Eating Sugar

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Eating sugar
When we meet people from other cultures there is a potential for opportunities, problems and challenges. We all know how being in a foreign country can create insecurity and maybe even xenophobia when we are exposed to a language and mindset we do not understand. How we handle a meeting – or a possible conflict will often be exterminating the factor for the outcome of this cultural encounter, a such cultural encounter is to be seen in the short story Eating Sugar written by Catherine Merriman. The setting of this short story is a rather deserted spot in one of Thailand’s rainforests far from any sort of human population a day in April. The English couple Eileen and Alex and their daughter Suzanne are on a holiday trip in one of the rainforests of Thailand, and have somehow ended up being lost from the other holidaying Thais. After having rested from the, according to Alex, strenuous way down the path from a waterfall four Thai men, who seems to be lost as well, suddenly show up. The 21 year old daughter Suzanne seems to be, unlike her parents, quite forthcoming towards the strange Thais and quickly starts conversing, she does not question their obligingness. Suzanne lives and work as an English teacher in Thailand, she is curious and in what could seem like an unsafe situation she is the one who reacts calm and heartening, one could say that there havs been a role reversal because Suzanne acts like the responsible parent whereas her parents are panicky and paranoid. Her parents seem to be much more condemned towards the Thais and unsure of the situation. “Anything could happen. And she was right. [ ... ] So many surprises. [ ... ] A mindset that was contradictory, incomprehensi¬ble. The Land of Smiles; but also of pirates, and bandits.” It is very clear that Alex and especially Eileen feel suspicious and uncomfortable in the presence of the incomprehensible but friendly Thais. They both feel nervous, stressed and helpless being in a foreign...
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