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16 Nov

It’s a typical day… I wake up with a familiar sound: my i-phone’s alarm. I hardly make my way to the bathroom, interrupted by dozens of e-mails, What’s Up messages, tweets, text messages, etc. as they all seem to be pouring from the sky above. And of course, something is prompting almost nonstop on my screen. What about Instagram & Facebook News Feed? Well, those will have to wait. I don’t wear a wristwatch any more. My Nike+ Sportband will “just do it” fine, as it does have a timer, beyond other stuff. Among those other things, there are newly introduced metrics – I’d name them, such as “calories”, “steps” & “fuel”. But of course these two instruments – I mean the i-phone & the Nike+… are in some way “integrated”, once the Nike Run application on the i-phone is synchronized with the other. Yet, what does all that activity stuff come to mean, as long as you do not share it on Facebook & Twitter? So I head towards my car, for another hectic business day. Travel to work can be best tolerated with the aid from some groovy music. CD, Radio, USB are all among the alternatives. But there is an other option: Setting the blue tooth on, connecting my i-phone to the car’s audio system & listening to the songs in my “cloud”. Those would be the songs that I tagged with Shazam (an activity also visible in my social media channels), which I later bought on i-tunes. Suddenly a call breaks in – but that is not a problem; I will have time to hear the music I love on my Apple-TV at home when I get back. I used to be an Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja etc. – addict, but thank Lord, I was fast to quick and I’m sober now. So I won’t be distracted by such games-applications etc. Having spoken about “applications”, we all know they are lethal to i-phone battery life. There are no statistics capable of keeping  the track of my unpleasant expressions with respect to that. Recharge nonstop, which I cannot bear any longer. Who is going to recharge me, then?

Living in Istanbul is not easy. You have to excel in traffic management, and that is not something they teach you in the school; so you’ll have to figure it out on your own. Once again, smart phone comes into play. Which road is best to take for avoiding morning traffic? All I do is to have a look at the municipality’s application. That is supported by traffic channel on the radio, just to make sure. And as if these two are still not enough, I check experts in twitter to have the latest traffic news. Then I get to work; while checking my e-mails and trying to pay attention to simultaneous Microsoft Lync conversations, I remember to visit my Linkedin page, because in corporate life; it is actually a “must do”, not something “nice to have”. Out of work hours – which are not plenty;  my blog, facebook, twitter and instagram – these four consume a great deal of time. Youtube? Well, I do have a Youtube account, but never posted anything on that. I am just an infrequent viewer. And yes, then there is Google Plus, several Mail Groups among other things. My philosophy: If I am into something, I try to be active. If I am supposed to be inactive, I’m not into that. To cut a long story short, an enormous comfort, but also a considerable discomfort because of the “Maintenance Burden” all these bring.

So, here is the though question: Social Media – freedom or slavery? Another one: Technology – friend or foe? I believe, none is the answer. One thing for sure is, when technology & media melt together, they transform into this mega-power – a force that even time cannot stand against. The smarter the phones become, the more stupid people get. The more social media we use, the less social we happen to be. The more we shfit towards the “cloud”, the further we drift away from the ground. All true. But had it not been for all those, how would I be able to reach so many people with my articles? Well, even what you are reading right at this moment? If this is life, dilemma is its surname. Therefore, not everything in life is about “right” or “wrong”; not everything can be classified as “good” or “bad” and not everything happens for a “valid” reason. Things just happen. Change is inevitable. Means of communication will alter too and may be it is better to adopt, at least to try. But of course, to do that or not; is a personal choice. I say: Let us embrace the change and focus on seeing “the good” in it. But let us be alert too, not to let all these change who we are and the values we have. Achieving this, is the greatest challenge of the century for the human race.


World War Z, Radiohead & How They Made My Flight A Very Interesting One

6 Nov


Last month, I was on a long distance fight. Sleep, chat, eat, drink, read a book… Yet among life-savers, flight entertainment systems top the list for majority of the passengers. So, it was the case for me and I turned in on. Surprisingly, among dozens of movies available; I picked up one that I’ve already (and recently) seen: “WORLD WAR Z”. I don’t know if you have watched that movie, but I don’t really intend to speak about the film in this article. While watching it, something quite interesting happened: In the middle of the movie, all of a sudden a scene was skipped. It would be obvious for any viewer, yet for someone who has seen the movie before; it was beyond obvious. My immediate guess was a technical problem. So I touched the rewind button to have a second look. Yes, no mistake – the scene was gone. Then it did not take me even an extra second to understand why: That part was deliberately cut for a reason, a reason that I knew. I will not mention which airlines it was, because that is really not the point – at least in this particular case. So, what was that censorship all about?

Let me briefly explain: That was the scene were a passenger aircraft was crashing in Wales. A scene that probably lasted for about 2 – 3 minutes, as I could recall. Watching an aeroplane accident in an aeroplane? Some would not mind (including myself), some would probably say “No, thank you”. I will not even get into the ones with “Flight Phobia”. That was the first time I had noticed such a motive beyond a cencor. For example, in an islamic nation’s plane – I would not be surprised to a see a scene of wild sex deleted. But, this was another story. I was fast to realize, but slow to adopt. After all, the world is changing: With number 13 losing its superstitious nature, it has since regained its status in airplanes & hotels. That of course, does not have to do with cencorship, at least in a direct way. But, it does portray hints about how taboos change.

Then as if I was to prove a long-debated theory, I made something truly peculiar: I started making a quick scan of the movie repository of the movies. My intention was to see, if the same “arrangement” was applied in another film. But I could not come across a different movie with a plane crash in it. So as a next step (and last resort), I started filtering the audio menu. Within only a few minutes of search effort – there it was: Paranoid Android, an epic album by RADIOHEAD. Not only I loved that album; but also knew perfectly well that, one of my favourite songs in it: “LUCKY”; did have lyrics about a plane crash. So I started listening to it. At some point the lyrics were supposed to be as: “Pull me out of the aircrash, Pull me out of the lake. I’m your superhero, We are standing on the edge”. But as you’d probably guess – they were cut as well. Well, what can I say – a consistent corporate policy, it proved to be. But my story is not over: As I had missed hearing that song, I kept listening to it – only to find out something really amusing. The song had similar lyrics following, which had not been “deleted” (“Pull me out of the aircrash, Pull me out of the wake. I’m your superhero, We are standing on the edge”) They must have skipped it. Did I check once again, just to make sure? Of course, I did. No change. Strange World. Strange Times!


5 Oct


Though question…. There is even dispute among us about what it means to be a Turk. The Azerbaijani people call Turks of Turkey, “Anatolian” or “Ottoman Turks”, arguing that no nation has the sole ownership of Turkish identity. The people of Turkey define many central asian nations as “Turks”, while the World refer to them as “Turkic” and they prefer to call themselves neither of these two. May be because it is almost senseless to define “being a Turk” on ethnic grounds. The Turks mixed with Chinese & Mongolians in their original homeland – Central Asia. Then they moved westward – this time expanding the exchange of genes to a even higher level; interfering with persian, caucasian, indian, slavic, mesopotamian, arabic and many more nations. And finally they reached their new homeland – Anatolia. A place, whose people were already coming from dozens of different origins. Yet they didn’t stop. Moved East, West, North, South, well actually everywhere. During the reign of the Ottoman Empire; at least 40 nations lived together. That was the case for 600 plus years. So, in terms of ethnicity – we are a cocktail.

Then I think, it is a pity that you become relatives with more than half of the “old World”, but still noone gets to like you. A nation of synthesis? I frankly believe so, but still you don’t belong to the east, you don’t mingle with the west. Many nations blame you for the past and more others question the prosperity of your future. There are countless proverbs & sayings that humilate or despise you. You cannot step your feet on a developed country’s soil without a visa, which takes an incredible effort to obtain. You fight percepitions, prejudices and sentimental barriers all the time. That is like fighting with a ghost. Among 220 countries & territories, your country is the 6th most visited one, however your global image is still chained to the ground. How come a nation be so proud but equally lacking self-esteem? Perhaps it’s a question of what we made out of ourselves, not who we actually are.

But why on earth, are we so surprised? How can you expect others to love you, when even you cannot love yourself? I bet in no other land, people are more hostile & intolerant to each other than here – in Turkey. We focus on our differences almost all the time. The religions we belive in, the politics we follow, the ethnic roots we belong to, the amount of money we earn, the sexual choices we make, well… even the soccer teams that we support. That is not the all: Everyone in this country names himself as “clever” and calls all the rest “stupid”. So, in a country of almost 80 million people – you do the math.

It seems as if, all those were toxically fabricated to divide us. Is it so difficult to find something in common? Is it so hard to see most of these differences were not even personal choices, but things that we happened to inheret in some way? And above all, is none of us wise enough to see – that whatever we call ourselves, no matter how much we struggle to fall apart; the destiny is common for all Turkish people. And for every single person who has ever lived, are now living, and will live in the future. I push my brain to its limits – because i feel incapacitated to comprehend. Worse, as a human being, what we do to each other, deeply breaks my heart.  So, I turn to God – the ultimate power and ask him again, and again, and again “why”, knowing perfectly well, there is not an answer – at least one that I’d understand.

You may wonder why I on earth I happened to write all these. Well, here is the point: Nowadays, there are hot debates going around in Turkey about setting the borders with regards to Turkish identity. Believe it or not; in Turkey, I’m almost shy to call myself a “Turk” – as if it is something bad. Is it nice to be a Turk? Well, all I can say now is, it is hard to be a Turk. I am in an identity crisis. Please help me out.