Cultural Differences

I know I rarely ever post on this blog now, and I do apologize. I’ve recently resumed my work on song covers and uploaded my latest cover on Train’s Drive By. Aside from that, I’ve also had midterms and I’ve been extremely focused on the hockey world. If you’re interested in the sport and want to learn about it and find out the happenings around the National Hockey League, my hockey blog is thenhljournal.wordpress.com.

In this column, I’m not here to talk about my favorite sport. I’m here to talk about something that I’ve found intriguing over the years. Last semester, I was taking Calculus I at Northwestern Polytechnic University in Fremont. We were in the middle of a lesson when our Korean professor went on a tangent about what he called “the cultural shock” when he arrived in California.

Before I go on, NPU is basically an internationally diverse university. That means there are Finnish, Indian, Chinese (Mainlanders and Taiwanese), Arabic, and possibly other ethnic groups which I am unaware of. At the time of first semester, there were only two local students: me and a teen from Gilroy, California.

Back to the off-topic lecture, after he’d explained how he felt of this diversity, he’d asked us to chime in on what we thought of this huge change in culture. As one Chinese student told his story about going to school for a while in Vancouver, B.C., I eventually looked back in my life and thought “… Wow, things really have changed since moving to Fremont.” Why did I think that?

(In the following flashback, this is just my perception from early in my childhood. Things may have drastically changed since.)

I remember all the friends I’d had back in my times attending Alvarado Elementary School and Cesar Chavez Middle School. The majority were either white or Hispanic. In fact, I only remember of three of my friends who are Asian. Thus, I really never got into the Asian culture… until moving to Fremont. When I had told an Indian friend of mine I felt things had changed for me since moving to Fremont, my Gilroy friend said “It’s just moving to a different city.” While I do understand and know that it’s just moving from one place to another, I still felt that there was a massive sense of change in culture from one city to another. Here in Fremont, immediately upon entering William Hopkins Junior High, I had sensed an atmosphere which I could easily fit into. For one, I seldom saw any white or Hispanic students. The majority of my friends, as you could probably tell from an earlier post or two, are Asian… Asian Taiwanese to be exact. Over the years, I’d learned that Asians set high standards for themselves in life, whether it be just out of pure responsibility for themselves or the fear of being screwed over by their parents for even getting B’s.

Grades aside, as I dwell on the Asian culture even more, I focus on the fact that I was born and raised in a Mainlander family. Though there are no tensions between my friends and I, it certainly makes me think back to my columnist and college friend’s latest column (http://jchenthecolumnist.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/celebrating-taiwans-and-the-republics-ups-and-downs-66-years-on-and-counting/). He takes pride in being Taiwanese about as much as he’s devoted to his religion.

I think the most important thing we have to remember is that America isn’t just a country filled with lying politicians, political drama, and die-hard patriots who are constantly blinded by their own ethnocentric views. Remember how America started, from 13 colonies rebelling against the British to the mass immigration of people from other countries, especially China. In this aspect, I must say I am proud to be an American. Most importantly, though, I am proud to be an ABC (American Born Chinese).

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