CANADA: Life in Lethbridge – Happy as a chicken head, 2000 –

Life in Lethbridge – Happy as a chicken head

I must confess that having lived in big cities most of my life before retirement, the idea of moving to Lethbridge felt like a let-down.  Compared to Tokyo or Toronto, Geneva or Montreal, Lethbridge seemed such a back-water.  After ten years, however, it may not be a paradise, but it feels to me to be a very good place to be indeed.  There is saying in Chinese, “It’s better to be a head of a chicken than a tail of a cow.” I feel like that.  I was nobody, but here I can be somebody.  A tail of a cow can be a great place to be; big, prestigious, and more valuable.   A tail can perform important tasks, but you have to live with what comes out of the end of a body.  The bigger the  organizations, the more politics than substance.   And you are often nobody in a big political scheme of things – just a cog.  I got tired of it.

I am serious when I say, I became more cultured in Lethbridge.  I had never attended as many concerts until I came to Lethbridge.  My friends are performing with whom I can chat about it afterwards.  He may not be Yo Yo Mah, but I have no sophisticated enough ears to hear the difference anyway.  It is more important to hear music that makes me feel I am participating in the creative process that makes me content.  I have never seen so many Contemporary Art until I came to Lethbridge.  Again, they are my friends, and I got to know some of the creative processes and struggles.  So I understand now what his or her art means as never before.  I found that Lethbridge is well-known as an important centre for contemporary art in Canada.  The political party I committed to has absolutely no hope of getting into power in Alberta.  But my contribution counts and is visible and appreciated.  Thus I don’t feel powerless.  I am a head, or somewhere near the head , of a chicken.  And I am happy.  I am glad that I am not a tail of a big and powerful cow.  At my age, I have no stomach for shit.

A small community allows one to be relevant, because one does not feel alone.  There is a saying in Lesotho in Southern Africa, “A person is a person only amongst people.  (Motho ke motho ka batho.)”  How true!

July 12, 2010

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