July 10, 2019

Numb, norm and new default

Numb, norm and new default

inspired by the 44thAmerican president Barack Obama:

And the worst part is we’ve become numb to these statistics.  We're not surprised by them.  We take them as the norm.  We just assume this is an inevitable part of American life, instead of the outrage that it is.  That's how we think about it.  It's like a cultural backdrop for us -- in movies and television.  We just assume, of course, it's going to be like that.  But these statistics should break our hearts.  And they should compel us to act.

I was scared to learn that I felt less different after a couples of months working in a factory. I was sensitive how people reacted around me in a first few weeks right after I landed in Hanoi after 6 years studying in the U.S. I was scared that I was losing myself. I was scared that my vision and my value were not clearly stated and respected. I scared that I was changing, not for a better but for  a worse.

My first hint that I was changing when I raised my voice against others to assert my authority and my position. I stopped others mid-sentence to dictated mine. I did not slow down when seeing others changed lane.

Yes, I have been a sensitive person, too sensitive by many people’ norm. I often reacted strongly to respect my preference. I could argue with my father for hours. I dared and opposed respected seniors in my family when they suggested that no alcohol meant weak and impotent. I am more than be ready to be alone to live my life, rather to stay close with others be a nice and easy-going member. I chose a hard path just to be myself. Doing differently than the majority is dangerous and a hell lots to pay.

Some mentioned “reserved culture shock” when returning to Vietnam after studying in the developed culture. The “reserved” is underlined because those people experienced a “culture shock” when they first came to a developed country, in this case, the U.S. I felt more difficult to adapt the “reserved” part because I stubbornly rejected to accept new norms in Vietnam as my values I should treasure.

Recently, when running the red light or honking other people on the street, I felt this person was no longer me or it was still me but not the one I would like be embodied in.  I felt strange that I did not slow down when seeing a pedestrian on the cross walk. I were enraged seeing some guys rode on expensive scooters without a helmet run a red light like they were making a show. Their face showed no different and no eyes contacts while doing so.
But then I changed. I still stopped at the red light but felt no different to pass the the white paint strip before the light. I felt no guilty to pass the yellow light or even rode over on the red.

I once hated those who honked me from the behind when I had not yet moved when the clock counting down to three. I now more or less accept that honking is going to happen anyway, so I keep my emotion at bay. I am indifferent to what have been considered impolite and rightly aggressive by me a few years back. I slowly move my bike and make the best efforts to pass the white paint on the green. Yes, I am numb so that I don't have to think, to presume that I can do something about it, to avoid that I should show my perspective.

I once thrown a dirty look at those to run their bikes on the pavement. I once confused that a parent carried their child without a helmet, and presumably, telling that kid to learn good things only.  I once showed my contempt when a not-friendly-looking passing my bike and stopped on front of mine when I was slowly moving and  waiting for a car to make a turn.  I rammed his bike from the behind. I did put hard on the breaks, but there was not much time for me to react either.

I’m not yet to think running red light is my norm. I did run on the pavement on Truong Chinh street. I care less about my feeling on right vs. okay and just let move on. I lost my sharpness of my thinking, and now, everything is the same or I am rather don’t care. There is no right or a better way. They live their and I live mine. By the way, I am not liking myself when I put they vs. me like this one. People round me and myself form a society. So that should be we and not me vs. others.

Many Punches Intended.