Sunday, February 13, 2011

David Attenborough on Expatriates

Expats in Asia are embarrassing.

No really, we just are.

After two months of travelling the region, thus far I have encountered no animal or being or species as embarrassing or ridiculous as an expat. To testify to this, I have written a short transcript for a BBC documentary, voiced (naturally) by Sir D. Attenborough.

Note: if you are truly a lover of irony, please read the following in a stiflingly pompous British accent. (read: pretend you are David Attenborough and it's even funnier because he is the world's ultimate expat.)

Opening scene - tall, old, round, white man walks from a distance towards the wide-angle camera. He is pushing his way through a market street crammed with people buying and selling food and goods. It is a noisy, bustling environment, but he can be seen clearly because he is a head taller than everyone else, and heard clearly because he talks embarrassingly slowly and loudly. This is - He is - expat.

"Welcome to downtown Hong Kong. We are currently in SoHo - an area known for it's high density of food outlets, laze-inducing travellators and ridiculously high prices. Here, we observe the "Expat". The incongruous Homo Sapien struggling to manage outside of it's natural habitat.

Traditionally, the inhabitants of this area dine on staples such as rice, green vegetables and basic meats. However, the introduction of this foreign species (the Expats) into the area saw a dramatic incline in food groups found in the upper levels of the food-group-triangle. Prior to their introduction, cake and cheese and spaghetti and burgers and Ben & Jerry's had never been heard of, let alone consumed, by residents. The results of constant grazing on such foods are evidently catastrophic to the unassuming Homo Sapien, as exampled by the startling race:weight ratio of Hong Kong inhabitants. Looking around us now, I would say that on average, the Expat species is at least double the weight of the resident species. A shocking development, to say the least.

A freakishly direct result of this dietary imbalance can be seen in the latest machinery to be introduced into the previously natural landscape: The Travellator. This invention, brought to SoHo by the Expats, allows them to travel from their central area of work, to their recreational areas of eating and leisure without walking at all. It is unclear when, as a group, the Expats decided that exercise was something to be avoided at all costs, but one suggested reason is that this invention allows the female Expats to dress in sexual shoes which normally hinder their natural ability to move from one place to another. As curious as this behaviour is, it is simply one example of the illogical mannerisms of the Expat. On the male side of the species, the competition for position of alpha male reveals itself in extremely abstract form.

It would appear that the car is another piece of machinery loved by Expats which negates the need for an individual to need to ever exert themselves. The island itself is considerably small in size, and the infrastructure for personal vehicles is hardly convenient. There also exists a complete lack of parking spaces around the places that a human would normally drive to, and taxi fares are incredibly affordable. Despite all of these factors of life, the Expat who can afford a car feels compelled to do so. The uselessness of the machine in such a new environment really physicalises the idea that money brings status, regardless of how retardedly it is spent. Nevertheless, the Expat still thrives. So now we must ask ourselves why?

Why is it that so little sense and so much food and such extreme whiteness can come together to form a hybrid species which can dominate areas of a land originally occupied? Is it because they are so easily identifiable to each other that they can easily come together and form protective groups, marginalising others in order for pack-mentality gain?

Why do they not look at themselves and realise that their behaviour renders them as the butt of the jokes for all the other groups of Homo Sapiens? Is it because their constant exposure to only-other-Expats has provided them with a subconscious bubble in which they live - so they can no longer perceive real Hong Kong, but only exist in SoHo land?

These are questions which may never find answers, my friends. All that can be said, is that watching the development of the Expat simultaneously with the other normal groups of Homo Sapiens in this city and others, will eternally provide the humble outsider with endless hours of amusement and pity.

Until next time, goodnight.

1 comment:

  1. "You're an expatriate. You've lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed with sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafes." Hemingway/The Sun Also Rises

    Thanks for the postcard, by the way! It's a beauty.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...