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Cultural Scope

Before we can appreciate another culture, we must first understand our own. Only then, can we see and gain understanding of the differences,” A.M. Bonner.

To better understand your own culture, ask if you value individualism or collectivism. If you live in such countries as the United States, Germany, Ireland, South Africa, or Australia, you probably value individualism. On the other hand, if you live in such countries as Saudi Arabia, Korea, Japan, or Indonesia, you probably value and perceive life from a collective stance.

In the United States, Individualism is the cultural climate. It is a belief that every person is unique and should be for him or herself. Each individual is free to chose his or her own destiny. Children are reared to be independent. The acceptable norm is for young adults to move out of the family home by the age of eighteen or twenty-one. They either go off to university, go into the military, or get a job. Either way, they are to make their own way in life. Technically, their parents are no longer obligated to provide for them because they are deemed “adults.”

The film, Failure to Launch, reinforces the belief of Individualism. In the film, a thirty-something does not want to leave his parents home. He feels very comfortable because his mom cooks and cleans for him, and his dad pays all the bills. So, no responsibility falls on him. Naturally, his parents feel they have done something wrong because he does not want to move out. They find it odd that he’s still living with them because this is not the cultural norm.

In some other cultures, however, that thirty-something would not appear odd for not wanting to leave his parents or family home. It would be the norm for him to stay. In such cultures, a different perception is taken–one of collectivism. In a collective society, such as that of Arabia, children are expected to grow and remain in the family. It is not peculiar for a son to marry, and for he and his wife to share a flat in the family home or compound.

In a collective society, it is no longer about the individual, but rather, the family or the tribe. This type of mindset stems from the need to survive under harsh and perilous conditions. That is, the bigger one’s tribe the better to fend off other rivals, particularly, when food and water are at a prime. In order to survive, the tribe must stick together. Thus, the mentality of “I’m unique; I’m the captain of my fate” could not coincide with making the tribe flourish because each individual would be doing his or her own thing rather than what’s good for the collective whole.

In order to promote the collective whole, all members of the group share a common identity. This can be through language, beliefs, values, and dress. Through the shared identity, a sense of belonging to the group is created. The perception becomes “I am one of you, so what’s good for you is good for me,” so to speak. In feeling that one belongs not only promotes a bond but also loyalty and allegiance.

For instance, in Saudi Arabia, the shared identity is through language–Arabic, religion–Islam, dress, and values. In a theocratic society, that is, a society governed by religion, such as that of Saudi Arabia, Islam shapes the code of living through the Hadites.

A common thread interwoven in Arabian culture is for men to wear a dishdasha (the long, white tunic) and women to wear an abaya (the long, black cloak). As white and black are opposites, and opposites attract, Arab men find the black abaya not only alluring but also a symbol of respect, beauty, and mystique.

In contrast, Individualism encourages one to create one’s own identity and to carve one’s own niche. Thus, no shared identity comes into play, as it does in a collective society. People are free to dress as they like and do what is good for them.


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Rick Steves takes you on a Spring journey through Europe, as he shows you how Easter is celebrated across cultures.


Narrative

Reminiscing

I used to take weekend trips before COVID-19. I would hop in the car and just take off to visit friends in another State. I recall spending a lovely afternoon with a dear friend at a polo match and lazying around at an outdoor cafe sipping Arnold Palmers.

We enjoyed watching the people as they went by, letting the time slip into sunset. Then, we’d get a bite to eat at one of the quaint restaurants that served delicious seafood. And in the evening, we’d have an after dinner drink and dance the night away. Oh, how fun it was!

On another occasion, I went to visit a friend in Virginia who ran a B&B. She and I pleasantly conversed while sipping on a glass of wine from her vineyard. In the late afternoon we would have tea with scones or some banana bread that she baked. Oh, how I missed those days!

Symphonies, Broadway plays, and outdoor concerts seem to be a thing of the past. Just sitting at a Barnes & Noble flipping through a magazine and sipping on a latte is of a time gone by. All I have now are memories and desires for them to return.

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Changing Times

COVID-19 has changed the way we live. We can no longer just go window shopping, bowling, roller skating, or do any of the fun things we used to do. We have to adjust our lives to a serious situation that can weigh on us emotionally and psychologically. Being on lockdown can cause cabin fever, anxiety, and depression. Don’t let COVID-19 dismantle your psyche. Find tranquility amid chaos. Create routines for you and your children. Children in particular become easily bored if not engaged. The following are tips to help you stay safe, cope, and live life.

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What is Your Fashion Sense?

Having fashion sense doesn’t mean following the trend. Rather, it’s knowing what looks good on you. It’s coordinating your clothes to create your bespoke style. Creating your signature look sets you apart from the rest. During competitive times when everyone is out there looking for work, you need to leave an indelible impression. That’s where fashion sense comes in.


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Life Is About Living

It’s Not Always About Work

Life is meant to be lived. It’s too short to work to death. There has to be a balance between work and play in order to keep the body healthy. Taking a holistic approach to living means healing the whole being, that is, mind, body, and soul.

If the mind and soul are plagued with depression, anxiety, and stress, the body will suffer. The immune system weakens and becomes susceptible to invasion. Stress, for instance, can attribute to higher rates of depression and anxiety, according to WebMD.Com. Stress is a real killer and can cause premature aging and even death.

Creating that balance is key to living a long and happy live. But how can that balance be struck? First, rid yourself of negativity and worry. Know that everything works out for the best. Second, bring peace and calmness to your life by taking time to meditate or be close to God.Third, keep the body healthy by exercising and eating from the various food groups. Consuming small meals throughout the day is much better because it keeps the digestive tract working. Socializing is also a key factor in living life holistically. When we are around like mind and spirit, we feel enriched. So, take time to Zoom or Facetime friends and family.

When stressful situations arise, step back and detach. Don’t get entangled or caught up in the moment. Rather, walk away, take a deep breath, and know that destiny will take its course. Infusing your day with an herbal tea break will not only relax you but also provide clarity. Life is meant to be lived … to enjoy the moment … to laugh and love … to create that perfect balance that only a holistic approach can bring.

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The Passing of Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas came way before Michael Douglas. Yet, if you ask a 5th grader who is Kirk Douglas, he would probably say, “Kirk, who?”

To the many youngsters who have never heard of Kirk Douglas, he was one of the great Hollywood actors of the silver screen. Kirk Douglas was born on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York. His parents were Jews who immigrated to the United States from Belarus, Russia. Kirk Douglas grew up, along with his six sisters, speaking Yiddish in the home.

In his 1988 autobiography, The Ragman’s Son, Kirk Douglas shows how proud he is of his achievement from growing up poor to becoming a Hollywood giant. His words are genuine and heartfelt:

My father, who had been a horse trader in Russia, got himself a horse and a small wagon, and became a ragman, buying old rags, pieces of metal, and junk for pennies, nickels, and dimes…. Even on Eagle Street, in the poorest section of town, where all the families were struggling, the ragman was on the lowest rung on the ladder. And I was the ragman’s son.

Such poignant words leave us sad not only for his struggles but also for his passing. In the words of his son, Michael Douglas, “he lived a life well-lived.” He most certainly did and his achievements are many.

His breakout role was in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, also starring Barbara Stanwyck, who was a classmate. His superb portrayal of a boxing hero in the 1949 film Champion landed him his first nomination for the Academy Award Best Actor category. He received an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from St. Lawrence University in 1958. He won the Oscar for Lifetime Achievement and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

His passing at 103 on February 5, 2020 left him with a ranking of 17 on the American Film Institute’s list of Golden Age legends. His legacy remains with his surviving spouse, Anne Buydens and sons Michael, Joel, and Peter Douglas. May his star continue to shine as he passes through the universe.

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Sad Regrets

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend a Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair at Nottingham Contemporary on December 1 2017 in...

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Getty Images

Her Majesty The Queen walks away sad from her beloved grandson, Prince Harry and his family. She makes it known when saying, “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.” Her decision to set them free, as they had so desired and demanded, were officially announced on 18 January in Royal.Uk. https://www.royal.uk/statement-her-majesty-queen-0

Her Majesty The Queen sets a somber tone when she refers to Harry, Meghan, and Archie in the past tense, but her message is very clear in that Harry, Meghan and Archie have been cut loose … set free to live an independent life away from royal duties.

In agreeing to the transition, the following consequences have ensued: (1) to relinquish their HRH titles, (2) to invalidate their trademark Sussex Royal, which remains in limbo because Harry and Meghan were entitled to use it when they were serving the monarchy, and (3) to pay back 2.4 million pounds for the renovation of Frogmore Cottage. They will also have to pay rent to continue to live there.

In the mean time, the couple’s Instagram account and website sussexroyal.com may have to come down or be rebranded. Harry’s military title will also be relinquished. But on the upside, he will be able to maintain ties to the Invictus Games.

Meghan’s father also shared his take on the situation. He feels sad and believes his daughter has made a mistake. He emphasizes that she had it all, and now she and Harry are lost souls. He continues to add that Meghan got what every girl ever dreamed of, that is, marrying her prince charming and joining a royal house, such as the House of Windsor.

Everything, however, was blown to smithereens when their plans backfired for not having to follow the directive of Her Majesty The Queen (i.e to not publicly announce their plans until it was finalized and approved by Buckingham Palace).

Harry has since announced a heart-wrenching statement on Sunday at a charity event in London. https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/21/world/prince-harry-vancouver-island-intl-gbr/index.html

On Tuesday, 21 January, Harry left the UK and joined his wife and son in Canada. Harry did take a bold ‘leap of faith,’ as he so stated at the charity dinner in London. Best wishes to them, and may they find peace and happiness.


Harry & Meghan’s Saga Hits a Low Tone

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Harry & Meghan’s Disrespect Shock the World

Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry Duke of Sussex visits The Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition at the Southbank Centre on July 17 2018 in...
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have caused a seismic tremor in the House of Windsor and throughout the world. It was so serious that Her Majesty The Queen had to issue a crisis summit. The Queen, being the gracious and dignified woman that she is, supported her grandson’s wishes, or better yet, demand to abdicate.

It is speculated that Meghan Markle instilled the notion to leave the Royal Family because she could not hack the protocol and tradition. More importantly, Meghan’s common upbringing of navigating her own life caused internal conflict within herself. She has been used to doing her own thing.

Now she has to be a royal, and that entails being guided by advisors and seeking approval from Her Majesty The Queen. Something to which she is not accustomed and frowns upon. Thus, the transition from being a commoner to a royal was too much for her to bear.

Both Prince Harry and Meghan showed grave disrespect to a family that welcomed her. Both showed disrespect to Her Majesty The Queen and to Prince Charles, who spent more than 30 million pounds on Harry and Meghan’s wedding. The Queen and Prince Charles did all they could to make Harry happy, so history would not repeat itself. It seems it was to no avail because both the Queen and Prince Charles got slapped in the face, so to speak.

Both Prince Harry and Meghan acted out of selfishness. Their announcement in sussexroyal.com stated that they seek financial independence. Aren’t they already financially independent? Harry inherited a great sum of money from his late mother, Princess Diana. It has been reported that it is around 30 million pounds, and Meghan 5 million dollars from her acting career. What Harry and Meghan are really after is to join the billionaire club, and they couldn’t do this if they were still a part of the Sovereign Grant.

Lastly, it’s ironic that Prince Harry and Meghan want to live a life away from the public eye. Prince Harry has always been in the public eye and took his role seriously upon marrying Meghan. Meghan’s sole desire was to be in the public eye by choosing to be an actress. Now suddenly, they both want to refrain from being in the public eye. But yet, Harry is touting his wife to Disney. Their decision to leave their royal duties and the family showed no consideration for Her Majesty The Queen and his father, Prince Charles.