over The Wall: Palestine.

Beth-49

Often, I meet Israelis, and I ask what do they think of the ‘Wall’. Most of the time, their response is, ‘Oh, the Western Wall?’ Often not knowing about the wall in West Bank, Palestine. This is not to insinuate political sides, however, one would have assumed more awareness from a political structure just a couple hours drive away from the capital. In any case, a wonder to the Wall in West Bank was an added political perspective for travellers…
Continue reading

Education: it is about the Climate.

 

Why the climate?

We sometimes forget that we are part of an environment. That we are nurtured. Our values and concepts are nurtured by our surroundings. Instead of systems that tell us whether we are wrong, it would be most preferable to be shaped rather than told. Curiosity is an engine to achievement. If we stifle curiosity, we create obstacles and personal development. More importantly, creativity and risk taking. Not so much the risk taking against the law, but perhaps against ourselves. The best way to discover oneself is to push oneself beyond their own limits. However, if that is stifled, then we will be unable to truly discover out own potential. So challenge the norm…

A Standardised Society?

Most developed societies have standardisations to measure success or wealth. We are all familiar with the notion that some people like examinations and some fair better with projects and essays. This notion did not formulate out of nowhere. We need to embrace the varying type of people in this world. In this case, we cannot measure ourselves by how well we fair in examinations. If we continue to let standardised tests define our individuality, we will before a standardised society. In some sense we already are, and hence that is why we need need studies in psychology, behaviour and neuroscience, because no matter how unified society is, people are not…

 

Economic thoughts of Argentina.

Looking back at Argentina, reality does not meet statistics. Having traveled through Argentina, it was important to do a ‘map to ground’ comparison. What does this mean? Basically, reading through statistics, articles and most importantly, conversing with the locals about their situation. The statistics of Argentina does not seem to reflect the actually situation on the ground. Although most of my accounts are based on word of mouth, it does not seem so far fetched from the truth….

Taxes, Taxes and Taxes

The most common way for government revenue is also the most outrageous in Argentina. Speaking to an owner at a hostel, she had to pay expensive rents, with 27% income tax for the people that she hires. Not to mention, there is also a tax for the radio! Imagine that! Paying a tax for listening to the radio! The unions are strong in Argentina, constantly ensuring that they are treated appropriately. The cleaners where a special type of vest to indicate that they are cleaners and they get special benefits too.

Corruption at its best?

Renters have to pay landlords, that is not new, but what about the corruption behind that? Speaking to a renter, the landlord wanted to increase rent by 30%, so she got extremely mad as she was barely making ends meet, she organised a meeting with the higher ups, that is, the few people who pretty much owns the entire area. During the meeting, there was no mention of a price increase, so was the landlord just trying to make a quick buck? Probably. All these unsaid stories go on every single day in Argentina, yet the social capital amongst the population is very strong. For example, the ‘MATE’ culture of drinking tea together and sharing!

An airline got nationalised and any new employee must indicate that they would vote for the current Prime Minister of Argentina, Cristina Fernández. This was a common trend in Argentina. On top of this, inflation was recorded around 11% in December 2012. However, on the ground, speaking to people, it has increased by at least 20%. How will the people survive at this rate?

On a whole, Argentinas’ economy was doing well a couple of years ago, however, there is too much volatility and insecurities for businesses to survive, especially the smaller ones. This could cause brain drain and people will leave the country to find areas where they can actually make a living. Furthermore, labour mobility in the region is highly plausible, as the entire region more or less speaks the same language!

Democratic Purity.

Shut down busses, stopped trains and loud pots banging on the street! Protests are a common event in Buenos Aires. On numerous occasions, we would hear loud protesting on the streets during our Spanish classes and pay no attention to it! Is this a form of democracy? Have people so much free time, that they can protest? Unemployment is at 6.7% throughout Argentina. Public sentiment towards politicians in Argentina are not too positive, well, at least from the locals that I have met so far. Is this the reason why people resort to protesting? Perhaps the government allows these demonstrations to make the people feel that they have a ‘fighting chance’? Perhaps this is the basis of democracy? That ‘each vote counts’? So many unanswered questions. Nonetheless, it is always nice to see streets filled with colours and lively people voicing their opinions!

BA-45

Stikes are such a norm in Buenos Aires, that it just comes to the point where people are indifferent to it.

BA-43

No to mention the physical mess that is left after!

BA-44To be honest, it looked like a normal sunday stroll from the people of Buenos AIres!

More Street Shots from Buenos Aires.

BA-1

An accurate reflection of the housing problem in Argentina. There are numerous homeless people and squatting is a common thing in BA too. There is a particular heritage building that has been sealed up, where numerous families are squatting. No politician has done anything to remove the squatters from the building, because none of them wish to answer to the public with regard to the public housing problem.

BA-14

Just some awesome graffiti!

BA-15

Tango anyone?

BA-26

This is the entrance to my spanish school! A great place to learn Spanish! The people there are very friendly and caring!

BA-27

The ‘Subte’, or subway train! Could use a good cleaning in my opinion!

BA-42

The railway station! Have to watch out for your belongings here!

BA-41