The thing about The Namesake is not that it is a great movie (although most avid movie-goers will be satisfied), but that it treats universal themes with such clarity that anyone who has been through the experience of leaving one’s land should be able to relate, even if not from India. Directed by Mira Nair and with Kal Penn leading a great cast, the movie follows the lives of an Indian couple coming to New York in the 70s and raising children in this context.
I have a number of friends that are second generation to Indian immigrants for which reason I believe my understanding of their culture is above average, but even if that was not the case I’m sure these themes would not be lost on me:
Abandoning the comfort of family life in the quest for better opportunities
Struggling to make a living without help, in a culture where all values are different
All the sacrifices that parents make for the sake of their children. I’ve always said that migration is cruel to our ancestors but selfless to our children.
The agony of loosing loved ones being far away and the constant fight with the irrational thought that [...]
The March/April 2007 issue of Foreign Policy has an article by Harvard Business School professor Pankaj Ghemawat entitled Why the World Isn’t Flat (subscribers only).
Professor Ghemawat main argument is that most proponents of globalization or anti-globalization are wrong: The world is not as globalized as they all want us to think.
the world is not nearly as connected as [they] would have us believe. Despite talk of a new, wired world where information, ideas, money, and people can move around the planet faster than ever before, just a fraction of what we consider globalization actually exists.
And he has the hard data to support his argument:
the total amount of the world’s capital formation that is generated from foreign direct investment (FDI) has been less than 10 percent for the last three years for which data is available (2003-05).
Other indicators of how exagerated globalization is are the levels of migration, telephone calls, private charitable giving, stock investment and trade. They are all around 10%. One particular case where geography and borders should have no effect at all is the web, therefore one could assume that globalization has spread faster in cyberspace.
Yet Web traffic within countries and [...]
Hot Docs, the Canadian International Documentary Festival will be running in Toronto from April 19 to 29. A festival like this one is always a great opportunity to see the world through the eyes of others and discover how no matter how far they are, the themes are recurring and quite familiar. I’ve compiled a list of a few films that should be of interest to the readers of Global Culture:
The Underground Orchestra (Heddy Honigmann, Netherlands):
Beneath the streets of Paris lies a rich and intriguing community of musicians and singers who hail from such far-flung countries as Iran, Algeria, Armenia and Vietnam. [...] Theirs are tales of escape from religious and political persecution.
Read more about Diasporas
McLuhan’s wake (Kevin McMahon, Canada):
McMahon’s key concerns-the relationships between culture, technology, environment and national identity-coalesce in this artful and sophisticated overview of Marshall McLuhan’s background, ideas and insights.
Read more about the evolution of TV
Losers and Winners (Ulrike Franke & Michael Loeken, Germany):
German efficiency and Chinese industriousness pass each other on globalization’s economic ladder in this revealing, candid and wryly humourous look at the efforts of 400 Chinese workers, supervised by 30 German foremen, to cut apart a virtually brand [...]
In the utmost global citizen, I talked about the value of being a global citizen. Now I would like to address what I consider is the single most important mission of this project: building a community of global citizens. Why? It is clear to me that many of the social structures on which the world depends today are evolving to dilute the authority given by traditional institutions that work within the boundaries of any particular nation. We should expect new groups to appear that inherit the role of those institutions but act in a global context. Knowing who are the people better prepared to assume these roles is a valuable task that we must pursue as a society.
I must clarify that I’m not naive to believe that such a community doesn’t exist already. In fact, over the last few months, as part of the process of writing this blog, I’ve come across many virtual communities that cluster individuals with an affinity for global themes.
Migrants: this is an area where I’ve seen a lot of activity. It is only natural for people moving to a foreign country to want to reach out [...]
Onemanbandwidth reports that Dell has plans to market a super cheap computer for countries with massive populations like China, India and Brazil.
Dell‚Äôs ‚ÄúEC280‚Ä≥ model is looking to cash in on volume demand in the world‚Äôs second largest market and beyond. Smart thinking. It is good to see the West adapting to the China market instead of floundering like Google, Yahoo and others have done here using strategies unattractive to the Chinese. The Internet in China may well be the last real entrepreneurial frontier for a while
Back in December in my post d√©j√† vu I speculated that half of the Chinese population would connect to the web, representing 35% of all users. With cheap hardware and creative financing deals the target seems a lot closer.
Of course it will be interesting to see what influence such a large user base will have on the types of applications that become popular. We can’t just assume that the needs of this segment will be the same of the Occidental web user.
Let’s start with a powerful assumption: a panel of experts has used the vast resources of the web to determine who is the utmost global citizen. To keep thinks colorful, we shall call him Phileas Fogg. A British citizen with known addresses in London, San Francisco, Manhattan, Dublin, Tokyo & Istanbul; manages affairs in Buenos Aires, Mexico, Shanghai, Delhi, New South Wales & Oslo; speaks fluent English, French, Spanish & Mandarin; feels just as comfortable drinking his morning coffee at a Paris bistro as bargaining for the best fruit in a street market in Oaxaca. A true global citizen with knowledge of world affairs.
What would be the value of such a character? Are we to assume that the frequent business traveler gains knowledge of how the world operates beyond what can be learned through reference materials? Or that having the opportunity to interact for long periods with the people of a particular city provide a cultural learning beyond that which is acquired by casual tourists? Further to that, is it possible to quantify the value of this cultural baggage? Maybe to the savvy businessman there are plenty of ways to use this [...]
It is too easy to pick on the global warming skeptics that have used crazy arguments such as
the possible detonation, on uninhabited land north of 70¬∞ latitude, say, of a limited number of hydrogen bombs. [...] The presence of those particles would serve to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching most of the Arctic‚Äôs surface. The effect would be to maintain the frigid climate of the region and to prevent the further melting of its ice or, if necessary, to increase the amount of its ice.
So, for once, I’ll admit it was very educative to devote some time to the The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary, now available in YouTube (75min), written and directed by Martin Durkin and produced by Channel 4 (United Kingdom), which presents a very solid set of arguments to counteract the now mainstream believe that global warming is caused by man, preached by Al Gore with his now famous Oscar-winning documentary and supported by the IPCC. The “swindle” documentary presents what seem to be irrefutable facts by some experts in the field:
Prof Tim Ball: “I don’t believe human CO2 is causing that warming”
Prof Nir J. Shaviv: “Natural or Anthropogenic?”
Prof Ian Clark: “if we look [...]