Monday, August 13, 2012


I normally like to take a moment to correct anything from the last update. Usually these corrections come from readers who point out how silly I am trying to write about so many things (but these are really just thoughts in my head). So here are the updates or corrections from last time.

First, my intelligent friend Alex mentioned that he also noticed that British television shows don’t last as long as U.S. American shows. He believes part of that is due to the fact that we pay for a TV license here in order to have television service. I never knew to whom it goes. Alex explained that this annual fee goes to broadcasters and may give them much more financial protection to try out new shows and series. Good point.

The second correction was related to the section called The Town. I worded the section on "The Town" poorly. What my friend, Praj told me is absolutely true and much more nuanced: people have good parts and bad parts (as opposed to Hitler being all bad). I think what I was referring to in that section was contradictory messages. Does Hitler love and care about humanity? In one context, you might say yes (in the magazine article); in another you might say no. Hitler himself would say yes and tried to construct an image of what he wanted the world to see or know (he did the exact same thing at the concentration camp at Theresien in which he invited the world to see what was going on, showing himself as a really great guy who was treating the people there well). So I was (poorly) pointing to the fact that the truth of us in not in our constructed image of ourselves (which does involve actions in order to construct the image) but in our actions outside of the construct.

I am focusing on the phenomenon when your words differ from your deeds. Are you the deeds or the words? Some people would say it’s possible to believe one thing and your actions show another. Instead of being able to believe one thing and do another, I was simply talking about the fact that what you do is not separate from what you believe but what you do is the very thing you believe (the truth lying in your actions). So instead of Hitler’s hate-filled, genocidal actions being different than his love of humanity, I would argue that he did not have a love of humanity which is borne out in his deeds regardless of the image he portrays or the beliefs he says he has (his true beliefs being his actions).

Again, Praj brought up an excellent point saying that he wasn’t sure if some groups pursuing profit is a bad thing (if there are other groups helping people). I tried to be careful with my wording about the job (and at work). I actually wasn't commenting on profit-driven organisations (though I could comment on it). I think my main point, poorly conveyed, was that the role given to me is not what was advertised to me and not what I wanted to do. So if people want to go to India and create a certification programme and call it an educational programme and help upwardly mobile people get jobs when they would be competitive without the presence of the programme, that's fine. And people can make money doing that. What I've tried to communicate at work is that picture/vision is not what I wanted to create/do. It's ok if someone else wants to do that, and I don't begrudge him or her. However, I didn't go to London to only teach Company products (and wasn't told that) or to do the kind of work where we're jumping on moving trains or work that helps grow the GDP and inequality together. It's just not what I wanted, and as other people get to choose what they would like to do, I think I'd like to do something else. I also thought I would be working partly in the philanthropic arm of the company, so it was sad that didn't work out. :-)

The toughest part in such situations is that your opinion is not valued or understood. People think because it’s a for-profit technology company we’re not doing development work. Unfortunately, many groups do development work besides just international and community development organisations. And if we enter into the education field, we’re doing development work. I’ve been told that you don’t sit and force teachers to sit through an entire year of schooling so they learn the material they are going to prepare. This was one of the strangest comments told to me to show why we didn’t need to teach the material to future trainers. What was not understood is that teachers (people who major in a specific academic field or education) [should] already know the material they are to teach; this is why they don’t sit through an entire year of the subject they will teach. When I have had to teach teachers new things like how to incorporate engineering into science curriculum, I have most definitely taught the teachers just as they will teach the students. This type of thing where I’m asked my opinion as the education person but whenever there is a disagreement, my opinion is disregarded or dropped or dismissed—this happens again and again and again. And it has an effect on you even though people expect it to have none.

The last correction or amendment I wanted to make was to the section called Women in the last update.

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