opinion

JUST SAY THANK YOU

August 11, 2020

WHICH is one of the most difficult words worldwide? POPCATEPETL, the Mexican mountain? Or, CHICHICASTENGO, a small town in Guatemala, or OUAGADOUGOU, the former capital of Upper Volta in Central Africa? Well, guess what. "Somebody comes to my place and drinks a lot. I just keep on roaring and flowing and remain happy during my whole life, because I can give and share ... - even without any gratitude!" That engraved saying is from a historic fountain in Regensburg in Bavaria in Germany. "Be in the making, means be thankful forever!" What a meaningful quotation from Goethe's drama "Faustus" (1831), but how very far away from today's reality. Let me ask you, my dear reader, "When did you say recently THANK YOU ?" In the supermarket to the cashier ... after a business meeting to your partners ... as a boss to your staff ... as a husband or wife to your partner ... etc. ... etc.! Hold on, I don't mean it as a disgracing phrase, no. I mean it as an honest attitude to which we are all susceptible. "The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed ... God, I thank you that I am not like the tax collector over there", (Luke 18,11). "What's more transient than gratitude?" asked the German poet, Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) in his drama "Don Carlos". Gratitude, or thankfulness, in our daily life and surroundings: many times it's just forgotten because we treat sacrifices of hard-working people, services, and even the smallest relief without saying it as only natural and take it as a matter of course. In times of Covid-19, many of us express again their gratitude to all frontliners. That's good and very important too. Many of our earthly leaders forget that they got their positions because of our trust and votes. And how did they thank us? One of my former publishers from an international company with branches in Berlin, New York, and Amsterdam, told me one day: "Thank you for having your job well-done. It's a success for the whole company!" I couldn't care less if the grumpy taxi driver isn't able to mention a simple 'Salamat' after I pay my fare including a small tip. But if children forget to express their gratitude to their parents, who keep on trying everything to guarantee a good education while struggling financially through life - yes, then it becomes painful and embarrassing. Well, let's think about it again. Saying thank you helps building up bridges and connections - not ONLY in business life - and it is at least as important as praise and recognition. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com

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Bambi´s ignorance contributing to hostility, discrimination towards COVID-19 patients

August 6, 2020

CHARLOTTE,  North Carolina—I had to ask myself if reports of discrimination by some (I want to believe that it´s some, not all or most) Cagayan de Oro City residents towards persons who may or were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 are reflective of the national attitude or specifically the masses towards COVID-19 patients. The question cropped up in my subconscious after I learned that the neighbors of a female Barangay 35 resident in Cagayan de Oro City who recovered from and tested negative of COVID-19 was barred from returning home and their refusal had been reaffirmed by the barangay officials. City health officials and even Mayor Oscar Moreno repeatedly stressed in their daily press briefings that a certificate from the City Health Office (CHO) confirming that a patient is COVID-19-free after their RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) tests come out negative but somehow their message doesn´t boil or filter down at least to the masses. And I think I know why at least on the local level meaning there in Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental.  I talked with some Pinoy friends and they also tell me of similar situations in their areas, of neighbors barring suspected, confirmed and recovered COVID-19 patients from returning to their homes even if they live far from said patient. Despite efforts by the Department of Health (DOH) and local health authorities to remind the public not to discriminate against these patients, the hostility and outright discrimination remains thanks in no small part to the health department´s failure to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases nationwide. ·························· City Health Officer Dr. Lorraine Nery and City Health Office (CHO) resident epidemiologist Dr. Teodulfo Joselito Retuya issued separate appeals for acceptance of these patients albeit with minimum health safety standards in place during the daily press briefings after receiving reports of city residents stoning or hurling stones at the houses of suspected COVID-19 cases. Mayor Moreno had also issued reminders to the public about these instances of unprovoked and unwarranted hostility towards COVID-19 cases that is clearly borne out of ignorance of how COVID-19 is transmitted from one person to another.  And this ignorance is being fueled on the local level by barangay officials who are grossly, dangerously misinformed about the nature of COVID-19 transmission. Dr. Retuya and Dr. Ian Gonzales,  chief of DOH-10´s Infectious Diseases Cluster, had time and again reiterated that infection only occurs on close contact or less than one meter face-to-face exposure with a potential or confirmed COVID-19 case and only when persons don´t wear face masks and/or face shields.  But acceptance is far from the minds of these hostile city residents from the shanties to the gated communities. In these uncertain times, it is crucial for people to know about COVID-19 from credible, verified, even umipeachable sources and one cannot get any more official at least in the Philippines than the DOH regardless of how maligned/villified Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is—in fairness he is merely following orders from you-know-who. But I digress. Contributing in large part to the prevailing ignorance of city residents and Misamisnons on COVID-19 or specifically its transmission and how it can be prevented are the local officials in particular Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny ´Bambi´Emano whose dubious policies such as travel pass and 6 pm curfew for outsiders like Kagay-anons heading to and coming out of the province weren´t grounded on science and evidence-based data. ·························· In one particular instance, he ordered Capitol employees through Provincial Health Officer Dr. Jeric Calingasan not to pass by Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) to avoid being infected by COVID-19.  Again, NMMC. is the designated COVID-19 referral hospital in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental province and the rest of northern Mindanao. Dr. Retuya, whose specialty in epidemiology or the study of epidemics eminently makes him  more qualified to talk about COVID-19 than either Dr. Calingasan or Governor Emano, had repeatedly reminded the public that infection is only possible on close proximity and without the persons wearing face masks/face shields or both. Which means that simply passing by the house or hospital occupied by suspect COVID-19 cases won´t infect people at all. I wonder again how and where Governor Emano gets his ideas on COVID-19. His people like Dr. Calingasan certainly can contact the DOH for assistance—aside from Dr. Gonzales, there´s Asst. Regional DOH-10 Director Dr. David Mendoza, another certified epidemiologist.  I even wonder whether Dr. Calingasan has any say on the province´s COVID-19 response programs other than what the Governor dictates on him. But then Governor Emano´s COVID-19 response policies had been broadcast loud and clear in his favorite radio station, including those antiquated, ignorant preventive measures that contributed to the ignorance and eventual hostility of the masses towards COVID-19 patients whether ailing or fully recovered.  Hence, we won´t see the end of this lamentable state of things until more people decide to be informed rightly and practice sound measures in dealing with COVID-19.

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The inspiring two-day conference

August 5, 2020

Organizations that focus on the value of inclusion and invisible diversity, in addition to traditional diversity, typically have superior performance as compared with those that do not (Michel Cournoyer, 2017). It was on August 1 and finished on August 2, 2020, the international conference held by an inclusive society.  By being inclusive, it means that the members are not only researchers such as faculties and academicians. It can also include administrators. It can also embrace all teachers not only from colleges but may also be from any schools. I hope my guess is correct. ISTAR (International Society of Teachers, Administrators, and Researchers) is inclusive It was founded by Dr. Rommel V. Tabula. As the founder and President as well, he has held some international conferences. I was invited as a keynote speaker during a two-day conference: hosted in Bangkok Thailand. The theme chosen was Language Education and Research in the New Normal: Perspectives and Directions. The theme above is relevant to the phenomenon today: Covid 19 outbreak. People around the world are affected by this pandemic. We have been about six months keeping ourselves at home and social distancing. Due to this Covid 19 outbreak, we might be bored. But, as administrators, teachers, and researchers, we should not be dragged into a boring condition. ISTAR—the scientific society—provides us with activities. We can join the conferences they hold. We can be the participants. We can be also involved in the speakership. The most interesting one that I had got involved for two days was my opportunity. I was invited by the ISTAR President as the keynote speaker on the second day, August 2. The theme was really enticing. And, my topic was related to my field that I have been engrossed with. I talked about ESP Approach for Multidiscipline in the Global Era. ESP stands for English for Specific Purposes. This approach is the way how to teach English directed to the purpose the students want to learn. There were more topics discussed. That is why; it was participated by the diversity of participants. But, the topic was still related to language education and research. The discussion was also directed to the issues in the global era. We have known that English is an international language. For the Philippines, people are lucky because English is also spoken in this country. Like the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore are also lucky. Their people also speak English. But for Indonesia, and also Thailand, English is a foreign language. We have to learn formally not naturally. Formal means we have to study in schools. Informal means we have to acquire that language naturally. But the most impressive during the conference was the inclusiveness. ISTAR with the members involved in it is an inclusive society. It can involve all the related administrators, teachers, and researchers. They are included in the scientific society because their works are related to it. So, cultures are blended. No “color” of the individuals is dominated. But, all are one. They have the same vision and mission to get in touch with ISTAR for getting inspiration. That is the organization that is inclusive. Vision and mission can be depicted in the theme. And the participants are engaged and inspired. It was really inspiring. Dr. Djuwari is an Associate Professor and the Director of Language Laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, the editor of some research journals in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is also a journalist in some newspapers in Indonesia; the President of International Association of Scholarly Publishers, Editors, and Reviewers (IASPER).

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LOST IN THOUGHTS

August 5, 2020

VERY often - sometimes too often! - the thought is back! If we wake up in the morning (or even many times in the middle of the night), the thought is back. Sometimes, the thought will not let us sleep. The "act of thinking". the "reflection", the "opinion" or the "serious consideration", no matter, how we describe it - our memory and conscience is always with us as a permanent companion. Especially now in times of Coronavirus. We brood over unsettled problems. Sometimes we also bear unfair treatments, arrogance, ignorance, incompetent know-it-all-betters, and unbearable oddballs, who inexorable love to make our life a hell while living themselves a disorderly life. We would not like to be distracted, but we're toying with some good ideas how we could throw overboard all that "human garbage". What will come next is a matter of conjecture. Of course, I've got my ideas, but I'm not a mind reader. Too many trains of thought make us thoughtless and absent-minded especially in difficult and important daily life situations. Does waiting and/or sleeping solve our problems? Or is it just again in time? Our life's central idea should not be, that while waiting, time solves all our problems. Thoughts should intensify, condense and deepen plans followed by actions. It's good and helpful to carry thoughts in us all the time. Incomprehensible, or better unfinished and un-matured thoughts, no matter whether positive or negative, should be slept on, before tiredness outstrips us with supersonic speed. Sometimes we feel that our thoughts and ideas can't be fulfilled with life. Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways; but where the heart is weak, it will find a thousand excuses. If doubts begin to take roots, we should rouse from pink-tinted idealism or wear down and annihilate nightmares and erase and wipe out such thoughts and ideas. If our thoughts are good and have the chance to be fulfilled in action, especially if "the other side" is prepared and willing to step on to such a bridge of life, we might get support and words of encouragement. And, if not? No action? Maybe it is God's will to keep and protect us from a careless, rash, disadvantageous and uneasy action. Every new day gives us new inexhaustible possibilities to survive, to bear trials and to start a new beginning. We overlook and fail to notice many chances to lie through our sluggishness and laziness while thinking and dreaming of unequaled and unfulfilled ideas. And, my dear readers, as always: Stay safe and healthy always! +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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OW BEING ISOLATED HAVE ALTERED US

August 5, 2020

DID our personalities are shaped by our experiences and social interactions? Being isolated from friends, family, and colleagues is indeed strong tobacco for all of us. There wasn’t just one lockdown – we all had our own experience. Some people - including me and my family - were forced into months of unbroken solitude, others trapped for weeks on end with an estranged spouse. Some saw it as a positive experience – a welcome opportunity to slow down, go for walks and relax with a loving partner, or enjoy quality time with the children. Whichever way the lockdown played out, there has been one near-universal aspect to the past months – it abruptly disrupted our daily routines and living arrangements in ways that would not normally occur. Nothing new. And we don't know how long this will last. The Senior editor at Aeon+Psyche Christian Jarrett asks interesting questions: Will this strange time have left its mark on us, not just superficially, but deep down? As we venture out tentatively, do we do so with our personalities somehow altered? And if so, how will our new selves cope as we begin to mix and travel once again? I strongly agree with his answers. For much of psychology’s history, personality – the set of enduring habits of behavior, emotion, and thought that form each person’s unique identity – was considered set in stone, at least beyond early adulthood. Research over the last few decades, however, has led to a consensus that, while personality traits are relatively stable, they are not completely fixed. Instead, they continue to evolve through life and in response to major life events. In other words, from a theoretical perspective, there is every possibility that at least some of us will have been left changed by the lockdown. Honestly, I have problems getting along without the usual daily face-to-face contact with friends, family, and colleagues. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest the same. Although conscious that I’ve been more fortunate than many in my experience of the pandemic so far, I also know that I’ve been feeling less stressed due to less rushing around, but also more withdrawn and introverted. Friends of mine (also not too adversely affected) agree they feel different – more reflective, perhaps, but also less sociable. In one of my previous write-ups at this corner, I praised my status at the home office. Maybe you still remember it? The many months of changes to our routines may have led to changes in our behavior that will stick long after the pandemic has finished. It “may lead to new norms, which may over time also shape our personalities,” says Wiebke Bleidorn at the Personality Change Laboratory at the University of California, Davis. I am sure, she is so very true. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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THAT MOVES ME

July 28, 2020

TWO major issues concern me: climate change and the coronavirus Covid-19. Millions of people around the world are exposed to the virus and dangerous levels of heat stress - a dangerous condition that can cause organs to shut down. Many live in developing countries and do jobs that expose them to potentially life-threatening conditions. These include being out in the open on farms and building sites or indoors in factories and hospitals. Science editor David Shukman shares the worries with me and many others. Summers are becoming hotter and hotter for humans. Global warming will increase the chances of summer conditions that may be "too hot for humans" to work in. When we caught up with Dr. Jimmy Lee, his goggles were steamed up and there was sweat trickling off his neck. An emergency medic, he's laboring in the stifling heat of tropical Singapore to care for patients with Covid-19. There's no air conditioning - a deliberate choice, to prevent the virus from being blown around - and he notices that he and his colleagues become "more irritable, shorter with each other". Predictions shake me: more than 3bn could live in extreme heat by 2070. The monetary Siberian heatwave is clear evidence of climate change. 2019 was Europe's warmest year on record. And Dr. Lee's personal protective equipment, essential for avoiding infection, makes things worse by creating a sweltering 'micro-climate' under the multiple layers of plastic. We can all imagine that working in a tropical climate can be extremely uncomfortable. One danger is that overheating can slow down our ability to do something vital for medical staff - make quick decisions. Another is that they may ignore the warning signs of what's called heat stress - such as faintness and nausea - and keep on working till they collapse. If the body is unable to cool down properly so its core temperature keeps rising to dangerous levels and key organs can shut down. It happens when the main technique for getting rid of excess heat - the evaporation of sweat on the skin - can't take place because the air is too humid. According to Dr. Rebecca Lucas, who researches physiology at the University of Birmingham, the symptoms can escalate from fainting and disorientation to cramps and failure of the guts and kidneys. What impact will climate change have? As global temperatures rise, more intense humidity is likely as well which means more people will be exposed to more days with that hazardous combination of heat and moisture. Another study, published earlier this year, warned that heat stress could affect as many as 1.2 bn people around the world by 2100, four times more than now. It's not a new thing for me and you: people need to drink plenty of fluid before they start work, take regular breaks, and then drink again when they rest. But scientists around the globe agree:  avoiding heat stress is easier said than done. There's a practical problem as well - some people do not want to drink so they can avoid having to go to the toilet. And another fatal attraction in my opinion: For many people, there's a professional desire to keep working whatever the difficulties so as not to let colleagues and patients down at a time of crisis. Highly motivated people can actually be at the greatest risk of heat injury, says Dr. Jason Lee, an associate professor in physiology at the National University of Singapore. He's a leading member of a group specializing in the dangers of excessive heat, the Global Heat Health Information Network, which has drawn up guidelines to help medics cope with Covid-19. It's spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and the US weather and climate agency Noaa. This climate change will be a bigger monster and we really need a coordinated effort across nations to prepare for what is to come. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me in Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com .

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