Saturday, February 16, 2008

Banana in a nutshell

Watched a film today called "Banana in a nutshell". It's a documentary written around the experiences of Chinese girl called Roseanna and her struggles with being of one culture (and her parents expectations that come with that) but having grown up in New Zealand. It is a very watchable and honest film. It gives a window into the tensions of multiculturalism for Chinese families.

One of the comments that really stuck with me was when the sister of Roseanne talked about her parents cultural background. She talks about how her parents grow up in China in the 70s and 80s but then moved to New Zealand. Their view of Chinese culture is based upon China in the 70s and 80s and they are trying to raise their children according to that worldview. But because they have lived in New Zealand for the last 20 years they are not raising their children in the way that their contemporaries in China are. Because their contemporaries have seen the Chinese culture change across the last 20 years and have changed with it. Roseanne's parents are stuck with a 20 year old version of Chinese culture and have raised their children according to it. What Roseanne’s sister calls a "fossilised version of Chinese culture".

It's made me realise that I will (if I don't already) have a fossilised view of England. I have not lived in England for two years now and may stay here for another three or more. I am sure that England has changed in the last two years, I wonder how much more it will change in another three?

It's helped me understand another aspect of reverse culture shock (culture shock that can occur when people return home from short, medium or long term stays in a different culture/country). I guess talking to people can help give a picture of what England is like, but the reality is that things will have changed. I wonder what the changes are and will be?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Criss Cross cultures

I had a really strange experience today. Someone asked if it was true that when English people used the term Asian they meant people from India or Pakistan. I was offended and said no! When I use the term Asia I mean people from Asian countries (Thailand, China, Malaysia etc.). But when other Brits were asked they replied that when they used the word Asian they did mean people from India or Pakistan.

It was then suggested that because I have been in New Zealand that maybe that had changed my perspective. That may be true but I suspect it is more to do with the fact that I have taken a few teams to Thailand over the last 5 years and how that has shaped my (still very limited) understanding of Asian cultures.

But it was disorientating to be asked how English people thought about something and to find that I can no longer speak to how English people think. I have been gone for two years now and been living in a different country which has shaped my understanding in various ways so I guess it was inevitable really, but disorientating none the less.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Title change

We had a meeting today about roles in the office. I now have a new job title! I was Wellington and Web Staffworker. My new job title is Wellington staffworker and Systems Manager!

Not a lot is going to change but for the next 10 months I will not primarily be responsible for the website. That is being developed by a TSCF graduate (to whom I am very grateful!). I will keep doing 3 days a week in campus. I am also keeping responsibility for the finance operations for till at least the end of the year as well as all the other IT type stuff that I was doing before. The combination of finance and IT systems stuff led to the new "systems" part of my job title.

It probably shows part of nature but I enjoy change within work so am quite pleased to keep the finance stuff for a bit longer. It gives me the opportunity (with the help of others who are more administratively gifted than me) to finish revamping the office finance procedures and I really am quite enjoying the finance stuff (how geeky do I sound?). I start a seven week course in accountancy next week which should be helpful if not necessarily always gripping material.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Rugby 7s

Thanks to a very generous offer from some friends, Anna and I got tickets to the second day of the Rugby Sevens. It was an amazing day! There was a great buzz in the crowd, we got to see some great rugby (England had a shaky start but managed to score a point by winning the bowl) and the All Blacks won the day in the end.

See Anna's blog for some more pictures.