Our Readers' Opinions
April 7, 2006

We should all try to better ourselves!

Editor: After reading some letters in this newspaper over the last few weeks, as one of the many foreigners from Asia living in this country, I feel I have to write before the argument goes in the wrong direction.

I have been in this country for nearly three years, and I understand perfectly the issue the gentleman brought up on the 24th of March. I think the writer is not worrying about us as much as he is caring about Vincentians because he is Vincentian. He must love his country.{{more}}

In response to the unsigned letter of the 31st of March, however, I must say that given your comments about racism and Japan, it sounds to me as if you are not totally familiar with our history and geography; I have met a lot of intelligent and open-minded Vincentians, though, with whom I’m sure we could share our thoughts based on common knowledge. I won’t expect any special consideration from you, and I won’t criticize you because I am a guest in your country and it would not be polite of me.

I suppose how you choose to treat visitors is not my issue but yours. You have your answers, so you must make your own decisions about how you would like to build your society and country, the kind of social atmosphere you prefer, and how you expect your youth to behave morally.

This isn’t about race, as you imply. The question is: Is it good manners for mature adults to yell at people they don’t know or to make fun of them on the street because they don’t speak the same language? You have the answer and your children will follow your lead.

I have lived in five countries in different parts of the world over the last 15 years and I have traveled a lot; I have never seen the perfect community or country. None of us is perfect as you know; but, if we say, “Why should I be better? Other people are not perfectly good”, we will never develop ourselves.

In Japan, as in St. Vincent, we discuss a lot of issues in our newspapers; most of them are criticisms about our own (Japanese) behaviour, or about the decisions of the Japanese government. I think it is healthy discussion because it means people are giving serious thought as to how to be better members of the global community.

Personally, I have never complained to my Vincentian friends about being ridiculed on the street, but it is not a happy experience. I don’t think I have any right to do anything about it though, because I’m just a visitor. All I can say is, I appreciate Vincentian hospitality and I will be leaving soon, with happy feelings.

I wish you all the best in St. Vincent and Grenadines. Thank you.

Soko Okada