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

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

Hi, I'm from Canada.

I'm proud of a lot of things that come from this part of the world. I like our image abroad as peackeepers, and our reputation for being a tolerant and multicultural nation. If we had a food that could be disitinguished from American cuisine, I'm sure I'd be proud of that too. :D A lot of great music acts come from Canada, like the Guess Who, the Bare-Naked Ladies, Garou, and Great Big Sea. Canada also has the most theatre fringe festivals of any other country, and of course the Toronto International Film Festival is taking place right now, not very far from me. It's wonderful to see our presence in the entertainment scene.

But I do apologize on behalf of most of the nation for Celine Dion. I am so, SO sorry. :P

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

Oh well, Celine. I thought she was French. But that's okay. You gave us Michael J. Fox. So thank you, for the most part.

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

Celine Dion sang for Switzerland, oddly enough, in 1988, and won. Here's a youtube video of her perfomance.(Scary '80s hair and fashion alert!!). So it's possible that her family came from Switzerland rather than France.

(and that was the last time Switzerland even came close to winning Eurovision. Nowadays they are always out in the preliminaries)

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

According to her wikipedia page, her family is of French Canadian descent, which means they would have had European ties maybe three hundred years ago, but not now... :D Weird that she did Eurovision for Switzerland, though it seems to me that artists often represent countries that aren't their own.

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

And there something that everyone on this page from Europe (and Turkey and for some reason Israel) should be proud of - Eurovision. Got to be the silliest music contest in the world, but also the most fun. (And I bet it has some of the most imaginative costumes in music, like those people who one three years ago who were dressed in gold lame versions of WWII uniforms)

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

Greetings from Germany.

I guess i am proud of basically everything we had and did until 1900.

Music: I guess half of the Classic Period was composer by german speakers (Bach, Mozart, Händel, Beethoven, Schuhmann, Wagner, etc). And after that there was the Volksmusik were even Elvis borrowed a tone. And after that there was new german wave with songs like Da, da, da and even today there are many great german artists with very beautiful texts that make you think.
Literacy: Goethe, Schiller, Lessing, Herder, Frisch, Brecht, Grass, Heine, Droste-Hölshoff, Nietzsche, so many intellecutals lived here, it's amazing.
Architecture: Classicist Weinbrenner as much as the concrete building style during the second world war. After the war the french tried to destroy a flak tower in Berlin. After using 3 detonations and 50 tons of TNT they only had destroyed the southside. And for every meter above ground built in Berlin 3 were dig underground. Speer was the only architect to try to create a solid granite building for 180.000 people. Modern scientist think the condensations would have come down as rain inside that building.
German Comedy: Opposite to world's believe, Germans have a large sense for funny things. We have a rather large industry for cabaret and some really good comedians: hxxp://www. youtube. com/watch?v=n4H_E8b-qmo
Science: I guess you could say we had a monopol on chemistry and we had some of the greatest inventors and even until recently most inventions were made in germany. Civil and for Warfare alike. Car & Tank, jets, radio, ottomotor, Interstate, rockets and chemical warfare.
While not proud of the results, I am still amazed by the ingenuity of people like Einstein, Ferdinand Porsche, Otto Hahn, (long long list).

Considering the Politics i am very proud of Bismarck who invented (introduced?) public schools, national social services and civil marriage. and of the writers of our Grundgesetz (constitution) and the guys at our Bundesverfassungsgericht (approx supreme court). They made both some pretty good decisions. Not so fond of the political attacks and assasinations that we had between 18xx and 1945, of the many weapons we sell and of our political immobility right now.

I am especially proud of the fall of the Berlin Wall and how two nations can become one. It even looks better in the east nowadays than over here in the west. Also of the long history of germans standing unified against the romans, crumbling to a dozen local states, being unfied as the Holy roman empire, falling apart to 40 states, only to form a Bund and be split in two and become whole again. Talk about United States...

About the people:
i really like how direct people are. They can be cruel, but yes is a yes and a no is a no. In basically every other nation i haven't seen found sth like that. French come 2 hours too late and it's all right, spanish and french seem rather indefinite and with asians i always get the feeling that the yes might have been a 3/4-no. Also small things matter to us. Maybe no one outside our borders might understand some things, but things need to be precise. People tend to be loners but we respect the privacy of others more I guess or rather we ignore them. I shudder when i hear stories of homes without locked front doors. And as i have learned recently even in southern parts of europe this is not that much of a standard. i really can't sleep without roller blinds.
Contra is basically that people can be quite stubborn and everyone has a very definite opinion on things. We also tend to be xenophobic while at our regurlars's table and are telling some jokes you wouldn't tell anyone else, but once in the open and partying we can be pretty social.
A bad thing in public life may be the missing integration and the worsening health and education system. People with a foreign background don't integrate very well over here. it's the same problem as in the us where the melting pot has become the salad plate. Different cultural backgrounds don't mix and mingle anymore and as eastern germany never had any immigrants before the rightern forces are becoming pretty strong again. Good things include the many helpers everywhere (10mio working as part time fire fighter, police men, nanny, in hospitals, etc) and the environmentalism.

Last thing i nearly forgot: German football. Our team. The world cup here, how peaceful everything worked with the houseing od the teams and the really great atmosphere. I hope we can recreate those next year for the women's world championship.

Considering the BBC post: i guess you can be proud of Dr WHO, too. And you don't have to apology for drinking. I guess every nation has some type of drinking rites. we have our oktobersized festivities, the Americans got Spring Break and the Mediterraneans their wine. And sadly we have the hooligans too.
And for the Swiss Lady: yeah, i never quite got it why you didn't get that right earlier.

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

Another thing you should be proud of about Germany today is the promenance that music still has in your culture. The sheer number of really good local orchestra and opera societies. In the 1960s the composer/conductor Gerard Hoffnung said that the city council of Heidleburg had spent for on the opera alone that year that the Arts Council UK's entire yearly budget. I have friends in Germany and I'm always impressed by how vibrant both the modern but also the classical music scene is over there compared to the UK

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

I'm from South Louisiana. ^_^
The things I'm proud to see exported from my culture are the food and the music! I know zydeco seems kind of hokey to most people, but it finally got it's own category in the Grammys two years ago. And more and more Cajun and Creole foods are more easily available in grocery stores around the US (and the world). Although boudin sausage is still a ways from being popular. XD

The downside is the mysterious food companies will slap onto a spicy food and call it "Cajun." Sometimes, it's not even spicy. XD But then, I generally make it a rule not to order anything with the name "Cajun, Creole, gumbo, or étouffée" in the title when I'm traveling. :P

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

Hey! I'm from South LA too! Awesome!

I am so very proud of my culture and heritage from Louisiana. I love the food and the importance of family and being with loved ones. I am also proud of the US as a whole and for what it has stood for for over 200 years.

I'm not proud of the direction that our current government is taking us in and I don't like all of the screaming of racism and double standards everywhere. I hate how because I didn't want to vote for the first black president (which i'm proud of that but just don't agree with his politics) that I was called a racist bigot and other such things...

I don't go around and call people racist or stereotype them like others will do to me. Even though I have a more conservative background and belief system, I'm proud that because of this country, I'm also very open minded of other people's cultures, religion, food, etc. I love learning about other cultures and wish I could travel the world one day.

I could go on and on and on about a variety of things but i think thats good enough for now. lol

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

China - the inventor of paper, fireworks, martial arts, and so many other things. We survived for so long. We were known for our intelligence and our love of beauty. Our cuisine is delicious~. We have Hangeng, Jia, and so many famous singers. The women in our country are known for their pale skin and uniquely shaped almond eyes.

Downside - lack of human rights, lack of environmental consciousness, swindlers both big and small, beggers in every corner, we got our butts kicked in WWII by the Japanese (whom we understandably still haven't forgiven), Opium War, unlike the Japanese and Koreans, we aren't known for our fashion or music - just our desire to copy those trends, rudeness, Tienanmen Square, racism towards everyone but white people, and Panda Express.

Looking back at this list...it seems that I'm proud of my heritage but not at all about where my country stands right now. IN fact, I'm downright disappointed on how things turned out for us.

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

I'm from Austria and I'm very proud of it. I love the mountains, the beautiful nature, I love our tap water (best water in the world!), the ecologically grown fruits and veggies you can buy everywhere (even at discounters), Austrian humor, the Austrian way of life (friendly, but cunning, very sarcastic and always complaining about something), tuition-free universities, 9 districts with very different dialects and landscapes. I'm proud that Austrians are traditional people who love their country - they like to wear traditional dirndl dresses and lederhosen, they play in traditional brass bands or are part of the local fire department (me too ;))

I'm not proud of our past (especially 1933-1945...) and I don't like the fact that Austria still sees itself as a "victim" of Nazi-Germany and not as a very enthusiastic part of it. I don't like all the old people who still think Hitler wasn't "that bad at all, at least he built motorways." I don't like our politicians and I'm not very proud of some of the political parties (especially FPÖ and BZÖ).
And I don't like that so many people all over the world don't know where Austria is ("Austria? Is it near Canada?") or think it's part of Germany (nooooo!!!!!!!)

rehfilet
Bento-ing from: › Germany
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

i'm from germany. i'm proud of it, sometimes, but i'm not used to saying so in public, as uninformed people, mostly abroad, might greet me with a raised right hand and go "sieg heil" as a joke. i never get that joke, it makes me want to punch them in the face, as a reflex: see nazi guy, punch it in the face. so that would be an aspect of german history i'm not proud of at all, hitler and the dumbness of my people following him. on the other hand, i like the fact that modern german society managed to train me to want to punch anything that looks even remotely fascist, then puke because i touched it.
generally good things in germany are the bread and the beer (we should export more, i always miss them when abroad), people that speak their minds (we're not unfriendly, we love discussions), history to dig around in (philosophy! music! literature! science! being "old europe" is great) and a very tolerant society with a female chancellor and a flaming gay minister of foreign affairs! yeah, i'm proud of us.
i'm from mannheim and i love my town. it's got an enlightened baroque structure, has the right size for a town and it's really multicultural, which works beautifully. first came italians, then turks, then everyone else.. the mosque has been here for 15 years now, minaret and all. no terrorist attacks so far, nope. why are americans so nervous about all things muslim? it's just a faith, get over it.
i'm especially fond of going to turkish bakers for their lovely semolina tea bisquits or savoury snacks with sheep's cheese- not just supermarket cheese thrown into some dough with maybe a sprinkling of dried herbs but big cheese chunks lovingly marinated in olive oil with bunches of herbs, garlic and green pepperoni. yes, you can actually taste the colour of the pepperoni in that cheese. it's pure heaven on it's own, and they use it as a topping on crunchy wheat bread thingies. yummy!
there's all kind of asian, arabian and african food markets all over the place, there's a street in midtown called "fressgasse" (feeding street), farmer's market is three times a week, organic farmer's market once.
people here care about good, healthy food traditionally and keep an open mind.

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

I'm also from New Zealand (not sure why so many of us this time, might be the time you are posting Maki?)

What I'm proud of about NZ is that we do so well for such a small country. There's only 4 million of us - the size of many cities overseas, yet we have achieved so much - look at the oscars we have won, sports teams who have done so well, performers, being the first country in the world to give women the vote in 1893, world's first biofuel (sustainable, second generation) flight last year etc etc. Also - other countries have offered support for the recent earthquake in Christchurch but it has been turned down because we actually don't need it. Our country isnt perfect, but because of the number eight wire mentallity that Bronwyn mentioned, we just get in and do stuff.

What I'd want of NZ exported more? Well, personally I'd like more of the carpet my company makes to be exported! But, I guess also just the whole thing of get on and do things. Maybe we can swap that with some nice weather from another country?

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

New England, USA

There are many things I like about [being from] New England. Mountains and ocean in close proximity to each other. Intellectual heritage. Being a stoic grumpy New England-er, which I think stems from the long harsh winter and leftover tendrils of Puritan settling. Varied seasons and their culinary bounties.

Sometimes I hear that we're considered rude, impatient, stuck-up. Sorry. Don't be so sensitive.

The things I am 'embarrassed' about stem from a general American Culture which I view to be entitled. We have so much here and our excess spawns ingratitude, waste and ennui. While I don't think those are USA- only traits I think the fact that our country was essentially founded on exploiting resources of all kinds has caused them to be prominent. It seems like we've exported our 'free market' to China so... good luck to them, I guess.

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

New England, USA

There are many things I like about [being from] New England. Mountains and ocean in close proximity to each other. Intellectual heritage. Being a stoic grumpy New England-er, which I think stems from the long harsh winter and leftover tendrils of Puritan settling. Varied seasons and their culinary bounties.

Sometimes I hear that we're considered rude, impatient, stuck-up. Sorry. Don't be so sensitive.

The things I am 'embarrassed' about stem from a general American Culture which I view to be entitled. We have so much here and our excess spawns ingratitude, waste and ennui. While I don't think those are USA- only traits I think the fact that our country was essentially founded on exploiting resources of all kinds has caused them to be prominent. It seems like we've exported our 'free market' to China so... good luck to them, I guess.

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

I live in the southeast US - in particular, the panhandle of Florida (which is much more 'South' than 'Florida', culturally)

Traveling within my own (large!) country, I find myself most thankful for our culture of graciousness and friendliness. It is not uncommon down here for a perfect stranger to strike up a conversation with you while waiting in line, which totally freaked my husband (imported from the Northeast) the first time it happened to him. Customer service at a business is often not any more effective as it is elsewhere, but at least you usually get a smile with it. Many people enjoy a variety of foods and there is a tradition of home-cooked, family meals. Any gathering is expected to include food. Many of our traditional foods have been adopted elsewhere :)

But sadly, despite all our opportunities for education and understanding, and even a great mix of people living here, there is so much ignorance about other cultures - and more disheartening to me - a willful ignorance. I live in a place where hate speech vs other cultures is spray painted on lawns and buildings, even though it is a town with no previous problems of graffiti. One of the candidates for a national office running in the primaries stated that he thought the community center being build in NYC should be seven stories underground, so that 'true Americans' could walk over Muslims - and many people here agreed with him. It is so baffling to me.

As a citizen of the United States (I spent a year teaching Geography and making my students say United Statesians - there are two whole continents of Americans! Gosh!) I am most proud of what we have been able to share with the world in terms of our great political experiment (a nation of states, where people vote, and there is no aristocracy? a crazy idea when it started) as well as science, health, and technology (although I fear our time for that is drawing to a close). I wish we could keep from exporting our crazy radical Christian right viewpoints (quick stare at churches getting involved in Africa in totally inappropriate ways) our 'new' imperialism (really, more wars? why? what is our business there?) and our totally inappropriate farming and food approaches. If its not real food, chances are someone in the US came up with it :(

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

I understand completely, Katy. On both the positive and the negative traits of living in the South. My friend from Indiana was flabbergasted that complete strangers say "hi" when they pass you on the street. In a reversal, I was shocked at how seemingly rude he was to servers in restaurants b/c he didn't smile at them or say "hello" or chat them up a bit. :)

The whole mosque thing has me just horribly disappointed. I haven't seen such media generated fear and intolerance since reading about the McCarthy era and it's "red scare" politics.

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

Thanks for having this - it's so great to see where everyone is from and what wonderful things I should look for when I (hopefully) get a chance to visit their countries!

I'm from New England in the USA, and I have to agree that we are very regional. I feel more like a Mainer than an American sometimes. It's funny - so many of the things the UK folks mention about their culture(s) holds very true for Maine culture, which may be why I tend to prefer British television. Overly emotional TV horrifies me. We aren't prone to emotional displays in Maine - stiff upper lip all the way!

My country overall has made me cringe lately with our imperial attitude and the corporate takeovers of both our country and other people's. Yuck! Not so proud of that. Also hate all the reality TV crap that is so big here, and seems to be getting passed around - I'm not even sure where it started anymore.

I'm really proud of our optimism and individualism. I like coming from a country of folks who refused to accept their lot in life and went for something better. I wish we could embrace that more - our current (and historical) anger about new immigrant groups seems to ignore that most of our families came here for the same basic reasons. Unfortunately, I think our good and bad points mix too much and we end up trying to forcibly export our freedoms, which doesn't make sense or make me proud.

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

I'm from the US, and I'm proud of our university system. While the costs are rising, so many people from all walks of life can have the opportunity to "get ahead" and go to school. Not quite an export, but many graduate students come from all over the world to get advanced degrees.

Things I'm not proud of: KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) I'm always embarrassed that KFC is the international representation of American fried chicken. I love fried chicken but can't eat that...

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

Racially, I'm Korean (well, actually only half, but people seem to categorize me as Asian...which I don't mind in the slightest. Funny how race isn't determined by paternal or maternal matters but by any presence of ethnicity in features. Basically the whiteness gets over-run by everything else. LOL), but I also see myself as American, so I'll comment on both.

Korean Pride: Probably proudest of our foods right now. Korean food always seems to be left out in the cold. You'll see a Chinese restaurant on every corner of the globe...and sushi joints are popping up everwhere as well but rarely do you see Korean. However, I see that people are discovering Korean cuisine more frequently these days. Celebs are going on and on about their fave Korean BBQ joints and kimchee is pretty much a well-known dish...and even found in most Walmart produce sections. It's especially refreshing to see the change in light of the bad rap Korean food had for a long while...with insults like "garlic eaters" bandied about and the perception that we go around kidnapping Shih-Tzus for a late night snack.

Korean shame: Our cars. The warranties are great now, and I'm sure they've made vast improvements, but even my mother...the most gung-ho and patriotic Korean I know...says it's better to go Japanese. How bad were they back in the day? My best friend was offered one that was barely five years old and in near perfect condition for less than 2,000, and she passed.

USA pride: Our drive and passion. Maybe it's because we started as the underdog, what with the Puritans and penal colonies, but Americans have a drive that it just astounding at times. Sometimes it overrides our common sense and leads us down wrong paths, but you take the good with the bad, and sometimes disregarding personal risks or overlooking a bottom line can lead to some truly amazing and selfless results.

USA shame: Our sense of entitlement. Not only in a global sense (which is bad enough) but on local and personal levels. I think that's one reason we're losing our footing as a world power. Sure, we still gather together to accomplish some really wonderful things, but so many of us, on an individual level, lack the work ethic and moral compass that our forefathers had. We feel like we're owed something...only everyone feels this way so we either run out of people to blame or make pay up, or we all end up in a sick circle of accusation and compensation.

Leelee
Bento-ing from: Stevenage › UK
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

England

I have to say I am proud of our food. Mmm Christmas pudding, sticky toffee pudding, spotted dick. A lot of puddings haha! I am also proud of how multi-cultural we are, and although the papers moan about it a lot, I think many other people are actually proud as well. Our TV can be fantastic too, I like the Beeb mainly. We have shared our talent, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Catherine Zeta Jones, Danny Boyle, to name a few. I am also proud that our press has complete freedom of speech. However I am not proud about how they use this freedom and take it for granted. Oh lets slander someone and get a small fine, it won't affect us financially and we'll sell loads more papers!

____________________________________

I'm not short, I'm fun sized ^_^

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

Iceland

There's lot's of things I'm proud of as an Icelander. One of the things is the beautiful country we live in, very unique with all the Geyser's, Volcano's (for example the recently erupted Eyjafjallajökull, sorry Europe! :P ) and Glacier's :D Being positioned right where the European and Northern American Tectonic plates meet, you can actually see where the earth is being pulled apart. We are also a very sparsely populated country, with 2/3 of the population living in the Reykjavík area. It means that it's not that hard to find a place where you can be all by your lonesome if you want. For example my family has a family house in the north of Iceland, which can really only be reached by Jeeps, there's no cell phone signal whatsoever, and pretty much no electricity. It's wonderful, being away from the pressure's of society, and you can just enjoy being with your friends and family (and probably get drunk but more on that later :P)

We may be a small nation but we are very proud and independant. Especially the women, I would say, are very independant and it shows, as we are, according to the 2009 Gender Gap Survey, the number 1 country in Gender Equality :D

I think our drinking habits are both good and bad. We don't have this habit of having a glass after work, like countries like the Uk seem to have (I was quite shocked when I moved to the UK first to see the pubs full of people on a Tuesday afternoon), but we do have a habit of drinking a lot when we do. Icelanders definately like to party, and even though our nightlife area is small, but it is full of life, and all the clubs will be packed to bursting on the weekends (my british boyfriend had never seen anything like it :P).

Some of the things I don't like is, for example, the fact that as such a small nation, we are very isolated, and it tends to make us a bit close-minded. I found that having lived in the states as a child, and then moving back home after quite a few years, that people tend to just assume things are as they are in Iceland, and if they aren't, they reject them, which tends to irritate me quite a bit.

Another thing that I really don't like at the moment is the whole bank situation. For those of you that don't know, in late 2008 all the banks in Iceland went bankrupt, and now we are stuck with the whole Icesave mess. It gives us Icelanders a bad name, because a group of greedy +$%&%$&'s had to amass as much money as they could, by whatever means necessary. For one thing, the wives of these men were in the only 7 star hotel in the world when the bank's collapsed.

But probably what bugs me most at the moment is our government, who are not dealing with the bank situation very well, or at all even. There is very little trust for the government at the moment, as they seem to be doing jack *#$% about these issues, and actually in the latest Reykjavik city election, a comedian was elected mayor, because the people don't trust the individuals in power.

So, yes, we have our good and our bad, but I still love my country :D

Aine
Bento-ing from: › Ontario › Canada
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

Canada:

I am proud of our reputation for tolerance and peacekeeping as well as our stereotypical politeness, particularly when traveling out of the country. I am also glad for our great, enormous expanses of wilderness, and completely untouched land. We have one of the lowest population densities, with great masses of landscape free from habitation in all different sorts of climates. It's really creates that awestruck feeling when you have an opportunity to experience it. I am also glad for our general living conditions. No person here (even one without a home of their own) need go unfed, or un-helped. I am glad too for our imported culture (we have an exceptionally high rate of immigration), and all the new things that brings into our country.

I am ashamed of our lack of voice when it comes to world politics, and our passive nature (as a whole) regarding our lack of clear identity. It is not unusual for me to encounter others when traveling who do not clearly recognize Canada as a country, or know it as anything other than an extension of the USA (which is doubly disappointing, because there are enough differences to warrant our own identity but we simply shrug and cave-in to being the like-American culture). I am also not proud of how slowly we have taken the task of becoming 'green' here in Canada. I think it should be our duty to preserve our precious wild spaces and that we should be working harder and faster at it than we currently are, since we have less people and more land than nearly anyone else (It should be a higher priority than it is).

On a lighter note, I am sad that we have no clearly defined foods that are truly "Canadian". Often we will list things like: salmon, wild rice, maple syrup, and beer, but all these things have been in other countries much longer than they have been here. It's also sad that the North American media (as a whole) tends to display Canadians as flannel wearing and mostly drunk.

No name!
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I'm American (very proud to be Southern!), but I have been living in the UK for some while. Can I say what I'm proud of / dislike about both countries?

USA - Like (Proud of)
1. The sheer variety of things you can get there. There are 29 different types of pop-tarts, many types of orange juice, seemingly hundreds of different ways to have things made.
2. The friendliness. Whenever I go back, the atmosphere feels really nice and relaxed.
3. The crazy randomness of Americans. After high school, you can be just as crazy as you want and no one cares. People might make fun of you for a while, but then they go "oh that's just no name! she's a little crazy but she does good work."
4. Good exported American tv. Heh, I like CSI/Dexter/Burn Notice type shows. People used to like Heroes. And there's LOST too.

USA - Dislike (not proud of)
1. Reality tv. Maki's post about the US version of masterchef where they made the guy beg to be on the show was awful.
2. Racism still rearing its ugly head. Like in MI where one of the school's proms was still segregated. :/
3. Nosy people (this is more of a Southern thing)
4. General ignorance about other cultures

USA export please: Freshmarket/Whole Foods (please come to west midlands please please), mid-range clothing stores like Old Navy or J Crew (not just on netaporter)

UK Best
The idealic English countryside, marks and spencer's food (the pride of England!!), widespread transportation system (you could learn a thing or two, USA), decent newspapers.

UK Not so best -- chavs/NEDS/Yobbos, especially with their drunken behaviour. Please stop ruining the UK. Also, a lot of people treat the high street like a giant rubbish/trash can.

Best to export: Marks and spencer foods

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

Well to be fair, MasterChef was developed by a British company (and the MasterChef format used on US TV is more or less copied from the format used on Australian TV). So was one of the seminal reality TV programs, Big Brother, and thee original Idol format was born on Pop Idol. So I guess you could lay that at the feet of the Brits ^_^;

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

I'm not proud that the US exported Twilight to the rest of the world. I'd like to formally apologize for that piece of litter-ature.

Aleria
Bento-ing from: Vancouver › British Columbia › Canada
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Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

There isn't a lot of exporting of First Nations culture, except carvings bought by rich collectors, I guess. So I'll just focus on my personal pride/shames:

I'm proud that we've kept at least some of our culture through all the opposition the Canadian government has thrown at us in the past. I'm glad we're still fighting for our rights, which were guaranteed by the gov't and never delivered on. I'm proud of being part of such a beautiful culture. Dancing, singing, paddling in a canoe, or cooking for a potlatch make me feel alive. I'm happy that I may be able to do something to help with the problems. I love my family and the unconditional acceptance they have. I'm proud that myself and others are trying to break the stereotypes put on us by the media. Finally I'm grateful for the amazing land that sustains us and is our ancestor.

I'm ashamed of how we've been portrayed in the media, and how in some cases it has perpetuated itself. I'm ashamed of the young pregnancy, the derelict buildings on reserves, and how many people cannot think past the small village they have lived in all their lives. I'm ashamed that other Canadians still see us as a people apart - we are not separate from Canada, but are a distinct society within it. I'm ashamed that the other side of my blood has a history of ignorance and lack of care towards First Nations.

Overall, I love my culture, and I hope we can continue to overcome both the internal and the external obstacles facing us. I could say a lot more but I'll stop now

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

Unlike the other French it's not so because of the culture of pleasure or fashion that I'm proud of France. This country have many other strongly interesting points:

-First of all I love history, so logically I'm proud that how france influenced the rest of europe. For example I like the contribution in architecture: Gothic style come originally from france, or in an other style Versailles have been copied in all europe and is now the most visited palace in the world, etc etc... or in arts: great literature, music, painting... but it's probably ideologically that the influence of france have been historically stronger, when this country was way ahead its time (above all in 18th century, the "age of enlightenment", and then in french Revolution). Oh, and way before that era, France (well "Frankish Kingdom") was also the source of the Carolingian Renaissance.

-I love Paris, and many european cities ;].

-I like the fact that France is culturally a synthesis of the latin world in south europe (Italy, Spain...) and the celtic/germanic world in north europe (England, Germany...).

-Our food, I think best cuisine with Italian and Japanese ones (I can't choose between these three @_@...), France cuisine is especially good in pastries and bakeries for which we are the best.

-Being a country especially liked by Japanese people : D, since my other favorite country is Japan.

----------
What I dislike:

-Politically france is extremely leftist and feeble, and we have too many self-righteous people who like lectured other people or other countries, it's more and more tiring.

-My president.

-The city of Marseille (just a joke : D).

-----------
PS: Just a word for the German guy above: I sympathize, Germany is a wonderful country and you should be able to say live and loud that you are proud of it without any fear. Germany history is long and Nazi era is really a tiny little thing in that regard, people should stop to make german feel guilty about the past, without that a country can't advance and self-hatred isn't a solution, it's even dangerous.
Same thing for Japan, WW2 is far, today the world is different.

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

I think all of Europe is proud of French pastries, lol. I have been to France twice in the last year and a half (once to Uzes near Avingon and once to Paris) and before I went the first time I discovered that I'm allergic to wheat (farine de ble). Not eating your lovely bread and pastries was soooo hard, especially in the south where there's also fantastic pizza everywhere!

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

It's a shame for your allergy :/, pastries without wheat are pretty rare but exist, there are more in japanese ones for example (good too, above all different : D, even if i stay devoted to european pastries).
Since you're from England I should add that unlike many people I rather like cuisine from England. My favorite dessert of all time is the "floating island", a french dish with among other things a cream called "crème anglaise" ("english cream") which come from an... english cream, even if it's not exactly the same, and it's the most tasty cream in the world. So I thank england for this marvellous invention xD.

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

Seattle
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Pages/home.aspx
I'm proud of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It's important to spend charitable grant money effectively if problems are going to be solved and I believe the Gates Foundation is spending lots of money to solve issues of basic, human needs. I like the symphony and ballet, and they won't survive without philanthropy, but when people in African and other nations die of preventable causes, that's where the money needs to be spent. I think Bill Gates is a genius and I feel optimistic that if he's committing himself to a cause he will have success.

The flipside, what am I ashamed of? My answer to that is just too political to go in to and maintain a friendly tone. I'll have to pass. No, wait, this wasn't my first thought, but I'm ashamed of our level of greenhouse gas emissions. It's a crime!

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

I live in the US and am proud of places like San Francisco, where people are more open-minded. What I am not proud of as an American is the hypocrisy and xenophobia frequently displayed, such as touting freedom of religion and speech, but then physically and verbally attacking Muslims still almost ten years after 9/11, stereotyping, complaining about a mosque at ground zero when atrocities have been committed in the name of Christianity and we have churches all over this country. I also don't like the American mentality of "us vs them" that we seem to carry against the rest of the world, and our expectations of sympathy for events like 9/11 by the same people who lament every year around August that more Japanese weren't killed in the atomic bombings. I live in Nebraska, so I'm exposed to way more of the negative about this country than the positive.

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

About France, I quite agree with the last comment.

What I like about my country :

- French. I know it's difficult as langage (full of exceptions, accents, etc), and pronounciation could be more singing ... but I'm still delighted to read or heard beautiful new or older French. I love some words, the way some french lyrics have "rimes" like in poestry (the end of two "verses" have the same sound, I never find this in English).
I just begin to see the beauty of English langage (it needs more immersion). But it increases the idea that a langage carries a culture, a way to think, an identity.

- or education and health system. Our taxes can seem too high ... but our parents don't need to save money since our birth to hope we can do good studies later. I'm not involved in debt to do my medical studies, and I'm proud when I see than in hospital we can deliver quite good cares for all people, even for vagrant or immigrants without papers. The egality is trully great.

- our food of course (like many other countries I think). Not the food of high French restaurants , but some old basics.
I love japanese, corean, italian, lebanese, indian, creole and many others foods ... but still, if someday I goes studying or working in foreigner lands, I know I miss so many dishes and ingredients : cheese (how could I live with just one type of cheese like a cheese for hamburger ? no goat cheese and numerous cow cheese ?), cream, real bread (with no sugar, no butter, it's not a brioche)... and pastries (even if I confess some infidelities with cinamon rolls and muffins).

- Paris ! It's a wonderful mix from people, culture, architecture =)
- some parts of our artistic culture (literature, music, painting ...

What I don't like in France :

- our President, his government actions and the way he represents us in the world. It's a real shame ...
including the degradation of our health and education systems...
and the ridiculous pretentions, politician men sometimes have ... France isn't a great nation in the world, with economic power and influence. It's just a little country in Europe, between many others interesting countries. Our colonialisme power is ended and it's best like that.

- French accent, we're quite bad in other langage prononciation XD (so much that we don't even dare to speak sometimes because of that). I'm impressed everytime I see German speaking French ... they're 10 times better than us in german or english, with less years of practice ! We could definitely ameliorate it.

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

I'm from Estonia.

What I'm proud of:
- Despite everything the little bit more than one million of us is still there and still speaking Estonian and nowadays we even have our own country
- Rich folklore and traditional culture that has partly been kept alive. Song festivals (www.laulupidu.ee) are a good example for that. Imagine 100 000 people all together singing at once - mind you that this is nearly 1/10 of the population :)
- A lot of beautiful and untouched nature, considering the country is so small, I'd say it's one of our biggest treasures

What I'm not so proud of:
- The constant jealous whining about how everyone's so mean to us, but people don't do anything against that. People would rather wait for someone to come and help instead of standing up for themselves, or even reaching out by asking for help. The lack of spine would be a good term for it.
- A try to please everyone more powerful and letting everyone else dictate how to do things. Total lack of self as a country/people.

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 28 weeks ago.
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

I seem to remember that Skype was developed by Estonians. I'm extremely grateful you exported that; it's what I use to talk to my grandkids. They'd forget what I look like if it weren't for Skype.

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

As a Singaporean living overseas, I can say the following about Singapore:

Pros:
- Efficiency (oh god, efficiency here is HORRIBLE)
- Good, albeit stressful education system
- Safe
- Lower cost of living compared to other developed nations
- Great food
Cons:
- People are often not well read, or less well informed about issues (depends, but the vast majority aren't)
- People are less FUN, less reckless, less carefree, more practical
- Very materialistic
- Still slightly racist
- Concrete jungle, can get slightly tiring...

Overall, my main problem with Singapore is it's lack of humor, perhaps, intellectual freedom. I believe it now needs to move towards higher entropy.... a little mess, means a little fun ;)

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

As someone born/raised/returned in Bermuda, there are quite a few things I'm proud of; unfortunately they're also linked to things that I'm not so proud of.

Our History -
Proud of: The role we've played in shaping the US and UK history. We have a rich and largely understated history all of our own, unique from any of the other island colonies.
Not Proud of: Much of our history is unwritten, and much of it lost. I am almost 30, and I am really just now really learning a lot of our history, especially as it pertains to black Bermudians.

Our People -
Proud of: Bermudians are known as a friendly, polite country. It's polite to greet others with a 'good morning' or 'good afternoon', or at least a smile and nod to the stranger you pass on the street. Visitors are welcomed here with a smile.
Not Proud of: Some people take advantage of the trusting nature visitors have come to expect, and do them harm.

Our Culture -
Proud of: We have aspects of our culture that are unique to us, from our local flora to traditional dancers, to local holidays. There are some things that are uniquely Bermudian, and make many Bermudian expats pine for home.
Not Proud of: Having to constantly explain to others EVERYTHING about our culture, and having to clear up the same misconceptions time after time. And for the US's idea of Bermuda shorts. Please, just leave it alone.

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

First of all, I've been lost in your multiple blogs and web-pages and I love them all, I have 2 loves, food and languages, even if I'm a molecular biologist, so a lot of reading on your pages. And I lived for a while in Switzerland too (in Zurich and in Fribourg).
Now, more to the point, Italy.
I'm proud of:
Our food, every region has some nice specialties, (often completely ignored by the neighbouring region) and the position of Italy as bridge in the Mediterraneat has created a rather formidable array of food.
Our contribution to art, both to figurative arts, architecture, literature, and to the musical world, I do like opera quite a lot but Italian music is not only opera, think Vivaldi, for example.
Venice, a special place.

Now, I'm not too proud of:
Our parochial divisions, we have a word for it "campanilismo", that could be traslated as "belltower-ism" and indicates the deep sense of "we are good, our neighbours are bad, or at least different". The neighbours could be anyone, from your actual neighbour to the world, depend on the situation.
Our politics, oh my, where to start on that....a corrupted dirty little old men as prime minister.
The fact that fascism was invented in Italy, with all its simbols, and it fits the darker side of our collective souls us quite well (as it does with other "latin" countries).
The fear of the unknown: if it is not like we do it at home, like my mama cooked it, like I'm used to do it, it must be strange and bad.
Mafia, camorra, ndrangheta, sacra corona unita, mafia del Brenta, all different flavours of organized crime, not only in the South, mind you.
I could go on for a while, at the moment I feel rather "unproud" of being Italian.

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

Western Australia

Which might almost be a country of it's own, separate from Australia. Perth is the most isolated capital city in the world.
I am proud that we are a friendly people. I am glad that we have compulsory voting, with people being fined for not voting, because how can democracy work if you don't vote?
I am proud that Barry Marshall from Perth won the Nobel prize for proving that stomach ulcers were not caused by stress, but by bacteria.
I am proud of our universities, and our authors, musicians and artists.
Also I am proud of our multi-cultural society; I myself am half greek, a quarter irish and a quarter scottish, and all australian. :)

I am not proud that our country's foundation is of oppression, and that there is still a gap in life expectancy between that of indigenous and non-indigenous people. I am not proud of the current government's (in power and in opposition) stance on 'boat people'.

but mostly i think my country is pretty awesome. the weather is great. you should all come hang out. :D

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 28 weeks ago.
Re: OT: What about your country/region are you proud of? ...

My son used to live in Broome. A long way from Perth, but still WA and absolutely gorgeous - at least in the dry. I've been to Perth a couple of times on my way to Broome and it is a nice place.

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 agricultural people growing jojoba oil plants.

Like the other guy said above, this is true, but we are who we are huh ;)

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

I live in Canada (and am strangely excited to see so many other Canadians responding!). I've lived in the East and am back in the West, so I've seen a fair bit, though not all.

I do love this country. Health care, education, community-based policing, and how the law works here are a few things that make me love this country. I love the food (poutine, tourtiere, all other cultures' cuisines), the official two languages (especially since I speak both), the comedians, and the feeling of seeing a Canadian really make it down in the States ('That's OUR girl!'). I love how Winnipeggers celebrated getting a hockey team back.

On the other hand, there are some things I'm not cheering about this otherwise fine country: the way a lot of Canadians boast about being so humble. It was like they were waving a flag of "See how much better we are? We are humble and modest!" especially in comparison to our southern cousins. It grates on my sense of irony. On the other hand, that's about ten years ago, when I was back in college - perhaps this has changed.
Someone also mentioned the Native American reserves that are not first- or second-country worthy. We claim that racism doesn't happen in Canada, but there is a systemic display of this. See? We're not better than anyone else. We still have stupid riots that cause property damage and personal injury. Edmonton's murder rate is scaring its population, and we have psychopathic people locked away, but too few public beds for mentally ill people who need help.

It's still a pretty good country overall - just not as perfect as I grew up thinking it was.

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

I think UK food isn't as bad as everyone round the world says. I'd be glad, if it was exported a little more ^^

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