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Paradigm shift

  • 17th Jan, 2005 at 9:06 PM

My trip to Hong Kong has really changed how I perceive the world. It's difficult to explain, as I've tried to do to the people at work, but maybe I can do better here.

Going to Hong Kong was like getting in a spaceship and blasting off to another world. Although Hong Kong is a first-world city, it's mind-blowingly different. Sure they have electricity and running water. They have cars and office buildings and fast food restaurants that lead to child obesity. It's just that for all the big things that are the same, there are so many details that are different.

What struck me when I arrived was how everyone looked the same. Black hair, black eyes, yellow skin. In all the advertisments, there were no token minorities. In Canada, we're used to seeing different people all over the place so I was shocked by the uniformity.

What else was there? How small and cramped everything was. People upon people, crowds upon crowds. If I were agoraphobic or even claustrophobic, I wouldn't be able to deal with Hong Kong.

And people are so conformist. Living in a place where Confucian thought meets Western business is such a weird and strange combination.

I see that a world can exist with completely foreign axioms. It's as if I met an alien with only two fingers. And it had built up an entire system of mathematics based on this, completely foreign to the one I use. It could, of course, calculate the course of planets, or the speed of light, or any of the things I could do—only it would do them in a completely foreign way. And it would work.

So I wonder how many things I take for granted are actually just arbitrary axioms. Little principles that I observed when I was young, and unquestionably adopted into my perception. Like the blind spot on my retina, I don't see them unless I look for them. Now I do.

This whole experience has changed how I look at the world. It's changed how I'm going to live my life. I want to examine all these things I've believed since childhood and question them, manipulate them, take them apart and absorb them whole. I'm going to take what's good and true, and leave the bad behind.

My trip has been a rite of passage: pain and glory. I've grown up once more.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
17th Jan, 2005 22:13 (UTC)
Its like the man said:
"The end of our exploring will be to arrive at where we started, and to know the place for the first time."

             - T.S. Eliot

17th Jan, 2005 22:31 (UTC)
Examining these things you've always "just believed" and questioning them, taking what's good and true, leaving the bad behind... True freedom. A big responsability, a lot of work, you have to do it yourself, instead of just taking what is handed to you and "just believing it", but totally worth it.

It's one of the things I've discovered on my own in the last few months, and made me reach wholly new levels of happiness. Sometimes, you discover something deep inside of yourself, and these things you "just believe" contradict them, so there's always this tension, this fight inside of you. Getting rid of this is very relieving!
17th Jan, 2005 22:36 (UTC)
It's funny...
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<iLiving in a place where Confucian thought meets Western business is such a weird and strange combination.</i>

I've always wondered if Punks and Goths could survive in HK. I'm leaning towards the endangered species end of things. You just had the trip I've always wanted as an adult. All my family is now here in Canada. I have no reason to go other than to visit...

Sounds like a great trip. Welcome home.

18th Jan, 2005 00:21 (UTC)
Re: It's funny...
It was a bittersweet trip, but I'm glad that I went. It's good to be back.
18th Jan, 2005 14:03 (UTC)
Ethnic homogenity...
If you want to see somewhere where everyone looks the same (albeit not like yourself) without travelling so far, you need only go to Newfoundland. I still freak out a little bit sometimes when I realize that I'm in a crowd and not everyone is white. Alternately, it's a shock if I happen to set foot in the mall back home. Stupid lack of immigration.

On the other hand, there's a lot less racism in Newfoundland than you'd find in most other places with similarly small levels of visible minorities - the only minorities who ever move to Newfoundland are basically doctors or professors, so if anything there's this culture of "wow, immigrants are really smart. Let's try to get some more." The opposite of the usual bias, but reassuring in its way.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
18th Jan, 2005 21:44 (UTC)
Re: Ethnic homogenity...
Well, I'm from town, where there was at least this small amount of immigration by various professionals. Out in the sticks there would have been very little, so you get a bit of the "deep south" effect. *sigh*.
(Deleted comment)
30th Jan, 2006 21:03 (UTC)
Re: Ethnic homogenity...
I agree with this guy Kraig. I'm an Indian and Muslim. I find alot of NEWFIE RACIST! In St. Junkyard Johns, Newfoundland alot of Newfie Skits(Rap people) or some casual school kids say racial black slurs. That does not bother me since I'm brown. My cousin gave a resume and called a bank for a Job. For 3 days or 3 weeks or 3 months he couldn't find job. He then change his real arabic name(although we are indians but we're muslim) in English "Harold Johnson". The next day he got a phone call.

In my school, Gonzaga High School, white kids have alot of grouping, unfriendliness, racist ignorence in them. In Mac Donald drive junior high school, my racist b***H (excuse my language, I hate being abusive but when I'm pissed, these're the results in my mouth)english teacher was comparing MUSLIM=TERRORISTS. Biggest racist s??t I ever heard. She told the whole class everyone is caucasian, (she called my name) is not. I think there is only racism in the city of St.Johns, smaller town Newfie people I've met so far are very friendly. I've around 3 or 4 good newfie white friends but they are in other schools. One of them is in my school but smokes alot of weed (That's probably what Newfishland is famous for other than Fish, Alcohol, drugs, Adultry). I think in Newfoundland has a very British, Irish and U.K. evironment rather than truly proud multicultural Canadian environment, that's why there is alot of segregation and racism. There's alot of unemployment for visible immigrants in Newfoundland. Those lazy Newfie bastards expect immigrants to Volunteer work or work on projects.

In U.S. only the government and bigger city (NY or Washington etc.) most people could be extremely racist. And it's usually with the blacks since due to poverty (Although it's not black poor people's fault, I respect the poor and I'll always try to help them) and Gangsta Rap influence (I don't know why some black people like being f***in skits). They are not stereotypical against and also like Indians since they are ahead in business and some technology. In smaller city or town americans are friendly and like Indian people alot. My brother has alot of white american friends and alot of hot white american chicks who like him. On the Other hand In America people are more proud multicultural independent "American" and hate being in British or U.K. Influence.

But the truth is people "RACISM IS EVERY WHERE". In India Hindus (although I know some great hindu people and have one hindu friend) muslim often get into fights. In India u also have caste system. The another word for untouchable is Dalit. There some white and Brown Indian Dalit, but most of them are Dravidian black Indian Dalit(mostly in the south of India). That's why alot of them are coverting to peaceful & multicultural religions such as Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. You might think all indian's are brown because on T.V. on Indian Television they prefer lighter skinned people.

Very well, I hope u all understand what I've written so far. I respect all religions: Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, Hindus etc. I respect all races: whites, europeans, blacks, yellows or mongoloid, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, arabs, non-indian browns etc. I'm proud to be Indian, brown and muslim.

Peace to u all and WORD UP!
Assalamualaikum ( Peace be upon u)
30th Jan, 2006 21:13 (UTC)
Re: Ethnic homogenity...
I Love Canada and I'm proud to be an Indian-Canadian citizen. But I just don't like the the small & depressed St. Junkyard Johns, Newfishland. Toronto , Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal are awesome, exhilirating and rule.

Once again the same person above.

Assalamualaikum ( Peace be upon u)
23rd Jan, 2007 18:45 (UTC)
Re: Ethnic homogenity...
Well done there Assalamualaikum, can I call you Ass? You complain about racism and then you go on to perpetuate a stereotype which is held dear by certain mainland lowlifes...your quote "That's probably what Newfishland is famous for other than Fish, Alcohol, drugs, Adultry".

You are a sorry piece of shit!
25th Mar, 2007 01:22 (UTC)
Re: Ethnic homogenity...
chinks...trying to talk about other people? not today,,,
8th Jun, 2009 04:12 (UTC)
Re: Ethnic homogenity...
This guy is right. There is racism in Newfoundland. Only thing is its hidden and people are not ready to accept that racism occurs in Newfoundland. Its the same as any of the southern US states. White people are in majority and they think they OWN the place.
21st Oct, 2009 04:07 (UTC)
Re: Ethnic homogenity...
I Just want to say that I was really hurt by the statements about Newfoundland. I am from Newfoundland and my Husband is Muslim. I do agree that racism if everywhere, but i think a lot of what is going on in Newfoundland in ignorance not racism. DO you really think by insulting the culture of Newfoundland land that your making things better. Maybe just try to educate the people, not insult. I also grew up in a small down where I looked up the anyone form a different background, because they were so successful, and educated. Netherlanders are not hard to put in their place. Is you teach them the errors in their ways they are usually open. I now live in Alberta and actually see more racism than we ever seen in Newfoundland. But I'm not about to sterotype or insult. Using the same behavior as the people you don't agree with does not solve things.
15th Dec, 2009 04:02 (UTC)
Re: Ethnic homogenity...
I'm bi-racial (black/white) and grew up in Nfld. Racism runs very very deep in that province. Canada's big cities are much more tolerant.
1st Sep, 2011 22:05 (UTC)
Re: Ethnic homogenity...
I am from newfoundland, and I have lived in Delhi, I was contantly stared at, and had shouts of abuse to me.

I have also lived in Egypt, Saudi, Jordan, Kuwait. The abuse, harrassment, and fear living in these countries was unreal. Thankfully I got a transfer with my company and moved back to Newfoundland. Did I mention I got abuse thrown at me because I was White, & christian! I was discrimiated against because I was also female. However, in the middle east, if i dare spoke out and used racists terms, like you did, the only difference is i would be put in jail. Your slander against newfoundland and using the offensive term newfie - maybe the hostility was towards your attitude and who you are as a person - and not your race. your ignorance shines through by the comments and disrespect you have shown.
19th Aug, 2008 05:15 (UTC)
I'm new here, just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.
13th Feb, 2011 18:25 (UTC)
who says,
We live it we experience it, racism is prevailing in the city of st johns. they say newfoundland is friendly but its not from deep within. You can easily experience this downtown st john's
20th Jul, 2011 17:26 (UTC)
RE: Racism in Newfoundland
Do you guys actually think that racism is an inherited trait? Newfoundlanders (and anyone other group for that matter) are only as racist as society will tolerate. If people speak up about it then it isn't an issue.
I personally am from a small town in Newfoundland and I've got to say that I've heard a lot more jokes about Newfs than muslims. And when I go to some parts the mainland there is more prejudice against me for being from Newfoundland than there is against minorities in NL. We might not be a visual minority but we're certainly an auditory one.
That being said, it doesn't bother me because who cares? Jokes are jokes and words are words. If somebody is saying something genuinely racist then call them out on it. Don't complain on the internet and call Newfs bigoted adulterers.
Also, it's not just us who smoke pot, everyone does. It's fun.
14th Sep, 2011 00:19 (UTC)
Why do you people live in Newfoundland? Anyone whith any knowledge knows that Newfoundland is a white province. The Irish, English and other white European cultures are the one's the settled NL and created the way it is today. If you want NL to be like you Muslim or Indian home land then you are naive! Would I go to India and expect it to be like Northern Ireland and then complain about it and call it racist when it was not like my home land. Would I get a job in Pakistan as a white European immigrating there with little education or work experience? Haven lived and worked in NL I can honestly say the people are not racist, they take care of there own first like any other people would. Are they friendly? yes. DO they go out of there way for non-white immigrants? Yes, more than any white's in mainland Canada would ever do. So be respectful, one persons so called racism is another nationalism.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )