I filed a copy of this somewhere and came across it today……
Keep your Le Bistro, I’ll take kopitiam
By Janadas Devan
MANY years ago, an American professor explained to me why he was anxious to visit what he quaintly called ‘the Far East’. ‘I want to see it before what is different about it disappears altogether, and it becomes an extension of suburban America,’ he said.
The gall, I thought, the obtuse smugness! But he happened to be a very distinguished scholar indeed, so I explained politely: ‘Even if the rest of the world looks like America, it remains different. Form should never be mistaken for substance’.
The more fool I. As I soon realised, the professor may not have been altogether right about Asian modernity, but he wasn’t altogether wrong either.