Sunday, October 14, 2007

Out of place?

Being Asian, I realise I'm a minority in North America. Growing up in Singapore, I'm not a stranger to multiculturalism or racial diversity and moving to Vancouver, I embraced the multiculturalism prevalent in my new home. Now, moving to New York, I am once again surrounded by people from different cultures and countries but never once, did I ever feel out of place at any point in time, until today...

Scenario 1:
I was invited to a Korean church service by a classmate of mine. I consider myself to be an easy-going and an open minded individual so I cheerfully went, knowing that the service would be entirely in Korean! I was told though, that there would be a translation of sorts via headset but unfortunately, it didn't work! So I went through the entire service in Korean! Being Singaporean, I always thought I had the upperhand being able to speak English while living in North America - while many Asian immigrants struggle in this area. But today while at service, I truly felt out of place. Not understanding the sermon or what people were saying or sharing really felt awkward, jarringly awkward. However, the congregation was extremely friendly and nice and made me feel comfortable, especially when everyone of them spoke English!

Scenario 2:
I was at the Apple Store in SoHo and while I was waiting, I did what I usually do when I'm bored - I people-watch. After about 10 minutes of observing, I came to realise that I was surrounded by gay couples. There was a lesbian couple sitting next to me, a gay couple infront of me and behind me. There was a gay guy with his friend in the skinniest jeans and beautifully tweezed eyebrows walking around the area I was waiting in. His gay companion, carrying the latest YSL bag, a pashmina wrapped around his neck and True Religion jeans. Boy, did I feel out of place. Here I was, straight and happily straight, I felt awkward being the only straight person in the small square feet of space around me. Awkward...

No comments: