Post Tagged with "meet our contributors"

Why is Malaysia called “Malaysia, Truly Asia?” LeX gives us the inside scoop!

LeX, one of our Pocket Cultures regional contributors is a student traveller, currently in France, but originally from Malaysia. Malaysia, in it’s own right, is a multi-cultural country, melding together the Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures. Read more to learn about why LeX joined the Pocket Cultures team, and how to easily detect a Malaysian speaking English!

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

I am a student traveller, LeX from Malaysia. Actually my real name is Tan Yih Liang (陈奕良/단익량 – Chinese/Korean) and LeX is what people always call me. Education and study are the motivation and direction that inspired me to move! South Korea was the 1st foreign country I stayed and currently studying in Europe and operating a travel blog call “LeX Paradise”.
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December 30, 2011 Comments disabled

Do They Really Eat Garlic and Drink Wine All Day? Read On to Learn More About DeeBee’s Beloved France

DeeBee, born in Paris, has been living abroad for 20+ years, currently in the UK. Although DeeBee has been living outside of France for a long time and speaks mostly English on a day to day basis, DeeBee loves to share her home culture with  us here on Pocket Cultures as a regional contributor and also on her personal blog: www.onlinetravelfrance.blogspot.com.

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

I left France a long time ago, spent nearly 20 years in Asia, and have been living  in the UK for the last 3 years. Why did I move? To follow my husband’s various professional postings.

If you would describe yourself as multi-cultural, tell us a bit about what culture you most identify with and why. If you have kids, what culture do they most associate with?

I feel very French in my way of thinking but hardly speak French as most my friends and family speak English.

In fact I feel very European!

My teenage daughter was born and lived abroad for most of her life and feels that where she was born is “home” which is natural.

But despite having dual nationality she feels more English than French as English is her first language and she never lived in France.

Why did you decide to become a Pocket Cultures contributor?

I came across Pocket Cultures while reading someone whose blog is listed as a Blog of the World and thought that it was a very interesting and different approach to travelling and learning about foreign cultures

I also like the idea of contributing to a team work when I can.

Can you describe a typical day for you?

A lot of time on my computer as I am running my own web site and my blog

What is the best part of living in your country? The worst?

Best? Superb climate, architecture, cuisine, way of being…There is really a “French touch” as we are mid-way between the Italians and the English, we combine the best of these two opposite cultures!

Worst? Thinking that we are so perfect – but we are, aren’t we?!?!

What books or films would you recommend someone who’d like to know more about your country?

Films: Any from the 60s or 70s as they were produced by a very inventive and innovative type of producers and reflect quite well the way French are.

Books: Any historical or social novel from the late 19th century (when society went through a major transformation) to the present day.

 What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?

That we don’t eat garlic from dawn to dusk!

That we don’t eat white bread as it is bleached and therefore is bad quality!

That Paris cafe waiters are very rude…even to us! Not good, but sadly true…

That French people drink less wine than people think or at least they drink less but better quality

That it can rain…even in France!

 

December 22, 2011 2 comments

Ski: The Pursuit of Greater Passion in Life in Hong Kong

Ski Yeo, our regional contributor from Hong Kong is a Singaporean who currently runs a Hong Kong walking tour business, where she shows her guests the local sights and scenes of Hong Kong. In today’s post, Ski talks openly about a situation that many people who live abroad (and don’t too!) can relate to: the pursuit of greater passion in our lives, which often can be found by gaining the perspective that stepping outside your home culture can bring.

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

I live in Hong Kong. I am from Singapore.
Life in Singapore was so good that I’ve felt that I’ve gotten way too comfortable. Everything was very well-planned by the government and the societal norms: get a good education and secure a good job. Probably a few years later on, it would be time to get married and have kids. Then you spend the rest of your life getting busy with your children and then looking forward to that occasional travel period.
I guess as time passes, I realize I didn’t really want to be part of this cycle. I woke up dragging my feet to work. Weekends didn’t seem particularly exciting except for the fact that I could sleep in late. Changing of jobs didn’t help (as it all boils down to what makes you happy). I wondered, do I really want to be doing this for the rest of my life?
Coincidentally, during that period, I spoke to people who have great passion in their lives. You could see their eyes sparkle whenever they talk about something that they love to do! I wonder why I wasn’t feeling that way and hence decided that it was time to change something.
To know myself better and what I really want to pursue in my life, I took my bags and went off to Hong Kong. I had a one-year break, where I did a lot of self-reflection, read a lot of books, met people from all walks of life, appreciated the small things in life and then figured out my plans, i.e., the things that I really want to do and will make me happy in life.

If you would describe yourself as multi-cultural, tell us a bit about what culture you most identify with and why.

 It would be the Chinese culture. It’s difficult to change - from the food that I eat, to the values I have, the superstitions that we believe in, etc. It would be clear that I’m still inherently very Chinese. Respect and harmony is important, and so is the importance of family.
If I have kids, they will be associated with the Chinese culture as well. That being said, I hope to bring them a more global perspective, recognizing that the world is definitely beyond them.

Why did you decide to become a Pocket Cultures contributor?

To share what I know about the cultures in Hong Kong. As a pleasant surprise, living away from home has allowed me to appreciate the small little details that people tend to miss out when they travel.
In my opinion, travelling is not merely about taking photos with the most popular tourist destination or heading to the shopping malls to get the best deals. That’s just a part of it. For me, what matters more is the understanding of a country for what it really is and the bulk of it lies in the culture that the citizens have created. What are their lifestyles like? What do they do on a daily basis? That’s real travelling for me, and that’s what I wish to share through Pocket Cultures.

Can you describe a typical day for you?

Everyday, I wake up to make friends with my guests from all over the world. I go on tours. Sometimes we hang out for 4-hours a day. Sometimes 8. Sometimes for a full 12-hours. By the time I get home, I reply to emails, read some news, and then get to sleep.

 What is the best part of living in your country? The worst?

 For Hong Kong, it has to be the great accessibility. It is so easy to get around to anywhere, and there is a good balance of city life and nature parks. The worst part of living in Hong Kong would be to have to deal with the bad air pollution.

What books or films would you recommend someone who’d like to know more about your country?

Jason Y. Ng – As I see it. It’s a rare find. Most books on Hong Kong are directory listing for malls, restaurants and tourist attractions.

What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?

It is a country of strong contrast – old versus new, east versus west, etc.
December 8, 2011 Comments disabled

Jason: Working Hard in Marin County, California

Today, we hear from Jason, our regional Pocket Cultures contributor from the USA. Jason and his family currently live in the US, but recently spent a year travelling around the world with his family, chronicling his adventures on http://alpaca-suitcase.blogspot.com/

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

I live in Marin County, California, just north of San Francisco.  I grew up in California, but have lived in Japan, New York and Cusco, Peru.  My latest move was back home; the kids are in high school and college is looming so I’m hanging up my traveling shoes and putting on my corporate shoes for a few years.

If you would describe yourself as multi-cultural, tell us a bit about what culture you most identify with and why. If you have kids, what culture do they most associate with?

I’m an American and so are my kids.  We have traveled a lot but have never lived anywhere else for over a year, so we’ve retained our “american-ness” and hopefully some perspective.

Why did you decide to become a Pocket Cultures contributor?

I was invited to join and it seemed like it would be fun.

Can you describe a typical day for you?

Well, right now I just took on a challenging job in San Francisco so it feels like all I do is work.

What is the best part of living in your country? The worst?

Best part is that anything is possible.  Worst part is that it’s not true for everybody.

What books or films would you recommend someone who’d like to know more about your country?

Films: Blue Velvet, American Beauty

What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?

How religious we are and how optimistic we are.

December 1, 2011 Comments disabled

Meet Marcel from Germany, and learn about why he now calls Ireland “home”

Today, we speak with our regional contributor, Marcel Krueger. Marcel is from Germany, however currently lives in Dublin, Ireland. Read on to hear more about what it’s like to live in Dublin, and how Dublin is so different than what most tourists expect!

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

I was born in Germany, in small town in the west called Solingen, and now live in in the capital of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin. What made me come here was a new job, quite simply. But I like it so much that I’m here for five years now, despite the rain.

If you would describe yourself as multi-cultural, tell us a bit about what culture you most identify with and why.

Tricky. I do consider myself being multi-cultural, especially as I work with the internet a lot and have friends and peers all over the world – so I’m in touch with different cultures and countries on a daily basis and really do enjoy discovering and learning new things. I do like islands and autumn though, so if I have to name a culture I’d identify with the most that would be Ireland and Iceland.

Why did you decide to become a Pocket Cultures contributor?

The concept of Pocketcultures very much appealed to me, especially as a inter-European expat. I do not consider myself being a traveller, I prefer to stay in a place for a while and learn as much as possible about the people, history, everyday life – things you cannot do when you travel through for two weeks or so. So I thought I could contribute an interesting article or two from time to time.

Can you describe a typical day for you?

I get up in the morning and board a yellow double-decker bus that takes me to the office, from 18th-century Mountjoy Square where I live to a new corporate park in the suburbs. I work mainly as a copywriter, so after eight hours of starring at a screen I take a similar bus home and would stare at another screen at home for another two hours, writing for Pocketcultures or one of my other writing gigs. If I’m not heading to a pub (we have quite a few here), I go to see a gig or to the movies.

What is the best part of living in your country? The worst?

The Irish. Both.

What books or films would you recommend someone who’d like to know more about your country?

Films: Once, Michael Collins, In Bruges

Books: A Star Called Henry, At Swim-Two-Birds and (ta-daa) Dubliners

What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?

Mostly that Dublin is not all sheep, sessions in the local pub and tweed-clad farmers. It’s your standard European metropole, one that comes with a drug problem and hundreds of ghost-estates.

November 18, 2011 Comments disabled

Kyrgyzstan: A blend of Russia and native Kyrgyz culture, now evolving into its own unique identity

Today, we introduce you to Nargiza Ryskulova. Nargiza is one of our regional Pocket Cultures contributors, who is from Kyrgyzstan but currently lives in London. Kyrgyzstan is a country that many of us don’t know a lot about:even down to the country’s location on a map, or what language the locals speak! Read more from Nargiza about what makes Kyrgyzstan so unique, multi-cultural, and what most surprises visitors.

Where do you live? Where are you from? If those are different, can you tell us a little about what inspired your move?

I have been living in London since August. Originally from Kyrgyzstan. Technical reason to move to London is to do my MA in International Journalism at it is one of the best journalism schools in the world. But really it’s for London, because London is just one of the cities that are on my “must live” list. It’s an amazing city to be young in, inspiring, overwhelming and challenging. So in combination circumstances match the desire and make London a perfect place for me to be at this moment.

Would you describe yourself as multi-cultural?

I have grown up in a culture which is itself a mixture of cultures. Kyrgyzstan was in Soviet Union for 70 years, inheriting strong post-soviet culture, blended on the basis of native Kyrgyz culture and Russian culture, strongly implemented through media and literature. Now as a developing country Kyrgyzstan is evolving its own new culture.

Why did you decide to become a Pocket Cultures contributor?

Because I love cultures, and I love the fact that I can share mine, or the one I am exposed with so many other people who are also able to appreciate specialties and fascination of different cultures.

Can you describe a typical day for you?

My morning starts with cup of coffee and morning dose of fresh world news. 40 minutes of good reading on the tube and walk to University. After school comes the most exciting, exploration of new: places, people, activities. Thanks to the fact that London has so much to offer it’s never the same!

What is the best part of living in your country? The worst?

The best part of living in my country (Kyrgyzstan) is to be able see mountains from any point. It just gives you a different perspective on things around you, reminding you that you are just a human. People are incredible, their hospitality and sincerity makes up for imperfectness of infrastructure. The worst part is the political system, which is striving to develop into something functional. But I guess, that’s why we called a “developing” country.

What books or films would you recommend someone who’d like to know more about your country?

Blogs:

Books:

  • Life At the Edge of the Empire: Oral Histories of Soviet Kyrgyzstan by Sam Tranum
  • Any literary piece by Chingiz Aitmatov (will provide the deepest insight into culture)
  • Kyrgyzstan: Central Asia’s Island of Democracy? (Postcommunist States and Nations, 4)by John Anderson

Films:

  • Wedding Chest  by Nurbek Egen
  • Sanzhyra by Nurbek Egen
  • Birth of Manas as a Premonition by Nurbek Egen
  • Beshkempir (1998)
  • Jamila (1994)
  • Bishkek, I love you

What’s something that visitors are often surprised by when getting to know your country/culture?

That we look Asian, located next to China, but speak Russian language.

That the horse milk is a national drink “komuz”!

November 10, 2011 2 comments