We live in a western dominated world. Of course, many opine that is changing (fast) but my limited exposure to history says that it will be a good few decades before we shift our allegiance from forks and spoons to chopsticks.
Now, it is in our nature to question. Atleast, it is the nature of the kid within us that always exists – he/she just needs some awakening. And the kid within began to wonder about the 3 topics in the title and realized that they all exist in Asia (atleast) as legacy of western domination – in my humble opinion atleast. So, here we go..
1. Alcohol: Background first. Having studied in an Asian university, I was always told (implicitly) that alcohol was ‘cool’. ‘Getting drunk’/’Getting sloshed’ in a party was often the ‘in’ thing to do. Now, I am never one to deny myself an experience. So, I did just that. But, after one experience, I felt no need to do so again. And I must state here that I have nothing in principle against alcohol but I just don’t buy into the concept. Exercising my right to choose, I guess.
A couple of months in the UK have made me appreciate the popularity of the concept though. It does make sense in cold weather as alcohol (gin etc) does help keep our body warm. I was told ages ago that that was the reason the Indian army was given access to low cost alcohol as most of their assignments were in the frigid regions in the Himalayas.
But, in warm Singapore? A drunk population does tend to worry me. (Cue: Britain..) Of late, Singapore as well thanks to a paucity of recreation on weekends. But atleast, now I know the reason. So, the kid within is at peace on this (for now)..
2. Full sleeve shirts (and suits): Another concept that was lost on me. And another concept I appreciated post my months in the UK. Cold weather = more layers.
This might seem obvious to many but it wasn’t for me while I wore formals for years at a stretch in humid Singapore. In this case, I have nothing against full sleeve shirts and suits. If anything, I fully support the idea. I spent 3 out of 4 years in university in precisely these clothes and believe they are akin to military uniform – they make us feel good and trusted.
But, I do wonder what we would be wearing had we been living in an Asian dominated world..
3. Gyms: The only time a gym worked out for me was when a whole bunch of friends got together post high school to ‘work on our muscles’. And this was a riot – with all of us comparing our ‘huge’ muscles few days into our 2 month stint.
Otherwise, they never really worked. I much preferred football/tennis for the social factors. Moreover, I thought – if I really wanted to run about, stretch etc, why would I do it indoors? Much rather do it outside early in the morning. (‘Early in the morning’ was hypothetical of course till today..)
This morning, as I was busy with my exercise, I just thought how I would manage the same routine in sure-to-be-cold London and bam! Now, I understood the reason for gyms. Cold weather. Of course!
2 things came out of the exercise for me –
1. Change in scenery: A change in scenery can teach you a LOT. Often, much more than you realize when you experience the change. I’ve only spent a couple of months in cold weather (the 4 previous months in the middle east don’t count weather-wise.. haha) but they’re helping piece through a few puzzles in my head.
2. Persistence: Persistence counts when we’re wondering about stuff as well. Gradually, we get to understand why things work the way they do. I believe there is tremendous value in that – just understanding the nature of things.