Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Cultural Displacement :: Personal Narrative Traveling Essays
Cultural Displacement I sidestepped the bald man next to me who was ordering what looked like duck feet, in rapid Malaysian. Looking down at my green plastic tray, like those often found in high school lunch rooms, I saw the square banana leaf piled high with plain white rice looking back. The thought of Ã¢â¬Å"foodsÃ¢â¬ like fish eyes, stuffed animal intestine, or any kind of pickled hoof on my rice made my gag reflexes kick into high gear. I paid for my abysmal lunch, a measly dollar fifty US, smiled at the man at the register, and walked to a nearby table. It had been three days and I had eaten little more than white rice and clear broth for most of that time. I knew later IÃ¢â¬â¢d be doubled over, in agonizing pain over my empty stomach but I still couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t bring myself to eat the meals in the food court. Ã¢â¬Å"Not feeling adventurous today?Ã¢â¬ My dadÃ¢â¬â¢s girlfriend plopped down in the seat next to me and began munching with gusto. She had been brave at this meal; her plate was covered in some brown thing, it might have been a vegetable and I sincerely hoped it was, though chose not to ask. Instead I smiled weakly and began to eat my rice with a severely bent metal fork. Metal forks in an Asian country? YouÃ¢â¬â¢re probably wondering where all the chopsticks went. In fact, I was probably one of the few people in the vicinity who actually could use a chopstick. ThereÃ¢â¬â¢s a good reason behind this madness and it all starts with the British. Until about forty years ago, Singapore was colonized by the British. It seems strange but then again the British would have colonized a tea bag, given the chance. England also had colonized Hong Kong but was afraid of losing this major business and financial center to communism, a legitimate fear because thatÃ¢â¬â¢s eventually what happened. Fortunately they had already created a clone Hong Kong on a tiny island off the tip of Malaysia. That island was called Singapore. In an effort to keep the business integrity that had been in Hong Kong, Chinese business men were brought in. The British eventually began to relinquish many of their colonies and when they finally left Singapore in the mid 1960s, the Chinese business men, who were the superpower that made Singapore the world trading center it was, took control of power.