Tell us about your NON-Western living experience
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30-10-2011, 03:11 PM
RE: Travellers' Tales
Quote:Zatamon: As you see, it was not slavery in every aspect and I have always given my thanks to god for choosing Hungary for my birthplace as opposed to many other parts of the world.

You should give your thanks to god for your peculiar aptitude for Physics, not your birthplace, your aptitude for Physics is what spared your sorry ass, not being born in Hungary.

As opposed to, say Uganda? I'm from Europe, too. Though i was too young, coming to Canada, to have known very much, i do know that none of Europe was being bombed during the second half of the 20th century, and none of it was starving. No children were sold into slavery, pressed into military service, had to salvage used hypodermic needles or butcher dogs. Nobody knows what aptitudes children in the third-world (oh, yeah, developing nations) might have had, given a chance.
I would say we were pretty lucky.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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30-10-2011, 03:16 PM
RE: Travellers' Tales
Zatamon thanks, your post was extremely interesting Smile
I'm sorta non-Western. I grew up in Zimbabwe, then spent the last 7 years South Africa. Right now I'm in the UK but I'll be heading back to SA soon Smile

Africa... Southern Africa... it's different. It's almost impossible for me to describe. Zimbabwe - well, our famous number one export is Robert Mugabe. And for South Africa everyone I meet seems to think of apartheid.

The thing is... Zim isn't just another tin-pot failed African state, and South Africa has moved on since apartheid. Both countries have an incredibly rich and diverse history. Nowadays there are still huge problems and racial tension but we are trying hard to overcome that. There are lots of people who do well out of the racial tension though so it is very hard. In particular the politicians tend to encourage it. Another problem that we face is the pervasive corruption throughout government in both countries.

To conclude, I give you an atheism themed link to my favourite South African website at the moment, have a look round, it's really worth it Smile The local politicians hate it and have tried to have it shut down - but so far they've managed to keep it running.
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30-10-2011, 03:30 PM
RE: Travellers' Tales
(30-10-2011 02:44 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Zatamon's life is as good now as he ever hoped it could be.

No regrets.

Zatamon and GirlyMan live on the same page.

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem. - Camus
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31-10-2011, 09:58 AM
RE: Travellers' Tales
(30-10-2011 01:47 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  I can't speak for Zatamon, Cufflink, but I got all my money riding on the fact that the reason communism has failed is because we still got the dick in us who wants to exploit the position of power for personal gain. That dick can't last much longer. Hamata k is fully prepared and stands at the ready to beat the dick out of him or us as necessary.

I bow before the awesomeness of Hamata k.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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01-11-2011, 05:38 PM
RE: Travellers' Tales
I am really disappointed that we heard no more non-western stories (so far).

I think this forum could benefit enormously from a well rounded description of experience from all over the world.

So, you guys, not from the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, etc. -- what does the world look like to you, what has your life-experience taught you different from the lessons we have learned in our comfortable western bubbles?

Please, come forward and tell us --WE NEED TO KNOW!!! Smile
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01-11-2011, 06:59 PM
RE: Travellers' Tales
(29-10-2011 04:41 PM)cufflink Wrote:  My question is this: Given that Communism sounds good in theory but has failed everywhere people have attempted to put it into practice--failed in the sense that it's led to repression, loss of freedom of expression, tyranny, power-grabbing by the elite, economic inequality between the elite and the masses--why is that?

I think the reason is greed. If everyone was perfect, willing to share, actually wanted equality etc. communism would work very well, I suspect.
A lot of countries have called themselves communists during the years, but in reality we've never seen a single communist country. Simply claiming to be something doesn't make it true. Wink
When the country's ruler is getting a single dollar more than the factory worker, the main idea about communism is already dead. Equality is gone. People simply aren't interested in equality, so if you give them the chance to gain a little extra for themselves, they will grab it, and that's the end of communism. Tongue
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07-11-2011, 08:53 AM
RE: Tell us about your NON-Western living experience
Heads up, everybody!

Stark changed the title of this thread (at my request), to better describe the intended purpose.

I hope more people will respond with their LIVING (as opposed to visiting) experience in non-western societies.

It would greatly contribute to this forum that seems so slanted towards us westerners.

Please contribute your story!

Thank you. Smile
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07-11-2011, 05:41 PM
RE: Tell us about your NON-Western living experience
Argh well, I decided I've got nothing intelligent to say in any of the other threads...

I think part of the problem of no one posting might be that it's quite hard to identify as a non-Westerner. Western culture is ubiquitous. In Africa... well I guess not so much, but being a white guy derived from British settlers - we're all fairly western in outlook.

As a fake non-Westerner I'll give you some Zimbabwean history just for shits and giggles. Please note that you could probably get much better history straight off wikipedia. What I'm gonna give you is off the top of my head and may be biased and completely factually incorrect. And it has to take less than 30 mins, 'cos I'm sleepy Tongue

Zim... well, early history is pretty murky. There are some ancient stone ruins from the 1400s or so, very impressive to look at, built by the Mutapa empire, which used to run the show back then. Fabulously rich bastards, gold plated toilet seats, the works. I found an old book from the 50s on numismatics a while ago, saying that they're not sure if it's a hoax or not but there've been Roman coins found in Zim and a few other confirmed ones from waaaay back, so there was trade in the region since forever.

Zim was basically an iron age civilization back then. No one really knows why the Mutapa crowd gave up but they reckon that they overgrazed the land - they were cattle men - and ran out of resources - massive famine, end of empire. They were Shona speaking people. The maShona along with the amaNdebele are the two major tribes in Zim - they make up 99% of the population, and they're both Bantu tribes.

Argh, gotta mention the great Bantu migration. Back another couple hundred years the Bantu were on the move from central Africa. The local tribes throughout Southern Africa couldn't compete with their iron weapons and other technology, so they ended up moving to the more forsaken corners of the realm. As a result the languages from South Africa to Kenya are all inter-related. Not unfortunately mutually intelligible, but apparently to a linguist the relationships are clear.

The Mutapa empire left a rich oral tradition and a bunch of stone ruins throughout Zim and some of northern South Africa. They traded with the Chinese and Arabs and I think the odd European even managed to see them at their height - the Portuguese were the first dudes really on the scene in the early Africa exploration days...

Aaaand... that's it from me for tonight Tongue Sorry, I'll post more as and when I feel the urge or you guys are interested... or you can look it up yourselves for fun and profit Smile

Oh PS you could accuse me of being off topic I guess... but if you wanna get the full experience... is good to start from history Smile
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07-11-2011, 08:42 PM
RE: Tell us about your NON-Western living experience
(07-11-2011 05:41 PM)morondog Wrote:  Aaaand... that's it from me for tonight Tongue Sorry, I'll post more as and when I feel the urge or you guys are interested... or you can look it up yourselves for fun and profit Smile

Oh PS you could accuse me of being off topic I guess... but if you wanna get the full experience... is good to start from history Smile

Yes, please, morondog, tell us more.

What was it like living there? Are you still living there? We can't look up personal experiences and every experience is real and important. I very much would like to know more! Smile
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08-11-2011, 05:58 AM (This post was last modified: 08-11-2011 06:16 AM by Filox.)
RE: Tell us about your NON-Western living experience
First let me congratulate on your post, I will now give you the story of Yugoslavia and then Croatia... But first, something was stuck in my eye, so I have to act quickly.

@ Peterkin
Quote:Though i was too young, coming to Canada, to have known very much, i do know that none of Europe was being bombed during the second half of the 20th century, and none of it was starving.

So, you never heard that there were 2 wars, 20 years ago, one fought in Croatia, a war for independence, then it moved to Bosnia&Herzegovina and at the end NATO has bombarded Serbia. Then in the last few years you had a whole bunch of military conflicts and actions between Serbia and Kosovo, again with NATO, a full scale battles took place until Kosovo has been give their independence. If you lack wars, come to Balkan, we have plenty. Smile

Now for the main part of the post...

Yugoslavia was a "Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia", meaning it consisted of 6 different countries: Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia&Herzegovina, Monte Negro and Macedonia and had a socialistic political system.

Yugoslavia... A piece of haven in it's own time... During the 60's and 70's it was one of the best places to live in. People had money, most of the citizens were well taken care of, war was long gone and industrial prosperity was full blown. First you have to realize a few things about Yugoslavia, a bit of fun-facts. During the 2nd World War Yugoslavia was the only country in the world that has freed her self, with little help from out side (Brits and USA), but mostly what that help did was bombard our cities that were under Italian or German occupation, so in the end it did more damage than good. Also, A big part of Croatia in 2nd WW has declared independence and has joined Hitler (NDH). Unfortunately, they were the ones that invented concentration camps and gave the idea to Hitler. In other parts of Croatia we had first partisan movements for liberation. So not only that the Yugoslavian communists had to fight off invading Italian forces, invading German forces, they also had to deal with inside threats. It all ended well, NDH was broken, Italians driven away, Germans retreated and as the war was nearing the end, Yugoslavian communists have won...

Then the partisan party gained power and all changed a bit, those that were in the NDH during the war were prosecuted, killed or ran away if lucky. As the socialist party was growing, so the nationalism of any kind was a forbidden subject. I hope all of you have read the Zatamons experience, because here we had something completely different, yet very similar. At that time Europe was divided, West was controlled by Brits and Americans and the East was under USSR. But, Yugoslavia has openly said NO to USA and USSR and we stayed independent. That was thanx to Marshal Tito, the leader of Socialist Party and the main general during 2 WW. He knew that whichever side we take, it will be bad for us, so he decided to stay single and with that single bold move he has saved the whole Balkan region, while boosting us to the limits, so at the time we were 3rd strongest military force in the world, right after USA and USSR. Also, he made the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) so put together, it was the strongest military force in the world. (

All of that together made Yugoslavia a heaven to other East European counties, we were not under Stalin, our "communism" was much less harsh that the rest had. Of course, we also had restrictions, all the buildings were state property, all business was state owned, you could buy a car only that were produced in Yugoslavia, or some older types from West Europe, I think they had to be at least 5 years old to import them, but that was rare. Even with those restrictions, people were not complaining much. Everybody had a place to live, health care, education for free and everybody had a job. I have somewhere on my computer a scanned note where a guy is sentenced to 3 months in jail because he did not work anywhere for 3 years, but he had opportunity. Instead, he was "driving around on his friends motorbike, spending fuel for no reason". Smile What I find funny is that on all those legal documents, on the end was a note saying: "Death to the Fascism, freedom to the people!".

The bad things about Yugoslavia was nationalism, or suppression of it. You see, Croatian people always wanted a free and independent country, but somehow we would always end up in some kind of union, so there was a big part of Croatia that were not happy with being in Yugoslavia. Serbia on the other hand had a similar problem, only there it was called A Big Serbia Movement, where they wanted more territory to be called Serbia, but that territory was not theirs to take that easily. Some kind of similar things were in other countries as well, so in the end Yugoslavia was doomed to fail. In the 80's the debt of Yugoslavia has grown too big, it was impossible to keep the people happy as they were used to, Tito, the great charismatic leader has died in 1980. so the influence Yugoslavia had has started to slowly fade away and we were in more and more problems, until 1989. when Croatia finally started it's way to independence. Croatia and Slovenia declared independence in 1991., Bosnia and Macedonia in 1992. and then we had years of war...

So during socialism in Yugoslavia, it was much better place to be than any other socialistic/communistic country. It had it's good and bad sides, but as long as there was money, everybody was happy, when money and influence ran out, old problems resurfaced again. Same as with Hungary, it was a one-party political system, where you could get promoted if you were a member of Socialist Party and you had problems if you were nationalist, patriot or religious person. Not nearly as dangerous as in Hungary, but problems and prison were always present.

After the war and when Croatia became the democratic republic, we had our famous "privatization". Now that is something you should see. Yugoslavia had HUGE companies, state owned at a time, they were known around the world, worth millions of dollars, then we had privatized them and about 90% of them are now bankrupted and those people are jobless. Post-communist Croatia sucks. Smile Not that we would be better of if we stayed in Yugoslavia, it was doomed long before it broke, but the way we did this transition is horrible. Now Croatia is struggling not to become the new Greece, all the important and big companies were sold for nothing to foreigners or wealthy Croats who just used the companies to "take the money and run..." so now we are left with nothing but tourism. Also, war destroyed a lot of country, we are still fixing villages around the country. And I still don't want to move away from here. Why? I have no idea, just love this country and think that some day a new political party will take over and make something happen, but is just my imagination. We are used to swim in a sea of BS, so we know how. You know this crisis that hit Europe and the rest of the world? We didn't feel that crisis that much, it was like that forever here...

There a little bit of history for you all.


Of course, there are always things I will forget to write, but there is always a "Edit" button...

One thing that is very characteristic for all communistic/socialistic countries is the industrialization. Croatia had beautiful county side, seaside, mountains, islands, nature, but in socialism nobody cares about nature or beauty, only thing important is the industrial progress. So now we have a huge problem with a lot of factories polluting our country, a relics from old times that are hard to get rid of. A lot of people still work there and those that survived privatization are now modernized and renewed so it is a bit of a problem to take them down and move them somewhere. So these old relics now make problems for our greatest industry - the tourism. You simply can not have tourism where a factory (of any kind) is nearby and these factories are all over the coast. Some of them work, some of them don't, I can't say which looks worse. The reason Yugoslavia was building most of the factories on the coast was so that you can have trains, roads and boats for transport. Efficient at a time, but today it brings a whole bunch of problems...

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