Archive for May 6, 2009

Trickle Down Thoughts

cascading-water-on-stairsNo, not “trickle down,” but I have cascading thoughts just like this photo of the waterlogged stairs along Furmanova St. When it rains in Almaty, you not only get the water from top down but also gushing under your feet following the laws of gravity to find the lowest spot to settle in a puddle. I caught this picture the other day with one of our spring rains. People all seem to have an umbrella at the ready because it could start out sunny in the morning and cloud over to rain in the afternoon or vice versa. In any case, I have learned to keep an umbrella at work and several at home.

I’m thinking about people’s orientation when it comes to giving to the needy. I live in a neighborhood that is not far from the President’s residence when he comes to visit Almaty. Currently his presidential palace is in the new capital of Astana but the buildings we live in, two blocks away from the former palace, were built to be substantial, perhaps earthquake proof. At least the little quakelette we had several Sunday mornings ago barely registered a tremor in my kitchen but I did note something was going on. Which reminds me that I had a dream that I was in a lovely home that sprawled in all directions. In this dream a quake happened, a minor one, so I got up to investigate the damage. As in all dreams, I was not sure where I was located but out in the living room area there were green plants and I saw a green lizard skitter among them. Then I saw a snake and another larger reptile sitting on the table. How odd, I thought to myself, I didn’t think my host or whomever lived in this place had pets like this.

Then I got to thinking once I woke up from my dream that when there are disturbances among those in the higher echelons of power, I mean at my university and not anywhere else in Kazakhstan, then the true critters come out for safety. These reptiles didn’t want to be crushed in the walls where they hang out but were feeling secure out in the open and showing themselves. Normally they would hide for fear of humans. Where’s the analogy here?

I’ll get back to the notion of giving to the poor but there is more than just physical poverty which many churches attend to with money given to orphans and widows. (That is a mandate right out of James.) However, there seems to be a spiritual, emotional, psychological poverty that is present at our institution of higher learning. As soon as there is a shake up in the power structure, the real reptiles come out and reveal their true natures. Not pretty. A tug-of-war is going on over who knows what compared to who knows who. What is it about giving money to educators who know too little but are part of a former communist system that was a failed system? Why not find those teachers best qualified to teach the future of this nation of Kazakhstan?

What is wrong with the merit system when it comes to awarding jobs to those people who really CARE about the students, care enough to step aside and let others more qualified and less divisive to teach? In the world of music, you have the best vocalists or musicians who are trained to sing or play take the hefty parts. In theater, the best actors who can memorize the lines, act their parts out convincingly. What is with that line, “those who can’t do, teach.” That’s a put down to those who are called into the teaching profession. How about “those who can’t teach, administrate?” I don’t think that line will stick because of the obvious slap down from those people who do the hiring. Ah me…

Those are my “trickle down thoughts” this morning. I have other stray thoughts about why people don’t give money to educators but would rather give to orphanages or hospitals. I’ll save it for another post.

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