Tag Archives: racism

I Am Sorry…

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One of the thing of being English is that you say sorry a lot. You say sorry for almost everything — it is a part of the culture. You apologise when you make the lady in the till wait for two seconds longer while you are rummaging your bag to find that elusive pound coin. You apologise when someone thought you are queuing while you’re actually just standing there minding your own thing. I think it is a part of making thing less awkward. But what do I know. I am not English.

But my husband is English — and he does apologise a lot, just to make sure people would recognise his English-ness — as if that fair skin, blonde hair, and British accent is not enough. And yes he’s born and bred British, and he’s proud of it. I mean, like normal people feeling proud of their nationalities.

But today, he looked mournful, and told me after a long sad sigh:

“Darling I am sorry. I am sorry for being English.”

My heart broke.

I mean it is true that yesterday, for the first time I don’t want to support England team on Euro2016. For the first time I didn’t cheer for them nor Wales the day before. I put away my union jack mug which I normally use for my daily caffeine. And, I am selling my “St George cross” steel boned waist reducing corset.

I mean… who am I kidding? I might get an elocution course to adopt a perfect sound of BBC English accent, or made a long and elaborate speech about how the weather has been while drinking a nice cup of tea — but with this straight black hair, yellow complexion, and slightly slanted eyes I would never be English, would I? Why even bother to try? These people wouldn’t ever see me as one of them, would they?

But when my husband said those two sentences. I feel… ambivalent.

Not once I could put my husband in the same category with these racist idiots who took a childish decision to storm out from EU just because they’re angry. Not once I could see my husband as the same creature who attacks and make hateful remarks to people from different nationalities, ethnicities, nor religions. I could never be able to see her in the same picture with those who use the same word “PROUD”, going on the street telling people to go back to their own country.

But I can understand why he feel bad for being English — as this particular post-Brexit time is just the worst time to be a foreigner in this proud country.

It is the same when I feel slightly offended when these racist bastards make hateful comments to immigrants, or to ethnic minorities. It is the same when I feel incredibly upset when homophobic bastards make ignorant comments about LGBT in Indonesia. It is the sense of belonging that is tainted with negative emotion. Mine with upset and anger. His with shame and guilt.

And I am so sad that he feels that way.

He has done everything that is right. And I know if things go south, he will stand by me. But this is sadly something even he — My Mr.Fix-It– cannot fix.

And it is terrible terrible feeling.

This EU result is not only affecting the country as a whole, but also us as an individual. It might hit some people faster than the other — some might be in denial, or still hoping that things are going to settle down and get better.

I really hope all the scary things would never happen. I really wish for the best for everybody┬áthat once the dust has settled, it is not going to be ruins that we see. But for now I would stop talking about EU referendum and the shit that it has brought to us. I would go to my dearest husband, give him a little hug, and console him — while consoling myself.

Good night…

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Racist Or Not Racist…

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That’s the question…

Of course I am talking about one of Indonesian Ambassador who few days ago posted a tweet that is considered as racist. Well… Okay. He said “Cina” in his tweet.

And why is this a problem?

Some people don’t consider using the word “Cina” to refer to Chinese Indonesian as a racist comment. But, the word “Cina” is the equivalent of the N word in the USA. If it is said by an African American, it is fine (sort of), but when a White American said it… it is improper. Same with the C word in Indonesia.

It is historical. It is cultural. Lots of people haven’t gotten over it as it has a negative connotative for being used as a derogative term for minority group.

So… when someone with the position like this Mr. Ambassador said the C word in public space, with or without malice, it is considered as a political blunder. A huge one, if I must say.

But here’s the thing.

I, for once, am not a PC Police. I don’t go around the social media attacking people who made the slightest social or cultural faux pas. I don’t even care about political correctness if it is about telling facts. So, I am not going to follow the crowd and condemn this tweet. I consider this as a PR crisis. Told you many years ago that these politicians need to hire people like me to manage their bloody social media. But nobody listens *rolleyes*.

And what if it is not a PR crisis? What if it is not a political blunder? What if this tweet is not just a mistake, but a reflection of how racist this guy is? So what?

I can’t make someone to be not-racist. Nobody can make someone to be not-racist, and it is the same the other way around. Can you… if you are not a racist, be made racist? No.

There is a place inside your brain that nobody can touch. It is where you are truly free, to be yourself. There is no right and wrong about the thing in your head. And if you have a certain idea about something or someone, that is your perception based on your own experience, based on what you’ve heard or seen. There is no such thing as thought crime.

See…

Generalisation. Stereotyping. The kind of thing that you consider so bad is actually the way our brain work to simplify our lives. It is one of our basic instinct and survival tool. It is in the nature. It is been there to help us making sense of the world.

In the past mankind generalise animal as either prey or predator. That’s how they choose which animals they can eat and which one they should avoid. That’s survival. They classified plants to help them understanding the nature. Race, ethnicity… it is how we try to make sense of human’s uniqueness. It helps some people, to reduce the feeling of unknown.

This is humane. And this is what many PC polices don’t understand.

Some people just can’t help being racist. Especially in Indonesia where it is rooted, and where it is being taught from generation to generation. It has been drilled to people’s mind and being reinforced by radical groups. It is something that you can only hope will change slowly. It is not something that you can change overnight.

Heck.. we just start recognising this in Indonesia since 1998. We still have a long way to go.

Don’t get me wrong.

It does hurt when I read or listen to this kind of aggression. Micro or macro, it doesn’t matter. It still hurt no matter how much understanding you could give to these people. Sometimes even, I would retaliate, but most of the time, I’d rather write.

Like this.

Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe, it could help people to understand too.

 

Prost!

Bhinneka… Again!

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Papa pernah bercerita bahwa pada masa kejatuhan komunis di Cina, Deng Xiaoping pernah mengatakan sebuah kalimat yang oleh papaku diingat sebagai pedoman apabila beliau mau memimpin negara. Which ga mungkin karena Papa anti main politik, dan lebih ga mungkin lagi karena, Papa pasti terlalu males buat kampanye dan ikut partai.

By the way, kalimat yang dimaksud adalah, “Tidak peduli kucing hitam, ataupun kucing putih, selama kucing tersebut bisa menangkap tikus, itu adalah kucing yang baik.” Artinya, pemerintah saat itu ingin mengatakan, entah dari golongan apapun, apabila ada warga negara yang bisa memberikan sumbangsihnya untuk kemajuan negara, maka dia adalah warga negara yang baik.

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