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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Interesting view of things

Today in the letters to the newsdesk section of the news on public radio, a listener had pointed out an interesting fact.

The student who went on a rampage at Virginia Tech., was being showcased as a "Korean kid"! What is interesting is that he was born in Korea, but he lived his entire life here, went to school here, went to college here, was raised as an American and for all practical purposes was predominantly exposed to American culture.

The newscasters are trying to imply that his actions have something to do with his "Koreanity". Scary part is that, it is simply a question of time before someone in the media actually publicizes the word "Koreanity" and someone else misspells it as "Koranity" and before you know it you have the President triumphantly declaring that he has found the connection between the shootings and the Koran!

The USA today is scary. Over the years I have spoken to many teenagers and college students here, from the time I came here as a graduate student to the the present day. I just thank my stars that I managed to grow up in India in the eighties, an environment where students focused on their studies, were too young to chase the other sex when they were in high school (had no peer pressure to lose their viriginity before graduation !) or had to work and study at the same time.

Kids in this country have a tough time for the most part because they share the financial burden of their education (partially or completely), have peer pressure to do things that distract them from their studies and their future, do not have good examples and role models to keep them focussed and have a system that is more than happy to dole out overpriced student loans, condoms and depression pills to school kids as solutions to their problems as opposed to getting to the root cause.

The lucky ones do get to have role models, parents or relatives that support them during their education process and have the ability to focus and prioritize their goals. It is a fact that the most brilliant and creative people I have met over the last decade are of American origin. If a person has to succeed in spite of all these distractions and responsibilities, they have to be really good. Maybe that explains that creativity!

I have already written many a post on raising my kids here. I can only hope that if I support their education, keep them focussed , put them with kids whose parents share the same hopes and fears (yes, fear works at a lot of levels here) , then they will succeed!

Time and place do play a part in how people grow and develop, probably more than their birthplace or nationality. The media has a lot of growing up to do!


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I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 11:06 PM, Blogger Visithra wrote...

instill good values - teach them independance n how to think n then leave the rest to them - u cant predict the future

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 5:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...

My best friend and I wer talking about the exact same thing just yesterday. I had been watching the news two days ago, and the Korean community in Toronto was apologizing and expressing their condolences and I was like why? Just because he does not have an American citizenship doesn't make him not American, he grew up there.
I gotta agree, I don't know what to say about what is becoming of this world.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...

Hello Sundar,
There seems to be a dichotomy in your view about the US environment. On the one hand you are pointing out what's 'wrong' with the system, and at the same time you also say that some the most creative persons are from the US (despite the system or is it because of the system?)
I am first time visitor to your blog, maybe if read your other posts on 'raising your kids there' I might understand better. But if you could clarify your thoughts, I'd be happy.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 2:04 PM, Blogger Shobha wrote...

Hi .. your post struck a chord .. I totally agree when you say that the USA today is scary.

We come here to better our lives, thrive in this land of opportunity but I have to wonder at times like this what the hell I am doing here ...

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 9:24 PM, Blogger Kavi wrote...


The possibility of The President establishing the connect is present! If it takes his eyes off Iraq for sometime that will be great !

I am not condoning the act. It is one of the most inhumane and deeply disturbing act of a mad man. Yes. The kid was raised all his life in the US. The guns that he bought were in the US. The triggers were all in his mind. A mind running riot with exactly all what you have talked about. Peer pressure et al.

I am sure Jrs are having a different raising. Kids need to understand who they are. Need to learn to love. To have a boundary less approach to life. Which i can see evidences of them getting.

yes, the environment plays a part. But their raising will teach them to get impacted by the good and stay away from the harming.

Sadly, the culture over there is permeating in other parts of the world, including India. However, i remain optimistic that one of the first step to be taken in addressing the issue is to get talking about it. Recognise that there is something amiss. Which is happening.

I stronly believe that in the run towards materialistic prosperity we have missed teaching our children how to think. ( Would recommend a book "Teach your child how to think" by Edward De Bono).

Children must learn to think. Take decisions. Face consequences. Broaden vision. And move to being great inheritors who will pass the mantle to generations to follow!

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 10:22 PM, Blogger Unknown wrote...

visithra, cannot predict future, but hope! I definitely can!

Sivajini, NRI's NRK's NR(anything)'s get a double whammy! They always have to be at their best behaviour at all times. They are either courted by their homeland and glorified for their achievements or shunned by their countries of residence if they do something wrong!

the visitor, my point is this. India for example generates a lot of engineers. Why ? because there are kids who can focus on studying, have parents who pay for their education, drugs, guns and sex have not yet permeated the society! The US does not produce that many engineers, because a lot of the kids have to fend for themselves. But the few engineers/scientists who make it in spite of all these hurdles have to have tremendous focus and drive! that is why the few American engineers or scientists I have had the fortune to interact with are brilliant! I was not trying to say that they are great because of the hurdles!!

ss, me and the Mrs. have had similar thoughts, but like Kavi says, we are under the impression that our kids are going to get the best of both worlds.

Kavi, a big THANK YOU. I am going to look for that book tomorrow. money runs this world! it is a delicate compromise between making money and spending time with the kids. everytime I tell Jr. "daddy has to go work so I can get paid and buy you toys at TOYSRUS" I feel that I am making a mistake. But there are things with Dora on them, that "need" to be purchased ! this is a materialistic "peer pressure". But you have provided more than just food for thought. more like a feast.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 11:11 PM, Blogger the mad momma wrote...

excellent points! really food for thought.

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 10:35 AM, Blogger Lord Emsworth wrote...

Absolutely loved your points. But i blame the media. What kind of irresponsible media will go on and on about the gunman being of korean origin. How come nobody talks about the fact that he was raised here. And dont get me started about publishing his letter and voice recording. Who is that supposed to help?

I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 8:04 AM, Blogger Munimma wrote...

As long as they are profiling racially, may be they should consider the oklahoma bombing incident and its perpetuator.

Then there was Faux news trying to connect muslims and Ismail Ax.

And the neut(ered) guy insisting that carrying firearms will make colleges safer!

Paranoia rules! Fear is what keeps the current economy going.


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