Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A few thoughts

Someone left an interesting comment on my blog this morning. They asked me why I can’t find anything else to write about except for myself. To which I responded that it was my blog, about my life, my thoughts and that this was quite clearly set out in the title box of the blog. And that if they didn’t like it, no-one was forcing them to read it.

I’ve been thinking about this throughout the day though and have come to a number of conclusions. On the one hand, it is my blog and one of my purposes for starting said blog was to record my life in journal form, for me, so that I can look back over my life, rather like one might with a diary, but in a more easily accessible way. And in its purest form a blog is a web-log of something. In this case, my life. But that isn’t the only reason that I started this blog. I wanted to have somewhere to ‘voice’ my thoughts and opinions; in a form which was in the public eye and could be the basis of interaction with other people and their opinions. I also wanted to get into the practice of writing on a daily basis and I’m not really sure if listing pubs that I drink in and places that I’ve been wholly satisfies this.

So, what things interest me at the moment? The racial arguments which Celebrity Big Brother dragged into the public eye and then Shipwrecked has cemented, both courtesy of Channel 4, interested me in a number of ways, but I refrained from writing about it because I thought so many other people had addressed the issue, many in a much better fashion that I might manage. For what it is worth, I think that ignorance and lack of cultural awareness are significant issues which the people of the UK need to address. Regardless of political stance, it is our duty to make people of all races and cultures feel welcome and at ease in the UK, whether visiting or living. Ignorance of the way that remarks are interpreted may be an excuse, but I don’t think it is valid one. And this worries me, because I think teens and twenty something girls (and boys) up and down the country will have made remarks similar to Jade, Danielle and Jo to people (of all cultures, races and backgrounds) they, for whatever reason, wish to belittle - without a second thought. Yet if anyone suggested that they were being racist, they would be mortified. In this fast moving fast paced commercially greedy society that we live, people are selfish and speak in the heat of the moment, without a second thought to how a remark may be interpreted. Though factual statements and thoughtless remarks are very different, I think it is important that people are allowed to have opinions and be allowed to voice them without being accused or vilified. And it is also important to remember the context in which something is said. (You see, someone else could definitely have written this better).

Another thing I have been thinking about recently is tied to the personal but applies widely and in many ways relates to the above comments. Last year, my youngest sister went travelling for 9 months. Before she went, I had given the idea of travelling passing thought at best. As a graduate with substantial law school loans to repay, it is something that I did not allow myself to dream of, more that I considered it in the abstract. I had been on holiday, toured around New Zealand after my degree and lived in California for 2 years as a child, so I thought I didn’t have an immediate desire to see the world. And what is wrong with England anyway? But as soon as my little sister was away and sending home e-mails, though, those thoughts began to change. When she began to describe situations that I couldn’t even picture and currencies I’d never heard of, I began to want to travel too. To see the world, experience different cultures and to meet people who had different priorities to me. The realisation dawned that I had never left the Western World. New Zealand, America, France, Spain, Denmark, Australia. All countries that were not my own, but all countries where I recognised the familiar. Alexandra returned safely and I continued giving travelling some thought. Then in January, my other sister Annie left on her own trip. She has chosen to travel the other way around the world and can be currently found in California (if one so wished). And so, when the offer of some flights emerged as a Christmas present idea I realised that I had been given a chance to do something different. I can’t afford to leave the country for a substantial period of time, just at the moment. Law school saw to that. But I can afford to use my leave to experience something new. So we decided to go to Morocco. It also helps that it can be relatively cheap to live there on a day-to-day basis, something which a holiday to Europe would not offer. So it hasn’t been chosen as a glamorous holiday destination, although the idea of shopping is rather pleasing, but as somewhere that we can experience a different culture. We will spend some time in Marrakech and then we are heading out into the Saharan desert near the Algerian border. Where I hope we will find some peace, maybe some inner peace and an experience which does not involve fast paced corporate life where people are too busy or too ignorant to be inclusive.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry about honkman. He's probably just jealous. Anyway, a lot of people's lives (myself included) aren't interesting enough to blog about.

Rachel said...

Thanks anon. Are all you anons the same person, or are you all different? Perhaps you could number yourselves or similiar if you don't want to identify yourselves...!

I wasn't particularly worried about honkman's comments, more that it snapped me into posting something other than a diary entry, which I've been meaning to do for ages (but am finding hard without my own computer)...

I'm sure everyone thinks their own life is boring, but who can resist reading someone else's diary that they find lying about? Is not reading a blog an extension of that in some way?

Anonymous said...

Aye, there are a lot of anons about. I know some bloggers don't allow anonymous posts.
You're right- it is interesting reading people's blogs. I notice a lot are by young people who are or have been travelling worldwide. And there are those about politics. Not too bothered about politics myself- a lifelong Labour supporter, but I see little difference between New Labour and the Tories.
Ach well- I have a Data Protection case, so back to work!

Anonymous said...

I think I agree with anonymous to some degree- you're not exactly on the breadline are you? Wouldn't you be able to travel and get out of debt if you didn't keep trying to live the life of a Primrose Hill princess?

Sarah said...

Interesting comment. However, as a twenty-something I felt you're tarring us all with the same brush, which is grossly unfair. What Jade said was wrong- no doubts about that but I'm not sure Morocco is a good example of somewhere that's particularly 'inclusive'. Homosexuality is illegal and sexual relations outside of marriage punishable by law, capital punishment is still practised, women can't wear what they want in public, the press are censured, not to mention the secret detention centres where human rights abuses took place... There will always be citizens who give Britain a bad name, but we are still one of the most tolerant and inclusive countries in the world- otherwise there wouldn't have been such a strong response following Jade's behaviour.

Rachel said...

Perhaps I wasn't very clear. I don't necessarily expect Moroccans on the whole to be inclusive, rather the specific Moroccans who are guiding our trek and opening up their home for us to stay in that I hope will be inclusive. Morocco is an answer to my need to see new things and have new experiences on a scale and budget which is affordable at the moment.

Rachel said...

That was a thoughtful and interesting post, thanks Rachel.

It is better to travel hopefuly than to arrive...

Rachel said...

THat was a lovely thoughtful post, thanks Rachel

honkman said...

OMG - this is such self absobed rubbish I feel like vomiting.

The little Miss Primrose Hill Princess writing yet another blog about me, me ,me and wondering why she cant move forward with her life??!!

Trying something out of the ordinary -- providing seomthing of interest to other people than yourself. That is what writers do. Diaries like this are for kids but now that you are 25 you are so old and mature I Fucking forget.

Sarah said...

No wonder you need a holiday with idiots like honkman and 'anonymous' giving you grief. I think it's very brave of you to publish their comments instead of deleting them. Thanks for clarifying your views on Morocco- I was hoping I'd be corrected. For the record I really enjoy reading your blog- probably because I'm always fascinated (or nosy) by other peoples' lives.

Rachel said...

Thanks for your words of support Sarah. They are most appreciated.

lain said...

You'd have to question why someone called "honkman" would be wasting his or her time reading a blog if he or she finds it that unpleasant. This honkman obviously doesn't have a life otherwise they would be out living it rather than making up spiteful comments on the blogs of people they don't even know.