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to think we in the UK have a bloody good life and we should stop bloody whinging?

(257 Posts)
WriterofDreams Sun 03-Jul-11 08:14:57

This is a rant. Feel free to tell me IABU, as I am not going to be moderate in my views.

I know "what about the starving children in [insert poor country here]" is an endlessly annoying response to any complaint but it's been ringing in my head of late. I know people are struggling financially and being uncertain about the future is very worrying. But I do feel at times it would do us all good to stop and appreciate the huge privilege and good luck we have in living in this part of the world.

Something that will always stay with me is something my sister told me when she was working in Namibia. She had a spare notebook and pen so she gave it to a man who was about to study to be a teacher. He broke down in tears and she got a shock until she realised that this man could never have afforded to buy his own notebook and pen. He considered the gift hugely generous and had to be persuaded to accept it. A nun friend of mine also told me about children in Ethiopia who used to have their pens blessed by the priest in the hopes it would make them keep working. They had one pen to last the whole year and if it stopped working they might not be able to do their exams. Contrast this to my kids at school who would lose expensive handwriting pens left right and centre and expect a new one every time. We had to introduce a reward system to get them to look after them.

I wake up every day in a peaceful country in a dry warm house. I have running water, electricity, gas and a council that looks after the roads and collects the bins (as well as a lot of other things). If I need anything there are any number of shops I can go to where the shelves are constantly well stocked. My son will go to a clean well equipped school with highly trained teachers, for free, and get heaps of bloody handwriting pens, books, and photocopied worksheets. If I'm ill I can go to the doctor, for free, and be seen right away, given the correct medicine or sent to a state of the art hospital where I'll get great care, again for free. I don't have to worry that malaria or yellow fever will kill my family, or that war will tear my country apart.

On the whole I am one of the very very lucky ones.

mumblechum1 Sun 03-Jul-11 08:17:47

YANBU. I feel very fortunate to have been born here when I see what goes on in less developed countries.

We were watching the Andrew Marr documentary on Megacities like Dhakar where there is literally crap floating around in the water which people use for washing themselves and their clothes, and feeling v privileged to have been born in Britain in the 20th Century.

kreecherlivesupstairs Sun 03-Jul-11 08:21:26

YANBU. I often tell my DD that she doesn't know how lucky she is. She is a British passport holder and has freedom of speech.
We have lived in third world countries where people die from lack of money and health care.
Just before we left Thailand her teacher's son died of Dengue fever. She couldn't afford the treatment (not that it would necessarily have worked)

mumblechum1 Sun 03-Jul-11 08:25:21

The other thing is contraception. I do get a bit judgy about people in third world countries who keep having kids they can't afford to look after, but if contraception isn't easily available and people lack education about it, of course they're going to carry on knocking out a child a year.

fivegomadindorset Sun 03-Jul-11 08:25:41

Well seeing as I don't have any money in the bank to buy food than at the moment no.

fivegomadindorset Sun 03-Jul-11 08:26:59

If we get paid cash today then later on I will wholeheartedly agree with you (I agree with you anyway just panicking abit but know we will be OK in a day or two.)

Animation Sun 03-Jul-11 08:29:02

The Australians are right - we are whinging pommes!

bigfatcath Sun 03-Jul-11 08:29:15

Yes five but you have a computer/ phone, electricity, presumably clean water and some sort of roof over your head?

OP YANBU.

mumblechum1 Sun 03-Jul-11 08:30:08

Five, can't you just apply for an overdraft online if you do online banking? I did that the other day because loads of clients are late paying this month, just took one click and voila I had an overdraft facility. Then tomorrow I'll cancel the o/d because I'm in the black again.

Vilt Sun 03-Jul-11 08:31:42

YANBU I completely agree with you.

FlamingoBingo Sun 03-Jul-11 08:32:56

YANBU

magicmummy1 Sun 03-Jul-11 08:34:50

YANBU.

handsomeharry Sun 03-Jul-11 08:35:45

YANBU. I worry constantly about money but have all the things you have described in your OP. It has made me think about what a privileged life I lead. Its a good thing to think about what you have got.

fivegomadindorset Sun 03-Jul-11 08:36:52

Unfortunately not, can't do it on the business account and not allowed one on personal account. Have a job interview next week so fingers crossed.

I know I am lucky, just having a moan. Have friends in Zimbabwe so do understand completely.

Sirzy Sun 03-Jul-11 08:37:03

Yanbu. I get wound up when people complain how bad this country is, and feel quite sorry for them that they are so narrow minded and insular they can't see how fortunate the vast majority of people in this country are.

saffronwblue Sun 03-Jul-11 08:40:17

YANBU. Any of us born or living in a developed country, with clean drinking wter, able to read and write and to have our children immunised has already won the lottery.

Pussinflatboots Sun 03-Jul-11 08:40:35

Yanbu. It makes me so cross listening to everyday whinges here. Used to live in s e Asia - one day someone tried to give me their baby believing that it would have a better future in the uk. Heartbreaking.
Having said that, there is grinding poverty here too, and although in a different league, still terrifying and thoroughly depressing.

shakey1500 Sun 03-Jul-11 08:42:04

YANBU. I don't know what it is with some people in this country. We live in a place that very fortunately doesn't suffer from extreme weather conditions that devastate lives, families, communities such as earthquakes, sever flooding, bush fires, hurricanes. Not to mention poverty which soooo does enter the equation. My sister went to Kenya to aid a charity and the medical conditions she witnessed in kids and adults were appalling. They were overjoyed with a small bag of sweets.

No material comforts as we have here. They are not "hard done by" because they can't afford sky tv, a computer, a DS, decent shoes. They haven't even got an education ffs. Yet here we whinge whinge whinge and it's all "me me me". The amount of people that buy new clothes, have a computer, tv, phone, smoke, drink, a meal inside them, a roof over their head, free healthcare, an education, heat, water, carpet, light yet still feel hard done by is beyond me.

FetchezLaVache Sun 03-Jul-11 08:42:41

YAsoNBU.

GothAnneGeddes Sun 03-Jul-11 08:48:17

YANBU. We have no idea what other people have to go through.

Also, what we should remember is our rights, NHS, all the good things in this country didn't happen by accident, people had to battle to bring them into existence.

OhBuggerandArse Sun 03-Jul-11 08:51:06

people had to battle to bring them into existence

This is important. because at the moment we all need to battle to stop them being eroded.

AuntieMonica Sun 03-Jul-11 09:08:10

GothAnne and OhBugger

i just typed out a really long reply, but cancelled it as thought it was a bit heavy for a sunday...but you have both condensed it for me - thanks!

yes, OP, we are 'lucky' to have all these things available, but not everyone is able to access them as readily as you describe.

many people in the UK still have to think twice about heating/hot water. cannot simply replace lost items, have poor health due to lack of resources (be that education and/or treatment).

we should not sit back and count our blessings so readily.

people HAVE fought long and hard (WWs, political activism and lobbying) to give us the things you describe, complacency will see them eroded.

<gets off soap box>

smile

kickingking Sun 03-Jul-11 09:13:27

YANBU at all.

I really needed to be reminded of that today. Thank you.

echt Sun 03-Jul-11 09:28:29

Gets on soapbox.

It's not entirely helpful to consider ourselves in comparison with the Third World. We need to think what is reasonable to expect in a First World country.

Hargreaves (can't remember which one) did research on this in the 90s, and included, for example, an annual holiday as reasonable.

Counting our blessings is exactly what the present government would have us do. So many people struggle in the UK, and we should never mistake our own individual comfort for that of many others.

As a British and Australian citizen, I resent the "whinging Poms" label. In my book, a whinger is someone who complains yet takes no action. I was proud to be British, and still in public service in Oz, when the strike on Thursday took place.

AuntieMonica Sun 03-Jul-11 09:29:59

<applauds echt>

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