Saturday, May 09, 2009

Maybe I'm Just Being Defensive, But Hear Me Out!

Shame-facedly, I must admit that Facebook has become an integral part of my day and like the millions of complains about 'overly-liberal' wall posts, status updates and comments, I have recently followed suit in becoming yet another statistic. One who has read a 'status update' and feels inflamed to issue a rebuttal to its content.

Yes, this may be the cowardly way of handling the matter - instead of replying straight to that 'status update', thus looking the devil in the eye... But I believe that a little bit of diplomacy is required in handling such touchy sensitive issues. It is highly unlikely that the person in question (or any other persons who know that person) would stumble upon this post in this obscure blog, therefore I feel it is a safe medium to air my disagreement where my criticism would have minimal negative effect on that person and perhaps some unknowing reader may learn a thing or two (hopefully). While at the same time I get to pen down (or rather, type) my two cents worth of the matter.

Friends, family, colleagues, and true acquaintances would know that I do not speak, write or understand any of the dialects in the Chinese languages (ok, maybe I can get away with 5% of Cantonese). While this is not a fact to be glorified upon (by myself), I do not feel any shame of this 'disability' (as some may view it). As smug as this may sound, I believe it is what has made me ME today - my level of proficiency in English, my viewpoint of the world, my sense of responsibility to the society - it has all had an integral part in my education process and upbringing and I do not fault my parents for not 'teaching me Chinese' or sending me to a Chinese school, as every parent has their own style of rearing their kids. This was my parents' method. And perhaps many will have the opinion that "so what? SM isn't great or anything, what's the point?", the point being that, at least I turned out right. I don't go stirring up shit in an already massively-stinking cesspool of insensitivity (which we have aplenty in this country as it is) and I was raised with enough tact not to publicly undermine certain groups of people (which incidentally includes a number of your own friends).

Everyone on this Earth is different, with different talents and abilities, different characters and levels of intelligence. Some of these qualities are inborn while the others may be acquired and no two persons will have the same level of talent or ability to learn. And as we all pride ourselves in being a 'civilised' generation, it is saddening to see that some people cannot accept this fact and feel that they have the right to stand on their high and mighty pedestal of superiority whilst judging those who do not measure up to their 'standards'. No human is perfect! Some may be blessed with a little more, while others have a little less. So let those who 'have' not scoff at the 'have-nots', and instead practice a little bit of humanity by helping out the latter group. When I say 'help', I do not mean giving monetary aid, but rather, words of encouragement or a tactful reasoning session. After all, would you like someone to point out your fault (whatever it may be - everyone undeniably has one) in the eyes of the world and proceed to condemn and put you down? I'm sure anyone sane would answer a solid 'no' to that. Therefore do unto others what you would like others to do unto you.

Admittedly, the Chinese language is gaining more weight of importance in this rapidly-changing world, with many foreseeing a shift in power from the US to China. Yes, the Chinese language may possibly take over the role of English as an international lingua franca in the future. But we must always remember that language is something we can learn and not a talent or exclusivity which only a select group has been born with. And learning is a life-long process - if there is a will, it is not impossible to learn a new language at a ripe old age of 80. So someone who doesn't know the Chinese language now (like me), may very well start learning it in 20 or 30 years time. Is it wrong or criminal? I (and many others in my situation) have the right to choose to learn the language whenever I feel the need arises. After all, it is my life and not knowing a language does not condemn me to hell.

I also acknowledge that not knowing my 'mother tongue' only errodes the conservation of culture and customs passed down through generations. And yes, I'm at fault for being one of the means of this ebbing away of tradition. However, there must be a line drawn between culture and clannishness. Many people fight their case in the name of protecting culture, but ulitmately they are just fighting to keep the status quo in their clan. To inhibit others who physically appear the same as them (but have different mindsets) from going beyond the boundaries of race. And well, frankly I've personally noticed this trend in the people I meet and I think it all boils down on education background and method of upbringing in the family unit. I'm not alone in this observation of the stark difference in the mentality of people of different education backgrounds (of course there are the exceptional cases, which are like diamonds in the dust). Some people just don't get it that academic excellence does not give you a license to be an ass to others!

In lieu with my earlier statement of acknowledging that everyone is different, it is only fair to offer a possible standpoint of 'that person' who chose to condemn a certain group of people (with much support from a couple others who pride themselves of the ability to use the language). Possibly, 'that person' is one who is frank and feel it's alright to issue such statements publicly. I guess it is her right theoretically, so to say, but morally? That's another question altogether. Perhaps she meant well, not intending to offend or undermine people. But again, one must always bear in mind that choice of words is vital in expressing such views (therefore comes into play her proficiency of English - maybe if she'd mastered her English language, she'd be able to conciously avoid stepping on people's tails).

So here ends my sarcastic rebuttal to the issue. Again I remind the reader, that this blog is a ranting ground where most of it is crap but sometimes, just sometimes, the author hopes someone may benefit from it. Happy thinking! The mind is a creative playground where there is no rights and wrongs, just maybes and what-ifs.

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