Sunday, March 29, 2009

Working too much

I know I have not been posting much. This past semester has been incredibly busy. For the first time, I have been bringing work home every weekend. I can't wait until the semster is over -- I only have 3 more weeks to go.

I remind myself that at least I am only busy during the semester and it only lasts for 12 weeks twice a year. A lot of people in Singapore have to keep this up year around.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Last week I wrote a midterm test for my pre-matriculation students. The text for the comprehension test was on the five stages of culture shock: honeymoon stage, hostile stage, acceptance stage, reverse culture shock. The acceptance stage is basically acknowledging that people do things differently without thinking its wonderfully exotic (honeymoon) or wrong and in need of correction (hostile). Reverse culture shock is when things about a person's home culture seem wonderfully exotic or wrong and in need of correction. I've been in the acceptance stage for a long time but recently realized when I watched Benjamin Button that I've begun to slip toward reverse culture shock. In one scene, the daughter is reading Button's journal to her dying mother in a hospice. She's sitting in an uncomfortable chair so she gets up and sits on the unoccupied bed next to her mother. Then she puts her feet (still in boots) on the bed. My reaction: I cringed and thought, "Eww, that's so disgusting. She should know better especially in a hospice."

While I have certainly complained about plenty in the US, I have never had this instinctive reaction that a common American custom is dirty. I haven't realized that I had assimilated some of Asian culture. It's a bit unnerving.