Category Archives: other

All posts that do not belong in the categories of buddhism or philosophy goes in here. Please check tags for more details about what the post is about.

Determinism and relativity

1.
Think about it. If your language determines your thought entirely then the entire population of speakers of a language would all think in exactly the same way. Variation of thought exist within a language/culture. Otherwise we would not need to vote in elections, have different types of cereal or have genres or music. Relative to other languages your language influences somewhat the range of your thought.

The English grammar distinguishes singular and plural. Arabic grammar distinguishes singular, dual and plural. And Japanese grammar does not distinguish number. By being forced to think about and encode number in English and Arabic, and not needing to encode in Japanese will influence your thinking.

Japanese tend to encode plurals poorly in English as a second language. More than likely, Arabic learners of English will find it easier to produce the grammar for plurality.

2.
Like bat-and-ball sportsmen who tend to pick up other bat-and-ball sports quickly, language learners from related languages also acquire the second language faster. In applied linguistics this is called positive transfer. It makes sense that transfer can be applied to other skills like sport as well. But this does not mean a sportsman cannot become good at a dissimilar sport. If things were (pre)determined then we will never need to try because there is only one outcome – failure. Language learning is partly nature, and partly nurture. Both are necessary. It is not either/or but and.

But history may proof that nature and nurture may be misnomers which have ultimately influenced our way of thinking all along.

Like old friends holding beers

If I have to have a PhD in some topic in order to have the right to say something about it I would have nothing to say. I do not expect that of others either. I am forgiving and I respect those who are also forgiving. In this way we can have an open conversation without fear, like old friends laughing at our similarities, differences, quirks and stupidities over a couple of pints from the cold tap at that dark dank pub on a Friday night and forget we ever had that conversation the next day after the hangover.

Baggage and garbage … rhyme

Like most people I grew up with “baggage”.

My mother used to rave on about the greatness of Chinese culture/civilisation. True there are some things which are admirable about it. But like everything else there are unsavory parts to it as well.

Recent Chinese history is not something I can praise. In fact the opposite. The underhanded way in which China (HK and clampdowns in postcovid) has craved for world domination is ugly. Equally, the West (particularly No. 45) is no better. And Japan has its unseen side (Abe and the Moritomo affair) also.

In short, baggage is not culturally or ethnically based (as if it ever really was). Everybody, and I mean everybody, is trying to force their opinion on to you. We are by nature like this.

So to try to live a life where I do not throw my opinion out there is near impossible. That is why I had chose to be a monk once. We want to escape from it, not be a part of it. The Amish and Luddites have tried. Brazilian tribes to hide in the forests. But in the end, isolation is unattainable or unsustainable. The world is not a series of enclosed bubbles. And if it is, it is as fragile as soap.

For all the baggage we try to throw out and discard it remains like garbage in a landfill.

Avoiding transmission situations and route

‪If #covid19 has asymptomatic transmission then the only thing we can do cut the chance of exposure with masks and general avoidance with people. Respiratory exhalation (talking and singing) seems to increase likelihood of transmission. ‬

Japan is a culture where talking (socialising) seems far lower than the West, and could be one reason for lower transmission rates. Certainly, physical contact is not the cultural norm. I doubt I would physical come into contact more than once a day with people I live or work with. This is a cultural thing not an expression thing. Love or any other expressions of feeling are done in other ways.

Killing two birds with one stone – good ol’ fashion labour

I have been riding a bicycle everyday for about three weeks now. I hadn’t gotten exercise for a couple years and I was getting out of breathe just by climbing two flights of stairs. But now the stairs are easy and my body recovers quickly.

Modern life is the opposite of fitness. Everything is made to make things easier. And for this easiness one has to exercise instead. Is this not double the work. Should not the things we do in life be also pet of your fitness. Should it not require effort so as to help maintain your fitness.

Isn’t doing things the long way really a way to kill two birds with one stone?

It is true though I cannot always do manual labour. White collar work is simply too static that one needs to do exercise outside of the labour. Unless I can incorporate physical work into teaching (without being sued for slavery) I have no choice but to bike.

But biking is not so bad. it is definitely fun. And it is a change in scenery to my indoor existence.

still in the shadows

where is the law
when the law
is standing over you
and standing on you,

that a man can die
for no better reason
than for his colour
simply is unfathomable.

one has to wonder
why so little
has been learnt
all this time,

all these centuries.
how can someone be a threat
when one is cooperative,
patient and forgiving

only to be toyed with
then killed, murdered
as it were
in the darkness

that was apparently
not dark enough
for it to be captured
on film, as if

we do not have enough
evidence already
that racism is still
hiding in the shadows.