Category - Culture

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We Used to Be Just Odd… Now We’re All Sick
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What Do You Do with a Failed State?
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Cultural Collisions

We Used to Be Just Odd… Now We’re All Sick

Once upon a time, long ago, we were all just ordinary people. Well, some of us might have had our quirks and been teased about them, but at least we were accepted as fundamentally sound members of the human family, oddities and all.  This woman was skinny, while that one was fat.  One person in our neighborhood was known as “loopy,” while another had graduated to being outright crazy.  The woman across the street was hot-tempered, as I recall, while her husband was known to have a strong liking for the “sauce.”  There were the moody people, and others who shed tears profusely at any little thing that happened. Then, too, there were also those who were up-tight. Read More

What Do You Do with a Failed State?

First, you find out what the term means.  Unfortunately, the Fund for Peace, an NGO that each year publishes the Index of Failed States, doesn’t seem to offer much help.  It offers a list of symptoms–civil strife, hunger, poor economic performance despite sometimes rich resources, breakdown in government services, widespread corruption, and a steady flow of refugees heading for the border.  But at bottom all these are just consequences of the core problem: a national government that is too weak and ineffective to rule. Read More

Cultural Collisions

The other night I asked one of the men here if he wanted to go with me to see a move that he had mentioned approvingly the week before.  He replied that he didn’t feel in the mood to see a movie tonight. His favorite TV program was on that evening, he was feeling a little tired, and he wasn’t sure that he even wanted to see the movie in the first place.

“Listening to you makes me yearn to be back in the islands,” I told him.  “At least in the islands a person I was inviting to a movie would save face all the way around by making Read More

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