Thursday, February 02, 2006
aol claims divinity...well not really
Not strictly a cross cultural blunder or even a translation mistake, this story nevertheless is interesting. Mr. Ian Millar an AOL user has launched a crusade against the internet company for apparently claiming divinity.
When he opened up his AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) program Mr. Millar saw the company's new slogan, he was shocked and disgusted. Why? Because AIM's new slogan is "I AM." He is now pointing out to AOL executives that "I AM" is the English translation of YaHWeH, the self-proclaimed name of God.
"He is the Creator and Savior of the world," explains Millar. "He alone is to be worshipped. To take His name in vain, or use as a common thing is blasphemy, a vulgar sin of offense. Perhaps you have not read the Third Commandment, since they have removed it from so many public monuments in the last decade. But breaking it as a means of marketing your products offends the mind of everyone who worships Him."Read more: I AM
racial hatred bill fails
Labour rebels lined up to tear holes in the Government’s plans for a new crime of inciting religious hatred as an embarrassing defeat loomed.
They and opposition MPs accuse ministers of creating a dangerous, unnecessary law that would leave it unclear whether preaching, discussing religious practice or believers or even telling jokes could be criminalised.Read more: Bill
czechs spent 10 billion online
Czechs spent an estimated roughly CZK 10 billion in Internet shops last year, about twice as much as in 2004, the Association for Electronic Commerce (APEK) said today.
"We estimate that a minimum of 1.2 million people did shopping on the Internet in 2005," APEK director Nikola Rafaj told CTK. The Czech population is roughly 10.2 million. Mall.cz, the largest Internet shop in the Czech Republic, reported a growth in turnover of 22 percent to some CZK 1.04 billion for last year. "People already do not buy only electronic goods (on the Internet), but also sports equipment, toys and garden equipment," said Mall.cz board chairman Ondrej Fryc.Read more: Internet
48% of korean 3 - 5 year olds use internet
Some shocking statistics released from Korea show that 48% of 3 to 5 year olds use the internet daily!
The Information and Communication Ministry conducted the survey together with the National Internet Development Agency of Korea. It found that Internet use among five-year-olds surveyed was 64%, among four-year-olds 47% and among three-year-olds 34%. Young children on average started using the Internet at 3.2 years of age and spent on average 4.8 hours a week online.Read more: Korea
trust schools can deliver "black power"
Proposals for trust schools could deliver "black power", the head of the Commission for Racial Equality said. Trevor Phillips told the Guardian the plans would help those children "most betrayed by the school system" and prevent schools becoming 'ghettoised'.Read more: Schools
racist leader acquitted
BNP leader Nick Griffin will face a retrial on two race hate charges after being cleared by a jury at Leeds Crown Court of two other charges.
Griffin denied two charges of using words or behaviour intended to stir up racial hatred and two alternative charges of using words or behaviour likely to stir up racial hatred. He was acquitted of one of each charge in relation to one speech, but the jury failed to reach a verdict in respect to a second speech in which he called Islam a "wicked vicious faith".Read more: BNP
blasphemous cartoon demonstrates impact of poor cultural awareness
The "cultural terrorism" row continues. Today BBC news decided to feauture the cartoon portraying the Prophet of Islam live on TV for 'illustrative purposes". The BBC said it was using the pictures "responsibly and in full context to give audiences an understanding of the strong feelings evoked by the story".
The issues are complex and both sides have their valid and invalid points. From a cross cultural point of view however the whole debacle is another example of how cultural insensitivity can have huge knock-on effects at societal, business and governmental levels.
As a consequence of the cartoon Muslims across the world are now boycotting Danish goods; Saudi Arabia and Syria have withdrawn their ambassadors from Denmark; and anger is growing among ordinary citizens who see this as an attack against their whole belief system.
Expats living in the Gulf region were asked their views:
One Dane said: "I understand why there has been such a reaction. I've been in Abu Dhabi a while and really respect the way Muslims feel about their religion. It's about respect and empathy for other people and other religions. I'm not proud of being a Dane at the moment. It's not something I talk about much. The cartoon didn't represent the views of the Danish people, especially those who live in the Middle East and know and understand Islam."
A British expatriate stated: "It is offensive. You'd have to live in an igloo not to know what the reaction would be. It was obviously going to upset a very large proportion of the Muslim community. It also puts the Danish people living in this part of the world in a very precarious position. It has made enemies on their behalf. It's totally unfair that someone can have the power to affect so many people's lives."
tech companies doing business in china
Last week Google faced sharp criticism for its decision to censor search results in China. But it's not the only tech company whose products serve the ends of the Chinese government. Yahoo! turned in a Chinese journalist. Cisco's routers help the state monitor Internet traffic and block sites they don't approve of. Oracle's databases can potentially keep tabs on China's citizens. Juniper Networks provides firewall applications. Intel and Motorola sell semiconductors that power the government's computers.
Pretty much every tech company is complicit in helping the Chinese government repress its citizenry. The difference is that Google prides itself on offering "unbiased, accurate and free access to information." During a panel discussion at Davos, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that Google tries its best to "Do No Evil," but the company must follow a nation's laws and customs.Read more: Slate
word of the day: parlous
parlous \PAR-luhs\, adjective:
Attended with peril; fraught with danger; hazardous.
It was a parlous time on the Continent, when Communists and fascists vied brutally for supremacy. -- Howard Simons, "Shots Seen Round the World," New York Times, September 22, 1985
The Crisis left Indonesia's state finances in such a parlous state that the government is now heavily exposed to future risks. -- Penny Crisp and Jose Manuel Tesoro, "The Buck Stops Here," Asiaweek, July 7, 2000
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
learning centres for immigrants in native languages
Advice on education and training is to be provided in Polish, Farsi and French from this month as part of a campaign to integrate immigrant workers into the workforce, writes Miranda Green.
The growing number of foreign nationals taking up casual or seasonal work in the UK has prompted government agencies, colleges and universities to start courses and provide services targeted at these groups.Read more: Language
u.s. firms ignoring global communication
Few U.S. multinationals are doing a good job when it comes to communicating with their employees and business units around the world, with only three out of 10 global firms having designated communication resources in other countries, and even fewer having a formal documented global communication strategy.
According to the 2005/2006 Communication ROI Study by consultants Watson Wyatt, fewer than half of U.S. companies with global operations admit to doing an effective job with their global communication.Read more: ROI
Cross-Cultural Solutions Uses Salesforce.com to Support Rapid Global Growth
Salesforce Foundation, the global leader in integrating philanthropy and business, announced today that Cross-Cultural Solutions, a recognized leader in the field of international volunteering, is using salesforce.com's award-winning CRM service to support its global expansion.
Cross-Cultural Solutions relies on Salesforce to manage volunteer recruitment, alumni communications, and program planning to more efficiently facilitate the organization's fast-growth. The corporate standard for all of the organization's offices across twelve countries, salesforce.com allows executives of Cross-Cultural Solutions to access real-time, comprehensive data to more effectively determine resources, Home-Base needs and volunteer placement.Read more: Salesforce
Diversity Training Organization Introduces Workshop Focused on the Legacy of Slavery and Race
Diversity Restoration Solutions, Inc. (DRS), a cultural diversity training and management-consulting firm located in Columbia, Maryland, has announced its new cultural diversity workshop called "Healing From Slavery." The "Healing From Slavery" workshop has been designed to help corporate America open up a dialogue about the legacy of slavery and race in the United States, while providing employers and employees with universal leading-edge solutions to complex workforce diversity issues. The workshop delves into the sensitive issue of helping Americans heal from the racial divide caused by the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade.Read more: DRS
al-jazeera to diversify language options
The Doha-based Al-Jazeera network, due to launch an English-language channel this spring, announced a new service in Urdu, ahead of plans to offer similar services in French, Spanish and Turkish.Read more: Al-Jazeera
developing countries drive internet sales
Global direct sales of cosmetic and toiletry products are growing at a healthy 4 per cent, boosted by the opening up of the China retail market and an increasing number of opportunities to buy products over the internet.Read more: Sales
german papers wade into "cultural terrorism" row
Two leading German newspapers and one of France 's biggest dailies today reprinted the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have sparked furore across the Middle East. The 12 drawings were first printed in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in September, sparking protests by Muslims against Denmark in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other countries in the region.Read more: Cartoon
word of the day: malleable
malleable \MAL-ee-uh-buhl\, adjective:
1. Capable of being extended or shaped by beating with a hammer, or by the pressure of rollers; -- applied to metals.
2. Capable of being altered or controlled by outside forces; easily influenced.
3. Capable of adjusting to changing circumstances; adaptable.
His image for his own imagination is the acid, the catalyst, that is mixed in to make the gold malleable, and is then wiped away. -- "Nothing is too wonderful to be true," Times (London), June 7, 2000
The natives proved less malleable and far less innocent than the Europeans imagined, so much so that early colonial history is filled with countless stories of monks who met hideous deaths at the hands of their flocks. -- Juan Gonzalez, Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America