Thursday, February 17, 2011

The most interesting thing that I have recently learnt

Because the people who were meant to read it probably didn't, here it is for you:

The BBC documentary ‘Human Planet’ taught me about the lifestyle of Bajou people who live on houseboats in the coral seas around the Philippines and Borneo, rarely setting foot on land and only to get rice, fuel or to mend their boats when they do. The ocean is such a fundamental aspect of their lives that they even measure the passage of time by the rhythm of the water rather than minutes and hours. The people have no nationality, no fixed abode and little money which reminds us that perhaps the materialistic approach of many in the West is excessive and it is the simple things in life which should take priority. My love for learning about how others live made this highly interesting. An amazing part of the lifestyle that stood out was the adaptations such as the fact that some of the children spent so much time underwater that their eyes had adjusted to focus better there. Even more outstanding was a man who was able to hold his breath for up to five minutes when he went hunting for fish, swimming 20m to reach the sea floor and then walking across it as if it were land. The pressure deep under water, with no equipment save a pair of swimming goggles, caused his lung volume to decrease by two thirds and his heart beat reduced to 30bpm yet the hunter was calm and focused on obtaining dinner for himself and his family. I found this mesmerising because the man’s adaptability, endeavour and determination to focus his mind made me realise that if there are people in the world that can put so much effort into doing something as biologically and physically challenging as that, then I should not give up on achieving simpler and more feasible tasks.
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