Scandals – Good or Bad?

Scandals are useful because they focus our attention on problems in ways that no speaker or reformer ever could.


Any morally or legally wrong deed that causes dismay and problems to people can fall under scandals. On one hand where scandals expose to us areas which were earlier unchecked and raises a cause to act proactively against repetition of such acts, not all scandals are ‘good’ in the sense that they would help us in a constructive way. Hence I do not totally agree nor totally disagree with the motion that scandals can substitute in a better way what reforms have tried to do.

Scandals mostly happen when people take advantage of flaws in society, and resort to methods like gossip, hurting of religious sentiments, and defaming by bringing down the reputation of people. For example, let us consider some scandals that happen almost every day in the corporate world. The most prolifically occurring scandals consist of those which include bribery or under-the-table acts between officials and the customers. In such cases, it would not stir a nerve within those who are not affected by it even if speakers continue to preach and explain how it is both morally and legally wrong to accept bribes. However, if an official is caught, and it results in him getting a severe punishment, then probably people would pay more heed to the deed and lesser people would be involved in such cases of bribery later. Another case could be where ministers are actually connected with the mob during rallies and who themselves urge the mob to raise an upheaval, all the while trying to show themselves aloof of it. Such cases of scandal widely happen, yet we will never pay attention to such deeds until they actually happen in front of our eyes and we see the consequences that the people face.

In other cases, however, scandals are far from useful. These mainly include morally binding cases, for example, where people go against their religion in favor for monetary benefits, or where some people are molested by others of the same or different sex. These kinds of scandals are absolutely unnecessary, and the main reason is that everyone of us knows that it is wrong. Proper education and upbringing, and proper reforms taking place can often ameliorate this, and, as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, we would be better off by not experiencing such kinds of scandals rather than wait for them to happen so that we could learn from them. This is where the job of the reformer plays an important role. If the speaker has good oratory skills, he can specifically point out what problems exist in the society without having us depend on scandals to learn from them.

Hence, the message at the end of the day is that we usually learn the consequences of any type of scandal usually after seeing it firsthand. However, in some cases, knowing what is right and what is wrong, and where the problem lies, beforehand, so that the scandals occur less, speakers and reformers do play an important role in various such cases.

How Cities Reflect Society

“To understand the most important characteristics of a society, one must study its major cities.”


One of the most important factors that defines a society is the variety within it. A society is not composed of people all from the same background, or following the same practices, and hence it is important to appreciate the variety in a society. Studying the major cities of any society can in this case prove very powerful in understanding what the major principles are that drive the society together.

A person is, to a large extent, defined by the region in which he lives and grows up. For example, in India, people who hail from the northern states differ in many characteristics from people who hail from the southern or eastern states. This is because through generations, different cultures have been imbibed in people. Nonetheless, studying major cities can help a lot, and the reason is this: People from all areas usually flock to the major cities of a society. Hence, if we pick up ten random people in a major city, it is highly probable that they actually belong to different areas of the society and show variegated traits depending on where they come from, for example, in the food they eat, or the clothes they wear. Also, it is important to remember that there will be some characteristics that will always remain uniform throughout all of them. For example in India, irrespective of where you hail from, touching the feet of elders is a sign of respect towards them. In Korea, bowing low is a custom that everyone practises, irrespective of which area they come from. Such habits are universal for everyone in the society, and so a major city could help us in noticing this.

However, every major city is not alike in all perspectives, and these small differences can help in knowing about the nitty-gritty details about the society. For example, the architecture of different cities can help us deduce the overall mentality that persists in a place. Open-minded people, for example, reflect their mentality in houses by building spacious constructions. Another example that comes to my mind is food. The staple diet of different major cities can help us know a lot about the people and the kind of livelihood that they have. For example, in an area with heavy rain, it is more common to see people consuming rice, compared to wheat. Hence, we might see people who are more active than others simply based on their diet. This is important because learning to recognize people according to where they hail from might be helpful in many cases. For example, if a person wants to open an agricultural industry, he would profit more if he hired people belonging to a particular area.

We might also find many differences within the same city. For example, there might be posh areas within the city, and slums on the outskirts. Learning the sentiments between these people, and whether or not religion plays a role in these sentiments, can play a major role in understanding any society. A secular society might at times face dominance by a certain set of people. Hence the different religions also play an important role. This is particularly visible in major cities where people from all parts of the society flock and work together, and it might be interesting to observe the amount of cooperation and competition between various sets of people.

Sometimes, major cities also impact the individual. Many preconceived notions of individuals are broken, and they themselves realize what their society has to offer them. Hence, it is not unusual to find radical changes in an individual after shifting to a major city. To conclude, I would agree with the fact that though major cities might not give an entire outlook, they succeed in giving a rough overview of the society. Studying its major cities can therefore help in understanding the similarities and differences between different sets of people, and how the society overall impacts the individual.

How Bad is Technology?

As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.


Technology has proved to be the most important pillar on which the world resides today. However, as of everything, technology comes with its boons and banes. To say that relying on it to solve problems would decrease the human ability to think would be too extreme to be correct, and at the same time, it is not entirely wrong either. There are several instances where indeed the use of technology has led to people becoming completely dependent on it, but at the same time, there are many other instances where human thinking has not deteriorated by technology.

If we take a look at the current trend of communication and technology, lots of people today own a smartphone, which, by far, has impaired human thinking the most. One perspective that supports this is that millions of people depend on how the application developer thinks. We could take the calculator for an example. It is not unusual to see people using their calculators for even the simplest of calculations. Thus, technology has made the human lazier than before. He refuses to think because he has at his dispense a machine that can do the thinking for himself. Consequently, we waste a lot of time using the benefits of technology for very trivial operations.

On the other hand, there are numerous instances where technology has in fact complemented human thinking, or at the least, has had no effect on human thinking. For example, transportation would not have existed without technology. Human thought as to how to make it more intuitive, for example, learning to make airplanes streamlined by observing the structures of aerial creatures, or the submarine by seeing the anatomy of fishes, certainly shows that the ability to think has in fact increased manifold. Yet it saves huge amounts of time for us, helping us in working constructively without wasting much time in transit. Communication is yet another area where technology has indeed proved helpful and has not impaired human thinking. In fact, it has boosted human thinking to achieve better communication methods, which we can see if we compare the technologies of today such as Wireless, Bluetooth and mobile communication to those about two decades before.

Technology also helps us in conceptualizing numerous things in a more visual way, helping in effective human interaction. Without technology, many concepts which were in blueprint earlier, would never have been materialized. We can see this clearly from the numerous blueprints made during the era of Da Vinci, and how so many of them have been realized lately. Also, with the increase of technology, people now have much more free time to innovate for themselves, so that they can come up with new solutions, and they also have time to lead their lives more peacefully, by leaving the work to machines, which in some cases, proves beneficial, because of the fact that a machine is less prone to making errors, unlike humans, who tend to make errors when they are tired or have more than one thing on their mind.

To conclude, though it might be true in a small number of cases, the areas where technology boosts human thinking exceeds by large. Hence the advent of technology cannot be considered to deteriorate human thinking.

Shaena – Chapter 7

The next evening we met at the tuition again. I first thought I’d clear it out then and there, but a lot many of our friends were around, so I decided to postpone it until the tuition ended. I texted her once in between, “Talk to you after the class.” She checked her phone, saw my message, and did not respond. The least I expected was to make an eye contact with her in the next one hour that followed. It turned out she didn’t want it to happen. As soon as the tuition ended, she picked up her bag and made her move to leave. I called her, I was three people behind, and the doorway wasn’t wide enough to overtake the others. She went downstairs and before I could speak, I saw her mother waiting for her. Both left, and I left shortly, wondering what I’d do next. I was lost.

I realized it would be possible for me to talk to her when she was on her way to school. I started leaving for school early from the next day, detouring each day towards her school, waiting for her until I felt I was getting late for school, and then leaving for school. I did this every morning, and every evening, I waited on the road which led her back from school to home. Unfortunately, and rather to my surprise, I never crossed her path. It wasn’t possible this way, for there were only three routes back towards her house, and she definitely wouldn’t take the other routes, she was too lazy to take the other path which was longer.

 

An evening of November, cold and dry, when most of us feel too lazy to leave our quilts and step on to the floor, I was standing on the way from her school back to her home. I was pretty sure she had changed her routes, I hadn’t seen her for the past few months; I never met eyes with her parents, and they reciprocated similarly. But today was different. The air around me was lighter. Perhaps it meant something was in store for me. As I waited on my bike, a scooty suddenly came to a halt a few inches away. She was pretty, in a white dress, open hair, a white hairband,  and it seemed her vehicle had broken down. I went up to her, offering to give her vehicle a push to her house or the mechanic, whichever was closer. She smiled and forwarded a hand. I held it and said, “Hi, I’m …”. She smiled back and said, “Hi, I’m Saeeka.”

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Shaena – Chapter 1

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The dust on the ground raked up, and amidst the dust, I could only make out that she was coming towards our classroom. I was sitting on the first bench, because I considered that prestigious, until later I discovered what the back benches had in store for me. She came inside, and I saw her for the first time. It didn’t feel awesome, in fact, I felt nothing. She took the seat beside me, probably because she felt too lazy to walk through the class looking for other empty benches. She wore a hairband, and a thousand clips on her hair, which kept them intact for the rest of her life. If I’d start counting them, it’d take me an hour probably.

Classes started. And whilst I religiously listened to the teacher, took down notes, and chewed the end of my pen to eternity, my eyes continuously kept cornering towards her. She hadn’t her notebooks out as yet, all she had on her desk was a sheet of paper, on which she drew flowers, bigger flowers, and big loose petals. And then she put her signature on every possible inch left on the sheet. That was how I got to know her name. Shaena. But that was not a momentous occasion for me. I hardly cared who she was and how her friends called her. I did not care whether she sat beside me or not. In fact, I did not care who sat beside me, as long as both of us minded our own business. And she was quite likely to this fact. A brief smile when she sat down first, and then we got busy with our work, I taking down notes, and she, sketching on the sheet of paper. The bell rang for recess, and when we returned she was sitting two benches behind me.

Shaena. A soft-spoken girl, I hardly ever got to listen to her voice in the first few days. Seldom she would interact with other students. She came, she sat, she left. It was only in the Biology lab that we both shared the same desk. This time it was not coincidental, we were seated roll number wise, and ours were consecutive. I frequently asked her doubts, just to hear her speak. But all she said was ‘Yes’, ‘No’, and seldom ‘I don’t know’. And after a while, I stopped boring her with my unnecessary doubts, of which I had none.

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How the Essay Spoke

Mr. Susanne then handed over the sheet to me. Stapled were two sheets of paper, A4 size, single ruled, with notes written in blue ink, cursive, beautiful. It seemed that whoever had written the essay had planned well before writing. Neatly written, without many scratches, the write-up would surely get a ten on ten if assessed on handwriting. I started reading it, knowing not why I was doing so, but knew that Mr. Susanne had asked me to, and so I ought to. Mr. Susanne was a teacher in the primary section of Edinburgh School, the most famous school in our town. He was an English teacher, however, frequently he also solved a bit of mathematics for his son, had he any doubt in them. Tall and lean, one could have hardly guessed he was in his late-fifties if not informed earlier. I then took out my spectacles from the pocket on the right hand side of my shirt. I was wearing a formal shirt today; it had been gifted by one of my old friends last month on my anniversary, and I hadn’t got a chance to wear it all these days. So when I opened my wardrobe today, I first glanced as usual through the whole wardrobe and, coming across this, I decided to wear it, and was consequently complimented by Susanne for doing so.

I was in the personal cabin of Susanne now. Although most teachers were allotted chairs in the staff room, Susanne had been allotted a separate cabin. There could be possibly two reasons for this. The more probable one would be his long stay at the school, for I remember he used to teach in the school even in the times when I studied there. Back to the essay, Susanne had said to keep in mind that it was a fictitious one, it started off,

“An Accident”

“Accidents are things that happen by mistake, of course, and that is why they are accidents, not deliberate attempts to harm people. They may occur with anyone, anywhere, anytime and the person involved may be slightly injured or seriously, and if fatal, it can also lead to death. However, the people involved in the accident are to be blamed too, for it may cause the life of a person too. Being an eye-witness to an accident is bad enough, however, being a part of an accident is worse than that. I narrate to you an account of what happened to me last year.

It was the season of festivals. The various festivals along with their pompous celebrations had instilled into everyone an urge of fun-making. In such a situation, people cannot stop but commit mistakes. In some other cases, people get overdrunk and run into accidents. Such a case happened that day, and I do not know whether fortunately or unfortunately, but I was involved in it. Not that I was drunk, not that I was driving fast, but only that I was crossing a busy street. Even then, I was very cautious, because, being here in this city for so long, I have learnt that people hardly care about the traffic rules, and that they could well run into anyone if the signals showed red. Moreover, there was a faith, because I was holding my father’s hand, and if I forgot to tell you, my father was with me all this while, and also my mother, because we were out together as a family.

Just as I was crossing the road, suddenly a car, I can bleakly remember, but it was a Volkswagen, although I don’t intend to blame the name of the company, because the entire fault was of the driver’s, rushed through the street, and even before I could realize, it ran into me and then I do not know what happened, because when my eyes opened, I was on bed number 5 in the children’s ward in the local hospital. I looked desperately for my right leg, but couldn’t see it. I had become lame, however, I could still see, smell, taste, feel and hear. All my senses were perfect, and I looked around and saw my parents sitting beside at the table. My father smiled wryly at the fact that I had finally opened my eyes, but no one could stop my mother from crying loudly, as if it were hers and not my leg that had disappeared.

Now, I am absolutely fine just like any other friend of mine, except that I need to use a pair of crutches, which hardly makes any difference to me.”

The essay ended there. It was written finely, and I admired at the imagination of the boy who had written it. He would grow up to be a great poet, or author, or script-writer may be, I thought. I turned around at Susanne to request to meet the boy, and it was then that I saw tears in his eyes, he was weeping, softly though, so that no one would hear. I asked him what happened, as I could see no reason to cry at such a beautiful piece of writing. He then said, “This was written yesterday morning, and yesterday afternoon, after the school ended, while he, the boy who you want to meet, was returning home, a car ran into him. The right leg was cut from the body, and the boy passed away on the spot.”