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Posts Tagged ‘china; england; cultural difference’

China final – England from China

April 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Each visit is somehow a deeper plunge-in-at-the-deep-end, and even after a few weeks a brief but ever more intense glimpse of how my own world might look from the outside before it just becomes ‘natural’.

England is odd. Where has everybody gone? Everyone seems seperate, muted, as if the volume has been turned down on the world. But the physical environment is glorious: velvet, green, alive with shocking quantities of birdsong.

Yet there is something awfully wrong here, too: the pasty-faced, overweight people who populate Tesco are a shock, a weirdly modern kind of poverty in which bad food rather than lack of it is the issue.

And with this China too is reversed, seen from the inside. The distressing, exhausting, joyous tumult and fuss of family life: like living in a stir-fry. The bucolic countryside which to so many there just looks like toil, the mountain fastnesses, poverty. It is a luxury to see them as anything other. Yet losing myself among them, being a deep observer-not-participant, is one of life’s great joys.