Is community a thing of the past? I don’t mean online communities like WordPress, but actual, outside-your-front-door community. Sometimes it seems like the familiar, can-I-borrow-a-cup-of-sugar feeling of neighbourhood community is a lot harder to come by these days. Is that because I’m traipsing around the world, a linguistically-challenged perpetual outsider? Or are the lines that separate “community” from the general masses genuinely fading, not just in my town, but everywhere?
I came across these guys last week in Taipei. They make delicious snacks made from puffed rice. The snacks are essentially the traditional Taiwanese version of rice crispy squares, with various things mixed in. They puff the rice right at the truck, in a giant pressurized metal tube. When the pressure is released, the tube makes a loud “bang” that sounds like a small cannon.
My Taiwanese friend reminisced how, in her childhood, the puffed rice trucks would drive through her neighbourhood, and the loud “bang” would summon children from all over the community, much like an ice cream truck’s siren song. “Bo-bo!” the kids would cry excitedly, (the kids’ version of the sound of the rice being puffed). The trucks would even puff your own rice for you if you brought it, and you could go home and make the treats according to your own tastes or family recipes.
This doesn’t happen anymore, though, she lamented. If you wanted traditional snacks like this you had to go into the city to find them, and even then they were hard to come by. These trucks were once an essential part of local communities, but now, as tastes change to desire more modern types of snacks, their role in bringing communities together for mutual love of their wares is fading away.
It’s too bad, because the taste of freshly-made puffed rice squares straight from the Rice Crispy Men beats anything you can buy from a convenience store!
Does a sense of community still exist in your neighbourhood? Or is it a thing of the past?
This post was written for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Community.
In other news, I’m growing less optimistic that I’ll find time to publish a more comprehensive post about my trip to Taiwan before we leave for Christmas in Korea, not to mention my other pre-Christmas blogging goals. But what would a travel blog be without the travel, right? Stay tuned!