Inspired by Mark Rosenfelder's website, here's the Gwr version. The Kash version is here
You know you're a (Bau Da) Gwr if....
- You know that your country (indeed, your species with certain exceptions that needn't be discussed) used to rule the roost on this planet. Everything neat was discovered or invented by a Gwr-- the power of steam-- petroleum-- atomics-- central heating-- the electric skillet.... Maybe the Kash did a few things-- but they were probably impractical ideas of ours in the first place.
- You have an abiding resentment toward those pokey Kash, with their hoity-toity formality and mind-reading, who think they're running the place now, and discuss everything to death before making a decision. Good grief, just get on with it. It really rankles. But for them, we would have made contact with the Aliens a long time ago, instead of sitting around here waiting for them to find us.
- At the same time, most of you have probably never actually met a Kash or an Alien, though you have certainly seen them on TV; and if you live in a largish town, you have probably seen some in person. If you're a university student, you may have known a Kash or two, but a real friendship is difficult, as they seem so stand-offish. Plus, they're all queer as a 3-trung bill, every last one of them.
- You're probably willing to grant that there is a god, or very likely gods, but it doesn't much concern you. There seems to be little evidence that any "greater power" is guiding, much less cares about, human affairs. There are various religious sects that some people seem to like, especially those that claim a Savior will come. (And some of those states on the other continent are into Religion(s) in a big way!) Still, for most of you, honoring the ancestors is as close as you get to organized religion.
- You live in a sturdy, well-insulated house, which in really cold areas may be partially or even totally underground. The rooms are rather small. It will have at least one big centrally located fireplace, which is designed in such a way that the heat circulates around. There is a bathroom, usually directly behind the fireplace, with a toilet and a small tub for bathing-- but frankly, in cold weather you don't bathe all that often.
- In a larger town, you probably live in an apartment building, many of which are co-operative or condominium. One advantage of town living is that such buildings have a central antenna system, and steam heat is produced and distributed by the municipality.
- You have a telephone, radio, sound-player, TV, and probably a computer. They all work beautifully, of course-- Gwrs invented them all, a long time ago. There's a refrigerator, but it's necessary only during the warm season. In the country, you do your laundry at home, in a machine; otherwise, even in small towns, you more likely take it to the central laundry place, which may also be the local bakery. Everyone grows at least some of their own veggies and fruits, enough to can or freeze for the winter; otherwise you buy food at a store-- grains, beans, canned or frozen produce and meat and fish. Except in larger towns, restaurants are rare, but most towns have places that offer drinks and light snacks.
- Your local government is important, and the smaller the area, the more say you have in its workings. The provincial and national governments are rather distant affairs, and generally don't interfere in local matters unless they want something. The main purpose of the national government, as far as you can tell, is to promote business and industry; and the main job of your representative in the legislature is to tell you how well the government is doing, keeping Kash influence out, and making sure that Bau Da's products are pre-eminent in the world.
- The police carry firearms-- or stun-guns if they're up-to-date; but they're hardly ever used.
- If a man or woman is heavier than usual, it an almost sure sign they've got money.
- Chances are (about 40%), you're a farmer, either independent or employed by one of the large commercial farms that increasingly are taking over food production. In towns, most people work at the local factory, the remainder in services.
- Cars drive on the right, and in towns, at least, you stop for stop-lights. But if it's late at night or there's no other traffic, you can proceed after stopping. In the country, things are a little less organized, but you have to watch out for the big trucks. Quite a few of you own a car, even though it's not much use in the winter, without special wheels.
- You make jokes about every other nationality, but especially the Kash.
- In the larger towns, there are said to be areas that aren't safe. In the countryside, you feel safe anywhere, probably because most of you neighbors are related to you in some way. There are some tribes in the mountains who are still primitive; they aren't dangerous, but they're mistrustful and easily offended, and they cheat tourists.
- There is a reasonably efficient court system, at least where criminal and inter-personal disputes are concerned. If you try to bring suit against a corporation or the govenment, it had better be air-tight and glaringly obvious, otherwise it won't go anywhere.
- All wages and earnings above a minimum are taxed, from 5% to around 40%, and except in the top brackets, everyone feels it's fair, in view of almost-free medical care, the National Old Age Fund and the exemption on most savings. Some localities have a small sales tax, and there are luxury taxes. The tax structure for corporations is slightly different, but for the most part they pay their fair share. A lot of the government's income derives from the share it owns of almost every major industry.
We are healthy...>
- You can count on excellent medical treatment-- that's one thing the government does provide. All childhood diseases are under control, and diseases caused by unsanitary conditions no longer exist. Still we Gwr don't live all that long-- 50-55 years on average [early 70s, Terran]. The downside of good doctors is that they can tell if a foetus is seriously deformed, or will be seriously retarded, and they can require an abortion (or euthanasia if it manages to come to term without being detected)-- and the ironic or annoying thing is that many doctors are non-fertiles. But there's a good reason for that....
- There is an unspoken policy to promote a high birth-rate, with the aim of restoring Gwr parity-- and eventually a majority-- in the world, which would lead to a change in the make-up of the World Council. You support this. You suspect the Aliens do not.
- Unfortunately, there is a problem. Even after 750 years, there is still lingering genetic damage caused by the nuclear war, and even though most of the really bad mutations were bred out in the first couple of centuries after, even today you never know what might happen. And the sad fact is that 15-20% of the population of Bau Da is sterile. People on the other continent were not as badly affected, but they were not united then, and still are not. They had little power then, not much more now. It seems that most of those states have retreated into religion, or rigid traditionalism and ceremony. They claim they're preserving authentic Gwr culture, but you don't see the point of that. (Their universities are very good, however.)
- Even so, you expect to marry, probably for love, but often by sort-of arrangement. It's customary before marrying to determine that both you and your intended are fertile, which can be a personal crisis if one of you is not, since you're expected-- encouraged-- to have lots of children. Fertile/non-fertile may, and certainly do, marry-- in such a case, the fertile man will try to find a surrogate to bear his children, while the fertile woman will usually undergo artificial insemination or in-vitro (or find a lover on the sly...). The doctors are quite good at guaranteeing results. Two non-fertiles may marry, but are viewed with some pity. You believe homosexuality is rare; it is really stigmatized, and kept secret as much as possible-- one assumes that such people are infertile, if not, they are traitors to the race.
- By the way, nowadays (and traditionally) you're only allowed one wife. For a while after the war, multiple marriage was approved, since there were so many more women who survived, but that policy died out a long time ago.. Divorce is a little complicated, unless someone concealed their infertility, or produces one deformed baby after another, a sure sign of genetic problems.
- If you die without a will, half your estate goes to your wife, the rest to your children. If you've made a will, your wife must get at least half; you can disinherit your children, but not your wife. If you are unmarried and die intestate, the State takes everything; so everyone is very careful to have a will of some sort on record. Only the wealthy need a lawyer to write their wills; for most people, it's often a standard form, or handwritten, then witnessed and stamped by a notary and recorded in the local registry. There is a tax on really big estates, but of course there are ways around that...
We are smart...
- Education is considered very important; schooling is free through the equivalent of the (Terran) "bachelor's degree". Beyond that, the research universities are also subsidized by the government, but admission to them is very selective. The school year runs from autumn to spring (almost 12-13 months) with occasional 2-week breaks, and the summer months free. A lot of elementary-school work is done by TV and the computer, especially in isolated areas. El-hi education starts around age 4-5 and ends at 15, which is enough for most people. If you go on for 2-3 years of college, you study specialized things like climatology and agriculture, the sciences, business; some pursue impractical things like literature, history, and the arts. (You also know that the Kash, when they finally got around to educating their people, copied our system...)
- If you want to become a doctor, you apply for Medical College directly after high-school (you can apply later in life too-- doctors are always in demand), and the entire course takes 4 years. Since your education is funded by the Healers' Guild and the government, you're at their beck and call for almost the first 5-10 years after you graduate, and your first job will probably be in the back of beyond, and you might be told to pack up and go somewhere else at a moment's notice. It makes planning your life a little difficult. The upside is that your clinic will be well-supplied with all the latest goodies, and you will be well-paid (in addition to whatever rather nominal fees you can collect from your patients) and enjoy high status. The downside is that you may end up stuck in East Ennui for the rest of your life, unless you show exceptional ability or make some political connections.
- To become a lawyer, the procedure is much the same, except the course is shorter-- usually 2-l/2 years, and the government has less say in your future than the Advocates' Guild and the corporations that mainly subsidize the Law Colleges-- thus, you have a much better chance of ending up in a major population center. Again, you will enjoy high status, and most likely will be well-paid.
- While history tends to get short shrift in school, you do learn one thing-- the nuclear war was justified, even if it did have some bad after-effects.. Li Puet Shak was jealous and tried to impinge on our trade. If they hadn't destroyed our refineries in the early stages, our planes would have been able to take out their missiles, and we wouldn't have had to launch ours. Perhaps we underestimated their capabilities; but in any case Bau Da did not lose the war. On the contrary, Li Puet Shak was utterly destroyed, and much of its seacoast is still an uninhabitable wasteland.
(Probably the only good thing to come of it was our agreement to abandon warfare. We had to abandon nuclear research too, which probably wasn't such a good idea, but since the Kash were calling the shots, what could we do? (Supposedly the Aliens are going to help us develop top-notch nuclear fission or fusion power production, but they've been saying that for almost 200 years, and we're still burning coal and oil.) Anyway, for the last 750 years, our government hasn't had to support a big military-- the World Council's Defense Force, to which every nation contributes, hardly counts; it's really a farce, and seems to attract the dregs of every society, even those upper-class-twit Kash officers. Thank God they've never had to do any real fighting!)
Everyone knows that...
- Most of the year, you eat canned or frozen food, unless you live toward the south-- but then you may have health problems. Hot weather is not good for Gwrs.
- Liquids come in glass bottles, which you recycle.
- It's a good thing to have a wide variety of products available-- unlike the Kash, who are stuck with one brand of toothbrush.
- The date comes first: 28/6/220. The year begins on the Spring Equinox.
- Weights and measures use a decimal system. The decimal point is a comma-like thingy, used only with numbers. (That seems to have been a Kash idea.) The decimal system has been around for a long time, but you still learn the Original Gwr [base-8] system, even though it's hardly ever used.
- You don't go near the water. It's far too cold. And the sea is very dangerous.
- You don't spend much time in the forest, either, unless you're hunting; still, watch out for the big wild Kash-animals-- they attack, and if you shoot one and get caught, you're in big trouble.
- It's not a good idea to travel during the winter.
- Once you're introduced to someone (or know them by reputation, like government and entertainment figures) you can call them by their first names, though it's polite to use a title if they have one. And it's very common to play around with rhymes and tones, so that the name comes out as something obscene, insulting or nonsensical.
- Except in the major towns, guest-houses aren't particularly pleasant. Your mother always said, "don't let the blanket touch your face!"
- TV and movie stars lead decadent lives. Still, you envy them, at least a little bit.
- A politician who cheats on his wife is no news at all. Any public figure who plays around with another man might just as well go north and work in a frozen-fish factory.
- You pay by cash or check. Credit cards are for the well-off.
- Bau Da has never lost a war or been conquered by a foreign nation.
You're supposed to believe---
- That after the war, the Kash kept us alive with food aid for almost a century, and helped us rebuild. Supposedly, the effort caused serious disruption to their societies, but that's as may be.
- That intelligent life on Cindu is the result of some kind of genetic tinkering by some Aliens, a couple million years ago. The Kash claim they have proof of this, and that the Aliens invented them first. Our scientists, at least those who speak out, don't buy any of this...
Contributions to world civilization...
- Just about everything, historically speaking. So what did the Kash contribute-- the sarong???
- But in terms of the Gwr world nowadays, Bau Da produces most of the neatest things-- the best song-and-dance movies and TV, the best cars, and all kinds of clever little devices to make daily life easier. At the moment, the biggest thing going is Professional Wrestling-- Mountain Mīng is the star, the biggest Gwr you've ever seen (he got that way from hormones and weight training, and his opponents claim he's going to die of liver failure before he's 30...). He's even popular in the Kash world, but has yet to go up against one of them-- they insist on all sorts of idiotic formal rules.
- A country on Nocaniki, Chelma, also produces interesting movies and TV, dramas mostly, but they tend to work religion into everything, so some of the stuff is unrealistic and a little laughable. The language is funny too, but you follow the subtitles.
- Aside from Li Puet Shak and its role in the past, you know very little, and care less, about the other Gwr nations on Nocaniki. They have too many languages, too many religions, too little progress. Those people don't travel to Bau Da, and you have no reason to go over there. When you get right to it, you probably know more about Kash history, since they're the competition.
Space and time...
- If you have an appointment, you show up on time.
- When you're talking with someone, you get uncomfortable if they approach closer than arm's length. You only touch (and not very often!) close friends, your parents and wife, and small children.
- It's OK to drop in on relatives or friends unannounced, during the day or after dinner, but it's better to call first.
- You expect to bargain for houses, and used cars; maybe for summer produce at a roadside stand, and maybe for items at a crafts fair. But in stores, the price marked is what you pay.
- On the other hand, in business negotiations, you're noted for driving a hard bargain. The rule is: business first, dinner later. And in formal negotiations and interviews, you don't play games with each other's names until the dealings are finished; then one of you might say, "Tell me, what do your friends call you?" and then you're off and running.........