A while back (https://thanhhelpt.nl/back-to-your-cultural-roots/) I shared my story about the importance of going back to my (cultural) roots.
Today, I would like to elaborate on what else this journey has meant to me and what I am currently delving into.
My trip to Vietnam (part of my 6-month journey in South-East Asia), I discovered that the people were different from me; I was fat in their eyes, darker in skin colour, which is a bad thing there because it makes you 'poor' (dark skin means working outside on the land, so poor), I had an accent, I literally behaved western in their eyes. The Vietnamese food there tasted different from the food here in Holland. More delicious!
I noticed above all that it is a country of much sadness, pain and mourning, but that this was mostly not talked about. At the time, I tried talking to the locals: taxi drivers, street vendors, museum guards, etc. A whole generation had disappeared from the country and you could feel that and the young people tried to put a new spin on it. The scars of the war were palpable but not negotiable. In the war museum, you could relive this through photographs, and the Cu Chi tunnel was a glimpse of what it was like back then.
It also took a long time before my parents and family spoke about this. I think it was 30 years and even then it was factual stories instead of emotions and what an impact this had on them and how they passed this on to their children (the second generation).
It is a cultural thing to just go on and on and not to dwell on it. That is actually how I was brought up and how I have walked my entire career path. Of course, this also has a positive side, it has put me where I am today, as a proud Asian Dutchman, but I am increasingly aware of the impact this has on a much larger scale. And then I think of the rest of the Asian countries, where each country has its own history of war, sorrow, poverty and pain.
As Asians, we are damaged, we are very much looking for the way out and for changing this for our youth/future. Step by step, we are entering into discussions with our parents, with our manager, with our partners, with our children and with the media. This is the movement that I see and experience now being set in motion and with a lot of (unconscious) pain, sadness and ignorance.
This is also the award to find each other more and support each other more in this, because it is much nicer to do this together and it is actually necessary to tackle the change on a larger scale so that we can actually do this for our (future) children. In my opinion, this starts with breaking taboos and having an open discussion with each other and realising the impact this has on our work and private lives.
Change starts with yourself, but you don't have to do it alone! Let's connect!
Happy Saturday Love, Thanh - www.thanhhelpt.nl