During my time stay in Canada, I witnessed a landscape with extraordinary sceneries, well organized systems of infrastructures and the embarrassing situation of the homeless.
For me, the west seems like a free land of all sorts of ideologies, and I don’t want to stress the term ideology much, as I’d like to think of the west has a democratic approach to groups of people in a society, and how, from that, a society flourishes.
Here in Canada, you don’t need to worry about your behaviors outside on the streets, nobody cares. While in China, public figure is important and you don’t want to break the social norms. Plus, people comment easily on you based on your behaviors and subsequently gossip around.
The west gives me this sort of feeling of freedom, but not exactly that free. It is definitely much better than China.
In China, you are not allowed to have too many thoughts on the government. Here in Canada, you are allowed to do so and moreover, you are allowed to denounce your government or to praise it endlessly. Most people in the west take a critical approach to their government–they praise where it’s done something good, they despise where it’s done something bad.
On such a free land, one thing caught my attention. People here are exactly what sociology would describe as a society, there are many different groups of people, representing different values and ideas. And a western society is composed of these different groups of people.
And that, information is so transparent here, people are easily influenced by rumors and conspiracies. Although, the term, Common Sense, originates from the west, it seems fallible to describe the general public having Common Sense, as a matter of fact, the general public seems to be fed up with all sorts of propaganda and ideologies.
A police state does not allow you to think, a democratic state allows you to think but can’t eliminate fringe ideologies.
The amount of free thoughts here seem to be overwhelming to somebody who comes from a country where free thoughts are limited.
But people are easily swayed as well. Like I once discussed the topics of Cognitive Bias and Rational Ambiguity. It’s possible to forge these things out of nowhere in order to disturb the public discourse. We have people doing this sort of thing back in China as well, so to control the direction of the public opinion.
I would say Canada in terms of efficiency is a backwards country compared to China. Because if something can be done in 1 day, we make it done in 1 day, unlike Canada, where things have to be done in a longer span of time for all sorts of reasons.
However, the well-organized systems here memorize me. They are extremely simple yet effective. Take rapid transit system here for example. The rapid transit systems in both Vancouver and Toronto are well designed, and function very efficiently. The buses are always on time and the intervals are very short so people don’t have to wait too long for a next ride. And such infrastructure was built a decade ago!
By the time I was in Montreal, I stepped into the lowest stratum of Canadian society–the homeless.
I wouldn’t say how poor the condition homeless people here have, and how that would impact the Canadian society as a whole. But I do feel it in my heart, of the struggles, and the sufferings.
Instead of microscoping into the lowest stratum of the society, I’d like to take a grander approach to look at the poor people in Canadian society. And I am not very surprised that this system is very alike the American system. Many middle class people, and a few upper, and a few lower.
The daily landscape consists of vastly middle class people and lower-middle class people. The rich and the elites here drive in lambos, so not quite common to see. The poor here also have a quality life, they don’t necessarily suffer from homeless situation.
What I would like to infer, is the reasons of homeless. The reasons of them being homeless seem quite natural. Most homeless people have very bad habits such as alcoholism, drug addiction, and have past records of violence. And most of them seem very mental and have bad medical conditions.
What surprised me was the fact that many homeless choose to be homeless, enjoying a way of homeless? This is unimaginable in China.
Meanwhile, I’ve discovered this profound understanding based on how Montreal functions.
The system punishes the poor harshly and asks them to behave, but gives more leeway to people at higher tiers, and cuts them slacks and grants them more freedom. Such system only makes the poor poorer, and the rich richer. And such punishments are under the disguise that it is for the greater good of the society, and frames it with ethics and morality.
However, such phenomenon seems to pervade all cultures no matter what system people are in. The rich always have it easier to get away with problems, whilst the poor have to suffer in ways unimaginable. Replace rich and poor with powerful and peasants, you got a Chinese system that is doing the exactly same thing.
However, saying that the poor people are put into a lower rung and asked to behave in the books of greater good or morality, may have a much deeper and complicated root.
To me, it seems more like an access problem than really people are forced into a lower rung. For example, poor people take buses to commute, so they have to obey the rules of public transit services, sometimes it could be stringent. Rich people on the other hand, drive their own vehicles to commute, they don’t need to obey the rules of public transit services, because they don’t use it at all. So if you’re rich, you have more access than the poor. If you’re poor, you have less access than the rich.
But sometimes, the problem can also see a drastic and violent manifestation in the society.
All it takes, is just one bad day, to turn a sane person, to a mad man.
In life, we generally have ups and downs. And we don’t know when they would hit us and how hard it would be. My personal experience taught me this. Arbitrariness is somehow the source of all evil.
In general, as I am still very uncertain of my future life, it seems like my journey here is put with a temporary period.