|My Hometown, Beautiful leafy Twickenham. Vince Cableland.|
Before I embarked on adventure I voted for Peter May (Libdem) in the 2010 general election (a decision I now regret). (Those of you who are as clever as you are sexy will now have worked out in which constituency I was living during that fateful coalition producing year).
I travelled to Morocco and Egypt, and I noticed that, out and about, especially working, there were more men than women. When I came back I asked my Muslim friend Shahel "Do they have gay people in Muslim countries?" To which he replied "No, gay people only exist in western nations". Remarkable! I thought to myself.
|"They don't have gay people in Muslim countries" - Shahel Masud|
I travelled to Australia on multiple occasions where I noticed a conspicuous absence of Aboriginal people in positions of power. The only aboriginal people I saw were bush and rainforest tour guides. They were some of the most intelligent and insightful people I met during my trip but seemed to find it almost impossible to break out of what occurred to me as the aboriginal bubble of Art centres, bush tours and "getting drunk and falling over". If you ask even the most liberal of Australians, they seem to get unnaturally defensive about the subject of Aboriginals. Odd.
I now live in China which is truly a country of contradictions. I both love it enormously and hate it passionately at the same time. I love the way that if you pull a few strings, do one or two favours or have a good friend, you can get something, anything you want, done. But I hate the endemic corruption. I love the way they have kept many of their traditions, but I hate the way they kill animals in the cruellest ways to get ingredients for concoctions based on old wives tales. I love the friendliness of the Chinese people but I hate the barely concealed slyness, ludicrously high propensity to cheat each other and the way that when you catch them red handed, they say Mei Shu (It doesn't matter), Yo Shi, It does fucking well matter you lying shit! (Can you feel any pent up frustration peeping through?) I love getting presents from my students but I hate the blatant brown nosing and I benefit from the prosperity but i suffer from the pollution.
|Beautiful, historic Kaifeng City, my fiancée’s Hometown.|
However, living in China has taught me one thing. That whatever you may think, western countries including the UK, are infinitely superior. Our culture of education doesn't end up with suicides, corruption and cheating. Our culture of Marriage doesn't result in suicide, second wives and third wheels. If a man wants to marry a woman, he dosen't need his parents to buy him a house and pay a dowry. Girls in the west (whatever you may think) are nowhere near as materialistic as they are in China.
Sure the Countries of the West have their own problems, namely crime and idleness but they pale in comparison to those across the sea. Everyone getting riled up by my words should think hard and ask themseles if they've lived in two or more countries (of different civilisations) for long enough to compare them objectively. I doubt anyone who is offended by my critique of Chinese society has lived here for any sizeable amount of time and integrated into the middle kingdom to the extent that I have.
So I've come to the conclusion that, If you travel, and you really come into contact with host cultures, you cant help but to compare them. I'm sure you've all done it, even if it's just critiquing Spanish Bull Fighting. And why not? I’ve read too many travel writers (with the exception of the great leader Paul Theroux (of course!)) that only say good things about host cultures, why can't we criticize them too?
Critical Comments Welcome!