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Old 07-11-2006, 07:41 PM   #46
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Texas School District Bans Grillz

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The school district here has expanded its dress codes to include mouths _ and earlobes.

Students may no longer wear mouth jewelry known as "grillz" _ shiny teeth caps _ or the earlobe-stretching practice known as "gauging."

"The district is having to respond to fads because they've become distracters or a safety hazard for those around them," said Malcolm Turner, the district's executive director of student services.
I read this article and then re-read sulawesigirl4’s post giving a greater (and much needed) perspective on the subject of wealth. It seems that our great wealth will allow us to bicker over things such as “grillz”.
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Old 07-12-2006, 08:18 AM   #47
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Welcome back!!!!
Thanks. Looking around the old place, it looks like nothing has changed. lol.

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Originally posted by maycocksean
Sulawesigirl4 and Bonosaint, thanks for the perspective. Both of your replies gave a slightly different take on this topic, and I really appreciated it.

Sula, I know what you mean. My home in Saipan is much closer to the U.S. in terms of it's standard of living than it is to Mali, but even there I've seen the difference in people's openness and willingness to share.
I'm glad you liked the post, even though in retrospect I wondered if it was a bit off the original topic. This idea of wealth and how much we need to make us happy is an issue that is never far from my thoughts. Having grown up in a jungle village in Indonesia (missionary parents) and now spending parts of my life back and forth between the States and the rest of the world, I can't escape the comparisons between the luxury we take for granted and the poverty that is so pervasive elsewhere.

I'm curious to hear more about Saipan, as I think you're the first person I've met to be from there. Did you grow up there? How big of a country is it and what is the dominant way of making a living ie. agriculture, manufacturing, etc?


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Thank you for sharing your experiences. In some ways I agree, but about 10 years ago I travelled in some of the poorest and most destitute regions of Russia and I did not encounter the openness and warmth that a simple connection between poverty and friendliness towards strangers would suggests. It’s also about culture and to a certain extent climate.
You are of course correct that one can't make a simple coorelation betwen lack of possessions and openness towards strangers. As you noted, culture plays a great role. I wonder though if the fact that the Russia you visited was emerging from 70-odd years of communist rule had anything to do with the lack of warmth. I don't set myself up to be any kind of an expert in Russia and East Asia, but I would be curious to know if traditional "Russian" country values are more or less open and hospitable than what you experienced. I would imagine that living in a police state in which one couldn't trust even one's neighbor would have a rather chilling effect on the way one views outsiders.

In any case, interesting thread. I really hope that everyone who has been so amazingly blessed to have all their material needs met will take a moment to really think about what they can do to be "good caretakers" of what they've been given. I don't think it's about being guilty for what we have but in using it wisely and even reverently and not taking it for granted.
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Old 07-12-2006, 08:58 AM   #48
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I really enjoyed reading your post and your perspective sula, I hope you can post more often
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Old 07-12-2006, 01:30 PM   #49
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I've heard way too many stories of unhappy rich people or rich people in trouble of some kind. It seems like rich people are actually poor in other areas of life. I'd rather focus on those areas before I worry about the amount of money I have. My bank account is going to fluctuate, but I have a lifetime of relationships to focus on and other things. I've heard it said that wisdom is more precious than gold. Hopefully, I can get more of that.
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Old 07-12-2006, 01:51 PM   #50
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i suppose the only problem i have with measuring wealth through non-tangible items ("can't see it, or buy it") is that most of us have our basic needs more than met.

it's awfully easy to say that money doesn't make you happy when you have clean drinking water.

if i didn't have clean drinking water (or a good pair of shoes) i'd certainly be unhappy.
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Old 07-12-2006, 02:02 PM   #51
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if i didn't have clean drinking water (or a good pair of shoes) i'd certainly be unhappy.
Or, maybe. . .just maybe you would. Rather than argue that you must have your basic needs met to be happy, I'd argue that happiness is irrelevant in such situations. Even the so-called "happy poor" definitely want to change their situation, and someone who doesn't have clean drinking water is not going to live long or healthily unless their circumstances change, regardless of how "happy" they are.

I'm sure you'll agree that we don't combat poverty, disease, etc because "the people are unhappy", we combat them because it increases the length and quality of their lives.

eh. . .something tells me this is kind of a lame argument, so feel free to smash it down. I don't think I'm expressing myself very well.
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Old 07-12-2006, 02:18 PM   #52
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Or, maybe. . .just maybe you would. Rather than argue that you must have your basic needs met to be happy, I'd argue that happiness is irrelevant in such situations. Even the so-called "happy poor" definitely want to change their situation, and someone who doesn't have clean drinking water is not going to live long or healthily unless their circumstances change, regardless of how "happy" they are.

I'm sure you'll agree that we don't combat poverty, disease, etc because "the people are unhappy", we combat them because it increases the length and quality of their lives.

eh. . .something tells me this is kind of a lame argument, so feel free to smash it down. I don't think I'm expressing myself very well.


^

it's okay, i get what you are saying -- i think that what we understand as "happiness" is irrelevant to some people, but i also think it can't even begin to be considered until a basic level of needs -- food, water, basic sanitation -- are met.

if i have a longer, higher quality of life, i think i'd be happier.
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Old 07-12-2006, 02:27 PM   #53
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Originally posted by Irvine511




^

it's okay, i get what you are saying -- i think that what we understand as "happiness" is irrelevant to some people, but i also think it can't even begin to be considered until a basic level of needs -- food, water, basic sanitation -- are met.

if i have a longer, higher quality of life, i think i'd be happier.


Yeah, the basic needs have to be met. Just because people, amazingly manage to put on a smile and show some grace In SPITE OF horrifying circumstances doesn't mean those horrifying circumstances no longer need to be remedied.
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Old 07-12-2006, 08:04 PM   #54
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I really appreciate your perspectives and willingness to share your experiences Sula. Given the great disparity in wealth across the world, it seems as if we have become so accustom to the conveniences, niceties or wants being satisfied, that we can’t imagine how people live without our lifestyle.

Maycocksean, your description is far from being lame. A close friend of mine is currently in India as part of a ministry to bring clean drinking water to the Dalit population. He has never seen his work as a key factor in bringing happiness to people, just a responsibility. But your comment is well noted that our own happiness is not truly conditioned on our circumstances – it is based on our response.
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Old 07-13-2006, 07:15 AM   #55
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Interesting:



It seems that we might be onto something in this thread
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Old 07-13-2006, 09:54 PM   #56
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I bet the people of Vanuatu do not have a word for “bad hair day”.
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Old 07-14-2006, 07:01 AM   #57
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Originally posted by Irvine511
i suppose the only problem i have with measuring wealth through non-tangible items ("can't see it, or buy it") is that most of us have our basic needs more than met.
how many americans can afford health cover? i mean, really. just how bare-bones do you want to get?
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Old 07-14-2006, 10:23 AM   #58
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how many americans can afford health cover? i mean, really. just how bare-bones do you want to get?


there are 40m uninsured Americans, which is a crime, imho. but virtually all americans have food and drinking water and, yes, if you are hit by a car you will be treated at the hospital, insured or not.

i'm not sure what you're getting at here ...
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Old 07-14-2006, 12:03 PM   #59
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"index builds on a report that Nef published earlier this year that warned if annual global consumption levels matched the UK's, it would take 3.1 Earths to meet the demand. " (from the last sentence of silja's bbc link).

oooh. . ..this seems to imply that the world can't support the entire earth's population rising to our western standard of living! Which is not to argue for extreme poverty, mind you, but it does seem to question whether some parts of the world will out of necessity have to have a markedly simpler life in order for other parts of the world to have consumeristic excess that they do.
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