July 17, 2015
My travels have most always taken me eastward. But now I’ve gone West and am to call New York home for the next 15 months or so. I know parts of Asia like the back of my hand. Now I am exploring NYC! Oh, the pulse, the energy. It reminds me of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and other major Chinese cities, some of which I have also called home – the permanent noise, the ridiculous, unnecessarily loud and obnoxious howl of police cars and ambulances, the steady hum of air conditioners. I worry deeply about all the lonely people, who talk to themselves – for lack of friends, relatives, work, or worse: proper medical care and counselling? New York is like a big fist closing tightly around all the smaller fists, local communities that care for themselves. I feel intensely sorry for all the people who have to feign happiness, willingness and friendliness in order to keep up a decent salary, as it seems to be commonly accepted to underpay your staff and leave it to customers, clients or whomever to care for your employees. People tell me that this is my “Scandinavian mindset” and that I’ll “get over it.” I’m not sure I want to get over it – I want to continue to regard people as valuable and dignified individuals that don’t have to ingratiate themselves particularly with me to earn their living. If I am not making myself clear, try reading this article from International NYT last year. In it a compatriot states “We Danes accept that a burger is expensive, but we also know that working conditions and wages are decent when we eat that burger.” And I’d like to add that according to The Economist’s burgerindex, burgers in Denmark are not overpriced!
That said, I am happy to be here and pleased that I feel welcome.