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.