For many, many years, felt like a fish out of water in this place. Whether socially, culturally or politically. Our arrogance, narrow-mindedness and spinelessness are some of the traits that are suffocating too. For a long time, felt ashamed of my nationality. Not until my years of "evasion" in a foreign land that helped to intensify the boundary of the sense of my nationality. Not saying that I like this place or its people any better.
But in the face of the large influx of foreigners into this island, at all levels, not just at the unskilled end, but middle and top level, I feel more empathetic. Been home for 19 months, and already feel that this island is being colonnalised once again by Caucasians, holding the top ranking jobs whilst the locals are thrust into servitude level and at the same time competiting servitude with foreign workers from other south east asia countries. For once, foreigners has helped to wipe the arrogance off our faces. No longer do we think ourselves as high and mighty and unbeatable compared to the other SEA or EA nationalities.
General election is round the corner. The erosion of national identity, coupled with the persistent contempt thrown at us by the long-ruling political party, this election creates a sense of purpose this time round for me and more empathy felt towards my fellow people.
Perhaps it's due to Chen Show Mao. Taiwan-born naturalised local, with Harvard--, Stanford- and Oxford-plated academic achievements under his belt and his career establishments overseas...one who has so so so so much to lose returning to this land and to make matters worse, by joining the opposition political party, knowing the risks (defamation law suits, bankruptcy) and hardships (to fight into Parliament) involve in choosing this less trodden path. For what cause? And for who?
But he is one of the many who come forward. There were others who did and suffered tremeduously.
And what do we do, as the voters of this nation, when there are people after people who come forward, to take up the tall task of challenging the existing regime while we continue to sit in our comfort zones, hiding in fear and apathy.
Do we still respond to these gestures with a vote by default?