Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem called “The Ballad of East & West” whose initial line reads: “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” Tis particular line resonates with me as I worked with a group of first generation South Asian Women in a ‘Who am I?” workshop. What struck with me was as if Kipling was that all of us are, to some extent at least, unable to adapt to the ways of others. He wrote this over a century ago, long before anyone became aware of the term multicultural and while we are trying to make Canada a multicultural mosaic-why do some of us including me can relates to our culture more than the Western culture? Why is it that even though being seen as an independent successful person in the Western Society, my genetic framework is steeped in the traditional Eastern Society? Why is it that no matter how much I try to blend the Mocha and the White—they always stand apart? Why is it that my patriarchal upbringing finds it hard to break out of its shackle—As a counsellor practicing in Toronto, coming from an eastern background, using western techniques, I often find that its best to leave the two cultures separate—Yes my Canadian born daughters are more mocha latte than just mocha but I am finding as I am aging that it’s okay to be traditional and try to live like it is back home in some ways….and equally so it is oaky to accept clients who are not comfortable living in multicultural environment-I think it boils down to respecting our differences yet celebrating them. So in my workshop, we all agreed to disagree and conclude that we are who we are….that some of us will be more east than west than others …. And that’s who I am ….And that is okay.
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