The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

India: Colour, Sound, Smell, Culture, Madness … Humanity.
February 25, 2007, 3:56 am
Filed under: Comment

Delhi Airport … full of UN troops. Not the most calming thing to see in the arrivals lounge.

I hate the Chivas brand – I just find it trite – however I do like the fact that in the mad streets of India, a motorbike is regarded as more of a ‘status symbol’ than a car.

Coke versus Lipton. How many other countries could you say that in?

When you get to the hotel you are given a garland of flowers and …

… your own ‘Indian marking’.

And on the television, it’s a none-stop-supply of channels showing the bloody cricket!

I have always had a great warmth for the Indian people and culture.

Maybe it was because my Dad came here when I was 5 and filled my head with the beauty, grace, warmth, energy, culture and symbolism of the place … or maybe it was because one of my closest friends growing up was Kermjeet, an Indian kid whose family treated me like a son – however whatever the actual reason is, as I grow older and [supposedly] wiser, I can categorically say, one of the things I truly love about the place [and Asia in general] is the level of sacrifice people will make for the good of future generations.

You see as much as there is ‘family responsibility’ in pretty much every culture … out in the ‘East’, people don’t just look after their ‘immediate family’ [ie: children / parents / grandparents], they also have one eye on the overall development of their country because they appreciate if their country progresses, then their family also has a greater chance of progressing as well.

For me the biggest difference between the family values of East and West, is that whilst people in the West care about their immediate family and [in the main] don’t want to bring shame on them … in the East, people don’t want to screw up the family name of the last 2000 years or the next 2000 years. 

Because of this, another fundamental difference is in their choice of political representative.

Out in India/Asia, people passionately vote for whoever they believe will benefit their country as a whole … and whilst you may think that’s what most people in democratic societies do, the reality is that in many cases, people [especially in established in Western markets] vote for whoever represents their best personal interests, regardless of the wider community.

Yeah … yeah … I know I sound like a Red Commie Bastard, but as I see the gradual decline of society in Western [Powerhouse] countries … I really do appreciate how lucky I am to be living in a region where cultural development is as highly regarded [and nurtured] as personal and economic progression.

Oh, and for those people who value ‘wealth’ only interms of ‘financial power’ – you should know the East is also about to be [if not already] the wealthiest, most powerful and influential region on the planet.

[Infact some people say it’s only been the last 800 years, that this hasn’t been the case! And whilst that sounds a long time … for a planet millions of years old, it’s not really]

It’s no longer a case of East meets West … it’s becoming East LEADS West and you know what,  that might not be so bad at all!

11 Comments so far
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As you live in Asia, can you tell me why you’re still up when you can’t be suffering from jetlag given you’ve only had a 5 hour flight.

Yes I know you slept on the plane and Delhi is 3 hours or something behind Singapore, but surely you should still be tired? I mean, it’s 4am to you isn’t it?

I on the other hand have never felt more awake, even after a horrendously long flight so I warn you now that I will feel and look like death tomorrow.

What that leaves me to say is that I will see you at breakfast in a few hours time and with a bit of luck, I might of had a cosy 19 minutes of sleep.

Night mate.

Comment by George

I’ll be there with coffee waiting.

Lots and lots of coffee.

Comment by Rob

You’re too kind but you really don’t have to stay awake in sympathy to me. See you in a few hours.

Comment by George

Everyone I know who has ties to India loves the place. I can see why.

I think many people in the West see it as being a poor place, but I think in many aspect of social personality and culture they are way ahead of us.

As for the voting thing, you are absolutely right.

Business culture is different in India too. Knowledge is power, and people go to great length to keep knowledge (which apparently is one reason why some outsourcing fails there!).

Even if the East isnt leading the West yet, they are drawing ever closer!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You’re right Rob .. but that’s because knowledge is seen as a conduit to fulfilling family, filial &/or cultural progression – one of the key Asian values [which Johnnie Walker utilised for their ‘Keep Walking’ campaign!]

I should point out that progression need not be something dramatic like building a trillion dollar industry [though that would be particulary well received, ha] it can be from owning your first motorised vehicle to being the first to go to University.

Infact education is so highly valued in Asia, that it is one of the most profitable business categories to be in. Maybe that’s why most of the top global Universities all market themselves out here – because they know Asia regards an overseas education so highly, that parents will happily pay a massive price premium to get it for their children. [even if it means great personal sacrifice to afford it]

I have to say that I am fundamentally against ‘knowledge as a profit-oriented business’ – but that’s a debate for another day – however this may help explain why if you walk around the campus of most great international Universities, you’ll see it bursting with very clever, very keen young Asian and Indian kids whose parents are all sitting at home, hoping they’re beloved children are gaining the ‘knowledge edge’ that will help them achieve greater personal and filial progression. [Even though the way Asian’s tend to ‘gain knowledge’ is more about ‘remembering facts and processes’ than actually ‘learning’ – which is why so many have an inability to think ‘around’ a problem. Harsh, but true. –]

The other thing Indians love to do, is debate.


There need be no resolution to anything, they just want to talk, argue, converse.

Infact a few weeks ago I was joking with my brilliant planner Hari [an Indian] that if a bank said “We’ll Debate With You About Money Issues”, they’d be market leader of the Indian market overnight.

It’s going to be a very long week for me … hahaha.

Comment by Rob

apparently artists in india do really well there too – they get respect and paid accordingly!!

while i admire the ideology of having to honour your family and country for the sake of future generations, i could imagine that sometimes it would be a little restrictive. some of the best things come out of being impulsive and selfish.

having said that – india still sounds rad: it shows cricket all the time!!…

Comment by lauren

You are so right Lauren – the value system out here does means that in certain circumstances/situations … you do feel a sense of restriction interms of what you can do.

However … and it’s a big however … not only is that element starting to change – thanks to people having greater ability to see what is going on [and what they can do] in the World – I still feel a country that lives by some fundamental guiding principals is a better and more humane place to be than one with an instant-gratification, me-me-me philosophy which is seemingly endemic in more and more of the established Western countries.

Don’t get me wrong … I love my country … but I don’t like where things seem to be heading.

Maybe I feel so strongly about it because my Mum is Italian and I grew up in an environement where family and the community are very important? Who knows, but I can say that everytime I go back to the US, UK or Oz – it feels like the communities are moving further and further away from the values that helped them be great places all those years ago.

Comment by Rob

definitely! it’s funny ‘cos i was going to respond to your trans-fat post about ‘slow-food’ and less instant-gratification being a better option to the fast food apocalypse, rather than banning trans fats. [but didn’t ‘cos i didn’t feel like being too much of a comment whore]

i’m really hoping australia can see how uncaring we’ve become as a nation very soon and do something to reverse it. you know it’s bad when federal politics is won on a promise of no interest rate rises, presented as an extra $50 a week in the pocket, rather than any real leadership about any real social issues.

Comment by lauren

Lauren …. be a comment whore, I really appreciate [and am amazed] you take time to actually read the rubbish I write – let alone sometimes feel you want to write something about it too.

And yes … it’s a sad state when elections are won and lost on interest rate rises. Don’t get me wrong, it is an important consideration – but it shouldn’t be the all encompassing reason why someone would vote for lil’ Johnnie Howard.

Comment by Rob

I love admitting to stuff I know nothing about. Like India. Or Asia. I know nothing about the place. NOTHING.

Time to DO something about that.

Comment by Marcus Brown

Yes it is.

Sadly ive only been to Asia once, to Hong Kong. But it was the best holiday ive ever had.

Its amazing how people can be so the same yet so different.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

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