Forgetting vs Forgiving

So I read this article, and apparently history isn’t taught well in Japan.

It explains how there’s too little space in history lessons to go through Japan’s role in the world stage and pupils are asked to finish a book in their spare time – my guess is that even the more hardworking pupils will rather focus on anything that’s related to their grades rather than dusty history which seems not to concern them now. I’ve felt that way for quite some time now, since many people from Asia hold a grudge against each another, without being able to explain why. But that’s true for many people my age.

One the one hand it can be a good thing to forget. Hatred for other nations, minorities and genders IS a cultural construct. In my opinion children would ask why someone looks or behaves different instead of bullying them – but that’s what life’s teaching them. We learn to have our biases against other nations – sometimes even about our own (when I think of a Bavarian I have to think of Lederhosen, meat and all that stuff – even though I’m a vegetarian). So actually the sentence

Japanese people often fail to understand why neighbouring countries harbour a grudge over events that happened in the 1930s and 40s.

makes me think that they are innocent as children – not knowing basic parts of their history. Of course, as a German you are constantly reminded of your heritage. But that doesn’t mean I know all the contexts – and I won’t even get started on people who “have a grudge” against Germans or still make Hitler-jokes. How can history lessons fail so much to communicate actual knowledge?

I have felt the same thing in my own curriculum. Of course, there was enough (I mean. ENOUGH) time to explain the rise and fall of the Nazi reign – but only little parts of what I know now are from there. In my high school years I tended to hate history classes. Ever since my interest in politics is higher, I deeply regret all the tests I prepared for half-heartedly.

But where should it come from? Germans can’t vote until they’re 18 – I’ll have the first opportunity for giving my opinion this year’s general election. At the age of 20. My parents do vote – but never tried to actively put me onto any track (which I’m actually thankful for). Of course, there are organizations for young people – but my interest only began with Social Studies – introduced at the age of 16.

I think this is too late. Recent topics, politics that they can read in the newspaper headlines, are the things that get young people hooked for history. Because as nice it may seem to consider historical topics as over and done with – you can’t do politics without knowing about the causes of current conflicts. And only as soon as you understand how past events are still alive in everyday life you can study history for the right reasons.

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Die Parfumabteilung

Friday, Friday, Fly-day.

It’s almost St. Paddy’s, so if course I’m going to Dublin. This is one of my flights where I reached the airport uber-punctual and in a rather crowded time.  (okay, maybe it’s the first time…)

And I began to understand why people hate airports. Here in Birmingham you are forced to go through the duty free store. And the track through the shelves makes you run into the arms of those unfortunate people who have to stand there, smile, and spray you full with their fragrances. I guess they have already been asleep the last times I was here, or I was just to hurried. But now that I’m sitting here, smelling like an American Candy Store and sneezing, I m puzzled. Who invented that job? And who decided that it was a good idea to place them in the middle of my freakin’ way??

Even my huge earphones – normally the perfect weapon against any form of social interaction – couldn’t repel them this time. How do you even get a job like this? “Hello, my skills are waiting for stressed out people and ignoring any attempt of them to friendly avoid me!”

Better not put this on your CV…

I cannot believe

…that people still believe everything they read. Sometimes you can just facepalm over people’s stupidity (not excluding myself). Now that you cannot even trust what companies tell you about their food (shock!) anymore, you should be used to vague facts circulating us everyday.

There are some urban legends or twisted statistics that some people still take serious – or maybe they just don’t think about them.

1.  The radio programme “The War of the Worlds”

In my media studies it is often used as THE example for the power of media. Many people think that the broadcast of this radio play led to a crisis in the population, people panicing because they thought earth was being invaded by Martians. Well, it’s not true.  Some people may have freaked out, but those were probably the back then equivalents of those who also believe in….

2. Scripted Reality Shows

But what’s worse than the people watching those in full gullibility are the ones feeling like Sherlock when “revealing” their speculations: “Well, did you see… (insert any stupid plot or action)…. –  I THINK it’s actually not true what happens on there.”. Applause.

3. If you rip one grey hair out 2 new ones are going to follow

It is just not true. I mean, think about it. You could generate an endless number of hair by doing that.  (Source)

4. Humans are not equal.