Society / Evolution

purchasing power, inflation,...

Passion and hobby aren't the same but both spice life and employment

Being paid for doing something that you enjoy is one of the most satisfying experiences. However, not all jobs offer this opportunity and many people earn a living from performing tasks they are not over the moon with.

Passion often comes up when it comes to job happiness and fulfilment. Being passionate at work enhances the pursuit of excellence and increases commitment and performance. Passion can either flourish, diminish or disappear when put in certain work environments. Employers and companies that provide conducive work milieu and implement management practices that respect, motivate and reward fairly unlock employees’ passion for performing well.

Since not everyone has a passion for their profession, pursuing it outside work can also improve one’s job satisfaction and well-being. Passions are not precisely the same as with hobbies. Passion is doing something you enjoy and have an overwhelming feeling of devotion even when it is difficult and stressful, but the result is worth the effort. Whereas, a hobby is something you do when you have free time, are feeling bored, or want to relax.

Gradual return to normality at work, home, etc.

On June 9, I resumed my face-to-face teaching after three months. Our work venue has been tailored to ensure physical distancing, and we are obliged to wear a face shield. There are arrows directing where to enter and exit; each room has information on the number of people allowed inside and a bottle of gel to hand sanitise. I have four students in an area of 18 square metres that can accommodate 20 people. According to them, my face shield produced echoed sounds. Likewise, I could not hear well what they were saying. With our great sense of humour, we did not notice the time passing by; after an hour and a half of the lesson, the flipchart was filled with nouns, verbs and adjectives.

Confinement and social distancing have resulted in financial hardship, work stress, and relationship difficulties. Many of us have now gone back to our pre-COVID routine; however, there are still millions of people negotiating the transition back to what it used to be the “normal”. Should common areas at home remain as workspaces? How many days per week should employees telework? Should religious service continue in car parks? Are drive-in cinemas a new vogue?

In her article “Life And Work After Covid-19: The Problem With Forecasting A Brighter Future", Josie Cox stated: “Our longing for a pre-pandemic existence (look no further than social media) is hard evidence of the fact that we will most likely revert to old habits and behaviors, both good and bad, when lockdowns are lifted and social distancing called off. We like the comforts and freedom of choice. In the workplace and beyond, we tend to choose a path of least resistance because that’s just the way we’re wired”. (link to the article, seen 16/06/20).

Sommes-nous vraiment prêts à retourner à notre routine ?

eXtinction Rebellion Luxembourg

Avant de retourner à la routine, des débats, discussions et autres examens publics sont nécessaires.

Il était près de 19h15. Nous nous promenions près du pont Adolphe, à mi-chemin entre la gare de Luxembourg et le centre-ville. Nous avons entendu les sirènes des véhicules d'urgence; au moins six camions de pompiers et ambulances se précipitaient vers la gare. Plus tard, nous apprenions qu'un incendie s'était déclaré dans notre voisinage. Toutes sortes d'équipes de professionnels ont agi rapidement pour stopper cet incendie à Luxembourg. Pendant ce temps, de nombreux incendies continuent à ravager l'Amazonie, au Brésil, au beau milieu de cette pandémie:

« la déforestation en Amazonie a atteint un niveau record depuis janvier. Cette déforestation est de 55% supérieure à celle de la même période de 2019. » (source: France Info)

La forêt pluviale amazonienne est populairement appelé le « poumon de la Terre ». Même si cette analogie est incorrecte, sa capacité d'absorption (entre 20 et 25% des émissions de dioxide de carbone planétaires) est loin d'être négligeable. Ironiquement, au même moment, nous subissons le coronavirus qui s'attaque principalement aux poumons. Peut-être, faut-il aussi y voir une métaphore ?

( Lire la suite 。。。)

Pandemic - Personality and Coping Mechanism

Before I get into the subject of my article, I would like to mention that today is a public holiday in more than 80 countries that observe International Worker’s Day or May Day. Here in France, May 1st is known as “Workers Day of International Unity and Solidarity.”

As a freelance English language teacher, my livelihood was destroyed by COVID 19 on March 13. None in my family and social circles have asked me how I have been coping financially. It is most likely because they are concern more about my health than non-existing wealth. As well, money is a pet peeve for many of us.

There have been tens of thousands of deaths around the world, and I do not have words to describe the sorrow of their families and friends. I can only contribute to the discussion about this pandemic’s economic and psychological impacts, as I have lived it.

According to the United Nations (UN), the four sectors that have experienced the most “drastic” effects of the disease are: retail and wholesale (482 million workers); manufacturing (463 million); business services and administration (157 million); and food and accommodation (144 million). I belong to the third group. The UN ILO chief stated these four sectors “add up to 37.5 per cent of global employment, and these are where the ‘sharp end’ of the impact of the pandemic is being felt now (cf ''COVID-19: impact could cause equivalent of 195 million job losses, says ILO chief'' in UN News).

Comment tenir bon durant le confinement ? Notre cas luxembourgeois (3)

Hyowon Chi - musicien professionnel vient jouer sur son balcon

6) Concerts aux balcons

Un jour mon compagnon m’a dit : « Peux-tu entendre de la musique ? Une flûte ». Je n’entendais rien. Mais il a insisté. Alors, je l’ai entendue faiblement et j’ai donc ouvert une fenêtre. Nous avons alors vu quelqu’un jouer de la flûte traversière sur le balcon d’un immeuble tout proche. C'était un voisin qui rétrospectivement s’est avéré être coréen. Par la suite, nous avons constaté que ce petit intermède musical arrivait tous les midis comme une pause dans notre longue journée de confinés en l’égayant d’un moment de réconfort et d’oubli du virus. « Notre » musicien se nomme Hyowon Chi et il est flûtiste professionnel.

Selon Hyowon, au début de l’initiative, il était prévu de jouer en duo avec son amie Hélène (flûtiste à l'OPL) qui habite un autre immeuble juste à côté du nôtre. Tous les jours, de leur balcon respectif, ils auraient joué ensemble mais il s’est avéré impossible d'être synchronisés à cause de la distance. Nous aurions bien eu besoin d’un « petit » Seiji Ozawa dans notre voisinage. Alors, ils ont décidé de jouer tous les jours à midi à tour de rôle. C'est ainsi que leurs concerts de balcon ont commencé depuis le 19 mars quand il faisait encore assez froid.

( Lire la suite 。。。)

Comment tenir bon durant le confinement ? Notre cas luxembourgeois (2)

Résident permanent

2) DIY : Réparer et recycler les choses

Cet objet non identifié a été sauvé par mon compagnon des poubelles de notre immeuble d’où il essayait de s’échapper... je parle bien du petit alien et pas de mon compagnon… :-) Après une bonne séance de nettoyage pour les deux (douche et lavage à la main… je vous laisse deviner qui a pris l’option douche), le nouveau venu est resté assis dans le salon pendant quelques mois en attendant les pièces pour le réparer.

Dans l’intervalle, mon bricoleur a fini de recoudre son sac-à-dos (que le cordonnier refusait de réparer), en utilisant des outils qu’il n’avait encore jamais vus (achetés sur Internet à un prix très modeste : 25 euros) et en apprenant les techniques de couture du cuir grâce à des vidéos trouvées en-ligne. Le sac est à présent plus solide qu’il ne l’a jamais été.

( Lire la suite 。。。)

Comment tenir bon durant le confinement ? Notre cas luxembourgeois (1)

Magnifiques rhododendrons à deux pas en bas de chez moi

Il y a quelques années, alors que je profitais avec mon compagnon du fameux Happy Hour de la Brasserie Alfa, en face de la gare de Luxembourg, deux vétérans américains de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale étaient assis à côté de nous au comptoir. Je suis japonaise, expatriée depuis bien longtemps, et mon partenaire est belge. Ils nous ont raconté leur « pèlerinage des Grandes Guerres » commencé en Normandie, en passant par la Marne et Verdun, et qu’ils poursuivaient vers Bastogne. Avant de les quitter, je leur ai indiqué les endroits à visiter en ville en glissant malicieusement que la brasserie bordait le « quartier chaud », ce à quoi l’un d’eux a lancé d’un ton juvénile « Vous plaisantez ?! Par où y va-t-on ? » et nous nous sommes tous mis à rire.

Oui, nous vivons dans le quartier cosmopolite de la Gare de Luxembourg. Toutes sortes de cultures, langues, nationalités et classes sociales s’y côtoient, y compris des millionnaires, des artisans, des commerçants et d’autres types de travailleurs. On y croise également ceux qui gagnent leur vie par des voies moins louables. Et puis, nous y trouvons aussi nos perles rares. J’y reviendrai dans un de mes prochains billets. Bref, c'est un lieu de vie sociologiquement intéressant.

Dans ce billet, je veux partager avec vous mes astuces pour faire face au confinement sans sombrer dans la morosité, la névrose phobique voire la folie douce. Bien sûr, nous sommes biologiquement câblés pour marcher et, en l’occurrence, se promener en forêt ou faire du sport en plein air est ce qu’il y a de mieux. Mais est-ce envisageable en ce moment ?

( Lire la suite 。。。)

Dancing at home!

This is so cool! soooo Luxembourgish! This nice little song reminds us that we are not “separate islands,” but a part of the larger society! Solidarity!

「コロナウイルスは今やここに」「外に出ないで、家で踊りましょう」「2メール距離をおいて、手洗い励行」「病人、虚弱な人、お年寄り、そして彼らをケアする人たちのことを私は想ってますよ」という手作り感のある連帯のビデオです。ルクセンブルク社会が、一瞥できると思います。

Danzt doheem

Si soten : « O mei, de Virus ass elo hei
a Schutzmoossname gëtt et eng ganz Rei.
Beim Schwätze respektéiert zwee Meter Distanz
a wäsch deng Fanger sou oft s de kanns. »

ルクセンブルクの春陽

Eglise St Jean - Neumunster

目覚めた時に、フランスに住む友人からメッセージがあった。「天災無情、人間互愛。做苦難人的後盾、讓災難的背後仍有溫情、在溫情中看見希望」

さすが台湾の国際人。「コロナ禍を乗り切ろうね」という彼女の温かさが伝わってくる ――――――

13日の金曜日。あわてて美容院に電話をして、髪を短く切ってもらった。その夕方、ベルギーの学校、飲食店、劇場などが一斉封鎖になった。翌日、国境沿いのレストランで美酒美食を堪能した後、15キロほど森の中を歩いた。そして日曜日の深夜、ルクセンブルクでも封鎖措置がはじまった。ベッテル首相が3ヶ月間の非常事態宣言を発表した。つまり夏頃に、非常事態は一旦終息するであろうという見通しが示されたことになる。感染第二・三波が出現すれば、非常事態はさらに延びるだろう。

3月21日現在のルクセンブルクのコロナウイルス感染者数は670人、死者8人。感染者数が一日で40%増加している。政府は急遽、新しく病院を建設することを発表した。あわせて中国政府から約17億円相当のマスクや人工呼吸器などの医療品が、届けられた。

。。。下につづく

Free and agreeable public transport in Luxembourg starting today

All buses, trains and trams are free in Luxembourg starting today, 1 March 2020! As far as I know, it is the only country in the world that has free public transport. It has slightly over 600,000 inhabitants in an area of 2,586 square kilometres. However, about 200,000 people living in France, Belgium and Germany cross the borders every day to work there; and I am one of them.

While the Luxembourgish government saves on the collection of fares and the policing of valid tickets, I have extra euros in my pocket (I only have to pay up to the border as required by the French government). Of course, there are nayers to free public transport, and their reasons include the possibility of degradation of the property and condition of travelling due to rowdy people who are unlikely to be in paid transportation.

During the daily commute by bus from France to Luxembourg and back, it is always the same scenario. Some passengers who get into the bus first, occupy two seats: one for their body and the other for their belongings (e.g., bags, coats, etc.). In the beginning, I thought it was fun observing people walking up and down the aisles trying to find friendly faces to ask for seats. These days, I find this annoying and believe that if passengers want to occupy two seats, they should pay for two tickets and put a note on an unoccupied one with something like “I’ve paid for this seat because I can’t be bothered by your smell, telephone conversations, or light/image from your online activity,” or simply “I don’t like being close with another human being”.

Enforcing civility in cinemas

In December 2019, I went to the cinema in Luxembourg where movies/films are screened in original versions and subtitled in French and/or German. There was still full lighting when I got in, so it was easy to find my allocated seat; but there was already someone on it. I showed politely my G8 ticket to a man in his 50s; to my surprise, he stared at me and said in English, “Is it really important” (it sounded as a cynical remark rather than a question). Yet, I responded politely — “it should be otherwise there would not be such a policy and the cinema attendant would not have asked me where I wanted to sit”. The woman next to him held his hand and leaned her head on his shoulder. I looked at the vacant seat next to him and suggested I could sit there if he removed his belongings (i. e. expensive-looking coat and hat). He shook his head and commented “It’s idiot”. Luckily, it was “It’s” because I do not usually let unreasonable, insensitive statements go by unchallenged.

If they did not move, what would have happened? I like the idea of fairness, justice and respecting policies and regulations; so, I would have gone out and complained to the staff spoiling my and their cinema outing. Is seat allocation in the cinema necessary? If yes, why is there no staff to enforce it? It is quite embarrassing to deal with “it’s my seat” situation.

Deconstructable house and environmentally friendly aircraft

These days I have been overwhelmed by many things: Typhoon Habigis, superstorms, fires in the Amazon, climate emergency, habitat destruction, socio-economic consequences, and many more. These two videos sent by friends are very interesting and uplifting. Watch them when you feel a bit down.

Visit ''Designing for Deconstruction - X-Frame'' nice housing retrofitting

Visit ''Solar Impulse - Around the World to Promote Clean Technologies''

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

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

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.

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