Nationality vs Locality - How do we define ourselves?
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here about my articles in the paper. For one, I haven’t been writing that much since being in London, and secondly, if you’ve noticed, I’ve not updated this blog frequently enough as well. I hope to change that but we’ll see how it goes. I appreciate those of you who keep coming back to check up on me.
Why I wanted to share this article on here, however, is because I think the issue is important. It’s something I’ve felt for a while now – and some sentiments shared by many people I know from Malaysia as well – but it has been nagging at me even more now that I am viewing things back home from 13 hours flight away.
The headline for my Tale of Two Cities article in The Star Metro for October (it was supposed to be a September piece but there was some problems with the dates) reads:
Coming together as one
I suppose a headline like that can give one a false sense of what the article really is about, although it does – in a strange way – capture the essence of what I am trying to get at. The underlying question I am trying to ask in the article is what is it, in 2012, that defines us as Malaysian? I hesitated to put the year in because I’ve always found it hard to define us anyway – back in the ’80s, ’90s and the noughties. Still, I always believe that we should look at the present to plan our future, and not look back except to reflect on it.
The trigger for this article was something that happened to someone really close to me, which I mentioned in the article:
The conversation was especially sombre considering that a mutual friend had earlier in the day had a job to promote our country cancelled because she was told that she didn’t “look Malaysian enough”.
At the end of the article, I suggest that we start by looking at the things we have in common, and the values and experiences we share, as Malaysians instead of focussing on how we’re different. I draw a parallel to how Londoners see themselves, as well as how Britain came together in this Jubilee-Olympics year.
I’m interested to know what other commonalities you think we as Malaysians share, please leave me a note in the comments.