Monday, January 3, 2011

Ata Demirer in Greek

I found this musical clip of Ata Demirer, a famous comedian, singing this charming Greek song named after a suburb of Izmir, Bornova.  When asked in a recent interview about making long term plans, he gave this reply, in some ways typical of most Turks.

Why not make long-term plans?

I think long-term plans are against nature and faith. I find it kind of presumptuous. One day, I was going to perform in İzmir. All the tickets had been sold. I was very happy. Then I wanted to water my geraniums, and I slipped, injuring my ankle. I couldn’t perform for one year. So why plan? I am a poor fellow who tries to do everything he can do in the short term. I am not up for any dares. No, thank you. They say you need to use the talent that you’ve been gifted with. It is God’s gift, and there is nothing more cheap than to boast about this. It’s not like you produced it. What’s important is that you are able to carry it. There are times that I haven’t been able to carry it. I hope God gives me the strength to do it. Tags:


  1. The lack of long-term planning indeed drives me nuts here, but the man does have a point...

  2. On a personal level, I think he is probably more right than wrong. (He makes a good case for his side, at least.) There are so many variables and so many things out of one's control that can derail your plans. His way of thinking is less stressful and makes it easier to enjoy life on a daily basis, I presume.

    And there's also the problem of not really knowing what you want or thinking that your life plan is one thing and deciding too late that it wasn't what you really wanted at all.

    On the other side, when it comes to any sort of management, such a government or company or larger organizations like that, then it makes a lot more sense make a plan at least from year to year. It makes budgeting easier and it reduces waste of resources and time.

  3. Yeah, my husband's and his uncle's failure to plan even week-to-week for their little business seems to be the main thing wrong with the business. If they manage to even keep their heads above water for another 6 months it'll be a small miracle.

    Anyway, I changed my mind about what Ata Demirer said. How many people's work came together to make the concert? Should everyone just do nothing because it can all fall apart for some unforseen reason? Why even bother getting born then? Or going to school? Or bathing? It's a rather facile philosophy, actually. Living for the moment is lovely, but even the simplest momentary pleasures require some amount of preparation on someone's part. Living for the moment is more about having the wisdom to catch the joy when it comes your way, not about doing nothing and expecting everything to turn out fine.

    And people who believe they're just joyfully and spontaneously approaching life without planning anything are usually just making more work for, and taking advantage of, people who do bother to think ahead a bit.

  4. Of course that's right. Perhaps I sound wishy-washy but I have mixed feelings about this subject. I grew up with a father whose major hobby was to worry needlessly about things that might but mostly did not happen. One time, after a bit of experiment, I learned that his annoying habit could easily be counteracted by pretending to worry about things MORE than he did.

    "Oh, don't work yourself up about nothing,"he suddenly said, which absolutely stunned me.

    So, I may have some prejudices against excessive planning. However, some of my original motivations for coming to Turkey have turned around and bit me in the butt. And this is but one example. In fleeing all that worry and stress about the future, I have had to confront a society which hardly ever plans anything. In fact, when it comes to organization they seem to have a strange lack of capacity. All very well, live for today and make merry. Life is short and all that. This works much better if you are a singer or a comedian but it sort of falls apart when you are an engineer, architect or city planner. Or politician or economic advisor.

    But in the end, in order to compete on the world's playing field in terms of business and development, (without resorting to tricks and cheats) a lack of strategic planning is a real handicap. And it is expensive and it can cost lives as well. From poor design for example.


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