Can Theft be Justified?

a homeless man in a subway station

Image by: Rui Duarte

Unfortunately, due to the recession and the constant financial woes that Americans as well as other nations face around the globe, hunger and poverty has risen as food has slowly become less affordable as a result of agricultural difficulties. While many stores are selling processed foods at lower prices, it can still be difficult for anyone to have enough money for food and this has led to an increasing number of homeless Americans. Increased homelessness has created a greater need for food banks in order to offer more options for the underprivileged to still be able to eat nourishing meals. With the alarming rate of food scarcity that many are faced with, it leaves little choice but for them to steal food in order to be able to avoid complete starvation for the functionality of their lives.

The Italian government has ruled that theft conviction in terms of food theft will not be considered a crime as long as the person who stole the food is in dire need of it. The food stolen must only be a small amount that is needed for immediate essential nutrients, acting only in a state of necessity. The court of cassation believes that as Italy tries to remain a civilized country, it will do everything possible to avoid the starvation that the underprivileged endure on the daily basis. One man was recently sentenced to six months in confinement and fined 100 euros for stealing the amount of food costing less than five euros. This is seemingly an injustice in terms of the punishment that he received for the small petty crime that was committed.

This begs the moral question, “is stealing always wrong?”, usually theft is matched with some sort of punishment but what if the reasoning behind the actual theft was one of pure economic hardship and desperation? I find this governmental change to be extremely interesting and I wonder if it could possibly work in America to better help homeless people by allowing them access to food without the worry of jail or not having financial stability to afford such food items. Yet, with the gluttony that has been publicly used to describe Americans, it can be worrisome that Americans may choose to take advantage of this opportunity in which they will begin stealing more than what they need at that time in order to selfishly help themselves. It may also lead to a higher crime rate of stealing and may negatively affect businesses as their profit lowers. Although, this is a nice gesture, it can easily be abused. In order for it to work, there should probably be a price limit of how much can be taken at once or some proof of hardship.

Controlling Our Digital Presence and Identity


Cohen, J., & Kenny, T. (n.d.). Producing new and digital media: Your guide to savvy use of the Web.


Lately, I have been thinking about my personal brand and how important it is. It was very easy for me to review all my social media accounts and determine what my digital presence and identity is. The fact is, I only have a few: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Although Facebook is my most prominent one, I do have a small digital presence on Twitter and Instagram. I would say what I don’t post on Facebook tells more about me than what I do post. By that, I mean that I rarely post.  So for me, it’s more about creating a digital identity that I would want to be known for.

But the fact, it is easy to forget that what we post online can remain online even if we delete it and this can potentially hurt our career and relationships. Anything we choose to upload, tweet, reblog, favorite, “like”, can be endless and very hard to erase. Whether our information is shared intentionally or unintentionally, our digital footprint is being gathered by various companies and employers and often used to obtain personal information about us. According to Cohen and Kenny “from the moment you turned on your first computer and double-clicked on the icon for the web browser of your choice, you have created an abundance of personal information, available through search engines such as Google or Yahoo!” (207). That is why it is far better to be in control of our digital identity than to allow something to take control. But whether we are branding, as in my case, or re-branding, it is important to be aware of the information that is out there about us. Even if we didn’t post the information, it may be attached to someone else’s post.

But how do we control our digital identity? Understanding the significance of our digital footprint is an important step in protecting our online identity. Cohen and Kenny (pp. 205-206) ask readers to consider what their online identity is and then take charge of it. To answer this question takes some thought, not because it is a hard question but because it is an important one and starts with knowing what we do everyday that is recorded. That doesn’t mean that we should be afraid to go online and visit sites. The best thing to do is not to stay offline but to be conscious of what we post.

The best way to control our digital identity is by deciding what communities we want to be a part of and what content we want to post. We should also decide what social media profiles we want to use such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Also important is to use positive aspects to help create our personal branding for example, a personal blog can highlight our strengths and personality. Finally, we should realize that controlling our digital presence and identity is long-term challenge that requires dedication and persistence.

Festival Of Colors


It was that time again for a feeling of euphoria. The Holi Festival, one of many was held last Saturday at the NYC Bhangra. Every year around the spring season there are at least  two Holi festivals in New York City. Holi is an Indian festival which is usually known as the festival of colors or the festival of sharing love.

The dry colors are washable so you don’t have to worry about your clothes being discolored

Man in sunglasses, covered in colored paint



Man covered in colored paint



a young woman covered in orange paint


people covered in paint


people covered in paint



a boy holding a dog, both covered in splashes of paint


Four young women covered in paint splashes


a young girl covered in paint


plastic cups on the ground


man covered in paint


Man with long hair, covered in paint


hands getting painted with henna


clouds of color over a crowd


people in a crowd of colored smoke


two young women taking a selfie in a crowd covered in paint


a young man covered in paint, smiling


You are my serendipity

a hand holding a card that says "You are my serendipity"

“In 1998, I came to NY to become a Jazz singer. In 2008, in order to support an artist friend I knew for 10 years, I organized the first exhibition named “A Slice of the Life of an Artist.” Feedbacks from the audience brought unexpected support and comfort to the artist, which inspired me to realize the power of art exhibitions. It not only supports the professional career of underrepresented artists, but changes their life. In this sense, Ouchi Gallery was born. In Japanese, “ouchi” means home, a place where people relax, find comfort, and get connected.”


My Favorite Five Dishes That My Mom Makes

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and today I am not writing about a restaurant I’ve tried , but instead I would like to share with you seven dishes that my mom makes that I absolutely love. My mom is one of the best chefs I know because she really does put a lot of heart and soul in cooking and the food. When we have a feast to honor our ancestors, mom is always the one that cooks and every time the feast is always delicious.  Although I know how to cook already, I want to be as great as my mom is.

white dish of food

This is my mom’s Pan-Fried Salmon with Tomatoes that I absolutely adore. This is really my favorite salmon dish and full of flavor and deliciousness. I thought it was a complicated recipe, but apparently it’s very simple and I have tried making it before and it’s easy!

Chinese food

This is Zongzi or Joong and it’s a traditional Chinese food made with glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped with bamboo leaves. My family and I typically make and eat these during the fifth month of the lunar calendar. My mom always makes these and adds a lot of fillings and makes her own salted eggs. Her joong is always number one to me.

white plate of six pastries

These are Fa Gao and it is a Chinese cupcake-like pastry, mostly consumed on Chinese New Year, but my mom does make these when she has the time. I truly enjoy eating the Fa Gao my mom makes versus the ones from the Chinese bakeries because it’s usually colored with food dye. My mom doesn’t use food dye at all and she uses brown sugar instead of white sugar. They are extremely fluffy and moist!

noodles and vegetables

This is my mom’s famous Vermicelli with dried shrimp and she makes this just about every Chinese holiday or for our birthdays or whenever we request for it. It’s extremely tasty and it never gets tiring to eat. This dish also represents longevity.

stewAnother food that my mom makes during December for a Chinese holiday is called tong yuan which can be eaten savory or sweet. We often eat the savory version for breakfast or dinner. For the savory version, my mom usually adds mushroom, cabbage, shrimp, chunks of dried scallops, scallions, and chicken or pork. It’s really an enjoyable food and soup to have especially during winter.

These are some of my favorite dishes that my mom makes.

What are your favorite dishes that your mother makes? What do you like most about it?

Things I want my Daughter to know: Love doesn’t hurt


Since you were born you’ve probably heard “I love you” thousands of times. You’ve heard it being said to you and to the people around you and at 7 years old, you probably have a simplistic definition of the word. For you “love” is the way people take care of you, brushing your hair, tucking you into bed at night and cheering you on at school events and for now and years to come this idea will serve you well. One day however you’re going to grow up and have a more panoramic view of the world and of love. At some point love won’t just be mommy coming to your play at school or putting little notes in your lunch box, no, at some point love will be something you seek from a partner, someone who knows and keeps all your secrets. Though the idea of you growing up and finding someone you love frightens me, I want you to know that of all the many things love can be, painful, should never be one of them.

Love does not hurt, love isn’t heavy or burdening, love isn’t ostracizing or tiring. It’s important that you never feel like you owe something to the person you love, remember love is not a commodity that can be bartered or exchanged; it is a mutual and constant contribution to one another’s lives. Love is good morning notes next to the coffee machine, love surprising your partner with peanut M&Ms because it’s their favorite when they’ve had a rough day. I want you to have positive experiences of love Ava, I want you to never doubt that you’re lovable and that you deserve the best. If ever you feel like what you have is less than love it’s okay to leave and it is okay to have love for a person but not be in love with them. Love is a freeing experience it makes you feel light and open to life so I caution you, if you ever feel the love you have casts shadows on your life, on your happiness, it is time to move in a different direction.

Most of all Ava I want you to understand that in life we will love many people. We will love people intimately, like family and as close friends and all these types of love are necessary to us growing as a person. Sometimes though, like flowers, love has a season and we must move on to preserve our own garden. When love stops feeling freeing know that it’s not your fault and you just cannot fix it sometimes. This doesn’t mean the love that once was is any less significant it just means that there is more out there for you and you have every right to find it.

Gluten, It’s Everywhere

sliced wheat bread

Image by: abby

Have you ever had any diet restrictions? Has it ever led to embarrassing moments of harassing waiters, vigilantly viewing menus or even food labels to be certain whether there is an ingredient in the food item that you cannot consume? Anyone with a food allergy must face this awkward occurrence every time that they decide to dine out, which often discourages them from eating out altogether. For people who are struggling with gluten allergies or celiac disease, visiting a restaurant can be an utterly terrifying experience because they have to be completely sure that they do not consume any form of the protein … gluten.

Now thanks to the revolutionary advances in technology, there is a new innovative device which will readily compute whether a food item contains gluten. This small device, which can easily fit in a pocket or purse of any sort, can provide a better customer experience within minutes as it tests for the presence of gluten in food. It is called Nima and it is manufactured by 6SensorLabs, a San Francisco-based startup company. It aims to lower the anxiety that is endured when those suffering from gluten-sensitivity are eating at restaurants by offering a sense of dietary freedom.

The Nima uses small disposable capsules to test food in order to avoid cross-contamination but the device has not been completely perfected because it cannot guarantee that an entire meal is free of gluten, it can only be completely safe based on the portion of the meal tested which can lead to false negatives. This has led to the development of other devices similar to the Nima, which will detect other food sensitivities or allergies such as nuts or dairy ingredients in certain products.

The Nima sensor can be pre-ordered as a starter kit online for about $200 for the device unit and three capsules while additional capsules can be purchased separately for about $50 for twelve capsules. The device should be available by the summer of 2016 if production allows for it.