Der Blog, der Kultur erlebbar macht.

You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

These days every time I drive to work, I encounter at least five construction road sites, aka road repairs (I don’t know why they call it construction in Canada when they are not actually constructing but repairing and maintaining). Some of the sites are on major highways, stretching many kilometers; other sites are on smaller roads, stretching more than ten blocks, and increasing. The city is a like a sick patient undergoing multiple artery surgeries all at the same time. If it was a human, do you think the human will survive through the multi-surgery?

One day, while driving to work, traffic was slow to a halt on a major highway that was cut down to two lanes, then there was a Canada Post truck that broke down and was being towed by a tow truck on one of the two open lanes, so effectively the highway was down to one lane. Why would a Canada Post truck be towed in the middle of the road, and not just any road, it was a major highway, and not just any major highway, it was the stretch of the highway that was under construction! You couldn’t find a better place to be out of service? Doesn’t Canada Post have a process to maintain its truck regularly? Why would it break down in the middle of a road?

Anyway, I told my boss who’s from Taiwan, that in Singapore (my mother was a Singaporean), construction happens only at night, to avoid inconveniencing people and disrupting the operations and flow of the city. Or at least in some way have consideration for the road users. It’s not like the road users get the service for free and have no say, we actually do pay for the road works.

Anyway, my boss responded saying, in Taiwan, it’s the same, maybe even stricter than Singapore. If the city mayor allows so many construction all over the city, closing down so many lanes, for such a long stretch of each lane, and for so many months, don’t expect the citizens to vote for the mayor again, they will all complain about it!

Here’s a difference in cultures, mentalities, standards, attitudes, etc., across continents, across peoples.

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When I was twelve, someone told my father that in Canada, you’re not allowed to beat your child. He was pissed, and scoffed at the Canadian government for having such a law. He was angered because the government challenged his right to do whatever he wants, to his own property. In his mind, it is an unforgivable transgression.

When I heard the law, I thought it was refreshingly righteous, and was happy that the government saw children as humans, with human rights, and most importantly, dignity.

Perhaps this is enough to give you a glimpse as to my struggles in growing up. How much can I claim my dignity, rights, freedom, etc.? Do I even have the right to choose whether I want to live as the law of the land allows me, or to live under the dictates of my father?

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Even though we each get to choose how we want to live, what we want to believe, etc., sometimes we have to let go of something in order to make our choices. For me, my choice is between dignity and family.

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