Obsessing over Obsessions

So, what’s your countries obsession?

Every country has a national obsession. Well, probably every country has many national obsessions, but there is generally one defining one, that other countries snigger about or raise an eyebrow to.

South Africa: Saffa’s love rugby for sure, but it borders more on religion than obsession, so I am going to go for a less obvious one to the world at large. Currency is King in the Republic. Every South African worth his or her Krugerrands knows the exchange rate to the US dollar, minute by minute each day. And an exciting obsession it is, with the Rand going up and down like a bride’s nightie.

The English are naturally obsessed with the weather. Getting their pasty while bodies into sunshine is Priority 1. Be it Australia, were flocks of Poms gather at Bondi Beach sans sunburn cream, then flock to Bondi hospital to deal with 3rd degree burns; to the South of France, where the same lily-white bodies are going through the same ritual. When the English go abroad, they must return tanned or spit roasted, so they can painfully tell all their friends about the fabulous weather elsewhere.

Americans are obsessed with…well… being American. They are proud of their country, and not opposed to loudly and vigorously cheering it on. Weather it be sport, where they usually excel, or military drone strikes, where they reign supreme: Yay! Go America! And to be fair, what’s wrong with a little self-love?

Ahhh, the French. So many things to say. I have to be careful as I have some fantastic French friends so there will be no jokes about how France would be the best country in the world if we could just get rid of the French… And so, to the task at hand: my Gallic friends are obsessed with their language. True; it’s a magical sounding language, but anyone with a working knowledge of French will tell you, les Français get quite grumpy with foreigners who mispronounce words. Now I am currently taking French language classes, and believe me, it is virtually impossible not to miss-pronounce, or indeed butcher, the language of love.  But I try to get it right – so être gentil avec moi, French people.

Aussies are obsessed with being the “cool dude in the dangerous country’” Sure, we come from a place where people are generally relaxed, but we obsess about being relaxed in the face of natural danger.  We love to tell unsuspecting tourists about all the things that might kill you in Australia: snakes, spiders, trees, fish – you name it, we have it – including the most venomous animal on earth, the box jellyfish. But seriously – as a tourist, what are the chances of being killed in Australia by one of our unfriendly and venomous Aussies? Low, very low. And the truth is, they scare us to death as well, but we try to act so cool. Trust me, we’re not. When I see a spider the size of a dinner plate or even one the size of a fingernail, I cry like a baby.

New Zealand is a country full of natural wonder. It’s almost Tardis like as there just can’t be so much beauty in such a small place. But trust me, there is. So what about the Kiwi’s obsession? Well, they are a nation that lives and breathes Rugby. Ask any Kiwi you know, or just randomly ring a New Zealand telephone number, and ask the person who answers if they know the middle name of anyone in the All Blacks rugby team. Fact: they will know them all. For non-rugby people, the national team is known as the “All Blacks”, and has been consistently the best rugby side in the world since 1903.  They have an astonishing 75% win ratio over the 110 odd years they have been playing the game. As an Australian, that makes me weep. Truly, if you organized your New Zealand wedding during an All Blacks match, no one, including the priest, would turn up.

About Tim

I'm an expat dad, living in Hong Kong. Being a parent, especially a dad, is simply fraught with danger. Mums seem to have this built-in radar for trouble and danger - I do not. http://beingdadinasia.com - all about my life, being dad. http://achipofftheoldblog - all about the funny and strange things I see. View all posts by Tim

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