Monday, 24 March 2008

The Grass Always Greener on Our Neighbours’ Front Yard.

Sometimes we see things only through our point of view. And we usually see the grass on our neighbours’ front yard is greener than on our front yard. We don’t really know how about the grass on their back yards but yet we envy them.

Traveling outside the country is actually enriching us to see things through another point of view. It is a nice chance to see the fact directly with our own eyes. So does a good reading!

I’m interested in Obama’s speech on race in America (The Jakarta Post, Saturday-March 22, 2008, part I). He said: “I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together-unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hope; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction-towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.” I think this part of speech has a very universal meanings, it could also be fitted in Indonesia.

I used to think that the Uncle Tom’s cabin story was the story from the past until I visited Europe. I was astonished to hear a very young boy (Caucasian) told his little girl friend not to seat near that yellow devil (which was me). We were on the boat to have the river cruise (it was somewhere in France…may be Paris?!), they never imagined that I can understand their French conversation. I’ve met a lot of French friends and they were all very nice and helpful. We had fun together and I did not sense any feeling differentiating us being a foreign race. Yet, I knew that this type of conversation from those little children can only be taken from either their family circle or their environment. They are parroting elder members of the family or someone from their close environment.

Then I saw how my cousin (who was studying there) reacted when we were approached in a metro station by some young Arabian men asking (a little bit forcing us to donate) some money. She said she would call the police. They did exchange words which I could not follow because it was spoken very fast… but I think some of it might contain racist remarks (both ways). Actually I was afraid too, but I think we should not generalize people and made racist remark.

I was, then, realized that racism is everywhere, not only in my beautiful country. Yes, Indonesians prefer the Caucasian look for models and artists. Perhaps it is a shared view globally. White is the key to beauty!

Recently I also read an article in the Jakarta Post’s weekender titled “The China Blonde Threat” by May-lee Chai. I was astonished reading the racism story she had to pass through her childhood. She, who was half Caucasian, something that could gain her a special status in Indonesia, and was born in the USA as an American! She inherited her Chinese blood through her father and had to struggle through racist prejudice because of her parents’ mixed marriage. And she is my age…so it’s not only from the era of Uncle Tom’s Cabin!

We share the same motto: Unity in Diversities. Hopefully it is a real union that we are to find in the long run. I know that we can not blame any race for that “pride and prejudice” feeling, but to ask ourselves to be fair in judging others’ racial background. We are the part of those diversities that could unite the world.

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