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The key to bridging the generation gap

EDT12 | EDT | editorial

It is known as the generation gap. Each age group is all-knowing,

thinking that the one that came before - and after - is foolish,
mistaken and out of touch. Parents and children do not see eye to
eye and end up at loggerheads, both believing that they are right
and the other does not know what it is talking about. Matters would
be so much different if only they took the time to communicate.

That point gets lost in the rush. Hundreds of cable channels,

computer games, internet everywhere and electronic devices that
allow for multi-tasking mean we are always busy. Innovations and
trends rapidly come and go, while there is always a better gadget.
Never have older generations had to try so hard to stay in touch.

An annual list compiled by the private US school Beloit College to

remind teachers that familiar cultural references do not necessarily
apply to new students illustrates the problem. This year's list shows
students generally send text messages because they think e-mail is
too slow, do not wear watches, and have never used a phone with a
cord. To them, American companies have always been doing
business with Vietnam, and marriages in space are not unusual. It is
a reminder of just how wide the generational divide can be.

Children rarely use handwriting, so do not expect them to leave a

note telling you where they have gone. Learning and entertainment
is screen-based, so advising them to do something else for the sake
of their eyesight will be met with a puzzled frown. Urging them to
concentrate on the task at hand rather than texting a friend while
doing homework with music playing will most likely be met by a
remark that may seem snide, but is actually genuine: this is how
all teenagers are nowadays. Beyond technology, Generation Y - or X
or Z - is no different from its predecessors; at about the age of 30,
the realization that experience is to be valued rather than
scorned starts setting in. Parents and their children will always see
matters differently; that is what growing up is about. Until that time,
the best way to smooth over differences is to communicate - either
by talking, or, as present trends go, texting.

Gaps in report may hinder inquest

EDT3 | EDT | By Phyllis Tsang and Dennis Eng 2010-09-22

The report of the Philippine inquiry into the Manila hostage

bloodbath omitted vital testimony from police officers who opened
fire at the scene and the findings of an autopsy on the hostage-
taker, a pathologist noted. That would make a pending inquest in
Hong Kong very difficult, he said.

Forensic evidence laid out in the report, released on Monday, of the

investigation into the August 23 stand-off aboard a hijacked bus in
Manila was incomplete, Dr Philip Beh Swan-lip, associate professor
of pathology at the University of Hong Kong, said.

Beh questioned why the investigation committee had jumped to the

conclusion that the hostages who died had been killed by their
captor, Rolando Mendoza. That indicated the aim of the report was
to focus on management issues rather than to uncover the causes
of death, he said.

The statements of police officers who had opened fire in this

incident were not included in the report. How can the committee
know the number of shots involved? Beh asked.

The investigation report cited a September 13 report, submitted to

the Hong Kong police, that said 62 bullet marks were found on the
outside of the bus, 32 of which had been made by bullets fired from
outside and 10 from inside. It is not clear how the remaining 20
impact marks were made. Some of the bus windows had been
removed and could not be found, so it was not known if there could
have been more bullet marks.

The investigation report further said the indiscriminate removal of

bodies from the scene made difficult the analysis of how the victims
were shot. It questioned whether the scene had been adequately
investigated. Potential evidence had been lost or compromised
because of lax crowd control that allowed spectators to rush to the
bus after the shooting ended, it noted.

On Mendoza's autopsy, Beh noted that the Philippine police had not
released details of the findings and that the investigation report
pointed to incomplete and questionable findings in the autopsy

The investigation report also said intelligence gathering during the

stand-off was largely absent or poor. The nine hostages who had
been released by Mendoza were not properly interviewed or
debriefed, while the bus driver was only asked about how to open
the hydraulic bus door from the outside as the Manila police
launched an assault to free the hostages.

Beh said the public had high expectations of the Hong Kong inquest
into the deaths of the eight hostages. The public was likely to be
frustrated by its findings, though, since the Hong Kong police could
not collect more evidence without the consent of the Philippine

A government official said a Hong Kong police report would look at

the causes of death as well as who should be held accountable.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the report shows the

Philippine side is taking great care with this matter and that is
something China would like to positively affirm.
The recipe for earning happiness
EDT13 | EDT | By Phyllis Korkki 2010-09-26

Does earning a higher salary make you happier?

It's an issue that tugs at many of us: the trade-off between a

satisfying job and a satisfying pay cheque. Students have to ponder
the question when considering a college degree or embarking on a
career. Workers are concerned about it when weighing a promotion
that would bring longer hours and more stress along with higher

In many ways, achieving the right balance depends on one's values,

priorities, family obligations and spending habits. But, according to a
recent study, there is something of a magic number when it comes
to income and happiness.
Beyond a household income of US$75,000 a year, money does
nothing for happiness, enjoyment, sadness or stress, concludes a
study by scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences in the United States.

It's not so much that money buys you happiness but that lack of
money buys you misery, said Daniel Kahneman, a professor
emeritus of psychology at Princeton and one of the authors of the
study. The lack of money, he said, no longer hurts you after

The study, which analysed Gallup data of 450,000 randomly

selected people, did find that one's life evaluation - a self-
assessment of one's life - continued rising well above the magic
figure. But this is not the same as experiencing day-to-day

Many people want to make a lot of money, but the benefits of

having a high income are ambiguous, said Kahneman, also a Nobel
laureate in economics. When you are wealthy, you are able to buy
more pleasures, but another study suggests wealthier people seem
to be less able to savour the small things in life, he said.

Even so, some people seem almost hardwired to want to make

money. A 2007 article in The Journal of Happiness Studies reported
that college freshmen who stated that they wanted a high salary by
and large achieved that goal 20 years later. The article said
individuals with strong financial aspirations are socially inclined,
confident, ambitious, politically conservative, traditional,
conventional, and relatively less able academically, but not
psychologically distressed.

People who sought high incomes were more likely to major in things
like business, engineering and economics, it said, while people for
whom high income was not paramount gravitated towards the
liberal arts and social sciences.

Wanting money is not a recipe for disaster, but wanting money and
not getting it - that's a good recipe for disaster, Kahneman said.
People who want to become performing artists are likely to be
unhappy, because most will fail, he said. Becoming a wealthy rock
star is a common dream when you are young, but when you are in
college, you should try to take a longer-term view, he said.

These days, of course, many people are worried about whether they
will get a job at all. Understandably, more people are placing the
financial rewards of a career first, said Nicholas Lore, founder of the
Rockport Institute, a career coaching firm, and author of The

This could backfire, though, as people who initially pursue a career

because of the salary often find the work unsatisfying. Lore recently
coached a lawyer who decided to forgo his high pay in favour of
teaching law, an investment banker who decided to switch to a
green-energy company and a dentist who decided to become a

It all depends on priorities, Lore said. Some people are willing to

make lifestyle changes because the intrinsic rewards of following a
passion or making a difference are more important than a high
salary in an unenjoyable career, he said.

In the end, people should pursue what they are interested in, said
Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What
Motivates Us. Pursuing careers involving highest salaries tends to be
a fool's game.

It's very hard to game the system, in the sense that situations and
conditions change so quickly that a field that is hot today might be
only lukewarm in five or 10 years, he said. It might even be non-

Let's say you see that accountants are getting decent salaries,
directly out of college, he said, but you don't really like accounting.

Chances are you're not going to be very good at accounting, and

your salary will reflect that, he said. Generally, people flourish when
they're doing something they like and what they're good at.
The New York Times

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文章編號: 201009260270017