Thursday, March 31, 2005

Culture Clash

I was thinking about what we discussed in seminar last week about how differences can cause distance and alienation between generations. This made me think about how I as a first generation Canadian born to immigrant parents, sometimes feel alienated simply because my parents do not understand the culture I'm growing up in. Although they have adapted to some aspects of Canadian life they still hold on to their culture and beliefs, some of which seem rather old fashioned to me. One thing my parents are adament about is neither me or any of my sisters are allowed to date as they view it as inappropriate and something that will bring dishonor and shame to our family. My parents aren't they only East Indians that have these views i realized recently and there are likely many more East Indian children that find themselves in the same culture clash that I'm forced to deal with almost everyday. A recent and very extreme example of culture clash can be found in the case of Amandeep Atwal, an East Indian girl from Kitmat, BC who was involved with a boy who was not of her race. Her father became very angry about this and in the end he stabbed her to death. After hearing about this case I was disgusted and angered, I could not even begin to understand how a parent could kill their child. I discussed this with my parents and although they agreed that this man acted in the wrong way and his actions were in no way justified, they said they could understand how he felt killing his daughter was the only way to uphold the honor of his family. I now realize that there are some issues that my parents and I will never see eye to eye on as I consider myself to be Canadian before I am anything else and they do, and always will consider themselves to be Indian before they are anything else.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Identity & Culture

One of my friend said (on the phone), there is a certain joy in being Chinese here in Vancouver at this time. No longer does the place of identity feel like it is a world away. No longer does that sense of a storybook reality exists. Today, as I look at fellow Chinese in the streets, sharing the same lecture rooms with them, shop with them at certain supermarkets, flocking to New Year celebrations, go to restaurants, I see that Chinese identity is being firmly and visibly validated here in Vancouver. And all of this has been founded on the efforts of immigrants like my grandfather who came here for better times. Those people had a vision, a dream, which their grandchildren enact in their lives. Our courageous ancestors paved the way towards a life of opportunity and choice. I thank my grandparents many times a year for their courage to hang-in there under not so elegant times. I often think about what might have been in the minds of those early immigrants and how they thought of themselves. Certainly they thought of themselves as Chinese since the non-Chinese, both friendly and unfriendly would have reinforced that message, I should imagine, daily. Chineseness would be their identity, their psychological hidey hole from hardship and racism from the rest of their wold. The village back home was clearly part of their lives, and this was one of the reasons why the remarkable Reverend Don as postman became so paramount in their lives. Rev Don was the bridgewalker between their worlds, between the past and the present, between the ancestors and the living, between their wives and families and the lonely solo existence of separated men, here in the goldfields.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Please call TOLL FREE.....

Speaking of the western culture, I came across a fascinating article in a geography book. Did you know that some developed coutries, such as our neighbour the U.S., as a measure to reduce costs, have relocated their call centres to less developed countries such as India.

For example, the U.S. has a toll free number that welfare recipients may call to seek answers to their questions. Little do these Americans know, the person who is answering their call is in India. I was listening to talk show one day and they were mentioning how when you call these toll free numbers to ask for directions, the person answering doesn' t have the slightest clue because they've never been to the U.S.

Definitley relocating these call centres to LDC's is a cost saver but what about the loss for potential jobs in the U.S. By spreading the labor elsewhere and increasing job opportunities in other countries, the U.S. is also increasing the unemployment level in their own country.

What is your opinion on the above issue? Should the U.S. and other developed countries continue to relocate their service industries in an effort to reduce costs? What about the countries where job opportunity is better because of this relocation? Is this beneficial to them or is it another plot to westernize the globe?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Western Culture

Migration from a county rich in culture to one that is multicultural is something that is occuring right here at home, Canada. My parents were both born and educated in India and therefore have a great knowledge and understanding of the culture. I, on the other hand, having been born and educated here have a very minimal knowledge of the roots of my culture and religion. I don't feel as adamant about my cultures teachings and don't feel it important to abide by some of its customs. I do feel disadvantaged in the sense that I don't feel a connection to my history. However, I believe this process of assimilation into the dominant culture is ineviatble.

I visited India last year and saw first hand that even in an homogenous society some aspects of culture and tradition can be lost due to Westernization. Not so much in the villages but in the cities, the english language and culture is all the rage. Because of foreign direct investment by Western nations, the assimilation of some aspects of culture can be seen. Clothing is perhaps the best example. As I have witnessed, people have given up traditional clothing for jeans. Levis has made its mark. Even the main language of conversation in some places is English as opposed to the official language.

What do you think? Should we accept these changes or should we fight to preserve our distinct cultures?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Cultural Gap Between Mother & Daughter's relationship...

Mistri, Zenobia. “Discovering the Ethnic Name and the Genealogical Tie in Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.”
Mistri explains the breach in the mother-daughter relationship. The daughter is fixed on her American ways, but the mother wants her daughter to understand the strengths of the two cultures. However, the daughter does not respect Chinese ways meaning that she does not respect her mother. The lack of communication between the two women does not help their relationship. Mistri explains that the mother rescues her lost daughter towards the end of the story because she has to not because she really wants to; only until the end does the daughter understand her mother. The mothers tend to preach about pre-1949 China while the daughters speak of growing up and their current family situation. Daughters receive their mother’s knowledge and sometimes this newly befounded knowledge is used against the mother illustrating tensions between mother and daughter. In addition, the mother’s separation of family is directly correlated to the idea of self-abandonment from culture that the daughter experiences. The generation differences between mother and daughter cause indifference between two family members that does not necessarily conclude. So this situation is endless and I'm trying to find any reasonable solution for this problem?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Speaking of wisdom teeth

It's funny that we ended up choosing this story to discuss and right after that I found out I had to get all 4 of my wisdom teeth pulled out. I had my surgery on Feb. 17 and at first it didn't feel so bad, but once the anesthetic wore off and the pain started it was terrible. After about 5 days the pain went away but a day later my face swelled up again and as it turned out I had an infection. I was put on this antibiotic that did a number on my stomach and I'm still recovering from its effects. Reflecting on the whole situation though, I guess I'm better off than a lot of people, my teeth are in good health and at least I didn't have to feel the pain when they were actually removed. Thank god for modern medicine.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Mother-Daughter Relationship

Sky Lee deals with an unhealthy relationship between a mother and daughter in her story. The daughter has moved away from home and resents her mother for an argument they had long ago. The daughter doesn't find it in her heart to forgive her mother even after the emotional portrayal of an untold past. What an insensitive child!!!!

Check out the relationship link above for a deeper analysis of the mother-daughter bond.