Question set 7: Two-way discussion.
Natural Resources & Water:
• What is the major use of water in your country?
Ummm, water is primarily used for drinking in my country. Besides, it is also used for numerous purposes including bathing, washing clothes, irrigation, cleaning and also serves many other functions. In fact, the answer to this question cannot be given in one or two statements, you know. Water is synonymous with life. If there were no water on earth, there would have been no life. So, the use of water cannot be bracketed into some specific use. Accordingly, the use of water in my country, India, is not limited to drinking only. It is also used for diversified aspects, not into my country alone, rather globally. Different light to heavy industries need water to clean their raw materials, vehicles need water to cool their carburetors and cleaning, electricity production, and domestic uses etc.
• Is it important to conserve water?
Well, to me, it is important to conserve water. Water is limited and collected mostly from the ground. Sometimes the groundwater dries up for excessive use and creates water shortage. As a result, the sometimes massive water shortage creates famine in some areas. If they have any preserving system, they would not suffer from the deficiency of water. Besides, someday it may happen that the water scarcity will be so acute that people will lock into fights to get their respective share of water. With the increased population, the pressure on ground water has increased to a great extent and my thought may come true (though I don’t want it to be true). But people may say that they will depend on nature or rain then I will say that they have forgotten about the climatic changes around the world. Rainfall is not abundant in the current days. Thus it becomes too risky to rely on nature for water and therefore, I think it is important to conserve water for future use.
• Why should scientists focus on space exploration rather than exploring water?
Good question for me to test my intelligence level. The scientist should focus on space exploration for several reasons instead of wasting their priceless moments after water exploration. Someday it may happen that the water bodies and all the other available sources may get dried and there will be not a single drop of water. But if they explore the space, they might discover any planet or galaxy where a habitable environment may exist similar to our solar system. If they start exploring the space, I believe they could be able to invent some sort of transportation system to reach the external livable planets. But if they explore water on earth, it would be mere wastage of their time and labour.
• What is the importance of sunlight?
Sunlight is one of the most important things for us. It makes the day – literally. The importance of sunlight cannot be described in words. The most important factor is that the sun gives us light. The sun rays bring heat to the planet which keeps everything warm. Besides, due to sunlight, we are having a daytime and nighttime. Moreover, sunlight is also helpful for human health and provides vitamins to the human body. During the winter seasons, people and animals bask in the sun to get heated. The sunlight also helps the plant to grow using its rays by photosynthesis process which is also an essential element of the environment.
• What will happen if there will be no sunlight?
Without the sunrise on the morning, we cannot see say that this is a day. It will remain dark. The sun helps us to start our daily activities and more other necessary things from the dawn. A question may emerge here – if there were no sunlight? I think it would be night everywhere. Nothing could be visible clearly as we see in day times. Besides, sunlight provides necessary heats and energies on the planet which make the Earth habitable. If there is no sunlight, the earth will turn uninhabitable. The surrounding environment will turn colder and we may enter into the ice age again. Living will turn too difficult on the earth. In few days all the trees will die and we won’t have any oxygen remaining for breathing. In few months the reserve of foods would end and that would end the human civilisation on the planet Earth.
• How long for are you exposed to sunlight daily?
Ummmm, I actually do not get a close contact with the sunlight. During my morning walk, I see the sun is rising from the east side and some mild rays fall on the earth from where I get a minor share. Usually, I return home after the dusk. I have to remain engaged in different activities in the day time inside the office building. Thereby, I do not get exposed to sunlight daily. But when I’m on my morning walk, I get exposed for around 10 to 15 minutes. I think that is enough for me. The mild rays contain Vitamin D which is helpful for human health but a blazing sun should be avoided for ultraviolet rays which may even lead to cancers as well.
School and Young:
• What should be the right age to leave school? Why?
It’s a very good question and thanks for asking me. Currently, there is no straight answer for this question because the age limit to leave the school varies in regions. Generally, a boy or a girl gets admitted to school at the age of five or six and to complete their higher secondary they have to spend about 10 years. If they have to drop one or two years for different reasons, the age limit increases. This is not my personal observation or opinion rather this is the system. But I have a different point of view over the age limit. I think when the kids will be teenagers or enter into their teenage; they should be released from the school. Right at that moment, they get accustomed to a wide range of things and issues while the curriculums are not made with their growth structure. When they are accustomed to the real world, they want to know a large number of issues but their teachers, parents or the surrounding environments do not allow them to learn more than the prescribed books, texts or courses. So, their desire to learn remains unfulfilled. But if they are released from the schools and allowed to get admitted into a college, then I think their desire for knowledge will be met to some extent. Curiosity is the key element for them in the teenage and due to a backward educational system in a majority of the countries; they are deprived of the right knowledge at the moment when they needed it most. When they will be promoted to upper-level after their school, they would be able to cope with the surrounding environment and also would be fit to battle the challenges ahead.
• At what age do you think young people are ready to confront life challenges?
Ummmm, a very good question. I think that 16 is a standard age for someone to be fit enough to battle with the challenges of life. When a boy or girl turns into 16, s/ he experiences different situations in their life which make them vigorous and by the same time they gather the necessary experiences and knowledge to survive. In fact, survival is only for the fittest and when in 16 they start surviving by themselves, there are many chances for them to survive in better conditions in near future. When a boy or girl is 16, they physically become stronger. Their physical fitness is the most important factor for them to survive in the world beyond their home. They become fit for everything. In this age, they can start learning activities in line with their academic studies. I have seen many people who have started earning at an early age and also have continued their studies, and now they are on the summit of success in their respective arena. I think you will also have the same opinion that life is filled with challenges. When we are kids, we do not need to think of the challenges as our parents take care of us. But when we grow up, it is important for us to take our own responsibility. It helps to reduce stress from the parents. Moreover, it makes us fit to confront life. Life does not go the same always. There are ups and downs in life and if we do not experience the issues at an early age, later it would be very complicated for us to sustain.
• Do you like hosting parties or going out for parties?
Ummm, Yes, I like to host parties. But sometimes I like to attend parties as well arranged at my friends’ places. Arranging a party tough is a bit difficult, I enjoy that most. The most important part of the party is shopping and I spent the entire morning at different shops and stores to collect the necessary stuff. Sometimes, I invite a couple of my friends to participate in the shopping and they happily accompany me. The other important thing is the permission from my family members and since I also invite them, they cheerfully make the sacrifice for me. The enjoyable moments are when the friends and other invited guests arrive and start the party. However, I become truly glad when they adore the foods prepared by me. It is true that I have to clean the entire house after the party is over.
• What are the most popular programs/ courses students choose to participate in? Why?
Thanks for the question. There are several programs where students want to participate. But the most important fact is that the program should be out of their academic activities. I don’t know why they act so but I think they do not find any interest in the academic activities. But sometimes it appears that the educational system does not allow them to do what they prefer to do while the extracurricular activities have a different charm where they can break the rules. Since they have the chance to go beyond the prescribed rules and regulations, they like the activities better than their academic studies. When I was a student, the same things happened to me for several times and I have seen many of the students participating in different extracurricular activities. It made me laugh that they become failure to secure the least marks to pass for a course while some of the failure students were winners in different competitions like debate, sports etc. Therefore, I think the students find less interest in their academic books and thus they tend to participate more in other activities.
Sports in School:
• Do you think that sport is important in school?
Well, I think this is important that a school should have some sort of sports for its students for several reasons. The most important thing about a school is that this is not mere an educational institution, it is a place to make the students fit to combat with the future challenges and struggles, and thus they need to be physically fit. It is not the academic books, assignments or home works that bring the physical fitness rather sports play the greatest roles in this respect. Besides, it also helps to create a congenial environment for the students to grow up mentally and socially. They are to communicate with the other students and stakeholders regarding any specific sport or sports competition. But among the various benefits, I prefer the physical one. Further, when the students participate in sports, they become aware of their rights and responsibilities during the sporting process assigned to them which helps them to learn real-life skills. So, for all these reasons, I think it is important for the schools and other educational institutions to have sports as their extracurricular activity so that the students could derive benefit from it.
• Why do you think it is important?
Uhh! Actually, it is tougher for me to explain the importance of sports in schools within this short time. I think sport helps people to get self-esteem. It is found in several kinds of research that sports help people to have good figures in their academic activities. Usually, the students who participate in sports are good students as well. If you consider the health benefits, you will see that there are a wide range of benefits available. Sports will make the student physically stout and cut their stress. It will increase their stamina. Further, sports build a team spirit and that is so helpful in academic activities too. When they work in a team to reach their goal, a sense of deep bonding is created naturally among the players and the team spirit continues even after the sport is over. When they go to attend any academic activities or course, they help each other to overcome the academic obstacles.
• Do you like team or individual sports? Why?
Thanks. I mostly like to participate in team sports. There are a wide number of reasons behind the preference. The first and most important cause is that a team owns more chance to win the game. When you are playing solo, you might not have the ability to undergo all the required responsibilities alone. But, if you are in a team, the responsibilities are shared among the team members. You have to carry out your own parts assigned by the team leader. As a result, the possibilities to win the game increase more. Another important factor behind preferring a team is that it helps to socialise. When you are in a team, you are to interact with the other team members. You have to communicate with them, share your thoughts and sometimes you may also suggest someone over any specific issue you are good at etc. and the activities help to raise your social skills. Finally, to me, it appears that losing doesn’t matter when you are in a team.
Well, it may sound weird to you that I do not like to give or receive gifts. Receiving gifts is a bit troublesome for me. I am a bit introvert and thus I do not like to socialise much rather prefer solitude. So, when it is about receiving gifts, it refers that I have to spend more time on socialising with the other people. Besides, in return, I have also to present any gifts in some other ways and accordingly I have to socialise again. But, if I do not receive or give gifts to or from anyone, I will have my own peace. Usually, gifts are presented in different occasions or events and if I go there, I have to gossip with people such events which are unpleasant to me.
• Who usually gives you gifts?
Thank you for asking. Usually, I receive gifts from my intimate people and family members. They give me different attractive gifts marking different occasions. They know me and my nature, and so when they present me anything, they usually avoid extra words with me. Most of the cases, my mom is a pioneer to give me gifts. She, most of the time, arranges for everything for me and as she is well aware of my introvert nature, tries to make everything simple and trouble free. If someone wants to present me something, they submit the gift to my mom and she gives the gift to me based on my mood.
• Who do you give gifts to?
Uhh! It is a bit embarrassing for me that I do not give gifts normally. But when it is a must to give gifts, I do not impede the process. I give gifts to my relatives, friends, classmates and some other intimate people of mine. Generally, I give gifts on events or anniversaries I am invited to. But I do not attend the events or occasions rather ask my mom to convey me best regards and present the gifts. She, then, attends the invitations with my gift. But when it is about family invitation or party to any relative’s place, I attend there and most of the time I remain silent.
• In your country when do people usually give gifts?
Usually, in Australia, people exchange gifts and this is a common tradition here. Gifts are mostly exchanged or offered during the Christmas Day. Besides, presenting gifts in occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, marriage or at any special events is very usual here. The people, who receive the presents, become highly glad and it is the kids who become happier when they receive the gifts in their birthdays or in other events. The adult people also become happy when they receive gifts marking any event or occasion. If any event is organised marking such an issue like birthday, marriage anniversary, or to recall any special day or event, the invited guests bring the gifts and hand them over to the host.
• What kinds of gifts do they give?
Well, there are no specific types of gifts are given. It mostly depends on the event type and choice of the gift provider. In most of the cases, people are invited to marriage ceremonies and they try to give gifts to the newlywed which could be useful for them to start the family. I have also seen that some of the people are presenting hard cash in envelopes. I think this is one of the best gift ideas. When it is about birthdays of kids, toys are usually presented. If the birthday is for any adult, the gifts are selected using the gender and preference of the individual who will receive.
• Do you think gift-giving customs are different now than they were in the past? How?
Ummm! No, I do not think so. It appears to me that everything is all the same as it was in the past. To make it clearer, let’s take an example. When people used to be invited to the marriage ceremony of their near and dear ones, they used to give gifts appropriate for the couple. By the same way, there are no changes at all in the gift items. Exchanging gifts was a tradition during the Christmas and still the tradition is going on. The gift items might have changed a bit with the change of time but the customs have remained the same as it was before.
• Do you think they will change in the future? How?
Well, you know, future is uncertain. But I think there would be no change in this process. We are living in the current age and 30 years ago, the current age would have been considered as future, right? So, if I count from the past, I am in future (based on the past) and find there are no notable changes. Thereby, I think there would be no such changes regarding the gift-giving customs and manners. But it may happen that the gift items may be improved or the old items might be replaced with the modern ones. There would be no other changes, I think.
Thanks for your question. Well, this is a grave issue to ponder on. Retirement refers to the time when people get formally separated from their active occupational activities. Usually, the retirement is offered after a specific time like after 35 or 40 years of continuous service to any organisation. The age limit of retirement is different across the world and there is no specific age limit is set for the retirement. Interestingly, the retirement age for men and women is a bit different in some places. Sometimes people may take early retirement and in many cases, they continue throughout the entire working tenure. But most of the countries follow the rule that they allow retirement after or by 60 years of age. It points that when people are about to reach their 60s or have crossed 60 then it is considered that s/ he is eligible for the retirement. When a man or woman retires from his or her job, the authority provides some special benefits to the employee for the contribution made so far. So, it becomes like a festival mood for the employees when they get retired after a long working tenure. Some of the states have made the retirement age to 60 while some other have made it 58. Besides, some states are trying to increase the age limit. Usually, in the USA, the age is 65 and in that age an employee can have all the retirement benefits. In Australia, the age is currently 65 and it is anticipated that the age will be increased to 67 after a couple of years. In most of the Asian countries, the age is 60. However, the retirement age does not indicate that the people become useless after the time rather they are enriched with expertise and experiences which could be used for the betterment of the society.
• What are the good things about being retired?
Of course, there are some good things to be retired but it depends on individuals and their surrounding situations. You can have a large number of benefits once you are retired and could also perform the activities that you could not do when you were occupied with your job or other business. Generally, when people are engaged in an occupation, they lack hours to spend for their family and even hardly can manage time for them as well. So, the retired age is the best time to enjoy the leisure hours. When you are retired, you can also get engaged in your hobbies or you can have some special trips to places where you dreamt of travelling but could not make your dream come true for occupational engagements. Besides, you can also participate in different leisurely sports and activities like golfing, social works etc. But the most effective way to spend the times is to get involved into any active community which is formed by the retired people like you. There you would find people of your age and would have a nice time together. Moreover, when people become retired, they psychologically become smart and could think over different issues at a time to reach for a solution. Since they are free of all sorts of occupational engagement and hazards, they have plenty of time to spend into thinking the solutions for any problem. When people become retired, they also could take care of their health. They can walk to the parks in the morning and evening hours and could also be present at the social events. Besides, when they become retired, they do not need to think about their financial issues as they are well paid with some other special benefits. Thus they can spend the rest of their lives happily.
• How does the government in your country treat the retired people?
The government of France is liberal and simultaneously generous to the retired people to many extents. There is a social safety net for the retired people and all of the people who have retired after their 60s will be eligible for the schemes. The social insurance and social assistance system are of great help to the retired people. They derive benefits from the schemes after their retirement. Under the schemes, the retired people get medical benefits, pensions, old age payments etc. Besides, they are cared in everywhere and prioritised in receiving services in different offices and places. They are in fact respected everywhere. But one factor appears inappropriate to me that they are to pay a part of their earnings to the government as tax. I think the French government should take steps to change this tradition and all of the old age or retirement benefits should be offered without tax.
• Can young specialist substitute the old ones who are in retirement in the workplace?
Umm! It is impossible for the young specialists to substitute the retired people to some extent but they could replace them. It should be considered that when people retire, they have lots of experience and expertise over specific issues or tasks. But it needs time for the young specialist to reach that expert level. You might agree with me that they will do the jobs they are recruited for but they won’t be able to do those perfectly like an expert. It is natural. With the advancement of time, they will also grow senior and by the same time – expert. The people who have retired today as experts were novices in the beginning of their life. With the passing of time, they developed their skills and expertise on the specific issues. So, the young specialists today also need time to grow up. It may also happen that they have surpassed their ancestors who retired in their old age. Skills in workplaces actually grow after lots of exercises and the people who have retired have done much of the exercise. But the young specialists lack the skills only as they are less familiar with the events and issues in the workplace. So, I think they should be allowed sufficient time to develop their skills. But it also should be considered that they may substitute the retired people but they cannot be equal to them.
• What do you think is it necessary to give retirement to people? Why/ Why not?
Well. This is an important issue to discuss. Retirement is offered to people after a certain age and it is a widespread issue around the world. Usually, people are given retirement after a specific time or period. It is done so that they do not need to work in their old age. Usually, after 60 years, it is considered that people grow old and start losing their abilities to work. The idea is not imposed rather it is natural. With the passage of time, the people after 60 start losing their usual abilities. They lose concentration, starts to forget important matters and more others. Gradually they develop different old age complicacies and finally breathe their last. This is the very common life cycle and is seen almost everywhere if there are no major alterations in their life. So, when they become old, they actually need relief and the retirement brings the relief. It is a must for everyone. When one gets involved in a work, s/ he cannot work for long. As a result, we need holidays; day offs or breaks amid our working routine. The works schedules are made in this way. Another fact should be considered that when people become old, they need refreshment. They, in fact, do not want to work anymore as they have done lots of works throughout their entire life. Sometimes they get bored with their duties and responsibilities. So, it is the retirement which helps them get relieved from the boredom. Besides, they are well paid during the retirement from the workplace authority which removes their financial worries. They can lead a decent life with their old age benefits. They can have all types of recreational activities or can use the leisure hours after their needs. They can do whatever they want at this stage as they do not have any active office or working hours. This is the age for enjoyment. So, I think the retirement is a must for every man and woman.
• What are the pros and cons of being retired?
Ahh, it’s a great question for me. Retirement is the process of getting split from the active occupation. It is the way to break your relationship with your work, job or occupation. The retirement has some positive aspects and at the same time, this is filled with some negative impacts as well. Let’s discuss the positive aspects first. When you will get retired, the most important factor will be you are free from work. You do not need to maintain a routine-bound life. You can be late for your meetings or gatherings and you are not accountable to anyone for the late. During the office hours, you had to reach office in time and if you made late, your superior authority would make some irritating remarks over being late. Now you are free of such troubles. Besides, you are now financially solvent. So, there are no worries for your remaining days. You can pass the days with comfort and could travel in different parts of the world. Moreover, you can spend more time with your family. These are the positive impacts after retirement.
But the negative scenario is shocking too. Think you are a retired person and living alone. How would you feel then? It is unfortunate that such events are taking place in the current days. Due to the disintegration of the families, the number of nuclear families is on the rise and as a result, people are getting separated from the senior members of the families. For instance, you are living with your family while your parents are living together. If one of them dies suddenly, the living one has to pass a lonely life. In that age, finding a partner would sound weird and nobody does so. Besides, sometimes the old age or retirement benefits are not received in time which causes difficulties to the retired people. It happens for some bureaucratic complicacies. Moreover, different accidents occur in this age as they may develop old age complicacies. For example, if they break any of their limbs accidentally, it may take more time to recover as their recovery capacity is not as strong as the young people. They cannot easily get rid of the accidents and thus suffer more comparing the young people. So, I think such issues should be brought under consideration too and people who have retired should take proper care of them or at least the surrounding people should take the care.