Expat Life, Multiculturalism

National Dress Dilemma

Every year most expat communities will have some kind of parade or festival to celebrate their multiculturalism. Often it’s connected to the International schools. There is plenty of flag waving and any accompanying food stands can get quite competitive, (and that would be down to the parents, not the kids).

It’s the perfect excuse for the Germans to prance in their lederhosen, the Indians to impress in their saris/sarees (feel free to advise me on the preferred spelling), the Koreans in their Hanboks, the Japanese in their kimonos. Then the Ozzie’s have those delightful hats with corks hanging from them.

We Brits are a bit more limited. One could of course opt for Pearly King and Queen attire, but that really is a London thing. Yes, we Brits are an eccentric bunch, don’t get me started on our Morris Dancing or our brutal Cheese Rolling contests.  The Scots have their kilts, the Welsh their dragons and the Irish have their clovers and all things green.

There is of course our gorgeous Union Jack, which is the route most Brits go down – dress in red, white and blue and jazz it up with a flag. For a while this was very easy as the UK shops were flooded with Union Jack paraphenalia for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Wills and Kate’s big wedding bash.

However, that ploy was hanging very much in the balance this academic year as we waited to hear which way Scotland’s independence vote would swing before finalising the table decorations.  There was a debate as to whether we would have to put the shortbread and tartan on one table and the Cath Kidson afternoon tea and cake fare provided by the English, Welsh and Northern Irish on another.

The Brits tend to fare better when it comes to grown up food and drink stands with various enticing options, which tend to result in an enthusiastic and never ending queue.   A wee dram of Scottish single malt, a tot of mother’s ruin (gin) or anyone for a glass of Pimms what what?

Parade at International School Bangkok many many years ago…There is a Pearly lady at the back next to the man in the kilt.

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