Monday, October 20, 2008

Tricycle people.

The Netherlands is said to be one of the most densely populated country in the world. The Dutch are constantly complaining about the influx of immigrants and emigrants. And whenever there is a car honking like a madman, the conclusion is made easily. It must be a buitenlander. An outsider. A foreigner.

This is the reason why third class citizen*** like myself, has more responsibility here to behave well and sensibly at all times. We want them to have a change of heart about non-western people. That we are learned people, with manners and good upbringing. But I guess, that will never be good enough.

So when I went to Berlin sometime ago, I was quite surprised to see tricycles. Berlin is now the capital of Germany. It might have suffered a lot from the hands of two dictators in the previous century, but it is far from being the capital of a third world country.

For a typical westerner, tricycles and third world countries are synonymous. They are backward, unsophisticated, and eyesore. And although these tricycles are convenient, the drivers defy all the rules of engagement in a given traffic jam scenario. They are creative and cunning.

I used the word third world, and I am aware that it is politically incorrect. In the Philippines, we are taught to use the terms developed and underdeveloped. But after living here for 7 years now, I discovered that those words are perhaps only being used by people from the so-called underdeveloped countries.

It´s ironic really. The countries that label themselves first world may have all the modern technology and facilities, but I am still convinced that although the media project the underdeveloped countries as corrupt, these `corrupt´ underdeveloped countries are the necessary evil in world politics, to make the First World look good.

Like the tricycles that are quite an ugly sight for the man in four wheels. But hey, that´s just one opinion.... my opinion.

***i must admit though that i had never been treated here with less respect; or that i have less rights than a regular Dutch citizen. BUT like all other migrants, i also have not-so-pleasants as well as pleasant experiences.


Aristarkhos said...

Am not surprised about the "foreigner" comments passed by native residents. To an extent it is true because I know how stupidly Indians behave when they go abroad. This includes the rich too.
Developed-developing: That's all first world jargon. Say if you are the US of A. You realize you can make more money if you look at 3rd countries as an "emerging market". Show them the carrot, change the disdainful look to a smile and call the country a "developing nation". See how fast the 3rd world country will lap it up. No fault of theres...we want to improve too.

And finally, in India..."foreigner" comments are passed at our own coutrymen. Lots of people make passes at those of different faiths, different origins - even tho they are also indian. That sucks even more. I didnt know the people in my state didn't like community until I reached grad school. Was like an eye opener.

Aristarkhos said...

Sorry. What i meant was...
people from "the" State i live in, do not like "my" community...

despite us living here for almost all our life.

Mel said...

In Canada, there are several laws that have been designed not just to protect the rights of the immigrants but to ensure their well-being and safety. i would say that canada is a friendly host to immigrants as it recognizes that the survival of its economy depends to a greatest extent on the influx of immigrants.  there is no dominant nationality here, canada is like a mosaic that has everything for every culture.but ... no place is still better than your own country.

Droomvla said...

Aristarkhos: I think there are just as many locals who violate traffic regulations as outsiders. But we can´t blame them really. YOu see after the WWII, there were so many migrants from Eastern Europe and even central Asia, who came to work and help rebuild Netherlands. Those migrants were from the lower income bracket and did not have proper education. For the "civilised" Western people, they were crude and ill-bred. Most of them were illiterate.

That was more than 60 years ago. But let us not forget that this Europe... they are colonizers and there is such a thing as Eurocentrism. If you read my GOING DUTCH blog, you will understand what I mean.

I am sad to read what you wrote about India. I guess, the diversity in culture and religion had established so many different traditions, moral codes, sets of values, and even religious usages. That's really sad, especially because there are a lot of people in the world who believe in Gandhi's "you have to be the change you want to see in others".

Somehow, you gave me the impression that that is not the case back there.

Droomvla said...

I mean, we can't blame the Dutch people for assuming that migrants are traffic violators, thieves, etc...

Droomvla said...

Mel: there are also so many laws protecting the rights of immigrants here. The Renaissance and Age of Humanism started in this continent, remember? But in daily life, things are not what they seem in black and white.

Canada is a relatively young country that's why there is no dominant nationality there. But I think if you are in Nova Scotia for example, you will agree with me that there are more Britons there than Asian migrants.

I read somewhere that Kenneth McNaught said that Canadians liked to think of their country as a mosaic. You have been there for 7 months, and it's funny that you said exactly the same thing. It's probably true. :)

Well, the Dutch (like Americans) would like to think of their country as a melting pot.

Aristarkhos said...

Mel: I guess. I've never heard my sister talk about any sort of racist experiences in Canada...seems to be a more tolerant place, for now.
Am going to try and find out more about the Canadian natives.

Droomvla: Always is the case. migrants help build the place up but have to tolerate 2nd rate treatment.
a local will never want to do the menial work. if he does, then he will demand more, have unions, etc. a migrant will be more willing to do whatever it takes to make some money.
Things get sticky from there on.
i agree, locals are as much to blame.
about gandhi...nobody really follows his doctrines. not even the politicians. they just talk the talk, dont walk the talk.
Gandhi has been popularized in the west and they still think we follow his principles to the T.