Family / Community

The private sphere also finds its share in social-issues

Herman ou comment préparer un gâteau de l'amitié en dix jours

Et si on parlait de Herman? vous savez, le gâteau de l'amitié... nous, c'est notre copine Céline qui nous l'a fait découvrir à Sachié et moi. Sachié, elle est persuadée que si un gâteau comme Herman peut nécessiter dix jours afin d'être nourri, élevé et dorloté, alors il mérite d'être versé au patrimoine intangible de l'Humanité... c'est vrai que l'UNESCO l'a déjà fait pour d'autres spécialités culinaires!

Ici, on parle d'un produit originaire d'Alsace (France), semble-t-il. On l'appelle le gâteau de l'amitié, non pas parce qu'il a décidé de se taper l'incruste pendant 10 jours dans votre cuisine - que même votre meilleur(e) ami(e) n'oserait pas faire cela!... non, c'est le gâteau de l'amitié car on le chouchoute, on le fait grossir et puis on le partage avec ses potes (qui du coup, vont se retrouver embarqués à leur tour pendant dix jours dans la même aventure!) Bon, vous l'avez compris: Herman c'est spécial. Recommandation: une clé du succès pour réussir son Herman, c'est de le laisser respirer... il ne faut pas l'enfermer dans un bocal hermétiquement clos. Et puis, ne le mettez pas au frigo non plus, il ne s'y plaît pas... j'ai essayé... il arrête de grossir et ce n'est pas le but.

Mesdames et Messieurs, voici l'histoire d'Herman (comme présentée par ma copine Céline)



Herman: A cake of friendship that takes 10 days for preparation

Herman takes some fresh air after its journey

This is about Herman, a recipe given by Céline. It never occured to me that there is such a cake that requires ten days for preparation! What's even more amazing is there are people who happily take ten days to prepare such a cake!!

I thought that it is a sort of “intangible heritage of humanity.” Even if the UNESCO does not declare it, I would endorse my recommendation. It is a cake of friendship from Alsace, France. Is it called the cake of friendship because you need to think of Herman all the time, take care of it for ten days, and then share the Herman dough with your friends? Or maybe, as Herman stays in your kitchen for ten days, it certainly becomes your very good friend! Probably, the former explanation is the right one, as the latter implies that you eat a quarter of your friend in the end. Whatever interpretation can be given, Herman is special. Remember. A key to successful cake baking is respiration: Herman's steady breathing. Also, it needs to stay out of a fridge. I imagine that it is something similar to cheese making in a cave.

Ladies and Gentleman, here is Céline's recipe of THE Herman!

Intergenerational gap — another diversity issue

My 60-year-old Aussie friend has been promising to communicate with me by email for 2 years. Her 20-year-old daughter left home after setting up her Gmail account and no one is around to help her in ‘this seemingly difficult endeavor’ (as she describes it). Last year, she managed to respond to my email twice during the weekend visit of her daughter. Whereas, another Aussie friend (who’s about ten years older than her) emails regularly and doesn’t miss an occasion to send me an electronic card (birthday, Christmas, Easter and Happy Australia Day).

Though the over 59yo men and women are quite diverse, generally, their knowledge is seemingly perceived as obsolete whilst youth is associated with progress and technological know-how. Old and young people have different interest, clothing taste and communication style at any one moment in time, which is described as intergenerational gap.

Generations are grouped by events (e.g. 9/11) and exceptional people (e.g. Steve Jobs) during each period: Baby boomers (1946 – 1964), General Xers (1965 – 1975), Generation Yers (1976 – 1980s), Millennials, Nexters and Me & I Generation (1980s – 1990s up to 2000), Generation Z (after 2000 – also known as Generation Multitasking/Skilling and WWW). The 2008 recession and current economic/financial crises have resulted to and continue to cause youth unemployment and poverty, which has significant consequences. One of these is that young people opt or are forced to live with their parents or relatives– a situation that can have positive impact on intergenerational gap.

Family Procession

Yutakana kurashi

Happy New Year 2012. I would like to start with a happy blog.

Luckily, I was able to take a photo of our elderly neighbor and his three pets: two dogs and one cat. The Yorkshire Terrier is Tania. She was abandoned and terrified when this man found her under a car in our neighborhood. He fed her and took her to a veterinarian for check up and some vaccinations, and adopted Tania two years ago or so. The Retriever is a new family member. Being a puppy, he is quite playful, but he is also gentle. He pays attention to his older master, who walks slowly and laboriously. Also, Tania closely observes him as her master walks and crosses the street. The last one is the carefree cat that is often at the tail end of the queue, but easily catches up with the group. As families do, they take care of one another. Very cute procession.


Strange family




Preventing Crime and Deviance

I hope you had a relaxing, festive season and have started the year 2012 with optimism. I spent the whole week between Christmas and New Year ringing friends and relatives in Oceania and Europe. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to speak with my ex-university classmate because her phone was busy all the time. Later, I found out that she was on holiday overseas and disconnected her phone as a burglary-prevention technique.

Crime is a costly societal problem in terms of: administration of the legal and justice system; costs associated to injuries to victims; and negative consequences on offenders (unemployment, psychiatric) and their families (distress and isolation). In Australia, those who cannot afford legal representation receive legal aid. It costs from $20,000 to $100,000 per year to imprison a person in a developed country – taxpayers’ burden! The sufferings of victims and their loved ones don’t have monetary equivalents.

Cross-cultural Relationships: Intimate and Convenient


Since the publication of my book “Cross-cultural liaison: An Inconvenient Love?” in 2007, four years have been added to my marriage, three mixed couples have joined my friendship list and five of my bilingual colleagues with foreign partners have given birth to healthy, gorgeous boys and girls. So, I thought it was time to revisit the topic.

I wanted to update this book but after speaking to cross-cultural couples and gathering information on the subject, I realised that nothing much has changed. There is still an increasing trend in intercultural marriages, there are happy and not-so-happy stories, and the issues involved are domestically and internationally intertwined. The personal, social, economic, political and legal advantages due to these relationships are sometimes short-lived. There are instances when these are seen as hurdles rather than stepping stones, e.g. foreign spouse’s lack of integration, children’s identity crisis and unjust outcomes resulting from unfortunate situations (i.e. divorce – children may be moved abroad). However, most individuals in this relationship, even those who failed in their marriage, consider cross-cultural liaison strength and not a weakness.





L'homme qui a refusé l'offre d'Areva pour préserver les terres de son clan!

Jeffrey Lee (né en 1971) est le seul membre du clan Djok et le principal dépositaire du gisement d'uranium de Koongarra en Australie. Les terres appartenant au clan sont entourées par le parc national de Kakadu. Jeffrey est devenu célèbre car il a refusé de vendre ses champs de grande valeur à la société française Areva, un géant du marché de l'énergie, qui voulait en extraire environ 14 000 tonnes d'uranium pour une valeur de plus de 5 milliards de dollars (selon wikipedia).

Voici un résumé de ce qu'il dit sur la question:
Si cela avait été mon père ou grand-père, ils auraient pu vendre ces terres car, sans être informés au sujet de la toxicité de l'uranium, ils n'y auraient probablement vu qu'une offre alléchante et l'opportunité d'accéder à plus de confort financier. Je ne suis pas intéressé par l'argent. J'ai un travail pour acheter des vivres. Je peux aller à la pêche et la chasse. Cela est suffisant. Nous ne possédons pas nos champs, mais nous avons une responsabilité envers nos enfants de les préserver et de leur transmettre.

Après ses trois décennies de longues luttes, Jeffrey s'est vu récompensé car le Koongarra a été inscrit au titre de zone classée au patrimoine mondial de Kakadu, le 27 Juin 2011. Cet homme a fait preuve d'une grande sagesse en ne confondant jamais le moyen (l'argent au travers de l'uranium) et la fin (le bien-être)!

Dommage pour vous, Areva!

Kakadu National Park site:

The guy who declined Areva's offers to preserve the fields of his clan!

Jeffrey Lee (born 1971) is the sole member of the Djok clan and the senior custodian of the Koongarra uranium deposit in Australia. The land owned by the clan is surrounded by Kakadu National Park. He has become famous since he did not want to sell the high-valued fields to the French energy giant Areva who wanted to extract 14,000 tonnes of uranium worth more than $5 billion (wikipedia).

Here a summary of what he said about the issue:
If it had been my father or grandfather, they may have sold the land since they had been offered many goods and nobody told them about the toxicity of uranium. I am not interested in money. I have a job to buy food. I can go fishing and hunting. That is sufficient. We do not own our fields, but we have a responsibility to our offspring to preserve and pass them on.

After his three-decade-long struggle, Koongarra was inscribed into the Kakadu World Heritage area on 27 June 2011. This wise guy never gets confused a means (money and uranium) with an end (wellbeing)!

Sayonara, Areva!

Kakadu National Park site:

Food For Thought!

For a long time, I debated on the pros and cons of having a website, and this week I succumbed to the temptation and finally finished it last night

My brother-in-law in Australia has just asked me if it's a good time to refinance his loan considering that the global economy is really in a bad shape and interest rate is low. My immediate advice was yes because the European Union is bailing out Greece and the Euro Zone will soon climb back, as in the USA. After I had hung up, I wondered "Are very intelligent people more able to deal with the financial crisis?", a question that became the title of my debut article.

Two weeks ago, my 9.5yo son started junior high while many European pupils resumed schools. According to available statistics, about 2% of high school students are intellectually gifted, and I believe the majority of them are starting university this year (e.g. September in France and October in England). Parenting is not a piece of cake, especially when you're combining it with a paid employment or it involves very intelligent children - why? I discuss this issue in my second article.

For a while now, Italian media materials are saturated with money and sex involving its top politician. Recently, the interview with ex-IMF head attracted most TV viewers in France. Every day, we're informed of our decision makers' failure to uphold society's moral values, so my next article will be on government and leadership. is my first website and I rely on your comments to improve it.

Thank you.
M goi.
Grazie ...

Cross-cultural couples, children and custody

Roland Buerk's article on children, custody and foreign fathers in Japan, which was recently published by BBC News, is an excellent reminder on the need to address globally administrative and legal issues arising from personal misfortunes and family tragedies.

« VIEILLIR AU VILLAGE », des liens qui nous libèrent...

VIEILLIR AU VILLAGE, des liens qui nous libèrent... - Fabiola

par Fabiola De Falco – Présidente Fondatrice de l'association Vieillir au Village

Juin/juillet 2010 - Journée de réflexion publique : Vieillir au Village, des liens qui nous libèrent...
Isolement et dépendance... Qu’est ce que « bien vieillir » ?

Une réunion/réflexion publique : Pour quoi ? Pour qui ?

Pour recueillir « en direct » la parole des habitants qui vieillissent sur notre territoire. Pour traduire au mieux ces paroles en actes, le plus justement possible.

Mais aussi pour sensibiliser les élus, les professionnels du grand âge, les responsables d’associations, etc. à un problème de fond, une problématique qui mérite d’être mise en avant, une question à laquelle nous souhaitons réfléchir publiquement : l’isolement et la dépendance des personnes âgées.

L’association Vieillir au Village est au service des personnes âgées de son territoire depuis une dizaine d’années. Le constat qu’elle réalise et qu'elle souhaite partager en l’inscrivant à l’ordre du jour de la réunion publique du 24 juin 2010 à Roynac est le suivant :

L’isolement (social et/ou affectif) est un facteur qui génère et accélère l’entrée de la personne âgée dans « la dépendance ».

40,000 French/European kids invited to Paris by the Secours Populaire

パリ ― 思い出の夏休み 8月19日

This morning I heard a radio news report (France Info) on the Secours Populaire, a non-governmental non-profit organization.

Today the Secours Populaire will have “a day for those who cannot afford vacation travel” or provide a sort of escape for those kids from low-income families. 40,000 children (3000 out of them from outside France, other EU countries) are invited to Paris to visit the Louvre Museum, the Versailles Castle, and/or the Stade de France (the national stadium of France). Kids of some groups will enjoy treasure hunt and nautical activities on the beach of Paris-Plage. Then, all the kids will be reunited on the Champs de Mars, the vast park at the foot of the Eiffel Tower to have a picnic lunch. There, 200 streets artists will also entertain the children.

What an initiative! What a nice invitation for the kids!


Picture: courtesy of Christophe Eyquem under the Art Libre license

Syndicate content