Tag Archives: Switzerland

Esteem for clowns

Grock: King of Clowns“The genius of clowning is transforming the little, everyday annoyances, not only overcoming, but actually transforming them into something strange and terrific … it is the power to extract mirth for millions out of nothing and less than nothing.”

These are the words of Swiss born Karl Adrien Wettach (Jan. 10, 1880 – July 14, 1959) known as Grock, the clown.  Charlie Chaplin met him in 1931 and said to him: “If I’m the greatest comedian on-screen then you’re the greatest comedian on-stage.”

Grock received esteem throughout his life and even after his death when he was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1992.

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Esteem for Switzerland

Swiss Watching book about SwitzerlandIt’s not difficult to give esteem to a country like Switzerland. For me it isn’t. I was born in Switzerland and lived there most of my years. At first glance it seems obvious that somebody gives esteem to his home country.

But by knowing the country and its people so well, it might just be the opposite. Well, it isn’t. I give easily and full-heartedly esteem to Switzerland and invite you to discover this country so you can give esteem too.

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Esteem to the world’s oldest playable organ

The world’s oldest organ that is still playable stands in the Basilica of Valeria in Sitten, Switzerland.

The so called Valeria organ was built at the beginning of the 15th century and was extended in 1687. Around the middle of the 19th century it fell into oblivion. The former curator of the basilica of Valeria, Maurice Wenger, revived the instrument in the first half of the 20th century bit by bit. When in 1946 after an earthquake several whistles had detached themselves, he patched them up after a fashion with adhesive tape and wooden pieces. The first restoration occurred in 1954 after experts recognized the specific feature of the instrument.

The Valeria organ plays 45 marks and is two third tones higher tuned than commonly used. Therefore some modern pieces aren’t playable on it. The keyboard of the instrument encloses as a specific feature a so-called short octave, that is one without semitones.


World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

Tomorrow the world will celebrate the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.  Its purpose is to raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information technologies can bring to people.

 The Internet is in fact a very esteeming tool for our whole society.  It provides free information for everybody who is able to connect to it.

Esteem means sharing of knowledge and free exchange of information.  When the Internet is used properly we can find exactly these esteemful attitudes.  A more equitable information society is a society which lives esteem.

On May 18, 2009 in Switzerland the World Telecommunication and Information Society Award will be presented to laureates for their contribution towards building a more equitable information society.


Esteem for children’s literature

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award ALMA is the world’s largest prize for children’s and young people’s literature.  It was created by the Swedish government after Lindgren’s death in 2002.

Astrid Lindgren was a known Swedish author of books for children.  Her novel “Pippi Longstocking” tells the story of a strong-willed girl with braided hair, freckles and mismatched stockings.  Pippi has captivated generations of children around the world.

Growing up in Switzerland I was a big fan of all the stories and TV films about Pippi Longstocking’s adventures.

This year the ALMA was given to the Tamer Institute, a Palestinian group which for two decades has stimulated children’s love of reading.

According to the Swedish award group this public esteem for the Tamer Institute was given “in the spirit of Astrid Lindgren acknowledging the strength of books, stories and imagination as important keys to self-esteem, tolerance and the courage to face life”.

The Tamer Institute’s esteem toward children’s literature now receives its own public esteem.  The award will be presented on June 2, 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden.


Missing an opportunity to give esteem

Living in Zurich, Switzerland I was a big fan of cartoonist Mike Van Audenhove.  Each year I looked forward to getting his latest books and calendars, collectively known under the title “Zurich by Mike.”   A calendar has hung in my home or office for the last 12 years.

Mike was not a native of Switzerland, but in the nearly thirty years that he lived and worked there he became a keen observer of life in Zurich.  He often knew the Swiss better than they knew themselves.  It seemed that Mike was mostly a student of human nature.  In his weekly panels he poked fun at the good and not-so-good sides of Zurichers through his gentle humor.

Each year, as his new book was released, I had the opportunity to go to one of Mike’s book signings.  Each time I forgot, I just said “Oh well, I’ll go next year.”

Mike Van Audenhove died last Monday in Switzerland at the young age of 52.  I never seized the opportunity to meet him and to tell him how much I enjoyed his work, and now I’ll never have the chance.  His books and calendars have given me many laughs over the years and reminded me not to get too serious about the annoyances of daily life.

While we’re waiting for the right moment to express our esteem, we can suddenly discover we waited too long.  Give esteem immediately and without hesitation.  You never know if you’ll get another chance.


Esteem for hidden human potential

Albert Einstein once said: “The only real valuable thing is intuition.”

This declaration by the world’s most esteemed scientist seems unusual since intuition has had little scientific recognition over the last century.

A recent study by Dr. Alan Pegna of the University of New South Wales in Australia, and his investigation team in Switzerland, shows the exciting results of possible actions of intuition.

The experiment of the study was simple.  A blind man had to “guess” what type of emotions were being “shown” to him in photographs of faces.  He correctly perceived significantly more than the researchers had expected by pure chance.

It’s been years since Einstein made his proclamation, but today scientists are giving more and more esteem toward human abilities such as intuition.

Einstein named most significant Swiss of all time

A recent survey asked 1,000 people in Switzerland who they considered the most significant Swiss person.  The results are interesting.


The honor goes to Albert Einstein .  Even though he was born a German and died an American, he never gave up his acquired Swiss citizenship.  At a surprising number three on the list, Roger Federer is one of the few Swiss heroes still living.  Federer finished ahead of such greats as Red Cross founder Henry Dunant.

Acknowledging somebody as significant among his fellow countrymen is a huge sign of esteem.  We can offer this same acknowledgement of significance to the people in our lives.

Each one of us has been significant for somebody else in a positive sense.  It doesn’t have to have been something obvious like a life saving action.  It could be a seemingly small action or the giving of helpful advice.

When we live esteem in our lives we stay aware of our own significance and of the significance of others for us.


Esteem for languages

There are numerous languages around the world. Some of them face extinction because only a small group of people use them.

The Arapaho tribe in Riverton, Wyoming only has about 200 people who are still speaking the native Arapaho language.  In an effort to keep their language alive they recently opened a new school to teach the Arapaho language.

Native languages of small groups of people are  facing tough competition from the more common languages used by the majority of the people.

Switzerland faces the situation of having four official languages: German, French, Italian and Rhaetian.  This latter language faces extinction, too.  People who still speak Rhaetian try to keep it alive in the same way as the Arapaho tribe.

Esteem toward our cultural roots leads us to keep our native language alive.  Each language expresses a culture in a very unique way.  Giving esteem to it means keeping the native language alive.

At the same time esteem toward languages means that we agree on languages we all understand, which makes the world come together.  We need to understand each other in one language if it is English or the world language Esperanto.

When we express esteem toward our culture and toward the world’s culture we take care of both, of the native languages we have and the universal language.