To be a cultural wizard

Am I already one? Let me see:

I am from Indonesia. With hundreds of native ethnic groups, it is one of the most diverse countries in the world. I have spent most of my life in the city of Batam. As it is a planned city, there is no native ethnic group and many of the residents were born elsewhere. So far, I have seen six dominant ethnic groups and that doesn’t include smaller ones. I have also spent some time living in Jakarta metropolitan area. As the nation’s centre of everything, it is much more diverse.

I have visited twenty two countries (thanks to my mom who could afford it). As Batam is located near Singapore, I have visited it more than the other foreign countries. Many foreigners reside in both Batam and Jakarta. When I was in junior high school, some of my teachers were Filipinos. I have also spent some time living in Melbourne for study. My university has lots of foreign students. I got along really well with some students. Not a single drama.

I am also bilingual in Indonesian and English. I am confident to say I am relatively fluent in both. Indonesian helps me to get closer to my roots and English helps to get to know foreign ones. Every time we speak a language, our minds start using cultural perspectives associated with it. Jokes that sound good in Indonesian sounds terrible in English and vice versa. So, my outlook should be more multicultural than monolinguals’.

A child of multiethnic parents? Have been to many places? Bilingual? It sounds like I am already a cultural wizard, right? No, I am not. I used to see myself as one based on those reasons alone. What experiences I have does not matter. What I learn from them matters a lot….and I have learned nothing, especially about stereotypes.

I still fall for them. Sometimes, in discussions about societal issues, I still use them as references! Some are indeed true. But, life is much more complex than that. I have been frequently slapped in the face by the impossibility of pigeonholing. But, I still do it anyway. All of those wasted epiphanies. I am just getting started with my sins.

I have committed many as a traveller. They make me judgmental against “the others”. Expecting everyone to speak English and to share my way of life are the worst sins. It is very unforgivable of me as I a, aware of human diversity. I think I know the reason why. I think…

I only speak Indonesian and English. Indonesian is, as the name suggests, a national language. It bears the country’s national. Despite its slight bias to certain regional cultures, it is still the least sectarian cultural identity in Indonesia. But, such empowering strength is accompanied by a crippling weakness: vulnerability to foreign influences. I do not oppose them. In fact, I welcome them! But, the problem with Indonesians is we hate being ourselves. We are very joyful about our heritages in jeopardy. I myself prefer English over Indonesian. I can’t speak a single regional language (and there are hundreds of them!); when I speak Indonesian, my dialect tend to be similar to the Jakartan one which is nationally-accepted. Of course, that is not entirely my fault. I was never taught to speak one by my family and schools. I am just making excuses.

Without doubt, English is a global language. Some says that global languages are hostile to regional cultures. Hostile to regional languages? Maybe. But, not to regional cultures. For me, global languages are apathetic to them. They may help us learn other regional cultures. But, they do not encourage. Well, they do if we speak unique regional dialects…and many of us don’t, especially non-native speakers like me. Okay, I know blaming languages is far-fetched and childish. Not to mention that I shamelessly dedicate two paragraphs on it. I would be surprised if I have convinced you. But, I promise the next reason will be more believable.

I used to think holiday and travelling were interchangible. Big mistake. I had the awakening when Justin Lukach from Departure and PBS’s Rick Steves pointed out the difference: Holiday is about relaxation and travelling is about new experiences and learning. Paraphrasing Rick Steves, holiday is not a sin, mistaking it with travelling is. I am a faithful committer of that sin. On trips, I always visit tourist attractions, eat familiar food and distance myself from the locals. Never leave home without my beloved bubble. This sin reveals something about myself that I find hard to admit: I don’t have the will to learn!

I am a do-nothing inept sloth. I am too lazy to try anything new. I prefer to lay down on my bed, browsing the internet. I can use the internet to learn new things. But no, I use it only to view my favourite videos and to interact with friends and acquaintances. I find cultural heritages are more difficult to learn than school subjects. I need to pop my bubble. Am I ready for it? Wait, I ask the wrong question: do I want it? No. Not now, at least. I am interested in other cultures. But, I am too lazy to do the efforts. Of course, that is my personal problem, not anyone’s elses. But, for others, the reluctance to learn is caused by another factor.

I notice many netizens champion cultural competence. I used to think that was terrific. But then, many are also nightmarish. They demonise every “uncultured” person. Tell them that you haven’t tried or don’t like sushi and expect a tsunami of hatefulness. I know, I know. Their maturity and courage are small enough to befriend microbes. But, it is undeniably off-putting. You start associating cultural competence with those so-called humans.

*starts sensing the readers’ impatience. LOL. Most of my readers are my friends….*

What’s the point of my rambling? I just want to say we should thrive for cultural competence. It helps us in acknowledging the kaleidoscopic nature of humanity and, better, humanising each other. But, at the same time, you cannot force it; thrive for it because you genuinely want to. When you do, never be forceful to others; you want them to love it, not hate it. End up with the latter and we’ll get even more disconnected from each other.

Meet the silent ones

Meet Mr. A.

He is an out-of-touch, immoral hedonist. A stands for asshole. All he does is indulging in low brow entertainment. He is never involved in any activism. He never talks about important issues. He thinks life is too short to worry about them.

Meet Ms. B.

She is heartless and selfish. B stands for bitch. She wastes her parents’ money because she wants to punish them with poverty. She never does anything to please others. Every time her mother cries, she never does anything to console her. She is never saddened by her relatives’ death. Everything has to be all about her.

Meet Mr. and Mrs. C.

They are Muslim extremists. C stands for c*nts. They come from extremist families that they have yet to denounce. They never condemn groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda. They are anti-semites. They work together with radical clerics. They complain too much about anti-Muslim bigotry and never about the Islamic one. Mrs. C wears the hijab because she is forced by her family and husband. They vilify Muslim reformers. As residents of the western world, they sure are ungrateful.

You do understand them. When I said “them”, I meant the masks they are wearing…which you brutally and heartlessly nail on their faces. Let us take them off gently and see the true faces:

Meet Mr. A.

His hedonism does not -and will never- prevent him to be moral. In fact, he is more moral than his detractors. He actually cares about the horror of his world. He hasn’t done anything because he doesn’t know where to start his activism. He is quiet about many issues because he is smart enough to realise their complexity.

Meet Ms. B.

She wastes her parents’ money because she keeps failing college courses. Too sinful to be forgiven but not ill-intentioned. She has made attempts to please others…which are never appreciated. She never consoles her crying mother…because she didn’t hear her crying. Oh and her mother is an attention-seeking bitch. Ms. B is saddened by deaths. But, unlike most humans (who feel reservedness is a sin), she prefers to hold the tears back; exuberance cringes her.

Meet Mr. and Mrs. C.

They are very progressive Muslims. They are activists who fight for a peaceful and tolerant Muslim world. They are hated by their fellow Muslims, including their own families. They receive death threats from both Muslims and non-Muslims. Of course, they complain a lot about anti-Muslim bigotry: they have been enduring it for years! All of the horrible things about them? All false! The media and the Muslim “reformers” who pander to anti-Muslim bigots keep slandering them. They cannot accept how the couple have their own way of tackling problems. Oh and Mrs. C started wearing hijab before she met Mr. C, who believes in choices.

….

They are always silent about their good sides. Why? Well, unlike most you, they don’t see the need in advertising them. They do good things because their hearts are genuine. If you need to advertise, you are nothing but a bloody lump of human insincerity. The silent ones may be better than you.

Traits of bigots (that I have noticed so far)

1. They don’t see the harm in their bigotry.

They cannot see why dehumanising “the others” would be damaging. For them, bigotry is just a politically-incorrect hobby to kill time, like wildlife hunting.

2. Sometimes, they see the benefits in it.

They believe the dehumanisation would do good for everyone. “The others”, AKA “not humans”, would either cease to exist or change themselves and satify the bigots’ insecurity. It’s mutualism, they say.

3. They want others to be like them.

Naturally, those two traits release their inner activists. They are either confused or outraged that others don’t partake in their bigotry.

4. They play the victim cards.

They believe “the others” oppress them with the differences; again, it is all about insecurity. They also cry oppression when getting called out, whining about losing freedom.

5. They commit psychological projection.

Naturally, the victim card encourages it. They accuse their critics, not themselves, as bigots.

….

I labeled people as bigots, not realising I was also one. The awakening is a major slap to my face…and I know I will have it again. Of course, that doesn’t mean all of my negative views of “the others” are prejudicial; they may just be politically incorrect. Before finger-pointing, analysing one’s self first.

STEM vs. Humanities

Why “versus”? Why not STEM and Humanities? What makes us think we only need one? We need both.

STEM provide us the proper outlook to observe our material world. Humanities provide us the proper outlook to to observe the abstract one. STEM issue us the manuals for assembling instruments that ease and strengthen our lives. Humanities guide us in solving complex societal issues. But, not only we need them, they also need each other.

STEM need Humanities for ethical guidance, inspiring societal interest, understanding their purposes, their roles in societies and their own history. Humanities need STEM as a source of self-improvement, debunking wobbly theories. Humanities also need the technologies which can document and circulate the knowledge. STEM and Humanities are yin and yang.

They lay out two distinctive but equally well-reasoned outlooks on life. Whether we pick both, either one or neither, it is up to us. I am going to sound pretentious here. But, if we thrive to grasp our life better (which we should), it is sensible to pick both. Picking one is like flying with one wing. Picking neither is like flying with no wings.

How to use your freedom

*puts on a mask*

Some of us don’t know how to do it. As some who knows how, I am personally offended by that! God! But, I am joyful that I am not alone. There are others who share my beautiful mindset. Oh, you want to know how to do it as well? Well, I will gladly show you. It is simple:

Hate anyone who are different from you. You have to dehumanise them. How dare they being different from you? Why can’t they see how you are the model of a perfect human being? Everything about you is not only the best, they are also the most moral! If you don’t believe that, it means you are self-loathing…and you need to kill yourself now (Contact me if you want to know how)! Needless to say, you also have to defend your fellow assholes. Their critics are nothing but dangerous freedom haters. It is our moral obligation to silence them, no matter what it take. Freedom is and should be a one-way street.

If human abuse sounds like an essence of freedom, it is not. It is the only essence of freedom! Our ancestors created freedom because they wanted to be assholes! It is disgusting how tolerant and nice people back then. I dream of a world where everyone abuses each other. Aaah, it will always just be a utopia for the honourable ones among us.

*takes off the mask*

Why I support state Sharia

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*puts on a mask*

Simple answer: it discriminates no one! First of all, why would state-implemented Sharia discriminates Muslims? We all want it, every single one of us. Even though there are over a billion of us, we all think the same! That is why there is no such thing as “Islamic denominations”; those Shias, Sufis, Quranists, Liberals and Ahmadis are Jews in disguises. That is why there is no such thing “interpretations” of Islam; if you want to know the one and only true Islam, just ask the lovable Daesh. Just follow it and you will be from harm.

Second, if it doesn’t discriminate Muslims, why would it discriminate those infidels? As much as I hate it, they are unreachable. They are guarded with devices that create protective invisible bubbles, blocking out Sharia’s “tough love” grips. Israeli-made. Those f**king Jews! Thanks to them, there is not a single infidels who got affected by Sharia. I dream of a world where they are also punished. Aaaah, it will always be a utopia.

Lastly, What is so bad about the whole thing? Seriously, do you prefer how the infidels handle crimes: fair trials and non-violent punishments? Ew! Humanity is only for softies who prefer emotions over logic. They even don’t know their priorities! Instead of punishing corrupters, why don’t they punish people who have consensual non-marital sex? It is unfair to sleazy and unattractive virgins like me!

Sharia! I want Sharia NOW!! NOW!!! I SAID NOW!!!!

MUUUUMMY!!! THEY ARE DISCRIMINATING ME!!! MUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!!!

*takes off the mask*

Two groups of people…and why they think Pewdiepie sucks

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*puts on a mask*

Haters who call themselves “reasonable critics”:

Pewdiepie is literally a bad person! How do we know? Well, just watch his videos; we have watched over two thousands of them. God, the constant screaming. Why can’t he be calm like Markiplier and Jacksepticeye? Also, LITERALLY every single one of his videos have rape jokes. Not to mention he stole money from the charities he started; our hatred of him is enough of an evidence. Why can’t he be moral like Alex Day, Sam Pepper and Onision? His fans are extremely childish. Why can’t they be like other fandoms that always resort to personal attacks? Seriously, you have to be so shamelessly uncultured and immoral to be his “bros”.

Bitter ex-fans who live the past:

Pewdiepie used to be waaay better. He encompassed everything that makes a Youtuber good: lazy video editing, repetitiveness, being offensive for the sake of it, constant screaming, overt niceness and, the best of all, constant pandering to fans. Now he is the complete opposite. The new Pewdiepie is all about more complex video editing that takes hours to do, social commentaries, satires, wits and honesty to fans. As disgusting as they sound, there is one thing he does that is much worse than killing babies: doing things because he wants to, not because people force him to! A good Youtuber should become less sophisticated and less honourable, not more.

*takes off the mask*

Three types people…and why they hate Pokemon Go

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*puts on a mask*

Moral activists:

Pokemon Go is another form of entertainment! As Daan Achmad eloquently expressed in I am (self-)righteous, entertainment is evil! Not only it detracts us from reality, It also encourages us to ignore it completely! You are literally awarded for apathy of human suffering! Like Achmad, We are also literally psychics. We know what those entertainment junkies think and feel 24/7. Don’t you dare question us! We have a big ego to maintain!

Cool people:

Pokemon G makes nerd culture look better! That really hurts our feelings! We bully nerds and nerd culture because they were all about cultural and technological sophistication. You know, things that do not contribute to anything civilisations. But, this atrocity appears, encouraging nerds to be more social and physically active! They and their stinkin’ culture become our equals! If we don’t have anyone and anything to bully, how are we going to hide our own insecurity?

Conservative Muslims:

Pokemon is Jewish! It is created to poison the mind of Muslims! It is not a Japanese creation because Japan is not an existing country. It is a cover-up created by Israel. Just listen to the dialogues in Pokemon TV series, rewind them…and you can hear Yiddish. Yes, Yiddish, the official language of the Zionist state! I can deal corruption, violence, extremism and rape; there is nothing morally wrong with them. Jewishness, however, represents everything wrong with the world. It is literally the most immoral thing on earth!

*takes off the mask*

Vote!

*puts on a mask*

There are two good reasons why you need to always vote:

1. Voting makes you look contributive.

It doesn’t matter if you actually aren’t. If your vote turned into vampiric leeches who suck the blood of the people until they shrivelled up like dried fruits, Don’t worry. It is indeed your fault. But, you can blame it on the non-voters, who didn’t contribute anything to the country’ demise.

2. Voting makes you look intelligent and informed.

Again, it doesn’t matter if you actually aren’t. It is okay to use the “vote for the lesser evil” argument, which is a nice way of saying “vote for evil is good and no vote is evil”. It is okay to be effortlessly duped by politicians. It is even okay to know nothing about what you vote for…just like the genius Brits who voted for Brexit and were disappointed when it won.

Many voters are guilty of them and yet their image are still wrongly blemished (reminds me of corrupt politicians who got revoted over and over again). I think we should thank one group of people: the unbelievably naive imbeciles. Those critters, who are still influential, are naive about what it takes to be good citizens. They still believe we have to always vote, no matter how poorly-informed we are about the choices and/or how obscene they are. Thanks to them, genuinely repellent voters still have good reputation. If you want it, be one.

*takes off the mask*

The west should refuse the Syrian refugees…

*puts on a mask*

…because they can choose any places they want! They are given menus of countries and all they have to do is to pick one, just like in restaurants!

…because we can help them by staying in their homeland! Why would they need to escape the constant violence? It doesn’t make any sense!

…because of Islam! Islam is a hateful religion, as proven by Muslim extremists and Islamophobes! Christianity is a peaceful one, as proven by KKK, Westboro Baptist Church and the Crusades.

…because of multiculturalism! The west has been culturally static for millennia and those migrants would change everything!

…because they are homophobic and misogynistic! Homophobia and misogyny are the prerogative of westerners!

…because of gender roles! Most of the migrants are young men, as shown by a handful of photos I cherry-picked. It is morally unacceptable! One should prioritise shallow, arbitrary and ever-changing gender roles over personal safety!

…because they have cellphones and laptops! It is obvious that they have enough money to fund their own armies!

…because the west is overcrowded! Why don’t they stay in countries like Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon? Jordan has only half a million refugees while the other two only have a million each. Most western countries have less than a hundred thousand! A hundred thousand is bigger than half a million! Do Math, moran!

…because they should stay in Saudi Arabia! One should prioritise similar cultural and religious heritage over personal safety!

…because some of them committed crimes! They are Arabs/Muslims. Therefore, it is compulsory to judge all refugees based on the actions of a few.

…because they are not humans! Arabs/Muslims do not deserve humane treatment from us! We should treat them like the Nazis treat Jews!

We do have to consider the finance and security before accepting them. I know, I know. But, those are reasonable concerns. Being reasonable is lame.

*takes off the mask*