I love traveling in Asia. I missed out in my younger years but in the past 10 years I have been to many countries, one could spend a lifetime and not see it all. I love the people, the bustling cities, the colors, the food. I am in awe of the energy that is in the air, it is in stark contrast with Germany where things are just settled in many ways just routine.
In the past couple years I have spend time in Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. This time we spend a weekend in Kuala Lumpur and this time around the Formula 1 weekend was on and we were right in the center of town. There were a lot of promotional activities going on and we saw our share of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other exotic and very expensive cars. I could not help but think how the western world has influenced the globe in so many ways and not all of them are necessarily good. It does not matter where you are in the world if one wants to buy luxury items, whether a car or a watch it is going to be mostly a European brand and to a lesser extend an American brand. It is interesting that a local Chinese in Malaysia when he can afford it he buys an Italian exotic car (not a Fiat), a Swiss watch, they go to a French restaurant and when they travel they go to Europe. I read that most fancy boutiques and shops in Paris, London, etc. employ Chinese speaking staff in order to cater to these clients. The masses, modern urbanites of the different mega cities all over the developing world, then try to emulate by buying up as much as they can. This has led to an erosion the local cultures and societies that changes the character and the mentality forever. It is ironic that we fly so many miles to “exotic” and far away places but end up with people who very much like us have become victims of aggressive modern marketing and peer pressure.
Every time I am in Asia, I wonder how it might have been even 40 or 50 years ago when Asia was truly different and unique in every respect. I would like, even for the briefest of moment, to able to experience the sights, the smells, the air and the colors of these by-gone places.
I realize that this post may sound judgmental but it is by no means judgmental, I have no right to judge anyone but myself. It is just an observation, probably a subjective one but that is how I see it. When I visit places in Asia, I tend to stray away from the beaten path and I try to get to places where I am the only one that looks like me and where I use an honest smile and many gestures to get by. These places still exist out there and I relish experiencing them every single time.