"The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness."
-14th Dalai Lama, spiritual leader, 1935
November is the month of counting our blessings and being thankful for the many positive things! Thanksgiving (23rd – 4th Thursday of the month), Remembrance / Armistice / Veterans Day (11th). All Saints’ Day (1st), All Souls’ Day (2nd) and the Festival of Lights – Diwali/Deepavali (12th) for the religious or traditional faithful, and as Lao Tzu, the Chinese sage, once said, “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love,” – the 13th is World Kindness Day – smile and be kind!
Fun facts and quizzes for Nov:
Q1. Where were Boomerangs invented? It’s hard to tell because wooden boomerangs, such as those used by Australian aborigines, don’t last and don’t leave long-term traces. An ivory boomerang with gold tips was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, together with a picture showing it was used to kill birds, but the record goes to a 23,000-year-old boomerang made from a mammoth tusk found in Poland. (source: BBC Science Focus by Len Fisher)
Q2. Name two famous Poles who have made significant world contributions. 1) Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), best known for his heliocentric model of the solar system, laid the foundation for modern astronomy and our understanding of the solar system. 2) Marie Curie (1867-1934), born in Warsaw, was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Her groundbreaking research on radioactivity and discovery of the elements polonium and radium had a profound influence on the fields of science and medicine. Other famous Poles include Frédéric Chopin, the composer and pianist and Pope John Paul II. (source: Office Holiday, Wikipedia)
Q3. When was Diwali first celebrated? While it is impossible to pinpoint its exact origins due to it being associated with so many different religions and mythologies, allegedly, it was celebrated over 2,500 years ago. The name Diwali comes from a Sanskrit word that means “row of lights” and is often called the Festival of Lights. The festivities last for five days. (source: Asian Highlights, Britannica)
For more fun facts, please refer to these links:
- All Saints’ Day (3′ 07″): https://www.youtube.com/watch?
- Polish Independent Day (1’59”): https://www.youtube.com/watch?
- Diwali (1’49”): https://www.youtube.com/watch?
- Thanksgiving (4’14”): https://www.youtube.com/watch?
A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
Six years ago, we sent out our first newsletter with greetings, cultural titbits and DEI insights, hoping the monthly content would help readers forge and build cross-cultural friendships. Today, this newsletter is the 73rd. Many of you have sent us encouraging words. Some we have not met in person, but each time, your cheers put smiles on our faces.
After we wrote about ChatGPT (GPT-4) this April, we began to think: Should we continue with our monthly newsletters? After much deliberation, we decided to pause before the next step for two reasons:
(1) With AI like GPT-4, there are many more (humans and bots) who can and will take up writing. Undoubtedly, it will augment the emails we receive exponentially. Did you notice an increase in emails sent to your inbox recently? Whether mass-market sales pitches or legitimate informative content, the quantity has increased multi-fold.
(2) If you have not heard of “Techno Distraction”, I am sure you have experienced it. IBM developed an in-house email system for its knowledge workers and implemented it in the 1980s to better communication and increase productivity at its workplace. Today, Spam/Junk mailboxes are part of the email features because there are too many unwanted emails. The same technology has evolved to allow anyone to reach everyone, and over-communication has a side effect resulting in a loss in productivity.
Many Social Media platforms and feature creators have business models based on clicks to generate revenues. The algorithms and tools of these platforms are, therefore, attention-engineered. Think about it: twenty years ago, did we have to check our emails and messages constantly? With smartphones and tablets, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter(X), TikTok, etc, we are constantly bombarded with digital content because they are “pushed” to us for our attention. Today, we have just realised these technological advancements come with lifestyle shifts that negatively impact our well-being. Anxiety, stress, detachment from personal connection, etc., are some side effects of a hyperactive hive-mind society. Check out “A World Without Email” by Cal Newport if you wish to know more about the research.
We have decided to disconnect from this digital blitz. Although we are unsure if we can find a better way to continue to build meaningful connections with you, we shall try.
Meanwhile, we take the opportunity to thank everyone who has journeyed with us with our monthly 8:00 a.m. “email greetings” ritual. For those who have followed us since the beginning, you would have received most of the festival titbits and DEI insights. If you wish to retrieve the past Nov’s greetings articles, here are the links:
- Nov 2022: https://transculturalgroup.
- Nov 2021: https://transculturalgroup.
- Nov 2020: https://transculturalgroup.
- Nov 2019: https://transculturalgroup.
- Nov 2018: https://transculturalgroup.
- Nov 2017: https://transculturalgroup.
Referring and cheers to our first newsletter (Nov 2017): “As many as there are differences between us, there are as many similarities I share with you!”
“A big thank you to have been a part of us!”
The world is fascinating simply because differences exist!
Join us to spread the words, share the vision, and do our parts.
At TransCultural Group (TCG), we are determined to play our part in making the world a better place. We have launched an e-book for Youth. We have also uploaded the complete series of “Food around the World” on our YouTube channel.
Please share it If you love our effort, and please give us a “like” and subscribe to our “YouTube” channel (it is free!) Come support us!
Crossing Cultures – Beyond Boundaries