Multiculturalism…?

As an organization dedicated to multicultural understanding and… wait…

“What do you mean by ‘multicultural’?” One might ask.

Although the answer might seem intuitive to many, this self-explicable yet obscure word has caused some good deal of controversy in Great Britain.

Mr. David Cameron, the current Prime Minister of United Kingdom, gave a speech that explains how the doctrine of multiculturalism is, to some extent, backfiring in England. “The doctrine of state multiculturalism encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream,” boldly claimed the Prime Minister.

Rather than dismissing the statement as a blasphemy against cultural appreciation, I feel the need to stop and mull over it. Partially because what Mr. Cameron said might not be entirely wrong.

While the way our society embraces many different cultures is definitely a progress compared to a century ago, I have a vibe (and my vibes are surprisingly not-so-egregious). A part of me tells me that we haven’t advanced much to the ultimate goal of genuine multicultural understanding. In other words, this acceptance of all culture might have ironically created an implicit, less conspicuous rift between people of different views and cultures.

For instance, we often times encounter situations where we meet someone and are so taken aback at how different his view on something is to ours. Instead of outwardly expressing contempt, which is terrible, we have learned to silently dismiss him, telling ourselves that “people have different view points and cultures”ultimately ostracizing him, and grouping him with people who share his viewpoint.

That last phrase is an inclusive one we employ when emphasizing understanding others’ opinions.

I ask myself, and I pose this question to you, “do you think our attitude of ‘accepting’ all cultures as unique and special could have further alienated ourselves from others?

 

 

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Wisdom from India

Growing up, reading folk stories used to be my favorite pastime. I would grab as many folk tale books my hands would allow me and sit down on the ground, leaning my back against my little bookshelf. With the book perched on my knees, I would immerse myself in the world of folktales from all over the world. Some of my favorite used to be “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “Jaringobee” a Korean folktale.

As a tribute to this passion for folk stories, here’s one called “The Foolish Lion and the Clever Rabbit,” hailing all the way from India.

 

Once upon a time, there lived a cruel lion by the name of Bhasuraka, in a dense forest. He was very powerful, ferocious and arrogant. He used to kill the animals of the forest to gratify his hunger. The fierce appetite of the lion began to worry the animals of the forest. They worried that after sometime, none of the animals would be left alive. They discussed this problem among themselves and came upon the decision to hold a meeting with the lion. They wanted to arrive on a friendly settlement with the lion and put an end to the problem.

To carry out the plan, all the animals of the forest gathered under a big tree. They invited the King Lion to attend the meeting. In the meeting, the squirrel, the representative of the animals said,” Your Majesty, it is our happiness, that we have you as our king. We are all the more happy that you are attending this meeting”. The King lion thanked them and replied, “What is the matter? Why have  we gathered here?”

All the animals started looking at each other. They were recollecting enough courage to start the topic. One of the animals stood up and said, “Sir, it’s natural that you have to kill us to become your food. But, killing more than what is required is not wise. If you go on killing the animals without any purpose, very soon a day will come, when there will be no animal left in the forest.” The king lion roared, “So what do you want?”

One of the animals replied, “Your Majesty, we have already discussed the problem among ourselves and have come upon a solution. We have decided to send one animal daily to your den. You can kill and eat it, the way you like. This will also save you from the trouble of hunting.” The lion replied, “Fine. I agree to this proposal, but make sure that the animal reaches me in time, otherwise, I’ll kill all of you.” The animals agreed to this proposal.

From that day onwards, an animal was sent every day to the lion as a sacrifice. The lion was very happy to have his food right before him without having to go through the trouble of hunting.

One day, it was the rabbit’s turn to go to the lion’s den. This rabbit was old and wise. He didn’t want to go, but the other animals forced him to go. Reluctant to give in to the lion, the rabbit came up with a plan that could save his life and possibly the lives of other animals in the forest. As part of his scheme, he arrived at the lion’s den a little later than when the animals were usually expected.

By the time the rabbit arrived, the lion was furious that his food wasn’t on time. On top of the rabbit’s tardy, the Lion got even more furious when he saw that a  such a small and old rabbit was his meal for the day. The lion was so enraged that he threatened to kill all the animals.

The old rabbit crossed his arms and replied with leisure, “Your Majesty. I am not to be blamed for that. Actually, six rabbits were sent to make your meal, but five of them were killed and devoured by another lion. He also claimed to be the king of the forest. I’ve somehow escaped to reach here safely.”

The king lion growled in great anger and yelled, “Impossible! there cannot be another king of this forest. Tell me. Who is he? I’ll kill him. Take me to the place, where you saw him.”

The intelligent cunningly smiled and led the Lion towards a deep well, filled with water. When they reached the well, the rabbit said, “Well, this is the place where he lives. He might be hiding inside.”

The Lion looked into the well. Mistaking his own reflection as the other lion, he became furious and started growling. In the eyes of the lion, the other Lion was equally angry when in fact, it was only his own image. When he ran out of patience, he finally jumped into the well to kill the other Lion. The Lion darted his head against the hard wall of the well and drowned deep into the well.

The wise rabbit, with a sigh of relief went back to the other animals and told them the entire story. Rejoicing at the death of the brutal lion, all the animals praised the rabbit for his wit. Thus, the jubilant rabbit saved all the animals from the foolishly proud Lion and they all lived happily ever after.

*edited by staff of GOAL. Translated by culturealindia.net

Flirting 101

Every year, hundreds and thousands of desperate teenage boys get lost in their attempt to get a date.

Prom’s approaching very soon and beware guys- you only have a month to get someone to go with you! It’s certainly overwhelming. “What am  I going to say!?” “What am I suppose to do? Kneel down and beg? Act cool and natural? Kiss…?”

Don’t panic though. It seems like the boys on the other side of the world are having just as much  trouble. So steering away from the serious topic for a little bit, let’s be witty and see what Japanese boys do to get their perfect date.

 

West African Exodus in 21st Century

By Uwagboe Ogieva

Emmigration for hope, peace, quality of life and greener pasture.

This documentary shows how mostly west African youth, man and women strive to survive on their journey to escape the misery and destitution in Africa to a place of improved life quality.
This also gives you a clear experience of the popular slogan “See morocco see Spain”. This Documentary was produced for the Spanish audience for general awareness.

Part 3 mostly concentrated on how Africans prepared their journey to the Spanish frontier crossing to the other side (Morocco –Spanish boarder) and how the Spanish police mistreat and abuse these refugees.
Although the documentary was intended for Spanish audience, an English translation will soon be available.

Don’t Cry Me Sudan

by Aaron Choi, staff blogger

Whenever I’m free of the pressure from any impending ‘gradable experiences,’ I usually surf the news to see if there are any worthy happenings in this world to take a glance at. And tragically, majority of these headliners are testimonies of authority corruption or some other forms of moral decay in this crazy society.

This week, however, I ran across a documentary that boldly stood against the odds. How appropriate that I happen to stumble upon this video during a week I spent so fervently lamenting the serious lack of selflessness in our world (woah, I almost sound like Holden Caulfield.)

This 50-minute movie documentary, so to say, is centered on a South Korean doctor/priest named John Lee. As a graduate of a prestigious medical school in Korea, Lee troubled his proud mother when he announced to his family that he was going to relinquish the security of his future to become a Catholic priest and visit Africa. Few years later, he kept his words and for the first time set his feet on the continent of Africa. Having settled in the broken city of Tonz, Sudan, Lee stood aghast at the miserable conditions in which the indigenous people were surviving in. This experience took a toll on Lee’s already radical perspective of the world, and Lee firmly decided to dedicate his life for the people of Tonz (Sounds a lot like Albert Schweitzer, huh? That’s his nickname, in fact).

He started small by becoming familiar with the costumes and traditions of the people. Next thing you know, he was already constructing a hospital in the middle of a barren African savanna. From then ’till his death, Lee literally lived among the Tonz people and offered them 24-hour medical care. He as the only staff and doctor, the hospital was open to any one and in a nation whose people were and still are broken by warfare and malicious diseases, it was a haven and Lee was “an angel.” He refused to turn down patients and once a week set out to seek for the sickest of the sicks in a specially abandoned village (the “Untouchables” if one insists).

He self-taught himself all the different instruments of a musical band and in turn taught these instruments to the youths of Sudan. Before that, Lee constructed a school and a boarding system for the many far-underprivileged students in the village.

I’ve read about many luminaries who gave up their promising careers in order to help the needy (for instance, Dr. Paul Farmer of Haiti and of course Mother Theresa etc.)

Not to discredit the greatness of their work, I was personally touched to know that a person of my nation, of my heritage stepped outside his comfort zone to administer to the needs of others. His passion for the people of Tonz might not have been infectious but it certainly tingled something inside me.

Here’s the week’s food for thought. There are subtitles in English, though not provided by GOAL.

No, not the wand. The Paintbrush!

Let’s be honest. Regardless of our age, we all get hyped when it comes to magic.

Few things in this world are as fascinating as the idea of manipulating the world with supernatural powers (By the way, the last Harry Potter movie is phenomenal. Definitely check it out if you haven’t)

On a more serious note, our Chinese team pulled off an English translation of a traditional Chinese folktale. Focused around a young man who gets hold of a magic paintbrush, the story holds a profound moral lesson.

Although this short story primarily targets children as its audience, it serves as a great reminder in this morally unscrupulous world.

Enjoy! <The story is provided in three other languages( French, Spanish, and Korean) in case you need it>

Sorry. One more. This story’s going to be published in the popular children’s magazine The Skipping Stones in September. This is a premiere, if you will 🙂 so feel privileged.

Now really enjoy!

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The Magic Paintbrush

Once upon a time, a young man named Ma Liang lived in a small village in China. Ma was a hard worker, but he still could not make much money. Everyday, he had to help a rich man named Deng Ding tend his cattle just to get enough to feed his family.

Ma often got bored while watching over the cows. To entertain himself, he would take out his paper and start drawing. He spent his time drawing beautiful pictures of the mountains, the valleys, and the country. With his amazing art, Ma could live with having a boring job.

Once, after another long day of work, Ma walked slowly back to his home after an unusually hard day of work. He went straight to his bed and immediately fell asleep. Soon, however, he had a dream.

In the dream, an old man walked toward Ma on the field where the poor man watched the cattle. He seemed familiar, but Ma was not sure. Looking at Ma, the old man handed him an old paintbrush. He told him, “This is a magic paintbrush. Although it looks old, it can bring whatever you draw to life! I have seen your hard work and your kind heart, so I want you to use this to help your poor neighbors.” Surprised, Ma took the paintbrush from the wise old man. After that, the old man faded away, and Ma woke up with a start. Unsure of what to believe, Ma looked around. On top of his desk, Ma found the same paintbrush the old man gave to him in his dream.

From that day on, he used the paintbrush wherever people needed help. When he saw that the poor farmers had no water to water the fields, he drew a river, and it came to life. The people could now bring water from the river to the field saving them time and energy. When he saw that it was difficult for people to till the hard land, he drew a cow for them, and it also came to life. With the cow, the poor people did not have to tire themselves out so much to till the soil. True to his promise, Ma used his magic paintbrush to help.

Soon, many people in his village found out about the magic paintbrush. When Deng Ding, the rich man for whom Ma tended the cattle, heard about the magic paint brush that turns everything into life, Deng became very curious. Deng was a greedy man, and he wanted to steal the paint brush from the young man. Deng knew that he could make much more money by using the paintbrush’s power, so he sent his servants to Ma’s home and arrested him. After locking Ma up, Deng went to his house and took the paintbrush.

After getting the paintbrush, Deng invited many of his closest friends to come to his home. He wanted to flaunt the power of the paintbrush before them. After standing up in front of the curious crowd, Deng began painting pictures. After he drew a picture of a dog, though, it did not come to life. Surprised, Deng drew a bird. Again, the picture did not come to life. Angry, and a little embarrassed, Deng sent his servants to get Ma and force him to draw with the magic paintbrush.

When the servants came back, they took Ma and threw him in front of Deng. Deng said to him, “I know about the magic of your paintbrush. I have found out that only you can use its powers. If you draw some pictures for me and turn them to life, I will set you free.”

Having worked for Deng for many years, Ma knew that he was a selfish man. He did not want to help him until he came up with an idea. He said to the bad man, “I can help you, but you must keep your part of the deal to set me free. Now, tell me what you want me to draw.”

When Ma said this, Deng became excited and said, “I want a golden mountain. I want to go there to gather gold and get even richer. If you do this, I promise that I will set you free!”

After being untied, Ma walked outside. Instead of drawing a gold mountain, however, the young man drew a sea. Deng became furious and yelled, “Why did you draw a sea? I do not want this. I want a golden mountain. Draw it now or I will arrest you again!”

Faced with this threat, Ma drew the golden mountain in the very middle of the sea. Deng saw this and became very excited. He said, “Draw a ship quickly! I want to go there right now!” Ma quietly drew a big ship. Deng jumped into the ship and called for his friends and family to join him. Together, the bad group sailed onto the island of gold.

When Ma saw that the selfish people had reached the island, he began to draw gigantic waves. He drew them so that they destroyed the ship, leaving Deng and his friends stuck on the island with no way back. Although he knew they couldn’t hear him, he called out, “You caused this to happen! If you had only helped us rather than kidnap me and force me to do what you want, I would have gladly given you some gold. Now, you have been punished to live on that island alone, with more gold than you could ever spend!”

After that, Ma returned to his home, where he continued to help the people of his village whenever they needed it. When he grew old, he passed the paintbrush onto his son, and he passed it to his son. Along with this heirloom, they passed down the legend of the magic paintbrush, keeping it alive and spreading it to the rest of China and beyond.

Click here for the Spanish Translation.

Click here for the original story in Chinese.

Click here for the Korean Translation.

Click here for the French Translation.

The People Who Couldn’t Leave

Like a bully cornering his helpless victim, rages of fire slowly choked the already rundown building. As the fire truck squirts out water in vain, cocktail bottles rained from the sky and lit on fire, doing nothing but helping the fire.

This is just a glimpse of the story of Yongsan Massacre. The Korean team helped translating a human rights documentary regarding the Yongsan Massacre. Titled “The People Who Couldn’t Leave,” this documentary was created by the South Korea Human Rights Coalition, and it featured a controversial human rights incident that happened in 2008. The incident involved tenants who illegally lived in a building in Seoul who were in conflict with a city beautification project. The conflict between the tenants and the city police escalated to a point that involved violence and eventually a fire that killed five of the tenants. The Human Rights Coalition became involved afterwards which sparked the making of the documentary that GOAL helped translate. It was an event that would have otherwise remained obscure had GOAL not joined the effort to spread the word out to the rest of the world.

GOAL is unfortunately not mentioned in the translation credit.