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Patriotism and Digression.

November 17, 2007

This is tough.

There was a bit of a thingy I attended today, a number of speeches by journalists relating to the freedom of speech, and also social responsibility (ie: the unfreedom of speech). An incredibly thought provoking activity it was, which kind of interfered with the purpose of me being there (observation and review of their speeching prowess… Gosh, speeching is a word).

Perhaps freedom of speech in itself is a social responsibility. But that’s not the point.  What struck me here was all the patriotism – the journalists who spoke clearly wanted… Oh, I don’t pretend to know what they want, but they clearly wanted change. And all that patriotism struck me as bizarre.

If you know that things can not be changed easily, why continue? If you think your country is going to the dogs, why not leave? Why try to change? Why do you want, ultimately, the benefit of the people? What ties a person to his or her home?

Imagine that you stand at the border of two countries. No, there’s bound to be a great fence there, so don’t. Imagine you are on a boat, right upon the precise line that bounds two nations. Behind you is home. But what you see, all around you, through the horizon, is endless ocean; it’s all water. What binds you to that imaginary line, what binds you to think of the water in front of you and the water behind you are two different things? Look at the history of our nation. Who wrote the borders? Who drew the lines on the map? Did they ever set foot upon that line? Why are border lines all crooked up anyway?

Malaysian borders were never determined by our kings. It was the English who drew the lines, mostly it was the English who brought all these peoples here, cheap labor that they were, much like how we are bringing in what- Indonesians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Nepalese, Indians, Chinese – from their ‘homes’ to work for us. Will there be a paradigm shift? Will these foreign workers ever be included in the Melayu-Cina-India-Lain-Lain paradigm present today? What if they lobby for it, will they get deported, the lot of them? Will we accede to their ‘demands’? How long does it take to become a natural citizen? My own family hasn’t even been here for a hundred years, why are we entitled to citizenship just because we happened to be here when the new nation was formed? How does a “Lain-Lain” feel about being labeled as such? What about Malay-Chinese? Chindians? Malay-Indians? And the non-Malay Bumiputera, most probably quite thoughtlessly tossed without a care into the Lain-Lain compartmentalization? (Gosh. That’s a 20-letter word.)

I’m drifting away from the point.

Anyway, what makes a person part of a country? (The United States are so very fond of the term ‘self determination of nations’ but what does it really mean? *) Isn’t it just another elaborate human trait to identify, classify and forget?

Socrates spoke at length about how he chose to be Athenian, and through his choice subjected himself to its laws, no matter that it brought death. But how many of us actually chose to be a citizen of our country, bless its inexistent soul? I certainly didn’t.

So many questions, and I can’t even bother to figure them out.

Perhaps that is for the best.

*About that. How much percent of a country does it take to determine a majority? If 51% of a country, delineated by a certain border decide that its name is Lalaland, while the other 49% want to be known as Nowhereland, it’s assumed that the Lalalanders win.  So do the Nowherelanders automatically become Lalalanders even if they completely don’t want to? What can they do? Run away? Begin terrorist activities? That could work – perhaps they could kill off around 2% of Lalalanders so that the Nowherelanders become the majority. On that note, breeding like rabbits would effect in the same thing though at a slower rate. Anyway, um…

Never mind.


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One Comment
  1. “social responsibility” is a little different in each country, i’ve read about big corporations that build schools, or relay roads and such… as long as the letter demanding say it’s their “social responsibility” to the locality. the idea is if the corporation was making a buck out of the locals, they are obliged to give something back.

    Speaking of borders, don’t look here… take a look at West Asia! so many artificial states, straight lines? get real. if we go by the “natives’ loyalty to a certain king forms the extent of that king’s domain”, then we have gradient-like borders. but this era of concrete-build-up, calls for actual borders… or how do we make a gradient-like building?

    about mixed races, it’s apparently written in the constitution (i haven’t checked yet), that your main race is determined by your father’s (don’t cry sexist; and don’t ask if your father’s also mixed).

    about choosing nations, it probably has to do with your ideals and social background; otherwise we would have to have been educated about the whole “nations are different, thus in conflict” problem when we were wee 12-year-olds… right before we got our “certification of citizenship”.

    mojority? welcome to feudalist nation X. about the breeding like rabbits at the end? LOL.

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