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First World Syndrome

The world’s plagued with poverty, war, terrorism, humanitarian crisis and what not but my colleagues and friends bicker about their everyday problems with so much intensity that led me to write this. This list is in no way referring to all the developed nations of the world or even the majority of the population of any country. I only seek to poke fun at and question some of the thoughts and ways of privileged people of the first world and the first world problems! If this post offends you, am afraid, you are one of the snobs described below, my friend 😉

Untoasted Unbuttered Banana Bread
First of all, yeah, Banana Bread – it’s a rage which is essentially bread with banana pulp as one of its ingredients. I was caught munching on one and people who saw this debacle were alarmed that I hadn’t buttered and toasted it. That’s when I coined this title, obviously borrowing from the term ‘3rd world Countries / problems’, after their passionate speech of how best to eat it. Why would you want to lather fat on top of this rich sugary bread and then crib about the amount of calories?

Multiple Cars
Yeah, you’d think that multiple cars would be a solution to a problem of multiple people getting around to multiple places. But no, let’s carve a problem out of it. My workplace implemented a parking policy due to limited car parking spaces for the growing workforce. One had to register their car plate number and nominate 4 out of 5 weekdays they wanted a spot – people were either expected to take the public transport on the last day or work from home. So the company tried solving the issue by offering the employees a work from home day – solution! But it was registering ‘a’ car plate number that was the problem. How to just pick ‘a’ car when people have kids’ child care / school drop offs and pick ups and how only 1 car has the car seat (It is mandatory for a child to be in a car seat until a stipulated age or physical growth) and how they don’t want to put in a car seat in their premium car which they drive on the days of no drop-offs / pick-ups (if you haven’t figured out why – to keep the car clean of course. No food crumbs and pukes in an expensive car!). Seriously??

Change Rooms
‘The change room’s disgusting; I found a couple of strands of hair in the wash basin – God knows when they cleaned it last.’
Just amazing to look at what the first world can take for granted which is a luxury elsewhere. No proper toilets at home / village is a violation of human rights but here we complain about a slightly dirty sink. People would have obviously dried their hair with the hair dryer next to sink after taking a shower in the change room using soaps and shampoos provided for free in the showers and after hanging their towel to dry in the drying area that has a fan running the whole day.
Wowie, could you please ask the girls on overnight bus trips dreading to go to the filthy toilets when the bus stops for loo breaks and ask them how they avoid liquid intake to avoid peeing and ask them about how, in the extreme situations of having to go, especially in a western style toilet, they hover just above the commode in an angular squat position somehow aiming it into the bowl, holding the clothes but no part of the exposed body ever touching the bowl? And now imagine the filth if it drives us this insane.
I think the best bit of having seen a tough life is the gratitude that comes with it when you get a better life. And which makes many more issues seem real petty and teaches not to take things for granted. Because once we start taking things for granted, we start complaining – some times silently with a sigh and a nod and sometimes verbally and thinking that we being just us is a favour to this world.

Entitlement
This is in line with taking things for granted and feeling totally entitled. The feeling of everything on the Earth is just to serve us; the constant urge to have the latest gadgets and updated decor (thereby increasing the amount of things thrown out whilst in perfect usable condition); the impatience while waiting to be served if not given the priority – “my coffee took forever. I was behind a 100 people, so annoying”. This is what would have given a few counties the title of ‘First World’ and many others the ‘3rd World’. Downright audacious!

Plastics
Specially the Easy-Go Pouches. Tiny packs of biscuits, yogurt, munchies, dips, tetra packs of 100-200 ml of milk/ pouches of flavoured ones are common on the supermarket shelves and in turn the shopping trolleys. The marketing of ease-of-use of these increases the plastic usage per person and no wonder 1st world’s usage (of anything in general!) is way higher than developing nations’ though these privileged countries only have a fraction of the population in comparison. How much easier is it, comparatively, to buy smaller packs than to buy regular / big sized ones and apportioning them into boxes? A few minutes a day is what the difference would be, I think, but I guess it is worth all the extra trash that we won’t generate. As long as it is available, people would buy. There has to be restrictions from the industries and governments. Restrictions without loopholes – like how now in many cities in India there is a total plastic ban and if you forget your bags while shopping you pay for ‘cloth’ bags but if you were in the same situation in Oz, you can still buy a ‘plastic’ bag. What sort of ban is this? Obviously plastic being cheaper than cloth, people now are used to buying them over the more expensive cloth ones. Because the stores claim that they are made of recycled plastic and are recyclable they get away. But how many get to the recycling plant? Isn’t cloth longer lasting? Isn’t it cheaper in the longer run to stick to cloth bags production than produce, process, and recycle plastic?

A ban without loopholes is what 1st world needs and it looks to me on the outset that it is harder to get the politicians and citizens of the developed world on board in comparison to the developing world, which could partly be due to the earlier topic of feeling of being entitled to an easy, great quality life. I have lived in Europe and though they too are in the 1st world league, they don’t come across as resistant to change; they are willing to embrace the change the earth demands. Most of the countries in the EU are far ahead in this game of sustainability, renewable energy and the like. Again as stated in the beginning I only want to highlight the sections of the society that suffer from the 1st world syndrome!

Honking

People follow road rules to the T that honking is considered rude. I can only imagine their plight if they were to visit a country like India or Pakistan! No honk would be a disrespect. You don’t exist if you don’t honk! But it makes total sense if you think about it – people here honk only if the person in front of them makes a mistake on the road. So the honking is justified when no road rules are followed 😉

Fitness

This part of the world is generally a place where people pay for their gym memberships and USE the god-damn gym! So unheard of from where I hail!
And not just 1 gym membership – multiple memberships for gyms near home and near work place or go a level up with Fitness Passports that allow you to use any gym in the city. Crazy, eh? I have only known people who sign up on new year every year, as part of the new year’s resolution, buy great gym clothes but never see that place ever after day 1. Same story year on year  but with new clothes every year as the previous year’s one don’t fit anymore – yeah must have gone to the gym!

I will have to agree that this is a good problem to have though! People want to be fit and age isn’t a deterrent – they workout, run / bike into work, enrol in group classes etc. It is good to be bitten by this bug!

 

Though I write about problems, the most common phrase, at least in Oz, is ‘No Worries’. Absoloodly! Except for trivial things. Global warming? No worries – more beach days. Climate Change – USA’s President says that they don’t believe in it – so No worries. (In fact the new physicist leading Trump’s Environmental Board says CO2 emissions are good. What the!!!) Ozone depletion? No worries – SPF50+ sun cream. Not segregating waste properly? No worries – the council will sort it out.

But veggies are slightly out of shape? Chuck them out. Some one honks? Let out an audible shock. Rain slows the traffic down? Crib the whole day. Public transport interruption? Make that the breaking news and blame how badly it has been handled. Something’s on sale? Buy it even if you don’t need it.

It is a funny world, this one, where different demographics, different geographies have different priorities and different levels of tolerance / offensive subjects. I wonder at some, laugh at some and crib about some. In fact problems are like Newton’s 1st law of thermodynamics (yeah 1st law not the 3rd!) – Problems can neither be created nor destroyed; problems can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.

These are just a few, mind you, do let me know if I can add to this list!

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