Everyday life

We need to talk

It is a glorious day in London today.

The skies are so blue you can’t see any clouds at all.

In fact, the skies were almost clear last night.

“Chamakh” and “#Mancity” were trending on twitter last night. Not very flattering comments about the former and lots of money signs for the latter.

Surprisingly, “Nasri” wasn’t trending. Everytime he got the ball, the crowd would rouse themselves in loud boos. Lots of people were saying/shouting nasty things about him as well.

Brilliant play on Arsenal side. We didn’t deserve to lose and Man City didn’t deserve to win, but they were the luckier side and in competitions, luck is such a crucial factor.

But so what?

The world will not veer into chaos now that Arsenal lost that game. Perhaps to some fans, it will be the end of the world, but for the overwhelming majority of this world’s population, they don’t care and the world continues as normal.

We need to talk about immigration.

In this country (the UK), in Singapore and so many other places in the world.

We need to talk about people who are different from ‘us’. We need to talk about the ‘Other’. Acknowledge that we “Other’ people, that (to borrow a line from Avenue Q) “everyone’s a little racist”.

We need to open up the discussions, let the frustrations let loose, let all the ugliness come out.

And then record it all down. Tape it down and replay it to everyone. Draw the parallels between the nasty things that people say and perhaps people like Hitler. Perhaps when we do that, people can see how disturbing their behaviour are. Perhaps, showing people the worst of themselves will make them realize what they do not want to be.

We need to talk about migration because flows of people are increasing. Not just on a global scale, over long distance, like Chinese nationals moving to UK or Korean people moving to the US, but also on a regional scale, people from North China moving to the cities in South East China. That creates tensions as well. And on an even more local scale. People moving into London from outside of UK and people from London moving into the country side.

We need more open discussions.

I think discussions on immigration, migration, movement of people will eventually lead us to discussions on the nature of humanity, on how people treat other people, on things like human rights, which unfortunately, alot of countries are not ready to talk about.

And with the world teetering on the edge of another economic crisis, immigration isn’t a top priority for alot of people now.

So let’s talk about something else. Let’s talk about something that all of us do everyday (unless you’re bed ridden at home, and even then, you still do this sometimes)–travel.

Travel, intricately linked to mobility, but not quite the same, is something that the majority of us do everyday. That’s because things are located in different places and in order to meet certain needs, we have to get to the different locations by various means.

Hence the ability to travel, to get to a place, determines our quality of life, determines whether or not we can meet the basic needs in our lives.

Because mobility, travel, transport is inherently geographical, all transport modeling and any economic models must have a geographical element to it. To ignore and disregard location is just preposterous.

I think we need more Geographers and less Economists in the Transport academic world.

So that means more of half of me and less of the other half of me.



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