The Portuguese health system is better then the Canadian health system - surprised?

on 5:58 pm

This past monday at the Canadian Studies International Research Linkages Workshop Luso-Canadians and their Descendants in Canada and in Portugal I presented a paper entitled "When the idyllic becomes a myth: Portuguese-Canadian descendants narrate pre- and post-return to Portugal". The findings presented in this presentation where based on interviews carried out with 20 Portuguese-Canadian descendants that have returned to Portugal, either by themselves or with their parents or spouses. My main point of discussion was based on the arguement that Portugal, a country often perceived as fantastic and fun before returning, seldom maintains that reputation once return in accomplished.

From the interviews carried out, people talked about their ruptures with Portuguese society encounted upon return, mainly concerned with the inner workings of Portuguese society, ranging from bureaucracies, to corruption, to lack of friendliness, to discrimination; to more personal experiences as well, namely clash of values and responsibilities and different ways of being. Now among these points of frustration, one point in particular was often highlighted - that of the Portuguese health system.

Many recounted negative experiences of waiting long hours before being attended to in emergency wards, waiting months on end for basic surgery, the disorganisation of Portuguese health centres and the bureaucracies involved in such things as obtaining a simple appointment, not to mention the lack of information distribution among different medical units and labratories (how often we do see people walking around with ex-rays in envelops, having to deliver them themselves).

Now as I delivered my narrative findings at the workshop, it was these Portuguese health system concerns that the post-presentation debate centred on. Of course my interviewees based their tellings on their own dealing with the two health system worlds - the Canadian and the Portuguese. When someone mentions that Hospital Santa Maria in Lisbon (below to the left) looks like something brought over from the former Soviet Union and tells of the superior confort offered up by hospitals in Toronto (below to the right) (if in fact any hospital can bring any confort), he/she talks from personal experiences and perceptions.

From these experiences, however, one thing must be remembered: they are fixed in time. If one is to read stories concerning the Canadian health system these day, one will also come across stories of long waiting lists for operations as well as bed shortages. In fact, when it comes to comparing the health systems of the two countries, many are often surprised to find out that according to the World Health Organization Health Report of 2000 (don't think there's been one done since), Portugal placed ahead of Canada at number 12 with Canada coming in at 30.

Surely we all ask ourselves: how can this be? I certainly do ... and you?

Workshop on Luso-Canadians and their descendants in Canada and in Portugal

on 11:48 pm

On the afternoon of Monday, the 27th of June, from 14:30 to 18:30 at the new TagusPark campus of Universidade Aberta (Edifício Inovação I - 2nd floor, room polivalente), myself, João Sardinha, am coordinating the Canadian Studies International Research Linkages Project Workshop: Luso-Canadians and their Descendants in Canada and in Portugal: Questions of Civic Participation and Diversity Management.

The workshop includes the presentation of seven papers, bringing together researchers from Portugal and Canada. These include:

"Multiculturalism and the politics of belonging among Portuguese-Canadians - Shifting contexts and meanings" - Ana Paula Beja Horta (CEMRI-Universidade Aberta, Lisbon);

"Evaluating Multiculturalism: Portuguese-Canadian descendants within the Canadian mosaic" - Fernando Nunes (Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax);

"A past for the future: Archiving the Portuguese-Canadian experience - the Portuguese-Canadian History Project" - Gilberto Fernandes &Raphael Costa (York University, Toronto);

"Portuguese media production in Canada: Some preliminary ethnographic notes" - Sónia Ferreira, Marta Rosales & Filomena Silvano (CRIA-FCSH, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon);

"Understanding Portuguese-Canadian civic identity in a cosmopolitan context" - Robert Kenedy (York University, Toronto);

"Transnational practices and intergenerational transmittance among Azorean descendants in Quebec" - Ana Gherghel (Universidade dos Açores, Azores) & Josiane le Gall (Université du Québec a Montréal, Montreal);

"When the idyllic becomes a myth: Portuguese-Canadian descendants narrate pre- and post-return to Portugal" - João Sardinha (CEMRI-Universidade Aberta, Lisbon).

The event will also host the Canadian ambassador in Portugal, the Honourable Anne-Marie Bourcier who will provide the opening address.

Entrance is FREE. Please come join us if these issues are of interest to you.

There are more good then bad folks in Vancouver

on 1:35 am

Ok, by now I'm sure you've all heard about what happened after the Vancouver Canucks went down to the Boston Bruins in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals - yes, the riot of '11. The images of pillaging, burning vehicles, senseless beatings, etc... has hit the international media making downtown Vancouver look more downtown Baghdad. Well here at CanadiansinPortugal there's no way I'm going to give you images of the violence; no way! Instead I'm going to give you the other side of that equation - I'm going to spread a lot of praise to the thousands of Vancouverites who on the day following the riots went into the city to help clean up the mess.

By the way, the Canucks are already favourites to win next year's Cup. If anything, at least lets hope they can get back to the Finals so the city can redeem itself.

Workshop: Luso-Descendants and Transnational Living / Luso-Descendentes e Vivências Transnacionais

on 7:28 pm

On Tuesday, the 14th of Junho, at the University of Lisbon's Faculdade de Letras (Faculty of Letters), Instituto de Geografia e Planeamento do Território - IGOT in conjunction with the Centro de Estudos das Migrações e das Relações Interculturais - CEMRI, will be hosting the Workshop: Luso-Descendentes e Vivências Transnacionais: Algumas Linhas de Investigação (Luso-Descendants and Transnational Living: Some Lines of Research). This workshop under the coordination of João Sardinha (that would be me from CEMRI) and Sandra Silva (from IGOT), will, for the first time, bring together a number of Portuguese academic researchers who are carrying out research on descendants of Portuguese emigrants in the diaspora and also in the return setting, right here in Portugal. Issues up for debate tie together Luso-descendants and integration, identity, religion, media, football (soccer), and sense of belonging and conceptions of home.

At this workshop, I will also be premiering the short film: Narrativas de Regresso - Marta Raposo (Narratives of Return - Marta Raposo). Based on spoken accounts provided by the Luso-Canadian Fadista (or Fado singer if you will) Marta Raposo concerning her 'return' to Portugal in 2005 and her decision to go back to Canada in 2010 after 5 years of singing Fado in Portugal, this 15 minute film is the short version of the documentary made by your truely and António João Saraiva that will be launched in the Fall of this year, and will have as its title: Regressa Urgente (Urgent Return). More on that in the months to come.