There won’t be anymore pictures from me this trip, because my iPhone fell out of my pocket in a taxi. It’s been 12 hours and I’ve started to accept that it’s gone. This isn’t a post about how I’ll miss what was inside rather than the iPhone itself. I’m writing this because of how my mother surprised me.
Usually in these sort of situations, she will exacerbate my grief using her professional Chinese mother ways. This time instead, she said something sweet.
“Tommy, I am so sorry and sad to hear you lost your new iPhone, it was not even a year yet. Well, many people experience this and you are not alone. Just be more careful and I know you have been very careful all those years. I remember once you lost your cell phone on the 16M mini bus and you went to the station in Chai Wan and you found them. But Vietnam is a 3rd world country, people are not as honest and they are poor. Just think of that someone needed money and it was their lucky day, hopefully whoever found your phone can make good use of those money, Just think you did a good deed to the charity to help the poor. If that could make you feel better.”
This of course was followed by a warning to always check my pockets and look behind when I exit a vehicle, but I was still touched.
Anonymous asked: Your work takes you to places e.g. Myanmar that are subjectively and objectively poorer that where you live and grew up. How does your experience here differ from where you choose to travel?
I think my choice in destinations for personal travel is based more on the area’s food and cultural sites. I don’t really factor in the economic wealth of the population when trip planning.
Coming to places like Myanmar does make me more cognizant of the economic status and privileges that I have/had. At the same time I can also see that many people living in these countries are happy and able to live fulfilling lives despite lacking the same opportunities I’ve had.
Even though I don’t get to make the final decision of whether someone gets accepted at my university, I do feel more inclined to help out students from these countries achieve their dream of coming to Japan or in their chances of receiving a scholarship. It’s probably part savior complex and part wanting to use my position of power to help out fellow people of color.