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Thursday, October 20, 2011

A foreigner Here. A foreigner at home (?).

One of the struggles i have these past few years living in the netherlands is that i feel that we are on the "fringe" of the society. And never fully integrated into it.

I guess it's partly our fault for not embracing the language and not putting in more effort to learn it.  But u know lah, at our ripe age of XX, it's difficult to learn another language.  while it's not difficult to grasp simple phrases and words but to be fully conversant and understand what's being said, takes alot more. as a result, our social circle comprises mainly foreigners even though we have our few dutch friends.

It takes both hands to clap and i know that this feeling of being apart from the society is partly contributed by myself ;D

As the foreigner, if i want to make this place my home, i need to do my part -- learn the language, do things their way etc .  Yet, when i see the foreigners in my homeland -- it seems that the locals are adapting so as to integrate them and not the other way round. i feel sad. Is it just me who feels this way??

when i am in a foreign land, i have to adapt to fit the foreign land i am in. at home, i have to adapt to the foreigners in my country.  What kind of logic is this??!?!!

Why do i say that? Just to give a few examples (can't remember when they happened, but definitely in the last few years on our annual trips back to sg)

- when i am in an eatery and i want to order in english.  the waiter/waitress (foreign talent) seemed to have difficulty understanding my english and i have to switch to chinese. no guesses for where the FT came from.
- i am queueing up and someone cuts queue -- @#$%^%^ -- i tell the person in front in english to go queue up and the person give me a "i don't understand you/i don't give a d&*%#^ look" -- i had to use my "powderful" chinese to make my point!! no guesses.

[i have many good chinese friends and i trust that they will not be offended by the above cos they know i am not one who discriminates or have racists views.... but incidents do happen to irritate me!!]


there were less irritating interactions ....like having to concentrate very hard to understand the bank customer service officer who speaks with a strong accent ;p or realising that the management of certain organisations are helmed by a certain ethnic group who tend to look out for their own kind ;p 

i guess all these are part and parcel of globalisation and learning to adapt and accept is the way to go.  Being in the position of a foreigner for the last 8 years have made me more understanding (i hope!) and tolerant. Afterall, we are all here to make a living......  let's not make it more difficult for everyone.  It is far nicer to be accepting and embracing -- it really makes a difference, especially when one is far away from home.  That is the sign of a mature society i suppose. 

However, my gripe is that our singapore govt seems to make it very easy for foreigners to come into singapore and live.  whereas other countries put the "burden" on the "foreigners such that the foreigners have to adapt to the local way of life, the message i get from the singapore govt seems to be let's embrace the foreigners and make it easier for them to integrate.  the onus seems to be on us the natives instead (@_@)

i am not saying that we should make it difficult for foreigners amidst us..... just that as the country wants to embrace the foreigners, it is a very fine line to thread.  Let's not make the local feel marginalised....that we NEED the foreigners more than they need us .........cos that can only result in greater resentment and we don't even need to talk about integration then!

why did i suddenly touch on a "sensitive" topic like this??  wellz, i had an interaction with a local here a couple of weeks back -- and i got the - don't talk to me if u don't talk dutch attitude.  pissed me off big time.  and made me so glad that i am leaving this place SOOOOON.  yet set me thinking that, i probably brought this upon myself for not working on the language hard enough and try to integrate ;p and then, it made me think about those incidences in singapore -- and how different it is in the 2 countries...... here the locals see themselves as "king" -- u foreign subject, u adapt to fit us! =D  but in singapore???!??! haizzzzz, i shall not say it out in black and white. u know, i know, can liao!!

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