Without a doubt in my mind I am who I am today because of what I’ve experienced in Brazil. As a foreign resident I’ve had the opportunity to attend both a Brazilian school for a few years in elementary school and the American School of Rio de Janeiro in high school.
Those that know me, know that I am a person that adapts really quickly to my environment and manage to “mask” myself as a local within a very short period of time. Unlike most foreigners I met in Brazil, I consider part of myself being Carioca. From going to the Maracana watch Flamengo play to the sambodromo for the “Desfile das Campeãs”, Globo na praia to the post-beach açaí to the crazy “night”, A I had the chance to experience a lot, meet all kinds of people, and the one conclusion I reached was that it seems that Brazil just doesn’t care.
Brazil operates mainly under one principle: “Jeitinho Brasileiro” translated purely means “the little Brazilian way”. What does it mean? many things… but among the things it means, some of the ways things happen are more known as corruption, thievery and selfishness.
Here are three basic cases of things I know as a FOREIGN individual (who’s mixed himself among Brazilians) which most citizens know about but do NOTHING:
- December is the time where you’ll get pulled over for anything just because the cops want a Christmas payoff.
- If you know a higher ranked in the army, you don’t need to worry about ANYTHING regarding your military duties, which exist by the way.
- Politicians hire even their newborn babies(exaggeration for any family member, friend, etc…) for bogus positions just to funnel government money.
It’s common knowledge by now (I hope) that a penny (1 cent) costs more than 1 cent to make. With that being said… WHY DOES AMERICA STILL PRODUCE THEM??
One of my favorite youtubers John Green (who’s also an amazing writer) had the opportunity to hang out with President Obama on Google+ today and he asked him the same exact question. The discussion about the penny prompted this article on Yahoo! which quoted most of the important parts of President Obamas answer like “It’s one of those things where I think people get attached emotionally to the way things have been,” the president said. “We remember our piggy banks and counting out all the pennies and then taking them and getting a dollar bill or a couple of dollars.” (More quotes and detail in the article and video of the hangout – links above-).
To be honest, the United States is holding on to too many things because they’re “attached emotionally” to them, to a point where common sense doesn’t matter. After all, the two biggest concerns I hear with regards to getting rid of the penny are: 1) “will prices of products be rounded up or down?” and 2) “The ‘change problems’ that says: if you owe $2.97 and paid $3.00, do you get 5 cents back or no change at all?” While both concerns aren’t something to be ashamed to ask, after all I believe that it would be nice to have an answer for these questions if the people truly wanted them… but they don’t. These “concerns” aren’t really that critical to the American population… Most people don’t care for change. Just today I found over 8 cents in pennies and nickles on the street… These seem like a couple of excuses more than actual concerns. So I decided instead of trying to answer these questions rationally, to depict a few scenarios in which these problems arise in some shape or form and provide a reaction to these scenarios in similar ways to the ways most people would handle these scenarios: