Read with caution.
In 2013, I spent three weeks in India. I went there with a group of people to do volunteer work with the now shamed Me to We organization.
Upon completing our three weeks I felt great to have been able to take part in this trip and a fantastic experience. Now keep in mind, that India was not a shock to me. I have lived in Indonesia and I have seen some pretty incredible, disturbing, and amazing things. I have traveled extensively. However, to some, this was a mind-blowing experience. India is by far one of my favorite places because of the people and its history. I have also managed to pick up a few words from the hundreds of employees we had working for us at the time.
Upon leaving India, I knew I could spend months exploring this country if I had a chance to do it, maybe one day. But months after my return, I noticed a Me to We store in the Toronto Eton’s Centre. They are the same as any other NGO. Profit off the less fortunate.
This lets all the air out of my bubble because I felt cheated. I went to India and I felt good about it. Yet at that moment I felt terrible. It all sank in and I felt like I had been kicked in the nuts.
All we did was help them assimilate to our way of life. Changing the goats that they have raised for “better ones”. Giving out micro-loans to the women of the household to empower them. This I agree with in part, but the loans?
The Western way.
I felt terrible, we were there to “help” yet all we were doing is forcing change and spoon-feeding the locals in a tiny village that barely has electricity.
We were slowly assimilating them into us. A stressed-out 9-5 society with loans, cars, oversized houses, and pissing away money on things we do not need. Mental health issues are driven into our brains with social media, the news, the 24-hour cycle of text messages emails, and the chaos we call life.
Get up work the land, the kids go to school and yet in the afternoon the kids are leading the cow down the road and we wave hello to the little boy we were building a school for.
Sure, these people have nothing. But do they have nothing? They also do not have to deal with the shit we deal with. High cell phone bills, insurance payments, house, and car payments, and so forth.
Their food is not filled with all the chemicals we stuff ourselves with and is allowed by governments.
Their life is relatively simple, yet we were here to help. Reeling them into our Western ways. We looked at them as “the poor Indian” people that need help.
They need help.
I am not saying they don’t need help. But not the type of help we were giving. They need help from the local corrupt government which does not give a shit about them.
They need help but we do not need to change their way of life. The land they have worked for hundreds of years. We do not need to add stress and loan payments to their lives. Stress is a killer, is it worse than not having enough food or water?
Now the main story.
So Tim Horton’s, the Canadian icon is now entering the Indian market. Will they be the failure that Target was in Canada, or the failed Domino’s attempt to conquer the pizza world of Italy?
Will we have Diwali cups instead of Christmas cups in India?
Will we have paneer bits instead of Timbits?
I assume they should have great Chai tea… But this cross contamination of corporate cultural appropriation… Do we need this? Do we need every corner of the world to look the same? Starbucks, McDonald’s, Domino’s pizza, Burgerking, and the list goes on.
From Toronto to London, Germany to Italy, and all the way to Australia and Ireland oh my God! Will the Taj Mahal be sponsored by Tim Horton’s to create awareness?
India is an incredible country. History that makes Europe look like a baby and a culture that is much deeper than nearly anywhere on the planet. Do we need this corporate appropriation of another country? Do we need to assimilate every single part of the world? If so, take down the damn borders, stop the wars and fighting, and let’s all mingle and have all of us turn various shades of yellow and brown in the coming 1000 years. That will cure racism… no it won’t but it sounded good at the time my fingers ran faster than my brain.
We need to think.
It is all about money, shareholders, and profits. Did Canada deport enough local Indian workers that have been past employees of the Canadian or American Tim Hortons? I mean it would save them money on already trained employees.
Sarcasm, I hope you get it. But the point is, they will take Tim Horton’s to India and change 90% of it to please the local market. They will then claim that this is a great Canadian chain with an amazing history of a hockey player. The locals in India will be confused about ice, snow, and hockey. “Let me google, HOCKEY.” Yeah, I doubt they will care as they eat their little turban-shaped “Timbits” with chai tea.
I have been there.
I have had a paneer burger at McDonald’s in India. I loved it. We ate Indian food for three weeks. We were in Rajasthan, and in the middle of nowhere. So the last night before flying back we were in New Delhi and we went to McDonald’s.
It was a weird sensation. Everything was familiar but nothing was the same. It was as if we entered the twilight zone. The employees were Indian, the same as many fast food locations back home. The employees spoke English with an accent, nothing new there. Yet the twilight zone continued when I looked at the menu. It was as if we have entered a different dimension. Like a slap across the face, oh yah I am in India.
This will be the case with Tim Hortons. This constant strive to enter new markets to keep the hamster wheel going is what is making us sick. Yet we are slowly trying to enforce the Western way all over the world and cause wars in the process.
This shall now end my rant and we will be back to our regularly scheduled broadcast after a few words from our sponsors. Singh Horton’s of India. (Sorry I just had to!)
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