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Carnival

This week, 9 of my acquaintances are on holiday or have taken days off from work to participate in carnival activities. One of them lives in Binche, Belgium, where every year during the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday (i.e. today) there are street performances, dancing and merry making. The Shrove Tuesday’s parade includes the throwing or giving away of oranges to spectators by the Gilles – famous participants colourfully dressed with wax masks, ostrich-feathered hats and wooden footwear. The oranges are considered to bring good luck because they are a gift from the Gilles and it is an insult to throw or give them back. (Shrove Tuesday is also known as Mardi Gras, Pancake Day or ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French as it’s the last night of eating rich and fatty food before fasting during Lent, which is 40 days before Easter).

According to The History of Carnival (on CarnivalPower.com), the Catholics in Italy started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before the first day of Lent. Because Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent, they called their festival, carnevale — which means “to put away the meat.” As time passed by, carnivals in Italy became quite famous; and the practice spread to France, Spain and all Catholic countries in Europe.

Two years ago, I was at the Notting Hill carnival in London and it had a fully Caribbean flare with lots of feathers, and I have since found out that in Africa feathers are used in masks and headdresses as a symbol of humans’ ability to overcome problems, pains, illness and difficulties. I’m certain you’ve heard a lot about the spectacular carnival bonanza in Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago, and the lavish Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, Sydney, Venice and other cities.

Board games

I hope 2017 has started well for you and your loved ones. I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions but believe that there’s always a room for improvement. So, in any day of any month, I try to deal with my faults and weaknesses. These imperfections make me wake up in the morning wanting to do something better than yesterday.

I got a trophy 3 weeks ago for finishing 2nd among adult female participants at a chess tournament in Marange-Silvange, a commune 20 km from where I live in Moselle department in north-eastern France. From time to time, I join this kind of competition because it makes my avid-chess playing son happy and proud of his mum. As well, I find the atmosphere festive amid rivalry characterised by fair play, respect and camaraderie.

What pleases me most is watching children, as young as 5 years old, sitting for some time thinking, analysing and making decisions which pieces to move to corner their opponents’ Kings. For me, all players are winners because they learn and exercise discipline, accept or manage their wins and losses, and try to improve their future performances. Furthermore, spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon playing and socialising is more productive, with long-term benefits, than being a couch potato -- which is likely when the outside temperature is -5°C.

Though there's been a widespread use of computer and video games, Internet entertainment and online socialising, individuals and families still get involved in group activities. According to ''The Top 10 Most Sold Board Games Ever'', the following are the most popular board games ever: 1. Chess, 2. Checkers, 3. Backgammon, 4. Scrabble, 5. Monopoly, 6. Clue (or Cluedo), 7. Othello, 8. Trivial Pursuit, 9. Pictionary, and 10. Risk.

アマルティア・セン 「障害と正義」世界銀行における基調講演 (和訳掲載)

アマルティア・セン教授が、障害者について話した講演録がある。それを日本語に訳する許可をいただいた。この講演は2004年とやや古いものであるが、彼が明らかにした問題も解決法も時をへて今なお新しい。

「正義論」というと、きれいごと、青臭い話、独善、あるいは気おくれなどのイメージを持つ人がいるかもしれない。嘘、変節、詭弁、論点ずらし、番狂わせ、詐術・・・・と空論のテクニックでやりこめるような論客がもてはやされる昨今の日本では、正義について語ること自体、空洞化してしまっている感は否めない。

そんなしらけ感を持つ人は、ぜひセンの著物を手にとってほしい。その正義というわかりにくいテーマをわかりやすい言葉で争点化し、彼が縷々と語るほてりを感じてほしい。そして論議をかさねた正義の哲学が、私たちの日常生活につながる政策や法律のもとになることを忘れずにいてほしい。

一般的に「正義」は理非曲直をいうが、アマルティア・センの正義論では分配の公平さや平等に関して論じられることが多い。正義という概念は、国のあり方にも行方にも大いに関係する。

。。。下につづく

Dublin Core
Author: 
Amartya SEN
Sachie MIZOHATA (introduction and translation)
Subject: 
アマルティア・セン 「障害と正義」世界銀行における基調講演 (和訳掲載)

Happy New Year - Surprises, wonders and hope

December 2016 was an unusual Christmas for me because I had received an unexpected, generous gift from someone who’s not a friend or relative. When I opened the envelope, I thought it was handed to me by mistake, so the next time I saw her I tried to return it. With the sweetest smile, she said “it’s not a mistake, it’s for you from Santa.” A week later, I still couldn’t believe and accept such a present. What did I do to deserve such kindness? This act of generosity propelled me to do the same, and I was even more blessed. I was so joyful to see the sparkling eyes of contentment and happiness of those I shared my blessings with.

The year 2016 has just ended, and it’s quite a challenge trying to find words to describe it. It has been a tough year for several people whose friendship I value (i.e. losing parents and family members, colleagues, etc.) This reminds me, as in other gloomy situations, that I should not neglect my family and friends, and be greatly grateful for what I’ve.

As well, I should look at the glass half full, and not half empty, even in surprisingly polarising events, such as Brexit in the UK and Donald Trump’s election as the US president. The situation in Syria’s Aleppo is dehumanising and unbearable, and how can peace and security be restored there? Last month’s terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East resulted in the loss of many lives, which have contributed significantly to making the fear of migrants and refugees even worse. Consequently, insecurity in many facets and from different directions besets our society. On the other hand, there were inspiring events last year that have left a positive imprint, such as the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro with its Refugee Team (the first time in its history).

二週間でみた日本(3)最終回

年内に済ませておきたいことは、山ほどある。日曜の元日まで、いくら指を折って数えても、あと三日しかない。が~ん。

なので。ブログに書きたいことは山ほどあるのですが。またの機会にします。

写真はわが家のオーガニック蜂蜜。私の咳どめ用自然薬です。味わいはアカシア、オレンジ、タイム、フュメといろいろ。国籍もイタリア、ドイツ、フランス、マルタ、スロベニアといろいろ(残念ながら、ルクセンブルグと日本のは写ってない)。蜂蜜にそそぐお湯の温度も、一緒に添えるものもいろいろ(有機のレモン、しょうが、片栗粉など)。山のものは、熱いお湯に溶かしても大丈夫です。

ヨーロッパでも日本でも、風邪が流行っているようです。皆さん、お大事に。

よいお年をお迎えください。

。。。下につづく

二週間でみた日本(2)シニアのエージェンシー

再会を楽しみにしていた女性に会いに、銭湯のサウナに行ってみた。すると80代(もっと高年?)とおぼしき女性が、非常に危なっかしい足取りですぐ横を通っていくのを目にした。私のだす石鹸の泡で転んでは大変!と、おもわず手を差しだしたら「前をごめんなさい(正確には横)」と淑やかな彼女。「こんな熱いお湯につかって大丈夫なの」とひやひやしていたら、彼女はまた湯船につかり「お先ですぅ」と満足げに去っていった。お見事。

以前、アルプスの近くに住むシニアの哲学者で牧師さんが、話してくれたことがあった。一人で山登りに出かけるとき、娘や息子が携帯電話を持って出かけるように繰り返しいうが。彼曰く「それはしたくない。それは私の自由」と。なるほど!

彼が毎日同じ赤のセーターを着ていたのは、徐々に視力を失っていく妻に(のちに他界)自分がそばにいることを知らせるためだった。そんな慕い寄っていきたくなるような篤実なフランス人男性が、家族の心配をわからないはずはない。

。。。下につづく

二週間でみた日本(1)セクハラ

二週間とちょっと、関西にいました。その間に米国の大統領選挙があり、日本ではTPPの国会承認手続きへの動きがあり、恩師マーサ・ヌスバウム先生が賞のために来日され、彼女を迎えた京都ではしつこく咳がつづくマイコプラズマ肺炎という病気がはやり、ネットでは私のペーパー(日本会議について)を載せていただいたりしたようでした。その間のことを、何回かに分けてブログに書きとめたいと思います。

・・・・

京都の下鴨署などで通訳をする友人が、こぼれ話をしてくれた。夜中の2時3時、早朝にも電話がかかり出かけるらしい。それも毎日のように。私なら寝ぼけて「グッド・ラック」といって、お断りするだろうか。元気に仕事を引き受ける彼女は、エライ!

よくあるケースに、日本人男性と外国人女性のトラブルがあるという。「セクハラ」というので「レイプなの?」と聞くと、「強姦ではなく、男性が女性の性器を触ったりする」のだという。

。。。下につづく

Healthy and wise

It was a rainy day in the morning of November 5, and there was already a queue at our local theatre hall. A young lady opened the door and helped me find the umbrella rack. She said, “I’ve never seen these many people eager to donate blood, especially on a gloomy day like this.” I remarked, “It might be the warmth and dryness that have brought them here.”

After over an hour of waiting and filling in the 4-page questionnaire, the doctor told me politely that I could not donate blood because I’m less than 50kg. I was surprised and disappointed thus as soon as I got home, I checked online to make sure that it had nothing to do with reasons other than weight.

Yes, it’s true that donors are required to have the minimum weight of 50kg for a minimum of 400ml of blood for the blood bag to contain the sufficient therapeutic dose (as the doctor had explained to me).

I was really looking forward to it that I had ample breakfast to help me avoid feeling unwell or fainting; consequently, I had to delay lunch.

The Etablissement Français du Sang – EFS (French National Blood Service) is responsible for the collection of all types of blood donation and takes all precautions to ensure that donations (whether they be whole blood, platelet, plasma, and bone marrow or cord blood) are done in high quality and safety conditions for both donors and receivers.

While queuing I heard that about 14% of the French population donate blood annually. People between the ages of 18 and 70 can donate blood. After the age of 60, however, all donations require the approval of an EFS doctor.

米軍の極秘プロジェクト

今週火曜日。午前6時前。

外はまだ暗く、頭の中もぼおっと薄暗く、フランス・アンフォ(ラジオ)を聞きながらパンを口にしようとした矢先、椅子からずり落ちそうになった。

ニュースが伝えるには、冷戦時代にしかも氷原の下につくられた米軍極秘核ミサイル基地が、気候変動により地表に出てくる可能性があるという。

「なんとまあ。米軍って、とんでもない事をやってのけるよな――。汚したまま片づけもせずに、核廃棄物を置き土産にでて行ったのは沖縄だけじゃないんだ」とあらためて知った。

ネットで調べてみたら、英ガーディアン紙のジョン・ヘンリー記者が基地に関する記事を書いていたので、訳する許可をいただいた。

。。。下につづく

ルクセンブルグの言語環境

その日のワークショップの講演者は、ケベックから招かれた大学教授だった。私の後ろに、ドイツ人の友人が座った。

彼は右隣の人とルクセンブルグ語で話し、左隣の人とはドイツ語で、斜め前の人とはフランス語で、私には英語で話しかける。右を向き左を向き、話し相手の母国語か、相手が一番ラクに感じる言語の4ヶ国語でやりとりしている。この5人の共通語は仏語と英語で、彼の冗談に一斉に笑ったりする。

ある週末。有機野菜のマルシェ。(ちなみにラジオ情報によると、最近フランスでは有機農家が一日に26件増えているらしい)

店主の名はエミン。コソボ出身の友人である。メルディッタ(コソボ語でこんにちは)とあいさつし、野菜やくだものを選んで彼に渡す。

「さっきジャン=クロード・ユンケルが、買い物に来てたよ」とエミンがいう。ユンケルさんは、20年近くルクセンブルグの首相を務め、現在、欧州委員会の委員長である。

彼はメルケル首相と話すときはドイツ語で、オランド大統領とはフランス語で、英国首相やEUでは英語で、いずれもネイティブのように話す。相手の母国語で話すということは、その国の感受性もあるということである。そういう政治家の存在は、やはりルクセンブルグやベルギーならではだ。

(ついでに当地はルクセンブルグ・リークス、通称ルクスリークスというのもありました)

。。。下につづく

Donating and volunteering: For love of self and others

In the first week of September, in Luxembourg, I had lunch with the funding member of ‘Dress for Success’ and my student who wants to join her in helping and empowering women. A few days later, I bumped into an acquaintance who has been teaching French to new arrivals in our region without financial remuneration. Two weeks ago, I attended a fundraising dinner and dance in a town about 10km from my city. It was a friendly atmosphere with men, women and children making sure that we would have a fantastic time, in addition to being busy collecting money for local charities and NGOs. Last week, through the encouragement of a friend, I went to the nearby park and was mesmerised by about a dozen tents with generous and smiling individuals selling and entertaining people for good causes.

As I write this article, I think of my friend who has always time for her environmental group doing information dissemination, pancake making and coordinating Christmas stalls; as well as my ex-student who founded ‘United by Dream Onlus,’ a humanitarian organisation aiding impoverished children and their families. Sometime in our lives, we are volunteers; however, some do more than others.

Why do we volunteer? Research and individual testimonies have revealed that volunteering has benefits for individuals and societies, and the main ones are: i) It gives the volunteer a sense of achievement and belongingness to a community; ii) Offers opportunity to meet diverse range of people and experiences; iii) It enhances social and relationship abilities; iv) Enables development and/or practice of new skills, hobbies and interests; v) Can boost your career; vi) It’s a rich resource for organisations to carry out their missions, thus helping less fortunate than we are or those in need.

Computer Literacy

A few weeks ago, while researching for information on technological jargon for my intermediate class, I fell into a test on computer knowledge. I sometimes get into this spur-of-the-moment kind of thing and forget it in a blink. That test, however, turned out to be more than just an extemporaneous ego exercise. The result indicated that I only have average knowledge of computers (I’m being generous with myself as the average score on that day was 7.3/10 while I got only 7). For someone who has a website and blog regularly, has self-published a book and is active online, I thought I would be above average. I may not be a power user of new and advanced technology, but I’m certainly a computer literate.

Computer literacy (CL) refers to the ability to use computer applications rather than programs. How literate do we need in order to succeed professionally and make the most of life?

Australian public and private schools have computer science as a subject. For instance, the New South Wales public schools’ Year 6 students (their average age is 12 years) are taught and expected to have the following computer skills: Using computer-based technologies to manipulate, create, store and retrieve information to express ideas and communicate with others (Word Processing, Graphics and Multi-media); Using computer-based technologies to locate, access, evaluate, store and retrieve information (Spreadsheets and Databases) and to express ideas and communicate with others (Internet and Email); Downloading copy of document; Identifying hardware components, such as keyboard, mouse and screen (see ''List of Computer Skills addressed by the Year 6 Computer Skills Assessment'' on www.schools.nsw.edu.au).

Not long ago, I read a report saying that in the USA as much as 60% of schools issue laptops or tablets to their students.

あなたも・わたしも・みんな ⎯⎯ 「障害者」の定義づけ

相模原障害者施設殺傷事件について

シカゴ市内の精神病棟で、元クラスメートにばったり会った。

広大な州立病院で「さち」と呼ばれて、お互い目をあわせて一瞬かたってしまった。

4・5年ぶりの再会で、名前がすぐに思い出せなかった。互いに「この人は患者なんだろうか、あるいは・・・」ととっさに判断しようとしていたように思う。

彼がそれを問いかけた。「なんで、ここにいるの?」

私は大学から来ていることを告げ、彼もリサーチでインタビューしに来ているのだという。そんなことを話しながら、笑いあった。白衣やパジャマなど「役割」を示すユニホームがないから、たたずまいや言葉づかいや語彙で、判断するしかない。ハロウィンの日は薬物中毒の男性が、担当医に扮して蝶ネクタイをつけていた。そんな病棟である。

。。。下につづく

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