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What’s behind a name?

I facilitate an English roundtable in Luxembourg every Friday, and we discuss professional, social and personal-interest topics. Last month, it was about names; one of the participants mentioned a girl initially called Nutella, a popular hazelnut chocolate spread. I checked it out and came across a Guardian’s article about a couple from Valenciennes in northern France who registered their daughter Nutella (source seen on 04/052021). The registrar alerted the local prosecutor, who referred the case to a family court judge. The court ruled that Nutella is a commercial brand and such a name was against the girl’s interests as it would cause “mockery or disobliging remarks”. The couple had to rename her Ella, which means a pleasant young woman.

According to Ms Catharine Smith (source seen 04/05/21), an Egyptian father, Jamal Ibrahim, named his daughter “Facebook” to honour the social media site’s role in Egypt’s revolution. Ms Smith quoted this from TechCrunch newspaper: “A young man in his twenties wanted to express his gratitude about the victories the youth of 25th of January have achieved and chose to express it in the form of naming his firstborn girl “Facebook”.

In Marcio’s Italian family, all the children’s names start with the letter M. According to Marie-Pierre, her name’s male version is Pierre-Marie. The Arabic name Shadi means happiness. Do names reflect an individual’s personality? There are studies that show names make a difference in professional, social and financial standing.

COVID-19 vaccination

A butterfly with brown wings displaying owl eyes landed on a pink exotic flower located in the butterflies garden of Grevenmacher (Luxembourg)

I was vaccinated against Covid-19 on May 1, 7:30 AM. My first jab (Moderna) took place at Victor Hugo Sports Hall transformed into a vaccination center, in Luxembourg. My husband came to give me emotional support (or the other way around).

We sat and waited for my turn. I felt slightly excited. A nice older Luxembourgish woman took care of me. It was a slow and painless procedure. I saw she took more time than other healthcare workers. We thought she might be a retired physician. Thanks to her, I felt relaxed. After the inoculation, we had to sit for 15 minutes and I was given a box of masks afterward. Then we went to the market, bought four packets of strawberries (on May 1!), and happily went home. My left arm felt sore for two days. I wondered if I had been recovered from the virus without knowing it.

Many friends experienced little to no side effects (e.g., arm soreness). A few reported some side effects (e.g., headache, nausea, vomit, and more). And a few friends have refused to get vaccinated.

Unexpectedly I felt happy after getting the jab, which made me realize my valid concerns or vaccine hesitancy: are they really safe? are they effective? what about the Indian double mutation? what if nobody was there – on May 1? are we achieving herd immunity soon? what’s the point of getting a vaccine!? any excuse to skip vaccination?

Read more 。。。

The Lost Decade after Fukushima

In English here below – En française ci-dessous

「本当の『失われた10年』は2011〜2020年だ。3.11の後、日本は脱原発し、再生可能エネルギーやCO2回収技術にかつてない規模で投資し、世界一地球に優しい国になりながら、全世界のモデル国になるチャンスがあった。政府も、大企業もその道を選ばなかったのは本当に残念だ。」西村・プペ・カリン

Karyn Nishimura (French journalist living in Japan) tweeted on March 21, 2021.

The real "lost decade" was 2011-2020. Japan had a chance to become a model country for the world after 3.11, by getting rid of nuclear power, investing on an unprecedented scale in renewable energy and CO2 capture technology, and becoming the most eco-friendly country in the world. It's a real shame that the government and the big corporations didn't choose that path.

Karyn Nishimura (journaliste française vivant au Japon) a tweeté le 21 mars 2021.

La véritable "décennie perdue" a été la période 2011-2020. Le Japon avait la possibilité de devenir un pays modèle pour le monde après le 11 mars, en se débarrassant de l'énergie nucléaire, en investissant à une échelle sans précédent dans les énergies renouvelables et les technologies de capture du CO2, et en devenant le pays le plus respectueux de l'environnement au monde. Il est vraiment dommage que le gouvernement et les grandes entreprises n'aient pas choisi cette voie.

"The Lost Decade" originally refers to a period of economic slowdown from 2001 to 2010 in Japan. Now it has turned into the continuing lost decades — a period spanning nearly three decades. Now it is hard for me (Japanese expatriate living in Luxembourg) to see my native country’s precarious position.

Training and Learning at Home

“The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.” – B.B. King (1925-2015, American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and record producer)
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented teleworking, including banks that used to disallow this for security reasons. In-person staff development training programme came to a halt for a while, then picked up virtually.

Staff development training is still arguably necessary in today’s world because competitiveness and changes are our society’s norms. Therefore, employers should continue providing this even during a lockdown or when their employees work from home. Governments in developed nations subsidise and consider such expense tax-deductible, which is an additional enticement. Though online training may not be cheaper as companies expect and more manageable as learners or participants like it to be, it is worthwhile.

Online training requires at least as much effort and time, and sometimes even more. Trainers need to buy or update their equipment, adjust their practices and style, and deal with disturbances from students’ family situations and technological hiccups. I have heard stories of participants cooking, texting, and feeding cats while on language training. It’s not the moment to multitask! I must admit that I cut my nails and did aerobics during boring webinars that did not allow participants to ask questions (guilty as charged!).

アキラ

eXtinction Rebellion Luxembourg

ボクの名前はアキラ。クロサワのアキラです。9ヶ月です。生まれはベルギー、種はアメリカン・アキタ、飼主はドイツ人です。ルクセンブルクに住んでいます。パパは「アキ」と呼びます。おとなしいので、ワンとも吠えませんが。ボクは元気玉です。

今日は友人宅に来ました。あまりの嬉しさに、横断歩道の真ん中でうんち(馬ほどの)をしてしまいました。が、パパがきれいにしてくれました。それから皆で森に行きました。やたらとヒトの匂いをかぐのは、失礼な田舎犬だと注意されました。秋田犬は寒いのが好きだと言って、大の大人が男二人で、ボクを噴水の中に入れようとしたのでムッとしましたが。サチエが止めてくれました。

このうちには植物がいっぱいあるので、体温調整ができて気持ちいいです。ちょうど目の高さに、お米をといだ水が陶器に入っていたので、(花にあげようととっといたのよ〜)それをいっぱい飲みました。真水より美味しいかったです。肉屋ワグナーのソーセージを食べて、チーズも舐めました。また遊びにこよう〜。(写真では見づらいですが。アキラのお腹の模様と色相は、墨絵のように美しい)

Great satisfaction comes from sharing with others

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

Author Spotlight - Interview with Rolade Berthier, PhD, and her book- The Whisper of Regrets

Tell us about yourself and how we can connect with you.

I live in France and am a freelance English language teacher in Luxembourg. I have worked in Asia, Australia, and Europe for universities, research institutions, government departments, and non-profit organizations.

My Doctor of Philosophy (Sociology) from The University of Queensland, Australia, was on Asian Immigration and the Criminal Justice System. I have a French Language Certificate from Sorbonne University in Paris and am currently learning Spanish.

I get a lot of pleasure writing fiction manuscripts (e.g. “Future Perfect” and “The Whisper of Regrets”) and non-fiction books (e.g. “Journey to the World of Public Service Employment,” “Cross-Cultural Liaison: An Inconvenient Love”, “Intelligence, Giftedness: Pre-cradle to Post-grave”, and “A Guide for Everyday Writing”). My fiction manuscripts are based on true stories.

I enjoy listening, reading and storytelling. Here’s my website www.roladesocietalblog.com.

Social Media: Facebook, Linkedin

My FB account was hacked; Not Linkedin

A fortnight ago, I received a message from an acquaintance saying he believed my Facebook account was hacked. There’s no compromising information in it, but I had to react quickly to make sure that this wouldn’t have consequences on my contacts. I changed my password right away and posted a warning.

It was one of the “why me” moments. I should have paid attention to the red flags. Last February, I tried to open the message sent via Messenger by an American writing pal. It looked encrypted/coded, similar to the one sent by someone pretending to be me. I did tell him that I couldn’t open it, but he didn’t reply. I should have changed my password right away.

I had the same password for many years – too lazy to change it and thought I was a small, non-attention grabbing fish.

If you notice that a message has been sent that you didn’t write, you have been hacked. I’ve heard stories of hackers changing people’s email addresses, passwords, or birthdays.

Multidisciplinary Workplace

My Aussie relative, a business and marketing professional by training and experience, asked recently my significant other how he could succeed in his new job working with engineers. As an engineer, he answered: “Those who have chosen technical studies/professions are more project/object-oriented than those who work in the arts/humanities/social/business fields. Often, but not always, technical people are not at ease communicating, are more or less introverted, and do not like human interaction too much. But, one should not generalise”. He advised him to “get quickly to speed on technical knowledge because “E/engineers” do not like to waste their time with those who are unfamiliar with what they do.

Is it true that engineers are experts in their field of interest, and that’s it? Articles on this subject agree with my significant other. They are good critical thinkers but often lack communication and interpersonal skills, which are generally possessed by those in the social sciences. It’s not their fault; it can be attributed to the lack of importance given to these soft skills during their engineering education. So, what will you do if you belong to the humanities/social science domain and have to work with th ose in the other group or vice versa?

Does the stereotyping of professions help?

Masks Mia, Here We Go Again! - Worse Before Better

In March 2020, I thought the pandemic would be less threatening by August; it wasn’t so, and we had to cancel our summer holiday. In November, I was sure we could spend Christmas with our sons in England; it did not happen. In December, I thought 2021 would be pandemic-free due to the rolling out of vaccines in Europe and some countries; wrong! Then, came the British, South African and Brazilian variants. Here in France, the 6 PM – 6 AM curfew was not adequate to stop the infection figures from climbing; so, the Government decided to close its borders for non-EU travellers. It’s impossible for my Aussie friends to visit me, and it’s unlikely that I’ll be Down Under for my sister’s 60th birthday.

I used to associate relaxation with watching TV and movies, reading and browsing online. Currently, these are not enough to chill me out. With limited human interaction, I have incorporated routines that make me jump and sweat in front of my screen (either TV or computer) alone. These passive and active activities disconnect me from my teaching (which has shrunk significantly since March 2020) and house chores, which is known as psychological detachment.

ソーシャル・ジレンマ

ケンブリッジ・アナリティカがニュースになる、4〜5年前のことだったと思う。フェイスブックから、その人の年齢・性別・性格・趣味・食べ物の好み・政治的価値観など、諸々の個人情報をみいだすケンブリッジ大学の研究について知る機会があった。AI研究が発達し、犯罪防止につながればと願った。当時、個々の心理的属性の情報が、まさか米大統領選やBrexitの国民投票に利用されようとは思わなかった。

(離脱キャンペーンでは、Brexit に反対すること自体が愛国心に欠ける「非国民」のように言いはやされ、「頭」でなく「肚」の根拠なき心配に訴えるような流布がなされた。また「英国人」という、単一のアイデンティティに訴えかけたことも興味深い。)

その後スノーデン氏がNSAの情報収集を告発したときは、「やはり」という印象で驚かなかった。あれから監視資本主義はさらに進んだ。

。。。下につづく

Giving and Receiving

How was your holiday? Ours what unusual and unexpected. We planned to spend Christmas in London, where our first son lives. In mid-December, London was on tier/level 4 lockdown (residents were strictly housebound); therefore, we thought of taking the train or bus to Oxford where it was level 2 (restaurants and shops were opened). We would then meet up with our second son, who lives in Canley in the southwest of Coventry near Warwick University. It was a blessing in disguise that our flight was cancelled the night before our scheduled departure because the next day the British Government included Oxford on its tier 4 list. We would have been stuck in London quarantined in a low-budget hotel without the certainty of returning to France by the first week of January 2021. Instead, we had a virtual family Christmas party on the 25th with carols and quizzes.

We’re still in the period of giving and receiving gifts. So far, what have you given and/or received?

My husband is a football enthusiast and enjoys watching the English Premier and European League; a ticket to one of their matches would have been an easy choice. As sports were televised only due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was more realistic to accompany him in our attic and watch from our bedroom’s skylight the pigeons compete over grains and worms.

Super recipes for closing 2020

Artistic photo of all the ingredient of the yummy ketchup of the Chef of Hostellerie Stafelter located in Walferdange (Luxembourg)

First, here is our Michelin chef’s ketchup recipe.

We went to my favorite restaurant in Luxembourg sometime between the first and second lockdown.  We were happiest (at least I am) when we were there.  I said to a waitress, “Super! C’était parfait!  Please give the chef our compliments on the wonderful meal!  I wish I had a recipe for this ketchup.”

Lo and behold, this note of ingredients was given via the waitress woman.  I guess the chef saw all the clean dishes after we ate with gusto.  We cleaned all the serving dishes — clean enough so that they could have returned them to their cupboard directly!

Read more 。。。

Inaction is aiding and abetting society’s ills

It’s the second lockdown in some places. In my city in the north of France that shares borders with Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg, the streets are almost empty. Although the authorities allowed shops to reopen three days ago, local businesses find customers hard to come by. Residents who go out for work reasons are at home before dusk. Hence, I was not surprised when I read that the number of reported street crimes has declined.

Meanwhile, we know that every crisis provides an opportunity for people to be resourceful; as well, not all crimes happen in the streets. Since the first lockdown in March, there have been reports on the rise in domestic violence, sale of fake medicine and treatment, consumption of exorbitant coronavirus-recommended cleaning and health products, and solicitation of donations for charities that either do not exist or do not deliver what they promise.

Recently, I heard about the UK’s COVID Fraud Hotline (0800 587 5030) encouraging people to phone anonymously and free of charge any suspected fraudulent activity. If you knew someone who has been claiming support illegally or abusing government schemes, would you call the hotline? It takes a long time for fraud to be discovered, and governments need a helping hand. Should we extend this to them?

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