Tuesday, April 13, 2010

place polygamist

Orhan Pamuk writes in Other Colors: "There are two views of looking at cities. The first is that of the tourist, the newly arrived foreigner who looks at the buildings, monuments, avenues, and skylines from the outside. There is also the inside view, the city of rooms in which we have slept, of corridors and cinemas and old classrooms, the city made up of the smells and lights and colors of our most cherished memories." But isn't there a third, a middle, position possible? A position taken up by someone who is not really on the outside and not really - or not yet - on the inside, thus: an in-betweenness. The German sociologist Ulrich Beck calls this person a place polygamist, even if this person is not a frequent traveler, even if this person does collect air miles. After all, not every person residing outside her country of origin - in the sense of birthplace - is a tourist. Indeed, a tourist remains on the outside, in awe with the spectacle. However, after some odd years in Bandung I like to claim such a in-between position. The city of Bandung has already provided me with a great many memories. I have traveled its streets. I have frequented its classrooms, its cinemas. I have come to love this town I call my home. This city has changed me. Its streets are part of my biography. For how much longer?

No comments: