I haven’t updated my blog since summer , often digging up memories leaves you drained ,feeling hollow and you seek refuge elsewhere, I do in my garden and plants. Nature as they say is a great healer. Some wounds heal and some just stay dormant , every time you touch they bleed. And then go back to being dormant again.
Looking back at my life am wondering why I am recording it , perhaps no one will be interested much ,may be my children will feel a sense of shame that I chose to bare it all. They are very British ,stiff upper lip ; carry on regardless type. My reason for writing is that I have always been asked questions from both sides of the cultures, the Asian side feel I have become too westernised, adopted the British way of life ,and the host culture wonders if I have an hidden agenda and why do I not find anything to complain about the host culture. the answer is because I cant find anything to complain!
There are myths and beliefs that Asian way of life is the best ,that they look after the family and hold the family values very dear.
The answer is NO.
They are like any other nationality, but they are very judgemental, parents consider their children to be obedient and there is an expectation and obligation that children will have to look after their parents in their old age, in some cases provide for them , whatever its cost may be to the childrens life.
We , my late husband and I have lived with this expectation all our lives. We educated his siblings ,paid for their dowries and of course paid for the day to day running of the large household my in laws had. My parents and sister all needed help , I often ask myself why wasn’t I angry with them ,after the way they treated me, abandoned me and never ever tried to understand how lonely and sad I was as a child. i wasn’t sent to school ,as allegedly I was too “thick”. I dont claim to be super intelligent but I think I deserved a chance.
But I must let bygones be bygones. I have been given opportunities from other sources and I have taken them. And most of those opportunities were given to me in this country ,I took them and thrived. So why would I not like this country and its people?
Today though there is a big them and us culture in here which was not there before tooth’s extent
. How has this come about I wonder , a lot of it has been created for political reasons. In my view at a certain time when there was a need to protect the ethnic minorities, the ones who were charged with the task went totally overboard. Speech was censored to the extent that it became impossible to say or do anything without being apprehended by the PC brigade. This of course led to resentment and anger, then came the terrorism and the rest as they say is history.
Todays political climate is quite fragile ,politicians have to constantly walk on egg shells. anything they say at anytime can blow up in their face ,This must make their job so much difficult too. Still in this doom and gloom we must stop and think what some countries suffer during elections. Riots, sectarian violence and often a total breakdown of law and order. We are pretty civilised!
I was in London last weekend , visiting the Royal Academy of Arts, where they had exhibition of Antony Gormley and Lucian Freud ‘s work. I have never seen Gormley’s work close by ,it was awesome . the sheer scale of those pieces is awe inspiring. I found it amazing that the capital is buzzing with all nationalities , colours and languages. despite of what we hear and are led to believe by some ,they all seemed relaxed and friendly with each other. So one has to remember that whoever writes the story adds his /her own touches , not always based on reality !
I often wonder about the friends I have and how come i have not got any Asian friends. I have met a lot of Asians here, I have tried my best behaviour, been to their houses for the feasts they cook, Asians are very generous when it comes to food. Food is not given the importance, it is in the west. Here we make an occasion of inviting people, it is considered a privilege . You take a little something to to show your appreciation. In India it is considered good luck if someone drops in at the meal time. The host are very glad to share their meal with the visitor, it is considered rude to refuse, hospitality is a big part of the Asian culture.
So I have made an effort and invited people, hid the alcohol and remained demure and smiling ! Alas nothing has worked. After a little while am dropped, like a hot coal. Perhaps I dont contribute to the conversation about Asian movies, clothes and the price of gold etc; am culturally poorly informed. Whereas I have loads of indigenous British friends, some I have known since I came to this town, fellow professionals ,old neighbours and workmates, have known them for some forty years . spend the day with one such friend yesterday, though she has moved away to another town but still comes to visit. We never seem to run out of things to say . Something I have not been able to build with the people from the culture I come from. Ironic isn’t it, you would think we will have a lot in common.
I was horrified to read the other day on twitter that an MP’s sister was questioned as to when and if she has had dinner with a person of colour. Firstly I feel it is not a question which should be asked of anyone, you only meet and have dinner with the people you enjoy the company of. It will be a sad day when we will have to do something like that to be politically correct.
If someone like me (well am brown) who comes from the same culture can not find ,or rather people of my ethnic origin can not find anything in common with me, then why should people from other cultures should ? It is an imposition. These ladies /families am talking about are all middle class and educate, most are doctors ,and other professionals ,but alas they somehow dont like my friendship .
No one culture has monopoly on good values , most of us try and do our best ; some more than others. May be it is too much to ask that we should be allowed to get on to try and do our best.