NiteIn-GOA-Anniversary-Dance_headerNite in Goa

Rum, Red Bull, and Feni take a back seat to this high octane event!

The G.O.A Toronto magically re-created a starry night in Goa at this extraordinary occasion. The only thing missing was the rolling surf of the ocean. From the moment you walked in and tasted the refreshing chilled coconut water right down to the serving of Goan sweets at the end, this night is going to be one talked about for a while.

The theme was not just about Goa but truly focused on being proud to be a Goan. There were vendors selling savoury sausages and pickles along with taste testing. The dinner buffet was sumptuous with delicacies like sorpotel, sannas, fish and mutton curry, followed by traditional sweet treats like neurios, bolinhas and bebinca. There was no holding back or skimping here as the association provided a great bang for your buck.

The evening was a roller coaster ride through the dazzling entertainment. Miss India-Canada (Manasvi Noel) imparted her journey and experience to the crowd of all ages. She regally encouraged the youth to step up and grab hold of what life has to offer. Her words of wisdom to the participating young ladies as they competed for the crown of Miss G.O.A was to be proud and confident. This was not a pageant judged just on looks alone but on contribution to the community and elevating Goan culture. The questions she asked was, “What are your thoughts on your Goan heritage” and “How would you promote Goan culture in the community”. Thought provoking questions indeed as we try and find ourselves and our true meaning. Congratulations to Tanya Aguiar who won the judges’ favour in winning the crown. Tanya won a free entry into the Miss India pageant and has a chance to enhance her development through this wonderful experience. We wish her well!

“The Goa Amigos” as usual charmed the crowd with their rendition of Konkani songs playing in the authentic Goan music space. Reaching a broader spectrum a young and upcoming group “Memory Lane” was also invited to share the space. They are a highly energetic group who had the people packed onto the dance floor and wanting more. Their versatility as they played to all genres has already gotten them noticed. I cannot wait to hear them again! Kudos also to the ever popular DJ Kaya who added to the dancing shoes on the floor because nobody wanted to leave.

The chocolate covering the strawberry for me was the stunning and hair raising performance by Conchita D’souza and Sharon Peres da Silva. I was awestruck and truly brought to tears by their angelic voices. I have never heard such hauntingly beautiful harmony. Flanked by their entourage of Kirit Mascarenhas on violin, Ryan and Gavin Rodrigues on guitars, and Jonathan Peres da Silva on bongos, there was pin drop silence as everyone was mesmerized. What made the performance even more exceptional is that they sang traditional Konkani songs. I’m sure there were a few shattered glasses and mirrors curtesy of their exquisite vocals.

I was impressed by the number of youth in attendance at this gala. Typically the younger folk are not drawn to customary and traditional goings on. But this is exactly what the association is trying to change as they focus on injecting the pride in being a Goan. Here is what the youth had to say about the night: “The event was amazing….the bands, food and entertainment were all great. We could not believe how much fun we had at the G.O.A event and we are now promoting it on FB and IG”.

No event would be complete without a cake cutting ceremony to acknowledge accomplishments and successes. The proud new president Selwyn Collaco, called upon past presidents of the G.O.A to join him center stage along with community leaders from various associations (CGCG, Manglorean association, Westend Seniors Club) and the hard working committee members. His message rang loud and clear to bring our Goan community together by working collectively to achieve success.

We all have a part to play in bringing about positive change and it’s through associations like the G.O.A that we can accomplish this. The “Nite in Goa” certainly brought this need into full view for me. And as I reflect on pageant questions, I’d like to pose the questions to you: “What are your thoughts on your Goan heritage” and “How would you promote Goan culture in the community”. I’d love to hear from you.

Doreen Fernandez

In my beauty bag: Bernadette Soares

Bernadette Soares, 45, is a mother of three who came to New Zealand from Mumbai, India when she was 21.

She launched the Pharo Salon Sugaring System in 2009 and now has 500 salons across Australasia stocking the alternative eco-friendly and less-painful alternative to wax (a busy woman!).  She also owns beauty brands Radiessence, Natural Glow and Bodeze (a very busy woman then).

“I wear makeup on weekdays but lighter on the weekend. Even at home I dress well, I don’t really slack off, and it just completes your look.

I was brought up with a lot of natural beauty treatments, and that was my introduction. From very young at six, seven, eight, we were alway looking after our skin and our hair.

First thing in the morning after showering I moisturise with Estee Lauder hydrating and anti-ageing moisturiser. I am always trying out new products but if I had to stick to one moisturiser it would be Estee Lauder. Then I use Radiessence Colour Collection cream – it has an SPF30 – it’s a primer and a very light concealer.

I use Radiessence foundation. I always do my eyes up, no matter what. I have an Elizabeth Arden quad in browns – every time I use one I replace it. My mascara is Isabelle Dupont from Italy, I get it at Makeup Direct. It has a double wand for the base and the overcoat.

Some days I use bronzer and do a bronzed natural look; other days I use an Isabelle Dupont skin corrector which gives you a light powdered look. I quite like some of the Revlon blushes too, and some days I have a pink blush (I don’t like to stay with the same look all the time).

I love my ColorStay Revlon Lipglosses – they do give you a stain that lasts all day. The Natural Glow ones are a bit lighter and just give you a sheen.  I prefer lipgloss to lipstick.

I can’t do without my favourite Estee Lauder White Linen perfume. I try the new fragrances that come out but I always go back to it. I have the hand and body lotion and the shimmer powder too.

I’m a huge Pantene fan. I’ve tried all the expensive shampoos – everything – and I’ve always come back to Pantene. Shampoo, conditioner, smoothing serum to take away the frizz, the heat protection mist – I’ve got them all! I always use Livon oil (it’s an Indian brand) on top for a sheen.

I’m a big Zoya fan when it comes to nails – it’s an organic brand from the UK. They have great colours that last a really long time.

Even if I am not going to the beach I will spray my body with one of those SPF cans that you get now – I think it’s a Neutrogena.

I am passionate about beauty – you have to be when you own four beauty brands.”

– As told to Julie Roulston 

Goa and the Pain of Alcoholism

by Goa Streets 


Drinking during the day at a local bar


Often the ladies pay the biggest price

Maria works as a maid in North Goa, staying at her sister’s place in Saligao with her teenage daughter while her unemployed husband stays back in Margao. Maria heads back home every Sunday and gives her husband a portion of her salary, which she hopes he will use to buy food but inevitably goes to the bottle instead. He starts drinking first thing in the morning, and by noon he’s drunk. The burden of the family rests solely on Maria’s shoulders, and she says she would have left her husband a long time ago were it not for her daughter.

“Who will marry her if her parents are divorced?” she asks.

Maria’s story is repeated thousands of times throughout Goa. Countless men while away their days in an alcoholic haze while their wives keep the families afloat. The high incidence of alcoholism in Goa – mostly among men but sometimes among women as well – is one of the main reasons behind the intense pushes by some sectors of the population to restrict bars, music and nightlife. And the government has yet to find the right balance between attending to the legitimate tourism needs of the state and answering to the constituents who want drinking curtailed.

Indeed, Goa has yet to embark on a serious debate on how best to handle this enormous problem. Is closing down or limiting the hours of bars and wine stores the solution? Or is putting in place programs of prevention and treatment?

“The tourists who come to the state, do not come here to go to bed early. We must offer them at least some avenues to nightlife,” said Nuvem MLA Mickky Pacheco, who was leading the charge of the coastal brigade in the recently concluded session of the Goa Legislative Assembly against a government decision to reduce the timings of bars and restaurants and not give a 24-hour licence.

Keeping him close company, another coastal MLA Michael Lobo contended that such a decision would be the death knell of the tourism industry in the state.

And here’s how Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar weighed in on the issue. “In the name of promoting tourism, we shouldn’t be promoting drinking among Goans. Go for yourselves in GMC (Goa Medical College and Hospital) and see… liver cirrhosis is the cause of maximum deaths in the GMC.”

He added, however, that he was willing to make ‘localized corrections’ for the tourism specific areas.

Both the MLAs and their supporters want the government to go back to an arrangement whereby liquor stores could get an extension from 9pm to 11pm, which they were earlier entitled to after paying 50% of their original licence fee. The government has also disallowed pubs and bars to increase their timings from 11pm to 5am, which they were earlier entitled to do by paying 100% of the original licence fee.

“Goans often tend to overlook the issue of alcohol especially since it is so closely related to our Catholic festivities,” says Dr José Pinto, a practising psychiatrist. “Every time there is an occasion, no matter how insignificant be it a cross feast, right up to a wedding, alcohol is served,” he added.

“Goans are yet to realise the magnitude of the problem,” he said.

Take for example the case of Aldona, a predominantly Catholic pastoral village towards the eastern border of Bardez along the Mapusa River. Its scenic setting makes it a perfect ground for litterateurs, intellectuals and academicians who seek a quiet village life.

With a population of around 6,600 (more than half of whom are women), the Aldona Primary Health Centre has to deal with a shocking number of alcoholics, many of whom relapse after going through a bout of rehabilitation.

“The doctors of PHC Aldona detoxify around 15-20 Alcoholic Dependent Syndrome patients a month on an average since June 2013. There was a need to help them stay abstinent,” Dr Roshan Nazareth, a Medical Officer in-charge of the PHC said. To help cope they set up an Alcoholic Anonymous group which now meets every Thursday.

Over the last five years the state has witnessed 15,137 cases of alcohol dependency detected across Goa. The number of alcohol-related deaths in this period totalled 1536 (one-tenth of alcohol dependents), with the greatest number of cases being in Salcete, the Catholic heartland of the state.

Dr Anil Rane, a lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour who has done several studies on alcohol dependency in Goa, has said that there was a strong correlation between alcoholism and common mental disorders.

Quoting studies, Dr Rane said that there was prevalence of ‘hazardous drinking’ in 21% of industrial workers. He added that the problem was particularly acute among the Catholic community.

He has suggested that bars and restaurants be given only a fixed timing to sell alcohol.

“Sale of alcohol should be limited to specific hours of the day such as from 7-11pm. This will ensure that people do not drink at work and also discourages people who limit to social drinking from developing a more abusive pattern,” Dr Rane said.

Statistics made available by the Directorate of Health Services for cases over the last five years. shows that every year around 5,000 new patients receive treatment for alcohol abuse and related diseases, out of which around 500 die each year because of liver cirrhosis or related complications.

Another private psychiatrist Dr Jose Pinto has blamed lack of awareness for people taking to alcohol. “There is a misunderstanding that drinking alcohol is fine, but when they get into trouble they have no one to go to,” he said, adding that alcoholics often lose their jobs, which only causes further frustration and more drinking.

 He lamented the fact that despite the magnitude of the problem, Goa still does not have a single rehabilitation or detoxification centre for alcohol and substance abuse, and that awareness programmes conducted by the Directorate of Health Services are negligible.

On the social front, wives of alcoholics have begun to realise the importance of having their own bank accounts. “Having joint accounts or allowing the man to have custody of the money only makes the situation worse. If I have my own bank account at least at the end of the day I have some secruity,” says Rosaline Fernandes, whose husband spends his earnings as a daily wage labourer on the drink.

The process of decolonization in Goa and East Timor
Published on October 27, 2013
During the age of European imperial expansion, which began at the end of the 15th century, the Portuguese and Spanish kingdoms were first off the mark.

While the Spanish headed west, with Columbus landing in the Americas, the Portuguese, attracted by the wealth of the fabled east, sailed around the continent of Africa and into the Indian Ocean, to south and South East Asia.

In 1498, Vasco de Gama reached India, and 12 years later Portugal acquired Goa, on India’s west coast. They also managed to conquer areas of what is now Indonesia, including Timor, where Portuguese merchants arrived in 1515. Macao, at the mouth of the Pearl (Zhu Jiang) River, in southern China, became a Portuguese trading post in 1557.

However, while they would lose most of their empire to stronger European powers such as Great Britain and the Netherlands, the Portuguese managed to retain little remnants, including Goa, Macao, and the eastern end of the island of Timor. (The Dutch had made the western part of Timor part of their Dutch East Indies empire.)

While British India gained its freedom in 1947 and Dutch-ruled Indonesia its independence in 1949, the Portuguese hung on to their small possessions.

By the mid-1950s, though, decolonization was in full swing in Africa and Asia, and these little colonies stuck out like sore thumbs. The Bandung Conference, a meeting of 25 recently independent Asian and African states that took place in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955, had called for an end to colonialism, and Indonesia’s President Sukarno became one of the leaders of the nonaligned movement of newly sovereign countries.

However, in both Goa and East Timor, centuries of Portuguese rule had made the native populations almost entirely Portuguese-speaking Roman Catholics, and Lisbon stubbornly refused to give them up. Portugal itself remained a backward semi-fascist state.

Losing patience, India’s prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, sent the Indian army into Goa (and Portugal’s two other Indian dependencies of Diu and Daman) in 1961 and expelled the Portuguese. No one took much notice or protested. In India, the action was seen as the liberation of historically Indian territory. (When Macao was returned to China in 1999, the same argument was made.)

Relations between India and Portugal only thawed in 1974, when, following a revolution that led to the end of authoritarianism in Lisbon, Goa was finally recognized as part of India. In 1987 Goa became a separate state in the Indian federation, which it remains to this day.

Although Goa was predominantly Catholic during the long centuries of Portuguese rule, many left after 1961, and today Goan Catholics form only 30 per cent of the state’s total population (the majority are now Hindu).

The 1974 Portuguese revolution also saw the final end to its empire, as the new democratic government in Lisbon granted its African colonies independence. In East Timor, however, things turned out differently. It had also declared its independence, in 1975, but was invaded by Indonesia and declared Indonesia’s 27th province the following year.

The regime in Jakarta claimed the same rights to East Timor as India had done with Goa – it was a matter of decolonization. Based on the premise that the Portuguese half of Timor, an island geographically situated in the center of the vast archipelago, was really part of its territory, Indonesia contended that the division of the island into two had been simply the legacy of European imperialism and therefore should be rectified.

The Indonesians considered it another stage in the emancipation of their country, which had begun with the war of national liberation against the Dutch. No doubt Indonesia thought the same political reconciliation that had taken place with India would also occur following the annexation of East Timor. But things did not work out that way.

The United Nations never recognized the annexation, nor did Portugal. And the East Timorese, who were 97 per cent Catholic, never reconciled themselves to being part of the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Their long and bloody subjugation under Indonesian rule resulted in some 200,000 deaths from famine and violence during the occupation.

International pressure mounted on Indonesia to allow self-determination for the province. Wishing to avoid the impression that Indonesia ruled East Timor as a colony, Indonesian president B.J. Habibie agreed to a vote, offering a choice between special autonomy and independence.

The 1999 UN-sponsored referendum found 78.5 per cent of East Timorese opting for independence. Further Indonesian-sponsored violence ensued, resulting in the arrival of an Australian-organized peacekeeping force. Finally, in 2002, East Timor (Timor-Leste) became an independent country and a member of the United Nations.

The world had changed since the era that produced the Bandung Conference. In 1961, the ideologies that legitimized the acquisition of territory by force, if necessary, on the basis of decolonization and anti-imperialism had allowed India to incorporate Goa. But four decades later, these had been trumped by the concept of the right of a people to self-determination.

Henry Srebrnik is a professor of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Salutations – POPE FRANCIS

Born on 17th December, 1936,
In Buenos Aires of Italian decent,
Was ordained in 1969,
Rose from priest, bishop, cardinal,
And finally a Pope.

Years of studies , training and experience
Didn’t give up, his learning
All this didn’t happen,
By the touch of a magic wand.

You over came all hurdles
White smoke emerged from the funnel
For God got you ready for the call
From the assembled Cardinals at the hall
Chose you first as,
The Bishop of Rome,
Head of the worldwide Catholic Church,

And Sovereign of the Vatican City, State.
You chose the papal name “Francis”,
In honour of Saint Francis of Assisi
Your humility knows no bound
Cannot be measured in pounds,

No luxury house,
No luxury vehicle,
You housed yourself, in the guest house.
If you think you will get a ride,
In the Papal vehicle,

Get ready, Pope Francis
Has better and brighter ideas,
Traveling in public vehicles
For that kind of simple, humble man is he.

When he was Archbishop in Buenos Aires,
Under his leadership – the priests assigned
To work in the slums, doubled.
As Cardinal Bergoglio, in the suburb of Olivos
Cooked his own meals.
He had relations, with other religious communities,

The Eastern Orthodox, The Oriental Orthodox,
The Protestants, The Jewish and Islamic
In one of his writings, he wrote,
“Dialogue is born from attitude
Of respect for the other person,
From a conviction, that the other person’s
Point of view, opinion, and proposal.
To dialogue entails a cordial reception,
Not a prior condemnation,
In order to dialogue, it is necessary,

To know how to lower the defenses,
Open the doors of the house,
And offer human warmth”.
Your interesting dialogues,
Has a way to build bridges,
Between people of all background,
Beliefs and faiths,
Combined with love for the forsaken
And some hatred from all around.
You roughed it all out,

Didn’t bother about the clouth,
You made a plea for humanity to become,
A better guardian of creation,
By protecting the environment,
You said that:
“We ask the risen Jesus,
Who turns death into life,
To change hatred into love,
Vengennce into forgiveness,
War into peace”.

On your first Holy Thursday, as Pope,
You entered a jail in Rome,
Washed the feet of twelve inmates,
In the age group of 14 to 21,
Amongst them two were women.
One a Serbian muslim,
The second an Italian catholic.
You changed the routine history,

Moved with time in the 21st century
Your whole life is one big history,
No fairy tales, no mysteries,
Because you are created of a better mould,
Since God has given you, a heart of gold.

Mary D’cunha
Mahim Mumbai
Aunty of Tony Colaco