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Social Media: Facebook, Linkedin

My FB account was hacked; Not Linkedin

A fortnight ago, I received a message from an acquaintance saying he believed my Facebook account was hacked. There’s no compromising information in it, but I had to react quickly to make sure that this wouldn’t have consequences on my contacts. I changed my password right away and posted a warning.

It was one of the “why me” moments. I should have paid attention to the red flags. Last February, I tried to open the message sent via Messenger by an American writing pal. It looked encrypted/coded, similar to the one sent by someone pretending to be me. I did tell him that I couldn’t open it, but he didn’t reply. I should have changed my password right away.

I had the same password for many years – too lazy to change it and thought I was a small, non-attention grabbing fish.

If you notice that a message has been sent that you didn’t write, you have been hacked. I’ve heard stories of hackers changing people’s email addresses, passwords, or birthdays.

Multidisciplinary Workplace

My Aussie relative, a business and marketing professional by training and experience, asked recently my significant other how he could succeed in his new job working with engineers. As an engineer, he answered: “Those who have chosen technical studies/professions are more project/object-oriented than those who work in the arts/humanities/social/business fields. Often, but not always, technical people are not at ease communicating, are more or less introverted, and do not like human interaction too much. But, one should not generalise”. He advised him to “get quickly to speed on technical knowledge because “E/engineers” do not like to waste their time with those who are unfamiliar with what they do.

Is it true that engineers are experts in their field of interest, and that’s it? Articles on this subject agree with my significant other. They are good critical thinkers but often lack communication and interpersonal skills, which are generally possessed by those in the social sciences. It’s not their fault; it can be attributed to the lack of importance given to these soft skills during their engineering education. So, what will you do if you belong to the humanities/social science domain and have to work with th ose in the other group or vice versa?

Does the stereotyping of professions help?

Masks Mia, Here We Go Again! - Worse Before Better

In March 2020, I thought the pandemic would be less threatening by August; it wasn’t so, and we had to cancel our summer holiday. In November, I was sure we could spend Christmas with our sons in England; it did not happen. In December, I thought 2021 would be pandemic-free due to the rolling out of vaccines in Europe and some countries; wrong! Then, came the British, South African and Brazilian variants. Here in France, the 6 PM – 6 AM curfew was not adequate to stop the infection figures from climbing; so, the Government decided to close its borders for non-EU travellers. It’s impossible for my Aussie friends to visit me, and it’s unlikely that I’ll be Down Under for my sister’s 60th birthday.

I used to associate relaxation with watching TV and movies, reading and browsing online. Currently, these are not enough to chill me out. With limited human interaction, I have incorporated routines that make me jump and sweat in front of my screen (either TV or computer) alone. These passive and active activities disconnect me from my teaching (which has shrunk significantly since March 2020) and house chores, which is known as psychological detachment.

ソーシャル・ジレンマ

ケンブリッジ・アナリティカがニュースになる、4〜5年前のことだったと思う。フェイスブックから、その人の年齢・性別・性格・趣味・食べ物の好み・政治的価値観など、諸々の個人情報をみいだすケンブリッジ大学の研究について知る機会があった。AI研究が発達し、犯罪防止につながればと願った。当時、個々の心理的属性の情報が、まさか米大統領選やBrexitの国民投票に利用されようとは思わなかった。

(離脱キャンペーンでは、Brexit に反対すること自体が愛国心に欠ける「非国民」のように言いはやされ、「頭」でなく「肚」の根拠なき心配に訴えるような流布がなされた。また「英国人」という、単一のアイデンティティに訴えかけたことも興味深い。)

その後スノーデン氏がNSAの情報収集を告発したときは、「やはり」という印象で驚かなかった。あれから監視資本主義はさらに進んだ。

。。。下につづく

Giving and Receiving

How was your holiday? Ours what unusual and unexpected. We planned to spend Christmas in London, where our first son lives. In mid-December, London was on tier/level 4 lockdown (residents were strictly housebound); therefore, we thought of taking the train or bus to Oxford where it was level 2 (restaurants and shops were opened). We would then meet up with our second son, who lives in Canley in the southwest of Coventry near Warwick University. It was a blessing in disguise that our flight was cancelled the night before our scheduled departure because the next day the British Government included Oxford on its tier 4 list. We would have been stuck in London quarantined in a low-budget hotel without the certainty of returning to France by the first week of January 2021. Instead, we had a virtual family Christmas party on the 25th with carols and quizzes.

We’re still in the period of giving and receiving gifts. So far, what have you given and/or received?

My husband is a football enthusiast and enjoys watching the English Premier and European League; a ticket to one of their matches would have been an easy choice. As sports were televised only due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was more realistic to accompany him in our attic and watch from our bedroom’s skylight the pigeons compete over grains and worms.

Super recipes for closing 2020

Artistic photo of all the ingredient of the yummy ketchup of the Chef of Hostellerie Stafelter located in Walferdange (Luxembourg)

First, here is our Michelin chef’s ketchup recipe.

We went to my favorite restaurant in Luxembourg sometime between the first and second lockdown.  We were happiest (at least I am) when we were there.  I said to a waitress, “Super! C’était parfait!  Please give the chef our compliments on the wonderful meal!  I wish I had a recipe for this ketchup.”

Lo and behold, this note of ingredients was given via the waitress woman.  I guess the chef saw all the clean dishes after we ate with gusto.  We cleaned all the serving dishes — clean enough so that they could have returned them to their cupboard directly!

Read more 。。。

Inaction is aiding and abetting society’s ills

It’s the second lockdown in some places. In my city in the north of France that shares borders with Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg, the streets are almost empty. Although the authorities allowed shops to reopen three days ago, local businesses find customers hard to come by. Residents who go out for work reasons are at home before dusk. Hence, I was not surprised when I read that the number of reported street crimes has declined.

Meanwhile, we know that every crisis provides an opportunity for people to be resourceful; as well, not all crimes happen in the streets. Since the first lockdown in March, there have been reports on the rise in domestic violence, sale of fake medicine and treatment, consumption of exorbitant coronavirus-recommended cleaning and health products, and solicitation of donations for charities that either do not exist or do not deliver what they promise.

Recently, I heard about the UK’s COVID Fraud Hotline (0800 587 5030) encouraging people to phone anonymously and free of charge any suspected fraudulent activity. If you knew someone who has been claiming support illegally or abusing government schemes, would you call the hotline? It takes a long time for fraud to be discovered, and governments need a helping hand. Should we extend this to them?

欧州にて — 学術会議をめぐる雑感

Symbol of the oldest university in the world in Bologna

大学を英語でa university と言います。これはラテン語の universitas に由来し、“a whole” を指します。つまり総べてひっくるめて“all-inclusive” の総合知の学舎を「大学」と呼びます。(ウイキペディアにも載ってますよ)「大学」には「学問の自由」が不可欠で、ここ900年ほどの伝統です。今回の日本学術会議会員候補6人の任命拒否・人事介入問題で、現政権はそういった「広い視野」に乏しいということが明らかになった気がします。

未来志向なら、科学的知見は政策決定に無くてはならないものです。リベラルな知識人の研究は、警察国家への歯止めにもなることでしょう。

予算委員会質疑を見ていると、政治家にかかわらず、「民主的に」熟議することに苦手な日本人が多いという印象があります。さらに「リーダー」と「マネージャー」が混同されているようにも思います。日本の「指導者」と言われる人には、実は単なる「マネージャー」が多い。彼らはトップダウンで「上(ワシントン)」や横から言われた仕事をするだけで、指導者の資質である長期的ビジョンや人を惹きつける温もりやカリスマに欠けていそう。非を認めて謝るのも、リーダーの度量だと思いますよ〜。(米国憲法修正第1条は、表現の自由ですよ)

Meanings are in people, not in words?

With globalisation and digitalisation, employees of one organisation often come from many places and cultures. They can have the same mentality driven by their company’s goals and values; however, not all of them automatically think, communicate and behave in the same manner due to such diversity.

Culture is knowledge and characteristics of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, arts, music, cuisine, and social habits. Although language is often the least difficult issue to confront, it can be a source of misunderstanding and unpleasantness at work.

What and how we speak are developed through cultural values and norms we learn directly and indirectly, which is called socialisation. In my recent English language class, a Polish student mentioned that for them “collaboration” is a negative word, i.e. siding with the Nazis – “the collaborators”. So, I suggested the use of “cooperation” or “working with” to avoid offending them.

要警戒 「ベーシック・インカム論」

Poverty - Begging elder - credit: FGTB.be ACCG.be

コロナウイルス第二波の影響は、専門家たちの予想以上に大きいのではないでしょうか。この緊急対策としてベーシック・インカム論がぶり返し、フィンランドや、オランダ、イタリア、ドイツなどの国々や限定地域で行われてきたベーシック・インカム (BI) 制度を導入する社会実験が、より現実味をおびてきました。

そんな折、日本でも竹中平蔵さんが月7万円のベーシック・インカム論を紹介したようです。これは危ないとすぐに感じました。それにしても、ベーシック・インカムや社会的共通資本や福祉について常々考える人たちがいる世の中で、常に自分の儲けを追い求める人たちもいるのだなあと感心しています。それを証するように、世界の大富豪たちの所得はコロナ禍で飛躍的に伸びているではありませんか。

この分野の専門家でロンドン大学教授・経済学者のガイ・スタンディング (Guy Standing ) は、年齢や性別、婚姻状態、就労状態、就労歴などに関係なく、すべての個人に一律で最低限の生活費を支給する制度をユニバーサル・ベーシック・インカムと定義しています。

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Death from or death with?

A fortnight ago, I read Marc Trabsky and Courtney Hempton’s article entitled “Died from or died with COVID-19? We need a transparent approach to counting coronavirus deaths” (The Conversation). As an English language teacher for adults, I am used to answering questions on the sameness and differences in the meanings of words and phrases (e.g., work for/work with, look forward to/looking forward to, mandatory/compulsory, lease/rent, complete and finish, so forth). So, when I see articles on coronavirus, I think of the possible confusion due to the use of ‘from’ and ‘with’.

Trabsky and Hempton explained, “Clarifying what’s being counted as a COVID-19 death is necessary for understanding the impact of the virus, and for informing public health and clinical responses to the pandemic.” In short, death from COVID-19. They further stated: “If we know who is susceptible to dying with COVID-19 because of pre-existing conditions, public health responses could more effectively target and protect potentially vulnerable people and communities”.

One of the dictionary definitions of ‘from’ is to indicate an agent cause or source; for example, I have received a motivating note from our supervisor. Whereas, ‘with’ denotes accompaniment, addition, combination, or presence; for example, I will accept the contract with two conditions. Hence, in the case of COVID-19 pandemic, who is/are responsible for the lumping of statistics that makes it confusing or difficult for the public to understand its real impact? Is it the reporters, medical practitioners, governments, or organisations or individuals with vested interests?

Ethnic and race profiling, unconscious bias

On 29 July 2020, while promenading, my son and I were stopped by French Police asking for our IDs. Unlike in Australia and other western countries, in France, we are legally obliged to show our photo identification if we are stopped and asked to by a police officer. This is called the identity check “Contrôle d’Identité”. Pretending to be having a conversation with my son, I commented in English: “ethnic profiling”, “why us”, and “I wonder what criteria they use to decide who to stop”. I was hoping they would understand what I was saying; after all, English is taught widely in elementary, secondary and tertiary institutions in France.

Ethnic or racial profiling is the act of suspecting or targeting a person based on assumed characteristics or behaviour of a particular ethnic or racial group rather than on individual suspicion. I’m a Filipino-born Aussie and have a typical south-east Asian appearance. My 18-year-old son is 178 cm tall and has physical similarities with his white French-Australian father. They probably thought we were not together because I was some steps behind him trying to fix my hat while picking up my mask. Whereas, my son was in a hurry to avoid the soaring heat and was already under a shrub. When I called him back and he turned around, there was a change on the face of one of the police officers. His eyes became amiable, and he handed back my ID. At least we were not searched during this “contrôle”. We had our identification cards with us; otherwise, they could have taken us to a police station to establish our identity (“vérification d’identité”).

2020年 夏の雑感

Flower on the Corniche - the Balcony of Luxembourg-city

ルクセンブルクの封鎖措置は近隣国と比べると、ゆるいものでした。ここは森の国なので、存分、森林浴をして春を乗りこえました。一方、フランスやベルギーでは外出時間や距離がきびしく制限されていて、友人たちはとても辛そうでした。ドイツも似たりよったりでしょうね (ドイツの友人とは、コロナ以外の話しかしなかった)。

EUには国境表示があまりないので、森の中でフランスと知らずに歩み入って罰金切符をもらった人や、いつものように卵を買いに道を渡ったら、ベルギー側で潜んでいた警官から400ユーロの罰金を取りたてられた人もいたようでした。4ユーロの卵が400ユーロになる理不尽。人を罰することが目的化したような、フランスとベルギーの春でした。コロナでEUのもろさが表面化した気がします。

それでもルクセンブルクでは、まず一人につきマスクが5枚、その後しばらくして50枚配布されました。マスク配布は即効でした。真夏なのに道をゆく人たちは、おおかたの人たちがマスクをつけています。中にはアゴや手首や上腕にしたり、もちろんホームレスの人たちもマスクを装着。

。。。下につづく

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