On Wednesday, 20 November 2013, I’ve attended this conference in the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin, Ireland. The conference was organized by alcohol action Ireland. What were the fears that the presenters encouraged us to face? Read about them below
Dr Bobby Smyth started his talk with a brief intro into the ways by which culture and language shape attitudes about drinking – a cultural learning to drink. He saw teens as apprentice adults, learning by observation. The age when they start to drink has gradually lowered during the Irish boom. Who’s fault is that? The alcohol industry and crazy sports sponsorships play a role. Also, “our culture encourages us to drink to overcome low mood”.
Teens learn to wipe on the shoulder of vodka. If they continue to “bathe” their brain in alcohol soup, they are rolling the dice – can we stop it rolling or roll it safely? Dr Smyth provided their book as a guide for dealing with some of these issues (see Fig 1).
One of the key drinking motives is the social motive – alcohol is a social lubricant. This is reflected in the language too. Eskimos are surrounded by snow all year round and have 100 words for it. There are 120 words for the state of alcohol intoxication in Ireland. People have stopped having fun sober. Moral language of industry-sponsored sites is often substituted for more effective strategies. Slogans like drink sensibly can hardly foster behavior change.
Prof Ella Arensman spoke about the focused on health& women, especially on the seasonal patterns of self-harm and public holidays.
Dr Conor Farren addressed the relationship between alcohol and mental health issues, including depression. He also showcased his book (see Fig 2).
Dr Philip McGarry spoke about alcohol’s impact on mental health in Northern Ireland.
After lunch, the delegates came back for a panel discussion featuring Dr Claire Hayes, John Higgins and Fr Pat Seaver.
Watch the speakers’ presentations here
Monday 9th December 2013 – 7th All Ireland Poetry Slam Championship final
As a response to this vacuum, this blog collates everything that I could find today on the web about this slam.
Belfast – Colin Dardis – [email protected]
- Cork – Paul Casey – [email protected]
- Derry – Frank Rafferty – [email protected]
- Dublin – Desmond Swords – [email protected]
- Galway – John Walsh – [email protected]
- Limerick – Dominic Taylor – [email protected]”
Source: unnamed alcohol industry
The unmissable Malcolm Gladwell showcased his book in RDS hall, Dublin, on 1 November 2013. After the show, he signed hundreds of books for his perserverant fans.
Cycling back home, I passed by the US embassy where I got my visas for the sabbatical in Portland, Oregon, only 9 months ago. I loved Portland and thought it was a strange coincidence when I met Malcolm personally just next door from a place where my latest life story started. The cycle closed.
Malcolm lectured about why people obey rules or become radical. Citing from his new book, he argued that people will comply with the system if they believe it’s legitimate.
Irish pedestrians must be convinced that the traffic lights system is not legitimate and that one must jaywalk to get where they want to be in time. There must be something seriously wrong with the traffic lights in Dublin if they are disrespected there, but respected in most other countries. In fact, the pedestrian lights have 3 symbols instead of 2 – one more than most countries. There is an orange-coloured light between the red& green lights. The green light is very short an orange flashes for the most of the walking interval. See figure below
People in my apartment block are mostly immigrants, like me, but they don’t greet me. I live here four years and I don’t have any friends among the expatriates. When I came back from my fellowship, I asked myself why this happens.
I saw nothing of this until I returned from Portland, OR. The time and distance created a bird’s perspective from which I’m able to see life back in our flats differently. Before, this was the norm – now, I see that life can be different. People can interact differently. Talking to strangers is not a sin. The fellowship in U.S. taught me a lesson about openness and talking to strangers, getting to know them and making friends. It makes life nicer.
For the third year now, a charity project in Dublin 8 (www.swicn.ie) provides free English conversational classes to people from various countries. The project’s backbones are volunteers from the Failte Isteach programme. One day, the project recruited a very interesting man for the voluntary teacher position. He is a Social welfare officer, who deals with people in difficult life situations every day. Many of them are not from Ireland. One would think that he has enough of commendable work at his day job. What astounded me most about this story is that this man is willing to volunteer after work to improve the lives of people he deals with in his day job. How much charity is too much?
What are the free English classes?
On 29 September 2011, a popular RTE television reporter Anne Cassin visited some unusual projects in Dublin and met volunteers. Capital D programme went behind the scenes of Dublin community projects; to find out more about the show — watch this video from minute 20:00 here.
|Irish TV programme (www.rte.ie) about free English classes in Dublin 8. Watch online|
What are Third Age and Fáilte Isteach?
More info on SWICN projects: