Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trip in UK: Lots of Culture Shocks

Embark on the trip from Stuttgart airport. I felt the Taiwan, ROC passport is really difficult to use, since the name is really similar to China, they are checked a lot longer. Since UK is not part of Schengen, the two inexperienced lady spend lots of time checking the passport, make me feel really sad.

 The lady at the costume asked tones of questions to assure you are not a terrorists. That gave me a very bad first impression, as if it didn’t welcome tourists. My first culture shock is how popular UK is for Indian and Chinese, Southeast Asia tourists. The total number of visitors lining up at the costume were so much that I felt London is really a convergent point of all nations. It is indeed an international cities that filled with perspective young people coming here to either make a living, or to pursue their dreams.

The costume staffs consists of predominantly Indian descents. I don’t know how many generations are there for India immigrations. It just stroke me that London is an immigrant society, pretty much like Berlin. I was not my first time having this ethnical melting pot shock, but the intercultural fusion and interchange in London is magnitude higher than Berlin.

Although I was a tourist who visited London for the first day, I felt there seems to be a camouflage for minorities (tourist / Asian ) to get away with discrimination either simply because of novelty, or real resistance to immigrant/foreigners in UK. The reason is there are simply too many people come and go from UK everyday. Business travelers, foreign job seekers, tourists, students, or immigrants and immigrant’s children. They all bring in their own culture, and therefore resulting in an organic, vibrant, and tolerative community. 

I can imaging such an influx of emigrants should have formed a strong social anxiety to the native anglo-saxon citizens, because the immigrants are changing their original way of lives. The traditional Christian values of society were deprived from orthodox, and the veils and robes that from Arabic countries starting to take an important seat in the scene of the city. Muslim culture is extremely adamant, even though the immigrant group were outnumbered by the native citizens. It is because Islam is monotheism, and the doctrines has a very strict rule of how dividends should be punished. Islam was like the old Christianity before the 30 years war. Christians learned the lesson and modified the doctrines after the 30 years war, henceforth built up a tolerant religion. However, Islam has not learned that lesson. The fast growing Islam community in London has caused a strong pressure to people who wants to keep their original way of lives. To harness the cheap, young manpower that form the fundamental base of the mechanistic of the city, old Londoners gave up their own cultural dominance bit by bit. More and more Islam women wearing robes and veils on the streets. It can be a seemingly harmless cultural preference, but would it not be a sign that the gender equality, the decree of a modern society, is actually being compromised ? Yes, regarding to the upcoming referendum whether UK should leave EU, Kent 

Should the social tolerance should be unlimited expanded, allowing some radical extremism to eroding the basics of modern Christian values that hold the peace and growth of the country ? How can we guarantee the equality of all race, religion, and gender, while preventing extremism to take over ? The line of enforcement is actually very blur.

Aside from pessimist sociological discussion, the immigrants have brought vitality to the society, they provided new perspectives to old problems, sparks ingenious ideas, and injects adventurous genes to the country. Walking out of hammersmith Bush Market Station, I found most shops around the stations were run by immigrants. They are the small business owner, and blue collar labors that fill the strong demand of cheap labor of UK, a rich, powerful economy. On the other hand, a morality of white Englishman, and a small group of Indians, and East Asians occupy the top of the economy hierarchy. They work in financial or technological companies seated in modern looking glass skyscrapers around bustling business areas, such as Liverpool station. They work 8 to 5, wearing tailored suits and letter shoes, commuting either by bikes, or via tube. The society doesn’t really achieve the Utopia of all-equal. But more like the Utopia depicted by Huxley, where the homogeneous equality is not the wisest way for humanity. Mega cities like London is stratified, and it is hard to conceive how this kind of stratification, results not from race, but parenting and education, which is strongly correlated with race and their culture, would not fall pray as an easy target to opportunists to provoke hatred and class struggle, or social conflicts. Beyond all this foreseeable issues, London seems to be a harmonious society. One is that the immigrants are not as strong to contend the upper-middle class, the Anglo-Saxon class. Two is that the thriving economy brought about by this subtle collaboration have benefited the both sides. They are both very contended right now. Would it be the peacefulness before the arrival of thunderstorms ?

As mentioned, skilled foreign workers, second generation of immigrants have made it difficult to tell one’s origin in an international city. It shocked me how quick I was able to adapt to this new norm. Staying in this international environment truly converted me into a non-chauvinists individual. Here in London I finally was converted into a devotee of global citizen. Nationality, race, religion, gender cannot be used to define who we are, because we are all imperfect, or perfectly imperfect. In Monkeys in the tree, I met funny looking British guy Jonathon (reminds me of Dobbey), a transgender Danish freelancing engineer, Kent. He is a senior developer for a company called ARM based in Barcelona. He inspired me to invent my own career, and design my own ‘University’ for myself. Also, Ariana, a business contractor and a life coach. She taught me the way to think of the long term goals as composition of thing that can be done in 24 hours, which is really powerful.
There are Italian guys coming to London to find a job. It let me see the dark side of Italy that is usually unseen.
The hostel is full of amazing people. Yes, I see the world in a hostel in Fish Bush Market, London.

Interesting people I met

Gordon & Chris Canadian Engineer and Financial consultant.

Markus Karlesrule based software engineer.

Kent del Pino, an expat inventor live in London. He talked about a hacker/maker’s studio. It charges monthly to the members. But the amount of fee is totally voluntarily. I think it is a good idea that should be implemented in Taiwan. He also mentioned the double deck bus hostel/ or lunge bar. I also like that Ideas a lot.

Mirian a young lawyer in Montreal

She was an extraordinary nice person.

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