Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Am I An Immigrant?

I think that being abroad has changed me, in many ways. For one thing, I see our home country in a different light. There is a certain feeling of patriotism when I listen to my lecturer talking about Dr. Mahathir's famous antics when he criticised and stood up to Western leaders.

Just take a look at this article. Here, instead of being insulted and merely saying that it's disrespectful, Mahathir gave it right back. Which felt very satisfying. Even more so that it was done by a Malaysian.

Being here, also made me think more deeply about many things, like what it means to be a Malaysian. And I'm pretty sure that if this blog were a popular one this post will leave me branded as a traitor to my 'race'.

Now I guess one common claim in Malaysia is that while the Chinese and Indians' ancestors are  immigrants, many say that the Malays are no different and that they themselves were immigrants way back when. Recently, Mahathir said this (grabbed from The Malaysian Insider):

“I would not say I am a Malay or Malaysian of ethnic Indian origin. My mother tongue and home language is Malay, my culture and tradition is Malay and I am a Muslim. The constitution defines a Malay as a person who habitually speaks Malay, practices Malay custom and tradition and is a Muslim,” he said in a posting on his blog.

He said it was obvious some Malays were descended from people of the Indonesian islands, India and the Arabian peninsular.

“Having come here they were assimilated after they identified themselves completely with the Malays by adopting the Malay language, their customs and traditions and by being Muslims.

“This is a common phenomenon. In America, Australia, Latin America, the later immigrants accepted the languages of their adopted country as their mother tongue as well as the culture.

“After doing this they no longer think of themselves as being of their original country. They are Americans, Australians and Argentinians period.

Now while I agree that sometimes he can be very disrespectful and blunt, I must say that I actually agree with what he said.

Why don't we all identify ourselves as Malaysian? Why is there a need to know someone's race? Why do we still consider some Malaysians as Chinese or Indians? Ethnically, yes, they came from Chinese and Indian roots, but they are citizens, aren't they? To me, a Chinese is someone from mainland China. They're of no relation to us, and I doubt even if we Malaysian Chinese were to go there we wouldn't be welcomed like long lost relatives, either.

Like he said, I find it true that if we were to stop labelling ourselves and start thinking of everyone as the same, no matter what colour our skin is, or the importance of continuing the learning of our 'culture', don't you think Malaysians will be more united?

Take national type secondary schools, for example. That's where you see people from Chinese primary schools, Tamil primary schools and the national type primary schools mixing in different groups. Now imagine what would happen if only ONE type of school system was present.

Of course, I do acknowledge that it cannot happen without the government doing away with discriminatory policies.

Okay, time to get back to assignments. See you soon!
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Wednesday, 23 March 2011
A Short One

Very quickly, a couple of days have passed since my last update.

Here are some trailers to pass the time till my next one.

Maybe I'll feel inspired soon. Maybe.
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Sunday, 20 March 2011
Benefits of Failure?

I apologise for the infrequent updates. Sometimes I feel extremely motivated to blog, other times I only feel like not doing anything productive. Sometimes I feel as if I can write multiple entries, other times even once in a few days seem like an enormous task.

I actually started writing a little about my experience living abroad. I do hope that one day, I'll become a published author, but I'm not sure if this is it. I'm also in the process (read: procrastination!) of writing a fictitious story, but I highly doubt that I'll share it here.

Anyway, I'm still finding it hard to adjust to uni life, I'm surprised at it myself. Perhaps it's because of the three month holiday I've had. Perhaps it's because of the two previous trips to Melbourne I made being holidays. Perhaps I'm still adjusting to culture shock and being independent, again. Who knows? My mind works in very peculiar ways.

I'm not sure if I've shared this with you all, but I'm wondering if anyone has heard J.K. Rowling's Harvard commencement speech? I've always found it to be highly inspiring. Today I read through the script again, and it resonated with me so very deeply, on many levels.

Maybe it's because it's dawned on me that I don't perform very well in interviews or in situations where I have to impress people. Maybe because I've come to realise that like what J.K. Rowling said, facing obstacles in life has taught me a lot about myself.

Anyway, here's her speech:

And here are some snippets of the speech, which you can read from here:

Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

Have a wonderful week ahead!

P.S. Should I take the spam on the chatbox as a compliment?
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Tuesday, 15 March 2011

I'm not sure if it's noticeable to you, but I've actually changed my Blogger account. That's because previously I used my Hotmail account that I had since I was about 10 (a decade ago, gasp!), and previously I had relied on Firefox for any sign ins related to my Hotmail account, and Chrome for Gmail related ones. But then I've come to realise that I don't use my Hotmail account anymore anyway, except for MSN. So thus begins the slow (due to procrastination) process of transferring accounts.

Today I just figured out how to transfer my Blogger profile. Hence, this is actually published using a new Blogger profile, with the same name. I have previously tried, to no avail. Today I made the move to Google it, and found the solution. If you're thinking of doing the same, this article will be very useful.

Anyway, this blog will be undergoing some changes sometime. I have originally planned to change my background during my birthday last year, and then again to coincide with New Year's, but sadly I was too distracted to think of implementing it.

But my blog's layout's not the only thing that will be updated. Google also announced that this year, Blogger will be having a revamp, though they did not state exactly when. Here's the video Google posted to introduce the changes:

Pretty cool, eh? I for one like the new look already!

Interesting facts about Blogger include:

  • More active readers (400 million) than the population of South America
  • 250,000 new words are written every minute, which is equivalent to 5000 new novels a day!
  • 75% of Blogger's traffic comes from outside USA

And lastly, here's a picture of my room now:

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Sunday, 13 March 2011
Life As We Know It

So yet another natural disaster has hit us. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. What I find hard to comprehend is the constant 'pray for Japan' pleas on Facebook and Twitter and who knows how many other social networking sites. I for one, refrained from it.

Think about it- of all the people who posted stuff like that, how many do you think actually prayed? Or were they just thinking along the lines of 'Gosh that's so horrible! Oh look, pray for Japan! That's a good update!'

Yes, it's unfortunate that this has happened. But there's a difference between actually helping and using it as a social performance to show people that you care about events in the world. If you actually did you probably would be doing something to help eradicate child labour and child soldiers, poverty, food shortage and the many other social issues around the world. Or to be specific, donating to help the Japanese. In the words of the author of a journal I just read about comments / wall posts on Facebook:

Comments are not simply a dialogue between two interlocutors, but a performance of social connection before a broader audience.

It doesn't exactly fit the situation, but like I posted before, social network updates are like a performance, it's your public image. But you really cannot blame these people.

Another thing I'm finding funny is the constant 'it's a sign of 2012!' thing going on. Apparently, if you add the date of 911 and the date the Japanese earthquake together, it adds up to December 21, 2012. Hmmm.... why not the 2004 tsunami?

No, I don't own that

Granted, I'm not completely against the idea of a catastrophic event like 2012 happening, but I definitely have a lot of doubts. Like this, which apparently can cause 'wide-spread blackouts and affecting communication cables that support the Internet and damage satellites used for commercial communications, global positioning and weather forecasting'.

In the meantime, I'll keep myself amused with Survivor. You may never know, it might come in handy when something end of the world-ish will happen.

As for my life, uni has been treating me all right, although I'm still adjusting to life in Melbourne. I believe I'm still very much in the 'tourist phase'. But it doesn't bother me that much, I'm much more worry-free these days. And that's a good thing.
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Sunday, 6 March 2011
Saturday, 5 March 2011
I'm Here

My apologies for not updating sooner, I only just got my internet connection today.

Anyway, I've arrived at Melbourne. The flight was delayed for a really long time. Apparently, the system crashed sometime after I checked in (but before departure), and so it took a much longer time for them to check everyone in. As there were no problems with my check in, I boarded the plane as usual anyway.

When everyone were finally in the plane, we were told that they had to refuel first! And so we took off much, much later than expected. Then, the next morning, as we were about to land, the pilot announced that the landing has been pushed back. Basically the flight was delayed for a good two hours, or more. By the time we were allowed to exit everyone was beyond weary. We just wanted to get out of the plane.

Enrolment wasn't all smooth sailing either. RMIT has this very weird way of running things that is very similar to back home. I was referred to a different person, each telling me that they cannot advise me on my credit transfer. Believe it or not, I only got it sorted out this week.

And as my Internet is really slow and refuses to let me upload photos, I'll just end this post with a video. I first knew about it through this article. It's about a Chinese New Year ad that was aired in China, and the article summed it up really well:

It reflects the other, more poignant side to China’s great leap into modernity and globalisation – that of the emotional cost of chasing a dream.

Very touching, right? Maybe it doesn't resonate with a person who hasn't been abroad, but I definitely know what people like him went through.
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