Monday, September 12, 2011

Sweeping the dust under the rug!

I think the Brits invented "sweeping under the rug and that is where Americans got it from ;)
I have always noticed that Americans are quick to hide/disguise  be discrete about all that is negative in their own country. Hey, I don't blame them, I don't like to waste time with negative stuff either.
I truly believe our time is precious and when you stop to whine/complain  criticize the bad stuff around you, you will most certainly miss the good and the beautiful that is right on your face.
I am not talking about your innocent rant of an expat trying to adapt to a new land, because in most cases, it's not the country/new city that is the target of criticism, but the expats lack of information or understanding of the new country and culture, and everyone reading it is seeing what the situation is all about.
Here is an innocent example, and I am not referring to anyone in particular ( no really, I haven't read about this in anyone's blog recently ): In the past, I have seen many folks complaining about ALL STORES being closed on a Sunday or a Holiday in Brazil.
I know how frustrating that can be for an expat used to having all sorts of options for 24/7 stores in the US.
Truth of the matter is that Brazil has strong Unions and they are the ones who force stores to close in certain cities and certain states, so, it's not all of Brazil, but maybe the town or state where you are living at the moment.
I grew up in the Sao Paulo metro area and some cities had all stores closed during Sundays and Holidays while others had everything open all the time. 24 hour Grocery stores, Malls, Pharmacies, you name it.
I know this problem first hand, when Gil and I first moved to the Boston area from Dallas, we went thru exactly the same thing. Everything was open 24 hours in Dallas, EVERYTHING, even a freaking HOMEDEPOT opened all night ( imagine that! ) Fast forward to Boston, where UNIONS are super strong, very hard to find anything open at night. Forget about a 24 hours HomeDepot, that would never happen in Boston. Plus, in Boston all gas stations still have attendants, and no self-service stations, because their strong unions assured those folks never lost their jobs to Self Service gas stations. It is all a matter of adapting to the new town and getting to know and understand the social/political/economic rules.
I have to say Brazilians get on my nerves when it comes to "sweeping our own crap" under the rug, hell, we pick it up and throw it in front of the fan!!.
We just be discrete about our own bad stuff, we are the first ones to ADVERTISE it to the world and exaggerate 10 fold while doing it.
The biggest example is how news about crime often gets exaggerated in Brazil. Even I get nervous when I arrive in Rio and these bastards at the Airport start to harass me even before I clear customs, telling us not to dare take a yellow cab, because they might be someone trying to kidnap you. What!!! I have taken the yellow cabs in Rio all my life, shut the hell up and get out of my way, and NO, I DON'T NEED A WHITE CAB FROM YOUR COMPANY AT THE AIRPORT, I will be renting a crappy tiny Fiat from Hertz for U$500,00 a day. UGH!!!!
Depending if it's a good year or not, New York and Philly will have more murders than Rio, but Rio is worldly known for crime, and I partly blame Brazilians for that. We are just "drama queens" by nature.
So, every time you hear something bad about Brazil, divide by 2, or 4, and relax, have fun, and just be street smart like you would be in Miami, Los Angeles or New York.
If you are wondering, the small piece of news below is what game me inspiration for this post.
Can you imagine if there was an "EXPLOSION AT ONE OF BRAZIL'S NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS!!!" and someone died and 5 more were sent to the Hospital.
I am sure, it would most definitely not be swept under the rug by the media or anyone for that matter!!! ;)

No leak reported after deadly explosion at French nuclear site

One person killed and four injured in explosion at France's Marcoule nuclear site, near furnace used to burn low-grade radioactive waste.

France nuclear reaction 9 12 2010 
The four reactors of the Bugey's nuclear plant on August 29, 2011 in Saint-Vulbas, 35 Kms east of Lyon, central eastern France. (Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty Images)
An explosion at the Marcoule nuclear site in southern France killed one person and injured four others Monday, but no radioactive leak was reported.
A furnace reportedly exploded at the nuclear waste treatment site, which is owned by French power utility EDF and located about 50 miles from the Mediterranean coast. The furnace is used to burn low-grade radioactive waste such as rubber gloves and tools used in nuclear facilities, Dow Jones quotes an emergency management expert as saying.
But there was no leak of radioactive material, France's Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) told Reuters.
More from GlobalPost: France to invest 1 billion euros in nuclear energy, going against the tide in Europe
Dow Jones says the fire that accompanied the explosion has been extinguished, and the building that houses the furnace isn't badly damaged.
EDF, the operator of France’s 58 nuclear power stations, said the blast had been "an industrial accident, not a nuclear accident," the BBC reports.
France is one of the most nuclear-reliant countries, with nuclear power providing 78 percent of electricity, according to the Financial Times. But "the French nuclear program does not have a stellar record of transparency," the BBC says.
Greenpeace has called on the French government for more transparency, the FT says, adding that the Marcoule site was not part of a post-Fukushima government review of nuclear sites.
“Yet again it shows that the government has not learned the lessons of Fukushima,” Yannick Rousselet of Greenpeace told the FT.


Danielle said...

Yeah, the Sunday closing thing was annoying at first, more so back in Caipirópolis because most things were closed on Saturdays AND Sundays -- not because of unions, but because they were small family businesses and no one could convince the other ones to work! But in most cases it's for my own good that I can't rush out and go go clothes shopping on a whim on a Sunday afternoon. :)

Ray and Gil said...

Dear Danielle,

I agree, not all cases can be blames on Unions. I am mostly speaking for my area, the Sao Paulo metro for example.
I grew up in the city of Sao Bernardo do Campo, where the Unions allowed folks to work on Sundays and Holidays. The town next door, Santo Andre, didn't allow stores to open on Sundays and Holidays because of their Unions. Over the years, many Malls were built in Sao Bernardo rather than Santo Andre because of the possibility to open on Sundays and Holidays.
People from all over used to flock to our town to go shopping when all the other cities around us had everything closed.
You know we were very irritaded when we first moved to Boston and all the stores were closed, but we soon got over it and adapted, no big deal.
How is your new town? I bet a lot of stuff ( if not all ) are opened on Weedends and Holidays.