Thursday, 19 April 2007

King for a day

I discovered the ultimate answer to the question: "what law would you make if you were king of the world for a day?"

If I could make one law, this is it: Every high school student is required to spend one year in a different country, on a different continent (in a homestay).

Think about what kind of a young population we'd have if every young person in the country had a year's experience on a different continent, imagine how diverse the viewpoints and thinking styles would be! Imagine how impossible tribalism and bigotry would be to maintain! And I'm not just talking about first world countries -- every country. Wouldn't that be interesting? I like it.

Nothing personal, but the countries that need it most are the isolationist ones: America and Canada are too rarely exposed to a REAL paradigm shift in cultures. Island nations like Japan and England could benefit. Korea would benefit (Korea is functionally an island right now because North Korea is blocking it off from the mainland, and it's been known as isolationist all through its history: hence the nickname "The Hermit Kingdom"). Even countries like Belgium or Austria, which are surrounded on each side by different cultures and countries, would benefit from a trip to a whole other continent. It would also teach hospitality, and patience in the home countries, as each country played host to students from all over the world, even while it sent its students abroad. Students who travelled to third world countries would see the need, and it would be an immediate, urgent thing, rather than just a theoretical, distant, "Think of the kids in Africa" velleity.

There we go. That's MY way to fix the world. It would take some time to bear fruit, but wouldn't it be interesting to see how it played out?

(PS: velleity is the word of the day. Its definition is "a mere wish, unaccompanied by an effort to obtain it." -- a wish to do something that is not strong enough to take action. "oh. I should work out more often." "I should clean my room." "I should really organize my desk" "It would be nice to travel some time")


Anonymous said...

hi darcy~:) this blog is very interesting for me. i'll visit here and leave my footprint from time to time. (i'm wondering whether you use this kind of expression or not. fyi, 'leave my footprint' means that i write some note on your visitors' book.. it might be also kinds of konglish. :)

i really enjoy getting to know somebody who has different culture. how amazing!

you know, you have talent to make sombody feeling better. that's why i like you and your class.

guess who i am~? ^____^

(if you guess correctly, i'll give you a chance to buy lunch or dinner for me~ no way? my way! merong~!^^)

tamie said...

this is fantastic. it really resonates with me at the moment because, in the aftermath of the west virginia shootings, i've encountered some students here at NAU who act like suffering is a novel news item. like, "hey, did you know, there's suffering? i had no idea!" it is frustrating, to put it mildly. so thanks for your lovely king for the day wish.

Anonymous said...

I like where you're going with that. I'd modify it with a bit more of a "kick to the nuts" culture shock factor:

Every high school student is required to spend one year in a different country, on a different continent, where the primary language spoken is different than that of the student.


DeWitt said...

Glory glory halel...

I have thought this very same thing for years. After I was an exchange student in Sweden I wanted to start a foundation for sending inner-city high school kids from America on foreign exchange programs.

My reason: the over-commercialization of America combined with the isolation makes for people who really truly positively cannot think of anything more important than buying the best brand clothes, having the best brand cell-phones, and getting cable and Tevo. There are far too many people who are enslaved in a grotesque idolatry cult, worshiping professional sports teams and musicians.

I think I would call the foundation Exodus. There are probably fifty foundations called Exodus already, but I would call it Exodus for the obvious analogy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rob,
Thanks for defining velleity, it's not often someone comes up with a word I didn't know.
I like your idea -- four weeks in France wasn't really enough, it took two years in Germany to even start to understand the culture.

elizabeth said...

thanks Rob. i appreciate thinking about what you write... hope this day is a good one for you!

one of my thoughts if i was queen for a day ( : ) ) would be ... what would it be like if one intently sought to love all those they see in a day; saying hi to the lady or man who cleans your office; saying goodmorning; listening to another... it seems that so many live in a fast-paced world and forget to say "hi (other being), you are a person, you deserve acknoweldgement, respect..."

or to say thanks... this would be something i would like to see happen more...

bradj said...

This is probably way more compassionate than my "exile everyone who doesn't think like you" mandate. And seeing as I'm King of the World, that would mean outer space, and new planet colonisation for everyone.

There! I just made the world a more hospitable place for myself, and propelled human ingenuity and progress a couple hundred centuries in one fell swoop. Not bad!

Now for my next kingly edict: I want some ice cream! Slave? I said, ice cream!! Hey, where did everybody go?

Shoot, this whole "being a king for a day" thing really sucks after a while...