My definition of diversity has developed into a term that means much more than difference in culture or skin color. It is such a relative concept because even within a group seemingly very alike there is likely a vastness of diversity. However, in talking about culture specifically, there is currently great diversity in my life. I am a Scandinavian American living with people who are Korean, teaching with people who are Dusun, teaching students who are Indonesian, and attending church with people who are Chinese. What a mix of culture. We met some new friends at church today who explained that there is a colloquial language called “rojak” which is named after a traditional fruit and vegetable salad. Sound familiar (i.e. melting pot, etc.)? Rojak literally means mixture in Malay and the language rojak is just a mixture of many languages. It seems pretty common for the people of Malaysia to know at least some of two or three languages. When my new friends were describing rojak to me they said they might switch between languages quickly (like mid sentence) and sometimes combine languages in a single word. They also told me I should get comfortable adding –bah, -lah, or –kah (kah is more for questions) to the ends of sentences and words so I can sound more local. Okaylah! Now to learn how I fit into this awesome mixture of people as my definition of diversity is challenged and grows even further.
|World mural in the courtyard of Grace Center|