On Happiness

For me societal happiness is a logical goal for any society we try to create. The question should be how do we achieve a society where everyone is happy? This question has been raised throughout the ages. It is not a new concept. It was talked about during the utilitarian movement in Great Britain in the early 19th century. It’s been talked about in various Buddhist texts as the ultimate goal for all individuals. It’s been talked about by philosophers throughout the ages. I’m not going to go into too much more detail about the history of humanity’s search for global happiness. What I wanted to talk about was consumer happiness versus societal happiness.

When I say consumer happiness I am revering to the current age of consumerism and businesses constant message consume this to be happy. Here’s a TV, you are happy right? Here’s a dishwasher, you can save time, you’re happy right? Here’s a new phone, you’re happy right? etc. There is so much imagery of happiness around us that it creates somewhat of a negative condition in which there is an expectation that you should be happy and that the alternative to happiness is wrong. This consumer happiness is not Utopian happiness, it is not utilitarian happiness, it is not reaching nirvana happiness. In fact it is the opposite to all of those. Yes, we are living in a plastic punk Dystopia.

You may wonder, why do I say it is the opposite. Rather than going into materialism versus minimalism and the achievement of happiness from within rather than external forces I’m going to jump straight into Utilitarianism’s goal of global societal happiness. Utilitarianism asked the question what is the purpose (utility) of the thing. Does it create happiness? On the surface that may seem like it is in line with consumer based happiness. Does a TV create happiness? However the question wasn’t directed at individual objects not the achievement of happiness by the individual. It was aimed at the achievement of global happiness. Of societal happiness in which the entire group is happy. The question was directed at systems and policy. At the governmental level. Does this law create happiness? Does this bill generate happiness? Is the purpose of this system to ensure happiness? Does this utility contribute to our happiness? If the answer came back as no the view was then to dismantle or remove the offending utility.

Why do I say then that consumer happiness is against the idea of utilitarian happiness? While we can argue the creation of consumer products creates happiness it doesn’t ensure it. In many cases it can actually contribute to greater unhappiness. Material based happiness is a shift of the burden. It goes something like this:

I’m unhappy, I’ll buy a TV, when I watch TV I’m happy, why was I unhappy? I don’t know, Probably because I didn’t have a TV. Thus the cause of unhappiness is shrouded, the burden of maintaining your happiness is shifted and your actual ability to create your own happiness has been diminished.

That is not the utilitarian idea of global happiness. To them the question was why are people unhappy in the first place. What can be done on a societal/governmental/community based level that will unsure the initial thing that caused the unhappiness isn’t there whatever that may be. Back to the TV example, it could be that the unhappiness was generate by stress and that a stress relieving activity was required, thus watching TV would have been a good solution. But the question comes up, what is causing the stress? Why is the stress there in the first place? How can we create a society in which the stress that required you to buy a TV in the first place is not there?

While we are talking about the creation and maintenance of happiness on a societal level, I would like to point out the mistake that governments often make when it comes to happiness. Societal happiness is not populism. Populism is a shallow form of happiness at best. At worst it is sadistic happiness. Take anti-abortion laws, presumably governments put these in place because it will make x number of people happy. This group is sufficiently large enough to mean that making them happy allows those in power to maintain power. The trouble with the happiness they are creating here is that it is sadistic happiness. It is the happiness of one group to the detriment of another group. IE that one group that is happy is happy because another group suffers. The happiness created from such a policy is shallow and won’t last. Those who fought for it don’t actually gain any happiness from the existence of the policy. Most likely they will move onto the next moral fight. The policy fails the basic questions of utilitarianism. Was the purpose of the policy to create societal happiness? Perhaps on some kind of moral superiority level but on an actual societal level its purpose is not to create happiness nor to maintain happiness. What’s more it is a policy that would be seen as a great crime by the movement as it creates unhappiness.

Giving the people what they want is different to making society happy. A globally happy society is a far reaching goal that requires meticulous planning and a complete avoidance of superficial happiness. It requires the seeking of a deeper happiness on a communal level not the individual.

Cooking in English part 2

Ingredients

What does ingredients mean?

An ingredient is one of the things in a recipe. This includes meat, vegetables, spices, sauces, powders, grains, etc.

While it is impossible to share the English for all possible ingredients I will include the names of a range of ingredients you may encounter.

In English the name of various meats tend to be different to the animal name. Here is a list of commonly eaten meats.

Now for something different. Since I’m Australian I’ll add Kangaroo to this section:

kangaroo meat is called kangaroo meat

There is a lot of debate about eating kangaroo meat. Many Australians refuse to eat kangaroo because they are cute. Recently there is a movement called kangatarianism which is eating a vegetarian diet and kangaroo meat. The movement says that kangaroo is a sustainable meat source since they are all over Australia, don’t require farming, don’t emit methane and don’t cause damage to the environment.

For vegetable names in English I suggest this site: (click on the picture to go there.)


Spices are herbs are an essential cooking ingredient for me so here is a lot of spices in English:

Film Friday – singing in the classroom

I’ve been teaching singing to my elementary school classes for two years now. I usually teach a new song each month as well as sing the old songs. Singing is great for intonation, pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. It’s also fun.

I also teach dancing when we learn a song, this is both fun and helps the students remember the words.

Here is an example of one of our singing sessions.

Cooking terms in English part one

What actions do you when you are cooking? Here is a list of vocabulary for the various actions we take when we cook.

cut, cut the red pepper
slice, slice the cheese
chop, chop the onion
mix, mix the flour, milk and eggs
stir, stir the vegetables and the meat
whisk, whisk the milk and eggs

stir and mix are very similar. Usually we say stir when cooking and mix before cooking. you can use either one.

whisk is when you mix using a whisk

grind, grind the spices using a mortar and pestle
blend, blend the ingredients
knead, knead the dough until smooth
roll, roll out the dough

low heat, turn down to low heat
medium heat, put on medium heat
high heat, heat the pan over high heat
roast, roast the beef on medium heat for two hours
toast, toast the bread
bake, bake the cupcakes for twenty minutes

roast and bake are almost identical in meaning. There is almost no difference between the actions. Roast usually takes a long time. a few hours.

steam, steam the vegetables
boil, boil the water
simmer, simmer for twenty minutes

usually a recipe will ask you to bring to the boil and then simmer this means to boil and then reduce the heat

deep fry, deep fry the potatoes until brown
fry, fry the onions in the pan

the difference between deep fry and fry is the amount of oil you use. deep frying uses more oil.

pour, pour the egg mixture into the pan

pour is often used with in or into e.g. pour the mix into the frying pan.

barbeque, barbeque the meat and vegetables
grill, grill the fish for two minutes

barbeque can also be an action e.g. lets barbeque the steaks

That said the action you are doing on the BBQ is the same action as grill e.g. let’s grill the steaks on the BBQ.

serve, serve the food

Once you are finished cooking you can serve the food.

This has been vocabulary for cooking, next week we will do a vocabulary building blog on ingredients.

The strangest form of transport

Saturday Class November 17th 2018

What is the strangest form of transport you’ve ever seen?

My answer to this question would have to be in Vietnam. The transport wasn’t strange to me but the way it was being used was. In Vietnam a scooter can be a family car.

Image result for scooter family vietnam
It really is amazing how many people they can get on a scooter

It is probably a lot of fun for the children and cheap for the parents. In Vietnam the scooter is the most common form of transport. 

Related image
They are everywhere

One thing I noticed while I was in Vietnam was how few crossings there were. I also noticed that there weren’t many traffic lights. So if you want to cross the road you just cross. Don’t run, don’t stop. Just keep walking straight and you won’t get hit.

Image result for crossing the road in vietnam
Just keep walking

I found it fascinating although the people I was travelling with thought it was terrifying.

The next step was to do some research. I asked the students to do their own research into unusual forms of transportation using their smart phones. After doing a bit of research they had to answer the following five questions:

Where is it?

Why do people like it?

How much does it cost?

How many people use this kind of transportation?

Would you like to use it? why? why not?

I did some research and found these interesting forms of transport. I’d like to try them all.

All of them show the ingenuity of humans. I personally would love to own a Jeepney.  Not as a job but as a personal treasure.

Today’s topic: How do you describe someone’s personality?

Thursday Adult Class November 15th 2018

(describe means what that person is like)

In groups we came up with a list of adjectives we could use to describe a person.

Here is the list we came up with:

kind a person who is good towards other people
nice a person who makes others feel relaxed and happy around them
funny a person who makes you laugh. it can also be a person who is strange
friendly a person who acts the way a friend would to other people (not just friends of theirs)
positive a person who says nice things about people and situations
optimistic a person who believes good things will happen
shy a person who has difficulty communicating with new people
scary a person who causes other people to be alarmed or surprised
polite a person who has good manners within their culture group
generous a person who often buys presents for people or often gives money to charity
helpful a person who makes other people’s life easier
smart a person who understands new ideas quickly
aggressive a person who is often violent or angry towards other people
boring a person who talks about things that are not interesting
intelligent a person who has high reasoning ability
joyful a person who is often smiling and laughing
brave a person who will challenge themselves to do things others wouldn’t
gentle a person who wouldn’t hurt others
modest a person who doesn’t show off their abilities
humble a person who feels that what they do is insignificant or says they are not significant
curious a person who wants to know how everything works and why
calm a person how is peaceful and regularly relaxed
hard-working a person who can do a lot of work
rude a person who is often impolite, doesn’t respect other’s feelings
romantic a person who wants to travel the world, meet people and have an adventure.

Do you know which worlds are positive personality traits and which ones are negative? 

Categorise the words above into positive, negative, neutral or both.

Can you add more to the list? 

Which personality traits are valued in your country?

Which personality traits would you use to describe

you?

your friend?

your partner?

your boss?