Diversity: from pro to anti

I used to be very conservative; it is not unexpected when one grew up as an Indonesian Muslim. I don’t have labels to describe my current social stances; leftists may find me too liberal and liberals may find me too left-wing. But, I can definitely say I am no longer conservative in that department.

Recently, I found myself baffled: why are there conservatives who used to be liberal or left-wing? Specifically, why do some pro-diversity people end up as anti-diversity?

I have my own hypothesis. I base it on observations of white westerners online – especially the so-called “progressives” – and moderate Indonesian Muslims, which include my former self.

Sidenote: Moderate Indonesian Muslims are not liberal or left-wing in the slightest; they are conservatives who fancy themselves as accepting and tolerant, even though they have badmouthed interfaith romance and are racist against Chinese-Indonesians. They appear “progressive” because they are romanticised by wide-eyed foreigners, they are often compared to Islamists and moderate religious tolerance is the tradition here.

Now, for my hypothesis.

Some people are pro-diversity because they want to feel good about themselves. They want to feel it so bad, they miss the point of it all. As a result, they face some snags in their embrace of diversity.

They learn that embracing it requires more than just eating exotic foods, supporting more diverse fictional characters, sleeping with people of different skin colours and not committing pogroms. They realise they also have to learn traversing human differences; never mind the consequential ones, they even don’t know how to deal with the trivial ones.

Not only they don’t understand the values and worldview of the “others”, they also have bad experiences interacting with them. For them, if something is indecipherable, it deserves to be hated. If they have bad experiences with people of certain backgrounds, they think it is acceptable or even a must to demonise the entire groups. They just can’t help themselves from doing those.

They love othering the “others”, whom they perceive as nothing but giant monoliths. They think Asian-Americans are not divided to different subgroups and are the same as Asians in Asia. They think every true queer person was born with rainbow imagery planted in their minds. They stereotype their fellow human beings… just like the bigots do.

They also don’t care about how the “others” think and feel. They only care about pushing their thoughts and feelings onto the narratives. They hate how they are not worshipped for doing the bare minimum. They hate how they cannot make everything about themselves.

Sooner or later, they will have the realisation: not only pro-diversity belief cannot be exploited for their own benefits, it is also against the actual worldview they have been clinging onto and were in denial about. As a result, the “woke” – who was never “woke” in the first place – becomes “anti-woke”.

Hypothesis ends.

Obviously, like any hypotheses, mine must be “tested” before it becomes a theory. I am also too lazy to find out if someone else has thought about it (someone probably has).

But, one thing I am very certain of: I have met people who claim to be progressive and yet, they are guilty of the sins I describe above.

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Stop pretending that looting preserves cultures

The European colonisers looted them not because they cared about preserving the local heritages, but because they wanted to impose hard power.

If that wasn’t the case, not only they would try their best to not damage the artefacts, they also wouldn’t massacre the humans who created the heritage and imposed western cultures upon the survivors. We know damn well it was the exact opposites.

And yes, even the contemporary westerners who oppose repatriation also don’t care about cultures.

Even without those vultures of private collectors, the artefacts still end up in museums in faraway lands, trapped behind glass panels. Yes, the visitors are able to admire the unique aesthetics and read the descriptions on the plaques. But, they only perceive them as mere foreign and exotic items and will always do. They won’t understand how culturally significant the artefacts are.

If they are in their “natural habitats” (they are often small bits of a huge archeological site), we can see how they make important parts of entire cultures. In fact, we may witness them being used in the rituals.

Never mind the immersion. How can the artefacts help us witnessing the still-living cultures in action if we don’t see them being “utilised” as originally intended?

No, the “they-don’t-care-about-their-own-cultures” argument is invalid. If you even bother trying, you can find those who still cling onto their heritage. The ones who don’t care are the westernised big city dwellers and government officials and, believe it or not, they don’t represent their entire countries.

Now, what if the cultures represented by the artefacts are already extinct? Surely, it doesn’t matter where they are kept. Well, it still does.

Just take a look at those dinosaurs. They went extinct sixty five million years ago and yet, we still see their descendants not only as modern day reptiles, but also as birds.

Extinct cultures also have left legacies.

Egypt has been an Arabised and Muslim-majority territory for a long time and yet, its Coptic Christian citizens still use Coptic – a Greek-influenced, modern descendent of Ancient Egyptian – as their liturgical language.

Indonesia, my home country, is a Muslim-majority country with Christianity as the biggest minority religion. But, you still can see hints of our Buddhist and Hindu pasts.

Not only we have Sanskrit loanwords in some of our languages (including the national one) and we occasionally use the sembah gesture (which is based on Añjali Mudrā), our official national symbols are derived from Hindu and Buddhist mythologies and most government institutions use Sanskrit mottos.

I don’t have to use non-western countries as examples. The entire western civilisation has its roots in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, two long-extinct civilisations. Latin and Greek are still studied as the classical languages.

If you take a look at western individual countries, you can see some uniqueness as well.

In the United States, one can sees Native American and West African influences through its many different music genres and some of its regional cuisines, even though Native Americans are now an unbelievably tiny minority due to genocides and most black Americans are descendants of slaves who were forcibly uprooted from their homelands.

Even though Al-Andalus has ceased to exist for half a millennium, you still can see the Middle Eastern influences in the Iberian peninsula: from the abundance of Arabic loanwords in Spanish and Portuguese to the abundance of Moorish architecture in, unsurprisingly, modern-day Andalusia.

Nothing lives in a vacuum. Just because something happened a long time ago, that does not mean it won’t leave its marks. The immersion may be weak. But, it still there.

I am also certain learning languages and cuisines is a more effective cultural immersion method than simply staring at goddamn objects.

Obviously, the arguments I stated above are not entirely mine; I either paraphrased them or added my own personal thoughts to them. But, there is one argument which also isn’t mine…. and it is an argument so obvious, I hate myself for not thinking about it earlier: political stability.

Some argue the artefacts should stay in the west because it is the only place free from any political instabilities. But, Youtuber Andrew Rakich – better known as Atun-Shei films – reminds us to expect the unexpected.

In a video which title I forget, he asserts that just because places like London are stable, that does not mean they will always; we cannot certainly predict the future… because we humans are so goddamn unpredictable.

That statement reminds me of what I have learned about history.

Places like Syria, Afghanistan Somalia and Iraq were peaceful (at least, on a surface level as I am deriving this info from photos and videos). Now, they are synonymous with wars, wars and wars.

Less than a century ago, Europe was involved in two world wars; the second started just twenty one years after the first one ended. Now, it is often one of the main destinations for war refugees.

Basically, unless you are into historical denialism and see humans as nothing but predictable androids, the political stability argument does not hold water.

Just like the British Museum’s roof.

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Lonely men and incels (and Muslim extremists)

I do know lonely men and incels are different from each other. Unlike lonely men in general, incels are toxic cretins who feel entitled to sex and female obedience and they blame women for their loneliness.

So, I cringed so hard when Jordan Peterson cried after being mocked by Olivia Wilde as incels’ hero; he asserted that there was nothing wrong about giving the marginalised ones a voice.

Now, as a Muslim, I am going to compare incels to Muslim extremists. I can’t help but seeing the similarities.

Yes, people from both groups do need help….. in fixing their toxic selves. Their worldview compels them to harm others, especially those who don’t share their identities and beliefs. They are hated not because they are inconsequentially different, but because they are dangerous to be around with.

The last thing we need is letting those people feeling even more empowered. They deserve to feel ashamed of themselves.

Now, what if those people didn’t start as such? What if the incels started as genuinely lonely men? What if the religious extremists started as members of marginalised Muslim minorities or Muslims who feel aimless with their lives?

If that’s the case, it shows our failure as societies. Our negligence result them in their desperation to seek help….. and the extremists are the only ones who lend hands, hands which guide them to the dark paths. Then, we have the gall to act surprise.

But, even with such tragic origin stories, I still don’t see why we shouldn’t crap on them. Their idea of self-empowerment is cruelty against others; they cannot comprehend that it can be achieved through other means.

They are also defeating their own causes. They went from deserving our support to ones who deserve to be hated. They also give other assholes more reasons to be negligent and discriminatory towards the likes of them.

I also don’t believe all incels started as lonely men and all Muslim extremists started as aimless or disenfranchised Muslims.

If you are a man who grew up among toxic masculinity, you can easily become incels without going through the “neglected lonely man” stage. If you are a Muslim who grew up among fellow believers who make Islam their entire personalities, you can easily become an extremist without going through the “aimless or disenfranchised” stage.

Overall, in differing ways, they are all victims of circumstances which they had no control over; it is important to acknowledge how they become the way they are.

But, it is also important to acknowledge that the way they are is dangerous. Considering humans are grey, we can both the victims and the villains. I don’t see why we can’t feel sorry for incels and Muslim extremists while also harshly condemning them at the same time, especially when they have fulfilled their violent desires.

I don’t see how not condemning them benefit anyone.

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Being a child of a single mother

Indonesia is like most places on earth. It is considered preferable for children to have both mom and dad. In fact, unlike in America and much of the west, almost every person here is conservative; truly liberal-minded people are a rarity here.

And yet, the vitriol against single mothers in America is extreme, something which I don’t see in Indonesia. Maybe single motherhood isn’t as common or talked about as much. But, I never heard about a huge number of Indonesians demonising single mothers, blaming them for every existing social ill.

Worse, those people even use scientific papers – which supposedly claim that children of single mothers are more likely to be worse off – as their evidences. They feel more empowered and, among the gullible ones, they seem to be an ideologically sound bunch.

I have never read those papers. Knowing how zealous ideologues can be, they may either oversimplify the content or straight up lie about it. But, even if the papers truly make such claim, they are peer-reviewed and their results can be replicated by other peer-reviewed researches, I still don’t see how it proves the dangers of single motherhood.

For misogynists, those studies affirm their preconceived beliefs about women, especially their supposed inherent incompetence in anything. For gullible people, they start thinking that the misogynists are on something.

But, for sceptical people who try their best embracing the complexity of reality, they won’t take the studies for granted and they acknowledge that no one and nothing lives in a vacuum.

They realise we are shaped not just by our homes, but also by our racial and ethnic backgrounds, our schools, work places, the media we consume, the dominant political and religious beliefs in our area, the political and religious beliefs we embrace, any places sociologists refer to as the “third places”, any thoughts we are exposed to, any interactions we immerse ourselves in.

If you are truly open-minded, you would not be too quick to blame something on only one factor, you would consider multiple of them.

You would not blame it entirely on single mothers, you would also hold other aspects of the society accountable for severely failing those fatherless children.

Yes, I know there are bloated elephants in the room: the absent fathers.

Unless the mothers slander the fathers and undeservingly end up with full custody of the children, we can definitely say the absent fathers are also a factor to consider. It is not the mothers’ faults that their partners died or were lost on the way to buy cigarettes.

I initially wanted to omit this, as it was too obvious and easy. But then, I remember the people who love demonising single motherhood never talk about negligent fathers and refuse to hold men accountable to anything. In the end, I have to state the obvious.

Now, for my anecdote as a son of a single mother.

I was very young when my father died, I don’t have a single memory of him. I started to long for a father figure when I was a teenager. Inexplicably, that longing feeling died out after I graduated high school.

Now, as a thirty-year-old man, I am glad I was raised by one parent. It is emotionally burdensome to face the demands from one parent. I cannot imagine facing demands from two!

I don’t know what kind of person he was. He might be able to balance my mom’s burdensome bearing. But, it is also possible he was either equally burdensome or my mom’s biggest apologist. Considering what kind of person my mom is, you have to be either toxic or permissive with toxicity in order to enjoy her presence, let alone marrying her.

Oh, and so-called manliness is not a concern. For one, I don’t give a fuck about conforming to an arbitrary and ever-changing gender role. But, even if I do, my conservative mom loves upholding gender roles anyway. She loves shaming me every time I show lack of interest in anything automotive and outdoor-related… or, more frequently, show my fear of height.

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The insensibility of sensibilities

Yes, sensibilities can be insensible.

My dictionary has two definitions of sensibilities; 1. our responsiveness to anything emotional; 2. our delicate sensitivity. Either way, they are not based on reasons, they are based on our emotions… and our emotions can suck.

With that in mind, it is reasonable to believe our sensibilities can be insensible.

How do you know yours are sensible or not? Just take a look at the things you are emotionally reacting to.

Do they offend you because they are actually harmful to you and your fellow human beings? Or do they offend you simply because you personally don’t like them?

Hate speech, incitement of violence, conspiracies about specific individuals or groups, corporal punishments on children, LGBT+ conversion therapy, anti-vaxxer beliefs, platforming bigots and conspiracy “theorists” without holding them accountable, toxic masculinity and femininity, religious fundamentalism. Those things are harmful because they either directly inflict physical and/or psychological harms upon others, empower others to do the same or compel them to inflict harms upon themselves. If you are a truly decent human being, they should offend you greatly.

But, things like disobeying dress codes, dressing like a slob, speaking with crude accents or dialects, having different tastes, diets and religions, not masculine or feminine enough, too masculine or feminine, being physically unattractive? How are any of those harmful in any ways?

If they do not inflict any physical and psychological traumas upon anyone, if being offended is the only thing you and others experience, then they are definitely harmless and your sensibilities are definitely insensible.

Obviously, we are human beings. No one has the right to tell us how and what to feel. No one has the right to prohibit us from establishing our own standards, no matter how arbitrary they are.

But, it becomes a problem when you mistake your emotions as objective measurement tools, when you are unable to distinguish your biases from the objective reality.

In this case, you and your sensibilities can go fuck yourselves.

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You cultist royalist motherfuckers need to be consistent

You love to claim how the monarch is the reason for the good things that exist in the UK, despite the fact that they are nothing but a mere symbol…

And yet, every time someone condemns the Queen for past colonialism, you fervently and zealously defend her, asserting that she had nothing to do with the atrocities.

Which one is it, then? Does the monarch contribute to the country or not? Unless you proudly declare yourself as a cult member, you cannot pick and choose. You have to acknowledge both sides of her legacy.

No, I don’t believe she was personally responsible for the atrocities. The UK has been a constitutional monarchy for a long time and the monarch is just a symbolic representation of the state; if I want to credit or blame someone, I have to turn my head to the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

But, that does not mean the Queen was never complicit.

Not only she enjoyed the seemingly infinite wealth which would never exist without colonialism, she also willingly became the symbol of it. No, fuck the neutrality bullshit. If you are aware of immorality committed in your name, the least you can do is to publicly speak out against it.

Morality is not a trivial matter, it is a matter of whether you treat your fellow human beings humanely or not. If you feel or act neutral about certain acts of inhumanity, you tolerate them; you are as good as their perpetrators.

She had the power to influence her subjects to reconcile with their country’s dark past. Instead, she chose symbolically represent it.

I bet you that some of you are also the same people who blame entire minority groups for the actions of few, despite the fact that most members have nothing to do with those few and never condone their actions.

Also, if you take offense at my cultist accusation, you have no one but yourselves to blame.

British media outlets spending 24/7 reporting her death, the state spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money for her funeral amid an ongoing economic crisis, the country shutting many activities down – including medical appointments and flights – just for her, fellow royalists demanding everyone – including citizens of former colonies- to mourn her, arresting peaceful protestors, Labour party prohibiting members from making any social media posts unless they were about the Queen, royalists condemning businesses for staying open.

You either consider them as trivial non-stories which we shouldn’t make a big deal about OR consider them as wonderful things. Don’t deny it, I have seen your online comments.

Even worse, some of you had the gall to claim that no one forced Brits to mourn her, despite the fact that you didn’t let them to live their daily lives as usual and you also deliberately ruined their goddamn plans.

The gaslighting attempt really adds to the cultist atmosphere.

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What non-fans of Try Guys need to know about the scandal

People think the Try Guys’ decision to fire Ned Fulmer for cheating on his wife is an overkill and the whole scandal is too overblown. Obviously, those people are not familiar with the group; if they are, they would know how Fulmer’s infidelity actually hurts the group, both on a professional and personal level.

First, the professional level.

Ned didn’t just cheat with a random woman, he cheated with Alex Herring, one of Try Guys’ producers… AKA Ned’s own goddamn subordinate! Regardless whether he coerced her or not, the power imbalance certainly makes the company extremely prone to litigations.

Ned is also known as the wife guy. He constantly bragged about how much he loved his wife Ariel, to the point where she becomes his brand; “My wife” quickly became his catchphrase. Therefore, his infidelity is also a professional failure and it has ruined the group’s relatively wholesome image.

If the scandal already puts the entire company in a perilous position, imagine if they refuse to fire him. Considering the fans’ fiery backlashes against him, the damage would not be temporary, it would be permanent. Their subscriber and viewership counts would decline drastically and recovery would require a miracle.

They also didn’t fire him impulsively. It took them weeks of consultation with the legal and HR departments, a tiring but necessary process which ensures they arrive at a judicious decision.

Now, on a personal level.

Ned was not just a colleague of the other guys, he was a good friend. Not only that, they are also very close to his wife and two kids. In fact, in a video where Eugene Lee Yang babysat Ned and Ariel’s firstborn Wes (two years before the birth of their second child), he explicit stated that he would murder anyone who dare to hurt the baby.

I don’t know about Alex Herring’s partner Will Thayer. But, if the guys are also close with him, then there is one more personal reason to be angry.

Basically, even when their careers are not at stake, his infidelity would still infuriate them.

And yes, believe it or not, the Try Guys are humans. They have the rights to feel emotions.

Oh, and for people who agree with Dr. Todd Grande’s advices….

Even if you know nothing about the Try Guys, you should know how condescending and outright stupid his advices are.

The Try Guys should do more serious topics? They have dwelled with them for many years. Health problems, insecurity about one’s own body and even racism. Serious topics that have affect them personally have been featured in their videos.

During the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in the beginning of the pandemic, they even stepped their projects aside to make a one-hour-long humourless video about anti-Asian racism in the US. As public figures, they realised they had the duty to speak out.

Before you suggest someone to do something, make sure they actually haven’t done that before. But then, if you are a self-righteous person, you think it is okay to assume everyone else is not as thoughtful as you.

And making a video where they interview Ned and Ariel about his infidelity? How can anyone, especially a mental health counselor, think that is a good idea?

First thing first, making such video means they are monetising on their scandal. It makes tactless and exploitative content. It is not quality content that the world needs.

Second, if they want to make such video, they have to coerce Ariel to relive her humiliation in the public, prohibiting her from recovering privately, without even more judgments from judgemental strangers.

Third, it is an unnecessary learning experience. The Try Guys can learn from Ned’s mistake and Ned can definitely improves himself without any goddamn platforms. They don’t have any obligation to facilitate his self-growth. He is an adult, he must facilitate it himself.

And for those of you who defend the SNL skits….

Here is the thing: if you want your parody or satire to hits the spot, you have to be familiar with the topic in hand. You need to get the facts and full context right, ensuring you mock the deserving people and not making false assumptions about anyone.

If you know the facts and whole context of this scandal, not only you would acknowledge how a big deal Ned’s infidelity is, you would actually praise the group’s handling of the controversy. You would realise how nonsensical it is to mock the Try Guys and letting Ned off the hook.

So what if SNL is a comedy show? How does that invalidate the criticisms? Surely, it is reasonable to criticise comedians when their jokes miss the marks.

Oh, and it should be pointed out that Ned has a friend who works as an SNL writer. While the friend might or might not be involved in that particular sketch, it is still an important piece of information to divulge.

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Some people believe the guys had known about Ned’s infidelity from the very beginning.

That’s a possibility which Try Guys fans like me have to acknowledge. But, unless there are solid evidences to back such claim, it will stay as a baseless accusation.

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(Badly) Defending Netflix’s Dahmer

When I first heard about the show and the controversies surrounding its disregard of the victims’ families, I thought there would be people who defend the show, saying they have the right to enjoy even the most exploitative entertainment.

But, it seems there are people who defend the show for moral reasons.

Disclosure: I haven’t watched the show and I have no interest to. I am more interested in breaking down the opinions which argue not only for its moral justifiability, but also moral necessity.

First thing first, they argue this show is an exposé of police ineptitude and bigotry, which can be an eye-opener to many people.

Second, they argue the show showcases the dark side of humanity, how humans can do the most despicable things to each other, how life isn’t all flowers and rainbows. In fact, they believe the dark content can be a cautionary tale for all of us to be more vigilant, especially in the presence of strangers.

Now, let me break them down.

We are in 2022. At this point, you should have heard many discourses regarding police incompetence and bigotry. If the show opens your eyes to their existence, it is not a testament of its quality. It is a testament of how out-of-touch you are.

Also, there has been so many works about serial killers… and about Dahmer specifically. If something is depicted once or a few times, it would be emotionally impactful. But, once it becomes a recurring and overused theme, people will be desensitised to it.

Oh, and if their abundance fails to make us vigilant against serial killers, what makes you think this one show is any different?

So no, the so-called “benefits” are not worth retraumatising the victims’ still living families. What’s the point of reopening old wounds when you have no intention to heal them permanently?

I don’t know exactly why people make those defenses.

It may be naivety.

They may naively believe the show’s creators care about educating the masses, despite the fact that media people are infamous for their greed, and every person who watches the show only cares about learning, despite the fact that some are entertained by exploitations and others love glorifying serial killers. They contradict themselves: they want to learn about the dark side of mankind and yet, they assume others have nothing but the purest intentions.

They may naively believe entertainment is the best tool to enlighten the masses, despite the fact that entertainers often oversimplify, exaggerate and dramatise the facts and aren’t obligated to be unbiased, despite the fact that people won’t learn anything unless they have the desire to.

It may not be naivety.

It may be their attempts to mask their love of exploitative entertainment, fearing they will be judged harshly for their inability to enjoy anything which isn’t remotely edgy.

I tend to believe it is mostly a naivety issue. But, knowing humans, the latter is a high possibility.

Does that mean people need to stop making Dahmer content until all of his victims’ families die?

Yes, the answer is yes.

I believe that we are allowed to make any content as we desire; banning can be a dangerous slippery slope. But, we should always remember that heartlessness is an option.

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Monarchism, religion and colonialism

Vox made a video about how the English monarch is still the head of state of different countries. In the comment section, I posted this comment:

As an Indonesian, I find it weird that independent countries still have a foreigner living in faraway land as their symbolic head of state. It is even weirder that the faraway land has an entirely different cultural root.

From all any of English royalty-related comments I have made, I consider that to be the least cynical and disparaging and the most matter-of-fact. I mean, Indonesia does not have a head of state who lives in a faraway land; ours, who is also our head of government, is an Indonesian citizen who grew up in Indonesia and has identified as an Indonesian all of their life. Obviously, for people like me, the idea of having a foreigner as a head of state is weird.

But, that comment still manages to ruffle feathers.

As if almost on cue, people started chastising me because I am from Indonesia, a non-Arabian country dominated by a religion of Arabian origin that is Islam, which they deem as a colonising religion. With that fact in mind, they believe I have no right to criticise.

One thing first: I agree with them that Islam is a colonising religion. In many countries, it is undoubtedly a politically, socially and culturally influential religion with large numbers of adherents. It has the ability to devour smaller and less powerful religions without direct coercions and it has definitely done so, including in Indonesia. As an Indonesian Muslim, it is a fact that I have to acknowledge.

But, that’s the only thing I agree with them. I don’t believe a religion is a cultural colonising power.

In essence, religion is a set of spiritual rituals and worldviews. But, the latter are often expressed using ancient figures of speech which original meanings are unknown by modern audience; this allows anyone to create their own interpretations, which may or may not be influenced by one’s cultural backgrounds.

Sunni Islam – the disproportionately dominant Islamic branch in the world and in Indonesia – is a highly decentralised religion, which gives its adherents even more freedom to interpret… and also the freedom to follow any imams as they desire or to not follow any at all.

In Indonesia, the Javanese and Sundanese people – the biggest and second biggest ethnic groups, respectively – are predominantly-Muslim and yet, their traditional arts are still dominated by South Asian influences; the Santris are the only ones who embrace more Middle Eastern ones.

There are indeed Muslim-majority ethnic groups whose cultures have strong Arabian influences. But, they don’t speak Arabic and they certainly do not identify themselves as Arabs. The actual Arab-Indonesians themselves are uninterested in Arabising their homeland; not even all of them can speak Arabic.

Most Indonesian mosques constructed before the 20th century utilised local architectural styles. Oh, and Indonesia’s national official symbols are taken from Hindu and Buddhist mythologies, as a tribute to the region’s Hindu and Buddhist roots.

And even a centralised religion is not that rigid. Yes, the prospect of having spirituality dictated by someone living in a faraway land unnerves me. But, it is still culturally flexible.

In Indonesia, some Catholic congregations love incorporating traditional cultures into their liturgies. Languages, costumes and music, they have no issues staying in touch with the local traditions.

If I use my detractors’ logic, that means I have to see the entire western world as a Middle-Eastern colony, considering Christianity is also from the Middle East.

Regardless of its place and culture of origin, regardless of how centralised the leadership is, a religion can be moulded to fit to any cultures as one pleases… as it has always been since forever.

Meanwhile, a living monarch does not have such malleability. No matter how non-white and non-English your Commonwealth realm country is, no matter how much you try to twist it, the living white English-born and raised monarch will always be white and English.

Oh, and the bit of info about national symbols? It shows how Indonesians aren’t interested in having their country represented by anything Islamic. On a symbolic official level, many of us prefer to be represented by our Hindu and Buddhist ancestors.

If you see Indonesian tourism ads and take a peek at what Indonesian festivals abroad have to offer, you will see Islam is barely mentioned or depicted, if at all. Islam takes centre stage only when the occasions are specifically religious (e.g. Ramadhan fast breaks or Idul Fitri celebrations).

Every time Islamists champion Sharia-fication of Indonesian law, they get harshly reminded by moderate Muslims that Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country and NOT an Islamic one. Unlike the Islamists, the moderates are actually considerate about the religious minorities.

Basically, if you want to call me a hypocrite for posting that comment, make sure a living monarch is entirely comparable to religion and prove that Islam has been used to symbolically represent Indonesia as a whole.

Those “rebuttals” were not even the worst I received. Someone took it to a next level… by claiming that the legitimacy of the Indonesian president is the exact same as the King of England’s. Just like how the monarch hasn’t lived in every single Commonwealth realm, the Indonesian president hasn’t lived in every single Indonesian province, they say.

Okay, then.

Yes, it is true Indonesian Presidents haven’t lived in every single province. But, those provinces are… you know… provinces. They are not sovereign states, they are territories of a sovereign state. While presidents have always been Muslims and of Javanese descent (which unfortunately is a sign of poor ethnic and religious representations), they are elected by the people (at least after the fall of Soeharto); citizens from all provinces have the right to vote.

Meanwhile, not only the English monarch is the head of state of different independent countries, it is also a hereditary position and the person holding it was never elected by the people. Apples and oranges, but far more idiotic.

Those are just reminders of how monarchists – especially English ones – are borderline cultish.

If they are not borderline cultish, they wouldn’t do whataboutism, they wouldn’t project, they would try their best to argue using facts and commonsense…

And they certainly would not get riled up by one of the least offensive and provocative anti-monarchist comments ever made.

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Are stereotypes useful?

No, they are not.

I have had many arguments with bigots. But, one interaction gave me this realisation: stereotype is different from generalisation. I hate myself for being this late.

This person constantly made sweeping statements about Muslims. After receiving pushbacks, he defended himself by saying that if we want to talk about a collective, generalisation is inevitable.

What he said made sense here. How can we talk about human collectives when we are prohibited from generalising? The thing is I would be on his side… if he was being honest with himself.

A generalisation is meant to represent the entirety and it requires as many data as possible; mind you, it has the word “general” in it. If he truly wanted to have an honest discussion, he would have acknowledged that a group embodies different individuals and each of them almost certainly identifies with more than one labels. He would have been mindful of the diversity and the rigidness of pigeonholes.

Instead, he chose to paint a group of one billion believers as a hoard of centrally-controlled androids.

If you still prefer stereotype because it is the easier route, be my guest. But, you clearly don’t care about the truth.

If you do care…

You would try your best to drop all of your preconceived notions, unearth what is beneath the deceptive surface and learn as many intricate details as possible, especially ones that seemingly contradict each other.

You would try your best to embrace the complexities of life instead of settling for fact-distorting oversimplifications.

You would acknowledge that the “others” are your fellow human beings who just happen to be influenced by different life experiences and/or sets of rules.

You would have realised that just because you feel your beliefs are true, that does not mean they are.

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