Me & My ‘Exotic’ Classmates
So I remember years ago now when I was an exchange student in Shanghai, China, something peculiar happened. Whenever I would be talking to one of my Caucasian classmates, quite often we would get interrupted by one of the local Chinese wanting to take a photo with my classmate and asked me to be the cameraman.
Initially I didn’t really understand the behavior and just went along with it. Gradually, it dawned on me that along with the pictures, my classmates got preferential treatment because they were white. It didn’t sit well with me when locals would treat my classmates kindly and turn around talking to me differently.
That was many years ago and last year as well as earlier this year, I noticed this behavior to a lesser extent in SE Asia. It did inspire a certain degree of resentment in me which could be interpreted as jealousy in the form of “these other people get something I don’t have just based on how they look, why don’t I?
A Knee Jerk Reaction
It was part of my motivation for going to Latin America. I wanted to see what that preferential treatment felt like first hand when you are in a land where you looked different from most everyone else.
Well the experience I got was a mixed bag and no I didn’t get any of the special treatment white folks report getting in Asia and Latin America.
Of course this wasn’t the sole nor main reason I went to that part of the world, but it was a contributing factor. And what I’ve found is that jealousy takes you away from focusing on your situation and instead has you concentrating on other people.
Focus On The Issue, Not the Feeling (Nor Person)
This leads to your judgement and ability to reason to become foggy as you make decisions based on others rather then your own needs.
Because this type of jealousy, where it is a feeling of resentment towards someone else who has perceived achievements or advantages you don’t get anything (productive) out of focusing on this other person. All that leads to is them living rent free inside your head.
And the punchline is that they might not even know that you exist. So focusing on the person (s) solves nothing, instead concentrate on what they have that is making you feel jealous. That is the root. If you can get it, great, if not, pivot and focus on something else.
Kingston S. Lim
November 11, 2020
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
About Kingston’s Journey Series: Kingston’s Journey is a lifelong series. This is the travel journal I take with me. Whether you have questions such as how to change my life or how to travel the world, I think you’ll find value in the life lessons I’ve experienced and documented in this travel notebook. They may serve as travel inspiration for you. In Chinese, there is a saying, “讀萬卷書,不如行千里路.”
This means, instead of reading ten thousand books, why don’t you walk a thousand miles. This is my inspiration to travel every nation (or as many as possible) in my pursuit of my global MBA by learning as much as possible and recording these life lessons learned only by travel. In the end, I think the achievement of dreams, personal growth & aspirations out there through travel and adventure will lead to a more fulfilling life. Living and experiencing the “now” is how I’ll make my life a great memory in the future.