Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Culture, Trash, and Crime Connection



I was talking to a retired Indian couple at the gym the other day before spin class started. They are totally pleasant and both have cool Indian names.  His name is Krishna and hers is Geeta. I was explaining to them that I listen to Desi music, which they explained "desi" meant home boy music.  More specifically, Desi is a loose term for the people, cultures, and products of the Indian subcontinent or South Asia and their diaspora, derived from the Ancient Sanskrit meaning Land or Country.

Anything labeled as Desi, basically means you are Indian. I told them my bride finds it peculiar that I listen to this type of music and I've satisfied her curiosity by explaining that I heard it very often during the 2 years I lives in Southeast Asia. To me it is a mystical series of melodies that takes my brain on a magic carpet ride. Krishna is a retired chemist from Bayer and I forget what Geeta did, but their eyes sparkle with intelligence. Over the years I've heard southern Americas declare that the Indian/British accent is confusing, but not so for me. With a few exceptions and those being the British words, I have no trouble.

The two are gentle, cordial, and very humble and on this day, we began to talk about crime here and in the many countries they have visited. On a second note, they declared how clean all these countries have become. I was very surprised at this because my experience 40 years ago was it was almost hopelessly filthy and debris ruled. Trash and litter was a way of life, but not so today. Massive educational campaigns and strict laws have nearly obliterated litter in many countries.

The more we talked, the more I realized that as Americans, some of us just don't get it. Geeta and then Krishna pointed out that crime was almost non-existent in major cities in India and Japan because punishment was so severe. I knew that Singapore was this way and quite surprised. He said you could walk down the darkest alley in India without fear. The United States is almost a criminal's playground in comparison. Our laws and freedoms have all but tied our hands when it comes to criminals taking advantage of us.

For instance, in Singapore, smoking in public, chewing gum, spitting in public, littering, jaywalking have hefty penalties. Its a crime to even sell gum there. Annoying someone with a musical instrument, flying a kite that interferes with public traffic, singing obscene songs in public, selling porn, connecting to someone else's wi-fi without permission, forgetting to flush a public toilet, and feeding pigeons will get you a fine or jail time. Singapore may just be the cleanest and most law-abiding country on earth.

This discussion makes me wonder if there isn't a connection between culture, crime, and litter. Are people who litter criminally minded? Maybe not, but it is certainly a crime to litter and some folks do it daily. They have a culturally anti-social attitude about it too. For most of us reasoning humans, the act of unrolling a car window and throwing trash out is about as likely to happen as winning the Powerball. Is it possible that in 2018 some person doesn't litter intentionally? I don't think so. They may throw that beer can out alongside the road to keep from having an open container in their car or truck, but that just makes them a double criminal. They don't care that society likes a clean appearance over piles of garbage strewn everywhere.

As a unpaid litter abatement specialist, I subject myself to the same punishment as those who are serving community service when I pick up someone else's litter. Believe me when I say I do this almost every day and I am just one of many who carry a trash bag when I walk. A trip into the grocery store from the parking lot allows me to drop in what I pick up after leaving my vehicle. How is it Third World countries can educate their masses to make their country crime and litter free and yet we are almost losing the battle here?

We have educational material available and everyone must attend school of some sort, so how is it some just do not get right from wrong. For instance, take the college basketball players in China who stole. One of them said he just didn't think about it until they were caught. Ten to one the man litters also. Maybe its a stretch on that, but if you can't see that stealing is wrong, what else did you miss?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

billie brinkley

Dear Bert...ie ULAS...

Loved your article today...Litter makes me crazy...
Would you, could we go before the Baytown City Council and request new laws for businesses to keep their parking lots sparklingly litter free.

Being a frugal shopped we go to Joe V's and it is a hair raising experience to see the adjoining lot decorated with plastic bags....

Or even better ... like other cities ... NO PLASTIC BAGS!!!!

We have traveled all over the USA and elsewhere and I must say...we stand in sharp contrast!

one last word on litter....ARGUHHHHHHHHHHHH

And thank you for giving me a new title...
Unpaid Litter Abatement Specialist

I actually took the song "Pants on the Ground" and made it "Butts on the Ground" and sang it to a bus driver...
It was cathartic!

Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Melvin Roark: Again, I will agree with this, and will add the amount of trash you see is in proportion to lack of education...

Anonymous said...

Dandy Don Cunningham: Very, very good, brother!

Anonymous said...

Deb Farrington Hearn: My garden club keeps a back road picked up and the amount of garbage blows my mind. Good article Bert

Anonymous said...

Sandy Denson: The litter and overall lack of respect for our community is discouraging.

Anonymous said...

Marian Marshall

Really interesting. Food for thought definitely .

Why I quit writing for the Baytown Sun

Announcement for anyone who reads my column each Thursday in the Baytown Sun: Effective immediately I have quit writing for this Left...