Dreams, Hopes, and Changing the WorldNavigation
This piece is the second in a series of articles on Asian culture and identity – starting with my experiences growing in America. Originally appeared in 8Asians. As a incoming Freshmen at UC-Irvine, I was amazed to see that more than half the tables at the student...Read More
Let me start on a lighter note – an anecdote from my Freshman year of College, more than 10 years ago. I was at the In-N-Out across the street from the dorms, in bar-seating facing a window towards the campus, with two Asian-Americans dorm-mates I’d just met. It was orientation week at UC-Irvine, so school hadn’t yet started, but I was excited. Finally, after six years living in the Midwest, I was in California, and, happily, already making friends.
“She definitely Chinese,” said the guy sitting next to me, pointing at a short Asian girl with an oversized backpack, on the sidewalk in front of us.
I looked at her, perplexed. Did they mean ethnically? After all, this was UCI, and though it was majority Asian, it was also 98% Californian. There were very few international students here. And how could they tell her nationality just by looking at her?
“That one, definitely Korean,” said the other guy, pointing at a tall guy in glasses. Was this some sort of game Californians played? Guess-the-ethnicity? Was it a skill?
“Filipino for sure!”
Across the street, I saw two Caucasians males walking towards the In-N-Out. I could play this game too.
“Over there, that guy is definitely German, and the other, Irish,” I said, barely able to not giggle. I turned to them, expecting laughter.
Instead, two faces stared at me with a mix of perplexion and pity, clearly saying – are you mentally troubled?
Hurt, and not sure how to respond, I quietely went back to my burger.Read More
A genuine choice never feels like a sacrifice. If you act from your heart, instead of feeling constrained, following your values is liberating. When your actions match your morals, the strength you gain inside is, I believe, the most powerful force in the world.
That is why, a few months ago, after years of learning, debating, and struggling, I decided to follow my heart and do what I felt was right. I became a Vegetarian.Read More
Schools across Indonesia are preparing for a huge shift; beginning this next term, English will no longer be a required subject in Government primary schools. The outrage is, justifiably, large and there are fears that this will hurt the ability of Indonesian students to succeed in a globalized world.
This debate reminded me of my original interest in Indonesia. On one hand, there were the environmental riches of the country, the biodiversity, but I was also drawn to the human side. This was the country with the second most languages in the world, with so many religions, ethnicities, and beliefs scattered across its countless islands. I imagined, naturally, that Jakarta was a cultural mixing pot, and wondered if I would be able to tell the difference between Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese if I heard it on the streets.Read More
After reading, in an English language magazine in Indonesia, a badly researched, overgeneralizing article falsely comparing Dutch Colonialism in Indonesia and British Colonialism in India, I penned a harsh, but civil, response, and submitted it. To my surprise, the editor loved it and published it in the next issue.
As an Indian-American currently living in Indonesia, I was surprised to read Mr. Rooseboom’s recent article comparing the Colonial experiences of Indonesia and India and showing the British in a better light than the Dutch. Unfortunately, in my time here, I’ve often heard Indonesians lament that it would have been better had they not been colonized by the Dutch, even hearing this from the mouth of Indonesia’s former President B.J, Habibie at a recent conference. The reality, of course, is far more complex, and here I hope to provide a different angle than that of Mr. Rooseboom.
To move into a better future, we need to recognize the misdeeds of the past. We have not. We live in a nation-state, capitalist world, built upon the foundation of an older system; colonialism, and the exploitation it fostered. We need to break this connection.
Borders, drawn by colonizing powers, with no regard for local customs, culture, or systems, and European languages, pervade, along with the western-colonial legacies of nationalism, ethnic politics, and more. The top GDP per-capita countries in the world are all, without exception, colonizing powers, or settler countries like the United States, Canada, Argentina, and Australia.
I wanted to express that colonialism, by definition, was an atrocity simply because it placed one group of people over another. There are differences in the details – the genocidal mercantilism of the Americas, the divide and conquer of India, to the forced “free trade” opium markets of Asia. However, all had at their base the same philosophy, and by stripping agency away from the colonized, European elites deprived most of humanity of the ability to determine their own future. To grow.Read More
Guest post by Beatrice Cinnirella
A new way to learn more about own culture and to discover others!
Couchsurfing is not just a travel network but it is much more.
When I first joined, I knew very little or nothing about it. I thought Couchsurfing was a typical social network like, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Fortunately I was wrong!Read More
History affects us perpetually. More so than we hope, or believe.
San Diego is the southernmost city in the state of California. Below me is a border, drawn as a straight line cutting through the desert, until it meets another straight line in a slightly different angle. This is the arbitrary US border with Mexico, a consequence of a not so positive past.
It is the meeting spot of an English speaking and Spanish speaking country, two European languages that, strangely, don’t ever meet in Europe.Read More