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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bridging The Asian Giants

Whenever I'm up here in Bangkok, I have the access to Channel News Asia (CNA) on TV in the comfort of the serviced apartment. It's a total opposite to home whereby over here I get 24 hrs news updates with a press on the remote. For example just a few days, ago I got to know about the train derailment at Hua Hin, Thailand and Stephen Gately's demissal 2 days back. I checked if somebody has shouted it out at FB about him but nope, there wasn't. How updated I was! *vanity sets in*

During the weekends especially, CNA also features Japan Travel Series as well as Food Hunting Series at Taiwan or Korea. What engages me as well is this series called 'Bridging The Asian Giants'. Every episode features an Indian expat in China as well as a Chinese expat in India. It never fails to fascinate me how an Indian blends into a total opposite culture even though he obviously stands out among the local from his outlook. The expats were either single or married with family staying in China with them or they'd gotten themselves a Chinese wife. It's just so cool listening to them speaking Mandarin and even Cantonese so well. Most of them has an established business in China and has been proudly calling China their home. The series also shared scenes of his gatherings with his in laws. One of the previous episode I watched was saying the Indian daughter never could stay long whenever they returned to India for holidays as she missed her school and friends in China so much.

I'm not sure if you notice it. Apparently, China in terms of people, they are fair, yea, but when the shooting shifted to India, everthing looks gloomy(just my honest opinion). They were trying to give a feel of the sights of India before drifting to the storyline but somehow to me, I can immediately take the hint that we're now in India even before they say it. Even before an Indian comes into the scene. It could be a cultural or preference of the Indian for dark colours, I guess, especially in house furnitures, paints as well as the interior and lighting of shops. The same goes, it also never failed to impress me on the Indian influence reflected on the Chinese expats. When they spoke, they shook their heads. Yes, they looked every bit a Chinese but they spoke English with heavy Tamil slang. As they spoke, they shook their head and gestured with their hands the way the Indians do. One of them I watched the other day was a business lady running a Chinese restaurant in India. Besides that, she also ran a saloon and the Indian locals liked her magic fingers on their hair very much. They called here 'Auntie'. "I come to Auntie every once a month. She cut very nice hair. We all here call her Auntie." How cool that sounds! The way this 'Auntie' spoke of the friendly Indians she's known for years, her home in India, her familiarity of the Indian way of doing things, way of life, her proficiency in Tamil as she went about with her daily activities in the market and shop really is so cool. People are going around blending into each others' community very well. It's not just in Malaysia where your older generations have been here and living together before you were born. It's a mainland Chinese, an individual, that is, having settled down in a country totally different to hers and staying there for years. Having had good Indian friends myself haven't made me openly acceptable to this idea at this moment. Thus, I really salute her!

Another Chinese expat teaches in a Chinese school in India. This school's mainly attended by the young Chinese children in India. Other times, this Chinese expat also gave Mandarin lessons to Indian adults wishing to venture into China. It seems that everyone wants to learn Mandarin and my Mandarin reading and wriitng skills is just a 'half pail of water' (pan tong shui). It means I don't know it well.

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