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Monday, August 12, 2013

Home Countries

Walking around with air conditioner water dripping on my body from nowhere, the free hair compressor from the super air curtain at the doors of the malls and shops, the suffocating humidity and getting drown in my own sweat. That pretty much sums up my memory of the summer time in Hong Kong.

Aside from the weather, I cannot think of one thing that I hate about Hong Kong.  Hmm… take it back, maybe the traffic. It’s such a wonderful place and I am proud to say that Hong Kong is my hometown. So when I was 17 years old seeking education here in the U.S, there were some cultural gaps necessary for me to cross over.  One of the biggest differences that occur to me is personal space. Considering a population of 7 millions sharing 423 square miles of land, six times the size of Washington D.C, people in Hong Kong are squeezed all the time. Rubbing elbows is just an understatement. Human forced and packed like sardines to the subway trains, buses and elevators are not an unusual sight.  Hence, to say “Excuse me” in the U.S before I pass in front of someone two feet away is something I need to remind myself consciously.  Because I did learn this lesson the hard way by inviting some angry looks and someone saying “Excuse you!” while I was puzzling “What did I do?”

Another phrase that I need to get myself in habit of saying is “Bless you” when someone sneezes. What is the benefit of being blessed after sneezing? And if I don’t bestow the blessings would be perceived as rude does not make sense to me.  I thought blessing is arbitrary. Personally, I would rather save these blessings when I am under unpalatable situations such as crawling out of the bed at the cry of Kylie in the middle of the night, or the sheer sight of washing poop when Keke’s ass decides to explode in his underwear.  But that’s just me I guess and now I’m conformed to the world of abundant blessings.

To top my list of ever-confusing phrase is the term “Politically correct/ incorrect”.  I recently found out the word “Oriental” in the U.S may considered offensive or politically incorrect to some Asians because the term is based on the geographic relationship of Asia from a Western perspective.  What?! How come I did not feel offended at all even though I am a 100% Asian breed? A lot of times I am still learning what is correct or incorrect in this culture, offensive or defensive or whatsoever.  To add another level of correctness is like listening to Vincent talking endlessly about the torque, horsepower, and the engineering of various cars bla bla bla-all mumble jumble. 
Interestingly, after all the cultural adjustments I encountered in the U.S, it’s ironic to feel like a foreigner every time I go back to Hong Kong for vacation now that I have spend more time living here than in my home country. There is no escaping the fights for space both physically and emotionally is simply consuming, if not exhausting. 

On the other side of the horizon, it’s humbling to be a part of the collective, yet diversified cultural experience, and subsequently loving the people who make up this piece of land called United States of America.  

Summer’s Footprint:

The famous scene of Hong Kong is the nightly neon skyscraper. It represents productivity, prosperity and glamor.

But the poor and the disadvantaged are also the many faces of Hong Kong as the result of economic disparity. My heart went out to the two children in the following article, which depicted a boy sleeping and his sister studying on their exclusive  moveable area-the upper level of their bunk bed.