One of the hardest things about living in a new culture is trying to wrap my brain around the new culture without building stereotypes about it at the same time. When I have more than a few encounters at the bank that show (warning: American entitlement ahead) stunningly low levels of customer service, or interest in problem solving on my behalf (as the paying customer!), I start to think things like, “Hong Kong has terrible customer service and doesn’t know how to problem solve. Americans would get this taken care of by now!”
Well, that’s obviously ridiculous, white girl. But it’s also true that my version of good customer service in Hong Kong is not a high priority, and that there is a difference in a social norm between what I think is acceptable and the culture here. SO TRICKY. Because what I’m trying to do is learn more about the world and not be more narrow, even though the discrepancies in my expectations and the reality I’m in are e-nor-mous.
Gender roles have been an especially hot spot for me here in Hong Kong, per usual. When the official government visa paperwork lists single women as “spinsters” I know this concern has not been fabricated in my liberal west coast head. That’s why this little film has me so inspired. It doesn’t matter what country I live in, or what culture I can relate to best, when women are valued based on their relationships to men…it’s a big ass problem. No matter what. And there are people working to change the wrongs of the world to RIGHTS across every culture. I can totally wrap my brain around that kind of hope.