Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
GVO - Family, Lesson and Nation Planning

By thaths in Technology
Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 01:24:46 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Here is the fifth part of the Geek Volunteer Overseas series. In addition to reporting on IT and HIV/AIDS education in rural Kenya, I dwell on cultural divisions in a complex society like Kenya.


[Note: I post these articles from a cyber cafe in Nairobi. I work in the Bush and come to Nairobi infrequently. I don't ask for Editorial Feedback because I don't know when I would be back in Nairobi next. Please bear with me.]

Opening Mass
The last term began, in a style befitting the Catholic roots of Holy Rosary College, with a High Mass. Having missed the previous term's mass because of my late arrival in Kenya, I was looking forward to attending. During my first term at the college the plaintively beautiful notes of the students practicing for the church choir often reached my home in the compound of the college. On evenings and weekends strains of the songs would waft through. On Saturday nights the singing would shift to more popular songs and would get rowdy with whistles, good natured shouting and hoots. I tried a couple of times to get closer to the celebrations but my presence seemed to make the students shy and quite.

While we were waiting in the dining hall for the parish priest to arrive to conduct the mass, the students sang soulfully. The deep baritone of of my male colleagues and the high notes of the girls stirred something in my depths. I didn't have to be a Christian or even a Believer to enjoy the music. It all sounded very Ladysmith Black Mambazo-ish. I tried following the lyrics of the English hymns in the little book that were scattered all around the room. Oddly, I enjoyed the songs in Kiswahili and Kikamba - languages I do not understand much - more than the ones in English. It was as if not having to pay attention to the lyrics left me free to appreciate the rhythms more fully.

The priest from the local parish finally arrived. To the strains of "Amazing Grace" he donned on ornately decorated priestly smock over his Western garb of trousers and shirt. The singing paused as he launched into the service. For the first time I observed how ritualistic the Catholic Mass was. Memories of the rituals of the Hindu prayers of my childhood came flooding back. Was there a meaning to some of the things these people say and do, I wondered. If there is, how many of those that are saying "Our Father, who art in Heaven" and crossing themselves at the appropriate places know it?

As it turned out, the rituals were worth enduring. The priest launched into his sermon for the day. I forget what the sermon was about. It might have been Paul's letters to the Corinthians or some such thing. I was struggling to understand the relevance of the sermon to the lives of the students in the twenty first century. In my disinterest I almost missed the next bit of the sermon about family planning. "Family planning?," I wondered, "Did I hear right?" As if to leave me in no doubt, the priest repeated himself. He confessed that the Bishop of the Diocese was not exactly happy with the priest's un-catholic sermons. "I told the Bishop that there was nothing wrong with talking about family planning as it is not about contraception," said the pastor. With a twinkle in his eyes he added conspiratorially, "Though, between us, we know it is." The Sisters who run the college were visibly uncomfortable with the direction the sermon was taking and shifted uncomfortably in their seats. I was elated. Perhaps there is hope for the African fight against HIV and AIDS with such modern priests as these.

The Academics
Last term I taught Advanced PC Maintenance and JavaScript to my students. Having had a bad experience with a previous introductory course on PC Maintenance, some of the students were reluctant to take on this one. I coerced them with promises of making the course as practical and relevant as possible. One of the problems we face in the college is that our computers frequently break down. Part of it is due to the dusty environment and part of it is due to students misusing the machines (improperly shutting down, saving files all over the place...) because they don't know any better. I knew the best way to teach computer maintenance was through hands-on classes. The students and I decided that we would have one class a week on the theory behind repairing and maintaining a computer. Later in the week my class would go through every computer in the lab and try to diagnose and fix the problems that they learnt about in the theory class. Not only did this make the course more interesting and practical, we also got free help in maintaining the lab.

The JS class turned out to be trickier than I expected. Since JS was the fourth programming language that my students were learning (C, Visual Basic and C++ being the others they'd learnt before), I assumed that they had a decent understanding of the syntax and semantics of programming. A few weeks into the term I was surprised to find out that even after studying other programming languages my students didn't have a firm grasp on the algorithmic way of breaking a problem into small steps so that it could be implemented in code. I felt under pressure as the syllabus was vast and I wanted to spend more time in teaching them practical uses of JS. When I asked my students to write a program to calculate the factorial of a number or convert temperature between Centigrade and Fahrenheit I was met with embarrassed silence. It would be incorrect for me to say I was met with blank stares. Kenyans, I've learnt, don't stare when they don't know an answer. They avoid your gaze and look away. I lost my temper.

Being angry didn't help much. I had been aware for the past few weeks that I had lost over 6 kilograms in 7 months in Kenya. I was angered by the smallest of things and was increasingly tired. I decided to consult a doctor in Nairobi. Extensive medical tests turned up nothing. It turned out that my change in diet was to blame for my loss of weight and short temper. The doctor told me that weight loss was a common problem among VSO volunteers.

Wanting to find out if my foul mood was seeping into my lectures and affecting the mood in class, I asked my students to write down what they liked and disliked about the classes this term. It was worse that I suspected. My unrest was oozing into my lectures. The feedback could best be summarized best by the comment of one of my students. "The teacher's attitude should be changed," she had said. I realized that it was probably better for the students to acquire strong fundamentals of programming rather than the specifics of JS. I decided to concentrate more on the technique of breaking a problem into steps and the algorithmic approach to doing a task. I remembered one of the comments posted in response to the first part of this series. The author of the comment had recommended a useful resource to teach the basics of programming. I printed out the book and used it to help in teaching the basics.

The specific peculiarities of JS I decided to skim over. To compensate for the shallowness, I printed out lecture notes on JS and gave them as handouts. Classroom handouts are rare in resource poor Kenya. At the end of the term the students thanked me for them. When the final results came out a few weeks ago I was glad that my gamble had paid off. Two of my students had distinctions (A+ or over 80%).

Much Ado About Male Genital Mutilation
For the past few weeks a circus has been going on in Nairobi. In the run up to the elections at the end of last year one of the campaign promises made by both the then ruling KANU and the then opposition NARC party was the implementation of a new draft constitution. Readers of the second part of this series might recall my report on the draft constitution. The hopes of the people ran high when the NARC party came to power riding on an Unbwogable (Luo word meaning unbeatable that has entered the English language. In Kenya.) wave in January. In typical third world politician fashion, one of the first things the new MPs did was vote themselves a whooping big pay rise. Better paid MPs, the argument went, were less likely to swayed by corruption. Hah! Regime change didn't really change much in Kenya.

After much dillying and dallying the NARC government finally called a constitutional review conference last month. Sitting MPs, representatives from Civil Society and religious groups were chosen as the delegates to debate the draft constitution. Everyone I spoke to was happy that the conference was finally underway. When the non-MP delegates complained about accommodation and wanted to be paid three times what they were being paid, public anger flared. Fully utilizing their new found freedom of expression Kenyan newspapers flayed the greedy delegates. The Letters columns of the papers were full of ordinary Kenyans writing to express their dismay and displeasure. "If you are not willing to do this prestigious and vital job for 3,000 Kenyan Shillings a day," one representative letter writer wrote, "I and hundreds like me are willing to take your place and work for free and consider it an honor."

The draft constitution has some radical proposals in it - Majimboism (federalism), a bicameral parliamentary system and a reduced retirement age for the judiciary. The draft was created after a lengthy process of interviewing Kenyans from all over the country on what they wanted. I am watching with horror as some of the truly revolutionary proposals in the draft are being heavily watered down, or worse still, totally thrown out as being impractical or (gay rights, for example) "un-African".

Perhaps the most contentious issue in the draft was an overhaul of the structure of government. The draft proposes a great reduction in the powers of the president, making the post largely ceremonial. The draft proposes an executive made up of non-directly-elected US-style cabinet headed by a British-style Prime Minister. When the National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) came together to form the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) to fight the then seemingly invincible KANU party, they signed a memorandum of understanding on how the spoils of the election were to be shared. Mwai Kibaki (NAK) was to contest for the post of President. The post of a Prime Minister, if and when it was created according to the new constitution, was promised to Raila Odinga (LDP).

During the current constitutional review conference divisions within NARC have become pronounced. Kibaki, after having gained the presidency after long years in the opposition wilderness, is having second thoughts on having his powers curtailed. Tribal divisions are raising their ugly head. Kibaki's faction, composed mainly of the economically powerful Kikuyu tribe, is reluctant to give up the power it has attained. During the 24 years of former resident Moi's regime the Kikuyu were systematically side-lined. Raila Odinga, the minister of Roads and Public Works in the NARC government, is mobilizing the Luo, Luhya and Kamba tribes to get what was promised to him in the MOU. Odinga is currently wheeling and dealing with the politicians from other tribes. Wamalwa, a Luhya, is being promised the Presidential post in the 2007 election. Charity Ngilu, a Makamba, is promised the post of deputy PM when the new constitution is adopted. An attempt to outmaneuver what has been dubbed the Mt. Kenya Mafia (Mt. Kenya being the home of many Kikuyu) is currently taking shape.

The weirdest aspect of these tribal divisions seems to be that they echo deep-seated mistrust among the tribes. When I asked my Kikuyu colleagues if they would accept Raila, as the PM, many of them hemmed and hawed. One outspoken colleague had the courage to speak her mind. "Raila? How can we accept him as a leader? He is a Luo. A Kihii," she said. Kihii, I learnt, is a derogatory term for an uncircumcised man. The Luos are one of only a handful of tribes in Africa that do not practice circumcision. (Luos traditionally knocked off the 6 front teeth of a teenage boy to initiate him into manhood).

Being an uncircumcised Indian myself I was unable to understand this deep seated and irrational bias. I must declare my interest at this point. I am a fan of Raila's left-leaning and uncompromising late father Oginga Odinga. The Odingas have struggled long and hard, at times tortured in Nairobi's infamous Nyayo House cells, for the cause of multi party democracy in Kenya. It is a shame, I feel, if Raila's future is to be decided by the presence of a foreskin. Beneath the modern Kenya of mobile phones, internet cafes and e-commerce seems to be a society riven with the fissures of languages, tribal affiliations and pre-Biblical traditions. Being from another culturally diverse country I can appreciate the dangers of division on cultural or ethnic or religious lines. "I am a Kihii myself," I told my colleagues, "and so are many Wazungu" (Caucasians). "It is OK for you. You are not African," they reply. I am amazed about the belief that circumcision (unlike those conducted medically in the US when the child is only a few days or months old, the ones in Kenya are performed when the boy is 12 or 13 years old. Without ansthetics.) makes a man. I suspect that circumcision is only the, pun not intended, skincovering deeply ingrained mistrust.

What Next?
I expect to finish my placement in early August. As I'm coming towards the end of my placement I have been increasing thinking about what the future holds for me. My long term goal is to get a Developmental job in Laos - a place I feel strangely attracted to. I know that this goal is impractical in the shorter term. There is one thing I am certain about. I won't work for a heartless big corporation if I can avoid it. I have been applying for a few jobs in the Development sector. I saw an advert for a dream job doing open source network building and advocacy in Malaysia. Considering myself fully qualified, I applied for it. I was thoroughly disappointed when I didn't even get a regret email from the organization (that shall remain nameless). I am not despondent. Yet. I know my future is not as bleak as that of some of my friends I will be leaving behind in Kenya. There are other options open to me while I work myself towards my goal of living in Laos. Perhaps I will freelance in the Bay Area. Or help my friend with his company in India. Whatever I do, I hope to write articles in K5 about the beauty of the karst mountains, golden spired wats (temples) and verdant green rainforests of the most bombed country in the planet.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Male Circumcision is...
o Medically preventative 5%
o A cultural artefact from ancient times 23%
o Holy and a cornerstone of my religion 5%
o Medically or culturally unecessary 35%
o Barbaric 28%

Votes: 84
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Geek Volunteer Overseas series
o Ladysmith Black Mambazo
o first part of this series
o useful resource to teach the basics of programming
o second part of this series
o Also by thaths


Display: Sort:
GVO - Family, Lesson and Nation Planning | 56 comments (40 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
Circumcision is stupid (2.30 / 10) (#2)
by Phillip N Dam on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 05:42:48 AM EST

and is absolutely worthless

Indeed (3.33 / 3) (#9)
by jonathan_ingram on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 07:01:09 AM EST

And the 'medical' circumcisions in the US are just as abhorrent as the teenage rite-of-passage ones practised in Africa.
-- Jon
[ Parent ]
It's hard to support that (none / 0) (#46)
by aphrael on Wed Jun 11, 2003 at 12:41:04 PM EST

since most men who were medically circumcized shortly after birth (a) never knew anything different, and (b) don't remember the pain.

[ Parent ]
Fine (none / 0) (#47)
by jonathan_ingram on Wed Jun 11, 2003 at 01:34:20 PM EST

So you'll support me if I start removing the little fingers from all newborns, then?

'Medical' circumcision is almost never medical; given the small but significant chance of complications, the procedure creates more problems than the mostly illusory ones it solves. It's just another societal barbarism that, thankfully, is not common in the country I live in.
-- Jon
[ Parent ]

Yes, don't worry what you do to small children (none / 0) (#57)
by Amorsen on Sat Jun 14, 2003 at 08:19:06 AM EST

Just keep them stored somewhere till they are at least 2. They won't remember anyway.

[ Parent ]
But you have to wonder (none / 0) (#19)
by President Saddam on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 09:50:18 AM EST

Why so many different, completely separate, cultures decided that that bit of skin should be lopped off...?

---
Allah Akbar
[ Parent ]

Perhaps (none / 0) (#24)
by Phillip Asheo on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 04:20:38 PM EST

Circucision is in our genes ?

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

Maybe... (none / 0) (#36)
by President Saddam on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 10:42:08 PM EST

but why?

---
What part of "No, I didn't gas my own people" don't you understand?<
[ Parent ]
Who knows ? (none / 0) (#43)
by Phillip Asheo on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 04:12:08 PM EST

It could be a throwback, like the appendix which used to be used when humans where more fish like, and could digest cellulose. Or something.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

so many cultures? (none / 0) (#26)
by TearsInTheRain on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 04:55:45 PM EST

as far as I know, only judaic-derived cultures (jewish, some christians) and a very, very small percentage of africans circumcise. Even nowadays, most of Europe does not, not to mention none of Asia/India or South America.

[ Parent ]
"none of Asia/India"? (3.50 / 2) (#28)
by gibichung on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 06:11:59 PM EST

Muslims practice circumcision and are quite numerous in India and Asia.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
Muslims *are* Judaic-derived (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#37)
by splitpeasoup on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 01:38:08 AM EST


"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
[ Parent ]

That's true (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by gibichung on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 02:18:26 AM EST

But the original quote is:
as far as I know, only judaic-derived cultures (jewish, some christians) and a very, very small percentage of africans circumcise. Even nowadays, most of Europe does not, not to mention none of Asia/India or South America.
As he broadly compares religion, culture, and geographic location, it's wiser to consider each of his statements individually. If you assume continuity it's still factually incorrect but now also redundant, so I'm erring on the side of caution.

And the fact that Muslims practice circumcision is important to understanding the persepctive of the author of this k5 story. Muslims and Hindus in India do not get along and it's no secret that this has biased many Hindus against practices which they associate with Muslims, including circumcision.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

Hardly (none / 0) (#50)
by thaths on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 10:15:49 AM EST

As a matetr of fact, one of my best friends in Tala in Kenya is a Muslim.  In fact, I get invited to his house for feasts on Id, Milad-uh-Nabi etc.  So don't presume that because I was born into a Hindu family (I don't practice any religion) I am antagonistic towards muslims.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

I apologize. [nt] (none / 0) (#55)
by gibichung on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 02:59:30 PM EST



-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
Aborigines circumcise, (none / 0) (#35)
by President Saddam on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 10:41:31 PM EST


a very, very small percentage of africans circumcise.

No, most tribes circumcise... RTFA


---
What part of "No, I didn't gas my own people" don't you understand?<
[ Parent ]

Could be isolationist (none / 0) (#49)
by thaths on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 10:09:59 AM EST

It could have evolved among Judeo-Christian cultures (and some African cultures) as a way of differentiating between the Us and the Them.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

hey... (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by collideiscope on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 04:26:49 PM EST

...if it reduces the sexual pleasure a man feels, it has some purpose.

-------------------------------
Hope is a disease. Get infected.
[ Parent ]
OK, some thoughts about moderation (3.33 / 6) (#41)
by dash2 on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 04:10:37 AM EST

When I got here, parent was modded to 4.00 by five people.

You may think circumcision is awful. You may think it's great. You may wish it could happen to you every day. But "circumcision is stupid and is absolutely worthless" is not an argument. It's just the equivalent of shouting "yah boo".

I would like to read well-written, thoughtful responses to the pieces we get on K5 - which the authors have usually taken some time and effort over. Modding pointless comments up just because you agree with them will lead away from that.
------------------------
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
[ Parent ]

Do you have roots somewhere? (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by mami on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 09:22:12 AM EST

I just wonder why you are attracted to the work you do? What attracts you to live and work in Laos? Or Kenya for that matter? Where is your home?

I wish I knew (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by thaths on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 09:34:37 AM EST

I wish I knew.  I really do.  I was born and grew up in India.  Came over to the US to do my Masters.  Worked in the Internet Industry for a over 6 years.  When I was laid off I was lucky to have a Green Card.  I wanted to explore the world.  I travelled through SE Asia for 4 months and simply fell in love with Laos.

Laos attracts me for several reasons.  First is its tragic history.  Ironic that the US (they did most of the bombing) did not even declare war on the most bombed country in history.  Second is the peaceful nature of the people.  Third is the amazingly beautiful scenery straight out of 'Apocalypse Now' (In the movie, Martin Sheen's character is supposed to be going up the Mekong river into Laos to Captain Kurtz's camp.  The filming was done in Phillipines).  Fourth is the relatively few needs the people there seem to have.  I could keep going on.  But won't.  After all, I don't want all the K5 geeks crowding up the place. ;-)

As for 'home'...  I don't know.  I feel I'm a citizen of the world damned to never set roots anywhere but keep wandering.  I'm making it all sound romantic.  In reality, it is a frightening experience.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

Interresting... (none / 0) (#20)
by MKalus on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 11:34:59 AM EST

As for 'home'...  I don't know.  I feel I'm a citizen of the world damned to never set roots anywhere but keep wandering.  I'm making it all sound romantic.  In reality, it is a frightening experience.

Similar "feeling" for me. I was bouncing around a lot of countries over the past couple of years and only now I took a deep breath in Canada, but I am not sure that this is "home" either.

Have you found home, or are you just taking a break?
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

Home is... (none / 0) (#52)
by thaths on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 10:27:11 AM EST

Have you found home, or are you just taking a break

I haven't found it. Laos is the one that closest to it.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

That's what I thought (none / 0) (#23)
by mami on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 02:24:31 PM EST

I feel I'm a citizen of the world damned to never set roots anywhere but keep wandering. I'm making it all sound romantic. In reality, it is a frightening experience.

I know it's frightening. You are running from something for something and most probably don't know from what and what to and for.

But then it's unlikely that you'll ever end up going to fight for some sort of patriotic nationalism of any "homeland". That has its advantages too, unless you get so depressed that you start running into a more or less fanatic idea/ideology/religions or whatever.

Well there is hope for you. Some Laotian beauty should get you caught and force you to grow some roots... :-) Enjoy the journey.

[ Parent ]

As another expat Indian sang once, (none / 0) (#33)
by Akshay on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 08:44:15 PM EST

I'm a traveling soldier,
I wanna be all I can be.

(Still in college, but I'm in a similar situation really; that is, although I'm fairly certain what home is, that's where my family lives, I'm not sure if I want to go home on a long-term basis. And I definitely don't want to settle in this non-Indian city I'm staying currently, although it's a pretty nice place, as cities go.)

[ Parent ]

what now? (3.00 / 1) (#27)
by TearsInTheRain on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 04:59:20 PM EST

fascinating series of articles my friend, its been great reading it. I too have similar background as you, I was a non-USian working in the sillycon valley dotcom boom, got layed off, spent a year volunteering in SEAsia, and now in Europe living in Amsterdam. Currently unemployed as well but thinking of going to school or back to volunteering, sometimes the number of choices is so overwhelming its hard to decide WHAT to do! its strange too, sometimes I envy the "boring" life some of my US friends have (house, job, wife, kids, etc) and they tell me they envy ME my carefree, traveling life. I guess the grass is always greener...

Not fair, buddy. (none / 0) (#32)
by Akshay on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 08:35:57 PM EST

You live in Amsterdam. The grass (and presumably pot) is always green there, or so I heard.

[ Parent ]

Do you have vol contacts in SE Asia? (none / 0) (#53)
by thaths on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 10:34:48 AM EST

I'm looking for a volunteer job in SE Asia which pays just enough to live frugally (rent, home-cooked food, maybe a couple of eating outs a month).  Email me (thaths at yahoo dot com) if you know of any.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

I've been thinking (1.33 / 3) (#29)
by auraslip on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 06:41:38 PM EST

and I think circumsion makes rape easier.
124
Why? (none / 0) (#34)
by vectro on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 09:35:36 PM EST

Care to explain?

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
well if your not circumsised (none / 0) (#38)
by auraslip on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 02:03:27 AM EST

(like me) when placing you penis in a unporperly lubricated or overly tight vagina, the senseitve foreskin will be pulled back and the little piece of flesh that holds the foreskin on will be stretched. That hurts a bit. A circumsised man can probally stick his dick in damn near anything.
124
[ Parent ]
On the other hand... (5.00 / 2) (#40)
by vectro on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 02:19:36 AM EST

...the pulling-back motion of the foreskin might serve as a sort of lubricant, in the sense that it reduces the amount of friction required. Compare with the circumscised man's penis, which would enter about as easily as, say, a wooden dildo.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
yes, no. Masturbation (none / 0) (#45)
by auraslip on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 06:58:35 PM EST

it makes it easier to masturbate, which I think is another reason why men are circumsised.

Maybe it does work as a lubrication. All I know is that it can be painfull for me some times. More so then for my girlfriend.
124
[ Parent ]

Thank God (1.00 / 2) (#30)
by lowlife on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 06:53:21 PM EST

I am a whole man.

Your mind begins to clear.

Also (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by lowlife on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 06:56:37 PM EST

I'm glad a geek is finally learning to pay attention to why he is disliked by others, and not adopting an arrogant attitude.  If only more of our kind would make an effort to look for reasons why they don't get along with people.

Your mind begins to clear.

teach them the game of go/baduk/weiqi (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by sye on Tue Jun 10, 2003 at 02:22:31 PM EST

i'd recommend you teach yourself the game of go/baduk/weiqi and then transfer your knowledge to people you want to help making changes in their life. For thousand years, people in Asia learned to appreciate the elegance of that game. The game changed a lot of people's view about meaning of life and the eternity of time. And unlike chess, its simplicity defies sheer forces of all available computing chips. I am sure you can find natives in Lao who like to play the game, learn from them. They are your teachers of computing...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
commentary - For a better sye@K5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in

Good idea! (none / 0) (#48)
by thaths on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 09:59:58 AM EST

In fact, these days I devote 5 minutes of my classes to group games with my students.  I have Go installed on the Linux machine.  Should be nice to use a game to teach programming Java this semester.

Thaths

[ Parent ]

java ?! (none / 0) (#51)
by sye on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 10:18:56 AM EST

if you've decided on teaching java as a programming language instead of Chuck Moore's colorForth, you MUST be honest to warn your students about the future taxes on speaking, learning and implementing Java in the real world. It requires a lot more resources to have the infrastruture ready to make anything remotely useful to individuals and small communities.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
commentary - For a better sye@K5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in
[ Parent ]

I don't really have a choice (none / 0) (#54)
by thaths on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 10:41:11 AM EST

It is part of the syllabus.  The language does not matter.  As long as I'm able to make the concepts clear....

Thaths

[ Parent ]

concepts are important (none / 0) (#56)
by sye on Fri Jun 13, 2003 at 03:52:27 PM EST

if you have 10 concepts to teach in a class, in the end, your success is to be measured by the fact that your students can use the 10 new concepts to express 1 concept from their own experience that they previously have no other way of expressing it, then the new concepts are definitely worth their time and your time. The essense of life is to get away from concepts without getting bored about any lack of concepts or languages. This book "Shibumi" by Trevanian expressed the concept of "go" pretty well, according to this guy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
commentary - For a better sye@K5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in
[ Parent ]

GVO - Family, Lesson and Nation Planning | 56 comments (40 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!