It is said that humans descended from apes, or so the Darwinian Theory goes. Well the humans in this corner of South East Asia seem to have retained some of their ancestorâ€™s traits quite well. That is we love to ape, the west specifically.
Perhaps it is some colonial chip we still carry on our shoulder which focuses us to acknowledge all things west as cool and hip. Perhaps we are still so much in awe of the white man that we cannot even see their faults and our own virtues. Whatever it may be, we are rapidly turning into a cell phone crazy, IPod hugging, wild eyed bunch of commercial zombies who run and adopt every idiotic trend that comes from the west with utmost glee.
Its not as if its just one area of the city that is affected by this madness, day by day I see the entire place divided into little elite clutches of people, the haveâ€™s and the have nots. You would ask how one defines these separations, well its quite easy, the haveâ€™s seem to roam about this city as if it is their own personal jungleâ€¦ turning up their nose at any have not they encounter on the way. They drive the latest cars, jabber away on the latest cell phones and wear only Italian designer clothes. No matter, if they do not even know how to pronounce the designers name properly. For example the look you see the driver of the latest SUV give the motorcycle walla next to him. It says it all, it says how dare you ply your mangy old bike around next to my shining vehicle, you deserve to be trod upon, quite frankly it makes ones stomach cringe.
What gets to me is the fact that we only adopt the arrogance, the commercialism the negatives of that particular society. We could also adopt the freedom of speech, the equality, the access every common man has in that particular part of the world to all things nice. However why would we do that? We tend to thrive on a philosophy of isolation and exploitation, on making everything nice so inaccessible to the common people that only those that can afford it or have the right connections to afford it for them can boast about it. We then use these silly advantages to look down upon the rest who do not possess them. It has come to so ridiculous a mental process that tickets to things like rock concerts are made overly expensive so as to encourage the right kind of crowd. I would really like to ask the people who promote these concerts, what really gives them the right to determine who should watch their gigs? What about catering to the population people instead of the much sough after 5% of it.
I have even had the unfortunate chance to meet people who would prefer to stay at home then go watch a drama or a concert or a movie where they have to enact with the common man. Phrases like â€œoh god, who is gonna sit with themâ€ are bandied about like confetti and off course uttered in the most righteous of tones. I wonder what kind of a cocoon these people live in? Do they even know that they are residents of a third world nation, that they are one of the very people they look down upon?
In these elite gatherings one gets to hear constant criticism of our leaders, yet we forget that those we criticize are the very product of this society. How will a nation become patriotic and self sufficient if we the educated, the so called better off part of our nation do not even care to give back some of what we have? We are a race of people with a culture that spans generations of grandeur, yet we want to throw all that away just for a cosy little niche in our minds which tells us, make hay while the sun shines and to hell with the rest of it.
Perhaps it is time we took notice, of the truth of things. Of the fact that if we continue on this selfish road of self interest, we will forever lose our identity, and a nation without an identity is one which ultimately ends up in utter chaos. As Confucious once said â€œIn a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.â€
(Published in the Sept 2007 Issue of AAGAHEE with â€œThe Newsâ€)