Shenzhen village plays host to Hakka descendants – including Jamaican/African Americans | South China Morning Post

Source: https://www.facebook.com/scmp/videos/10155800196534820/

Read: http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/article/2118971/shenzhen-village-plays-host-hakka-descendents-including-jamaican/african

Although finding her Chinese grandfather was Madison’s primary goal, coming to Luo Shui He connects her with relatives from around the world.

“What my mother experienced was, if you get too far away, you don’t know how to get back. My mother didn’t grow up as part of the Lowe family; my grandfather looked for her for the entire 15 years he was in Jamaica until he returned to China, but he couldn’t find her. I think it’s important that all our family members have the opportunity to come back every once in a while. Come back and know that you’re connected, you’re grounded, you’re not floating alone in the world. You’re not lost.”

She says China cannot ignore this growing multi-ethnic diaspora, which challenges the definition of being Chinese. “You cannot tell me that I am not Chinese and you cannot tell me that I’m not Hakka, because I am,” she says.

“So what do you do, China?” she asks. “You need to welcome us. Welcome us as we come home because we are also products of Chinese culture, civilisation, principles, and we have an allegiance to our Chinese ancestry, our heritage. That’s why I want people to come here, to Luo Shui He.”

Questions:

  1. How do you define Chinese / Vietnamese / American etc.?
  2. Imagine this: Your grandparents were from Vietnam but migrated to Australia. You do not speak Vietnamese but English, and enjoy Australian pursuits. How do you define yourself?
  3. In a fast changing world where inter-cultural marriages are on the rise, is it necessary to investigate one’s roots? How closely should customs be followed?
  4. Do intercultural marriages have a positive or negative effect on the world?
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End of Death Robot

(Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuYTfKMveLk)

Read: https://www.cnet.com/news/last-moment-robot-end-of-life-detected/

Chen, an artist, designer, and engineer who just graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with an MFA in Digital + Media, built the machine as one of a series of functional robots capable of reenacting human social behaviors. But just how much can a machine impart comfort and security?

Therapeutic robots have been used with other populations as well, including autistic children. But the idea of what is, in essence, a robot hospice worker, pushes the conceptual boundaries of human-machine interaction to places some people might not be ready to go. Which is precisely what Chen wants to do.

“The device is meant to raise questions,” he says. “The process of dying is probably the most vulnerable moment of a human life, where one seeks the assurance of human connection. In this installation, human presence is replaced with a robot, questioning the quality of intimacy without humanity.”

(Katz, 2012)

Questions:

  1. What do you think is the “right” way to die?
  2. Would you like to be accompanied by a robot as you die? What about your mobile phone?
  3. People subcontract out many manual jobs – for example, there are domestic servants to do housework, nannies to look after babies, tutors to teach children. Have human beings become disconnected from each other that even death becomes a detached affair?

How This Town Produces No Trash

(Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eym10GGidQU)

Read: http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/2072602/japans-zero-waste-town-so-good-recycling-it-attracting-foreign (Asian slant)

https://www.citylab.com/equity/2015/12/let-this-japanese-town-show-you-how-zero-waste-is-done/419706/ (American slant)

It may seem like an overkill, but the small Japanese town, with a population of just over 1,700, is on a mission to become the country’s first ‘zero-waste’ community by 2020. And, they’re almost there. According to the video, Kamikatsu already recycles about 80 percent of its trash, with the last 20 percent going into a landfill. That progress is 12 years in the making. In 2003, Kamikatsu declared its zero-waste ambition after the town gave up the practice of dumping trash into an open fire for fear of endangering both the environment and the population.

There are no garbage trucks, so each resident has to wash, sort, and bring their trash to the recycling center—which residents admit took some time getting used to. A worker oversees the sorting process at the center, making sure trash goes into the right bins. Some used items are taken to businesses to be resold or repurposed into clothing, toys, and accessories.

(Poon, 2015)

Questions:

  1. Is it important to recycle or reduce waste? Why, or why not?
  2. Would this recycling system work in your hometown? Why, or why not?
  3. In order for it to work, what must be done?
  4. What are the effects of videos like this?
  5. What are the effects of more people watching videos like this?
  6. What are the effects of more people going to Kamikatsu?

Malawi’s fearsome chief, terminator of child marriages | Al Jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/03/malawi-fearsome-chief-terminator-child-marriages-160316081809603.html

Slightly personal take on the issue; some gory details of what the customs entail.

She was shocked when she saw girls as young as 12 with babies and teenaged husbands, and was soon ordering the people to give up their ways

“I told them: ‘Whether you like it or not, I want these marriages to be terminated.'”

A 2012 United Nations survey found that more than half of Malawi’s girls were married before the age of 18. It ranked Malawi 8th out of 20 countries thought to have the highest child-marriage rates in the world.

Last year, Malawi’s parliament passed a law forbidding marriage before the age of 18. But under customary law of the traditional authorities, and the constitution, Malawian children can still marry with parental consent.

On the human development index, Malawi is considered as one of the world’s poorest places, ranking 160th out of 182 nations. Early marriage is more common in rural areas, where parents are eager to get girls out of the house to ease their financial burden.

Emilida Misomali is part of a mothers group in the village of Chimoya, in Dedza district. They warn parents about the long-term ills of early marriage and childbirth, but say it falls on deaf ears.

Many parents did not want to hear Kachindamoto’s pleas to keep their girls in school, or her assurances that an educated girl would bring them a greater fortune.

The common response was that she had no right to overturn tradition, nor, as the mother of five boys, to lecture others on the upbringing of girls.

Realising that she couldn’t change the traditionally set mentality of parents, Kachindamoto instead changed the law.

She got her 50 sub-chiefs to sign an agreement to abolish early marriage under customary law, and annul any existing unions in her area of authority.

When she learned that child marriages were still taking place in some areas, she fired four male chiefs responsible for these areas. They returned months later to tell her that all marriages had been undone. After sending people to verify this, she hired the chiefs back.

Questions:

  1. What are some bad customs in your culture?
  2. Why are the customs bad?
  3. Who they cause the most problems for?
  4. Why do you think these customs came about?

Nearly 100 Children Were Killed in Aleppo Since Friday | ATTN

http://www.attn.com/stories/11727/nearly-100-children-were-killed-aleppo-since-friday

UNICEF describes the remaining health care system in eastern Aleppo, as “crumbling,” with roughly 30 doctors left, barely any equipment or emergency medicine, and a rising number of trauma cases. Additionally, “a doctor on the ground told UNICEF that children with low chances of survival are too often left to die due to limited capacity and supplies.”

In 2011, the Syrian civil war began when President Bashar Al-Assad violently used force to crush dissent among hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters who took to the streets to demonstrate against civil rights abuses. Since then, violence escalated, sectarian conflict emerged, and rebel brigades were formed to fight government forces, with the governments of Syria, Russia, and the United States all launching air strikes on various rebel forces on the ground, resulting in the death and displacement of thousands of civilians in the process.

Two boys from Syria and Germany break down barriers with friendship | UNICEF

Source: https://youtu.be/XrHHJIQ5fy8

Questions:

  • Is discrimination natural or learnt behaviour?
  • Should countries take in refugees?
  • What is the impact of refugees on the host countries?
  • What can we learn about this friendship?

Beauty Standards | ATTN

Source: https://www.facebook.com/attn/videos/1020470181321774/

“Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies.”

Further reading:

Questions:

  • What is considered beautiful/handsome/good-looking in your city/hometown?
  • Do these standards change? Why do they change?
  • Are there issues with following these standards of beauty?