opinion

PAPER MESS?

September 20, 2020

COMPUTERS and phones have become the go-to note-taking method for many. But your brain benefits from an old-fashioned pen and paper, says Hetty Roessingh, a professor of education at the University of Calgary. Are you old-fashioned? I am. Check out my office, and you might be shocked when you see my mess of papers all over the place. Phone notes, new ideas for columns, conference notes, details from online meetings and so on and so on . How about you my dear reader: do you pick up any old notebook and pen when you need them, or do you have a thing for Moleskines or Montblancs? Let me quote Professor Roessingh again: "Whether or not you’re picky, know that tools for the hands are tools for the brain. Handwritten notes are a powerful tool for encrypting embodied cognition and in turn supporting the brain’s capacity for retrieval of information. And secondly, when you take notes by hand, your hands create a robust external memory storage: your notebook". Roessingh really speaks to me from the soul. Taking notes by hand is a win-win, and belongs in every student’s cognitive tool kit. Learning how to take notes by hand effectively, and how to ingrain note-taking as a key learning and study tool, can begin as early as grades 3 or 4, but it’s never too late to begin. Yes Professor, I strongly agree, and I am no more ashamed about my messy office. Of course, we live in a digital age where daily functioning involves digital communication. Automaticity in keyboarding is an important skill too, and the tools and applications for digital communication will continue to evolve and have their place. But keyboarding does not provide the tactile feedback to the brain that contact between pencil or pen and paper does — the key to creating the neurocircuitry in the hand-brain complex. I am not sure if our laptops might seem faster and more efficient, but there are good reasons for having a paper-bound notebook and pen — any kind you prefer — at the ready. Or lots of notes somewhere placed at the office. And only I know where the notes are stuck. Researchers have found that note-taking associated with keyboarding involves taking notes verbatim in a way that does not involve processing information, and so have called this “non-generative” note-taking. By contrast, taking notes by hand involves cognitive engagement in summarising, paraphrasing, organising, concept and vocabulary mapping — in short, manipulating and transforming information that leads to deeper understanding. Experts say taking notes by hand engages your brain in different ways, makes you interact with the material in different ways, and overall, deepens understanding. An interesting quotation comes from Leonardo da Vinci, who wrote: “…the more minutely you describe, the more you will confuse the mind of the reader and the more you will remove him from knowledge of the thing described. Therefore it is necessary to make a drawing … as well as to describe …” If writing is a requirement of your profession whether in journalism, teaching, architecture, engineering, fashion and more, you already know the benefits and importance of note-taking and sketching. Worth to think about it. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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ASSERTIONS TO BEAR

September 14, 2020

WE love to complain! Many times we don't have reasons at all to do so - but, we love to complain. Especially nowadays. Our world is full of mess - isn't it? Of course, somehow it is indeed if you look around. Illnesses, natural disasters, climate change, wars etc. etc. We bring many more assertions to bear: first, in the past we have been thriftier and economical, more religious and devout, more patriotic, industrious, more hard-working, keen and obedient. And, second, above everything and all: in the past we had more idealists. Third, nowadays we have (mostly?) material things in mind - what a disgrace. Materialists or idealists? Materialism or Idealism? Whom or what do you love? Love most? I just quoted Vox Populi... . A "materialist" has indeed become a swear word. I don't mean with "material" the accumulated data out of which a writer creates a work of literary, historical, or scientific value. A materialist is being easily described as someone with an attitude, who ignores spiritual values, compared with an idealist, who has the tendency to seek the highest spiritual perfection. Idealism means the doctrine that appearance is purely the perception, the idea of subjects, and that the world is to be regarded as consisting of mind. The coquetry of higher philosophy makes it difficult to bear the ups and downs in our daily life. Sure, we all know that "our last earthly dress has no pockets  any more". Striving for earthly and terrestrial possession, property and estate might be the hit-man of idealism. That's how we have been taught. "Wine, women and song", having the unpleasant feeling of fullness, egoism and bragging as well as showing-off - are these the materialist's real attitudes? Is the idealist, many times not able, stand on earth with both feet, the only one who occupies himself with religion and virtuousness - so to speak, with celestial and heavenly things? Is that really so? Can we make such a distinction? Sure, it's easy to do so: it's manageable and comfortable. But well, why is the enjoyment of having a tasty meal BAD, and listening to a recital composed by Johann Sebastian Bach BETTER? Why should art be better than roasted pork and a bottle of wine? Value judgements and moral concepts... . Owning a house and lot and a car  - or even more then one - are earthly properties, as well as bank saving accounts, profitable insurances, and invest advantageously stocks. Is a terrible underpaid nurse or a book author an idealist, because he or she doesn't work for the filthy lure but for higher values? Has Jesus been an idealist, because He accepted renunciation and died without terrestrial possession? Has Jesus been a materialist, because He fed thousands of people on the breadline? Are we idealists, if we bequeath nothing to our families and might die without a single centavo, because earthly things are bad? Worth to think about it ... . +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit my www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringscassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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SOCIAL ANXIETY

September 8, 2020

SOCIAL anxiety is the single most common psychological problem according to innumerable survey results worldwide. The magnificent, gorgeous, and excellent isolation, resulting from being nervous when meeting people is really the opposite. The state of being isolated reminds me of being in a hospital with an infectious disease. Especially nowadays in times of Covid-19 ... . Does the project of giving a speech or going to a social gathering give you the willies? Relax, there are always ways and solutions to help you by teaching you "never to be nervous again". I have always been the most silent pupil in elementary and high school. I was ashamed even to talk to or with my teachers. Several not really satisfactory (?) school records have been the result. But, I wanted to become a journalist. I am still one. And, I taught at a state university for more than 12 years. During college times and while writing the first articles I learned from my first boss, a daily news publisher, to avoid being nervous while meeting people. I was always prepared. Preparation for any communicating situation is a must. I have been invited to many parties and gatherings. I always asked for the guest list. I scanned all newspapers and browsed them on the net. "In your opinion, who..." or "What do you think of....?" kept the momentum going. That was sometime during the 1960s. Since that time, I was just very lucky to always meet the right people at the right time and place, which kept on teaching me how to avoid splendid isolation. Whether you're delivering a speech, approaching your boss, or joining an important social occasion, do at first your homework. The most polished, smoothly delivered and spontaneous soundings talks are the result of many hours of work and years-long experiences. The memorable one-liners and moving phrases that went down in history didn't come from the last-minute bursts of inspiration. I also learned from Harvard University historian Richard Marius, "that good writing is a kind of wrestling with the thought". Or, as New York Times columnist William Safire expressed before: "To communicate, put your thoughts in order, give them a purpose, use them to persuade, to instruct, to discover, to seduce!" Let's don't forget, that every one of us has something to be proud of and that everyone enjoys talking about it. But, you have to make it happen! +++ 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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Measuring the national leader’s success

September 1, 2020

"For one true measure of a nation is its success in fulfilling the promise of a better life for each of its members. Let this be the measure of our nation."  (John F. Kennedy, 1962) IN 1962, the President of America, John F. Kennedy (JFK) stated the above quotation.  It was uttered to a Congress on National Health Needs. Exactly, it was spoken on February 27, 1962.  JFK was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He died on November 22, 1963. How to measure the success of any leader is not difficult. It can be indicated by whether the people get better lives. If every member of the nation lives better, it is the obvious token showing the leader’s success. If not, it is easy to say it. He or she failed. There is no more argument to brag. There is nothing for haggling about the fact. JFK had managed any kind of challenges. Even, he could manage the hardships from foreign countries. He could manage economically and politically. As he stated, the success of any leader is to keep his promise of making the people live better. Even it is with any kind of disastrous condition in the country. Today, we have experienced the same tragedy, all over the world. The Covid-19 outbreak has devastated the aspects of lives. It has penetrated all countries. But, the results of curbing this situation look different. As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), on August 31, 2020, there have been 35, 085, 685 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease. From these confirmed cases, there are 843,927 deaths.   When viewing continentally, it looks that America is the highest, for the confirmed cases: 13,268,684. It is followed by Europe: 4,205,708. Then, South East Asia: 4,157,798. From this rank, then, it is followed by Eastern Mediterranean: 1,915,275, Africa: 1,044,513, and finally Western Pacific: 492,966 (WHO report, August 31, 2020). Unfortunately, there is no clear answer, when this covid-19 ends totally. If there is no exact time, all the nations throughout the world live under uncertainty. Economically, all the affected countries have dropped drastically. People are jobless.  Getting the money for a living is more difficult.  Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stieglitz et.al stated that 81% of the global workforce has been hit by full or partial lockdown. As reported by Chatham House, the United Nation (UN) has estimated,   300 million jobs have been lost up to May 2020. It is serious. This is the priority to take for action. So, what the national leaders do for their people is the measurement of their success.  We have noted the indicator of their success. For one true measure of a nation is its success in fulfilling the promise of a better life for each of its members. Let this be the measure of our nation. That is the measurement for seeing the national leader’s success.   There are some important ways for overcoming the Covid 19 outbreak. This pandemic is really serious. The government and their apparatus should escort all the state-budget transparently. All programs targeted for overcoming the Covid 190, must be done in good governance. There must not be any funds leaking. Economic programs should be prioritized. Education and some of assistances related to it are also the best priority. Editor's Note: 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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BEING ON THE RIGHT TRACK?

September 1, 2020

MANY times we compare our life with a way. We talk about a "human life way". We describe a determined human such as, "He's on the right track (way)". We must make our tracks, but we will prepoved not to take a path across a rice-field. We learn that there are many ways to solve problems. We also don't want to stand in other people's way. Sometimes we prefer to keep out of someone's way. Sometimes, we plan already to get someone out of our way. It just happened in my surroundings. Most of all, we do try to find the golden middle course. "Hay nako" - that's the hardest task in life! Many different ways have been offered to us during our whole life. Whole life?  Mmmmh, let's wait and see and have a cup of tea! How can we be able to choose the right way? The correct one? Which signs on our way can be trusted blindly? These are urgent and vital questions for all of us, and, during this time, important like never before. In the pasty traditions and custom demands have been produced our ways unquestionable. Nowadays permanently, constantly and continually we must think about decisions and look for the correct plan - but, more and more alone! Today's man is like a ship's captain.This ship contains solid iron. The compass needle is no more able to show the Northern direction as expected, because of the ship's iron inflexible body. You only have one choice: look up to the stars and study their guiding support. A very wise idea by German atom-physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976). We are all happy and proud while having the perfect means at our disposal. On the other hand, our blindness allows us to intricate and confused destinations in life, aims, goals and objectives. We all know the headlines of our daily life, which always turn us away and distract our views to the stars - means to say: to God. - Coup d'Etat (ignoring) of human values; - Total (modern?) emancipation; - Longing mostly -or only- for earthly luck on the way of all . Many of these headlines are reality already. But this reality stays behind real dreams and illusions.  Let's keep our eyes open for the most important signs at our way, such as - Ready to help the unprotected and defenseless weak; - Struggle for freedom and justice; - Commitment of peace; -  Most of all: Love, which doesn't calculate and count - love without measurements, boundaries and limits.

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ERRING

August 24, 2020

TO err is human - to forgive is divine. The British poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744) created this saying. And, in my opinion, he was so very right. Erring - having failed to adhere to the proper or accepted standards. How many times have we done something wrong? In our daily life struggles, we also pass innumerable periods of splendid isolation and act, as William Shakespeare said, "Thoughts are free" by hurting and insulting relatives, friends, and colleagues. Many times we err, and, even if we know it, we don't care. BAHALA SILA... Maybe we pray and ask for forgiveness. And, we are so sure of having our complimentary ticket in our pockets and pouches. Nobody is perfect - sure! Me too! Yes, I confess! But that's no excuse for broken promises. How many times do we commit a mistake? How many times are we mistaken, or get astray? How many times do we sin? How often do we catch ourselves being roving, wandering, and acting eccentric, changeable, capricious, and not dependable? Or, how many people in our surroundings do we meet daily, who err terribly on their decisions? I am not talking about the deviation from right or truth and the sins, blunders, and mistakes, which we make in our daily life. To err is human, sure - but not if we err willfully, intentionally, or if legal premeditation is done. But the second part of my today's column here is much more important: forgiveness! Yes, forgiveness is divinity - meaning to say: godhead and theological together. I looked into my dictionaries and found innumerable explanations: "If we can forgive, we are belonging to, or, we are having the nature of God. We might be holy, sacred, heavenly, or a superhuman -being a priest, a pastor, a clergy, or theologian!" I guess it's already a wonderful situation, after being insulted or hurt by someone to hear the simple expression "SORRY!" Yes, it's coming from the bottom of the heart. "SORRY!" ... - and I ask God also to forgive all my sins and my wrongdoings to others. Regarding "seeking forgiveness" we can find plenty of passages in our Holy Bible. The most touching part for me is being found in Proverbs 28:13: "You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins. Confess them and give them up, then God will show mercy to you!" "Erring" taxi drivers never die out. When I returned from my last long trip before Covid-19 stopped all travel plans, I met one, asking me an extra charge of 50 Pesos because of the incalculable waiting period at the airport. The taxi number and company are noted. Just in case... Of course, I didn't pay the extra charge and boarded another taxi.... +++ 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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