Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Proud to be an American?

If you haven’t noticed from the pictures, I’m kinda in the minority here.  The time spent away from other Americans has given me a chance to reflect on my own country and culture, and truth be told, I haven’t always liked what I’ve seen.

I first noticed it with the kids on the beach. I was so shocked to hear them yelling the f word and singing along to American rap songs. These kids walk along the beach selling bracelets off a hanger, sunglasses and good ‘ol leg and armpit hair threading. They aren’t shy and will sit right on the beach chair next to, point out all your wayward hairs, and strike up a conversation in good English. Clearly, they have a lot of contact with foreigners and I think a lot of it is negative.

My sunblock was used up in about ten minutes after word spread that it keeps you from getting darker. 

On our last trip to the beach, the girl in the above picture started braiding my hair and chatting. I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She told me she wanted to marry a rich American and move to Florida. Then she started singing a 50 Cent that was quite explicit. It kinda killed me.

Sadly, I’ve noticed similar things in my classroom.  Just this week we finished a unit on honesty, loyalty and integrity.  I asked them to pick role models and who did the boys choose? ...

John Cena

Tom Cruise- Not Oprah. I would be ok with Oprah.
Hmm yeah, this guy needs no introduction. 
Even at such a young age, many of my students are completely enthralled by the idea of making it rich in America. They think America and they think all the things they see on tv. The SUVs, fancy homes and nice cell phones is what it’s all about. A few of my kids even get HBO.  I’ve been asked, more than once, what “Spring break boobies” are. No joke.

I guess my thought it that we Americans can live in our own cesspool of moral filth, but why must we broadcast it to the rest of the world? Can’t we just leave Cambodia out of it? I rather like the traditional Khmer music videos where the women are wearing skirts down to their ankles.  It’s nice to live in a place where life is simpler and it’s not all about “Keeping up with the Jones’” … but I guess it’s already too late. It's less about life pure and simple and more about playing catch up. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post Sarah. It's very sad to hear from a first hand source that America has such a negative influence on the world's youth. What's even worse is that I am not surprised.