In the first episode of Five Minutes With… we speak to comedian Ria Lina about what she thinks the most important conversations we can be having in society today are.
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The views expressed in these podcasts are those of the speakers and not necessarily reflect those of Cumberland Lodge.
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Christina Ogwang (CO)
What are the most important conversations we need to be having today, and how can young people contribute to those conversations? These are the questions we ask our guests to answer in Five Minutes With. In this episode, we are joined by comedian Ria Lina, who spoke at our most recent Life Beyond the PhD conference. Ria is known for appearances on Mock the Week,
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Have I Got News For You, and Live at the Apollo. She also has a PhD in Virology from University College London.
Ria Lina (RL)
I want to talk about some of the most important conversations we need to be having in the UK today. And I think that two important conversations are, and it’s a quote by Kennedy that I often think about, especially in today’s world, which is “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
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And I think that it’s something that we’ve moved so far away from that maybe we need to think about it again. And I’m talking about just social responsibilities to those around us. We’re moving into an age of, and the term has a negativity to it, but I’m going to use it, identity politics. We’re in it. We’re in a place of identity politics where we are focusing on the importance of the individual.
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And I think that is really important. I think that we’ve had a lot of discrimination and repression happening in our society for hundreds of years. And finally, we’re in a place where people can feel that they can express who they are and be who they are with pride and walk down the street making the choices that they’ve made.
00:01:32:18 – 00:01:54:47
And I think that’s really, really important. But I think that we need to now evolve to the next step. And once everybody feels that they have the autonomy that they deserve to have in society, the next step is then going, how can we and how can I, with who I am, make society better? Because I think that we can all agree that we’re in a very broken place, in a very divided place.
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We saw that, particularly in the UK, first with the Brexit referendum and then with the pandemic, where we saw this falling on two sides of any argument, whether that be whether we stay or leave the EU, whether that be for or against vaccination for or against lockdown for or against, you know, charity food banks. Every conversation now seems to have become dichotomous.
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And so, with this recognition of the wide range and diversity that humanity and our society has become, how can we now bring that back into the political equation to make sure that we are evolving together as a society in a positive direction? Because at times I fear that with everybody shouting their own agenda and with everybody saying, “Listen to me, I am as important as the next person” that we are forgetting to listen to each other and say, “I am also listening to what you have to say”, because for all of the shouting that we’re doing to say, “I am as important as my neighbour”, we need to also recognise that our neighbour
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is as important as we are. I feel that that reciprocity needs to be consciously practiced if we’re going to move beyond where we are now into a place where we can then continue forward to work on some of the bigger issues that really need our attention. And I’m talking about huge issues. I’m talking about rebuilding education in the UK.
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I’m talking about making sure that we, at least in the UK, are being incredibly climate conscious and responsible. I’m talking about being able to actively and responsibly discuss our role in conflict around the world as we currently sit and reject individuals that come by boat. We are still making a lot of our money by selling the weapons to the countries that they’ve come from and destabilising their home environments.
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So just to summarise, we are at a place where now that we all recognise that we all have an equal and important voice. I want young people today to think, “Now how can I use my equal and important voice to make things better?”
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You can keep up to date with all the work of Cumberland Lodge on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook @CumberlandLodge or on our website cumberlandlodge.ac.uk Thank you again to Ria for joining us and thanks for listening.