Technology: staying on top of the global village

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Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 8:37pm

Since the inception of technologies like the Internet and other devices, life is said to have become easier than it was. I do agree that it’s easier to Skype my parents in Africa, easier to travel to any part of the world because tickets can be purchased online and advances in transportation.

Everyone I have met says our world is a global village due to the Internet. I share that belief. But to what extent is our world a village?

The Cambridge dictionary defines a global village as “all the countries of the world when thought of as being closely connected by modern communication and trade.” By this definition our world is a village.

A village is small. Everyone knows each other and one person’s problem is everyone’s problem and there is love and care in a village.

But to some extent, I beg to differ that our world is a global village. But if it is, then most of us have a lot to do to know the village well. I am disheartened when I meet people who show lack of knowledge about the Earth they live in, yet th claim they live in a technological era.

I went on a date with a lady a few weeks into my stay in America. We had a good time. I walked her to her door after our date, like my roommates instructed me to do and headed home. She called me and said she had a question for me. Immediately my heart started pounding. I was afraid I had goofed or perhaps she wanted a kiss. To my uttermost dismay, she asked me the most ignorant or pathetic question that has ever been posed to me since I landed on this continent:

“Do you have houses in Africa?” To be honest I was not at all offended.

As usual, I smiled and said, “No, I lived in a tree.” And then the next question followed, “So how did you survive when it rained?” My response was, “I hold on tight when it rains.” And thinking I was being a smart aleck, I added that I had not even worn clothes before I came to America.

I got home and thought of my date and that door-post moment. I realized the confusion created by giving her those answers. I learned that I had to say I am kidding when I am sarcastic.

Sarcasm to me should only be used by the wise, so one wouldn’t have to say I am kidding after every sentence. I grew up in a culture that expected us to know what is sarcasm and what is not. I thought she was catching my sarcasm. Obviously she did not. And for some unknown reason, I never had a second date so could not tell her I was kidding. I have learned to say I am kidding now.

This incident alarmed me because I have and will always hold America in high esteem and expectation. And for a college student to ask me such a question like that left me wondering why I had wasted money to travel all the way from Africa to come educate myself here.

I don’t know every country or a lot about world history but feel there are some basic things that should be handy to any college student in America. I regretted spanking the grade 5 children I taught in Ghana for not knowing that Al Gore was the vice president to Bill Clinton.

I have realized how much college students here have taken things for granted. They do not realize what they have or perhaps they are still living the faded glory of the days when America was the super power. I am sad to inform such people that the rest of the world is catching up and its even gotten to the point where America has to run faster or else she will be left behind. I don’t wish that on this land and God forbid. I will suggest that you read Thomas L Friedman’s book titled “ The world is Flat.’’ Or search for his presentation in Yale on You Tube. Probably that would wake you up.

He made this remarkable statement that I wish all Americans would take note of.

‘The global economic playing field is being leveled and you Americans, are not ready.”

I hope students take advantage of the technology they have and take virtual tours to other countries on the Internet. Some kids in Africa and other parts of the world have to wait for the very old computer and accessories discarded by first-world countries like America, Britain and France before they can access anything online at the speed of a weak turtle. The facilities for learning abound here.

Let me ask some simple questions to prove some of you who think that I am being too hard on you wrong. Remember these are not brain surgery questions?

Do you know who the current vice president of America is?

What is the symbol of the Republican Party?

How many states are in America

Who is the controversial lady called Nancy Pelosi?

Did you vote in the recent election?

Quit wining if you did not do the latter. Those you left to do it their best and this is what you get. Next time go to the polls and exercise that right you have. In case you did not know, those who sit on the fence cause more harm than the democrats or republicans.

Most college students end discussions that tend to lean more on the educative side with “whatever”. History has taught that philosophers and inventors got to higher heights because they engaged in dialogues that “ robbed their brains together.” I have realized how less I knew when I have been engaged in discourses with students who loved to share their views. I am amazed at the low participation of students in class discussions. Sometimes I wonder if they are deaf, just don’t have anything to say or have not even read their syllabus to know what is discussed.

Look folks, you live in a land that has free speech but high college bills. Say whatever you feel. There is sense in nonsense. You may be having the answer to someone question. Share the knowledge. Don’t worry about being laughed at; those who do are still thinking they are in high school. Leave them to grow up.

Take advantage of this land and what it offers. I wish some of you would take a trip and see how life is beyond your shore. Yes it is not all roses here but you have what most countries don’t have. I feel that onto whom much is given much is required.

Although there is poverty in Africa we don’t live on trees and I can humbly boast of my fashion knowledge. If we make use of all the technology available to us the media would stop showing us filed tapes of wars 1983 in 2010.

Living the American dreams comes by hard work. Get up and work.

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