Thursday, October 8, 2009

Third World Living

I met with the 2 contributors helping me in the project. Both belong to different organizations but both are from India. One is from Utter Pradesh (North India) while another is from Tamil Nadu (South India). I also witnessed the general saying that North Indians are generally more aggressive while South Indians are generally kinder and soft spoken. They are both sharp technical people but sometimes they miss the big picture. I see the big picture but sometime I am lost in the details. It was an interesting meeting and I tried to understand what they were trying to say. I think Indians are more like Americans than anything else. They seem to have the same characteristics of a people living in a large country.

I notice the same characteristics in some Chinese. I guess it is this awareness of living in a large land that gives them this expansive feeling. A feeling that does not succumb to pettiness most of the time; also having a big heart with a tendency to look at the large picture. But it does not mean that all inhabitants have the same expansive view but having the tendency towards this expansiveness. I guess I come from a small land where people have a limited perspective and susceptible to a narrow view. But I guess poverty plays a big part and people who are not living below the poverty line may be exempt. I mean being poor in a large country will also give that person a narrow view. I guess a good education may sometimes elevate the people.

India and the Philippines have extreme cases of poverty and the quality of life is not good even in most cities. For example, I used to travel 4 hours every day to get to work. My wife usually brings me to the train station where I ride to another train stop to take a bus. Then I take a jeepney or a tricycle to the office. The same routine is repeated when I go home but this time I take an additional jeepney and tricycle to reach my house. I used to bring my car but the traffic and the multiple accidents that I have due to tiredness and drink forced me to take public transportation. Moving to Singapore changed all that and I now had the luxury of spending only about 1 ½ traveling to work while riding probably the most efficient subway and bus system in the world.

Nevertheless, despite the relative wealth of my adopted country, rising to the first world ranks in one generation, has not removed the narrow world view of living in a small country. Its leaders of course are a different story because they really are a broad and far sighted leadership but its people remain small hearted and narrow. So moving to a large country like America or China or India changes one’s perspective when one comes from a small country. I guess reading also broadens minds and well read people may not need to adjust much when moving to a large country. Still the actual reality of living in an expansive land is a better experience than just reading. Nowadays people read less and less so the challenge exists more and more today to rise above ones petty and narrow viewpoint.

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