Saturday, June 13, 2020

So Much Misinformation - Lost In The Experience And The Translation

Disclaimer:  In my humble opinion there are no experts left in the world.  Galileo, Michaelangelo, Einstein, Lao-Tsu, and a few others.  Even Mother Teresa turned out to be a non-believer.  I am not an expert by any means but share based on personal experience and factual information.

Being sheltered in place can be fun and somewhat exciting once in a while, but on other days a complete bore and that's when I get into trouble.  As of today, I've made the decision to stop reading ex-pat forums and ex-pat Facebook pages.  There is just so much misinformation about Mexico. 

There are people, somewhat well-known in ex-pat communities, who shares information about their town.  So misconstrued but when the ex-pat population doesn't speak the language and is tuned into American and Canadian television and not learning the langauge it's hard for them to judge for themselves what is fact or fiction.

Today it was about guns and self-defense, home break-ins, and thievery in general.  Answers come in various forms.  The first issue is that the personal experience is almost always missing important details.  "My house was broken into and so I hid in the closet".   Okay great, but did the burglar attempt to harm you?  Did he steal anything that would make him a certain kind of burglar, such as jewels, art, money, etc?  Where exactly did the assault take place?  As the days roll by, innocently some of the same people confess that they have no protection on the windows, no alarm system, no cameras and they didn't call the police.  Who can be of help to this victim after the fact?

Please don't mention the state or local authorities.  They are all in cahoots with the bad guys and are setting you up.  You can't trust them.  If you let them into your house to do an investigation they will have you robbed again, according to the forums.

Then there is the issue of small businesses shutting down during COVID.  It's all a government set up to bring in big business and high-end shops and restaurants.  If it's a tourist town, would you prefer low-end shops and restaurants that employ only a few, bring in less money via the tax base?  Maybe it's just me, but I have said this on several occasions as a generalization.  "We don't want things to change here in Mexico.  We enjoy seeing women with babies strapped to their backs and that poor old man with the firewood weighing down that downtrodden beast of burden".  Great! Makes for a wonderful photo op, doesn't it?

The poor, and no doubt there are a lot of poor people in Mexico like most other countries, brings on a completely new set of misconceptions.  If you're poor in the U.S. you would want the person to take advantage of government programs that you pay for with your taxes.  Oh ho ho ho, not here in Mexico according to the ex-pats.  First, you need to convince them (will never happen) that the programs do exist and many poor Mexicans are wise enough to take advantage of them while others don't.  Then the NGOs kick in.  

My question of the day.  If you had a neighbor living in the house next door, a single mother with six children, without electricity,  the roof is covered in tin sheet metal (oh wait, you would never live in a neighborhood like that, to begin with much less allow the authorities to tolerate that kind of a neighbor) and the kids are going door to door asking for food and money and have no shoes, "What would you do?".   You'd call the authorities and child protective services.

Okay, so things work a bit differently in Mexico.  Live and let live.  I would, and you would too, help the poor woman for the sake of the kids.  At the same time, it wouldn't occur to you ask or wonder what has happened that they are now in that state and wonder how they got there?

I leave you with the old Chinese proverb although it is really an adage and not Chinese at all, but better said like this:

Anticipate charity by preventing poverty, namely, to assist the reduced brother, either by a considerable gift or loan of money, or by teaching him a trade, or by putting him in the way of business, so that he may earn an honest livelihood and not be forced to the dreadful alternative of holding up his hand in charity.

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