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Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Puddleglum » Feb 04, 2014 11:04 am

King_Erlian. Your mention of the response to flags is somewhat the same in some places in the US. One poor fellow, a veteran at that, was sued by the local neighborhood authority because his flag "ruined their view of the mountainside." Which was just an excuse to have it taken down because they found it "offensive".
Though to be fare there are many who go overboard in wanting to express patriotism. Such as flying their flags until they are in tatters. Then getting upset when someone says it should be retired. As an old Boy Scout we were told this also shows disrespect to the flag, and what it represents.
Unfortunatly there will always be the extemes on most issues, with the voice of reason stuck in the middle being bruised from both sides.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Shadowlander » Feb 04, 2014 4:15 pm

If you have a Union Jack outside your house in the UK, it means you're either a football fanatic or a racist (or both).


Why on Earth would that make a person a racist?

We fly our flag usually on big holidays, chiefly ones like Veteran's Day or Independence Day. I was a scout like Puddleglum so I know flag etiquette and adhere to it at all times. There's certain procedures to retire a flag and when one's flag becomes too damaged or brittle to fly anymore you can take it down to the local VFW hall and they'll have a very solemn and respectful ceremony where it and other retired flags are burned and then buried. You can keep a well made flag operating for a very long time though as long as you care for it. The Star Spangled Banner is a monster-size flag that they still have on display up in Washington DC and they take super meticulous care of it and its been in serviceable shape since the War of 1812. And you're not limited to just the traditional Stars & Stripes. On Independence Day we fly our Betsy Ross flag. My parents have a Bennington Flag they fly on said day. I was thinking of getting some others and flying each on specific days, but I'm neurotic like that ;))
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Feb 04, 2014 6:05 pm

The flag retirement thing sound really strange to me.

The only Day you will ever see a lot of Australian flags will be on Australia day. When bogans wear them as capes. The Aboriginal flag is always next to it when flags raised at school.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 04, 2014 10:34 pm

King_Erlian wrote:Wagga, I was aware of William Blake. I was referring to a comedy routine by British comedy duo Flanders and Swann which led into a spoof patriotic song called "A Song Of Patriotic Prejudice", which had the refrain:
"The English, the English, the English are best
I wouldn't give tuppence for all of the rest."
In the first three verses they're totally disparaging about the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish, and in the final verse they dismiss everybody else:
"It's just 'cos they're foreign that makes them so mad!" :D

If you have a Union Jack outside your house in the UK, it means you're either a football fanatic or a racist (or both).


;)) Whereas in Australia, the Union Jack flying outside a house would mean the residents are Anti-Australian Barmy Army members, come to cheer on the "British" cricket team, the visiting football team, or even someone referred to as a "Whingeing Pom", which is also considered racist for us to say about anyone "British". :-o Trouble is, there are Union Jacks in the top left-hand corner of Australian flags, even six of the State flags, and every now and then there is some attempt to see if we can organise a new national flag for Australia that doesn't have a Union Jack as part of the flag. BTW, IlF, the Australian flag goes on top of the flag pole, when it is one of those three-in-one flagpoles, and the Aboriginal flag and your State flag fly on either side, when it is a State Government building.

King Erlian, I'm not surprised at the attitudes of Flanders & Swann, which, here, would be branded as racist, in themselves. I've learned over the years, that when an Englishman or woman wins something at the Olympics then we are told proudly about an English victory. But when a Scottish , Irish or Welshman or woman wins something then suddenly it is a British victory. So much for all of them being in the same UK team. :p Surely, in UK, the English don't fly St George crosses on suitably patriotic festive occasions, do they? Whilst expecting everyone else to fly the Union Jack?

I don't have an Australian flag to fly, but a couple of families in our street do fly the Australian flag proudly, on Anzac Day, as well as Australia Day. I just drape my Australian flag beach towel over the balcony balustrade. Sorry, IlF. :ymblushing:

This year is the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of World War 1, so we will be hearing a lot about the War to end all Wars. Just in case nobody noticed....8)) :ymangel:
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby King_Erlian » Feb 05, 2014 3:04 am

I think it's important to remember that things like Flanders and Swann are satire, and are sending up racist views rather than promoting them. I don't think a song with lines like "The French and Italians eat garlic in bed" is intended as a serious attack on other cultures.

As for flying the St. George cross (the English flag), apart from on St. George's Day, you hardly ever see it except at sporting events.

I don't feel especially proud to be English, or British. Seems to be regarded as rather a negative thing in the rest of the world these days.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 05, 2014 3:40 am

I've read a theory that much of the rest of the world has been terrified of the British and this is why you might have that impression. I'm glad you pointed out that Flanders & Swann are all about satire. And I'd be proud to say I'm of British descent, even though some of my mob got thrown out of "Old Blighty". As a matter of interest, which part of UK is "Old Blighty", and why do they call it by that name?
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby King_Erlian » Feb 05, 2014 4:27 am

This Wikipedia article on "Blighty" might be of interest:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blighty
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Shadowlander » Feb 05, 2014 2:50 pm

ILF wrote:The flag retirement thing sound really strange to me.


Believe me, I've heard this from folks all over the world ;)) This isn't to say that every single American treats the flag to this degree, but most of us do. :)

KE wrote:I don't feel especially proud to be English, or British. Seems to be regarded as rather a negative thing in the rest of the world these days.


Well I don't view you guys negatively. You're our parent country and we've been friends time out of mind, and I've always kind of viewed us as the Archenland to your Narnia ;)). Seriously, we've had differences before but we've bled for each other in past conflicts and when the proverbial muck hits the fan we've always stood side by side ready to face it. I can think of few other countries we've ever been able to rightly call friends than the Brits. Now that's not to say we have to agree to every little thing under the sun, but I do think it's worth pointing out that if you guys were in trouble many, many of us would come running to help you at the drop of a hat. And that's coming from a committed isolationist! :)) Be mindful of the bad stuff in a country's history, but know that you guys have done incredible good too and will be needed to continue to do so in the future. :)
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Puddleglum » Feb 05, 2014 10:21 pm

Have to back Shadowlander on this. But I must admit to a bit of double mindedness as well. Being of a mixed family of many nations, ( I don't go for that hiphonated whatzit-American bunk ), I have a bit of British blood in me, but a wee bit more Irish. So occasionally the latter tends to pull "John Bull's tail" as my Great Grandma Murry would say. Guess that's why I'm a bit of a mess in me head ;)
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Feb 06, 2014 7:19 pm

Adam hills preformed an excellent joke about the differences between Americans, Australians and the British getting on an airoplane. The American guy is standing up straight going on about being part of the worlds largest economy, the English guy is slouching complaining about how England use to be important and the Australian is looking up at the roof wondering about the airoplane design.(I wish I could find a youtube video of it but most of the ones I find don't include one of the 3 guys but the show I went to he included all 3).

Than he said the way the American ecnomy is going they will soon be like the British.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby fantasia » Feb 15, 2014 4:36 pm

Here's a question for people in other countries. I feel like here in the USA more and more people are moving towards homeschool their kids.. for various reasons, most are political so I can't mention them here. It's definitely something I've been thinking about for my own kiddo when he reaches that age.

So I'm curious about everybody else? Do you have a lot of homeschooling? Or is it mostly public school? And do you have private schools too? Most private schools here are religion based.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 15, 2014 5:33 pm

I'm only speaking from a NSW perspective, since the other states differ slightly. Western Australia covers an enormous area, easily 1/3 of the entire Australian mainland, and Queensland is also fairly large, as is Northern Territory. Every child in NSW, where it is compulsory between the ages of 6 and the school leaving age of 15, is obliged to attend a school.

This school is for the majority of pupils, one of the local state schools run by the state education authority for the purpose. Some of these schools have been designated as opportunity schools, to assist bright children in a region have a more stimulating education. The local schools available can also be one of the network of schools established by the Catholic church so that children could be educated in the tenets of that faith, as well as fulfilling state education requirements, or it could be one of the independent schools, some of which are very expensive, and attendance at which can be a sought-after status symbol. There are also faith-based schools for those of Anglican, Seventh Day Adventist, Interdenominational Christian, Muslim, and Jewish beliefs.

Home schooling is not usually encouraged, but is available for people who live on boats, in isolated areas, hundreds of kilometres from the nearest school, or who are in hospital care. The School of the Air, based in Broken Hill, near the South Australian border, uses radio, Internet, television, Skype and other electronic conferencing materials to deliver lessons to children in various locations in remote NSW areas. In other situations, correspondence courses are available through OTEN in Strathfield. Curriculum materials are prepared and sent out to students who have to complete assignments and return them either by email or by snail mail. Attendance at examinations would have to be done by special arrangement, with an appointed invigilator, as in these cases the exams set would be external, and not by a supervising mother.

One of the fathers of Australian Federation was Henry Parkes who was Premier of NSW about three times, and who was a strong believer in universal, free, education, so school attendance is compulsory, even if the education is not exactly free any more. Non-attendance at a school must be accounted for to the authorities to ensure that children aren't truanting or have not met with some misadventure or other. In high school, in particular, a doctor's certificate might be necessary in cases of non-attendance due to illness. Misbehaving & disruptive students can be suspended from classes, but cannot be expelled from state schools, unlike private schools.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Feb 15, 2014 6:53 pm

Western Australia is very similar to what waggawagga has said. I attended a specialist state school. I can think of a few private schools which are not religious based but not too many.

The ages here differ however. 5-15 you must attended school and 16-17 you can only leave school if you have an apprenticeship or traineeship. You can't leave for any other reasons.
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby Shadowlander » Feb 17, 2014 5:58 am

If I had the money and the time I'd most definitely homeschool my child. From personal experience I think a child tends to get a better education here in the US in this manner. Public school is very hit and miss and how well your kid does depends upon several variables, the two biggest being location of the school and how good the teaching staff is. I don't have much faith in public education anymore, especially since many kids that graduate can't find neighboring countries like Mexico or Canada on a map, or have middle school reading levels, or can't perform basic math. This is not to say every student is at this level, and there's a large number that can still excel if they put their mind to it, or if their parents ride them about their schooling every day, but still I see a lot of ignorant people today that are that way courtesy of public education. It's absolutely shameful.

By contrast home schoolers tend to be very literate, very articulate, well spoken, and are interested in the Classics (Dickens, Hugo, Dumas, etc.) more than the antics of Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus. I want to home school, like I said, but it's expensive and it requires that one parent work to bring in the dollars...not easy in today's economy. :(
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 18, 2014 5:24 am

As you say, Shadowlander, I am sure that homeschooling would require that one parent be home all the time, not easy when a family needs two incomes to survive financially. It would also need an equal commitment of both parents to ensure that lessons are not skipped, that the children's education is prioritised over, for example, Dad's interests in, say, football, or even tiredness of both hardworking parents. And a lot depends on what sort of relationship the parents have with the children. Unfortunately there is a real risk some parents might just see homeschooling as an excuse to disobey the law, to get their children to do the housework, or to run around the neighbourhood unsupervised.

Your criticism of the level of public school education might also be explained because of the level of education of the parents of the pupils with poor outcomes, their own socio-economic problems in providing school materials and especially the lack of parental interest in how well students do at school, and their attitude to how necessary education is generally. In the 1920's in NSW school attendance became absolutely compulsory mainly because of parents who couldn't wait to send their children out to work.

But public schools, especially if they are also selective or opportunity schools tend to do quite well, here, even if the area is otherwise working class. I've been to a private school which didn't have anything like the geographic charts or globes of the world available to the public schools I attended next, for example. But at this next school, which I attended for about a year, and which educated no less a person than John Howard, a former prime minister, I learned of girls who were constantly kept home to look after younger siblings and to help their mothers. These sorts of girls I'd see later as older women in Adult Basic Education classes, trying to catch up on a lifetime of disadvantage.

A lot also depends on how these public schools are funded or not by the taxpayers of the state you live in and what sort of resources they can get with what they have. By the way, just how are US public schools funded? Through state governments? Local councils? Or the Federal Government?
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Re: Cultural Curiosities: Life in Other Countries

Postby IloveFauns » Feb 18, 2014 6:55 am

I agree with wagga. It does depend on the child and the parents and sometimes choosing the right public school. I had little choice because my highschool was the only public school I could get to easily and quickly by bus(there is one just down the road now but it opened the year I started highschool and didn't go up to year 12 to the year after I left). It was a very science based school(The teachers won countless awards in science and one even came third in the world and best in Australia. At least 1 teacher has placed in the top 3 science teachers around Australia for the 5 years I was there). Though the other learning areas were average(not terrible but all the schools money was spent on science(many of the art/English favouring students complained). The school was very mixed as far as students go(some ere terrible and others good but isn't that every school?).

Both my parents dropped out of school after year 10(it was very common in the late 70's/early 80's and they had to travel some distance which was too much money for mums parents(not as much government help for studying as there is now) and dad wanted to follow his dad into the building industry. In short it is much easier to finish highschool and go to uni now in Australia than it was when my parents were at that age.
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