American Culture Busride Observations observation rant transportation

Is it hard to show courtesy to others these days?

It seems like, every time I am on the bus and it becomes crowded, I notice this one thing: everyone expects for someone else to do what they’re told to do, rather than being initiators and following suit with orders. Recently, the buses have been installed with “new” bus announcements, telling people to “move to the back of the bus for others’ convenience” and also to “clear the front seats for seniors and disabled persons”. I know the bus drivers are able to press these buttons when they need to, because I hear these announcements only when the situations arise.

And unfortunately, nobody else seems to pay attention to them. People stand in the doorways, in the front of the bus, trying to ignore the announcements about moving to the rear of the bus so others could board. Is it so hard to show courtesy? Does it make THAT much of a difference of where you are standing?

It’s annoying for me to watch while I am seated; whenever I do end up being one of the people standing up, I do try my best to move to the back of the bus, even if it’s not entirely necessary. There’s no point in bunching up at the front when it’s inevitable that the bus would get crowded. But it seems like rarely anyone thinks the same way as I do about this. I’m not saying that I’m the only one who pays attention, but, really, if you could observe the situation on the bus, you would notice that rarely anyone actually does what they’re supposed to do–because they expect for someone else to do it.

I’ve seen people trying to gently nudge their neighbor to move to the back of the bus, but the neighbor just stands stubbornly, hanging onto “their” spot. It’s really unnecessary, and it’s no wonder that the bus drivers feel so frustrated sometimes.

To add on, when it comes to the front seats being reserved for elderly and disabled, it truly angers me to see young people sitting there when there are obviously others who need the seats more. In turn, these young people won’t move unless they’re forced to, even with the bus announcement blaring off. I don’t feel sorry for these young people when an elderly citizen yells at them to move, because I feel they have the right to do so–young people should give up their seats for the elderly, since young people are very capable of standing up and using their leg muscles.

Granted, there are some senior citizens who refuse to go with that title of “elderly”, who refuse to admit that they are “old” and need the front seats. Those are far and few though–most of the time I do see any elderly person, no matter how fit they look, take the front seats when available. They’ve lived long lives, so they deserve to sit where they are given the priviledge.

In the end, people are just selfish.

#foodie American Culture Asian-American health

White rice vs. Brown rice

Interesting topic came up today in a conversation with my friend; ever since I began to eat healthier and reading up on healthy diets/etc. in magazines, I have noticed how most of the diets are very American-oriented; meaning, the foods are all just…American. Salad, sandwiches, etc. There are some “Asian” dishes thrown in, but always stir-fry or some kind of fusion.

So I asked my friend today, “Why are all these diets racist!” I say “racist” in jest, but really, how come so many health plans say “NO” to white rice? I know, brown rice has more nutrients apparently…but how come then pretty much all of Asia consumes white rice? “It’s processed, no nutrients, etc.” is what I keep reading. But tell me, how come the world’s oldest/healthiest people live in…Asia? They eat white rice; brown rice is too expensive, and most of Asia is relatively poor.

Try going into any Asian restaurant and requesting for brown rice–you won’t get it at most places. So far, I’ve only seen a few Thai restaurants offer brown rice, but even then, that’s only one type of Asian restaurant. Korean? They shot down the request when I attempted to ask for substitution. Chinese? Japanese? I highly doubt they will honor the request.

White rice forever.

American Culture

Butcher that word up!

Have you ever noticed how people tend to butcher foreign words? It’s probably not just an American thing, but a worldwide thing.

My friends and I got into an interesting conversation today about how a lot of Americans tend to incorrectly pronounce certain Japanese words, such as sake (it’s supposed to be “sa-kei” NOT “saKI”), karaoke (“ka-ra-o-kei”, NOT “carryoki”), and Kyoto (“Kyo-to-“, not “Key-oto”).

It’s not just Japanese/Asian words though–we even butcher European words. One thing that I never realized until last year was that we Americans say “IKEA” wrong. Americans say “EYE-key-A”; the correct way to say the Swedish store’s name is “E-kei-a”.

How did we come about with butchering foreign words? Is it because we just don’t notice the letters in the words, or we just assume the pronunciation? It’s just an amusing topic to me, really; a lot of times I try to say certain familiar Japanese words the “correct Japanese way”, but then nobody really understands what I’m trying to say if they’re not familiar with the language. Then, in turn, these same people will assume I’m just being a snob for pronouncing the word correctly.

Go figure…

American Culture Chinese Culture movie

"Take Out" feature film screening in NYC

Just read about this on Jennifer 8. Lee‘s blog: Apparently there’s a movie screening in NYC right now for “Take Out,” which is about a Chinese delivery man having to work to pay off immigrant smugglers. I’m curious to watch this, merely from the account that Lee wrote about in her blog. Some people mistaked the movie as a documentary, but it really isn’t; just a purely fictional film (although the situation/incident outlined is not fictional; it does occur, as I know from observations).

I’m curious to see if the film will be screening outside of NYC; will it make it to the big screen eventually? It’s an indies film, so I guess maybe there’s not such a big chance, but I’m hoping I am wrong.

American Culture holiday Hot Dog Days

Memorial Day: Business slow? Economy?

Business was rather slow today despite the fact that it was Memorial Day. Both at the Wharf and down at Union Square, business was really lagging and it seemed like not many people were out. My boss was thinking that it could have been the gloomy/cloudy weather, or people weren’t really shopping due to the slow economy.

This also brings me to a strange tangent: why is it that there are ALWAYS store sales on all major holidays? Even on the holidays honoring people in the military (Memorial Day, Veterans’ Day, etc.)? It’s so odd–one of my friends put it a good way:

“Why are we saying ‘let’s honor our fallen soldiers’ by going out and shopping?!”

It’s so true, though; has our society really become so commercialized that all holidays are just merely excuses for sales now?