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Merih 25 Feb 2009

Modern or Backward???

What modern really means in Turkey?


Welcome everyone to my first column... After struggling for a couple of days, how to start my columns, and what should I write about, finally I decided.  Since I am of Turkish origin, living overseas for some time, and married to a foreigner, I thought I could discuss, compare and share my experiences with you.


Before moving overseas, and of course when I was fresh out of the uni, me and my friends had an idea in mind how the first world countries would be like.  Not like Turkey obviously. 


Yes, in the last decades Turkey has been very much modernised, we don´t censor movies anymore, because we are modern and mature enough to watch, not only after 10 pm, but all day, and in every public channel.  Our famous Paparazzi shows are full of modern and almost naked images of our favorite actresses.  We can actually get involved in their fights, watching how they insult each other, and swear at each other.  And, of course let´s not forget about the backpage beauty  of almost every newspaper. We don´t like if somebody attempts to get into the pool or the sea without a bikini, or a proper open swimming costume.  It is kind of backward to think that kids - under 18 - can´t have an alcoholic drink, or have girlfriends or boyfriends.


So, surely these first world countries should be more modern than we are....  But no, they are not.  The first thing I like about it is, you can wear a shirt on the top of your swimming costume, and a short if you like, because it does not show how modern and educated you are.  Secondly, your kids and your family are not bombarded with naked images and inappropriate language all the time.  In Australia, kids under 21 are not allowed to enter pubs or discos.  They don´t kiss and show affection in public, as this is their private.  They are not allowed to buy any alcoholic drinks without showing an ID proving they are 18.


Anyway, after enjoying this comfort overseas for years and taking it for granted, we came back to Turkey for our summer holiday with our three little girls.  We chose a fantastic holiday village, checked in to the hotel and ran to the pools before we unpacked.  In the evening there was a show in the amfitheater, by 8 o´clock we were ready to watch it.  Everybody came in with their kids and family.  The show was about Adam and Eve... The animators started dancing with the music, okay, a bit intimate but they can´t be doing more.... oops, a bed, literally, on the stage, now Adam and Eve are in the bed, side by side.... that was enough for us... we immediately left, scared of the possibility of seeing them on the top of each other.  And we decided we are better off without these shows, we can do something else instead.


On our second day, we were walking by the pool, me in the front and girlies on my back... I turned to the voice of my little one "Mum, look at his woman´s shame shames".. My poor kids, eyes wide open, jaws dropped, struck by the view, unable to move..  They look like they are frozen with this unpredicted sight of the upper body part.  I can´t decide how to feel, should I laugh at the fact that they are literally hipnotised, or should I cry of what they are exposed to... So I start pulling them instead... right back to my room, calling the manager, or whoever I can find.


A nice young lady, who happens to be the PR manager of this holiday village attends my phone.  I tell her my complaint, and try to explain her that this is inappropriate in a family pool - of course I also tell her about the couple almost making love on  the beach bed by the family pool.  She very confidently tells me how it is okay in Germany for people to have sex in the park, and that this is a modern country, and blah, blah, blah.


I guess I will not take my girlies there anymore, as they are still young to totally comprehend what is going on, but what I am trying to tell you here is that being modern and being educated doesn´t necessarily mean that we live everything in public, show everything to our kids, and let our kids experience everything in a young age. 


That will be all for this week, I hope this column finds you well.




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