Friday, 10 December 2010

tangerines (ten out of ten)

have no talent for statistics, but, after teaching izmir youth for more than one year now - i have started noticing that, when it comes to some topics...young people here seem to follow predictable patterns. their ideas, tastes, fears - are, in stark contrast with their european counterparts, quintessentially even, solid, untouched by any doubt and expressed with an incredible mix of candor and stubborness. after meeting many uni students and young professionals, i have come to the conclusion that about 10 out of 10 of them will (at some point) state the following:
  • istanbul is too crowded and not a nice place to live;
  • sleep is my main occupation in my spare time as i lead a very tiring life;

  • life in turkey is very stressful - unbearably so;

  • izmir is the best city ever. it is modern and free and there is the sea here;

  • i love my country and am proud of it;

  • the education system we have is unfair and terrible;

  • money buys you respect in turkey;

  • policemen in turkey are lazy. and corrupted;

  • i am very close to my siblings and love my parents;

  • jealousy is a the biggest sign of true love;

  • i hate politics and i do not know much about it. but i hate our prime minister;

  • our prime minister wants us to be like iran;

  • i love fast food - especially burger king;

  • i love starbucks;

  • i love shopping malls;

  • turks born in germany are not like us and are embarassing;

  • european countries hate us and think turkey is like iran;

  • my father's best friend lives in germany (/switzerland) and will fix a summer job for me;

  • turkey's biggest problems come from america

in addition - i would also say that 10 students out of 10 tend to:

  • overuse the adjective "normal" ("my week was birthday was job is holiday was boyfriend's presents are normal..." etc)

  • overuse the verb "to love" ("teacher we love you... i love my friend...i love my mother... i love my boss")

  • have zero interest for their political situation and seem to have a scattered knowledge about their own political parties;

  • have zero knowledge about international organisations and seem oblivious to the existence (and reason for existence) of institutions like: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Health Organisation, the European Commission, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the United Nations Development Programme, etc;

  • have a very vague knowledge of contemporary history outside of Turkish borders and seem to associate each and every country to (maximum) one historical figure. i.e.
    France -> Napoleon; Germany -> Hitler; England -> the Queen; America -> Lady Gaga; Italy -> Berlusconi.
  • become speechless when introduced to concepts like: recycling; fair trade; sustainability; vegetarianism; organic products; green policies; sustainability;
  • struggle majorly (and eventually give up) when confronted with notions like: gender studies; equal opportunities; parental leave for fathers; political correctness; welfare system; minority rights; international understanding; social tensions.
  • look ill at ease and stern when homosexuality is brought about;

  • refuse to discuss anything involving: the cyprus issue; kurds and armenians;

  • appear to have an innate tendency to mocking other races and making childish jokes about them;

  • melt when you say anything about -- grandparents or children;

  • look lost when you explain different people in different countries have different ideas about their privacy and their private space ("why?" they ask - as they are used to a rather exuberant interpretation of privacy and etiquette).

  • bring their breakfast to class (if it is early in the morning) -- usually a sesame bagel with a huge chunk of cheese.

  • bring tangerines for everybody to share (if it late in the evening) and place two or three where the teacher usually sits.

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