TIME society

Sikh Man Breaks Religious Rule and Removes His Turban to Save a Child

"I think anyone else would have done the same as me"

A Sikh man broke strict religious protocol on Friday and removed his turban to help a child who’d been hit by a car outside his home in Auckland.

Harman Singh, 22, saw that the 5-year-old boy’s head was bleeding and acted immediately, removing his turban despite the fact that his religion prohibits him to do so in public.

“I wasn’t thinking about the turban,” Singh told The New Zealand Herald. “I was thinking about the accident and I just thought, ‘He needs something on his head because he’s bleeding.’ That’s my job – to help.”

He added: “I think anyone else would have done the same as me.”

Singh’s heroic act earned him praise around the world over the weekend. “Total strangers are asking to be friends on Facebook and thousands of people have said ‘Well done,’ ” he told the paper Saturday. “I was only doing what I had to and trying to be a decent member of the community.”

The boy was taken to the hospital with life-threatening head injuries, though he was in stable condition as of Friday evening.

 

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME society

Baltimore’s Refusal to Be Silent Was an American Triumph

Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

Like the youth of the 1960s Free Speech Movement, the citizens who took to the streets in April 2015 roared against unfairness

Four days after protests in Baltimore turned violent, I found myself looking into every black face I saw as I made my way through Pittsburgh International Airport, wanting to say something huge-hearted and restorative. My eyes were wet, my chest full but also empty, as if a balloon were lodged there and about to pop. I looked at all the white faces, too, thinking, Don’t you know me? Don’t we mean something to each another?

My emotional state surprised me, but then again it didn’t. I’d spent the night before talking about race with my brother and his family, talking about Baltimore, about what it means to be the mother of black sons, even in a town with a black mayor. I felt vulnerable, disappointed. I also felt complicit, as if somehow I, in speaking only in the safe setting of family about the nature of my own fears, had become part of what I now sensed to be the problem.

I am a writer not because I am seldom at a loss for words, but rather because it is language itself that alerts me to what I think and believe. So how could it be that I’d kept so quiet about a topic of such urgent intensity, such relevance to someone exactly like me?

Our sense of race shapes the ways we explain ourselves to ourselves, and, by extension, what we tell ourselves about everyone who isn’t us. And yet, how often does the centuries’ old knot of race—a knot you can set out with every intention of unraveling, even as someone standing directly behind you gets to work tying the thing right back up again—render even the most expressive among us hopelessly tongue-tied?

There are numerous ways to connect the dots linking the three white cops, the three black cops, Freddie Gray’s severed spinal cord, his ensuing death, weeks of outcry from black community members, police cars destroyed, and a pharmacy looted and burned. But practically all the news outlets summed up the unrest in largely black communities as rioting, a label that gave some viewers permission to frown upon it, condemn it, hold it up as evidence of black barbarism and self-destruction—as proof of why inequality exists in the first place. The term rioting let those of us watching from a safe distance and buffered by privilege or sheer luck off the hook. What should have been our nation’s shared burden of collective failure was borne instead by those who had been failed. I don’t think I ever caught myself using the word “rioting,” but how many times did I turn away from images of that frenzy, the mess of those streets?

But if what happened in April 2015 in Baltimore was indeed rioting, then I would wager that so were the uprisings in Paris, Mexico City, and Prague in 1968—tumultuous unrest that cemented for citizens the world over the absolute value of democracy. If citizens who took to the streets of Baltimore in April 2015 were rioters, then so was UC Berkeley undergraduate Mario Savio, who helped galvanize upper-middle-class, white, educated American youth around the Free Speech movement in 1964 with this admonition:

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop!

The visceral quality of that machine metaphor conjures the physical nature of conflict, of vulnerability, in such moments of all-out commitment. It invokes our sense of Civil Rights activists “going limp,” the lynched bodies hanging from the branches of American trees, the bodies made to march under the weight of guns, made to take aim at other bodies in the name of war. And the relevance of those terms to the events happening only days ago in Baltimore makes me feel foolish—outright delusional—for having once thought the many decades separating us in our 21st-century now from that awful then might keep us—and not just those of us who are black, but all of us—safe.

The beliefs we hold, whether they are expressed or not, live inside of language, even private language. Years ago, when the news was filled with stories of Somali pirates holding passenger ships and international cargo ships hostage, I wrote a poem called “Ransom.” It began:

When the freighters inch past in the distance

The men load their small boats. They motor out,

Buzzing like mosquitoes, aimed at the iron

Side of the blind ship as it creeps closer.

I wasn’t an avid reader of stories that trucked in the romantic, swashbuckling pirate clichés, but I could sense that the particular anger incited by stories about the Somali pirates, even in me, was not remote from a racially charged subtext.

My poem, though I didn’t know it until after it was finished, was an act of empathy, an attempt to pull myself away from the facile nature of the prevailing narrative—the one about depraved African villains preying upon innocent westerners. I shocked even myself when I found my way to these lines late in the poem:

The white men scramble. Some fight back.

When one is taken, the whole world sits up

To watch. When the pirates fall, the world

Smiles to itself, thanking goodness. They

Show the black faces and the dead black bodies

On TV.

The explicit verbal acknowledgment of the complicated things race causes us to think and fear and feel is a necessary counterbalance to the race-based disregard (or worse) that so often infects our views of one another. Sometimes it seems that the words we live with and by do little more than delineate a line separating a constantly shifting Us from Them, solidifying the barrier between what we are comfortable claiming and what we can see, but haven’t yet learned to name, let alone admit.

When I caught the news of Marilyn Mosby’s decision to bring charges against the six police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray—moments after my flight had landed—I gave myself over to tears. In Mosby’s charges, I heard someone saying no to Freddie Gray’s assailants, no to the false terms that too often trick us into letting not just bad cops but ourselves, too, off of the hook. Terms like “thug,” like “suspicious activity,” like “stand your ground,” like “ghetto.” Even the milder but no less dangerous statements (“playing the race card,” “you’re so articulate,” “angry black woman”) that give a toehold to a breezy, glib self-satisfaction that allows us to get away, too much of the time, with telling ourselves that we’ve got one another all figured out.

When I am content to be an American, it is because, for the most part, we have developed the capacity to live beside one another without much gawking and pointing, or worse—and because, when we fail in this regard, we sometimes find ways to talk about it. But when I am truly humbled by America—when I find myself ecstatic with gratitude and hope—it is because someone has made the difficult choice to address the failure of our silence in language that complicates things rather than simplifying them, that urges contemplation rather than pat summation, that invites the listener to join in the difficult work of grappling with and admitting to the many nuanced and sometimes troubling layers of private feelings each of us houses. It is because, no matter what might be waiting to render the attempt futile, someone has lent a set of hands and pair of able eyes to the task of teasing apart that troublesome knot.

Tracy K. Smith is the author of the memoir Ordinary Light, and the recipient of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Life on Mars. She is a professor at Princeton University. She wrote this for What It Means to Be American, a national conversation hosted by the Smithsonian and Zocalo Public Square.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

4 Important Pieces of Life Advice for New Grads

male-college-student-road-fork
Getty Images

Think of your career path more like a climbing wall than a ladder

LinkedIn Influencer Roger Ferguson originally published this post on LinkedIn. Follow Roger on LinkedIn.

At 22, the world is your oyster. The possibilities seem endless, and you’re eager to make an impact on the world. Here are my four top tips for how to go about it.

1. Develop – or continue developing – your human capital. It’s the key to your success.

Don’t listen to those who question whether a college degree is “worth it” anymore. The student debt challenge is serious, but it has not made a college degree any less relevant. Consider that the unemployment rate for people with a bachelor’s degree or higher is nearly half that of people with just a high school diploma. Moreover, jobs requiring a graduate or professional degree will grow faster than all other jobs through 2020 – so don’t be deterred from pursuing a graduate degree if your research tells you it’s a wise investment. (If you need help in making a cost/benefit determination, check out gradsense.org.)

2. Even when you have a diploma in hand, commit to being a lifelong learner.

To thrive in this time of rapid change, you must never stop learning and growing. But that doesn’t mean you have to be in a classroom forever. It’s more about the state of mind you bring to your work.

When you start a new job, see yourself as a student of the organization. Immerse yourself in the details, ask questions, and raise your hand for assignments that will expand your knowledge. Work hard to develop an expertise about the organization, its history, its challenges, its people, and its directions. Learn about your competitors and the wider industry you’re in. That kind of broad knowledge will enable you to make an impact on your organization – and advance in your career.

3. Think of your career path more like a climbing wall than a traditional “career ladder.”

Sometimes you need to go sideways to make progress. You may even have to move down the wall at certain points. The key is to keep growing and learning.

My career path has been anything but straight. I started out practicing law, and then joined the consulting world for 13 highly rewarding years. When I had the opportunity to serve as a governor on the Federal Reserve, I did not hesitate to accept. Since 2008, I have had the good fortune to lead TIAA-CREF. I have loved applying my talents to such a diverse array of positions and organizations. It’s been extremely rewarding on both a personal and professional level. But if I had started out with rigid notions about getting from point A to point B in my career, I would have missed out on many opportunities that have enriched my life.

4. Give your financial life the same kind of focus you give your work and social lives.

Your goal should be to achieve financial well-being, because without it, you’ll have a tough time making any kind of impact on the world. You can’t change the world if you’re worried about being able to make the monthly payments on your student loan.

Financial well-being is not about the size of your paycheck; it’s about having a clear vision for the future and confidence in your ability to get there. It requires a healthy dose of “financial literacy” – understanding the concepts of personal finance, knowing how to use credit wisely, and having a long-term financial plan. To boost your knowledge, take a look at startingout.tiaa-cref.org – a financial education site that TIAA-CREF developed to help young people build financial well-being.

To be sure, today’s 22-year-olds face some unique financial challenges, including student debt levels topping $1.2 trillion. But you can face any challenge and thrive with careful planning. Make sure that when you enter the working world, you have long-term financial goals, even as you deal with short-term goals like buying a car or taking a vacation. Most important, start saving when you’re young – because saving even a little bit on a regular basis can have a huge effect on your financial well-being. And if you truly want to make an impact, that’s probably the best advice of all.

LinkedIn Influencer Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President and CEO of TIAA-CREF, originally published this post on LinkedIn. Follow Roger on LinkedIn.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

Hero Professor Soothes Crying Baby During Class, Keeps Teaching Like Nothing Happened

A photo of the sweet moment is going viral

When a student’s baby boy started crying in class, the professor picked up the child, soothed it and continued his lecture on organizational behavior with the babe in his arms.

A photo of this hero professor Sydney Engelberg, a grandfather of five who teaches at Hebrew University, was uploaded to Facebook by his daughter Sarit Fishbaine, with the message “That’s what I call “organizational behavior”!” Since it was first posted on May 11, it has racked up nearly 50,000 “likes,” 4,400 shares and an influx of “love letters,” his wife Fredi Siskind Engelberg told Yahoo’s Parenting section.

TIME society

Introducing the Period Fairy, the Menstruation Mascot We’ve All Been Waiting For

Watch HelloFlo's clever new ad

HelloFlo’s previous ads have included a hilarious clip capturing the awkwardness of puberty and another about the horrors of new motherhood. Now, the women’s health company and period supply service is back with a new video — and this one introduces us to the legend of the Period Fairy.

The two-minute advertisement stars a young girl named Lillian who’s on a quest to find the mysterious Period Fairy. She conducts interviews with the Period Fairy’s former colleague (the Tooth Fairy), rival (Santa Claus) and ex-boyfriend (Cupid).

“I really wanted to play with the idea of a female superhero who helped girls with their first period,” HelloFlo founder and CEO Naama Bloom told AdWeek. “To me, this spot is very different from the others because it’s not one punch line after another. It’s funny but also very sweet and more endearing than the others.”

Oh, and the ad also introduces a great new word: vagical.

TIME society

This Woman Was Born to Be on Wheel of Fortune

She took home so many of the best prizes

=https://youtu.be/j19byi2dr2c]

A Connecticut woman was on a roll during a Wheel of Fortune appearance Monday night.

In just a few minutes, Shannon Buganski landed on the $10,000 spot and two “½ Car” spots, winning a car and a trip to Italy. In the end, she cleaned up with $86,368 in cash prizes—one of the larger hauls in show history, a spokesperson told The Hartford Courant.

She told the newspaper she would be using the winnings to pay her bills.

TIME society

Art Collector Leaves $50,000 Tips for 2 Waitresses in His Will

He had been dining at the NYC restaurant for decades

A prominent collector of Asian art left two of his favorite waitresses a massive tip in his will.

Robert Ellsworth, who died in August at age 85, left $50,000 for each of two waitresses at a Manhattan restaurant called Donohue’s Steak House, according to the New York Post. He referred to the pair as “Maureen at Donohue’s” and “Maureen-at-Donohue’s Niece Maureen” in his will, though their actual names are Maurren Donohue-Peters and Maureen Barrie (and yes, they’re an aunt-niece pairing).

Ellsworth was a regular diner at Donohue’s, often eating a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch and a sirloin steak for dinner. He always gave a flat tip of 20%, though bills ranged in price from $60 to $220.

Donohue-Peters, 53, told the New York Post she was “shocked” about the final, generous tip. “I just couldn’t believe it. I didn’t expect anything.” She said she had known Ellsworth her entire life, since the time her father ran the longtime restaurant.

Ellsworth, who earned the nickname “King of Ming” for his collection, was worth an estimated $200 million at the time of his death.

[New York Post]

TIME Business

The Tension Created By Stretch Goals

basketball-ring-backboard
Corbis Images

Shane Parrish writes Farnam Street

"Low goals do cause lower performance and high goals increase the percentage of cheating"

It’s one thing to set big stretch goals and it’s another to acknowledge the tension and incentives that creates within an organization.

Charlie Munger, speaking at the 2000 annual meeting for Wesco Financial, explains:

There are two lines of thought …. A whole bunch of management gurus say you need B-HAGs — bold, hairy, audacious goals. That’s a technique of management — to give the troops a goal that looks unattainable and flog them heavily. And according to that line of thought, you will do better chasing a B-HAG than you will a reasonable objective.

And there’s some logic in that — because if you tell your kid A-minuses are fine and he likes partying around the beer keg and can easily get A-minuses, you may well get a lower result than you would if you gave him a different goal.

Then there’s another group that says that if you make the goals unreasonable enough, human nature being what it is, people will cheat. And you see that in the public schools — where they say you’ve got to have the reading scores better so we’re going to pay the teachers based on the reading scores getting better. So the teachers start helping students cheat to pass the reading tests. So human nature being what it is, if the goals are unreasonable enough, you will cause some cheating in your corporation — or even within your top management.

Each organization has to find its own way.

I can’t solve that problem. There are two factors that are at war. You don’t want the cheating — which is bad long term and bad for the people who are doing the cheating. However, you do want to maximize the real performance. And the two techniques are at war.

What people generally do is give people the unreasonable goal and tell ‘em, “You can’t cheat.” That’s basically the goal at General Electric. They say, “We don’t want any excuses. … But don’t cheat. … If you can’t handle those two messages, why, perhaps you’d be happier flourishing somewhere else.” That is the American system in many places.

I’ve got no answer to that tension. Low goals do cause lower performance and high goals increase the percentage of cheating. Each organization has to find its own way.

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

94-Year-Old Man Finally Graduates From College, More Than 75 Years After He Started

His education was interrupted by World War II and then his work

A 94-year-old man will graduate from West Virginia University (WVU) this month after working on his degree on and off for more than 75 years.

Anthony Brutto of Morgantown enrolled at WVU in 1939 and started studying engineering, physical education and industrial arts before being drafted into World War II and serving in the Army Air Corps, according to a WVU press release.

He started his degree again when he came back home, but he soon had to stop taking classes because his wife fell ill.

From then on, he worked as a machinist in factories that manufactured aircraft before retiring in the mid-’80s to make wooden sculptures of birds and wild animals, as well as jewelry. But he still kept plugging away at his coursework.

“It was always important to me to graduate,” he said, according to the release.

TIME society

Why an Architect Wrote a 52,438-Word Dissertation With No Punctuation

Examiners at the University of British Columbia accepted it unanimously

An architect pursuing a doctorate at the University of British Columbia wrote his 149-page, 52,438-word dissertation without any periods or commas.

Patrick Stewart, 61, who belongs to the Nisga’a, a group of indigenous people in British Columbia, told Canada’s National Post that his dissertation, entitled “Indigenous Architecture through Indigenous Knowledge,” was designed to raise awareness about “the blind acceptance of English language conventions in academia” and to make a statement about “aboriginal culture, colonialism.” And he claimed there is “nothing in the (UBC dissertation) rules about formats or punctuation.”

When he defended his punctuation-free dissertation, the examiners accepted it unanimously.

Read an excerpt from the giant run-on sentence on the National Post‘s website.

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