Various writings on culture
You know something is wrong with the world, when a homeless woman who owns a dog gets a visit from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), and given instructions on how to build a dog house.
In many cultures, a small number of people pick bad names for their kids to keep them away from envy, evil eye, or demons.In Egypt, you can find some rural families calling their kids strange and offensive names, to prevent harm from coming to them. This is specially true for a family that has all its male children die in childhood, or something like that.Names such as El Shahhat الشحات (the begger), Shehata شحاتة (begging) are used. This practice is not exclusively Egyptian though.Malaysia recently introduced a set of rules to prevent such practices among its varied ethnicities:
Another shameful and un-Canadian racism incident in Canada.Jazz player Oscar Peterson is being racially taunted by a group of youth who drive by his house. Peterson was born in Montreal, and now lives in Mississauga.He is a companion of the Order of Canada, had his photo on a stamp. He is 81 years old.From his comments in the interview, it seems the slurs or taunts made threats to his family as well.
Several years ago, a Dutch friend told me that some Dutch have funny names.It turns out that this is a story worth telling, possibly repeated in Algeria, with the French playing a part in both.Many Dutch names are of the form:van ("of/from"), de/het/'t ("the"), der ("of the"), van de ("of the/from the"), and in het ("in the") or simply de ("the"). All but the latter denote a place of origin or residence, and the latter an occupation or attribute.
Francis Pitia is a refugee from Sudan, fleeing the civil war before peace was established there. He spent time in a refugee camp in Uganda.He came to Kitchener, Ontario.Last week, he was swarmed by bunch of white young men, and beaten to the ground. What makes this appalling is that Pitia is disabled since childhood, having one leg non-functional because of polio. He has to use a crutch to walk. Those who beat him took the crutch from him and beat him with it.He had to get stitches to his cut lip, his ribs hurt and his eyes were still blood shot.
The Calgary Sun had an article by Licia Corbella, where her premise is that Multiculturalism threatens Canada.
She quotes one Dr. Mahfooz Kanwar of Mount Royal College in Calgary, whom she describes as a "devout Muslim" and "Pakistani-born". He says: "Multiculturalism has been bad for unity in Canada. It ghettoizes people, makes them believe, wrongly, that isolating themselves and not adapting to their new society is OK". Kanwar justified alleged mistreatment in prison because "for accused terrorists, this should be expected". Kanwar also advocates that covering one's face should be illegal.
The Canadian Press is reporting on a study by a Readers' Digest survey. In this study, 35 cities around the world have undercover reporters test the population at large for how polite or courteous they are.Toronto came out #3 with 70% of people taking a moment to do the courteous thing. Only New York (80%) and Zurich (77%) are ahead of Toronto. Elsewhere in Canada, Montreal ranked as #21. The lowest three were Kuala Lumpur, Bucharest, and Mumbai coming out last.The undercover tester for Toronto said that Torontonians "are the only people in the world that will apologize when somebody else bumps into them".
The history of Malta includes several centuries of Arab presence that were very influential in what its heritage today is, including language, and place names.
Here is an example of why marginalization of minorities is bad for the whole of society.The largest minority group in France are immigrants from North Africa, namely Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Coming initially from former colonies as cheap labor, they settled in low income run down housing complex in poor suburbs.While the French society puts pressure on immigrants, accepting nothing less than full assimilation (not mere integration), that society never accepts foreigners who have a different language, different religion, different skin color, and different customs.The result is a no-win situation that leaves many youth feeling alienated. They only have mediocre education if any, have no permanent jobs, and have no hope of keeping up. Many succumb to drugs, crime, or religious radicalism.
Oil has been the main source of fuel for machinery in the 20th century. We can argue that it is one of the pillars of contemporary human civilization, powering everything from cars, factories, airplanes, to war tanks, house heating and barbeques. In short, we take it for granted.
Years ago, I recall reading a Scientific American article, The End of Cheap Oil, in March 1998 by Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere. In that article, the authors predicted a sharp rise in prices due to many factors, the most important of which is producing countries overestimating their reserves to get long term credit from banks. They predict that the shortage is not 50 years away, but rather as near as 10 years away (approx. 2010 or so).