Visiting different countries and cultures
VISITING DIFFERENT CULTURES (Тайланд)
Thailand is famous for its hospitality, and the average visitor will have no difficulty in adapting to local customs. The following tips are mostly common sense, but to avoid giving offence, foreign visitors may find them useful.
When addressing a Thai person it is polite to use just their first name. In more formal situations you should use the word ‘Khun’. This is like ‘Mr’ and is used for addressing both men and women. It is not usual to shake hands when you meet a Thai person. Instead you do a ‘wai’ – you put your hand together as if you are saying a prayer, and bow your head slightly. You should always use this greeting when you meet older people. Couples should be careful about how they behave. You don’t see Thai couples kissing in public. The head is very important in Thai culture. It is not respectful to touch another person’s head. If you’re invited to someone’s home, you should always take off your shoes. It’s very important to remember this! When eating a meal with Thai people, you should expect the food to be served in large bowls in the centre of the table. Everyone helps themselves, using a spoon and fork. Finally, you should never insult the Thai royal family. Thais always show respect towards their royalty, and they expect visitors to do the same.
Every nation and every country has its own customs and traditions. But there are also international holidays which are celebrated in all countries world-wide. They are: Christmas, New Year, Easter and St. Valentine's day. Christmas is a traditional family reunion day. On this day, many people attend a church service, open their presents and eat a Christmas dinner. In Britain, Christmas is the most important public holiday of the year. It combines the custom of giving gifts with the tradition of spending this day with the family. Every year a huge Christmas tree, the gift of the Norwegian people, graces Trafalgar square. In Russia Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January. On this day people celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ.
New Year is a public holiday but it is not marked with any particular custom in Britain and America, yet it has a joyful celebration in Russia. People stay awake until after midnight on December 31st to watch the Old Year out and the New Year in. Many parties are given on this night. Theatres, night clubs and streets are crowded.
Easter is one of the most important Christian holiday. It is traditionally associated with Easter eggs and with the coming of spring, and most churches are specially decorated with flowers for the service held on Easter Day. There is a popular belief that wearing three new things on Easter will bring good luck.
There are also some special holidays which are usually celebrated in a particular country. In Russia we celebrate Women's day on the 8th of March. On this day men are supposed to do everything about the house and cook all the meals. Every country has its own traditions, customs and superstitions. Someone once said: Don't be superstitious, it will bring you bad luck. I think it is very important to follow special traditions, because they untie people. In Britain traditions play more important part in the life of the people than in some other countries. English are proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up. There is a big difference of people between America and Britain. To the English their private lives are important, their holidays are important, their garden are important, their animals are important. For American the work is the most important thing in life. And in England you can hear the most extraordinary excuse not to go to work, for example "My dog's got a cold". In Britain pets can send Christmas or birthday cards to their friends. There are special animal hotels at the airports. In English houses the fire-place has always been the centre of interest in a room. For many months of the year people like to sit round the fire and watch the dancing flames. Fire places are decorated with woodworks, there is a painting or a mirror over it. Above the fire there is usually a shelf with a clock and some photos. The English are a nation of stay-at-homes. There is no place like home. The Englishman is never tired to say "My house is my castle". The Americans are different. I think they are more open, they speak their minds, so if they don't like something, they actually tell it directly. Not like the British, who might think one thing and say another. Americans start conversations with people in the street, in the subway; they are more enthusiastic. American customs underline independence and freedom of the nation.
Russia is the country of the dramatic beauty. To my mind, the main traits of the real Russia character are hospitality, "open heart", "golden hands", wise Russian fairytales reflect their wisdom. The Russians are a very talented nation. Russia gave the world beautiful names of Pushkin and Lermontov, Chaikovsky and Repin, thousands of names of world famous poets, writers, composers, scientists. Every country is also known for its food. England is noted for its pudding, bacon, marmalade, porridge and five-o'clock-tea. America is the country of Coca-Cola, hamburgers and chewing gum. Traditional Russian cooking is world-famous for such dishes as okroshka, shi, pelmeni and kvass.
Cinematograph is one of the wonders of the modern world. In 1895 the Lumiere brothers gave the world's first real cinema show in Paris to an audience of thirty-three spectators. The first film they showed was "The Arrival of a train at a Station". Moving pictures seemed so real that the audience was frightened to death by the train rushing at them from the screen. Not long ago millions of people used to visit cinema each week. Cinema houses were often packed full and one could see people queuing up in front of the box offices. Now with the price of tickets far from reasonable the growth of video production and the flood thrillers empty of serious content the cinema's rapidly losing its popularity. Cinematograph is truly an art of our time. It's as complicated and multi-facet as the twentieth century itself. Everyone can find something to his liking in the broad variety of its genres. Those who seek pure entertainment and rest to the mind prefer musical comedies, detective films, thrillers, horror films and westerns. Other people consider that movies should be rather a thought provoking and earnest art than all fun. Personally I am for entertaining both the heart and mind at the same time.
Certainly I enjoy comedies, thrillers and westerns, but can’t say that I like them very much. I’m also not fond of films about future or different fantastic films. I like films about peoples, about their psychology, like “Forest Gump”, “Green Mile” or Russian films such as “The Formula of Love”, “Ordinary Miracle”. Each time this films force us to think about our lives and peoples around us. They give me positive emotions.
There are many films which were made on a plot of books. When you see this film first you enjoy if and it impressed you to reed the book. You reed and you needn’t imagine heroes you just remind the film. But if you reed the book first then you have your opinion about every character. And when you watch the film you can say :”hey, this character must be another”. It was with me in case with a film “ Night patrol”, I enjoy the film, especially heroes. But then my friend advised me to read the book, I red them all. They impressed me and now I am afraid of watching this film, because then I will have to change my mind about in the worse direction.
Things around you
Things around you
We’ve entered a new era: the twenty-first century. We live in a changeable world where it is very difficult to keep up with new ideas and inventions. We get to know about the smallest details of a child's birth and space, computers have become the part of everyday life, we use new devices which make housework much easier. Our life becomes more comfortable and more interesting.
And now I can’t image life, for example, without such subjects as TV, comrutors, freezors, telephnes and Internet.
The name «Television» comes from Greek word meaning «far» and Latin word meaning «to see» so it means «to see far».
The principle of television is as old as that of radio broadcasting. It was offered at the end of the XIXth century by A. di Paiva and the Russian scientist P.I. Bakhmetyev independently. But only in the 30-ies of the XXth century regular TV broadcasting began in Moscow and St.-Petersburg and in the 50-ies all over the USSR. The first TV sets' screens were as big as a pocketbook, and they were black-and-white.
In just half a century, television has covered the planet. TV affects our daily life is a way that no other media can. It was simply an idea of a machine able to broadcast both sound and vision. First TV-sets were in black and white.
Since 1980 there have been four major developments of TV. The first is video, which has given viewers the power to control what they watch and when they watch it. These days, fifty percent of homes have a video-cassette-recorder (VCR) and millions more are being sold every year.
The second is satellite TV. Thanks to direct broadcast satellites (DBS) dozens of new channels are now available to everyone who buys a receiving «dish». Many of these new channels specialize in one kind of program – only news, sport, cartoons, music and movies.
The third development is cable – a system of hi-tech wires, which provides even more channels.
So, TV has come a very long way in a very short time.
Television offers you a wide range of programmes about wild life and other countries. Such films as «Walking with Dinosaurs» and «Wild Life» are television masterpieces. The first one is the reconstruction of the life on the Earth and what it was like in the era of Dinosaurs. The other portrays wild animals in their habitat. Then there are news programmes, talk shows, quizzes and other kinds of programmes. What I like about TV is watching films. I like science fiction: «Star troopers», «Robocop», and «X-files», but I also watch films about Russian history by Parfyonov, Kiselyov, and alike. I would watch MTV if we had it. But if you spend too much time in front of your telly, it can ruin your eye-sight. Then you can become a couch potato, a person who lies on the sota and watches TV. This person does not socialize, does not go in for sports. Some people call TV set «a boob tube» because they think that watching television turns a man into a booby (a fool). I can not agree with this point of view. I believe there are many useful things on TV.
50 years ago people didn’t even heard of computers, and today we cannot imagine life without them. Computer technology is the fastest-growing industry in the world. The first computer was the size of a minibus and weighed a ton. Today, its job can be done by a chip the size of a pin head. And the revolution is still going on. Very soon we’ll have computers that we’ll wear on our wrists or even in our glasses and earrings.
The next generation of computers will be able to talk and even think for themselves. They will contain electronic “neural network”. Of course, they’ll be still a lot simpler than human brains, but it will be a great step forward. Such computers will help to diagnose illnesses, find minerals, identify criminals and control space travel.
Some people say that computers are dangerous, but I don’t agree with them.
They save a lot of time. They seldom make mistakes. It’s much faster and easier to surf the Internet than go to the library. On-line shopping makes it possible to find exactly what you want at the best price, saving both time and money.
E-mail is a great invention, too. It’s faster than sending a letter and cheaper than sending a telegram.
All in all, I strongly believe that computers are a useful tool. They have changed our life for the better. So why shouldn’t we make work to our advantages.
The Internet is the newest kind of mass media. In the Internet you can now find any kind of information. It can be called a kind of combination of newspapers, radio, TV and computers. All main newspapers and broadcasting companies have their sites in the Internet. So, you can find there the latest news without buying a paper. It is also possible to subscribe to the electronic version of some British and American newspapers, but you will have to pay for that. One can study English in the Internet. I'd like to use the Internet, because I can find there any information I want — information about different countries, pop stars' songs and even prepared papers on all topics. Via e-mail and in chat rooms I can communicate with children all over the world. With the help of search engines one can easily find the necessary information.
It’s an interesting fact that in the 1870s, Elisha Gray. a professional Inventor from Chicago, developed plans for atelephone. Gray saw it as no more than a “beautiful toy", however. When he finally sent details of his invention to the Patent Office on February 14th 1876, it was too late, almost identical designs had arrived Just two hours earlier ... and the young man who sent them, Alexander Graham Bell, will always be remembered as the inventor of the telephone.
At our centure such subject as a mobile phones appear. And in my life it’s a necessary subject. You can contact everybody whenever you need and wherever you are situated.
Society and the future
SOCIETY AND THE FUTURE
We live in the era of information, nowadays information can be more valuable than money. We live in the era of information explosion. Every day we learn more facts than a man of the XlXth centuiy learnt in a week or in a month. This information is necessary for our life, work and entertainment.
So in our modern world mass media play a very important role. Mass media are considered to be fourth branch of power because they influence the society and all the three branches of power. Mass media express people's opinions and can show and describe the smallest and the least important details of any juridical case or event. Journalists take their own investigations and write about their discoveries. They bring forward various versions and search proofs for them. Mass media publish information about the plans of the government and the President. That sometimes makes G-men give up their plans.
The modern world is full of problems – war, hunger, poverty, disease, unemployment. It’s a long list. The world is facing a drugs crisis. There are more young addicts today than ever before. Drugs have played continually significant role in youth sub – cultures. There 3 main kinds of drugs: hard, soft and legal. Hard drugs include heroin, cocaine, LCD and crack. Soft drugs are- marijuana, glue and ecstasy. Legal drugs include alcohol, tobacco, tranquilizers. The government in all countries tries to help the young addicts save their lives. Special hospitals have been opened; big antidrugs campaigns have been organized in schools. Many schools have a drug – educational programs for children. Programs like these books, videos and cassettes. Other problem with many teenagers is smoking. It kills more 2 million people a year. Each cigarette knocks 5 minute off life. For many teenagers a great problem is to control their weight. Many of them are keeping to a diet in early age. Hamburgers and pizzas are careful and are favorites among teenagers, few of them are careful about the diet, few buy fresh food (only 14%), 54% enjoy fast food, 62% eat a lot of snacks rather then 3 meals a day.
Life in the 21s t century.
Nevertheless We’ve entered a new era: the twenty-first century. Of course, it’s exciting and we are trying to predict what our life will be like in the future. It will certainly become better – I’m sure of it. Robots will do all the dangerous and dirty work for us and our daily life will come easier. They’ll sweep the floor, dust the furniture, wash the dishes and even cook! It doesn’t mean we’ll become lazier, no. When everything is automated, we’ll be able to do more creative jobs.
We’ll be able to call our friends on a videophone and type up homework by talking to a small gadget that understands the human voice.
Scientists will find solution to our most urgent problems. People will stop dying from cancer and AIDS and will live to be 150 years old.
There will be no more famine on our planet and no more hungry children. Our cities will become cleaner, greener and safer. We’ll drive electric cars and live in houses with lots of plants and special air-cleaning gadget. Atmospheric pollution will be stopped and our planet will be saved.
There will be no more wars, no more criminals and no more terrorists. People will learn to live in peace and understand each other.
We’ll have more free time and longer holidays. We’ll be able to travel in space and who knows?- one day we’ll be able to spend our holidays on Mars.
I’m rally optimistic about the future. After all, we are becoming wiser. The superpowers are disarming, governments are waking up to Green issues…
Anyway, it’s up to us to look after our planet and try to make it a better place to live.
Rules and freedoms
Perhaps no Issue is discussed more often than the rights and freedoms of the individual – how far should the state decide what is best for us, and how far should wehave the right to control our own lifes? Even in countries where social and political values are very similar? The laws about some of the world’s most controversial issues can be very different/
1 THE RIGHT TO DIE?
In the Netherlands, the law allows doctors to help terminally .ill patients to die if the patient states repeatedly that this is their wish. The doctor must follow very strict guidelines, and must be prepared to defend the decision in court. However, unlike in most other countries, he cannot be prosecuted if he has followed the guidelines correctly. Elsewhere in the world 'Voluntary Euthanasia' groups continue to campaign for the right to decide if you no longer wish to live.
MUMS AT SEVENTY
Recent medical advances mean that, with special treatment, women of almost any age can give birth. In most countries, this is only allowed for women up to about fifty, but in Italy until recently there were no laws to limit this, with the result that several women in their sixties have given birth. Some experts remain convinced that women of this age have the same right to have children as women in their forties, provided they are mentally and physically fit.
THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
The second amendment of the constitution of the United States means that every citizen has the right to own and carry a gun if they wish to. In most other western democracies, the law is very different - the ownership of guns is strictly controlled. In Britain following terrible tragedies, all privately owned handguns are now banned.
LEGALISATION OF SOFT DRUGS
In the Netherlands, people ace allowed to carry small amounts of 'soft5 drugs such as cannabis for their own personal use. However, only special cafes licensed by local governments are allowed to sell these drugs. The Dutch government believe that this approach has helped to control the abuse of 'hard' drugs, such as heroin. Similar attempts to legalise cannabis in other countries have been opposed by those who believe that this would worsen the drug problem.
A DUTY TO SERVE YOUR COUNTRY
While some countries rely I entirely on a professional army - I the USA, Britain and France, for i example - in most countries in the world, military service is still compulsory for young men, unless there is some medical reason why they cannot do it. The period varies from country to country: in countries such as Poland, Germany and Italy it is a year to eighteen months. In Switzerland it is only a few weeks a year, but it continues until the man is in his mid-forties. In Israel, on the other hand, both men and women must go into the army: men for three years and women for two.
THREE STRIKES AND YOUR’E OUT
The state of California in theUSA has recently introduced a law which means that anyone convicted of three offences - however small - is automatically sentenced to between twenty-five years and life in prison. This has meant life sentences for very minor crimes - stealing a pizza in one case. In Europe, some politicians would like to follow the Californian example in the I hope of reducing crime.
“Man and his rights and freedoms shall be supreme value”, - says the Constitution of the Russian Federation In Russia the basic human rights are named in the Constitution, and their fullest disclosure is in the laws. According to the Russian Constitution rights and freedoms are declared not only for the citizens of Russian Federation, but also for the foreign subjects, and for the stateless persons. The Constitution of the Russian Federation is penetrated by the principle of equality and legal equality. It means, that all people are equal before the law and court. . In conclusion Russia goes on a way of becoming lawful state. In comparison with the former Soviet Union, in the Russia Federation exists many new civil rights and freedomS. However, the actions of the government are obviously not enough of the society of general welfare.
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