International

let's see how the International affairs impact us

Who are you? Where are you from?

I am writing this while on a short holiday in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, before heading to Spain and England. It is summer here in Europe and because we travel a lot during this period, we often get asked “Where are you from?” Depending on my mood, my answer ranges from my birthplace to current city or country of residence. Often, I give information on my nationality/citizenship, and I will tell you why later. In some cases, the enquirer really just wants to know the main language I speak and my religion.

During the World Cup, when I wore my gold and green outfit, some strangers smiled and commented, “You’re from Brazil” thinking that I had something blue invisible to the naked eye. Whereas, friends and acquaintances teased me “Socceroos, go, go...” My gold and yellow dress, green sandal and green bag said it all. They did not question my citizenship (Are you Australian?), appearance (but you look Asian), etc. On other occasions, however, I have to answer a follow-up question “Yes, but where do you really come from, your family?”

A fortnight ago, a close friend invited me to her barbecue dinner party. Her house is 15 minutes on foot from where we live, and since it was a sunny day, I decided to walk. France had just won the 2018 World Cup and knowing that there would be jubilant crowd, I put on my blue, white and red apparel. The time it took me to her place doubled as I had to stop and shake hands, take photos for others and kiss strangers. Everybody was so happy, friendly, and courteous. How I wished it was like that every day. No one asked me “where are you from”? Instead, many nodded and shouted amicably “On a gagné” (We won). They ignored my physical attributes and my non-French accent. They made me feel like I was one of them, which wasn’t my intention. I am a lover and partaker of peaceful and jovial celebrations, festivals, and traditional gatherings.

他国の知恵

他国の知恵

ルクセンブルグの名家でパーティがあった。「プチ・スイス」といわれる森の中のお城のような邸宅に、リサーチなどを生業とする人たちが25人ほど集まった。主にルクセンブルグ人とベルギー人の集まりで(いつものごとく私はマイノリティ)、外国人らしきカップルが皆よりやや離れぎみだったので、話の席に加わった。実は女性は邸の令嬢で、11年の英国生活から引き上げてきたばかりだという。男性は彼女のボーイフレンドでルーマニア人である。

また政治の話になり、私は「今の日本はドキュメンタリー映画で見た、チャウシェスク政権の末期のようです」と話した(広場に集まった市民が政府機関を占拠したとき、あらかじめチャウシェスクの名前が書かれた大量の投票用紙を窓から撒き散らして、皆の目にさらした映像をいつも思い出す)。ルーマニアは今も腐敗やスキャンダルは絶えないが、海外に暮らす愛国者たちが(正確な人数を失念したが、約500万人だったと思う)独立した調査報道の経済支援を続けているという。「自分の両親はまだルーマニアに住んでいるし。愚政がために、彼らがいかに苦しい人生をおくってきたかを知っている。だからリベンジのつもりで支援している」という。日本にはネットジャーナルや海外の「九条の会」などもあるけれど、似たたぐいの要請が、わが国でも高まっているのではないだろうか。

。。。下につづく

Football (EU/UK)/Soccer (Australia/US) Fever

What a pity the Philippines doesn't have a national football team. Every municipality and barrio in this country of more than 7,000 islands has a basketball court, but a football/soccer field is a rare sight. Its national sport is basketball, which requires a formidable height, i.e. average 6ft 7in (200 cm) for international players - that the majority of its citizens don't have). Whereas, Filipinos are resourceful, creative, hard-working, goal oriented and have a strong family/community/team spirit - qualities that make a football/soccer champion.

This coming Saturday (the 16th), 3rd day of the World Cup, it will be Australia - France; and there's going to be a party at home irrespective of the outcome of the match as we are both Australian and French citizens living in France. One of my family members, however, seems to favour France as he believes it'll fare better at the final stages. On the contrary, I will definitely cheer for the Socceroos because the Aussies occupy a special place in my heart.

I haven't met someone in France and Luxembourg (where I work) who thinks that the green and gold team will be the "vainqueur". Well, I always applaud and rally for the so called “underdog” and believe in the “David and Goliath" story. (With incredible support and financial rewards, France is definitely the latter. According to ''Soccer Laduma'', Paul Pogba is said to be earning £290,000 (328,892.95 EUR) a week at United, Paris Saint-Germain wonderkid Kylian Mbappe on £262,000, and Ousmane Dembele on £220,000 a week. About 17,000 tickets have already been sold to the French fans on their way to Russia).

Civility, respect and responsibility

It was a beautiful sunny morning; unlike the previous three months, it was neither raining nor snowing. At 7:30 in the morning, there were already more than 20 cross-border commuters lining up for the public transport. On the same street “Place de la liberté”, there was a local bus waiting for the traffic light to turn green. We watched in disgust as four teenage girls opened its window and threw empty cartons of orange juice that landed in front of the queueing passengers. I got out of the queue and picked these up then gave them a disappointing look wondering whether they realised that they had just exposed publicly their uncivility. When I returned from the nearest bin, their bus had left and mine had arrived, and no one uttered a word.

I didn’t think twice; picking up that litter was an instinctive reaction. I didn’t expect or want recognition from anyone; however, if I see you removing a piece of rubbish left lying in a public place, I’ll definitely give you some words of encouragement. Littering is hazardous for our health and environment.

During my first two years in France, while in parks and playgrounds with my toddler, I used to pick up wrappers of snacks and boxes of juice and put these in the bin while asking myself whether it was the kids or their parents who littered.

Whose responsibility is it when children litter: parents or society?

We, as parents, have an immense responsibility and opportunity in educating our children to be respectful of people, properties and our environment. Our words and actions help shape our children’s values and behaviours. If they deliberately litter, we must tell them why this is unacceptable. (When my son was 3 years old, he said, “Mummy’s bag is a fridge and a bin” because I had water, snacks and fruits every time we went out and kept all wrappers till we found a garbage bin). If the parents litter, their children are likely to do the same, and this is a societal problem.

Inequality in Germany by Michael Hartmann

(a blog post written by my German friend Guido)

Professor Hartmann

Michael Hartmann is an emeritus professor of Technical University Darmstadt

Summary

Social and economic inequality is increasing in Germany faster than in all other developed countries (EU. US, JP, AU, CA, etc.)

Real income (not gross income) has not increased for the average German since the end of the 1990s, and today it has even fallen back to the level of beginning of the 1990s. Most alarming is the increase of income disparity caused by extreme concentration of wealth:

  • +17% for the top 10%,
  • -14 % for the bottom 10%
  • Total: +30% difference in 20 years.

(Continue to read...)

a partial Japanese translation of the World Inequality Report 2018

This blog has a partial Japanese translation of the World Inequality Report 2018 by the World Inequality Lab including Thomas Piketty and more than 100 researchers in more than 70 countries.

ピケティの「世界不平等報告書」の概要 一部・邦訳掲載

昨年のお正月。トニー・アトキンソンが亡くなったニュースを耳にした。

「世界不平等報告書」の概要

ある学会会場への帰り道、バスの座席に1人ですわる彼を見かけ声をかけたことがあった。それからホテルの会場まで Luxembourg Income Study や OECDの調査について話しながら、歩いて帰ったのを思いだす。翌朝も、席につくと目の前に彼がいた。なんとも謙虚で気さくな紳士が病気を患っていたことを知り、とても悲しかった。

今年になって「世界不平等報告書」を読んだ。彼の残した仕事を、同僚・友人であるピケティと世界の仲間である100人以上の専門家たちが受けつぎ、強化を図っていた。アトキンソン(アマルティア・センもアダム・スミスも)は、経済学の根幹をささえるのは倫理だと、くり返していた。

300頁にわたる報告書を訳すのはムリなので(経済の専門家たちがもっと上手に訳されるでしょうが)。特に興味をもった2ページを訳(意訳)してみた。グラフを見ると、われわれの共通財産である「公」の富が「私」へと移動していることがわかる。現在、公の富が私物化された、国有地の格安払いさげたという問題が取りざたされている。その諸問題の背後で、種子法は廃止され(みんなの種が、誰かさんの種になり)、TPP 協定はすすみ、アベノミクスと株価バブルで大企業と富裕層はさらにうるおう一方、公的債務は蓄積し、公ひとりひとりの教育や福祉への投資は減り、公的年金も減り、政府は人々の負託にこたえられず、国力が衰えていくという日本のすがたを映す鏡のようである。

。。。下につづく

Movies, news and society

February 2018 was a cinema month for me. I watched thought-provoking and inspiring films based on true stories: “The Post, ” The Darkest Hour,” and “15.17 to Paris.”

“The Post” stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, and it is about the Washington Post’s decision to publish government secrets found in the Pentagon Papers. My favourite line in this movie is “The Way They Lied, Those Days Have to Be Over.”

“People need to be led and not misled. Those who never change their minds, never change anything” – these are just two of the many words of wisdom in “The Darkest Hour.” It is in the 1940’s and Adolf Hitler has risen to power. The European nations, including Belgium and France, are in turmoil; and Dunkirk is in danger including the lives of 300,000 British soldiers.

“15.17 to Paris” is about three Americans (Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler) on their European backpacking tour in 2015. While on the Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris on August 21, they tackled a heavily armed jihadist terrorist saving many lives. (There were 554 passengers. The gunman had AKM assault rifle, nine magazines and 270 rounds of ammunition, a pistol, a knife and a bottle of petrol. Imagine what could have happened if these brave men didn’t intervene).

The reasons I went to see “15.17 to Paris” were: its director, Clint Eastwood, is an icon in the movie industry; it’s based on a true story; and the three actual guys played themselves (and not Bradley cooper, Chris Pine, Anthony Mackie, or other members of Hollywood’s A list). Hat’s off to these three guys not only to their courage but to their acting as well.

Unlike me, critics are not over the moon with this film. The Guardian (seen 11-02-18) even stated “the real meat of the film is that mind-bendingly boring holiday: endless beers, endless coffees, endless selfies. No tension between the guys. No real connection either.”

Uncle Sam and weapons - a forever story

Uncle Sam black-marketing weapons

100年前からの連続性

clinic

スペインはアンダルシア。

昨年のクリスマス・イヴに、Blanco y Negroという雑誌(1891年に創刊)を蚤の市で見つけた。主に芸術や文学を扱う週刊誌で、現在も発行されているようだ。

1915年9月26日、1.271号のページをめくると、ベルギーやオーストリアの女性参政権についての記事があり、その中にこの風刺画がある。画家の名は、Pedro Antonio Villahermosa y Borao で通称Sileno。ページ数は見あたらず、文の内容と挿絵とはそぐわないが、一枚の画が多くを物語っている。

アンクル・サムのアメリカの足元には、(紛争・戦争の当事国が債務に苦しむのは重々わかっているから)現金決済という札とともに武器がずらりとならび、背景に潤う軍事産業が見える。戦闘狂なるものの軌跡。米国の軍事産業の言いなりに防衛力を整備していると、日本の富もドルの嗜好品として煙となり消えていくという図説ですね。

同時に、日本の歴史についても考えさせられる。以前、加藤周一氏(NHK「歴史としての20世紀を語る」)がドイツや日本の戦争責任を問いながら、水面下にいるナチの残党について言及していた。ハーケンクロイツの旗を振っていた人たちはどこへ行った。戦争が終わったからといって、急に消えるはずはない。「南京で子供を殺したおじさんはどこ行ったの。それは我々の隣に住んでいるとても良いおじさんなわけじゃない。親切で・・・」みたいなことを言っていた。

。。。下につづく

Future cannot be built on lies

This blog is about Osaka’s ending sister-city status with San Francisco over a “comfort women” statue.

嘘で、あかるい未来はつくれない

吉村洋文(大阪市長)‏Verified account @hiroyoshimura この件に関して、僕は政党会派を超えて自民、維新関係なく、正当な行動をとるべきだと思います。先祖、子孫の名誉にも関わります・・・」

ヨーロッパで、たえず私は失敗をしてます。「失敗」とか「失礼・無礼」とは思いもよらず、周りに指摘されて気づくことも多々あります。でも「失敗は成功のもと」と思い、年をとってきました。

60年続いた姉妹提携の件で、大阪市長に気づいてほしい。市長には広い世界の怖さをわきまえ、考察のゆきとどいた温容な判断をしてもらいたいたかった。

欧米の親日家が考えそうな然るべき「正当な行動」について、関西弁で書いてみますね。「事実でないことって?性奴隷のこと、知らんの?ホンマに知らんの?知らんふりしてンだけ、ちゃうのん?そりゃ日本の歴史で恥ずかしいこと、あったで。証拠もごっつう、あるし。でもあんたらがしたことと、ちゃうやん。なァ、昔の恥を認めたくないんやろ。それを認めへんあんたが、今、めっちゃ恥ずかしんやんか。わかるか。ひゃあ、知らんという認識もでけんもんらしい。そーか。そらあかんわ。ほな、教えてあげまほか。おんなじスカタン、繰りかえんさんよぉに。按配したげるでぇ(ここで無残に記念碑がたつ)」「市長。つっぱってんと、あんじょう謝りや~」まァこんな感じかな。

。。。下につづく

This can happen to anyone

I’d difficulty deciding on the topic of my blog this month. My heart goes out to Manchester in the UK, especially to families, relatives and friends of those who were at Ms. Ariana Grande’s concert last May 22. More than one hundred people were injured and 22 were killed in that vicious terrorist attack, including an eight-year-old girl and an off-duty female police officer.

Last Wednesday evening, I had a mixed feeling of warmth and sadness watching on BBC Tony Walsh reading his poem ‘This Is The Place’ as a tribute to Manchester city at vigil. His rendition was defiant and resilient for peace. For me, it means not hating and living in fear; but be hopeful yet stand up for your rights.

So, here I am doing my usual routine on the first day of every month.

Most-stressful departure ever

You’ve certainly heard about flight delays and lack of information at airports that angered passengers. You probably know at least one person who has lost a luggage or whose baggage ended up on the other side of the world. How about long check-in lines that make you nervous about missing your flight? The story below is an addition to the list of disappointing travels.

Maria has been an international traveller for over 30 years and has visited about 40 countries with more than 20 stopovers/transits. Stories and anecdotes about unfortunate travelling were foreign to her until last month. Her Expedia-purchased tickets (Brussels-New York) had a very short transit in Montreal. To her surprise, she and her family couldn't board Air Canada because they didn’t have a visa for Canada and their US Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) was not enough to get them into this plane for New York.

屈しない明日へのビジョン(3)

ポスト真実

みなさん「ホームランド Homeland」という米国のTV ドラマを、ご覧になったことはありますか?

事実をゆがめ 嘘も繰りかえし拡散すれば、世論やポスト真実としてなりたつという情報・印象操作や政治プロパガンダの一面を扱っています。

スノーデン氏が香港のホテルに持参していた本のタイトルも、実は「Homeland」で、同じタイトルでIT 専門家による本もでています。

その「Homeland」を下巻とすると、上巻にあたるのがCory Doctorow の「Little Brother」 (Big Brother じゃなくて) です。(わたしはまだ全部読み終えてませんが)

。。。下につづく

屈しない明日へのビジョン(2)

インターネットと自由

4月4日。ネットでの閲覧履歴について、マーティン・ファクラー氏がツイ―ト。その後「閲覧:貴方が行っているインターネットの閲覧は売り出されるかもしれないのです。トランプはこれを許可」と孫崎享‏ 氏がリツイート。

でもね。私たちには、他の方法があります。マイクロソフトより、Linux、グーグルの代わりにダックダックゴー DuckDuckGo.com スカイプより、トックスTox / qTox

監視されるものから、監視されない自由なものへ。既得権益がらみのモノから、みんなのオープンソースのモノへ代替可能だから大丈夫。大丈夫と思いきや。

そんな単純な話ではないようだ。

。。。下につづく

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