Welcome to social-issues.org online community!

This site is welcoming individuals as well as a community from different horizons with various backgrounds, defending diverse points of view, but all having the same desire to share information and knowledge and to start or consolidate collaborations and synergies in the domain of social sciences, philosophy, and policies. The social-issues community is organized around a set of tools to promote:
  • information sharing (blog, news, etc.)
  • communication and public debate (forum, chat, etc.)
  • collaboration (Computer-Assisted Personal Interviews - CAPI, laboratories, "coffee break" place).

プチトマト

Tomato tree in Luxembourg

6月末。ベルギーの家から夫が、トマトの苗木を持ち帰ってきた。30センチ弱、心もとない苗木が3本あった。「これを誰が育てるの?」と思いつつ、とりあえず大きめの鉢に植え替えてベランダに出してみた。

夏の間は毎日水をやり様子を見ていたら、あれよあれよと言う間に大きくなった。成長にあわせて、鉢も大きくしてみた。

それから友人のギドに、手作りの EM (Effective Microorganisms) 入りの小瓶をもらった。この人は週末になると自然保護区のような家に帰り、ドイツで農業実験をしている。

その頃、散歩コースである森で山火事が起きたようで、燃えた木々がそのままに放置されていた。その炭になった部分を少しいただいてきて、それを粉々に砕いて「木酢液」と「テラプレタ」をイメージしながら(あくまでもイメージで、正確なものではない)土に混ぜた。そしてその土に、酸っぱい匂いのするEMも混ぜてみた。

。。。下につづく

Consumer Protection

In my last month’s blog, I mentioned a fun run/walk to raise money for our local cancer foundation. Well, it was a success with over 1,600 participants finishing with gusto under the rain.

My Greek holiday was almost perfect till I got to Luxembourg airport. The airline company concerned emailed me this message: “After having contacted our legal department, we would like to inform you that you do not have the right to mention one of our employees nor our departments nor our Airline in your blog.” I wanted to write about my experience to warn travellers of unforeseen misfortunes, alert them of their rights, and contribute to making our society fairer (not to tarnish this company’s reputation).

Can an experience or true statement be defamatory?

“If a statement is actually true, then it cannot be defamatory”, according to the EU-funded manual on defamation. Freedom of expression is an individual right which is connected to the individual’s freedom of conscience and opinion (Article 19 of the UDHR and the ICCPR, and Article 10 of the ECHR).“

解体可能な家 と 地球に優しい飛行機

今年は5月8日に階段を踏み外して、左足首を捻挫しました。思わぬ所で、毒々しいハーケンクロイツの旗を目のあたりにして、気がついたら足がねじれてました。それから椅子に座ってばかりで、ふと頭をあげれば、すでに秋。昨夜は忽然とクリスマスツリーが広場に立っているのを見てびっくりし、立派なもみの木を見上げていました。

そして机にかじりついていた努力にも関わらず、あまり成果が期待できないことがありました。今週は呼吸も浅く、眠りにつくこともできず、やや落ち込んでいました。そしたら友人たちが優しい言葉を、かけてくれました。ビデオのリンクも添えて送ってくれました。女性はもちろん、男友達もいいものですね。第一のテーマは建築で、第二は飛行・発明です。みなさんも、落ち込んだ時にどうぞ。

***

台風19号の被害状況をニューヨーク・タイムズ紙でみた時、国連の会議で涙ながらに温暖化対策を訴えたフィリピンの政府代表のことを思い出しました。あれから時が経ち、巨大化した台風が日本にも来たのだと思いました。

。。。下につづく

Marathon

Marathon

I’m not a marathon runner but a great fun of it. The farthest I had run was 5 km for Refugee Week in Australia several decades ago. (I did a 10-km walk for our local Cancer Foundation two years ago and will participate in a similar one on October 10). Yet, I went an extra mile visiting Marathon, a quiet town 42 km from Athens in Greece, to see where it all started.

I took a public transport and was glad that the bus stop was only a few steps away from the museum where I enjoyed looking at photographs of amazing marathon winners in many cities of the world, like Boston, London, New York, Paris, Tokyo and, of course, Athens. I had goose pimples (goosebumps) staring at first female and oldest marathoners and the hurdles they overcame to participate. There were medals, trophies, shoes, descriptions of runners and their triumphs. It was Thursday morning and there were only my hubby, me and two Greek women in that historical place full of sporting memories.

ルクセンブルク vs ルクセンブルグ

Wild trees in Schengen

ルクセンブルグでは、ルクセンブルグ語、仏語、独逸語、そして独逸語の手話の4ヶ国語が公用語です。これに、学界では誰もが話す英語も加わります。首都のあるルクセンブルグ市の日常語は仏語で、市からの通知は仏語、そして独逸語(又はルクセンブルグ語)と英語が書きそえられています。雑誌や立て看板などは、ルクセンブルグ語のみの場合も多々あります。集まる人たちによって、話合いの内容によって、地域によって、言語が変わるという柔軟なところがあります。

この間、はたと気がついたのですけど。日本語のウイキペディアには、ルクセンブルでなく、ルクセンブルと表記されているのですね。独逸語では語尾のGが無声音なので、独逸語を得意とする偉い人がルクセンブルクと表記したのが始まりだろうか、と推測したりしています。

まあ、どちらでもいいのでしょうけど。(いずれにせよ。誤訳や誤記を見かけるのは、残念ですが)ベルギーとフランスの公用語としての仏語と英語の音を表記するなら、ルクセンブルグがより近いかと思います。やはり気になるので、上の4ヶ国語がわかる人たちに聞いてみました。生粋の現地人アナとロビーにも聞いてみました。「どっちだと思う?」「グかな」というのが、今のところ6人に聞いた結果です。

。。。下につづく

Lambert Schlechter - one day I will write a poem

Wild flowers in Little Swiss of Luxembourg

Lambert Schlechter is an author, poet, and retired teacher in Luxembourg.

There was a holiday summer event in July. It was a very nice night garden party. I noticed that someone was looking toward us. It was him. (Among nearly 100 people, I was probably the only one from the Far East.)

I was a little tipsy. So, I talked to him in bad Luxembourgish, “What do you do in life?” “I was a school principal,” he answered. “Ah, I thought you are an artist.” “No… maybe, a little. A little.” This was what I understood.

Two months later, I realized that he is a well-known author. After coming back from his daughter’s home, I opened the book ― the book I picked up from her bookshelf: one day I will write a poem (translated from French by Anne-Marie Reuter. Luxembourg: Black Fountain Press, 2018).

To my surprise, I found something very Japanese (Page 71). So, I would like to share his poem with you.

Read more...

"AVERTING SYSTEMIC COLLAPSE"

Jean-Marc Jancovici's speech in Paris – Sept. 17, 2019

"AVERTING SYSTEMIC COLLAPSE"

Professor Jean-Marc Jancovici is a well-known French specialist in climate change. He usually gives talks in French. In this video, he speaks in English.

In my view, he is quite blunt and vastly knowledgeable. Within 15 minutes, he tells lots of jokes with a dry sense of humor. I strongly advise watching this video today (but not before you go to bed!).

Travellers and tourists

Ljubljana as seen by Rolade

I’m writing this while on holiday in Greece; however, it’s not about it but on Ljubljana – the capital of Slovenia.

I know little about eastern and central European countries and their people, so I’ve made it my priority to visit at least one of these places every summer. My last month’s holiday in Ljubljana was relaxing and eye-opening in many ways. Slovenes are friendly and accommodating. The hotel where we stayed didn’t only allow us to use their locker for our bags after we had checked out but offered us unlimited tea. These were the exact words of its male receptionist “You’re still our guests and feel free to use our facilities till you depart from our city”.

I took every opportunity to mingle with the locals and be a traveller rather than as a tourist. The more I learnt about them, the more I became interested in their history and culture and able to empathise with them.

It’s fine to talk about the advantages of international travelling when you have the means to do so; however, for many families this occasion remains a dream. Where’s Ljubljana? Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia in central Europe and has borders with Italy, Hungary, Austria and Croatia. The Roman Empire controlled Slovenia for nearly 1,000 years; most of it was under the Habsburg rule (Austria) in the mid-14th century and 1918. The state of Slovenia was formed in 1945 as part of Yugoslavia; gained its independence in June 1991; and today, it is a member of the European Union and NATO.

Stereotyping

Everyone is vulnerable to stereotyping.

I first came to Europe in 1985 and spent a few days in Innsbruck (Austria), a sunny city 168 kilometres from Salzburg and lies on a high mountain plateau with green alpine meadows and secluded groves. The classic 1964 movie ‘Sound of Music’, which is based on the memoir of Maria Von Trapp starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, made Salzburg famous; and more than 300,000 cine fans come to this place every year to walk into the footsteps of the Von Trapp family.

Last month, after nearly 35 years, I visited Austria again but, this time, I didn’t see rolling hills and didn’t find its inhabitants cold and rigid. Contrary to my subconscious oversimplified image of Austrians, I experienced their friendliness and warmth. They are distinctly different from the Germans in terms of cultures and behaviours though they share the same language. However, it’s true that Vienna is bursting with classical music and schnitzel, and I joined the bandwagon by attending a Vivaldi concert and had a plate of the latter.

The more I travel to different European countries, the more I want to learn their diverse cultures and people and get rid of my stereotypes.

Stereotype is a set idea or opinion that we have about someone or something, which often focuses on the differences between groups rather than their similarities. It causes over-reaction to information that confirms such a stereotype and under-reaction to the one that contradicts it. Psychology research and essays reveal that stereotyping is one way to feel good about ourselves, i.e. we (our group – where we belong) are better than them (the outsiders – those who are not in our group).

山本太郎議員への提言 救国の方法

<貨幣は負債であるを知ることから始まる>

先月、田辺聖子さんが永眠された。「田辺さんの小説に、こんなくだりがある。自分ではどうすることもできない苦境に陥り、人生が行き詰まったかにみえたときでも「神サンはちゃんと、『この道抜けられます』の札を吊(つ)るしておいてくれてる」◆その札の存在を教えてくれるのが、人間の優しさなのだろう。神戸新聞2019・5・25」
(www.kobe-np.co.jp/column/seihei/201905/...)

絶体絶命。もう打つ手がない。という時に、通常では思いつかない型破りな発想をし、すんでのところで危機を回避し、ついには事態を好転させ、もの事を成功に導く人たちがいる。あわやという時には、火事場の馬鹿力で難を逃れることもある。

。。。下につづく

Psychology of feedback

flowers for Rolade

Our highly competitive world requires good and service companies, organisations and employees to improve constantly to stay on the top of their game. Giving feedback, which is information provided regarding aspects of one’s performance or understanding, is part of this “room for improvement” business.

Employees undergo appraisals periodically. Clients and customers have access to online reviews. During a birthday dinner party last June 15, I sat next to a lady who advised me to get into our city government’s website and expose my displeasure with their inaction regarding the pigeons’ invasion of my neighborhood that has caused financial and health anguish.

Since we are all either employees, employers, consumers, clients, or mere citizens, we do give or/and receive feedback regularly. As well, we get and give remarks, comments and advice from our family and friends, which are actually receiving and providing feedback.

Eurovision? Why not “Europe and friends’ musical extravaganza”?

During the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel on 14 May 2019, one of my students asked me what I thought of Australia being in it. When I was still living in Brisbane, I always looked forward to watching it as I found all participants talented; many were creative, and some were outlandish. Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), whose mission is “to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia’s multicultural society”, covers this event every year. After I had said to my student that it should not be in it based on geography, I did some research.

Participation in the Eurovision contest is, firstly, open to those who belong to the 56 member-countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and its 21 associate member-nations. Therefore, participation is not by geography, which makes the title of the event “Eurovision” misleading and susceptible to innuendo. In 2019, 42 countries travelled to Israel and 36 of them performed in the semi-finals to qualify for the finals. Every year, the so-called “Big Five” – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom – are prequalified to take part in the finals.

Earthquake – never thought it’d happen to me

fire after earthquake

I took a 21-hour flight to be at the reunion of my maternal family (Carañgan) in La Castellaña, Philippines. Whilst on stopover in Manila on 22 April 2019 at 5PM, there was an intensity 5 earthquake. I was in a parlor when suddenly the ground trembled and furniture started to shake, then the power went out. The six people in that beauty saloon, which is on the ground floor of a 22-level building, stayed where they were whilst I rushed to the door barefoot and run to the nearby one-level-structure. I was the first person to get out and one of the last to get back as I was worried about aftershocks.

After the earthquake, there was fire two blocks away from where we were. I took this photo from our window.

Aftershocks are tremors that follow the main earthquake. They happen more frequently in the hours and days after an earthquake, but their magnitude and frequency decrease over time. Even though their shaking intensity is relatively small compared with that of the main earthquake, they can destabilise buildings and injure people.

Prenumerera på innehåll