Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Globalization and a little bit of westernization impact on lifestyles around the world today, we need to admit

The intensification of global interconnectedness, means a world full of movement and mixture, contact and linkages, and persistent cultural interaction and exchange is to their advantage. The quick flows of capital, people, goods, images and ideas across the globe. The increased communication, transportation and technology, intensification of the links, modes of interaction and flows that interconnect the world. Interdependency of the global and the local landscape such that, while everyone might continue to live their local lives, their actions made in their local environment have become global events that come back to have an impact on local spaces. The transfer of skills and simple technologies that can be localized and made appropriate make localization a pursuit and hobby. It means that people can enjoy their local villages however remote they may be as long as they are connected and can make cappuccino or engage with friends via twitter or facebook. 


Today, western culture is mentioned in the same breath as say, Asian or African cultures. The frameworks of superiority or inferiority are now incorrect.  It used to be that all values, goods, and cultures came from the United States and European countries and were then passed to everyone else. Now values, goods, and cultures come from all over the world and are shared to any number of countries across the globe. There is an anti-Eurocentric movement from the practices that take European or Western values, concerns, good and culture and place them on other countries located around the globe. “Westernization” does not occur, in the sense that people absorb ideas, values and lifestyles from Western Civilization. People now customize their own ideas, values and lifestyles. The US has China-towns, Japan-towns, St. Patrick’s day, Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King Day, Shabbat, Hanukah (Jewish Holidays and Festivals), to name but a few. Immigrants or other cultures in United States try their best  to assimilate with the American lifestyle in order to provide a better opportunity for their families but for the most part they make their own way of life too as part of self-determination (China Public Holiday Schedule 2016/2017/2018.) .

Globalization has brought a “time-space compression”, meaning the transition between moments and distances between spaces are being shortened and reduced. It currently takes much less time to get tasks done than ever before and geographic distance is no longer an obstacle that must be overcome. Next is, “deterritorialization”, meaning that physical locations no longer matter with respect to cultures and people. Different cultures can now communicate and connect with each other from all different parts of the world like never before. From a social standpoint these two factors contribute to the largest and most important effects of globalization. 

Globalization has completely altered the way in which the world operates. The barriers that once hindered our ability to communicate and interact with people across the world have diminished. Globalization has become ingrained in all fields: business, government, economic, social. equity and extermination of poverty, financial institutions become spokespersons of the financial community. globalization has also opened windows into how hypocritical and inconsiderate some ways of life of the haves are experienced. Through the social media, we have glimpsed into the lives of how the very rich live and how the poor keep on getting poorer. Attempts to explain that inequality and inequity is made in the Globalization and Its Discontents published in 2002 by the 2001 Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz (Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2002). He maintains that the procedures and rhetoric of financial institutions widen the gap between developed and developing, which resulted from undemocratic paternalism and lack of accountability, transparency. Undemocratic paternalism is inflicted through ideology, assuming the model IMF presents is universally applicable. Moreover lack of accountability and transparency is pronounced in unfair trade agenda. The criticism against Stiglitz is that government failures should not necessarily be equated to market failures. Companies with good management have stood longer than some governments. In other words, governments cane challenged or even outcompeted by well managed companies or organizations. Some organizations have incomes far more than the GDPs of certain countries. Wal-Mart Stores. Wal-Mart began as a small discount store in Arkansas in 1962 and in forty-five years the company has grown to the world’s largest retailer and second largest company. It seems almost unfathomable that, in less than fifty years a home-town company could become the world’s second largest corporation only behind Exxon-Mobil.


Millions of people travel internationally (John Yunker. 2014). Europe and Asia represent the largest destination markets overall. Domestic travel is also surging around the world — with more than five million domestic travelers per year.The first things that come to our mind when we think about travelling is relaxing, getting to know other countries and cultures, maybe spending some quality time with our family and friends and escape from our daily life. Due to globalisation travel has changed tremendously over the number of years and created a lot of opportunities and different ways of travelling. Globalisation has impacted travel in such a way that almost everyone in the world is now capable of having differently packaged holidays at least once a year. The packages include: exotic safaris or internal travel to interesting places or community events. Travel  has created a dichotomy of the well traveled and the less traveled. Unfortunately, it tends to relate with the privileged and less privileged. Why it is unfortunate is that such words like primitive are bundled in explanations of certain cultures or people who are different from us. 

The increasing usage of the internet has given us the opportunity to access information much more easily than previous generations. Whilst sources of knowledge were hardly reachable back then, the internet enables fast and easy access to education. Another kind of travelling which gets more and more popular, especially among younger people, is “Adventure Travel”. It includes physical activities, such as biking tours, motor cycling as well as near-natural activities like fishing and snorkelling. Furthermore, adventure vacations may contain cultural shocks, as the so-called “Ghetto Tourism” gets more and more popular. These are trips to impoverished regions where you get to know the downside of the large disparity between rich and poor. We can order for food or sex or book a hotel room using of mobile devices. customers in more developed markets often interact with companies via PC-based websites, customers in emerging markets are more likely to interact via cellular devices. The way data is streaming is making it possible for many to pay what they can afford and in turn there is an increasing likelihood to use mobile apps or websites that stream images or videos. This has also created  a culture of writing about experiences in form of blogs and the accompanying pictures have made some blogs gain bigger readership, likes and follows. 


References: 


China Public Holiday Schedule 2016/2017/2018. Retrieved from: http://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/china-public-holiday.htm, Retrieved on: June 25th 2016.

Jewish Holidays and Festivals. Retrieved from: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/default_cdo/jewish/holidays.htm. Retrieved on: June 25th 2016.


John Yunker. 2014. Globalization Lessons from the Travel Industry. Retrieved from: http://content.lionbridge.com/globalization-lessons-travel-industry-2/. Retrieved on: June 25th 2016.



Joseph E. Stiglitz . 2002. Globalization and Its Discontents. W. W. Norton & Company

The English language, commonwealth, a literate population, a shrunken world and the fact that there will never be another Germany with a Hitler to boot; The Brexitons have it all



"Size of a mother cow's udder, confirms to the calf that there is milk tomorrow and the day after.” This is a saying from the Baganda. The Commonwealth (former colonies and dominions of Britain as well as the US) is a fall back position; a shrunken interconnected world that is accessed by cheaper transport or at one’s mobile device; and no fear of another Germany with a Hitler are a confidence bedrock the Britons have on which a Brexit solidly stands. Complexity is no longer the exotic and has long ceased to be vogue. Inhabitants of Europe and their cultures can be separate while at the same time they can share beliefs, institutions and values. Europe is a common home.  Britons will not lose their European identity. For this was bestowed upon them when they were part of the Roman Empire (Spencer M. Di Scala. 2004)  with Rome as a unifying factor. Identification of Europe was established in many layers beginning with Romans, Latin, monarchies with related bloodlines, christianity/christendom, countering islam and Ottoman Turks in 7th and 8th centuries, common legal and political principles, judicial institutions, monetary system, weighs, measures,  and a similar sophistication as compared to say, the cultures and people of their colonies. They may have exited, but continued diplomatic vigilance, political equilibrium, military preparedness are going to become the new dimensions around which to  organize. This means newer jobs and ways of life. Philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli defined Europe according to the government and political styles of the individual states. There are lessons learnt in his treatise The Prince. Individual liberty, diversity, multiplicity of states are spectacular and both short and long-term. Short and long-term events and tendencies define European History. Britain has a stake in what defines Europe. Britain has its hand in what shaped the world today. It will fall back on its history to shape its destiny with the help of the US. The role of US in Europe is going to increase immensely. The US is going to realize that it can make allies with other countries as strong as the ones it has with Britain.

European Parliament. Source: The Guardian



Britain is thinking of utilizing its historical ties with the commonwealth countries. Market and commonwealth are mentioned in different circles. I recall a radio talk show I was listening to and the presenter touched on Boris Johnson’s comments about Obama (Ashley Cowburn. April 22nd 2016). Boris is said to have remarked: "Because of his grandfather and Kenya and colonialization, I think Obama has a bit of a grudge against this country. His attitude to Britain might be based on his 'part-Kenyan' heritage and dislike of the British Empire,” (Anushka Asthana. April 22nd 2016). Even if this was in a different light, it is still something that will be addressed. Boris will apologize, some political concession will be made ( perhaps the British Commission in Kenya will send funds to that school named after President Obama…well, something or other that politicians will come up with). The UK as we have known it will be different and negotiate differently now around the commonwealth.

The role of US in Europe is going
 to increase immensely. 
The US is going to realize that
 it can make allies 
with other countries as strong
 as the ones it has with Britain.

The Canadian High Commissioner said: ”We have always believed that the Commonwealth has a significant role," he said. "Canada, the relationship, as we all know, is extraordinarily close. We have a unique relationship between us, given our history.” The market for British goods and products (I am sure we are going to see many ‘Made in England’ things again) is the next thing on their mind. Lord Hill, Britain’s EU Commissioner warned of serious consequences from a leave vote as France, Germany and other Eurozone countries moved to gang up on the UK to favour their own financial services industry. He continued to say: “I wanted it to end differently and had hoped that Britain would want to play a role in arguing for an outward-looking, flexible, competitive, free trade Europe. But the British people took a different decision, and that is the way that democracy works,” he continued to say in a statement (Claire Phipps, Ben Quinn and Chris Johnston, June 26th 2016).  

A confidence in the commonwealth as a future market base: the sheer numbers of below 65 year olds who are well educated (Louis Doré. 2016) professional, travel and look at the world using a different lens; and that there will never be Germany with a Hitler anymore are strong motivation for the Britons. All of this in a globalized world. England, Northern Ireland and Wales or Britain( if Scotland is still in) will have to cut their coat according to the global cloth (Sebaspace). The English language as a heritage acts in their favour. Indeed, the Commonwealth is a fall back position; a shrunken interconnected world that is accessed by cheaper transport or at one’s mobile device; and no fear of another Germany with a Hitler to boot are a confidence bedrock the Britons have on which a Brexit solidly stands.



References: 



Ashley Cowburn. April 22nd 2016. Boris Johnson accused of ‘dog whistle racism’ over controversial Barack Obama Kenya remarks. Retrieved from: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-barack-obama-kenya-remarks-accused-dog-whistle-racism-john-mcdonnell-labour-a6996286.html. Retrieved on: June 25th 2016.

Anushka Asthana. April 22nd 2016. London mayor under fire for remark about 'part-Kenyan' Barack Obama. Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/22/boris-johnson-barack-obama-kenyan-eu-referendum. Retrieved on: June 25th 2016. 


Claire Phipps, Ben Quinn and Chris Johnston, June 26th 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2016/jun/25/brexit-live-emergency-meetings-eu-uk-leave-vote. Retrieved on: June 25th 2016.  

Louis Doré. 2016. How old people have screwed over the younger generation - in three charts. Retrieved from: ndy100.independent.co.uk/article/how-old-people-have-screwed-over-the-younger-generationin-three-charts--W1AA_n4nEb?utm_source=indy&utm_medium=top5&utm_campaign=i100. Retrieved on: June 25th 2016. 


Michael Wilkinson. June 26th 2016. EU referendum: Battle to be Brexit Prime Minister heats up as Tory MPs question Boris Johnson's leadership credentials. Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/25/eu-referendum-brexit-prime-minister-tory-mps-boris-johnson-leade/. Retrieved on: June 25th 2016.



Sebaspace. 2016. Brexit: the battle royal for who decides elections is properly joined. Retrieved from: https://sebaspace.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/brexit-the-battle-royal-for-who-decides-elections-is-properly-joined/#comment-4447. Retrieved on June 25th 2016.



Spencer M. Di Scala. 2004. Twentieth Century Europe: Politics, Society, Culture. New York NY 10020. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Alice in Wonderland is a lesson on change in our lives; cue for other cultural heritages to share their Alices!

As a young child, I happened to read the book "Alice's Adventure in Wonderland", a story by Lewis Carroll. I must have read that story so many times. In 2012, I watched the 1951 film: Alice in Wonderland. Today, as I was walking-part-jogging through San Francisco, I saw a poster in which Alice was poised in a karate stance ready to strike at something, at anything (perhaps ready to smash the looking glass and go after the jabberwock) with a sword. I realised Alice in Wonderland keeps adapting with time.

I wondered if this could apply to stories from the African continent.  I could also come up with stories based on African mythology and magic to develop theatrical movies or videogames similar to the ones developed based on Alice's adventure in Wonderland. The father figure will be depicted as any instructive, battle ready, big person in the home or community. The mother figure will have to be a provider and controller. The evil side will be mischievous, cunning and a shape shifter with hands that conjure up anything. The good side will be vocal, always pleading, swift on feet, with powers to counter trouble or mischief and showing up wherever there is mischief. All forms of nature will have an animate side too and will have father, mother, mischief and controller dimensions as well with powers to shift into anything.

In reading the stories to our children, father or mothers are both showing their presence and exuding a sense of security for the child or children listening to the read story.  These voice-based securities increase the bonding in families. Children who grow up in such settings with stronger bonds to each other in the families, are confident. The children understand what roles are in life and how these roles influence relations at home and the wider community. The interaction with animals creates a zoophilia in children. Also the different aspects and experiences Alice goes through provide familiarity to changes in life. So, routine, regularity and newer experiences become familiar things.

Alice attains super human powers and abilities in the story. The power to be comprehended by animals, the power for her to understand animals, the ability for animals to hold courts, the 'trans animale' one experiences from a minimal Alice to a maximum one is implanted in our children that there aspects that change within us, on our bodies and outside. That change exists within and outside. This sets the stage to embracing the world outside their home. Children grow up knowing that it is inevitable some challenges come but facing them is the way to go. They develop relationships much more easily. If I were to write a story like Lewis Carroll or Brothers Grimm, I would first have as my title: Anansi in Gondwanaland!


Alice in wonderland. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Looking through the glass. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Alice about to be hired. Source: Wikimedia Commons

A grin without a cat. Source: Wikimedia Commons

White Rabbit. Source: Wikipedia

Tea Party. Source: Wikipedia

Alice in Wonderland