Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Who is more Weird?

I was having dinner with some friends last Saturday and one of them, knowing that I ‘’travel a lot’’, asked where I had travelled lately.

I mentioned France, Jakarta, and East Java, and when I explained that, for France and Jakarta, it was ‘’obviously for work…’’ she interrupted, ‘’how would I know if it wasn’t for holidays in Jakarta – you always go to weird countries.’’

No country is ‘’weird’’. Yes, I may have travelled to less popular destinations (compared to say, Bangkok or Hong Kong), but Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam – they are nations in their own right, with their own interesting cultures and they deserve every bit of our respect.

They may not have fantastic materialistic shopping, or enviable hygiene standards, or disciplined traffic like Singapore’s, but they are not ‘’weird’’ or to be dismissed with an air of disdain. And their people are certainly more courteous and gracious!

It worries me that this friend of mine, a highly educated ‘’graduate’’ with various other papers (diplomas) and a soon to be ‘’child-care teacher’’, can make such a remark. This is not the first time.

She has condemned practically every holiday destination the group suggested – all due to her lack of interest in each… be it ‘’nothing to do there’’, or ‘’no shopping’’, or ‘’not interested’’ in most of the activities that can be done there. This is also the same person who has no interest in taking up any interests or sports. I still recall all of us trying to offer to do things with her (to improve her health and lethargy), eg, one of us could take her running, another cycling, tennis… but nothing interested her. And she viewed going to the gym with contempt – thinking that it was a mere ‘’pick up joint’’!

Fine. You can go shopping ad nauseam in Bangkok or Seoul, if that’s the only thing that interests you.

But please, no country deserves to be called weird. Go boost your general knowledge – and figure out what these countries can offer in terms of culture and heritage, if not customs and beautiful sights.


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Friday, December 23, 2005 6:27:00 PM  

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