to adapt to the “civilised” way of life. They continue their lives in their tents and huts that merely protect them from the rain but regardless, they are a much more welcoming home (Mirga 17, pp).


This way of life means that they can only support themselves by begging, fortune telling and performing arts. Although some Gypsy families are involved in some kind of trade, many engage in criminal activities in an attempt to make ends meet. However their talents have formed an important part of Europe. It certainly added a unique element to the Yugoslavian culture. The movie “Time of the Gypsies” by Emir Kusturica depicts some of the talents and assets given to Yugoslav culture by the Roms. This project will aim to create awareness of these assets amongst Yugoslav people encouraging an appreciation of this culture.


It is inevitable to consider that a community theatre project may not solve the problem or improve the living conditions of gypsies in Sarajevo or anywhere in the world. But at its worst, it will answer the many cries of Gypsy people and allow them to celebrate their culture with pride. This in itself gives this project a deep meaning, the performers motivation and the Gypsy community a hopeful willingness to participate.


Artistic Plan (see page 70)


This project aims to explore a theme that is experienced by every person regardless of culture. Love is a universal theme, time resistant, and everyone understands its intensity and capability. Telling a love story through Gypsy eyes will enable the rest of the world to realise how essentially, we are all the same. The story aims to show a glimpse of the soul of a discarded race � of joy and mourning, of transgression and human decency- a compassionate portrait of Roms. Gypsy love stories have unique qualities that almost resemble the quality of Shakespearean love stories. They are a combination of beauty, sensuality, tragedy, comedy, action, insanity, poverty, politics and many other issues Kusturica, 18. The story in this project will attempt to incorporate these components to arrive at a true spectacle. Cameron, 1 suggests that issues in theatre are not developed by theatre professionals, instead they emerge from real life (pp68.). Extensive plot and storyline will be left up to the community members to tell and the style of this show will concentrate on delivering their life in a theatrical way.


In order to truly deliver the life of Gypsies in a theatrical way to people, it is only obvious that it should be placed outside. As Cameron indicates, (pp7), this means that it will have to look at successfully delivering the show outside and hence using techniques that will make it effective. The show will include large scale images, in particular fire sculptures floating on water and Gypsy Festivals where crowds of Roms bathe in water using fire for light, heat and in this case a beautiful scene (see Appendix a). Setting, costumes and props will depict scenery from Gypsy camps. The show will also utilise specific talents that are discovered during workshops and incorporate them into the production in form of Circus and Stunts which are, as indicated by Cameron, 1, (pp7), are also an effective outdoor technique.


Cameron, 1 (pp7) also suggests that music is “the central and living art”. Gypsies are very loyal to their music and instruments, which they sometimes describe as the “mirrors to their souls” (Kusturica). They are famous for their musical abilities, but many people may not be aware of the extent of this acumen. Many music production companies actually perform trials of music within the Gypsy community to see if music they are considering marketing is going to sell. It doesn’t matter if it is pop music, or classical, or folk; if the Gypsies respond well to it, the music company knows it will be a hit. Gypsies love to play the violin and accordion, as well as some of the Gypsy instruments - the cümbüº, a type of mandolin with a metal case, the klarinet, and the darbuka (Voss, 00). While their instruments may not be as refined as those used by a philharmonic orchestra, their music is often world class and can touch the soul of the listener with beautiful stories told through them. It is only sensible then to make music a major part of this production. The stories will therefore be told through song and dance rather than through a written script which should be rather simple to achieve as it is quite obviously their expertise .


Community Involvement


In order to achieve the above picture extensive we will approach a Gypsy camp in Sarajevo where most Roms reside. Getting people together should not be difficult as most Roms would love an opportunity to participate in an artistic project. Cameron, 1, (pp74) argues that a few people are apathetic when there is an opportunity for them to express themselves in an enjoyable way. There will be no audition as there will be no script until the end. Rather, people’s talents and strengths will be observed and the project will be built around this.


A set of workshops will be run with enthusiastic people and those who are willing to take a part. The workshops will not be limited to Roms, instead anyone interested in the culture will be welcomed. Help will be needed with administration and organization hence any help offered will not be rejected. Therefore the community with The show l end with a destruction of the scenery and the set.The story will provide a lyrical glimpse into an exotic, obscure culture, a tragedy of lost innocence, and a reaffirmation of love and family.


Production Plan (see page 56 Fire n Water)


As mentioned above, the show will take place outside. The nature of the show will eliminate many problems associated with an outdoor show. No lighting equipment will be needed as fire will be used. However power generators will be needed for sound amplification. Equipment will need to be protected and insured. If it happens to rain, we will try and use it to the show’s advantage. It will further add to the reality of their living conditions and discomfort. The audience, on the other hand will be under shelter.


Although the show will tour, there will be only one performance in each country. Cameron, 1 (pp58) suggests that a single show can reach a lot of people and allows organisers to concentrate all resources on that show.


The Touring Gypsy Festival will begin on April 16th which is the St George celebration � a major Gypsy celebration. It will take place outdoors and will use weather to its advantage. The show duration will not exceed 1 hour and will be repeated twice a day in each location. The tour will begin in Sarajevo where we will become aquainted with the community from the gypsy camp and work on putting the show together. The journey will continue through Italy, Turkey and Romania throughout which our group will hopefully grow and we will involve people from these parts also. Finally, the complete troupe will travel to Australia (provided there is sufficient support) where the show will be repeated in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. We will tour in carriages similar to the ones in (appendix) and thereby symbolise the neverending journey of Gypsies and every person in search for oneself and survival. The nature of the show will also evoke the feeling of displacement allowing this community to express their lifesyles in the way. At the end of each show, the set will be destroyed by a crane that will lift it in the air and dum it into one of the carriages.


It is expected that the audience in Australia especially will be quite substantial. We may face problems of venue as it will require presence of water and fire.


Work Breakdown Structure


Budget


Most of the Funds for the project will come from UNICEF, Roma Rights Centre and World Union of Romanies who will sponsor the show. Rajko Djurie, the president of World Union of Romanies said that the organization would be more than happy to fund such an interesting project and is looking forward to its impact on the Gypsy community as well as the community they are amongst. Please see appendix for closer details about the Cost and Expenditure.


Effects and Technical Information


Lighting- fire � no artificial lighting- outdoor performance


Sound- amplified


Special Effects


Fire on Water � Lit up � celebration of St George-


Performance on water � dam.


Philosophy of the Project


The possibility of complete failure of this project is inevitable. The issue is sensitive, and there is a chance of the Roms unwillingness to participate or to participate completely. However with careful planning of the structure and timing of the show, the chances of its success increase. Cameron (1) in Fire on the water describes a project where they examined “the community’s rhythm” so that the show was timed in order to attract a wide range of audience (pp6). In addition, the show was designed so that they did not rely on the story because different members of the audience would arrive at different times. The show had an exciting story but was divided in clear and related parts.


As mentioned above, the themes will be universal portraying the similarity of this community to other communities yet, its neverending inability to be understood and to fit in. This should make the story come alive, its magic touching the souls of many people especially at a time when this part of the world is experiencing hardship recovering from war and political instability. Cameron (1) describes this technique as an “Everyman” theme (pp7). He also indicates that stories about birth, love, death and individual’s struggle in the community they live in is the essential themes that interest people. These can be found and built up in the workshops (pp68 � 6)


He also suggests that touring shows involve a lot of work and hence it is important to slow down and take things one step at a time (7).


Also, the approach of the community would be informal and less publicised because these people are used to prosecution and mistreat, they are probably unlikely to trust that the project will benefit them in any way. Cameron suggests that a public meeting is not an effective way of canvassing local views for an arts project and that he personally prefers approaching the community informally. He adds that it is important to search for the real representatives.


Overall the project will act as a political practice that works towards social justice and change by influencing the government of each country to come up with a solution for this minority group that are in urgent need for help and assistance. It will also seek of the communities that surround the Roms to be less reluctant to accept them as a part of their home country and begin to understand and appreciate their culture. Through its story, it will reflect and validate the reality of experience of the Roms. Finally it will provide a channel for them to express their culture and identity by allowing them to participate and tell their story.





Conclusion


APPENDIX 1(a)- These pictures show the conditions that Roma live in.





sca.lib.liv.ac.uk/collections/ gypsy/photoind.htm





www.culture-forum.com/.../ new/people/str/str.htm � Begging for money


http//www.oneworld.cz/ow/00/cz/akce_ultrablack.html


APPENDIX 1(b)


Above left, mother with a child begging for Saying goodbye to family/


money to feed her child. And friends who are probably


being sold for slavery.





www.leafpile.com/TravelLog/ Romania/Roma/Roma.htm


APPENDIX 1(c)





Above Home to a Gypsy family


Below Destruction of Gypsy homes in Italy approved by the government.





www.errc.org/rr_nr_000/ field1.shtml


APPENDIX (a) � Gypsies Celebrate -Not much else to do but sing, dance and celebrate





This is a Gypsy Festival “Djurdevdan”. Everyone bathes and sings in the water using fire as a means of heating as well as to create this beautiful effect.





www.ce-review.org/00/14/ kinoeye14_horton.html


APPENDIX (b) � Gypsies dancing


www.beotel.yu/~lala/ cigani.html








www.nova-scena.sk/cigfoto.htm www.istanbullife.org/ gypsies-istanbul-turkey.htm


www.ce-review.org/00/14/ kinoeye14_horton.html


APPENDIX � Poem by Isabel Fonsenca


The time of the wandering Gypsies


Has long passed. However, I see them,


They are bright,


Strong and clear like the water.


You can hear it


Wandering


When it wishes to speak.


But poor thing it has no speech . . .


...the water does not look behind.


It flees, runs further away.


Where eyes will not see her,


The water that wanders .


Isabel Fonseca, Bury Me Standing, op. cit., pp. 4-5.


APPENDIX 4(a) � BUDGET - REVENUE


Revenue Source Cash Donation Inkind Total


Local Government FundingBosnia, Turkey, Italy, RomaniaTotal 10,000 10,000


SponsorsAirlines (Jat, Qantas)HotelsTotal 4,000 ,000 6,000


Philanthropic Trusts and FundsPhilanthropic Soros Foundation World Union of Romanies Roma Right Centre The Gypsy Research Centre Total 1,000 5,000 5,000 6,000 8,000


Special FundProject Donation HotlineTotal 5,000 5,000


AudienceContribution Fee (4shows @ 100people x $,00 AU (or equiv.)DonationTotal 7,00 ,000 ,00


Other Sources of IncomeVolunteersDonated Props, costumes and InstrumentsMedia PublicityTotal 5,000 1,000 ,000 8,000


REVENUE GRAND TOTAL 66,00


APPENDIX 4(b)- BUDGET- EXPENDITURE


Expense Amount Total Expense


Travelling ExpensesReturn AirfaresTrain and Bus FaresAccommodationTotal 8,000 1,000 6,000 15,000


Venue ExpensesRehearsal HallOtherTotal 800 600 1,400


Equipment Expenses Crane Instruments Hire Amplification Firesticks Other Total 8,000 1,000 ,000 00 ,000 1,00


Costumes, Makeup and Props ExpensesCostumes and Makeup Tents Rugs Begging Baskets Other Total 00 00 100 100 500 1,100


Tools ExpenseSetting Up ToolsTotal 500 500


Gypsy Wagon HireApprox total hire costTotal ,000 ,000


Insurance ExpenseTravellers Insurance Workers Compensation Equipment Insurance Total 1,000 ,000 500 ,500


Security ExpensesGuards during each showTotal ,000 ,000


Wages and FeesDirector Other AdministrationTotal 5,000 5,000 00 10,00


Post Show Expenses Volunteer and Participant after partySponsor package and attention (media)Total 1,000 1,000 ,000


Publicity (10%)MediaOtherTotal ,000 ,000 5,000


Contingencies (10%)MiscellaneousTotal 5,000 5,000


EXPEND. GRAND TOTAL 61,000


APPENDIX 4(c) � BUDGET � SUMMARRY


Activity Revenue Expenditure


Revenue Sources


Local Government Funding 10,000


Sponsorship 6,000


Philanthropic Funds 8,000


Special Fund 5,000


Audience ,00


Other Revenue 8,000





Total Revenue 66,00





Expenses


Travelling Expenses 15,000


Venue Expenses 1400


Equipment Expenses 1,00


Costumes, Makeup and Props 1,100


Tools 500


Gypsy Wagon ,000


Insurance ,500


Security ,000


Wages 10,00


Post Show Expenses ,000


Publicity 5,000


Contingencies 5,000





Total Expenditure 61,000








PROFIT / LOSS 5,00


APPENDIX 5(a) � WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE


It’s a Gypsies’ world � project breakdown structure


Director Show Coordination


Travelling Sponsorship Project Philanthrop. Research & Publicity Show And Management Funds Admin Accommodation Proposal etc





Flight Tickets Proposal Plan Proposal Treasuring Media Set Relations DesignOther Tickets Package Schedule Communi- Letters PR Sound Cation DesignDiscount Hunt Communi- Reminder Collection Mailing & Posters& Stage Cation Networks Website CrewHotel Book Collection Timetable Contact Research Sponsors Makeup,& check in Involvemnt. costumesTimetables Recruitment Props Staff Info & Lighting details Design Survey prep Fire & analysis Design Work- shops Story Venue PERSON A PERSON B PERSON C PERSON D PERSON E PERSON F PERSON A,b,c,d,e,f





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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mariln monroe

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The Life of Marilyn Monroe


By Lesley Ling





Marilyn Monroe, also known as Norma Jeane Baker, was born on June 1, 16 in Los Angeles, California. She was one of Hollywoods most glamorous actresses and her life was almost a movie in it self. It consisted of a rewarding, sometimes difficult modeling career that turned into a prestigious movie career. My essay to follow will discuss her career paths and the triumphs and milestones of her lifetime.


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Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson to Gladys Baker. Since the identity of her father was undetermined, she was later baptized Norma Jeane Baker. Her mother, Gladys, was a film-cutter for many years until psychological problems arose and she was committed to a mental institution.


Norma Jeane spent most of her childhood in foster homes and orphanages until 17, when she moved in with a family friend Grace McKee Goddard. Unfortunately, Graces husband was transferred to the east coast and the two of them could not afford to take Norma Jeane with them. By this time she was sixteen years old and her only options were to go to another foster home or get married. She chose the marriage option and on June 1, 14 wed her twenty-one year old neighbor, Jimmy Dougherty, whom she had been dating for six months. They were very happy together until Jimmy joined the Merchant Marines and was sent to the South Pacific in 144.


Norma was devastated by this and wanted to keep herself busy, so she took a job in an aircraft factory shortly after Jimmy left. Norma Jeane was a young and vibrant woman. She was a beautiful sight with coppery blonde hair color and bright blue eyes. It was during her time at the factory that she was discovered. It turned out that a photographer was taking pictures of women making contributions to the war effort and caught Norma on film. The photographer was so impressed with her that he asked if she would come model for him. Within two years, she had quit her job at the factory to continue modeling and to pursue a career in film. Jimmy wanted her to stay home and take care of the house and have babies, but Norma was more interested in modeling. Her and Jimmy divorced that same year.


On August 6, 146, Norma signed her first studio contract with Twentieth Century Fox where she earned $15 a week. Shortly after that, she dyed her hair more blonde and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. This name was derived from her stage name, Marilyn Maxwell and her grandmothers last name. Marilyns first film role was in 147, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim. By the time the film was edited to completion, Marilyns part was non-existing. The roles that she played over the next several years were small, but gave her a chance to develop her acting skills and become more confident. Once her modeling career became a movie career, Marilyn caught the eye of the famous baseball player, Joe DiMaggio. They dated for two years and due to his resentment towards her career, their marriage only lasted nine months.


Soon after her divorce with Joe DiMaggio, she met and married playwright author Arthur Miller. Marilyn became dependent on pills and had a number of tragic incidences. The constant rescues of her overdoses led to the termination of their four- year marriage. Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 16 in Brentwood, California. She passed away in her sleep.


The world was in a state of shock over Marilyn Monroes death. Marilyns vivacious personality and beauty made it impossible to believe that she was gone. In the end it was Joe DiMaggio who arranged and paid for her funeral. Every day since her death he sent a dozen roses to her grave.


The most famous of all men that Marilyn was involved with was, John Kennedy. There are no real witnesses or hardcore evidence, but the two were seen together many times and friends of Marilyn were told that they had been seeing each other. Some believe that she was murdered to protect the affairs, but sadly, no one will ever know the truth.


It has been forty years since her death, and Marilyn Monroes image still lives on. She is the basis for fashion and modeling. During her career, she made 0 films and left one unfinished. Her image and name are a multinational business. Today, the name Marilyn Monroe stands for beauty, grace, and love. She remains an inspiration for all those who strive to achieve their personal goals and succeed in life. The cause of her death may still be unknown, but her name will live on forever.





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Letting Go

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Anticipation tingled my skin, and his hand was cold as it rested in mine. The evening sunlight eerily bounced off the dashboard and hit his face. We drove to a park where we sat in my black Ford Explorer and stared ahead. We were in a car where “we” started, and it was where “we” ended. I knew I would never forget that moment when I let go of a man who I valued more than anyone else in the world. But I needed to and I had to find myself and my faith once again.


As we sat there, I realized that silence had become a normal between us. Not the nice kind of silence or the comfortable silence, but the awkward silence of strangers. Our silence was an avoidance of the truth.


For two years, that guy had been my life. He had been my best friend, my boyfriend, my comfort, my strength. But I had come to break that pact, that bond. And I knew that once I had said what I needed to say, nothing would ever be the same again. I wanted to sit there and hold him and I wanted to know that everything would be okay.


If we talked about the truth, everything would be over. So, we chose silence and I let my mind wander to myself. Everything in my life was changing, and there was nothing I could do about it. I was becoming somebody I didn’t want to be. My thumb was bleeding the whole time and I was not sure why. But it was ironic because it kind of symbolized my heart bleeding as it was being torn to pieces.


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We had something special so I figured that I would never leave him and never stop loving him. I thought I would be the one he needed in good times and in bad. We understood each other on a level most people could not comprehend. We held a spiritual connection. That was the kind of friendship we had. It was like a roller coaster, though, our relationship. When either of us were hurt, we would say things we knew were cruel, apologizing the next day. The cycle never ended--the cruelties, the apologies. Yet I knew why.


Though he loved me, he could not take away my pain. It stemmed from events that occurred long before he knew me. Soon I realized his love could not compete with my inner pain. Though it hurt, I realized I couldn’t rely only on him to help me. Only God could give me a true source of contentment.


The night I told him this couldn’t continue, the tears stung more painfully than ever before. I had to face my worst fear--I was alone to confront the real pain inside me.


He thought I had deceived him, that I had lied to him about everything. But I had not lied to anyone except myself because I believed that all I needed was his love. At that time, his love was only causing pain. Deep down, I knew it was not healthy for either of us. I simply could not hold on to us any longer.


Since then I have picked myself up. I have become grounded in God once again. I have learned to forgive everybody for everything that has happened in my past that had caused me pain. My true happiness comes from my relationship with God. I know that when I have a relationship again someday, the foundation will be God.


When I saw him again for the first time in awhile, I remembered the day we let go. But that time, I saw the light that shone from within both of us. The darkness has lifted because we have found ourselves again. We both grew up more than words can say. When I saw him again, I realized that perfect love cannot protect someone from themselves. And sometimes, the most loving thing you can do for someone is to let them go.





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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Learning Experience

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Learning experience.


Most important factor which life teaches us is to help others and live for others more than the self. This aspect has been observed by my visit to Ramanamaharshi Ashram in Tiruvannamalai.


This visit completely changed my opinion about life and its usefulness to oneself.


How a simple sage was able to turn a small unknown temple town into a great


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Academy for self learning and contribute to the welfare of society.


His teachings were simple but straight forward which gives a great deal of satisfaction


Of being able to realize the self thru meditation. Getting rid of ones anger, over coming short temper and directionless behavior, benefits a self to a great extent.


Involving oneself in the community betterment is another great learning experience.


Joining the team who are preparing food, helping in providing logistics support provided me with great deal of satisfaction.


The best experience was indeed the feeling of joy expressed by a very hungry person


Completed his meal. Which in essence says that one can see and seek enjoyment from others. Serving others and making them feel happy even for a short duration of time would bring a joy which cannot be expressed and but only can be felt.


What one learns from school or college is generally acedamic in nature which only reinforces certain basic fundamental concept already learnt by many other previsouly.


Learning thru experience and acquiring the best part of it is certainly good as it can be repeatedly used many times if it is serving the humanity.


In fact the Guru who lived in Tiruvannamalai is no more present to guide and teach but has left a impregnable effect on each one who visit this glorious and enlightened place





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Monday, May 14, 2012

Agatha Christie biography

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And Then There Were None � Biography


The famous British author Agatha Christie, who is known for writing famous murder mysteries, was born in 180 in Torquay, England. Her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles was published in 10, and was based partly on Christies own nursing experience.


Agatha Christie’s father died when she was very young. Her mother encouraged her to write from a very young age. While she was growing up, she was a very talented piano player, however her fear of being on stage prevented her from pursuing this as a career.


In 114, Agatha Christie married an officer in the Flying Royal Corps; Archibald Christie. They had their first child, Rosalind, in 11. Christie later divorced her husband, when he told her he had fallen in love with another woman. That same year, Christie’s mother died. She ran away and was not heard of for months. A man called Michael Apted wrote a movie on her life in 178, called Agatha. Two years later, Christie remarried to a man called Max Mallowan.


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Christie is still the most well known author of all time, and has outsold every book, except for the bible, and Shakespeare. Her writing career spanned for 56 years, during which she wrote 66 murder mysteries and short story collections, as well as 14 plays, one of which, The Mousetrap, is the longest-running play in history. Her writing has been translated into many languages. (Fourteen more languages than Shakespeare.) Her most famous books are Murder on the Orient Express, The Murder of Roger Acroyd, and Death on the Nile.








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Mandatory Sentencing

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Mandatory Sentences Effective or Waste of Money?


In the 180’s a crime wave swept over American cities. The public and politicians began to complain that offenders were being released before serving terms that were long enough. The states wanted to send a clear message If you do the crime, you will do the time. State legislatures responded by enacting mandatory sentences “a sentence stipulating that some minimum period of incarceration must be served by people convicted of selected crimes, regardless of background or circumstances” (Cole, 00 p. 7). As a part of this “the judge may not consider the circumstances of the offense or the background of the offender, and may not impose sentences that do not involve incarceration” (Cole, 00, p. 7). These mandatory prison sentences are used most often when the crime is of a violent nature, for recurrent criminals, drug offenses, or when firearms are used. These laws have become increasingly popular and are frequently used for drug offenses. Some arguments for and against the use of mandatory minimums are usually seen pertaining to issues such as punishment, fairness, deterrence, and justice. To some proponents of these laws, “the certainty and severity of mandatory minimums make them better able to achieve incarceration’s goals than more flexible sentencing policies” (Caulkins, et al., 17). According to them, those goals included punishing offenders and keeping them from committing more crimes as well as deterring others who are not in prison from committing similar crimes. Those against worry that “mandatory minimums foreclose discretionary judgment where it may most be needed, and they fear mandatory minimums result in instances of unjust punishment” (Caulkins, et al., 17). Some examples of these mandatory sentencing laws are “three strikes” or “habitual offender” laws that force judges to give a fixed sentence. Some lawmakers believe that these harsh, inflexible sentencing laws would be seen as a means of deterring others from becoming offenders. The purpose of these laws was to punish the high-level, violent offenders. Are these laws working or are they simply another waste of funds that could be used in better ways?


“Most mandatory sentences were designed as weapons in the drug war with an awful consequence we now live in a country where it’s common to get a longer sentence for selling a neighbor a joint then for sexually abusing her” (Cloud, 1). This makes no sense; violent criminals should be seeing the longer sentences. How are these sentences serving as a deterrent? It seems as if it is better in the long run to commit a violent offense, you will serve less time. Some who were once proponents of these sentences are now opposing them. A Princeton professor, John DiIulio Jr., wrote a defense of mandatory sentencing laws in 14 titled “Let ‘Em Rot” now point out “that more young, nonviolent, first time offenders are being incarcerated” and states that “they won’t find suitable role models in prison” (Cloud, 1). Sending young offenders away for lengthy sentences where they will serve and interact with other violent individuals increases the chance they will get out and continue to commit more crimes, maybe even more violent ones. With these mandatory sentencing requirements judges and prosecutors are prevented from “offering leniency to juveniles, even when they believe rehabilitation is possible” (Court TV.com, 001).


According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the Rand Corporation found that these types of laws “have had little significant impact on the crime and arrest rates” (Drug Policy Alliance). They also state that according to the Uniform Crime Reports, states without these laws had the lowest rates of index crimes and the highest rate of index crimes were found in the states with these types of laws (Drug Policy Alliance). This doesn’t seem to prove the initial idea that these policies will serve as deterrents; in fact, it seems to show the opposite.


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Depending on the state, it costs anywhere from $8,000 to $55,000 per year to lock up a prisoner. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws have contributed to America’s prison population and this has caused, from 187 to 18, an increase in state spending on corrections by 0 percent (Drug Policy Alliance, 001). Currently more than “0 percent of all criminal defendants plead guilty”, as the sentences get harsher, “fewer defendants will plead guilty” (Constitutional Rights Foundation, 17). This means more defendants will be going to trial and this in turn will clog the courts and cause another increase in spending. With more offenders being sent to prison and these individuals sentenced to serve longer sentences, the prison population will continue to increase. More prisons will be needed due to overcrowding and that means more money will be used for building them. This doesn’t seem like an effective use of tax dollars.


With tougher economic times some states are now rethinking that costly lockup strategy. The need to close budget gaps may not be the right reason to change the rules but it is a driving force behind it. “Eliminating mandatory minimums for the least-dangerous offenders is helping to free up space in overcrowded prisons to ensure that violent criminals remain locked up” (USA Today.com, 00). Michigan eliminated minimum sentencing, this move is “expected to save $41 million a year and lead to the release of more than 1,100 inmates, some sentenced to 00 years for non-violent offenses” (USA Today.com, 00). Washington also enacted a law that reduces sentences for minor drug offenses. “saving $8 million annually in prison costs. The state is funneling some of that money into drug-treatment programs” (USA Today.com, 00). According to an article titled Let’s Repeal Mandatory minimums, a Gallup survey of 50 state and 4 federal judges belonging to the American Bar Association “found that 8% were in favor and 0% opposed” the federal mandatory minimums for drug offenses” (Kopel, 1). If some states are changing these laws and the majority of judges are opposed to the laws why are they still an issue?


It’s true that reducing crime is a concern to all and deterring crime by punishing offenders with long, harsh sentences seems like an easy way to accomplish this goal. But are these mandatory minimum sentences even fair and do the satisfy justice? It seems by the information provided that these laws create a never-ending cycle of increased spending. Increased sentences create more offenders taking their chances in court, backing up the system, overcrowding the jails and generating the need for more and more money to be spent. The overcrowding in the prisons mean more and more prisons will be needed. It’s true, crime needs to be reduced, but there has to be a better and less costly way to do it.


References


Caulkins, J. P., Rydell, C. P., Schwabe, W. L., & Chiesa, J. (17). Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences Throwing Away the Key or the Taxpayers Money?. Retrieved October , 00, from Rand Publications http//www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR87/


Cloud, J. (1, February 1). A Get-Tough Policy That Failed. Retrieved October , 00, from http//members.aol.com/digasa/stats.htm


Constitutional Rights Foundation.. The Challenge of Violence. Retrieved October 5, 00, from Constitutional Rights Foundation http//www.crf-usa.org/marketing/violence.pdf


Court TV.com. (001, May 18). Recent murder trials sparks debate over Floridas juvenile system. Retrieved October 6, 00, from Court TV.com http//www.courttv.com/trials/brazill/051801_ap.html


Drug Policy Alliance. (001, March). Mandatory Sentencing. Retrieved October 10, 00, from Publications and Library http//www.drugpolicy.org/library/factsheets/mandatorysentance_factsheet_library.cfm


Kopel, D. (1). Lets Repeal Mandatory Minimums. The National Law Journal, 15. Retrieved October , 00, from Independence Institute http//ii.org/SuptDocs/Crime/Lets_Repeal_Mandatory_Minimums.htm


USA Today.com. (00, June 0). Easing mandatory sentences requires sound solutions [Editorial/Opinion]. Retrieved October 6, 00, from USA Today.com http//www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/00-06-0-edit_x.htm





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