A cultural divide? - TennisForum.com
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2004, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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A cultural divide?

Belgians, I hoped you might help me better understand your country's unique situation with respect to your two tennis superstars, Kim and Justine.
Reading various media accounts from around the world much is made of the fact that one is from the francophone south and the other the flemish north, the implication being that this fact plays a large part in their rivalry. My question is, is this something that you perceive to be true?
Does the North/South issue come into play or are they simply two competetive players striving to be the best?
Is the country divided in it's allegience to the players largely based on language and geography, meaning Kim is wildly more popular in the north, and Justine more so in the south, or is it fairly mixed?
Does the media in the different parts on the country treat the girls differently, or is the coverage even?
When they're not playing each other is the population largely rooting for both girls, or do most people seem to pick a favorite and then dislike the other?
Beyond tennis, how divisive are the issues of language and culture in your country? Do people tend to have friends and contacts across the divide or do the sides keep mostly to themselves.
I find the whole situation fascinating and would welcome any and all comments that might offer me an insider's perspective on how to sort it all out.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2004, 09:08 PM
 
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Hi Kkillen!

Belgium is a very complicated country ... I'm studying law and I can't even understand all the constitutional structures of our tiny country! I come from the north (the 'flemish' part) but I have studied two years in the souht, so I have become more familiar with this part of Belgium, both with its language and its culture. In general, people stay within their linguistic region and don't know much about each other. We tend to stereotype each other a lot (Walloons are regarded as 'lazy' because their economy is less flourishing than ours, and the Flemish are seen as hard-working, stressed people). Off course, stereotypes tend to be wrong, and so are the belgian ones. I think the biggets problem is the fact that we don't knwo much about each other. Wallonia and Flanders have their own problems and language, they have separate institutions, a separate government and parliament, different roots (walloons tend to be more 'roman' and flemish more 'germanic'). The press treats both girls alike I think. I presume they pay special attention to this, because both girls are popular in both parts of the country and they wouldn't want to loose their readers by reporting negatively about Kim or Justine.
What ennoys a lot of Flemish people is that justine doesn't speek dutch. She must have had some in secondary school as everyone has to learn some french and dutch in both parts. Kim tries to speak french at frenchspeaking tournaments, but she usually speeks english with the press, except in belgium then, where she speaks dutch. Some time ago, when Kim and justine didn't get along very well (at least, that's what we think, because with all the stories in the press you never know what's exactly going on) people of both sides tried to 'communautarize' the whole thing, but it didn't work out as both flemish and walloons cheered for both girls. It's difficult to explain all this, I think Belgians don't really know why sometimes they are being difficult for each other. If you don't understan feel free to ask me!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2004, 09:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkillen
Does the media in the different parts on the country treat the girls differently, or is the coverage even?
LOL, guess you haven't visited General Messages yet

I'll leave it to the Belgians to describe, but it seems Belgian media can be just as harsh and critical as the US or any major European media.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 01:32 AM
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Thanks!
I find it very interesting!
It must be weird to have people so close that speak another langauge!
Or maybe I'm too aussie!

We will miss you Kim!.


Best of Luck in 2007 to: Kim & Bryan, Lleyton, Alicia, Todd, Sam, Chris, Casey, Wayne, Kirsten & all the other Aussies & injured players.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie_Kim
Thanks!
I find it very interesting!
It must be weird to have people so close that speak another langauge!
Or maybe I'm too aussie!
Hum... yeah but it's also funny for people from the same country to speak a foreign language in order to understand each other better (my ex (dutch speaking) and me (french speaking))

Sweet as Belgian Chocolate, Bubbly as Champagne






"When you do your best, it's always good enough" - Kim Clijsters

"No matter what happens, you have to try to stay positive, bad things can happen, but if you try to stay positive, something positive will come out of it…I believe that everything happens for a reason" - Kim Clijsters


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"Als je iemand idealiseert, verlies je het contact met de werkelijkheid"

"Ca s’apprend par la souffrance, ça s’apprend par les déceptions, ça s’apprend par la densité du mal que ça te fait, plus ça te fait mal et plus ça te fait grandir. Y a des moments où tu te dis je ne vais pas le supporter, ça, ça fait trop mal, et pourtant tu passes au travers."
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 08:42 AM
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radijsje, Justine does speak dutch
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 2004, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by per4ever
radijsje, Justine does speak dutch
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Mar 3rd, 2004, 01:11 AM
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I think people are clever to speak 2 or 3 languages!
I can only speak one!

We will miss you Kim!.


Best of Luck in 2007 to: Kim & Bryan, Lleyton, Alicia, Todd, Sam, Chris, Casey, Wayne, Kirsten & all the other Aussies & injured players.
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