Friday, December 08, 2006

First world Vs Third World Issues


Last night was super duper educational.

Here is lesson # 2.

I was flipping between the Passionate Eye, that featured “Loss of Innocence” a documentary on Cambodia and the Life Network, which featured a documentary “Sporting Kids, Mom’s and Dads” on children whose parents have them involved in every after school activity imaginable.

What struck me was the huge difference in concerns based on material wealth of two distinct regions.

In North America, our wealth affords us the luxury of taking basic needs like clothing, security, food and shelter, for granted. Instead we worry about carting our children between multiple activities, stressing about our hectic schedule, which we choose. Sure everyone needs to earn money. Yet often we choose jobs that are more stressful, because of prestige. We choose to enroll our kids in multiple activities, because society says this will make them into better people. We choose to make ourselves sick. There are ailments in certain rich countries that would be seen as preposterous in the third world. Anorexia for example. A starving child in Africa would laugh at someone who purposely didn’t eat. I do not mean to down play the seriousness of this psychological disease, but I want to point out, that it is an affliction of a rich society to be more concerned with aesthetics than survival.

The Passionate eye story was about the slave/sex trade in Cambodia. Children as young as six, sold and raped, since it the superstition is that taking a girls virginity brings a man good luck. In Cambodia, most of the people in the villages are simply trying to just survive, in a society destroyed and decimated by civil war, foreign meddling and inept governments.

I am not here to say Cambodia or the third world’s problems are more important than the concerns of people that live in richer societies. I have always been of the opinion that no matter how grounded and humble a person is, their own problems will always be more important than two million people being slaughtered a million miles away. The point is, perhaps we need to re-examine our lives. And appreciate, that since we have no worry of being sold into slavery, we should do a little more for the people who still live in fear.
Also instead of driving our kids crazy learning activities they are quiet likely to forget, why not take them on fact finding holiday to see how the other half lives.

8 comments:

marikawood said...

Here Here! My cousin's kids - 8 and 5 do swimming, karate, Greek school, tennis, cricket, piano, violin, football, kinder-gym, drama...and it will only get worse as they get older. Not only do these kids not 'get it', they're exhausted just about all the time.

It's insane!

Abeni said...

Hear,Hear!

Melody said...

Yup, a fact-finding holiday would prob'ly have a more lasting effect than everything else combined.

solitaire said...

I have always been of the opinion that no matter how grounded and humble a person is, their own problems will always be more important than two million people being slaughtered a million miles away.
What a good point, sis. Thanks for that.
It made me think.

Leon said...

Horrible indeed. Makes you thankful for the things you have.

gooders said...

"I am not here to say Cambodia or the third world’s problems are more important than the concerns of people that live in richer societies."

Then what are you saying?

Being sold in to sex slavery and being raped, starving and having NO way to improve your situation is a clearly more important concern...well to me anyway.

I spent a month in Thailand. I have seen this human crisis first hend. I bought a couple of girls (5-7)just to take them out and show them a nice time so at least that night they would not be raped by Americans.

Crankyputz said...

Hey Gooders, what I am saying is, no matter how tragic third world concerns are, I still don't think it forces anyone in the 1st world to think any less of their problems. I mean we know all this stuff goes on, but only a few of us, care enough to do anything about it. I guess I take the realistic view that event though we would all like to be saints, few of us give a daily thought to the plight of female Cambodians. Also the point I am trying to make is, in each person's sphere, their own problems will always be more important than anyone elses. I for one would like to do more, and hope that I will teach my kids that there are ways to do more.

cool destiny said...

We have become a very selfish society and it's like no one wants to help anyone anymore, no matter how small. I'm no saint, but as long as I can help someone, I do that. One of my goals for next year is to do some volunteer work. Haven't chosen the organization yet, but I'm thinking of working with HIV/AIDS patients.