through the eyes of a different culture

When we associate culture with travel, the sidewalks of Paris and the picturesque scenes of Madrid probably pops up in our minds. We often compare the pace of life with that of our own (which is pretty hectic). Once we’ve tasted the greens on the other side of the fence, we often bemoan the lack of a local equivalent.

I spent the weekend in Batam with great company. To note, the infrastructure, or rather the lack of one, was jarring. The roads were sub-standard, construction projects left uncompleted, the lack of adequate lighting. If this does not make you appreciate what we have locally, what else will? Personally, I was all about migrating, until I had realized that albeit issues like housing and the cost of living, we generally have a safe country and excellent infrastructure, not to mention the lack of natural disasters. Shopping centers and clean toilets are so commonplace that we do not even give a moment’s pause as we go about our shopping; the lack of it is made salient when we visit countries of lesser infrastructure. I generally have a distaste for locals who complain excessively; for all our supposed grievances we forget that we are in fact, the recipients of some sound policies.

This little girl was actually peddling newspapers in front of a factory outlet. So when tourists were pulling goods off the shelves, she was hoping to be recipients of our purchasing power. I didn’t purchase a newspaper, but I did take a picture of her as she gazed at me. Those eyes, forlorn and haunting in some way.


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