let's see how the International affairs impact us

Environmental and economic factors contribute to racism and xenophobia

«You told us Australians are cool, considerate, welcoming and simply easy-go-lucky. Have you seen today’s newspaper L’essentiel?” my Belgian student said while taking off his jacket. After he had sat down, he added, “You will be shy, as an Australian, of what they did to the French tourists.” (I suggested the word “embarrass” instead of shy).

Right after leaving his company, I rushed to get the copy of L’essentiel, the most read newspaper in Luxembourg because it’s free and easily accessible (it’s in stands and distributors in strategic places, such as bus stops, train stations, airports, shopping centres and supermarkets). Page 2 of its 23/11/12 issue had an article about the verbal harassment of xenophobic nature against a young French woman by bus passengers in Melbourne. It had a photo with this caption, “La video de cette aggression sur I did watch this video and, in the beginning, felt embarrass. As the video was coming to an end, however, I started to reminisce on positive Aussie qualities and multiculturalism. I salute the fellow who filmed the incident! Xenophobia (fear of people who are different from the majority in the population) exists Down Under, but it’s not widespread and not tolerated by the general Australian population.

The last 4 years of my public service job in Australia, before moving to Europe, were spent participating in many working parties, policy development, debates and activities geared towards eradicating racism and discrimination. Though governments and many Australians endeavour to have a just, fair and tolerant society, there’s still a lot that can be done.

Peaceful solution to the disputed Diaoyu-Senkaku islands

Yesterday I (Japanese woman) went to two Chinese grocery stores in Luxembourg to buy a bag of Japanese rice from California, Korean seasoned seaweed, imperial-dragon gyoza wrappers, and Taiwan highland (gao shan) oolong tea.

In Mexico and Spain, people mistook me as a local resident and asked me directions in Spanish. Similarly, Chinese and Korean people often talk to me in their languages. Happily, I try to make conversation with them, using some words which I have learned from Chinese, Taiwan, and Korean friends over the years (i.e., hello, 1, 2, 3,..., delicious, so-so, it doesn't matter, thank you, see you, I love you, etc).

Maybe, it was just a figment of my imagination, but yesterday one of the Chinese owners was slightly distant, not as cheerful as usual. Though, later I realized that she put two extra oranges in my plastic bag for free. Then, I thought of the ongoing dispute over the islands among countries.

Today I was reading two articles by Gavan McCormack who presents background information about the territorial disputes (The first article is translated into 中文, 한국어, and 日本語): "Small Islands – Big Problem: Senkaku/Diaoyu and the Weight of History and Geography in China-Japan Relations".

Right to water

Nice documentary film recommended. Watch below:

As a citizen, it is time to ask oneself if it is worth or simply feasible to fight against international corporates and local industries for the human right to good-quality, drinkable, and affordable water.

...and of course, the excellent film of Annie Leonard and her team:
"Story of stuff: Story of bottled water"

Also, you may be interested in:
"Challenge corporate control over water: think outside the bottle!"

...and this: "Public water works!"

...and this:


最近、すぐれたドキュメンタリー映画を立て続けに見ました。その一つが“Bottled Life”です。配給会社が後でいい日本語タイトルをつけるでしょうが。無理やり日本語にすると、「ペットボトルに入れられた命、生活、暮らし」とでもいいましょうか。

ペリエ、サンペレグリノ、ヴィッテルなど、70品目以上のミネラルウォーターを幅広く手がける世界最大の食品メーカ・ネスレ(Nestlé)をめぐるドキュメンタリーです。スイス人ジャーナリストRes Gehrigerが、本社、アメリカ・メイン州、パキスタン、ナイジェリアなどを取材し、ボトルウォーター・ビジネスの戦略・実態にメスを入れてます。自国スイスに本部をおく巨大多国籍企業のひずみを、スイス人が告発し複数の映画賞を受賞した労作です。


Communication patterns and behaviours of French and English speakers

Last Saturday, I was finishing an article on French politics when I realized that we didn’t have enough food for the weekend, and because shops are closed on Sunday, I rushed to our local supermarket. I was thrilled because I filled the trolley in less than an hour, but at the checkout my excitement turned into an unpleasant experience. My first bankcard didn’t work and the second one flashed with “code faux”. After trying twice, the cashier informed me in a high-pitched voice that I keyed in the wrong numbers and I couldn’t use it anymore. Slightly embarrassed, I scraped all the cash I had including the Euros hidden in the secret compartment of my wallet intended for emergency use only. She remarked twice that I made a mistake and when I was exiting the premises she uttered in a loud voice, “Regardez, la carte de Monsieur fonctionne”. There was no need for her to let everyone know that unlike mine, the bankcard of the man behind me worked.

I went straight to my bank, which is just across the street, and tried the same code. It worked and there’s no explanation why it failed before. I went back to the shop and told the cashier that I was disappointed with her behaviour. She raised her voice even louder, which caught the attention of the security guard who came and inquired what was happening. As I was explaining, she insisted I entered the wrong code. I told her to calm down as it’s normal for people to press wrong buttons but it’s not acceptable to be rude at customers. She didn’t have a clue what I was talking about, so I repeated “It’s uncivilised to talk in that manner.” The security guard interrupted and said “Je ne crie pas” (I’m not screaming). It was obvious my statement wasn’t for him… The French…!

The Debt Crisis and Its Impact on the Festive Season

A country’s debt includes public (also known as government or national), financial (business & investment) and household borrowings from internal (domestic) and/or external (foreign) sources. According to the European Commission’s Eurostat, the government debt/Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio of 27 EU members was 80% in 2010 (Greece 142.8% at the top and Estonia 6.6% at the bottom of the list); and is forecast at 89% in 2012.

Eurostat 2008 survey found that 1 person in 20 lived in a household with arrears (consumption loans, home/car/appliance repayment and bank overdrafts) which means they spent more than their monthly disposable income. The economic crisis had just started and its impact wasn’t that evident yet during this period, so today it’s more likely to have quadrupled.

In France, 1.3% (900,000) of its population has excessive debt; and 220,000 have filed for bankruptcy. In the UK, 331 people every day become insolvent (J Davies, Creditaction, viewed 7/12/11). Based on census data, USA had a consumer debt of nearly $2.4 trillion, and 1 in every 160 people was bankrupt in 2010.

... more on

Qu'est-ce qui est le plus rationnel: se sentir en sécurité avec une arme nucléaire ou vivre en sécurité sans elle?

YouTube montre une œuvre d'art intitulée «Une Carte Temporelle de Toutes les Explosions Nucléaires depuis 1945" par l'artiste japonais, Isao Hashimoto. Avec des spots lumineux clignotants et des sons, il montre 2053 explosions nucléaires qui ont eu lieu entre 1945 et 1998.

Si à la suite d'un de vos essais nucléaires, la radioactivité due à la matière fissible impliquée dans l'explosion contamine le sol, l'eau, l'air et la nourriture dans mon pays, ces matériaux radioactifs se répandront inexorablement sur ​​de longues distances par l'air et par l'eau, et ils retourneront petit à petit dans votre pays pour y empoisonner la chaîne alimentaire et contaminer les aliments que vous, vos enfants et petits-enfants mangez.

Alors, est-il plus rationnel d'avoir une arme nucléaire pour se sentir en sécurité, ou de ne pas en avoir?

Which is a more rational decision? To be safe with a nuclear weapon or to be safe without it?

YouTube shows an artwork "A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion since 1945" by Japanese artist, Isao Hashimoto. With the flashing lights and sounds, he shows 2053 nuclear explosions which took place between 1945 and 1998.

If your nuclear explosion contaminates the soil, water, air, and food in my country, those radioactive materials spread across long distances through air and water, go back to your country, may enter the food chain and heavily contaminate the food you, your children, and grandchildren will be eating.

So, is it more rational to have a nuclear weapon to be safe, or not to have it to be safe?


Dr. Beat Richner - giving the medecine of the richest to the poorest

If you are going to visit Cambodia soon, please check out the concerts performed by Dr. Beat Richner. Dr.




なさけない気分になったら、地道に生きる人たちから勇気をもらう。今回は、カンボジアで働くスイス人の小児科医・Beat Richnerさん。カンボジアやスイスでは、尊敬されている有名人物だ。「セロ弾きのゴーシュ」でなくて、セロ弾きのお医者さん。彼は海外からやってきた旅行者のためにチェロを弾いて医療活動の資金をつのり、無料でカンボジアの子どもたちを治療している。(あまりお金のない)若い旅行者からは血液を、中年からはお金を寄付してもらう。


プノンペンの病院 Kantha Bopha I and II
シェムリアプの病院  Jayavarman VII

Nakamura Brace´s Prosthetic and Orthopedic Devices

Last week, I was reading the Japanese book entitled "Company that Receives Thank You Letters from Overseas"(世界から感謝の手紙が届く会社) written by Nozomi Chiba.

The book is about Nakamura Brace Co.,ltd (中村ブレイス), a company that makes prosthetic and orthopedic devices. They have had customers order from over 30 countries. The company is located in Omori, a town of 500 persons in Shimane Prefecture – one of the most depopulated prefectures in Japan. Though, this town´s Iwami Ginzan Sliver Mine was listed as the World Heritage site in 2007. Mr. Toshiro Nakamura, clinical prosthetics specialist is the company´s founding president.

This company/Mr. Nakamura impressed me, so I would like to write about them, highlighting some points.

eResearch: Strategies to model and monitor human development

eResearch: Strategies to model and monitor human development, presented at the Human Development Index 20th Anniversary Conference, at Cambridge, UK, on the 28-29 January 2010 by Sachie Mizohata of Paris Descartes University and Raynald Jadoul of Henri Tudor Research Centre

Cette présentation, "eResearch: Strategies to model and monitor human development", a été faite par Sachié Mizohata de l'Université Paris Descartes et Raynald Jadoul du Centre de Recherche Public Henri Tudor au groupe de travail intitulé “Twenty Years of Human Development: The past and the future of the Human Development Index.”  Ce workshop s'est tenu sous les auspices conjoints du Von Hugel Institute, du Capability and Sustainability Network de l'Univertité de Cambridge et du Programme de Développement des Nations Unies (UNDP)/Bureau du Rapport de Développement Humain (HDRO) à l'Université de Cambridge, les 28-29 Janvier 2010.


Les notions de qualité de vie et de bien-être humain sont très contestées et leurs définitions ne font pas l'unanimité. Alors que l'AC est saluée comme un nouveau regard en la matière, les chercheurs ont montré que les défis liés à l'opérationalisation de cette nouvelle approche sont nombreux. Nous démontrons comment nous avons utilisé une approche novatrice orientée vers les technologies de l'information et de la communication, appelée eResearch qui alimentée par des modèles adéquats et supportée par des structures organisationnelles inspirées des enquête à très grande échelle tels PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) et PIAAC (Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies), peut surmonter bien des obstacles inhérents à l'évaluation des capabilités et du bien-être. En ce sens, ce document peut apporter une contribution méthodologique majeure en ce domaine. Sur base du même modèle que PISA et PIAAC et utilisant leurs paramètres d'organisation, nous suggérons qu'une entreprise collective à grande échelle devrait rallier tous les infrastructures multinationales et nationales matures tels que les l'ONU, l'OCDE, les institutions nationales, les ONG, etc., pour former un consortium sous la supervision conjointe du Programme de Développement des Nations Unies et de l'OCDE afin de mettre en place un projet d'évaluation du développement humain. Ce projet pourrait être nommé PIHDA (Programme for the International Human Development Assessment).

See the whole presentation...

Et si on parlait d'un nouvel Indice de Développement Humain (IDH)

Depuis sa création en 1990, l'Indice de Développement Humain (IDH) a pour but de fournir un outil fiable et simple pour aider à l'évaluation et à l'orientation des politiques nationales. Cet outil a aussi été appelé à examiner d'autres aspects que les mesures « sacrées » telles que le produit national brut. Le modèle de l'IDH « classique » intègre des mesures de la santé, de l'éducation et de l'économie. Cette conception est le résultat de débats impliquant un très petit nombre de spécialistes; de ce fait, cet outil a produit des données principalement consommées et utilisables par d'autres spécialistes (par exemple des universitaires, des concepteurs de politiques et des décideurs). Et, compte tenu du contexte de cette époque, c'était très bien ainsi.

Au cours des vingt dernières années, de nombreux aspects de notre monde a changé, avec une part croissante soumise à la mondialisation. Le développement des technologies d'information et de communication a accéléré ce phénomène. Le moment est probablement venu de repenser l'IDH, d'une part, pour l'élargir à de nouvelles dimensions et, d'autre part, pour le rendre plus participatif. L'infrastructure des TIC est maintenant en mesure de soutenir un débat plus axé sur les gens, plus démocratique et sensible aux contextes, tout en favorisant le développement d'un ensemble d'indices de développement humain thématiques qui ne remplaceraient pas l'IDH « classique » mais plutôt le compléteraient. Cet indice de développement ne sera donc plus la seule affaire des spécialistes, mais bien le fruit d'une collaboration transparente, un produit conçu par les gens pour les gens et qui, par conséquent, se rapprochera de leurs valeurs, de leurs préoccupations, et sera plus accessible à tous.

Let's talk about a new Human Development Index (HDI)

Since its creation in 1990, the Human Development Index (HDI) has aimed to provide a reliable and simple tool to help in the evaluation and orientation of national policies. This tool was also expected to consider other aspects than the 'sacred' measures known as gross domestic product. The “classic” HDI was designed to encompass measures of health, education, and economics. This design resulted from debates of a very few specialists, so this tool has produced data mainly consumed and usable by other specialists (e.g. academics, policy-makers, and decision-makers). And, considering the context of that period, it was fine.

Within the past twenty years, many aspects of our world have changed, with an ever growing part subject to globalization. The development of information and communications technology has accelerated this phenomenon. The time has probably come to rethink HDI, first, to broaden it to new dimensions, and second, to make it more participative. The ICT infrastructure is now able to support a more people-centric, democratic, and context-aware debate promoting the development of a set of thematic HDIs that would not replace but instead complete the “classic” HDI. The development index would no longer be an affair for the specialists, but rather a transparent collaborative construct designed by the people for the people, and therefore, closer to their values, their concerns, and more accessible by everyone.

Towards Other Ways of Measuring Human Development - What an Indicator of Quality of Life Might Contribute

Towards Other Ways of Measuring Human Development - What an Indicator of Quality of Life Might Contribute presented at the Human Development Index 20th Anniversary Conference, at Cambridge, UK, on the 28-29 January 2010 by Ricardo Nogales Carvajal, Universidad Privada Boliviana


Este documento presenta los detalles de un nuevo enfoque propuesto para la medición de la calidad de vida en Bolivia a través de un Indicador de Calidad de Vida. Aunque existe un único marco conceptual (Enfoque de capacidades de Sen), dos versiones de este índice se presentan: i) la primera, se construye utilizando un Análisis de Componentes Principales adaptado a variables cualitativas y se concibe como un instrumento para evaluar la distribución del presupuesto del gobierno nacional entre los 9 departamentos de Bolivia, ii) la segunda, se construye utilizando un análisis factorial exploratorio y se la concibe para el diseño de políticas públicas de apoyo a las familias bolivianas de los migrantes internacionales. A lo largo del documento, estas dos versiones del Indicador de Calidad de Vida se comparan con el índice de desarrollo humano, desde perspectivas teóricas y metodológicas.

Ver toda la presentación (Inglés)...

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