Thursday, August 7, 2008
Culture Shock My Ass!
A while ago our dear Bawa made this post, and to tell you the truth while I didn't say anything, I was kinda pissed off. However lately due to certain events I thought I'd voice my opinion, after all this site is called Mathawada.
Really, what was I feeling at the time I read the post? Culture shock so he said. In a nutshell some guys harassed him for some small time issue, and everything was basically verbal from what I could see. The feeling I had at the time, was that the entire issue was kinda sissy. Let me tell you why.
You see I spent a good deal of my life abroad, moving from school to school and country to country. Now before I go on, I'd like to say that my travel was not nearly as much as many other people have undergone, but it was enough and it was during my younger years ranging from 5 to about 16 really.
The story I'm going to tell you basically took place when I came back to Sri Lanka in 1995. Prior to that I had been living in Iraq for the past 3 years. Much of my life there was spent in school, and the school life was pretty different from stuff I had experienced in the past.
First off attendance was not that high, maybe about 20 people per class at best. Second, everyone was really close, at least in my grade. In a way we were all family in some strange way, everyone knew everyone else pretty well. People were pretty polite and well behaved, and you rarely if ever saw any kind of conflict except perhaps from Saddam's nephew (there... he made it in to the blog, happy now Skull Z?). I'm not going to say it was a paradise or anything like that, but it was relatively peaceful.
Fast forward a few years and I arrived in SL and shortly afterward joined CIS. That was a pretty scary jump in itself, but the real shockers were to come. The first thing I noticed was that the kids here pretty much said 'Fuck' like it was hello.
The second thing I noticed was that everyone was really snobbish, rude and just plain nasty. To put it simply, people were just plain mean. Pretty soon I learned that it wasn't like what I had been used to all those previous years. Somewhat akin to the friendly farm boy coming to the big city.
Things were plain weird. Nothing made sense. My thinking and the people around me was like Fire and Ice. I'm sure to everyone else I would have appeared plain weird. I can still remember when I just strolled in one day and was surprised to find that there wasn't a soul in the play ground. I was thinking 'where the hell is everyone?'
As I entered the school building, sure enough everyone was there. But were they all doing? In Grade 5? Oh that's right... there was no time to play. 'It's exam time!" and I replied "Exams? SO? What the hell?" to which I got the classic "We Gotta STUDY!"
In my last school nobody ever hit the books like that. Especially not at such low grades and to me then and now I still find that insanely crazy. Tell you the truth, I don't think anyone gives a shit whether you got the merit prize in grade 5! At the time I picked up a book and started to pour over it feeling strangely zombie like in my crude imitation of everyone else.
Well you might be saying... BIG DEAL! Yeah well... maybe. But that was definitely a life changing experience for me and I always disliked my school as a result, even though in the later years things were very different, I never really forgot just how terrible some of those kids were.