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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Musings on Depression

I was thinking of this as I was riding through a northern suburb of Atlanta yesterday afternoon.

You want to know the kind of setting that would weigh the most heavily upon a depressed man such as myself?

Try a hot summer afternoon in the city.

That hot sun beating down upon your face is like the weight of the world reining decisive blows down upon you.

And the cars whizzing by you can reinforce these preconceived notions you have that no one gives a damn about you.

And then there's those business types that make up the inner-city crowd.

Those types, battling it out for a position atop the company ladder, have lost all touch with everyone else, which also reinforces aforementioned preconceived notions.

And the gang violence really hammers home a bloody fine point.

If you want true happiness in a protracted depressed state, then surround yourself with the best of your best friends and hang out in the secluded countryside.

People may call this solution over-simplified.

I call it learning from what I didn't do.

Just my musings on depression.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Problem With the Arab World's Love Affair With English

From Fortune:

Marhaba and hello. In March, I visited the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Communications at the American University in Dubai, where I sit on the advisory board with prominent regional business leaders. After some students presented reports to us in fluent English, I was surprised to hear my fellow board members say bluntly that their native language is "in crisis."

It turns out English is fast becoming the only language of a new generation of educated Arabs.

This isn't a good thing for the region or the rest of the world. (I'll get to that in a moment.) The journalism school at the AUD is the only modern program in the Middle East that allows students to study in Arabic. Still, many students arrive poorly versed in written Arabic and the formal spoken language and require refresher Arabic language courses.

Literacy in the Gulf States is 98%, according to Unesco. But that literacy is increasingly in English, not Arabic.

This English bias starts early, with children in private "model" schools in the United Arab Emirates studying their full curriculum, including math and science, in English. But state schools are pushing a pro-English agenda too. Professor Patricia Abu Wardeh, who has lived in the UAE for 16 years and in the region for more than three decades, laments that the UAE's government-sponsored Zayed University offers no major in Arabic.

The trend appears to be taking hold regionwide. In Saudi Arabia, many upper-middle-class families speak English at home -- not just at work -- because, as one knowledgeable source told me, parents fear Arabic isn't sophisticated.

One Emirati CEO told me his own children do not speak Arabic fluently. He said he put them in English schools to help ensure they'd have great career prospects. But now he says he regrets that his children don't feel comfortable speaking the language of their forefathers.

As you probably well know by now, I make no bones about the fact that I'm in the pocket for her and her network. Putting that aside, this is a decent article which highlights the growing language disparity in the Arab world. Your thoughts.