Monday, December 04, 2006

Yet More Misc. Notes

Financial Free Fall

When you go from a rich country like Saudi Arabia to a poorer one like Indonesia with pockets full of hard currency, your financial state can be compared to a weightless free fall. You just keep falling down the money space- the chute of dimensions in which you can now move freely without thinking for a relatively long time about how long it will take for you to land on earth and awaken with a jolt. Just like in a free fall where there is sufficient distance for you to enjoy your complete freedom of movement without any restraints. Oh what a feeling to enjoy for a month or two!
***Instead of trying to learn a conventional and well-known language or culture, it will be very rewarding if you learn a more remote language and devote yourself to a more exotic culture. Why not learn Telugu or say, a minority language such as Cebuano. You will be worshipped by the natives if you dedicate yourself to integrating into a society that is not main-stream.
Amores de Lejos, Amores de Pendejos?
This famous Spanish proverb literally translates as “Loves from Afar are Loves of Fools”- that is basically that long distance relationships do not work. I beg to disagree. Of course, relationships with people near you are far better, but sometimes you can’t help but be separated. You can get drafted into the army, or be sent somewhere by a company, or meet someone online that is in a faraway land. There are millions of reasons for long distance relationships to occur. In the old times, with expensive phone calls and letters that would take weeks, it was no surprise that such relationships would often fail as people would get sick and tired of being drawn so much apart and the uncertainty that it brought with it. Truly, love from afar was fools’ love not so long ago.
Not anymore. We now have instant SMS, chatting in real time and very inexpensive phone providers that allow you to make calls across the world for pennies. We now have web cams and your lover can come online and chat with you. Granted you cannot touch him/her physically, but the technology that we have now sure beats those long waits for letters by the mailbox, and once a month phone calls.
Also with a much better social acceptance of personal ads than before these are no longer just for the most desperate. And with hundreds of thousands of people in poorer countries looking for a mate in richer ones, it is becoming more and more commonplace year after year. Now, many relationships begin as long distance ones and become “short-distance” after some time. Many dates now begin in cyber space and end in real life situations.
The used to tell us that one should not look for love but let it land on his/her shoulders like a white dove because if you look for it, it will allegedly run away from you. Well, a lot of people look for it and yes, it does not come; then they stop looking for it and again, it does not come. So what’s the deal? Then, people stopped taking chances with the white dove theory and they now trust the law of averages/probabilities much more. Many get online, meet lots of people electronically from all over the world and, then, they go ahead and meet them physically thus creating their own destiny and not waiting for things to happen.
Long distance love today is doing quite well and almost as good (if not better) than the short distance love, especially if one plays international and not just domestic markets. And you should see some gorgeous people that one can meet.
Long Distance Loves are not Fools’ Loves anymore. They are, actually, smart people’s loves.
Friendly Asian Immigrants in NZ and Oz.
Frankly I never felt welcome by Asian immigrants in the US, especially in places such as NY or LA. I would go into a Korean store and the vibes I would get from people would range from sulkiness to downright hostile looks and rudeness. I would not blame them. Many of them would get hassled a lot by non –Asians and threatened and all. So, some had to toughen up to strangers who do not look Asian.
You walk into a Korean convenience store in LA and the owner is looking at you from behind the bullet-proof glass with the facial expression reminiscent of a bulldog about to attack. Too bad, really. In some Chinese restaurants you get sarcastic looks from people. Some would refuse to speak to you in Asian languages if you start a conversation in those. It is a pity because I like Asian people and Asian food and like to make friends with them..
This is why I was surprised during my trip to the Antipodes this past summer. I walked into Korean restaurants only to be greeted by smiles and warmth coming from the owners. I would again go inside Korean stores crouching instinctively in expectations of angry and haughty looks coming from them, but would be again greeted with warm smiles and open arms. Their English is fluent and they are just so happy to see you! I walked into a Japanese restaurant and addressed the people there in Japanese. They answered me in Japanese and even sat next to me and talked to me as if I was Japanese myself. Incredible! So different from the so many unfriendly Asians back home.
So, what’s the deal? Well, for one thing, only Asians with means are allowed in those places. And only if they speak English. If you are poor and do not speak English, you are not allowed in. Second- no guns. They do not have the experience of armed people walking into their stores and robbing them at gun point. Other Asians who patronize their stores are also well off and do not have problems with the native population as poor people normally would, so no bad news and no harsh warnings are given from one Asian to another. There is also no big pressure to melt into the local meting pots- most people are just into business and making money at it.
So, is everything good then in the Antipodes? Well, yes, for those with money or special skills. But if you do not have those and are Asian, the US will afford better opportunities and you will be able to rise from the bottom, not just start in the middle. You will learn to growl at whites and blacks in the process, and be cynical and hostile and rude at them to survive but you will have many more opportunities if you are less than what NZ and Oz want you to be- rich, English speaking, clean-cut model immigrant. If you are like that, head for Auckland or Melbourne; for all the rest, there is always the good old USA.

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