the letter is clearly written by temporarily insane man. im sure in a different context, he is not such a ranting maniac. though, i do understand what that feels like to slowly suffocate next to what i call the 'expanding person' experience.
they seem normal. they sit down. polite hello and a slight unknown sense of dread.
as soon as the seat belts are down, they start to expand, 3-D. soon, their knees are touching yours, the arm rests are no longer arm rests, they are holding this expanding appendages that just keeps growing in space, real time. after couple hours, you wonder HOW did they seem so normal at the beginning of the flight. incredibly, they still look normal, while occupying at least 50% more space. what is going on?
*insert airtravel delilium music.
*pop some pills and just pass out till arrival
the real issue is not about personal respect/disrespect about this particular case, i think. it's about unreasonable public demand for cheapest commodity services/goods, along with inflexibility of the airlines' infrastructure to accommodate/address passenger safety in pursuit of maximum profit (though yes, airlines are for-profit).
it is frustrating for ALL parties, i am sure (as obviously the writer of the letter is experiencing brief case of acute trauma episode of a sort) and even more frustrating for the airline workers (as they probably see this on daily basis). lets not forget the large man whose life may already be difficult.
what may be the solution?
im afraid it may involve:
1. pressuring legislature (for airtravel safety regulations),
2. demanding varied services from the airlines (ex. larger seats),
3. willingness to pay a bit more (air travel is very cheap if we consider the technology, infrastructure and human investment that makes it so easily available),
4. and being generally well-adjusted individuals (cant believe some of the replies, they are so angry themselves! what is really going on there, anonymous commentators?)
*picture credit to: http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/07/travel/feeling-cramped-battle-airline-seat/
*pic from cbchttp://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ottawa-shooting-a-day-of-chaos-leaves-soldier-gunman-dead-1.2808710
i am not a pessimist, nor an optimist. i try hard to be neither.
the power of bias, suggestions and expectations are often too powerful to even detect, nevermind neutralize.
however, with all the international violence, especially pointed at the united states, we have grown quite dull about it. the gulf war. rwandan civil war. croatian war of independence. afghanistan. iraq-kurdish. republic of the congo civil war. the chechens. north-west pakistan. niger delta. thailand insurgency. somalia. boko haram in nigeria. kyrgyzstan. lybian. israel-gaza.
these are the first ones that popped into my mind. without looking. eyes closed. and im not a political junkie.
it made me wonder why-
unequal lives of humans.
and that makes yesterday's shooting in ottawa quite shocking in a weird sense, i thought it is stranger that it have not happened any earlier. we live in one of the wealthiest, healthiest, educated nation. everyone looks up to canada as an ideal model. we think we work very hard and achieve a great deal in civil rights and advancement of technology and humanity. look, we are even sending trial samples of ebola vaccines. people literally climb the closing doors to get into this place.
as powerful nation, we have also trolled many lives under our foot. most likely, we wont hear the things that went wrong.
i remember my own granny telling me about hiding in the haystorage room in a random house during the korean war, with an infant, praying and praying that the child would not wake nor cry during the whole night. they were at the war line in korea, americans/UN soldiers were pushing the line and the north communists were fighting back in desperation. she hid from the soldiers.
she hid from the UN soldiers.
they would rape. they would kill. just like any other soldier. forget the flag on the bag. doesnt matter.
the korean soldiers, my uncle and his peers, as part of koreans who participated alongside the americans (as they earned in dollars), his special forces brigade friends would tell me about vietnam, about hot weather and agent orange, eating snakes and dying of tetanus, from stepping on bamboo cuts smeared with feces.
they did not tell me about the horror they 'shared' with vietnamese people. of rape. burning, carnage, killing. abandoned war children.
i am not here to say canadian soldiers (or any other modern soldiers) are doing exactly the same. times have changed for better, i hope, and there are more systematic solutions that is intended to cause lesser damage. but it is true that a soldier is trained to protect and obey ordered, involving killing and bombing. but ironically, without soldiers, then it's even less order i think. bit like parking cops. even with parking cops, people park illegally all the time (slightly silly example).
and soldiers come back, damaged. often on way to their graves, slowly. only because we cannot see it so easily, as death toll, a lost limb, we often think it's all fine. or that it's not worth it, there are better causes to think about.
what of the repressed anger that causes terrorist acts and war?
hard to say, as it is so complicated. but i do believe it is largely due to the completely uneven distribution of wealth.
i would like to make more money. i would like to be richer. but after all, i am happy working at my jobs as is, as it varies anywhere from 12/hr (yes, that is close to minimum wage in toronto. i am not bitter, i am happy to do it! no misunderstandings allowed, ahahaha) and up, sometimes in honorarium.
but the fact that i do not have to work for free (extortion), or work on jobs i protest (no job i take is against my consciousness or ethic/belief/moral, thought i may not like it, that's entirely different!), and i am educated, which qualifies me to at least apply self to many different jobs.
so many people do not get this chance. so they toil through. they are angry.
i am privileged.
these rough calculations puts me at either top 7 or 10%.
and i am supposedly struggling classical musician (though at least 3rd of my income comes from manual labours and other un-related to music things). this money is not much in toronto but in the world, it's quite a big chunk.
with my last income tax return, im still on the first bracket, making less than 43,561 before taxes. that makes me a small earner. not so small in the global sense. i have riches in my household- utilities, warm house, safety, running water, accessible municipal services and justice system should i need it.
no wonder the people who have been denied of what we consider the 'basic' rights are angry and shoot at us.
there have not been enough information to figure out why or how cpl cirillo's been shot. and who dunnit. but this is shocking to us, because well, shooting military man and government services is something that happens SOMEWHERE ELSE (like the states).
weve been rich enough to close our minds to diversities that we do not like (which does not do justice to the world 'diversity' anyhow). we want to pay less for everything. we want to 'give poor countries developmental potential' by doing our businesses at the fraction of its real cost. we want to 'dispense' justice to the world if they 'cooperate.'
it's not a fault. it's a symptom. symptom of wealth and happiness. contentness.
i love this country. this is home.
with all this education, resource, free-media and TIME, we do have the responsibility to look into this 'irrational' anger that is coming in through the small cracks of the house. (i watch too many home reno shows i guess). i am against violence. i am against black-and-white stance. violence is also a symptom. of unhappiness, incomprehension, envy and therefore blind action.
let us not waste cpl cirillo's death. yes, it may only be one of many soldiers who die on the job. yes, canadian soldiers do sign up to be in the army (unlike countries with conscription services). that does not matter when we want to look into the disorganized anger that pervades history. including our history.
we are individuals. we can all care for the human liberty and freedom. we can make it real.
there's no easy answer. but if you desire, one will find ways.
love to you all, stay safe.
*what a lovely picture!
so johnny greenwood of very successful venture, radiohead, resident composer for the bbc concert orchestra recently pointed out 10 things he would change in a classical concert format. and i thought in most of cases, his proposed changes are not met because well, most of classical music does not have the support hat johnny or the bbc concert orchestra (one of my fav ensembles) have access to. and certain things, though the public may demand it, is not very helpful- such as access to technology during the show.
WHY CANT WE HAVE ONE PLACE WHERE PEOPLE ARENT BLATANTLY TIED TO THEIR DAMNED PHONES
anyway, we all live in a different world and i do think it's quite nice that someone who could be influential takes a stand. this is how things evolve. however, on certain points, i cannot help but to think... BUT... so here they are. happy friday!
1. free applaud for between-movements:
i agree. IF THAT WOULD REALLY KILL THE PROGRAM (tchaikovsky 6th, the transition between 3rd to 4th movement, for instance), it would not be so hard to have a small announcement along with cellphone warning at the beginning of the concert, or print it on the program.
2. tuning backstage:
i think it's not possible, unless the backstage is HUGE and quiet... just a practical issue for ensemble that big. where are you going to put everyone so that everyone can actually hear that tiny A made by the oboe?
3. allowance for mobile phones in silent mode:
silent and LOW LIGHT. that blinking screens are such a bother. you should only do it if it does not distract anyone else. for recording, i donno- all im saying is everyone has off-days and it's slightly unkind to have those footages on the web for free broadcast. and there's TOO MUCH records of everyone doing everything anyway. bit like collecting children's artworks (i think).
4. program should be less predictable:
programs- well, it's nice to pace things out with bit of variations. spelling the 'surprise' would be nice for all concert goers for various reasons (bladder, babysitter, traffic, wheelchairs etc)... yeah, small surprise (within 5 min) but not all shows have the tech support/audience support that radiohead/bbc concert orch have access to. when we hit that old age, making it to the bathroom IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT for various reasons, including public dignity.
5. take your drinkies:
ONLY IF THE HALL allows it. would you like to sit on comfortable (reasonably so) padded chairs with arm rest if it had beer spill on it from last night? how are we going to keep the carpets clean? (some venues, you are expected to stand and socialize and spill things, ex. any venues that has 'standing floor.' some venues not). i work at a reasonably small hall and i tell you, cleaning up after the audience is kinda gross already anyhow (wrappers, half-drunk coffees, food items stuck on chairs). would i ever sit on the floor or the lee's palace? PROBABLY NOT.
6. artist should engage, including meet-after-concert as mandatory stuff:
I CANNOT IMAGINE JOHNNY MEETING EVERYONE AFTER EVERY CONCERT. and the talk- well, let's say not everyone will be so eloquent and helpful. im a big fan of printed short notes. may be we as the group can organize more events where the audience can meet the group, but to have it as their 'right' is bit sketchy. the three radiohead shows i went, they had heavier security than any classical concerts. backstage access much?
7. no tail suits:
tail suits and all blacks are actually a very practical option. unless the large ensembles will invest in huge selection of rentals for freelancers. better looking suits dont grow on trees and most ensembles are already under financial duress. and whats wrong about having a different set of aesthetics? some people enjoy the concerts because it is different from their daily lives. and yes, something does change when one dresses in certain style. i dont think tail suits are such a bad idea. i personally think wearing damned sweatpants and workout suits to any public place should be banned unless you are sweating. if it looks like it can be a pajama, wear it in private space. a simple test: would you present your best impression of the day in that? if answer is yes, proceed.
8. more family friendly:
families: this, i agree. and some ensembles are venturing out of their zone and IF IT WORKS, im sure it will spread, because, well, all musicians always want more audience.
9. more technology in concerts:
once again, it's a budget issue mostly. for download during performance, only if your tech device does not provide a distraction to another. ever sit beside someone who's texting away in a movie? annoying. AND WHAT WE CANT LIVE WITHOUT TIED TO THE PHONES FOR 1.5 HRS? IN MIDDLE OF LIVE EVENT? i think the hall should have a signal disrupter so that people actually do something else beside being tied to a phone. but then i think of this very often in all kinds of places... about close-up televising, well, once again, i know we live in a visual culture but i dont think it is necessary that one can see anything at any given time. this is the choice that performers should make, in consideration to budgets etc. one CAN go to a classical concert in major towns paying under 30 dollars a head. most big gigs, you are paying starting about 70-90 bucks. that's hella difference in budget.
10. all prog to have one contemp piece:
i agree. but i say it must work with the rest of the program. some all-contemp progs rock. some no-contemp progs rocks. most of oldies-and-newbies would work very well.
now, to get off one's bum and go practice on friday morning. yawn...
love to all!