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?

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