Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My view of Global News

What is the difference between a Chimpanzee and a human being?

I’m not gonna talk about the 99% identical generic makeup between the two here. Instead, I want to talk about what our human intelligence is capable of. I’m not putting down a chimp, it has a brain, but intellectually it mostly would be used for seeking foods, mates, and shelter, i.e. for survival. A chimp would pay attention to all the living things in its surrounding reachable lands. Socially, it will look up to the head chimp of its clan as well as those of its rivals. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t think a chimp in Tanzania will be interested or capable to know what a kangaroo is facing in Australia. That makes us human beings different. With the modern technology that we have, we do have very easy access of information of about what is happening in far away places than ever before.

Given all of these, it is quite surprising that many people all over the world don’t really know much what’s going on in other places. I know that people are busy to make their livings. They have family to take care of, business to operate, school to go to, errands to run, people to see. However, would that be really difficult to find like 15 minutes a day or an 1 hour a week to learn what is going on in the world? Yes, I know people are reading news, but besides the local news, in today’s globalized environment, almost everything in modern society is interlinked across the world. A drought in south Florida would affect the price of oranges in local market. What’s going on with Greece’s sovereign debts may affect exchange rate of Euro-whatever currency we are using, which may make your desired Gucci bag coming out next season more expansive. The sharp surge in U.S. national debt would affect the global economic, military, political landscape that would affect almost everyone in the world in years to come. Would anyone be interested to know such things?

I know many people may think that they are too busy, they are not interested, or they don’t understand. But, have they ever tried to make an effort to know? Some people may say that if bad things come, just let it come, knowing where it comes from and how that come about doesn’t make a difference to them. Well, I think that it is simply too passive! For large global events, being ‘nobody’ individuals, we are not capable to make much difference, but for knowing what is going on the world, listen to what experts have studied and said, we may be able to learn something from them to see if there is any trickle down effects of those global events that would affect us on personal level. Or, take a less serious notes, would simply get informed and learn new things be fun and entertaining at least?

I’m just so appalled by the every now and then survey of people, particular young people on what they know about the world which show that how ignorant, naïve and uninformed they are. I just don’t understand how some college graduates can just have knowledge of their core courses at school, know their way around the latest gadgets, the trends in pop culture, but without adequate social skills, common senses in the market, and basic knowledge of the world, would be able to strive in today’s global market workplace. I think it is really a shame that happen in today’s world.

I think that many people are simply too practical, they only wanna know things that would create immediate benefits. Rather than watching global news, they would rather look at the charts of the stock holdings. For knowledge about the world, they are usually not deep but broad, knowing those things doesn’t make us any expert. For those who are interested in global news, as a start, I’m not saying that we need to memorize names and figures. Cos, we can always Google or Wiki them. My point is that if it becomes a hobby to us to constantly keep ourselves inform of what is going on in the world, with our intelligence, soon or later we may observe patterns and relationships among those events. They will become bases for us to comprehend why certain things happen and what would be their effects. I often find that not just big international event that is interesting, some small trivial news about individual triumph does teach us things about other people. For example, from reports of how the parents react to the injury of the victims in accidents in extreme games, those news could shred light on the difference in terms of cultural values of the people there versus ours.

I don’t know about you, I can’t do much to affect other people, to encourage them to know more about the world through global news. I will certainly teach my son about this, hopefully he will become a better global citizen of the future.


Anonymous said...

人生最大的榮耀,不是永遠不敗,而是屢仆屢戰 ..................................................

Joyce Hor-Chung Lau said...

As someone who works in the news media, I ask myself this all the time. Most people have absolutely no interest.
In fact, my family sort of roll their eyes whenever I bring up big world news, Chinese politics or my work. They care more about something they saw on TV, like a Cantopop star, or a cat that can play a piano, or a minor local minibus accident.
Honestly, big international newspapers like the one I work for are suffering financially, and partly it's because people don't care so much about serious news.

Joel said...

Well, Joyce, I guess I understand how you feel. Global news will become a niche business for the elite or serious people who care about the world. The key to make it in future is to 'digest' the complex global stories into so called 'small and simple' pieces for the regular John and Jane to understand...what I can I say? There are just too many people who are only into their own lives....