Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘funny

Yesterday I shared some simple and general things I learnt from my visit to Amsterdam. Today I share what I learnt about the people I met and even those I did not meet in person.

The Dutch seem to possess a dry wit. I know this from the way street artists and window dressers expressed themselves.

In the windows and walls of #amsterdam #jordaan #funny #creative

A post shared by Dr Ashley Tan (@drashleytan) on

In the windows, walls & bikes of #amsterdam #jordaan #funny #creative

A post shared by Dr Ashley Tan (@drashleytan) on

The people I dealt with — from the public transport ticket agent to the sandwich lady to the SIM card guy — were very direct. Their mindset could be represented by this sign I saw at a knick-knack shop: Be nice, or go away.

Sign: Be nice, or go away!

I was nice, so I did not go away. But in being nice, I used phrases that did not work. For example, I revisited a sandwich shop that I chanced upon and discovered that the friendly old man was replaced by a seemingly uptight lady.

As I was there at opening time, I asked, “Are you open for businesses?” The lady replied, “Well, the door is open.”

Me: I mean… Are you ready to serve?

She: Let me wash my hands.

Me: (Waiting silently, looking at all corners of the store)

She: (At the sink area) You can order. I am not facing you, but I can hear you.

I made conversation about meeting the old man who told me that they were going to sell piccante, a spicy meat. I ordered two piccante sandwiches and my wife wanted two small slabs to bring home.

While the sandwiches heated up, the lady cut a few slices of piccante for us to nibble on.

I not only learnt where the best sandwiches in Amsterdam were, I also learnt how to be more direct with the Dutch.

The Dutch in the service industry were also prompt. Very much so.

I only exchanged emails with the host of my apartment. He said that he only had a landline, but I suspect that my emails to him were rerouted through an app on his phone or computer. Our email exchanges quick that they felt more like being on WhatsApp.

Montage of some screenshots of a display at the #vangoghmuseum #amsterdam

A post shared by Dr Ashley Tan (@drashleytan) on

I also emailed the Van Gogh Museum because I wanted to get tickets in advance. I had an I Amsterdam card that allowed me to get into the museum for free. However I noticed that:

  • There was an online time slot booking system
  • People queued to get tickets in one line
  • The same people queued again in another line to get in
  • Some people used their phones to skip the first line

I wanted to know if I could get a mobile-based ticket by choosing time slot online with my I Amsterdam card. I emailed the museum and got a reply. The bad news was that I had to queue twice. The good news was that the reply arrived within an hour.

Some folks here take pride in being efficient or productive. I challenge that notion with the museum example. I also provide evidence of how slovenly we can be by comparison.

Upon returning to Singapore, I learnt that my telco had disabled access to my account information. This was true for the mobile app and the web-based portal.

StarHub app access denied.

I emailed my telco three days ago and have not received a reply. Not even an acknowledgement.

In learning about others, we learn about ourselves. When we look in that mirror, do we like what we see? Do we do something positive about it?


Video source

The video above summarises this week’s flogged horse on social media. The tweet below was just one of many responses.

Was this tweet timely? It was, given how the news broke about how a passenger was bloodied and dragged out of a United Airlines plane because it was overbooked.

Was the tweet funny? Yes, if you have any semblance of humour and appreciate dragging in two contexts (plane floor and phone screen).

Was the app description real? It was not, and there are at least two major clues that the text was faked to get a laugh.

First, an airline app is unlikely to feature drag and drop on a phone screen. Drag and drop is typically done with a computer mouse on a desktop. The phone or slate equivalent is tap and hold, but there is no this does not force the joke.

Second, a quick search of the Apple app store for United Airlines brings up the app and its development notes. There is no “drag and drop” update.

Why make a mountain out of a molehill?

First, the tweet could be an example of a hook for a workshop or class on detecting fake news or other questionable online content. Such an ability is important whether it is a tweet from a US President or a local funny man.

Second, it begs the question: Why create the image, tweet it, retweet it, or favourite it? Answering this question provides insights on why people create such content. It gets to the root of the issue instead of dealing with the symptoms.

I appreciate the joke, but I appreciate the need to educate people on this type of critical thinking even more.

So when is funny not actually funny? When it is based on a false premise. When are facts not actually factual? The same answer as before.

As I age, I can feel curmudgeonly cells coat the fibre of my being. So I was not surprised when I did not think highly of some weather-related tweets of STonline.

Am I becoming an old fart? No. I am one. But I am old enough to think young and season it with some wisdom.

Someone at the news agency probably thought that it would be harmless to let an intern take the helm of weather-related tweets. After all, this was not a breaking headline, serious news, or an editorial opinion. Since weather here is so meh, why not spice things up?

In the grand scheme of things, there was no foul and no harm. There were probably no feelings hurt and no political, religious, or other sensitive lines crossed.

But the weather tweet reports were still part of a larger whole — a serious newspaper. If the paper wanted to take itself less seriously, it should remember that it has a comics section and a humour column. Or at least I am assuming so because I do not actually read a paper newspaper anymore.

Might the newspaper be so out of touch that it did not learn the painful lesson from the @MOEsg attempts at entertaining by asking infantile riddles in 2013? Here is a selection I Storified.

Being funny is not easy.

It is an art.

It is contextual.

It is subjective.

It is a serious business.

The same could be said about those who teach. It might look easy if you think that teaching is standing in front of a classroom and just talking. Some folks do not talk; they still read off scripts.

It is one thing to teach, it is another to educate (what are some differences?). Like humour, educating is also an art.

Educators work with contexts, not just content.

Educators leverage on subjectivity instead of pretending there is only objectivity.

Education is a serious business. Many may be called to teach, but few can educate. Anyone who thinks or tells you otherwise does not understand what it means to be an educator.

I tweeted this yesterday.

It is sad because two parties resort to cheating.

The teachers are cheating themselves if they think that quizzes will ensure learning or student effort. In doing so, they also cheat students of better online learning experiences.

The students are cheating because they have not taken ownership of material they have been told to learn. They would rather take shortcuts because the work seems meaningless.
 

 
It is funny because of the punitive workarounds both sides use.

Teachers try to reduce or prevent cheating by implementing technical workarounds with the help of IT or backend folk.

The students get creative with different methods like multiple instances of open browsers or working in small groups.

Perhaps these moves are not funny. They are laughable because they are all trying to beat a legacy system designed to sieve and sort for the industrial and paper age. That is how things get sad again.

Tags: , , ,

Warning: The following blog entry is not for the prude or those with sensitive dispositions. If you do not have funny bones in your body, look away.

I learnt a lot while I vacationed in Denmark. One of the things I learnt about the Danes is that they are quietly funny.

While walking about, I noticed these signs at eateries.

I did not find out what the balls were, but it should be quite obvious what the cocks and cows were.

While on a boat tour, the guide (and part-time comedian) described the Little Mermaid as popular among the Japanese because it was half sushi and half naked woman. Har-har!

The next one was not from a Dane, but a fellow tourist doing what Danes do.

As he cycled by, he complained loudly to his travelmate that the ride was “turning my balls into scrambled eggs!”

The cobbled streets certainly do a number of anything with wheels. Or anything round. I borrowed a poorly maintained camping bike for a ride around Billund and I can relate.

But I do not express myself as loudly or colourfully. I blog. I tweet. I laugh.


http://edublogawards.com/files/2012/11/finalistlifetime-1lds82x.png
http://edublogawards.com/2010awards/best-elearning-corporate-education-edublog-2010/

Click to see all the nominees!

QR code


Get a mobile QR code app to figure out what this means!

Archives

Usage policy

%d bloggers like this: