Saturday, September 17, 2005

Anglophile?

Annie Mole, Neil, Helene (StroppyCow), Ann (Pixeldiva) and Mex just took part in a 17 mile overnight walk of the Circle Line from 10pm last night. Assuming they did not quit and finished at 6am today - a jolly well done to them. I couldn't imagine walking around Central London following the Circle Line route (overground of course) after last month's exhausting Tube Relief. It is all in the name of cancer charity of course. Please sponsor one of them.

I am away from London today so would be giving
London Open House weekend a miss. Always wanted to visit Ken Livingstone's command center. :(

-

Yesterday I had a chat with a long time friend in Bayswater (yeah, I know the place sucks). He is an ethnic chinese of south east Asian origin (although he pretty much hates his birth country). The debate we had is one we always have everytime we meet. You see we have differing roles of the chinese community in Britain and how they should act.

You could say that I am a 'modernists' and he is a 'traditionalists'. He views the ideals of British culture as something which is not suitable for the Chinese race. Even for British born Chinese. Which is weird. Because in my opinion he (and me) retains very little of our Chinese 'culture'.

I was born in Malaysia. I did not attend Chinese school unlike most of my friends (I went to a state public school). Apart from stuffs like Chinese New Year and Moon Cake festival I have no clue on what is Chinese. My life was ingrained in the country I was born in. It did not matter what my skin colour is, I couldn't care less.

Now this mate of mine gave a very flawed example in the form of 'Chinese music'. He whipped out his Sony Ericsson P800 and started playing some Hong Kong pop music. Which isn't Chinese music. The music is 'westernised', the lyrics so happened to be a Cantonese. What is so Chinese about it that set it apart from say Girls Aloud or Dido apart from mother tongue of the artist(s)?

Apparently there is a gap of culture between British Asian (as in South Asians - Chinese are termed British Chinese) and their country of birth. Torn between their parent's desire to 'protect' their culture of origin, some has even been forced into leaving Britain. That sucks no?


I am not saying that traditional culture should be ignored but nor should British culture. If you want to bring up your children in Britain (as my humble friend does) then you should not encourage animosity against the local culture. Worst still is the concept of 'community' of 'fellow people' where immigrants would 'stick with each other'.

Incidentally the now Australianised ex-Malaysian, Cypher 101 wrote about this issue some time ago although in an Australian point of view. Read it
here.

4 comments:

wonderful-electric.co.uk said...

So your friend isn't keen on British culture for Chinese people, but wants to raise his kids here ?! Why ?!

Speaking as a British-born Chinese bloke who's not particularly Chinese save for an addiction to rice, gadgets and flipflops, I'm not sure what the fuss is about. As you say, the pop is distinctly Western, the TV is definitely influenced by Western media and one can argue that the industralised SE Asia countries aren't *that* distinctive in their "Asianness", any more than the rest of the world.

What does he hate about Brit culture?

Jon said...

I guess it is all economics. He hates American, British and Hong Kong culture.

But yes I am wondering why he wants to raise his kids here.

Reminded me of the movie shown recently on C4 (or was it ITV1). East is East about a Pakistan immigrant in Britain whose children are torned between their anti-British father and their desire to integrate.

wonderful-electric.co.uk said...

You ought to tell him that if he's hoping to raise his kids so they aren't "influenced" by Western culture, he hasn't got a chance in hell - of finding a mother who would agree (at least from over here), let alone breeding kids ;-)

I was raised in deepest darkest Wales, away from most urban corrupting influences and with Chinese satellite TV pumped into the home. I ended up being so "British" I work in the media and don't speak any Chinese!

Jon said...

Oh you would be shocked to find that there are actually many like him in London. Not the majority but enough to go around. ;)