Thursday, July 01, 2004

multiculture - the mixing of different realities
A lot of my life is spent living in the space where cultures meet. Sometimes they rub together happily and end up in bed. Other times, they end up at war.

Like competitive children in a dysfunctional family, England and France have been at each other's throats for centuries. Our wars with the Frogs are engraved on our national psyche to the extent that we have written folk tales and songs about it.

We've had over 27 wars with France from 1066 until we signed the Entente Cordiale in 1906. You could say that it's hardly surprising given how different our cultures are. But the more I come to understand these two countries, I have come to think that our cultures have not suddenly formed themselves independently of each other but have grown up together and, more importantly, in contrast to each other. Here's my best attempt at an explanation of how.

Whenever my French friends jeer at me telling me how terrible English food is, I always reply that if the French promise to stick to Cuisine, then the English will promise to stick to Music. Finally I got fed up of these stereotypes so I had some French friends around for me to introduce them to sausages and mash, and for them to introduce me to French music. Here's what we learnt about ourselves and our different conceptions of food and music.

Sex is of course, much more important than war, food or music. It's amazing how much flirting styles can differ across cultures. Here's what I've figured out about the contrast between Latin versus Anglo styles.

Finally, if you've ever seen a bunch of Japanese tourists and wondered what the feck they were all doing, then here is my explanation.

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