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rowan’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 15 Dec 2007

Location: China

Mapdear everyone,
this morning i woke up and there was snow on the ground! this is a beautiful white sight covering the dusty, drab ground and i hope it wont melt before i
can take a walk in it. i have started to type most of the long emails at home to minimize time in the smokey internet bar. you know there are no quality standards set for cigarettes in china so the chemical value of them is high and if you thought cigarettes made you gag in america, come check this place out!
last night i watched 'sicko,' the film by michael moore, which was picked up at the illegal dvd store down the road, haha. i didnít see this movie when it
came out but i know there was a lot of criticism around the viewpoint of a flawless health care system in other countries being accurate.
No health care system is perfect, and i can see why parts of the media had to discredit Moore right away because his film was incredibly blunt. I think it could appeal to any sort of American on many levels, leaving them with a more complete picture of the unjust health system. i know most of you i send this email to already know these things, so i dont want to talk more about the horrible things about it, but i want to share a very funny perspective about the
world's health care from Wig, a friend from Sweden. He walked in, sat down, and started watching the film. Turns out he's seen it before, and he started
shaking his head and said, you know, i really dont understand the health care system in America (sweden has almost the same benefits as norway and britian)
because in Sweden if someone wants to change a law to one that might hinder the poor and limit their social services it is very difficult or impossible to do. In America it is the exact opposite, very hard to pass a bill that helps the sick and poor, and very easy to take services from them. One side effect of this though, is, in Sweden there are a number of people, in fact it is a growing trend, who go to their doctors and say they are 'burnt out' and need sick leave. They are granted sick leave with 85% pay. The government knows this is happening, but it will not change the laws because of it, and being 'burnt out' is a documented disease. So after a long discussion with a person from a free society that does so much to take care of all its citizens i have a much better picture of the absurdity of America that we all grow used to while living there for long periods of time.
Mom and dad, have you seen this movie? What about the prison in Norway where murderers etc. are rehabilitated by riding horses, swimming and given the chance to re-enter society; where no prison sentence is longer then 21 years. I have been wondering about other ways to rehabilitate people in prison for a long time and it made me so happy to see this place actually existing on earth. There are people who know that treating criminals equally and teaching them how to live a new life can really change them, and they are succeeding. People who are having trouble need to live surrounded by mentally healthy people, in a positive, real life environment, not in a chair at the psychiatrist for thirty years and definitely not in a american style prison.
We are all products of our environment so spending time in an environment that is extreme, abusive homes etc., after many years we disappear into our negative patterns of thought and to get out of it we need the guidance of an enviroment where the personality can be reborn. it is really hard for most Americans to believe that this is possible, that humans who are so so mentally sick have the capacity to grow a new personality if the right conditions are present, but it is and i cant wait to learn more about how they are doing in it Norway.
what do humans really love? good food, laughter, leisure, structure. the sick are the ones who need these things the most because unlike most of us, they are not able to cope with the demands of modern society. each government around the world creates the foundation for the society in which the people live. under the government the people create unlimited varieties of society, depending on the amount of room for thought and freedom, and that is the complexity of human kind. my thought is that so many of us, around the world, no matter what kind of government we live under, find comfort in ways of life, in our belief systems, in what we have known for the majority of our years is 'common thought' and it is weird and hard sometimes to have bubbles popped, to hear that the common thought of others is completely different from your own, and sometimes makes yours look ugly and prehistoric.