There are countless things to quarrel about, just as all what we quarrel about are pointless, and yesterday you and I quarreled about food.
You asked me why I couldn’t be normal, why people in the same family couldn’t eat the same things, why I couldn’t let you enjoy your meal, while all I did was making my choice on food, cooking what I’d eat and eating what I’d cooked. These quarrels had seemed to be going on like forever, since the first day I ate what I was eating now more than one year ago. You’d either never been satisfied with the answers to all your questions, or never trusted the one giving those answers.
But today I think I’ve found them.
You and I were born in different times, different contexts, and grew up seeing different things.
You came to this world when the war was about to end. You knew neither the menace of death nor the suffering of survival. What you had to face was poverty and hunger.
I was born when we had almost reached the 21st century. I, together with over a hundred million babies being born the same year, was considered to be the future generation of this world. War was what happened between my parents.
Poverty bound your society together. You shared what you had, helped others with what you could, received what was willingly given. You worked for everything that you earned.
My society is defined by the number of individuals. They and I shout out slogans about ethical values why living for our own and on the suffering of others.
You were thin but happy with everything you had. You ran freely on the street in your plastic flip-flop without having to worry about the traffic and used leaves as a substitute for money in your games with friends.
I am now as big and heavy as you when you were expecting me and engage myself everyday in debates on comparisons between the newest iPhone Phablet and Samsung Galaxy Note. I step out of the house each morning seeing a showcase of car brands varying from Toyota to BMW on my way to school.
You enjoy good food and what you’ve always been eating because you didn’t have enough of it as a kid. You wish I could have a better life than you had, receive a better education than the one you did and have a healthier diet than yours.
I enjoy what you cook and that fact will never change. I love the things you like eating and I doubt anyone wouldn’t. I am having a better life than you’ve ever had, receiving one of the best educations I can ever imagine, and still striving for healthy food.
The love for food you taught me urged me to preserve its purity from all harm.
The better life that I’m having has spared me a lot of free time to think about the world around me, to be more aware of my influence or helplessness as an individual, and to observe most things that happen.
The active education I’m receiving tells me to read, to listen, to think critically and to judge on evidences and not on subjectivity. The society providing it to me hides from me the truths, but it supplies me with necessary middles so that I can stand on my ground and fight for the truths by myself with all the knowledge and strength that my generation is given.
I am happy and I am smart. I can afford a good life but not ignorance.
You and I, despite all these differences, share the same thought: food is cultural and substantial. But because it is, I know my choice of food matters. And if the undeniable presence of individualism in this society has taught me anything, then it would be to make my own choice while still respecting the choice of others. The other less attractive side of this individualism is that I expect the same thing from you.
You think you bore me in this world of peace. I say I’m living interwar.
The internationalisation of our country’s economy has brought me more insights about problems in the world.
The war of food has been going on for generations, environmental issues have been discussed for decades, racism still exists here and there and basically everywhere after all those great efforts against it done in history, human rights on all aspects still have to suffer, and more journalists and even cartoonists have fallen today.
My choice of food isn’t only about food. It’s my attempt to remind myself of what was in the past, what is happening around me every single day and whatever may come in the future.
Sorry, Mom, I want to be normal too, but I’m afraid what I’m witnessing today will become normal tomorrow.
So let us be in peace at least at the dining table today.