Monday, February 1, 2010

Is it possible to become an International Citizen?

It has been quite some time for me contemplating to write something about the 1Malaysia concept that has been highly promoted lately, since our prime minister (PM) introduced it last year. Back in 2008, there are two pieces written, Unaccopmplished Mission (Are we really Malaysian?) and Berbangsa Asing di Negara Sendiri (in Malay) and that slightly touched about dilemma and my personal feeling being like an outcast, even in my own country.

It sounded a bit extreme, but in a nutshell, even though there is no physical isolation and harm done, emotionally it is so easy for a person to be accidentally ‘drop-off’ the majority, just because you are not sharing the same ‘understanding’ of the social separation embedded in our culture.

Mixing around freely with friends or people, who are known to be from a different race, somehow can be considered as a ‘taboo’. This situation may be more applicable to children, than adults; and to community that are highly saturated with one particular race instead of others (i.e. rural areas such as kampung). I supposed once a person is forced to enter a new environment, only then there will be hope for a perception change. Being realistic here, forced in the sense where an individual enters a different dominant culture, such as studying in college/university or take up employment (working); whereby he/she is forced to mix with friends or people comprising of different skin colours, religions and backgrounds.

Wouldn’t it be extremely challenging when the actual ‘change management’ comes at a later stage of life? Most of us do not have the luxury of getting the required exposure while growing up. Asian culture does not ‘allow’ children (including teens and youths) to be expressive, let alone exercising their rights. Perhaps children and individuals in big cities (or townships) are the lucky ones – some are not even aware of the ‘un-even treatment’ each society is getting. In this instance, who can blame them if they fail to understand their fellow comrades (or friends) frustration? Read Unaccomplished Mission (Are we really Malaysian?) for examples.

Going back to the topic, although true nationalization will be a long way ahead as of now, I am glad that the government has decided to put extra focus over the 1Malaysia concept. Perhaps, one day there will come a time where we can proudly claim ourselves to be an International Citizen because we are born and groomed to be one – not just because “I know many people from overseas through internet” (Get what I am implying here?)

What Say You?


No doubt, we can rightly attribute the sorry state of affairs to many factors. But the ones who must shoulder the MOST responsibility cannot be other than the political leaders who made great promises to the people -- and the people believed them. Of course, this time around, one can only hope that the young who are better educated and well informed will not again fall for false promises the way their naive fathers and grandfathers did.

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