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Old 03-08-2014, 02:10 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2009
Home Port: Hilo
Vessel Name: Hot Buoys Sailing Vessel
Posts: 6
Default Coping Cultures: Dog Meat, Stuck Pigs, Topless etc.

Cruisers like me who go into remote
areas of the South Pacific all eventually
find their comfort level and personal
values tested.

Sometimes they're not very remote at all.

The phrases we grew up with like:

Being treated like dog meat, or
squealling like a stuck pig

Take on a whole new meaning when
you know the origins first hand.

I won't describe.

Smoking also gets to me. I asked the boy selling
cigarettes on the street who was currently sampling his wares,
"How old are you?"
I looked across the street at the police
directing traffic. I did nothing.

In FSM I saw a child about 5 beg for a drag
on his mothers cigarette. She gave him one.

Why on earth would a little boy perhaps 7 stand
next to me at an internet cafe and say two words
he should not know? It was hard not to act on
that one. Was I wrong not to try?

Everyday I get offers here. Locals consider
it a problem if a girl 1/3 my age isnt attached .

I won't speak to these Westerners that are obviously
here and not home where they would not
get the time of day.

When in Mog Mog I do want my crew to comply
With local dress as they request or stay on the
boat. That I consider an easy one. No harm
occurs if women go topless.

I did do one thing. I checked if it was legal to
kill a huge sea turtle I saw at the fish market.
It took whole day to track local law and I
found it was legal in season. The police
supposed had no idea there was a season.

Yesterday another invite to a cock fight.
Locals say they thought all tourists went
after I said no.

How do you cope?

Philip Uncomfortable in the Philippines

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Old 03-08-2014, 03:37 AM   #2
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Home Port: Darwin
Vessel Name: Sandettie
Posts: 1,917

I think that central to a satisfying sailing life is the philosophy 'When in Rome, do as the Romans'. Confronting moral problems which may have their roots in a foreign culture will cause friction. Almost every day in SE Asia, I had to bite my tongue when I first arrived.

We do things in the west that cause moral indignation in developing cultures who live by a different set of values. It is hard to lecture a local about smoking, or profanity when you have just walked into his church wearing shoes or are otherwise inappropriately dressed, and unaware of local sensitivities.

It is even more difficult to address others' moral issues when your own culture allows for the invasion of independent sovereign states, based on fraud...or that you actually expect your citizenry to pay for water which is delivered free by the gods in the Pacific..

And what is more obscene, cock fighting in the Philippines or cage fighting in Las Vegas?

Meanwhile welcome to the forum and say hello to Hilo Hatties for me.

"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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Old 03-08-2014, 06:37 AM   #3
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I spend quite a bit of time in Vietnam and the things that get me there are (a) being offered very young girls as escorts, (b) smoking, almost everywhere, especially by foreigners who would never get away with it at home (most young Viets don't smoke, but most foreigners will light up in a cafe, bar, restaurant, hotel lobby, etc, often directly under no smoking signs because they know as foreigners they will get away with it) and (c) complete lack of crowd control/manners. No such thing as a queue here, people just shove into the front of any waiting crowd at any time. On my most recent trip I actually had a passenger across the aisle shove me back into my seat as I was getting up so he could get his bags and get out first.

Still, you take the good with the bad. They are great people and hard working, knowledgeable, the food is great (and cheap), and the scenery is awesome.
= New South Wales, Queensland,
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Old 03-09-2014, 03:05 AM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2009
Home Port: Hilo
Vessel Name: Hot Buoys Sailing Vessel
Posts: 6

Largely I have choice in most places. I don't go
to monster truck rallies. Nor bull fights. It to
a degree all about being sensitive.

Your train story reminds me about Singapore.
everywhere there's a sign to let passengers off first.
Yet time and again I see the rush come in before I can get off
I have been getting off all elbows.

I too find if I leave a space in the line
some dashes in. Mostly that has been
middle aged women.
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Old 03-09-2014, 06:52 AM   #5
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Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,236

When traveling in Asia and while living in Japan I did notice that folks were really in a much bigger hurry than I was. World-wide I've noticed that Asians are much pushier in getting what they want than other customers/folks in a crowd. I've shopped in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul, and Manilla and can say simply "stand back and watch" when there are locals interested in getting what they perceive to be a good deal. You're just in their way. It was a bit more interesting in Japan where the men are still "given" things like free cuts in line. There'd be all these people waiting in a line for the train doors to open--old men, old women, young girls, etc--but the ones who would bypass the line and "cut" in right at the door were what I call the "working age" men. The ones in suits, not the young guys in casual attire. Auzzee--you lived there for a bit, did you notice the same?

PS--when you step out your front door, you're confronted with people with different ethics and beliefs that you have. It's life. We choose to have obligations within our society--thus, when we see a crime (as defined by the laws of the society we're living in, not our own internal moral compass) we call the police to let them know about it so it can be stopped. We could choose to do nothing, of course. Anywhere we don't feel like we "belong" we are very free to kick back and do nothing. That may be the best course of action broadly since, in general, our travel goals are not to convert the world to our way of thinking, but rather to travel, see, observe the cultures of the world around us. If we don't like what we see and/or hear, we can leave that country and not go back.
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 03-09-2014, 01:01 PM   #6
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 333

Sometimes I think us westerners live in a world totally removed from reality.

The most humbling and provoking moment for me was having Australis on the hard stand in Kudat for 3 months and two young Filipino guys working for me for that entire time, 7 days a week. They were fantastic hard working guys and would show up at 7am sharp and work through to 5.30pm - no matter what the weather. During our time together I asked them would they like the weekend off and what they did on the weekend. Did they fish, did they play sport did they visit friends? They replied, No Mr Shaun - if we don't work, our wives and children don't eat.

I have never felt so out of touch with the reality of everyday life in a third world then I did at that moment.

Fair winds,

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Old 03-09-2014, 11:51 PM   #7
Join Date: Nov 2009
Home Port: Hilo
Vessel Name: Hot Buoys Sailing Vessel
Posts: 6

In general I have a great respect for cruisers. Like me I see them riding bicycles.
I also see them being frugal.

Perhaps the people that we can really address are other and Westerners.

I had a very sad case aboard my boat. American
Very overweight. He so much wanted a beautiful
Girlfriend that he spoke of a girl in Thailand as
If They were truly in love. He never paid her
But he paid each time they met so the bartender could find
A replacement and she didnt have to tend bar.

Trying to explain the concept of a pimp and that she already had a boyfriend
Didn't make it through to him.
Not even seen 5 different girls sitting at the bar doing nothing
Seemed to register to him.

When i look around here in the Philippines .
There must be certain exceptions to the rule.
however the general rule is westerner that
Is socially inept plus girl from large family.
She puts her parents and siblings first. Her
Happiness second.

The difference between the Filipino example
Cited from Australia, this is not support for her
Own spouse and own children.

Family size makes exploitation all too easy here.
One crew member of mine sent every penny
Back to his parents. Parents that had 10 children
and fed them coffee instead of milk and sent
Them to work at a farmer's field.

Many cite Arch Bishop Sinn? As prime reason
for this woe. I have interviewed women who speak English
Fluently because its taught in the school.
On outer islands i find they usually have never heard of birth control.
On not until several children.

And even then birth control here is expensive.

I hope more sailors have courage to tell
Westerners they see exploiting these people
what they are doing.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:54 AM   #8
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Vessel Name: Sandettie
Posts: 1,917

Westerners cannot exploit these women if the women choose not to be exploited. There is a real symbiosis which, unfortunately provides benefits for both parties. There is nothing quite so sad as seeing a balding, toothless grandfather squiring an 18 year old girl. It is a fact of life in SE Asia though and preachers against the practice are rarely appreciated. It must be said that these practices are not exclusive to SE Asia, there are abundant examples on almost every city street in the US.

I would point out that I don't feel the general cruising forum is the place to expound one's personal moral views. I feel sure there are many available expat forums in your country of choice where you could do that far more effectively.

Meanwhile, I would like to hear more about your sailing adventures.


"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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