OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? What are you not proud of?

maki
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(A little bit of offtopic fun from the forums!)

Something that came up in the comments for this post was the fact that, in the TV report that I described, they’re really proud of a positive aspect of Japanese culture (bentos) gaining popularity overseas, but that maybe people in other countries (specifically the US) may not be so proud of aspects of their culture being ‘exported’. Since there are people from all parts of the world here, I thought I’d throw this out. Two part question!

  • What aspects of your culture - your country, your region, your race or religion, however you define “your” culture - are you proud of being exported to other cultures? What do you want to see exported more?

and…the flip side

  • What aspects of your culture are you ashamed of being exported or wish weren’t exported?

(ETA: Let’s stay away from attacking other people/countries/cultures. Any such comments will be deleted. We don’t want things degenerating into a mudslinging contest, k?)

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bronwyncarlisle
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Very little of our culture is exported (no one seems to want it), but there are several parts of it I am proud of. The one that first springs to mind is what's known here as "Kiwi ingenuity", or "The number 8 fencing wire mentality". Basically this means that we are a country of McGyvers, and can fix anything "with a piece of number 8 fencing wire". Historically this is because we are so far from everywhere else that we had to learn to make and fix things ourselves with the tools at hand or we'd just have to do without because it used to take so long and cost so much to get proper bits or replacements for things. It's quicker now, but still expensive so we still fix a lot of things ourselves. Even at my work this is true, and our PhD graduates are prized workers when they go overseas post-doc-ing, because they can turn their hands to anything, even maintaining the rather complicated equipment in Biochemistry labs.

I'm also proud of the political corruption we don't have (least (or second least, can't quite remember) corrupt in the world), and very proud of our anti-nuclear stance. Even when the US were trying to bully us into dropping it we stood firm, and continue to do so. As a country this is one thing we're damned near unanimous about.

I can't really think of anything I'm ashamed of. We do have what's termed a "binge drinking culture", which is supposed to be bad, but as more than two drinks per occasion is considered binge drinking I'm guilty of this myself every now and then, and can't really see anything wrong with it.

____________________________________

Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

pii_bii
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

You should be very proud of Flight of the Conchords, and Peter Jackson. The latter in particular - I can't thank New Zealand enough for Brain Dead and Bad Taste. Then he went wrong with all that hobbit stuff...:P

I apologise if you Kiwis are sick of the Lord of the Rings connection, though. :)

bronwyncarlisle
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Oh dear, how could I have forgotten them? But then they are just three people, not really our culture per se. I am embarrassed that TVNZ didn't see the potential in Flight of the Conchords and they had to go overseas for their big break though.

I must be one of the few New Zealanders who wasn't an extra in the Lord of the rings movies, but I actually did enjoy them when I saw them.

angela
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Hi Bronwyn,

I have to mention Gourmet Burger Kitchen restaurants in the UK, founders of these nice burgers are from New Zealand!

Angela
x

bronwyncarlisle
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

And we have Hell Pizza too. Actually, we have jolly good coffee and excellent pizza here. Our pizzas are far from traditional, but gorgeous - smoked salmon and cream cheese; chicken, brie and cranberry; spinach and feta; roast vege and hummus are some of the less adventurous ones.

ETsMom
Bento-ing from: Yakima › Washington › USA
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I like the bit about fencing wire. I can completely relate to that. My parents have a naturally grown farm here and when they first started out, I had to help my dad put up fences. He is an HVAC guy by trade and he uses a lot of zipties. His entire farm is held together with zipties! My parents are big believers of "making do with what you have". I agree.

By the way, did you experience the earthquake where you are at? I have been following some of the news about it and I am glad that no one was killed. Is Dunedin close to Christchurch?

I would love to visit NZ. I love how beautiful and clean your country is!

bronwyncarlisle
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

The earthquake woke me up with a bang. My whole house rattled and shook, but Dunedin is 300km (~180 miles) away from Christchurch so there was no damage here. It was rather a shock to hear that it was centred on Christchurch and there was so much damage. There seems to be a previously unknown fault line there. According to people who were in this one in Christchurch and also experienced the big one in San Francisco when the roads collapsed this was the scarier of the two.

People there were out in their back yards digging long drops (latrines) as soon as it was daylight - I don't know if any of them were using fencing wire, but they were making do! They're getting a bit tired and frazzled now though, the aftershocks keep coming and getting worse.

Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I loved the bit about "Number 8 fencing wire". Here in the States, it's duct tape that we fix everything with! :D

bronwyncarlisle
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

The most bizarre use for No 8 fencing wire I've heard of was as a replacement for a blown fuse on a Rolls Royce. Can't use duct tape for that!

pey
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

i live in the u.s., and would never think of someone from new zealand as a mcgyver, so i guess the stereotype you guys may have for yourselves isn't as bad as you may think.... i think of new zealand as an exotic place with brilliant people and plenty of opportunity for extreme sports and other extreme outdoor-type events. i've never thought of its people as "mcgyvers". in my mind's eye, i see new zealand as a smart, forward-thinking, civilized culture.... (then again, much of the civilized world things of americans as greedy, selfish, uneducated dolts with no regard for other cultures, so i guess anyone could be wrong, hehe)

anyway, binge drinking is something that's usually done after-hours in my book.... after all of the work is done for the day, so who cares? there is binge drinking in my culture too, and stereotypes that must be overcome as well.... bleh. only you know what it's really like there, and i imagine that it's pretty amazing. :)

pii_bii
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Ooh, good one!
Things I am proud of that England...wait, I'll say UK, so I can include Scotland's contribution to videogaming :)...things that I'm proud of that the UK has exported include:
A fine history of comedy - from Python to Wallace and Gromit, and everything in between!
The BBC world service? I love the Beeb...but I don't know how great the world service really is! If QI has travelled to any other countries, I would be very happy with that!
A fine array of excellent works of literature (I just wish we could claim ownership of Haruki Murakami)
Various video games
Marmite (if that really has travelled at all!)

Things I would like to apologise for:
Various awful TV formats - Any-country-you-wish-to-mention's Got Talent, et al
Ricky Gervaise and Russel Brand. Sorry, America. :(
Football fans

And the UK, too, apparently has a 'binge drinking culture' (well, that's what we keep getting told, anyway) as Bronwyn mentioned... the aforementioned football fans tend to export that with them, too.

Edit: How could I forget the music? From Michael Nyman to Radiohead...from the Beatles to Sabbath. We done good. :)

bronwyncarlisle
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

You did done good, didn't you?

And Marmite has spawned a number of offspring that have travelled, even if their parent hasn't so much.

Sapphy
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I'm from England and I think the things I'm most proud of is the (saddly dwindling) English reserve and stiff upper lip. I know it gets a lot of stick from people overseas, but I am a great admirer of the 'keep calm and carry on' mentality that is still found here. And maybe its just me being too English, lol, but I cringe when I see American TV and everyone's so over effusive and psudo-emotional. Judith Chalmers, the first women to win a million on 'who wants to be a millionaire' ended up having three takes of her final question done because the producers didn't think she was excited enough because she didn't jump up and down or scream. Good for you Judith!

The other things I'm proud of about my country are our sense of humour, our childrens telly (the BBC make fantastic kids TV that's fun and educational - I have been known to watch gastronuts and horrible histories, lol), our huge mix of people, not just different ethnic and religious groups, but the massive regional varieties - going to a new county is never boring and you never know what new bizarre phrase you might encounter - perhaps your son, Biggie might like a boiled cluckberry in his bento? (linconshire-ish for an egg) - and of course the welfare state. It constantly amazes me that in this day and age there are developed countries without a decent healthcare system, without proper benefits etc etc.

Things I'm not proud of is the major flaws in the education system (Romeo was a catapult and he was killed on the Titanic), our drink culture (@ pii_bii: I'm a student in Birmingham so I can attest to the levels of drinking and 'yobbish' behaviour, lol) and the Daily Mail. I can put up with the tabloids - I hate them but at least they don't pretend to be intellectual newspapers unlike the right wing reactionary rubbish that is printed in the Mail. 'Labour government pays for illegal immigrant paedophiles to go on luxury holidays. I f only Diana were here to see it!' lol

The thing I'm least proud of about my country at the moment is how Americanised we're becoming. I mean no offence to Americans, but it depresses me to see my culture slowly disappear.

@ Bronwyn: The make do and mend attitude is something to be really proud of. My dad was famous for it and when an old friend of the family mended our dishwasher using a rubber band and a candle he claimed to have been channelling the spirit of my dad, lol

pii_bii
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

There's so much here that rings true! I, too, love the local dialects, dishes and words, that somehow remain intact within our society. Moving from the south of england to the north east (so I too see a lot of 'drinking culture' ...but I'm often involved in it!) really cements that, and long may all regions retain their identity! I am going to Birmingham for the first time next month, and look forward to it.

Oh, one thing - the lady who won Millionnaire was Judith Keppel. I only remember the surname because I actually went to school with her grandson! (and he only got a crummy copy of the Millionnaire board game from her!)

Sapphy
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I hope you enjoy your time in out fair city. Foodwise check out chinatown, it's small but there's a really good range of food. Of course at some point in Birmingham you have to have a Balti (invented here in Brum). If you fancy some top quality pub grub, check out the plow on Harbourne high street, I cannot recomend it highly enough :)

Sapphy
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Oh yeah, well done. I wonder who Judith Chalmers is then? lol

Sapphy
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

And I just realised that this is the forum for Just Bento, not Lunch in a Box. Sorry for giving you the wrong name Makiko!!!

Jack Glantzberg
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

USA....

I'm proud of what we used to stand for. Freedom. Liberty. Personal choice.

I'm not proud of the tyranny that has replaced it. Nanny state. Mother government protecting us from every little thing.

Don't believe me? Lift the veil of lies and see what truths exist underneath.

Axelle
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

France.

I am proud of our culture of pleasure. Sitting in a cafe talking about cinema with friends, nice food, doing nothing in the sun... not doing too much work and having a proper family life (with family diners!!), going to markets and smelling the sweet scent of the fruit in the air...

Of course coming from France food has a big place in my heart... and food can get a little... complicated in France and the really posh restaurants that use words that no one understands really drive me crazy... I have nothing against delicate flavours, and people getting "interesting flavours" together, but there is a reason why "nouvelle cuisine" did not survive the 80s.

I want to finish on a positive note, so my favorite French export is FASHION. Not just the parisians Chanel, Diors and other Lanvins, but also all the little boutiques you can find dotted around the country where you can find beautifully made garments at reasonable prices... The sales people always know their onions (because they've been hunting for the stuff!!) and can tell you a lot more about the history of a label than what you would find in big worldwide stores (H and M). I am really proud that the whole world looks up to the French when it comes to fashion.

Bonne journee a tous!

Audrey Tan
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I'm from Singapore, the tiny island that is also called the Red Dot (most maps just put a dot there). The number 1 misconception that foreigners have is that Singapore is part of China. That's just sad, though Chinese forms the majority, we hold a tight multi-racial community (hopefully it's still 'tight'). What I'm proud of is... the safety in the country, and almost everyone has a roof over their heads. Oh, not forgetting the wide variety of food you can get in most food centers. Do try the satay (kebab that comes with rice wrapped in neatly weaved pandan leaves), hainanese chicken rice (my personal favourite!), chili crab (spicy hot!), chicken briyani rice (originated from india), and loads more.

There's quite a problem when it comes to the 'graciousness' in the Singapore society. Seems like there's a huge gap when you compare the people of Singapore and the Japanese. It lies in the culture. The service quality is considerably bad, though I think we've improved after much social training. Really, I've seen more than enough people snubbing each other on the trains. When it comes to freedom of speech, there's not much really, especially if you're planning to mention anything about the government.

Well, here's another thing I'm proud of, Singapore held the first inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games last month, and I was a volunteer =)

Kyandasu
Bento-ing from: Boulder › Colorado › USA
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I had a really good friend who was from Singapore. I understand what you mean about the China thing. All the kids in my class assumed she was Chinese, just because she was from Asia, really. She definitely WAS NOT Chinese. She also happened to be Muslim, and after 9-11, everyone in my school stopped assuming she was Chinese, and switched to assuming she was from Afghanistan. The world's ignorance can get really ridiculous.

____________________________________

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Sharon
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

im from Singapore too ^^;;
and what i dont like about Singapore is exactly the attitude of people, especially in the service industry, too. i feel that a lot of Singaporeans are arrogant, like they are too good for people. l:
also, some rules are really dumb i have to say. even drinking plain water in trains earns you a ticket. that is ridiculous...seriously. i feel that the government is trying to babysit us....this IS embarrassing.
okay, aside that what i do like about Singapore is that it is safer than a lot of countries..thats all really, i hate here, its so small, urbanized and there is people everywhere.

Jadey
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

i hate the sense of "bo-chapness" here.

That's indifference for you there.

PUS, the advertisements on those screens in the MRT stations. (17 yr old student griping here, sry). It is NOT nice to be at the station before 7 in the morning, wishing for more sleep, when the screen decides to screen those advertisments/look-out-for-suspicious-bags/people-in-hats-acting-suspiciously warnings.

Need i mention the noise that blares from the speakers WITH those annoyances? *rolls eyes* Especially when one of them include a supposed exploded train that sounds like a mixture of a deathly scream from a horror movie and a KABOOMB from a war movie.

Not nice.

The cleanliness is good though. (:

Amy L
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I am a Christian from the USA and I am thankful that I can worship God without fear of persecution. I think as a nation, we are indeed very blessed in our freedom of speech, etc. and the democracy we have, while not perfect, is still a good form of government, in my opinion, in that the people have a say in the goings on of the state/nation. I like that we do reach out to other countries in need. I like that we are multicultural. The thing I like the least is I have seen a big sense of entitlement in our culture. Many people expect so much, when there are so many people in other countries that live with very little, even compared to our poor. And sometimes we do stick our nose where it does not belong, so that would be my 2nd dislike.

God bless you all!

Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I am an American and proud of being one, but to say what I'm proud of? Shoot, DEFINING American culture would be difficult at best. Culture and habits vary greatly by region, just from the sheer SIZE of the place.

And ya know, that's probably both the thing I'm proudest of and not so proud of. We're such a mishmash (Melting pot is the usual expression) that we get ideas and culture from EVERYWHERE (what with being a nation of immigrants) that it sometimes gives us quite an identity crisis in dealing with the rest of the world.

Sara
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

A bit more for the UK:

I'm proud of our intellectual contribution to the world, I'm proud of our human rights attitude and of feminism, of our philosphers: Jeremy Bentham and James Stuart Mill to give two examples, our scientists: Stephen Hawking ect. ect.

I'm proud of our multi-culturalism, I love how metropolitian london is and how you can hear so many different languages all on the same street.

I'm not proud of our colonial past.

I'm not proud of our food, it is crap.

Sapphy
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I agree with you about the intellectual side of the UK, but I can't agree with you about the food. Come down to the Welsh Marches some time and we'll show you what good English food is all about :) Good Shropshire sausages, proper black country faggots, the best curry outside of India, homemade bread and Hereford hop cheese. The UK has some of the best produce in the world if you know where to look. And I defy anyone in the world not to feel better after a good stew (be it cawl, lobscouse or Lancashire hotpot) with dumplings and rhubarb crumble.

Teresa
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

USA

I am proud of the spirit of entrepreneurship, individuality, science and the Internet that has connected the world together. I'm proud of the pioneering spirit and the idea that we can do anything if we put our minds and energy toward it. The ideals of equality and democracy, even if we don't always live up to them.

I am not proud of much of American culture, what little of it there is. What is exported is the worst of our commercialism - McDonalds, Starbucks, etc. I am not proud of our warmongering and attempts to meddle in the politics of the rest of the world. And not proud that we don't take care of our own - health care, education, housing, jobs - because we're spending too much money on defense. I am especially not proud of our culture of consumerism and the use of global resources and personal obesity that results - and to the extent that inspires other cultures to be like us - scary thought.

To counter all these negatives - there is the ability to speak up, organize, and say whatever needs to be said to try and change the way things are going - and sometimes, it even works.

Finally - USA, birthplace of jazz and blues :) yay!

ETsMom
Bento-ing from: Yakima › Washington › USA
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I am from the USA, but what I am especially proud of is the Pacific Northwest. I live in Washington State and I love the weather and scenery. It is wonderfully warm here most of the year. The west coast is rainy and green, central WA is agriculture and wine country, and eastern WA is a bread basket. I love all the variety and diversity here.

My favorite place to go is the Seattle are because there are so many people of different race and ethnicity. Most people are pretty friendly and welcome interest into their cultures. My family likes to boast about it's Norwegian background and I grew up eating lefsa and lutefisk. I love to try out different cultural foods. Where I live there is a large hispanic community so we can get fresh tortillas and tomales.

Some of the things that I am not wild about here is the heavy gang activity. I have two young children and I hate that I have to explain to my kids what the sound of gunshot is why there are so many police and ambulance sirens. There is also this political line here where the east meets the west. A lot of people on the eastern side of the state feel that there is preference on where the taxes go. I am not fond of our education system in my town. We sometimes have the lowest scores in the state.

Aside from all of that, I really like living in the Pacific Northwest.

ThyGoddess
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I'm from Quebec City. Our whole Old Quebec sector is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. And it's absolutely amazing to visit. Oh and we have the best maple syrup. I dunno why, but syrup that comes from elsewhere just doesn't taste as good as ours. We possess the real sugary goodness.

A lot to not be proud about though. Lots of people with a paranoia that "english" will invade us. They don't say that about people that speak italian or anything else. But bring something called "Second Cup" and you are INVADING US.

Oh and poutine. I dunno why people think it's our national meal. For sake, I look at it and I get a blocked artery. It's just fries and gravy and bad cheese, people... It's disgusting.

plicatrix
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Canada...Northern Ontario "le nouvel Ontario"
I totally get it about poutine not being the national dish but ohhh...what delicious comfort food when you've just come home and it is -40 below!

Samantha M
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I'm from Australia currently living in the USA (for the next 2 years anyway).

Things I'm proud of Australians attitude to giving everyone a "Fair Go", though this is starting to be less common than it was. Also our Medicare and welfare systems .. . which I think kind of tie into the idea of a Fair Go for everyone. The US medical insurance setups worry the stuffing out of me every time I get a sniffle and seem to make everything so difficult.

I am embarrassed by how much Australians have taken to bagging the USA. I can't say I agree with everything their previous Government either but some of the anger and arrogance that comes out when people talk about the USA is a little scary. Friends acted like I'd personally betrayed them by even thinking of moving here for work.

tsuko
Bento-ing from: San Diego › California › USA
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I am from Southern California, USA, and I am proud of our diversity. Growing up here as a half-Japanese kid, I never even thought that people would see me as "different" because I had friends of all sorts of different races. I definitely had a culture shock when I moved to Indiana for college and was only non-white person in almost all of my classes... I will never take the diversity of my hometown for granted again!!!

I'm also proud of our weather. Our range is probably from about 55F (13C) to 95F (35C) and there is very little humidity in the summertime. If we want to play around in the snow, we just drive a few hours to the mountains where there are some great ski resorts. The Mojave Desert is also nearby for people who like camping and dirt biking.

I'm not proud of everything about SoCal, obviously, but we have surfing and Baja-style fish tacos and Asian supermarkets, so I'm quite happy living where I do. ^_^

Claudia
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I'm from the Netherlands.

I'm proud of our freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of choice (with regards to abortion/euthenasia/same sex marriages. Not something I'd choose for myself, but I'm glad that people have a choice in it). Also proud of our social system: mandatory healthcare for everyone, every student gets government aid and free transportation, benefits for the unemployed, handicapped and elderly... Our athletic achievements for such a small country (runners up for the 2010 World Cup - whoohoo!).
Food-wise I LOVE our fries with mayonaise or 'war-style' with mayonaise and peanut sauce. And croquettes (YUM!). And tons of different types of liquorice.

Not so proud of our colonial past. Increased intolerance. Image with regards to drugs. Football vandalism. Hidden poverty.

Gin.net
Bento-ing from: Lausanne area › Switzerland
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Switzerland...

I like the nature, the fact that the mountains, the lakes, everything is within an hour drive from my home. I like the variety of local cultures, even if it has nothing to compare with the USA or UK. I like the respect of the environment, the fact that we still don't grow OMG. I like the respect of people, of minorities, even if we love to 'hate' people from the other part of the country :D I like this little country, made of a patchwork of regions that chose to build a country together. I like the democracy, even if sometimes I am ashamed of what people vote for. I like the careful rythm of decisions, even if it becomes a mess when fast decisions are needed.

I like less the fact that people here are to much afraid of what they don't know, afraid of foreigners, afraid of difference. I am ashamed that women only got the right to vote in the 70's, that so little is done for families.

I don't think I could live anywhere else, anyway :)

bronwyncarlisle
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Really? You only got the vote in the 70s? Goes to show how ignorant I am about other countries. We've had it since 1893; I knew we were very early, but had no idea that any European countries lagged by so much.

maki
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Here is a great page with the chronology of suffrage in Switzerland.

On the other hand, I would say that present-day Switzerland is very well represented by women in politics...far more so than say, the United States.

Kyandasu
Bento-ing from: Boulder › Colorado › USA
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I am from Colorado, USA, and there are a lot of things I am proud of, and a lot I am not.

I am proud of how diverse we are, and yet despite that diversity I am ashamed at how uninformed many Americans are of other cultures.
I am proud of our beautiful country. Living in Colorado, everywhere I look seems to be a perfect snapshot for a postcard. However, I am ashamed that, despite all the beautiful nature we enjoy, we are so behind the curve in terms of environmentalism compared to much of the world. The rate at which we use our resources is ridiculous. At my campus in Boulder, EVERY SINGLE trashcan has a recycling bin RIGHT NEXT TO IT, and yet students at my college still throw away plastic bottles and aluminum into the trash bins. And Boulder is considered a leading city in conservation. I am proud of the many freedoms we enjoy, especially freedom of speech and the right to vote for all races and genders. However, I am ashamed that so many people, especially of the younger generations, just don't care enough to actually use these freedoms.

Honestly, I don't feel like any of the good parts of our culture have really been exported to other parts of the world. Everything I am really proud of in the US is small and localized. Only the bad seems to get projected around the world. After all, there is a reason so many Americans travel with Canadian flag stickers stuck to their luggage.

Denise in NE
Bento-ing from: Lincoln › Nebraska › USA
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

"Honestly, I don't feel like any of the good parts of our culture have really been exported to other parts of the world. Everything I am really proud of in the US is small and localized. Only the bad seems to get projected around the world."

I found this to be true when I backpacked through western Europe years (and years) ago. The culture of the Midwest is entirely different from that which Hollywood portrays. In general, people here are friendly, honest, and generous with both their time and money. I spent a great deal of time trying to convince natives - as well as fellow European, Canadian, and Australian travelers - of that!

"After all, there is a reason so many Americans travel with Canadian flag stickers stuck to their luggage."

Lol! I still have my Canadian flag pin somewhere (it was especially helpful in France). I must admit, though, I tried to avoid my fellow US travelers. I'm sorry to say that there were more than a few who acted ignorant and immature.

Kyandasu
Bento-ing from: Boulder › Colorado › USA
Joined: 23 Jun 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Oh I am definitely not one to deny that Americans can act very ignorant and immature. I kind of think that there is no stereotype that is completely unfounded, and that "stupid American" happens to be our stereotype. And those people drive me crazy! Perhaps I'm overly critical of my own country, but I can't even say that they aren't the norm. People who are open-minded, smart, and mature are also the norm, but I think the ratio is about 1:1. However, for people who come to the US for travel, I think a lot of them look for that ignorance, and don't notice all the good people. If you're looking for something that will offend you, of course you're going to find it. Don't look for the bad, look for the good, and people may be surprised!

Sapphy
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

People will always see what they want to see when they're travelling. I know a lot of Americans and Australians who visit the UK come away feeling that our stand-offish, unfriendly stereotype is true. And yet this weekend I told some complete strangers at a festival that I'd had my purse stolen and they immediately offered to buy me and my partner supper. And to be honest a lot of English people visiting the US don't want to have their stereotypes crushed. You are I'm afraid the country we English love to hate :) Sorry

Justin
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Here in Texas we are often stereotyped as backwards, conservative and too religious, cowboys and rural people. I am not proud of those stereotypes about us which are often true. However we have more people in this state than all of Australia, and a hugely varied landscape and climate from rainy pine forests to cactus-covered mountains. So there is a lot of variety.

I love that we have a very impressive cultural scene here in Dallas, with an opera and a symphony. We are progressive and have lots of local foodie businesses and couture fashion shows and cutting edge architecture being built. Basically, anything that can re-enforce the fact that we're not provincial cowboys is helpful.

Kate
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

OMG you do have a larger population than Australia! I was all, no, that can't be right, so I checked, and you've got like 3 million extra people or something. wow. *is gobsmacked*
texas isn't that big, surely, how do you all fit? are there lots of apartment buildings?
anyway.

thanks, that was an interesting bit of info to stumble across. :)

-Kate

Kenz.
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I am from BC, Canada.
I LOVE the amount of nature, the sheer scape of our country. It is insane, as there is mountains, forests, glaciers, deserts, prairie, three oceans, and way too many lakes to count. We are proud of our medical care, which is apparently our most valued public service. Also proud of the extremely multi-cultural nature of our country, and Pierre Trudeau, our coolest Prime Minister. I am proud of Canadian politeness, although I am not sure if it is true. (Is it? Sorry, but I don't know.) Canadian politeness has extended to outlawing private use of guns in our country, which makes the streets safer. Also, we hosted the 2010 Olympics, threw ourselves into it across the country (we don't usually get patriotic party fever) and won many gold medals.

The not-so-great:
We are so spread out as a country, sometimes we function better as regions. The US influence in Canada has shaped our culture in some ways, not always for the good. Our current leader is a dried-up twit who wears sweater vests. The BC school system is not very good, and our government has hit us with a killer sales tax.
But somehow, the good far outweighs the bad.... I wouldn't want to move.

Caro
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I am French canadian.

I also love this country for the outdoors and multiculturalism. I must agree with you Kenz that since this country is so huge, provinces seam to be countries of their own sometimes. I must say this is particularly true for Québec (the French province). We seam to alienate ourselves from the rest of Canada and sometimes the other provinces don't see us in a good light because of our stupid extremists (the seperatists). Of course not every canadian wage a war against the other. One of the things I really don't like is the fact that people around the world seam to believe that we live in igloos and ride moose too get to work!!! Also (I'm talking to the Americans in particular) French canadians are not french from France. We may have decended from them (400 years ago) but we do not have the same culture as them (it's like saying americans are the same as british people). I do love the maple syrup and the poutine. And most of all I do agree that our leader is a dried-up twit who wears sweater vests. He is bringing us down fast. But we still have our medical care and our country is still awesome in it's own big way!!

Trisha
Bento-ing from: › New Zealand
Joined: 1 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 week 2 days ago.
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I have been in Christchurch, New Zealand, for the last week and experienced the 7.1 earthguake and now its continuing aftershocks.

I am proud of the strong sense of community that has been so evident during the time. People helping each other and remaining remarkably calm. There seems to be a strong confidence in the local government and in the organisations who work with Civll Defense. People have not taken criminal advantage of the situation and only half a dozen silly teenagers have done in any looting.

Perhaps being a small country helps. People tend to know their neighbours. The 'sort it out ourselves' mentality that Bronwyn mentioned is also very evident as neighbours work together to clear up the debris.

There is an army base nearby and they have been doing support work. Field kitchens have been preparing hundreds of meals (army style obento) for the police and fire fighters.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 40 weeks ago.
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Oh you poor thing! Must have been terrifying. A friend of mine was at a conference, staying at Rydges Hotel on the 7th floor. Apparently he couldn't get out of bed it was shaking so much, but the people on the 9th floor were shaken OUT of bed.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 40 weeks ago.
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I am wondering when someone from the UK is going to remember that they have exported the Westminster parliamentary system and the common law to a large part of the world. They are exports to be proud of, but like religious freedom and universal healthcare, are things we tend to take for granted when we have them.

Sara
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Hahaha! politics in general are a very sore point for us britons at the moment, we had the expenses scandle where the politicians were claming everything from second homes to fixing rooves and duck islands on tax-payer expenses.

Currently we're trying to push for an alternative vote because our current system is very unfair. In our last election, despite getting more votes than the previous year, one political party actually lost seats and despite having many political parties, unless you vote for the conservatives or labour, your vote is considered wasted.

All things considered our political system is one of the best in the world, unfortunately it relys on this arachiac concept of the 'honourable gentle(wo)man'. Unfortunately there are very few of our present day politicans that are honourable so it's quite difficult for us to recognise the good whhich explains the lack of acknowledgement on this board. As i type this we are in the grips of a phone hacking scandal. :/

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 40 weeks ago.
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Maybe we Could export MMP to you? For decades before we introduced it we had the party with the most votes winning the fewest seats. Proportional representation makes for interesting elections, but is very good for the politicians. It takes a while, but eventually they learn about compromise.

But the parliamentary system is independent of the voting system, and the Westminster model is used all over the place very successfully.

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