Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Snow in London

Ahahahahahaha, the last piece on BBC news this morning is about a snowstorm that took out the entire country, shutting down all of Heithrow runways, as well as the local transit system. They were full of humour though, saying [about London] "This is the city that was selected a couple of years as a capital of the world, taking everything from finance to culture into account, and yet here we are, in the supposed capital of the world, you get a sprinkling of snow, which any other Northern country could easily cope with, and I am afraid we are made to look rather foolish. But we'll get out of it, it will melt, and we'll forget all about it."

(The picture taken from here.)

I think anyone listening to this in Canada, especially in Ottawa, will have a good laugh too.
Although, I am sure the British would have a good laugh if they were to listen to our own CBC radio in the past couple of weeks, about the city of Ottawa having a similar "shut down", but due not to the weather but to the labour disputes. (The public transit operators were on strike there.)
You guys in Toronto, has the TTC gone on their annual strike yet?
I'd take the London transit shutdowns due to weather any day.

I wonder if they ever have public service workers going on strike due to labour disputes here in Japan. I should investigate. It seems unlikely to me, but who knows, maybe it happens here as well.

And speaking of strikes, thank goodness classes seem to have resumed in York University. I am surprised they have people apply to that school at all, given it's not the first time something like this has happened. I do realize people have the right to dispute their labour rights, but does it really have to be at the cost of people's education? Of course, I am not a teacher or a TA at York, so I do not understand the situation well enough to judge anyone, but to be honest, I have thought a lot about this, and I tried putting myself in their shoes and to think what I'd do in this situation, and I think striking is very irresponsible in this situation. Imagine what would happen if the doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, for example, decide to walk off the job. If you talk about what's fair and what isn't, then why should university teachers go on strike and not doctors? Of course if the doctors did that, people would blame them for the worsening conditions or even deaths of patients. But then we know (or at least we hope) that doctors in Toronto would not do something so irresponsible as go on strike, because people's lives depend on them. Well, then I would like to ask those people in favour of the strike: how is education any different? Maybe people who went on strike in York don't realize how much they are affecting people's lives. If my professors and TAs in the University of Waterloo were to go on such a strike, I don't know where I would be today, if I would be the person I am now, because it is my relationship with my professors that allowed me to become the person I am now today. They had a tremendous impact on my life, so I can't even imagine what it must be like for York students to have such an experience.

So putting this into perspective. if my boss at my English school were to decide to cut down my pay starting tomorrow, because of the bad economy, I would not go on strike, even though that would probably be a reasonable thing to do. I would not do that because as a teacher I feel responsible before my students, so I would find other ways to protest, without involving the students.

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