Showing posts with label race. Show all posts
Showing posts with label race. Show all posts

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Does "Ethnic Convenience" Make Cultural Integration More Difficult?

There are certain areas of San Diego one can go to feel completely Asian.  Beside the palm tree-lined boulevards, Asian supermarkets, restaurants, and living goods stores completely fill malls and shopping centers, with only the ubiquitous American fast-food chains (which are also ubiquitous in major Asian cities these days) the only non-Asian physical presence.  Signs in Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean predominate, with English signs in much smaller fonts as translations for the Asian language signs.  Asian cars carrying Asian families stream in and out of the parking lots.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Media's Sensationalization of Voicing Asian Injustice as a Threat of a "Fifth Column"

The incident involving police brutality against Dr David Dao, an Vietnamese-American passenger in the United Airlines flight in Chicago has sparked widespread outrage among the general public in the US.  The Asian-American community has especially been up in arms about the fact that the passenger in question may have been selected and roughed off because he is of Asian descent. Media outlets both in the US and across the world has been quick to cover the story, with several videos emerging out of the incident to evidence the level of what is perceived as unnecessary force by the police throughout the incident.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Can A President Trump Spark a Massive Increase in South-South Migration?

An immigrant leaves his/her homeland for a reason.  For some, different political and religious beliefs opposed by the ruling establishment force them to seek more tolerant host societies.  For others, familial ties and international romance must be maintained through physical relocation.  But for the vast majority, migration is about economic opportunities, a chance to escape relative poverty by heading toward destinations that offer better-paying jobs and a safer, more orderly, and more entrepreneurial environment to realize unfulfilled dreams of individual prosperity.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Your First Foreign Culinary Experience and the Initiation of a Basic "Global Mind"

Having foreign foods for the very first time can be a scary thing.  With foreign ingredients and condiments cooked in completely unfamiliar ways, their strange visual presentations is more than just a matter of curiosity.  When put in the stomach that is just as unfamiliar with digesting them as the eyes that see them, it could seriously do some serious bodily harm in matter of hours.  And as far as foreign foods go, Indian foods can be especially hard for first time introduction.  Their heavy use of exotic spices rarely seen in other cuisines are bound to make some react rather negatively after they hit the stomach.

Thursday, June 9, 2016



Saturday, June 4, 2016

June 4, Racism, and a Chinese Allusion to State Violence in Africa

This blog has been quite persistent in posts remembering the June 4 pro-democracy protests in China every year, and this year is no different.  It is only unfortunate that with each passing year, the memories of the events fade, with a younger generation, both in China and abroad, too preoccupied with contemporary issues to be mindful of the sacrifices made by idealists of 20-odd years ago (as they continue to do so, quietly, today).  It is not surprising that this is the case considering China of today is a much more different place, with a twisted civic society that imbue new, darker issues.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Looking Forward to the "Someday"

As a crazy traveler himself, the author is quite fond of trading travel stories with fellow travelers met anywhere, for short-term or long-term.  Talking about travel stories is especially exciting when the person or people being spoken to has been to the same destinations as the author.  But asking them about their impressions of the same places, the author can gain whole new perspectives that he did not acquire firsthand during his own travels to those places, while giving himself another, second opportunities to savor the beauty and greatness of those destinations, days, months, and even years after the actual travels happened.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Constant Rains and Missing Umbrellas

It is a common sight among all tropical countries with distinct rain seasons.  When the monsoon is in town, a moment of completely unhindered sunshine is followed by draining downpour, with consistent, rapidly falling water drops better than anything created with the finest of man-made shower heads.  Streets turn into rivers after minutes, and visibility becomes no more than a curtain of watery white.  People quickly run under the nearest roofs, into their houses, deserting the busy streets of the central market, that, moments ago, was bustling with street-side vendors and pedestrians.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Prevalence and Danger of Vigilante Justice in Rural Africa

In all non-urban areas in the world, police enforcement tends to be sparse.  Farming communities, separated by acres of fields, evidently cannot be conducive to constant patrolling presence of uniformed officers.  In fact, police presence can be so distant that when crimes and disputes occur, reporting to the police may not even bring officers to the scenes of conflict in time for fruitful resolution.  In the case of crimes by stealth, it is highly likely that by the time the police can assess the situation, neither the victim nor the victimizer will be there for questioning.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Enigma of "Kichina"

In Tanzania, the locals have a habit of referring to any poor-quality product as "kichina," which roughly translates to "a thing of China."  Whenever something they use break or gets damaged when they think the product should not be, they just shrug and casually blurt out, "well, it's kichina."  It is not particularly targeted toward Chinese products though; in fact, the saying is used for all products, whether or not the product is from China.  The connotation, however, is pretty clear: it goes without saying that Chinese products, as they have elsewhere, acquired a negative reputation in Tanzania.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Developmental "Double Standards" and Africa's Cultural Image Problem

As the NGO industry expands, the broad all-inclusive term "development" has become more and more vague over time.  Anything that remotely suggest provision of additional resources for betterment of people's lives have now fallen under the category of "development."  The methodologies f implementation and assessments have only become more and more varied as a wider and wider spectrum of ideas and personnel have involved themselves in the industry.  Thankfully, the central goal of an NGO is still clear: the job is to ultimately make people's living standards higher.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Questioning Asian Physical Vanity in the Context of an African Hair Cut

It is a bit unfortunate, but it suffices to say that the average African's hair is not particularly suitable for styling.  Genetically created to be hard and not so malleable, attempts at being creative with what is on top of one's head often involves donning a stylized wig.  Of course, for most local males, who neither see the need nor have the financial resources to keep up with such superficial pursuits, the average hair cut becomes not much beyond shaving off extra hair with a simple electric shaver.  With foreign clientele so few and far in between, foreign males pretty much get the same treatment.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

the (Un)expected Quietness of an African Pre-Christmas

Before December arrived, the author heard from multiple sources of the supposed madness of a lengthy Christmas season in this piece of African outback.  There will be non-stop Christmas music blasting from every home from December to February, they said.  All the bus tickets will be much more expensive because everyone will be traveling home, they said.  And the whole country will all the sudden become a much more festive place, they said.  Exaggeration, without a doubt, but even taken with a grain of salt, such words can be credited for heightened excitements in some boredom.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Sorrow of Asian "Emotionlessness"

When the author was growing up as a secondary school student in the US, a favorite conversation topic among his Asian-American group of friends was the perceived "weirdness" of their respective Asian families.  The concrete example of "strange" were mostly bouts of what can be termed social aloofness, with awkward gift-giving during holidays, awkward presence and absence of affection, and even more awkward get-together of friends and families.  The comparisons were always with non-Asian families, were social occasions, to the Asian kids, seems always so smoothly conducted.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Can a Person "Invest" in His Own Isolation?

In the downtown areas of Iringa, there is the usual array of Tanzanian eateries serving local favorites like rice and beans, chips and grilled meat, along with localized versions of Chinese, Indian, and Western favorites.  Some of the more high-end restaurants frequented by moneyed local businessmen/officials and foreign tourists on their way to nearby national parks try even harder to specialize those local favorites in a more higher-end setting.  The results, will still fitting for the local environment, create more sanitary and secluded environments for foodies, local and foreign.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The "Frivolity" of "Forever"

In his now 27 years of existence, the author has never been to a proper wedding.  To him, the pompous ceremony is cringe-worthy in its underlying meaning beyond all the obvious pomp.  The cheesiness of exchanging vows to be side-by-side forever always have that fearful element of a permanent contract between two people, one that requires enforcement through changes in circumstances and personalities.  A wedding is, beyond ceremonial symbolism, a real symbolism of newly required maturity, one that the author is be no means ready to accept.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

the Colonial Vestiges of Personal Names

The more one learns a language, the more one starts to notice the unique subtleties that are idiosyncratic, but can at the same time by conflicting.  The author's recent journey in mastering the Swahili language sees plenty of previously foreign pieces of linguistic rules being understood as things that are inherently local.  For instance, local Swahili words does not allow (just simply don't have) the ending of any consonants.  Foreign loanwords, for instance, generally end with the letter "i" to ensure consonants does not finish any word when pronounced.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Attending to Omnipresent Attention

At the end of a poorly maintained tarmac road, crossing a wooden bridge that cracks a bit too loudly every time a motor vehicle drives over it, and then going up a dirt hill...a journey to a remote populated corner of the larger Iringa district brings one to, well, something a bit different.  On the top of the hill is a massive brick cathedral, reminiscent of southern Europe, surrounded by a slew of carefully crafted buildings that also would not feel out of place on the northern continent.  Still, the little area established by Italian missionaries see few visitors, perhaps increasing the level of curiosity showered upon a foreigner.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A "Words of Mouth" Expat Community

Alongside the smooth tarmacked main roads leading southwest of Iringa, there are countless numbers of dirt roads leading into what seem like middle of nowhere.  From faraway they are seem quite similar: a few thatched, dirt-walled houses surrounded by small-holding farms and patches of temperate forests covering the more remote parts of the region's characteristic hilly terrain.  Each generally had either no sign or small signs that are entirely unnoticeable to vehicles passing through at high speeds on the main road.  The only exception to these were shops that occasionally placed themselves at these makeshift traffic turnoffs.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Cultual Roots of "Simple Fun"

For a small town where locals do not seem to make much money, Iringa is surprisingly not devoid of nightlife spots.  Blaring into the town's dark main streets without proper street lighting on Friday nights are sounds of American hip-hop mixed in with distinctive local Tanzanian pop music.  Once one walks in, the joyfully dancing local live bands and DJs are joined on the dance floor by crowds of both locals and expats (usually of the white American or European kind), grooving to tunes that are often not found in Western clubs dominated by electronic or house music.