Agitated: Mindset of an Adult Third Culture Kid

January 28, 2008 / Culture, Opinion / 9 Comments

Disclaimer: This entry is going to be emotional, political and rebellious teenager-esque. If you don’t like these sort of entries please visit the political one below or the pictorial one below that. :)

These past few days personality has become more abrasive since it happened.

I was reading an article for my course, which cited the West’s neglect of the Third World since 1955 as the primary cause of disdain and contempt for the US – all of which resulted in September 11. The author presents this story from the view of the Latin Americans, Asians and Africans. She particularly addresses the views of the Palestinians, who were not directly part of the war but were forced to cede part of their country to the Zionists. The Zionists were granted this land by the Europeans, who were all at fault for marginalizing them. It had nothing to do with the Palestinians.

Why did the Arabs had to pay the price for something that which they had not caused? Had they even consider how much of a threat that would be to the rest of the world? How would you feel if China were carve out New York to cede to Canada?

This indignation triggered the memories of developmental economics in high school. How free trade was a detriment to countries in need of development; how sanctions did not do much other than deprive innocent children of food, education, shelter and most importantly – OPPORTUNITY; how the imperialist West imposed their views and methods on other nations.

Having had the unique experience of receiving Western education in an Eastern world, allowed us, the third culture kids to see the world from the eyes of the colonized and the eyes of the colonizers. As a third culture kid:

I was agitated after hearing that human values are reduced to a mere statistics so that the media could control the mindset of the people in the West.

I was agitated after hearing the CNN commented on how tax breaks are helping the enemy economy more than its helping its own.

I was agitated after hearing that my friends were angry that society had expectations that were too traditional for them, so much that they are peer-pressured into conforming as much as they didn’t agree.

It was all very EGOCENTRIC, ETHNOCENTRIC and UNWORLDLY to me. It reminded me of who I am and what I stood for. I was raised a global nomad, one who could adapt to any surroundings and had the ability to understand the heart and soul of the people. All this unnecessary peer-pressure, bigotry and indignation would have never occurred if people were only a little bit more TOLERANT.

Our values come from our culture, our nurture and our personalities. No amount of statistics or media bs should sway your beliefs because you are defined by what you believe. If you are so easily swayed, then what is your identity?

Our economy is contingent on all other economies of the world. This is what we call trade relations. It is a fundamental part of economics and profit-making to outsource production and invest in international stocks.

Our beliefs define our being. Our tolerance define our relationships with others. A world where each person is sure of himself, and is tolerant of others is a world that will be peaceful. Individuals would be selfless enough to concede part of their interests for another. Governments will respect the interests of other nations and will negotiate to find a suitable conclusion. But it is clear that those who have never experienced a nomadic childhood could never understand the true meaning of identity and tolerance. Hence peace would be impossible.

And this agitates me to no end.


  • http://michaelpark.net Michael

    I sense a little contradiction in your writing. You say that others lack tolerance and yet, you can’t tolerate those who lack tolerance.

    No matter how much you complain, it’s how the world operates, and it’s been that way for as long as there were humans. Even if it was not for money, I’m sure we would have come up with something to be greedy over.

  • http://nanyate.com Ivy

    @michael. I know that I can’t tolerate those lack tolerance and I won’t tolerate for it. Their intolerance is causing global suffering and pain. And suffering and pain should not be tolerated. It’s inhumane.

  • http://michaelpark.net Michael

    Reality is something we can’t change. We are inhumane… we all are in one way or another.

  • mohan

    hi ..
    i accidentally came across your blog while searching for some css designs.then i read all your entries from page 1 to this page .from your writings i come to know that you are so much philosophical and your beliefs and deep understanding in eastern philosophy admired me.the above one requires some analysis ,during 18 th and 19 th century the total Europe was fighting and conquering lands of other nations,in the end of 19 th century they realized they need war but not in their own lands.so they created war zones.they created Israel not for the sake of jews . in our eastern philosophy the religion and gurus never controlled people or kings they always shows good path but in western the church played a major role in war and controlled people and ,churches are more powerful than kings.what America is doing in Iraq is not for oil.in another twenty years the oil will not be needed for this world ,the alternatives will be plenty available at that time.the real thing is America is the one of biggest manufacturer of weapons they need some testing grounds it was started in the time of second world war itself ( atom bomb).afghan and Iraq and mainly the third world countries become their servants and testing grounds for their new weapons.intolerance become their way of living.
    even before Christ the eastern world reached the peak of culture and values.so it will take some time for them to understand what is real life and karma.here i want to mention one thing for Michael and u is “be the change u want to see” the man who followed it and succeeded ,the one who is mahatama gandhi. his words will be a perfect answer for your questions. sorry my english very poor ,kindly bare it.

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  • http://www.youthnasia.wordpress.com Tanya

    I work with TCKs in China and I was really interested by your point about seeing the world through both the eyes of the coloniser and the colonised. That’s and important factor in the TCK mindset and one I had not considered before. By definition most TCKs see certain issues from two opposing points of view – the common view in their passport country and the common view in their host country. If they lean too heavily to one side or the other they will incur ridicule or wrath from the other. Some choose to strongly identify with one side, but most get that wonderful open mindset.