As may be expected of a blog, it is an ongoing affair. For the moment, we publish here three types of texts that suit the definition of a blog.
- in English: texts that Touché and Guy post with a certain regularity at LinkedIn.
- in Portuguese: contributions of Touché to Brasil com Z, a blog by expat Brazilians about the countries they emigrated to. The cooperation stopped some time ago, but Touché's texts are still interesting.
- in Portuguese, Dutch, English and even French: whenever we travel, we send newsletters to friends in several countries. At first, these messages appeared only in Portuguese, later a Dutch version was added, and in 2016 we were crazy enough to add a French and an English newsletter during our stays in New Zealand/Australia and Costa Rica. We will progressively post some of these travelogues, going back in time.
Note: the latest post is at the top. Use the menu at right or scroll down for older messages.
Touché at LinkedIn in 2018-2
After the excitement of Christmas Eve is gone, all the presents were opened and the lights turned off, and everyone had a (hopefully) good night’s sleep, something extraordinary happens: the world is still there, life goes on and dreams are waiting for actions in order to become true!
For many, Christmas has no religious significance, means no particular emotion, nothing special is there to be lived. For those who suffer in places where the official war has destroyed their homes and killed the beloved ones, this date passed as just any other moment while trying and staying alive. For millions of people nothing was there to commemorate because there is no way to celebrate life when you are not really having one. So many children are abandoned on the streets, what fantasy is there for them? These innocents know nothing about the game of power, they just experience being the losers.
Cruel as it is, there are those who benefit from distributing sadness, fear and loneliness. Those anti-Santa Claus do not even need to get out of their comfortable chairs in order to make the nightmare become reality. They do exist like dark phantoms, not to be seen but very much to be feared.
Christmas is over, New Year is coming and Life is here all the time, demanding our generosity, empathy and honest concern so that a new light can shine in the eyes of mankind. Without marketing, discretely and soft, no show-off of false smiles and loose embraces.
People and Nature do not need any fancy anything. Tenderness and warmth, care and protection, these are the real treasures to be brought to all, in all possible ways, be it through silent looks or funny ho ho hos. No matter how, we don’t need to buy anything to be happy. Because peace is free and happiness is not a product to be bought and sold.
Big hit for some time now the expression ‘fake news’ popped up in our life as something surprising and maybe even unprecedented and we all started to use it as a great discovery, finally we have a way to define what is what in the news. We’ve absorbed the fake news idea as something really new and daring, and now it is stated that the existence of fake is mass information is all about.
Well, this is a rather interesting fact in our times, that is, the re-creation of something old and outdated which is spread as never known before and the possibility of having people believe it is new. It should be observed that sometimes we are just talking about remakes and make-ups made from different old concepts.
Because not so long ago the word ‘lie’ was very (un)popular and commonly used to express the misuse of information of any sort. Press, television or just any other means of information transmitted facts as they were – or seemed to be – and it was basically the reader/audience who took the job of determining what was true or not. That meant having at least some opportunity to use critical sense, making comparative analysis, taking part in discussions, any and all attitudes linked to the verb ‘to think’, in order to conclude and take a stand pro or con some speeches.
From the moment when ‘fake news’ appeared on the scene, we seem to have lost some fun, the excitement of playing a bit the detective. Now when we buy a product called news it already comes with a label ‘fake’ hidden somewhere… or we find no label at all. Maybe the news which resists to labels is the only one worth our attention but the possibility still remains of getting to know that it was just fake, and it breaks our motivation and interest to go on reading/listening or whatever.
It seemed easier to get informed when we could describe news at our own discretion: this is true, this is a lie. The truth is, we don’t like fake. And this is no news. Period.
No need to say anything about the importance of internet in our times. After computers invaded enterprises and private homes, internet took hold of practically all of our activities and it is most common to hear older people ask themselves how was it possible to have lived without it. Of course, this question also applies to cars, showers, all sort of house appliances and cell phones - those having practically become an extension of our hands. However, there are still survivors of those times when life was, yes, not only possible but calmer, in a general way of speaking.
But nostalgia does not make the world develop. It is much more positive to stick to reality, try and adjust to modernity and make the best to learn and use new technologies in a creative and positive way because surely there are fantastic inventions which help everyone have more comfort, access to information, better communication and so on. Let’s open our minds and develop talents using the good tools that are now available and affordable for most people. Those who refuse to do so risk to become mummies of our century. They are simply deleted from the memories of others who are using their neurons to absorb new facts and trying to live better as they know more.
There is a great difference between studying History and learning from the past and the refusal to live the present and move on to the future. Maybe this is too obvious but what is obvious for some is not necessarily to others, or not? Maybe this is obvious...
Internet then. Active partner in our daily life. Hard to think of someone who has no idea about what this term means. Its invention modified basic concepts like time and space, and there is no return. Life will never be the same, like it or not. Most like it. Good so, otherwise it feels like fighting against the tsunami.
However, there are gaps that require to be filled and hopefully they will, soon. Because you can find romance via internet, but you can’t hug nor kiss. You can see forests, rivers and mountains, but you can’t smell the wonderful perfumes of nature, nor can you swim, nor can you climb… etc etc. You can talk and discuss whatever, but you miss the charm of doing this in some cozy ambiance.
Also, you can share recipes, you can see pictures and videos that show you how to prepare a delicious dish. Well… that’s one of the pitiful limits of internet: you can’t sense the smell and taste these wonders!!!
Please! can some IT expert be of help??? when will we be able to get some delicious delicacies by internet? One fact is clear: it is not by typing or recording a message. Click click click.
It remains a controversial subject: who invented the airplane? Some immediately answer, The Wright Brothers, of course. Others will answer Santos Dumont, of course. However it should never be forgotten that history of aviation extends for more than 2000 years, if we consider the Chinese kite flying which started long before the years BC. Genius Leonardo da Vinci has ‘flown’ around his dreams by means of sketches made in the 15th century based on this studies about bird flight. Then, in the 18th century, the Montgolfier brothers developed the hydrogen balloons and began manned flights. Ferdinand von Zeppelin engraved his name in History with his famous dirigibles, having the first of those make the first flight on July 2, 1900.
Mankind has always dreamt about flying. There are many legends and stories of men who would strap birdlike wings or other devices to themselves and try to fly by… jumping off a tower or a cliff. Clearly not with very successful results but still valid attempts to make the old dream come true.
Centuries have passed but not the passion for flying. Birds remained a symbol of liberty and humans spent long years observing, studying and… envying them. How wonderful it is to cross long distances just by spreading the wings! What a marvelous sensation of freedom! Time became something different as flying became possible. As modernity appeared on the horizon it introduced the concept of traffic jams, long and tiring journeys by car or train and airplanes were there to save humankind from these inconveniences. Let’s save time, time is money, time is life, etc etc. Long live airplanes!
When commercial flights started to be available they were restricted to very few people who could afford the luxury on board (think about silver cutlery, for example). A real fancy experience, a matter of status, a line drawn between those who have ever travelled by airplane and… the rest, those crawling animals who depended on ground transportation to move around.
Fortunately, the situation changed as time passed, and traveling by airplane became more and more accessible, more ‘democratic’, as prices were affordable and some intelligent entrepreneurs decided to invest in possibilities to have more people using airplanes at lower cost, bearing in mind a simple idea: more travelers, more money. Low cost flights were a predictable stage as the big numbers of people buying tickets compensated very well for the reduction of ticket prices. Some creative ideas were another consequence of the commercial approach: charging for taking sufficient luggage or punishing long-legged people with higher prices to stretch the legs during the flight.
‘Fly and save time’, seemed to be the slogan. Undoubtedly traveling by airplane is faster than riding cars, trains or using a boat.
Ooops… did I hear anybody mention waiting time in airports?
Nobody needs high studies of Pedagogy to understand this: people learn better what they like to study. In other words: motivation is the core factor for development. You can always (try and) oblige your children to sit and study, you can determine specific hours for school homework, you can reward good grades or punish poor ones, but none of these attitudes will determine the effectiveness of the process. We learn from passion much better than from obligation. Why? because we are...human beings.
Maybe in the future there will be a pill or a chip, or anything of the sort, that will make it possible to learn without schools, books, labs, teachers, all that we actually value as ways to learn. Maybe our race is heading to a total non-schooling method where students of something that might sound as ‘history’ will think about our education system as completely absurd, inefficient and stupid. Probably we, people of the 21st century, will be just considered kind of mummified beings who never managed to achieve anything without hard effort. Because they, the brave new kids, will be benefiting from intelligences who invented learning through happiness. Fortunately, the seeds of this new reality are already being planted, even if only in a few remote countries or at unaffordable prices, and still limited to a very small numbers of students. This possibility is already here and now. We just have not yet realized how to make it happen in a broad sense.
Nowadays Finland is one of the countries which scores high on education in the world. Their formula is quite simple: Focus on high quality public schools. Respect and value to teachers, who are paid good salaries and have autonomy to decide on their work. They spend fewer hours at school and use the extra time to build curriculums and assess their students. State requirement and financing for a fifth-year master’s degree in theory and practice at one of the eight state universities. Strong connections between teachers and students. Varied range of subjects offered to students, like music, sports and textile handcrafts besides the traditional courses: English in third grade, Swedish in fourth and biology, geography, history, physics and chemistry by fifth grade. And... great results.
School obligations can be very hard on children! They need time to grow up while experiencing studying and learning as part of their life and development. In Finland children spend many hours playing outside, even in winter. Homework is minimal. It is only after they are 7 that they come in contact with compulsory schooling. There is the general understanding that children need to get ready for it and they are given the time to do so. There are lots of group activities, many of them performed outside the classrooms. Children learn how to socialize and help each other instead of building up a competitive attitude.
In Danmark, the ‘skovbørnehave’ – forest kindergarten – offers young children the opportunity of learning from experience in natural places. Well trained teachers support them on their findings and give them orientation on how to deal with practical challenges like cutting wood to prepare a fire. Children are free to try and develop their natural talents and self-confidence. Working together with others becomes part of their daily routine and leads to a good socialization.
Adolescents have already enough difficulties building up their identities! Supporting and respecting their capacity to decide, certainly helps much more than criticism and punishment. Parents and teachers need to offer them opportunities to trace their ways into heading towards the professional world. A positive word is much more efficient than encyclopedias of reasons to do this or that.
In some countries, there are institutions which aim to open curriculums and freedom of choices for those whose potential requires special conditions and openness to develop their skills and values in order to become creative leaders. In order to build a better world we need creators and responsible entrepreneurs and they arise from education systems which allow them to use their inventiveness and natural talents.
Motivation is the key word for success. You can force someone to some rules regarding studying hours but it is only passion that will transform these lessons into a real instrument for life.
Brief: it is love, not rules, which leads to building a career. There is no such a thing as pretense success.
--You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make it drink--
Maybe we, in the Occidental world, have not yet realized but Asian people sure have: land traffic is killing our possibilities to move around specially when we think of cities. No matter how fast administrators sitting in City Halls try to find a solution, sitting they are and with so much thinking to do they have not had the time to consider this fact. But those who need to use public spaces for their mobility know exactly what it means not to be able to use the basic right granted by the Constitution of Human Rights that is: freedom to go around.
Well, let’s not go (this is about moving, or not?) in the direction to political arguments now, it is no news that moving around is not only a geographical traffic issue… Here the idea is to focus on the possible solutions for the daily lock-outs that are causing so much distress and waste of time (you can also read ‘time is money’) everywhere.
Asian countries, using their ancient wisdom and creativity, have already found a way out. Literally. These are the new one-person vehicles, which are not only space saving but also parking lot free. In some western countries the folding bikes are already in use, and you can see people just assembling/disassembling them to be able to ride. But Asian inventors are already much farther than that! They have created a whole line of transportation means which make it possible to eliminate traffic jams, full streets and the cursed highways which became reasons for ways to get high pressure!!!
The various models invented in Asia allow people to use streets in a fantastic sense: riding on them!!! wow, isn’t that marvelous? You can have different types of folding/portable bikes, tiny cars for disabled people, and even special models that can go up stairs. Top of the line: a special wheel where you can stand on and… fly! This is not a vision of the future. This IS the future. Now.
Attention ladies and gentlemen! Do you have money and don’t know how to make it result in more money? Start building these new vehicles. Are you on education? Start creating schools to offer courses about innovative traffic. Are you a fashion designer? Start thinking about special models for those using new transportation (most models do not protect against rain…). Are you a pilot? Start planning new routes. Traffic experts will be on high demand to make it all work. Air traffic controllers will be needed everywhere!!!
Attention ladies and gentlemen! This is a historical moment, those who do not want to miss the chance to take part in progress should get together and help build this new network. Let’s move. Let’s give our contribution – be it any way we can – to make our dreams come true. Let’s dance.
Life is a dance, we need to move on!!!