I know I know that right now is the worst possible time for this story. I know we’re supposed to be all “ABCD-FOB Bhai Bhai!” but this is just too funny to pass up.
A mobile phone game … will be used to help international students cope with ‘culture shock’ and university life in Britain … The game – called C-Shock – is the brainchild of University of Portsmouth academic and games technology expert Nipan Maniar who, himself, arrived in the UK from India five years ago as an international student…
Nipan said the game would act as an ‘e-mother’ or ‘mobile mummy’ for new students. [Link]
When you hear e-mother you imagine a sort of Tamagotchi in reverse right? Something that nags you to eat enough, sleep enough, and call home? [Actually, you don't need a mobile game for that, just a mobile]
“E-mother” could be expanded with modules to help explain how you do your own laundry, something my white American roommate could have used freshman year. (When asked how he had survived in summer camp he said he just looked clueless until a girl took pity on him and did his laundry, so he had never done a single load on his own. We mocked him mercilessly).
But no, Maniar means something else. He means the culture shock that comes from seeing people kiss in public and from seeing students (especially girls) drink:
The game’s opening scenario is a student’s first day at university in the UK. The student is shown a map of the campus and is given tasks to find specific locations. Clicking on images along the way warns the student about what to expect in terms of culture shock – for example, it is acceptable for students to drink alcohol and it is okay for people to display affection in public. [Link]
p>He’s basing this on his own recent experience:
He said: “I found some aspects of British culture very novel. When I first saw a couple kissing in public, for example, I was really shocked. And things such as interacting socially with others, say, in a pub, were very different to what I was used to in my own culture in India. Alcohol is banned in Gujarat where I come from, so the drinking culture came as a shock too. [Link]
p>Now maybe some readers might not understand why this is funny. Yes, culture shock is a very real thing and there are real cultural differences that have to be bridged. But of all the areas of cultural difference, this researcher picked the two which are to me the most minor, but also the most stereotypical.
p>I also don’t understand why he’s calling it e-mother rather than e-buddy, or e-yaar. This sort of cross-cultural translation is usually done by friends, not by mothers sitting in the homeland. Why not be honest about it? Have it say, after a couple of pints “Dude, you’re going to puke and I am not cleaning that up.” Or, “Mate, that’s the cheesiest line I’ve ever heard anybody use in their life. Here, watch how it’s done. This is how you chat up a bird.” Or “Stop studying so hard, and let’s go grab a curry – that’s what uni is for!”
p>Now that would truly be an introduction to UK uni life. As for the rest … most Indian students studying abroad have seen American movies and TV (my cousins watch far more than I do, the TV is never off!), I think they can figure it out.