Colonialism in The Mask of Globalisation

G

In this era, colonialism is understood as a historical paradigm, almost non-existent today. Or is it?

By definition, colonialism is the the increase, imposition and support of one country (predominantly Western – in history) that influences culture and language. Globalisation, however, is defined as having the spread and assimilation of combined cultures and languages. By these definitions, colonialism may not be seen in principle, but if one culture has leverage and advantage over another – measured by scales which are understood by the modern world, such as economic power, military strength and academic advancement – does this entail an underlying essence of colonialism?

One example would be that of Hong Kong, a former British colony, handed over to China in 1997. Near the end of the twentieth century, many foreigners still remained in Hong Kong, which evidentially influenced the city’s international relations as well as English (language) education. In this globalised era and society, English is undoubtedly a vital language to learn, but the method of enforcing its education in Hong Kong can – and in many ways, has – lead to the following social and psychological dilemma.

The method of teaching often requires students to use only English during NET (Native English Teacher) lessons, and students (or even teachers) are penalized for speaking Chinese during these classes. Though immersion is necessary when learning a second language, this is only effective if the student is immersed for at least a few hours a day, every day of the week. However, granted that in local Chinese schools NETs are floaters with no fixed class, students don’t experience the immersion necessary to bring their English to a standard demanded by parents and required by companies.

The mentality and methodology provokes the following predicament: having no Chinese (or their mother tongue) in the classroom psychologically eradicates students’ sense of identity as their feel that during those lessons, their own native language is inferior.

This underlying psychological embellishment results in the following:

  1. Kids, especially young learners, form the impression that NETs feel their own language – English – is more important than the students’
  2.  This ideology is supported by the majority of Hong Kong parents  who push and drill their kids to learn English fluently, which gives children the impression that everyone believes the English language is more important
  3. This impression then carries into adulthood: the formation of society and continuation of “traditional values”
  4. As follows, parents of forthcoming generations will perpetuate this mentality
  5. The example is evidenced by learning centres and educational companies in Hong Kong that refuse to include or use Chinese in their notes as parents believe it looks “cheap” and “tarnishes the companies’ reputation.” Bilingual textbooks – which is more productive for young learners and those with a weaker English background – are sold at a much lower cost, sometimes up to ten times less than English-only textbooks

Thus, is it necessary for students under the age of ten – without immersion- to use ONLY English during lessons?

By definition and historical examples, this form of Western domination is still controlling former colonies, both First World and Third World. Though the sociological argument can be made that the spread of the English language is a stepping stone towards globalisation, the psychological impact slowly abolishing students’ perception of the West is essentially a form of cultural suppression through linguistics: is this not cultural colonialism wearing the mask of globalisation?

Teacher Me

Stability and Solidity

You spend your twenties believing that you’re bulletproof. ~Moby~

The cycle of cognitive development can be a predictable one: as children, we are curious about the greater world, wanting to know a little bit about everything. We have little to no experience in life, and haven’t made enough mistakes to understand consequences. As teenagers, we strive for freedom and try to break free from all that constrains our perceived liberty. It is a phase in life when we feel entitled and complacent, a time when we can argue with a rationale warped to fit our desires, and a time when adults let our immaturity slide because they understand we have to experience it.

Then comes the start of independent living: your twenties. This is the phase when one realizes the immaturity of what was thought to be, as a teenager, the most brilliant or scintillating of ideas. When one looks back two years, four years, or even ten years, everything that was once believable as a teenager is suddenly impertinent to one’s physical (not perceived) reality. Everything you believed – every fantasy, every dream, every construction, every version of the future – is merely reflection of a modern fairy-tale.

The modern fairy-tale: that version of a life you spend a decade of your existence romanticizing – everything that you want to do after college – to work or to study, to experience or to define, to attempt or to decide. All these questions run through one’s mind simply because each day inspires new possibilities. It is in this phase of cognitive development where one is perfectly capable of differentiating between rationale and desire, yet may not have that worn-and-torn life experience called “cynicism” to deter an attempt at making a dream come true. This, however, differs subjectively based on the approach in which one uses to render this romanticized fantasy a reality, but ultimately, humans work with what is known: and where knowledge is lacking, experience is needed. Thus, being in one’s mid-twenties in the twenty-first century first world has offered vast opportunities and ways to actually live, and not merely exist.

Being in one’s twenties is supposedly the best time to gain experience, but this definition of “experience” merely pertains to the “experiences” that you choose, not the ones that are thrust upon you from your childhood. By this reasoning, “experience” is not limited to age: children and teenagers can easily go through just as much (if not more) than adults, and after one’s twenties, experience does not cease to be gained simply because one “grows” or (at times) matures. “Experience” does not simply mean “something that happens in life,” it refers to what is gained or lost from the “happening” or “occurrence.” Conversely, as experiences are subjective, one of the biggest mistakes many parents make when raising children is putting the child into a similar situation in hopes of determining the child’s experience. The experience is not a mistake – manipulating the variables in such a way is, because it is a common misconception that one can repeat or reconstruct a certain experience.

Experiences are meant to be had, not explained.

Gaining experience and living an “exciting” life depends on one’s personal definition of the words but also the approach one takes in reaching the optimized goal. To some, “excitement” and experience come from travelling the world, from exploring and understanding cultures and societies; to others, stimulation or excitement come from doing what one loves, and loving what one does. Furthermore, some regard experience as the amount of pain and suffering one has to endure in order to develop resilience. When one reaches their twenties, the two priorities in life suddenly become “stability” and “solidity,” and these can involve any category in life. Stability refers to career, finances and relationships; solidity to self, friendships and family. The common misconception is that living an exciting life doesn’t entail stability – again, this depends on one’s personal definition of “excitement.” There are times, however, when stability has to be sacrificed in order to gain solidity, and vice versa, but this is not an ultimatum. If sacrifices are inevitable, though, they are based on one’s personal definitions of “excitement” and “happiness,” combined with the goal one hopes to achieve.

To those who deem “excitement” as world travel, stability is not necessarily a component, but solidity is – solidity in finding one’s self, in cherishing and building solid friendships, and for many, establishing a firm basis with family now that one is old enough to communicate without being patronized. To those who deem their everyday life as excitement may entail, at times, losing a sense of self to complement the chosen path, only to find one’s way back to solidity. To those who intentionally take the toughest route in hopes of growing back stronger, who absuse “pain” as a method of gaining experience, may work for some but not all. This methodology may work for those who trust that their support network is strong enough when they need to recover from the “battle,” but if the support network was that strong to begin with, then why take the route of masochism in the first place?

Every mistake is an experience, but no experience is a mistake.

Nonetheless, each individual takes a different approach towards achieving their perceived definition of happiness in starting a journey of a “life of fulfilment.” Whatever the definition, priority or goal, the ultimate enrichment, experience and enlightenment comes from one’s own chosen path – mistakes and failures, accomplishments and achievements – thus, stability comes from routine, practice and habit. It is a lifestyle which can only be achieved with a certain amount of sacrifice along the way – that sacrifice being the risk of occasional boredom, lack of stimulation or simple mundanity which constrains one’s inspiration; conversely, this small sacrifice in the beginning leads to equanimity in the long-run. Boredom and apathy are fleeting states of mind, but stability is the concrete foundation which only paves way for taller and stronger skyscrapers. Solidity, on the other hand, refers to the strength, integrity and self-assurance it takes to exist as an individual entity without the co-dependent need for a crutch. Although the paradox is that humans are reflections of other humans, the actual human experience – existence, living and being – are had by oneself. Hence, solidity comes from the ability to be, and to live comfortably in one’s own shoes.

It takes true strength to admit weakness and wisdom to admit folly.

 

Mistakes

Social Expectation

Rushed relationships often fail when defined not because of the common conception of reverse psychology, but rather because of a sudden sense of social expectation. That “public declaration” labelling the person as a “significant other” immediately gives peers the sense of entitlement to determine and define the “socially acceptable behaviour” for such a situation, and as our behaviour and choices are judged by our social group (our society), if certain ailments don’t align with our social paradigm, at least one variable will fall out of place. Determining “acceptable behaviour” is usually done by relating the given situation to similar experiences one has seen or had, consequently our approach to a relationship is then governed by the definitions of our chosen society. However, one’s own experience level also factors into how much of peers’ advice is taken, because humans seek advice from those perceived to have more experience in those pertinent aspects of life.

This occurrence is a result of social construction and the human demand for recognition and acceptance. “Solidarity” we may ideally romanticise, but fact of the matter is that in this day and age, one can never avoid other humans and still live a sane life. Psychologists and neuro-biologists have proved the need to coexist, even among animals, and with the human society being even more complex, one cannot survive in complete isolation. Our social society imposes the generally understood concept of what behaviours or conversations are acceptable, hence rushed relationships commonly fail because the liberty of how much of your core self is revealed is compromised from the start. “Socially appropriate relationship behaviour” is spread by media – movies, TV shows, magazines, celebrity relationships, music and popular fiction, encompassing the common “unspoken determinants of relationships.” Those are firstly, what is acceptable to talk about in a relationship ? Secondly, why is it unacceptable to talk to your partner about certain topics (not related to him/her) if you would easily talk to a friend about? And thirdly, why do we elevate the people we love to the point where we lose the ability to talk to them as we would our friends?

Given that humans elevate those they care about, it stands to reason that those who care about you will, too, elevate you. The human ego which (unconsciously) seeks recognition and approval instinctively tries to live up to a standard, which often entails extensive moderation of speech and behaviour so to complement the paradigmatic principles set by our peers. In their review Brain Basis of Social Human Interaction, Hari and Kujala argue that humans are mere mirror images of other human beings – our social behaviour, including speech, thought, reaction, motor skills and neurological synopsis – on the basis that our neurological cognition is trained behaviour. If pain, anxiety and fear can be physically felt (increased heart rate, sweating, constricted breathing and chest pains), then so can happiness, excitement and passion. These physical symptoms are neurological and biological, but the emotional response, Hari and Kujala argue, are no different. Psychology evidently and largely factors in, but the argument that psychology is also the study of the mind and brain leaves the theory undisputed.

Ergo, lack of social interaction essentially causes a risk of brain deterioration, and yet, our existence is then arguably a manifestation of other human beings; we are a fragment of the entire human race, no more, no less. The journey of mankind rests in doing whatever it takes between birth and death to ensure the human race doesn’t cease to exist – regardless of if we create new children – because our sheer existence is the reason other humans exist. Our paradigm is someone else’s journey; our journey is just a paradigm of expectations which we have been taught to believe are the most optimal of standards.

Life.

I don’t care, go on and tear me apart

I don’t care if you do, ooh

‘Cause in a sky, ’cause in a sky full of stars

I think I see you.

~Chris Martin~

Live Each Day As If It’s Your Last

Even towards every allusion I’ve been in love with
’cause the heart that portrays itself willingly
Is like a nation that trades freedom for stability
Its so seductive to be cold and corrupted and isolated and try to be an independent republic
But liberty to be loved on the surface is worthless
The sacrifice of revolution with no purpose ~Immortal Technique~

If we live everyday as if it’s our last, one day we’ll most certainly be right.

We live in a paradoxical world obsessed with immortality and the “future of our world,” yet we spend the evenings in bars and clubs, getting drunk screaming phrases like “YOLO” or “live for today.” How often do we wake up in the morning, moaning and groaning, dreading the day ahead? How often do we go to sleep at night thinking about how exhausted we are?

Many of us are lucky enough to climb into bed at night, in the comfort of our blankets, believing with almost 100% certainty that we will wake up the next day and continue with our (sometimes mundane) lives, but what if we don’t? What if we don’t wake up the next day, or what if we don’t make it home the next night?

We all have this life which has been handed to us, and far too often people take advantage of it. Just because not all of us have been in life-or-death situations and haven’t had the need to fight for our lives doesn’t mean that we can take it for granted. If we let ourselves become apathetic to the fact that one day, we’re all going to die, then we’re a letdown to everyone who’s ever cared about us, ever loved us, or ever needed us. More importantly, we’re a letdown to ourselves.

Everyday is a fight – whether it’s staring down the barrel of a loaded gun or just trying to get through the streets without being robbed; whether it’s going to work because you love it or simply because you need the money for food and rent. But if we just give up and retractthen our life here on earth would be meaningless because it was simply handed to us, and we never fought for it.

It’s human nature to want to survive, which means fight or flight.

But do we define survival as sheer existence or do we actually want to live? Are we here because we have no choice, and have been taught that it is our human obligation and right to remain alive? Or are we here because we actually want to seize the one and only shot we have at making a difference?

Which breeds the question of how one defines “making a difference.” Some view the “difference” or change as a macro-scale impact, whereby taking down and breaking the entire system as we know it; other see the “difference” in simply sharing thoughts and ideologies. Others, yet, see the “difference” as being there for people in times of need, and hoping that perhaps one day, maybe those people will pay it forward.

When someone sounds optimistic and hopeful, they are deemed idealists; yet, how is optimistic idealism any different to cynical revolutionism when the ultimate outcome is the same: to eradicate corruption of the human world? It is what it is, and though macro-scale change is seemingly impossible, micro-scale change isn’t, and that’s where our choices can make the biggest difference.

Is it all about us, or is it all about them?

– live each day as if it’s your last
– treat everyone around you as if it’s their last day
– wake up in the morning without hesitation
– go to sleep at night without regrets

and most importantly: make sure the people you love know how you feel about them, because the day you stop caring might be your biggest regret.

To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people simply exist. ~Wilde~

Gordan.

Everybody Lies – But Why?

Lie to me and tell me that it’s gonna be alright.
~David Cook~

The inability to communicate candidly simply in fear of the other person’s reaction is merely a reflection of our own insecurities manifesting. We fear the other’s reaction because we don’t want a living reminder of how we would react – thus we create a scenario where we simply hope that our own reactions will be, later on, reflected in their own behaviour.

As I’ve said many a time, everybody lies. It’s merely the reasons behind the indiscretion that lead oneself to wonder, “What did I do to cause this lie?”

Everyone lies for a reason – most, to avoid responsibility or repercussions of a delayed, ambiguous reaction. Some lie to cover up a story they know should be falsified; others lie because admitting their true feelings out loud “makes it real.”

Everybody lies, but why?

The reality of truth, when analysed by philosophers or political scientists, is often a reference to macro-scale deceit where the government, or its representatives hold a position of responsibility and “trust.” Those in power are the so-called roll models of trust. Paradoxically, those are the ones in which society deems “the Best Liars.”

Politically speaking, “untruths” are mere ways of phrasing certain words to skirt around the law – to justify a questionable cause by masking the true motive.

Socially speaking, “lies” exist for the sole purpose of ego. I coin the term “ego” casually because it refers, not simply to the arrogance of the fickle human mind, but to the perpetual strive for self-recognition (Fukuyama, 1992). Lies exists because we, as humans, have an undying instinct for survival, and perhaps the world is not as barbaric or anarchic as Hobbes described in Leviathan, but ultimately the human sub-subconscious does not (and will not) eradicate the strive for survival. That said, social survival is the new mask of “being alive.” Ergo, lies exists for the sake of social survival, because it is in our instinctive nature to avoid social conflict.

Religiously speaking (and I draw the following from one of the most Ancient – and well known – religions in the world): Christianity. Religiously speaking, lies exist because Satan was known as the “Prince of Darkness.” What this entails is one of the largest “sins” : dishonesty. However, the Daoist philosophy is that there can be no light without the balance of darkness, and vice versa. In other words, there can be no absolute truth without the presence of a lie. The world, our humanity, is imperfect (Christians will argue that it was not meant to be as such), but alas, humans as they are are imperfect and flawed. Perfection cannot exist without the existence of imperfection. This, is true perfection – to incorporate all aspects of human nature: The good, the bad, the ugly truth.

Thus, will that’s said and done, how this relates to the simplicity of a single human lie. Why do we lie?

Even the simplest of ideas can have the deepest and mind-blowing theories. And the beauty of theory, is that it is mere conjecture, speculation, calculation, rationalisation. It is not necessarily a fact, rather a string of facts concocted to explain an experience that is meant to be experienced.

And therefore, by simply adding fanciful academic words, using obsolete yet decorative diction, man has, over the years, learned to evolve language and shape it in such a way that humans can be lead to believe almost any lie. Even Foucault, over the last century, devised a political and social theory of its own simply based on the Linguistic aspect of “Post-Structualism” : simply put, how language has shaped the actual structure of modern society.

Again, to adopt another religious philosophy, if us as humans were to speak only the truth, as suggested in the Hindu “Naraka,” a realm where lies do not exist and there is absolutely no method of creating falsified statements, would we as humans simply lose our essence of creativity? Are lies not simply a darker route straying from “creativity,” from “fiction” ? To those who feel the need to justify and rationalise each and every lie, those who think like lawyers and find a way to skirt around “the rules”; those who think like politicians and know how to touch up their phrasing in hopes of persuading the slightly less educated; those who think like academics who string ideas and thoughts together – create hypothesis; those who create art out of nothingness; those who are capable of writing the next best seller.

Are we not all creators of our own world? If so, are we not all liars, fundamentally?

Can we go too far to find what is waiting here?
A little fall from grace on the longest night
Did we go too far to find what is waiting here?
We’ll take a little time to open up again.
~Howie Day~

C’est La Vie

Can’t you see what you do to me
Our love was meant to be
And you were made for me…
~AG Silver~

Relationships
So you get those who yearn for it, yet stay single most of their lives.. and those who are single who spend their lives searching… Going around in circles, looking in all the wrong places. Giving ourselves excuses as to why we should “experiment” and be reckless – ruining other’s potential relationships only because ours failed. All along, the one person who wants to be with you, who you could be with, is right in front of you. But you’re giving yourself reason to “move on,” to “get over” things, and he / she is just waiting for you to “grow up.” What more can we ask for, when we already have everything we could possibly ask for – and we selfishly want more, because we’re so used to getting what we want?

Work
Work seems to be progressing – as hours and salary increase, balancing everything out seems ever more effortless now. Cutting out hours of socialising, replaced with quality time with quality relationships, gym and work – wallet is heavier, weight is lighter; all in all, being productive and not destructive.

Studies
And Day 1 officially begins on Monday, Oct 10th, as text books and study materials have arrived this week. Learning accelerates as ones studies broaden from purely academic to “interest courses” such as learning French and what-not. Funding is also from one’s own pocket, thus the most and best has to be made of this “education.”

Social
Becoming more particular and fastidious regarding socialising and friendships – with a notable amount of failures and pointless relationships, one might feel this fussiness justifiable and thus continuously lives in this manner. Boredom has not hit – surprisingly enough – and loneliness a figment of the past. No abstractions which were previously expected seem to have hindered or intervened in this manner of lifestyle, causing one to become rather suspicious and weary of the past. Perhaps this lifestyle was possible all along, but in choosing to learn the hard way – by befriending the wrong people and softening up to those who took vulnerability for granted – it’s curious that one can swing to the other extreme of not making an effort or simply “avoiding” any social scenarios whatsoever.

Curious. Indeed curious.

To sum up everything, well there really isn’t much to say, really. We move on, life goes on.

C’est La Vie.

Sometimes she wonders if they’re gonna live
Up to who they could be;
The real world is heading for them
Like a high speed train
And she’s not ready…
~Tammin Sursok~

2012 US Elections

It’s gone, gone, gone
It’s time for things to get better
It’s time for things to move on.
~Ou Est Le Swimming Pool~

With the kick-off and onset for the 2012 US elections, one can only help but reminisce on the 2008 elections, where McCain and Obama came head-to-head in a domestic political war: Republicans versus Democrats. Though the last 2 years of term of office, it is evident that he has made an impact on the political field of United States and Globalisation, but how much of a change has he really made?

Considering the aftermath of eight years’ worth of “Bushism,” the pressure for Obama to make immediate change skyrocketed, and expectations were elevated. The Promise for Change which Obama had repetitively emphasized throughout his campaign in 2008 had the country hoping for more – and in offering hope for the nation, people are likely to feel included rather than overlooked.

Part of the reason the Democrats were in the lead two years prior is that Bush’s administration failed to comply to society’s demands for justice and progression. Though Republicanism itself is built on traditional and concrete (unwavering) values, George Bush and his administration turned out to be a disappointing testimony as the face of Republicans. The fact that the stronger players in the game – the main power players – had reached this higher level of success, many of the team felt that the existing system was already the best available option. However, in eight years of Bush’s office, society noticed that little was being done to accommodate their needs: Change was needed.

Obama’s role as a “change maker” appealed to a society desperate for a president who cared, a president who believed in change, a president who himself disputed the existing system. Had Obama stepped up any earlier than he had, society might not have been as anguished and forlorn, but taking into account the failures and disarrays the Bush Administration had left, Obama offered hope to a broken society.

Now that his term is at its mean, enough has materialised for one to speculate. Change, as Obama promised, has most definitely been made, but on what scale? Many would argue that he has not done all he has promised, however, bear in mind that Obama bears a stepping-stone mindset: to change the big, one must first change the small. By this, one might argue that not enough has been done reagarding taxes, the war in the Middle East, foreign policy etc. Though these issues have not been as heavily regarded today as it was with Bush’s Administration, Obama’s focus was on individual care: the Reformed Health Care Plan, refining the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” bill and the religious disputes between Islamics and Islamism.

All things considered, the social demands for Obama to “change the country” are derived from their expectation for him to “clean up Bush’s mess” at the click of a finger. With expectations set absurdly high, it is inevitable for society to be disillusioned and disappointed. And this disappointment comes demand for change, yet again.

Democracy focuses on change based on society’s demands, yet the irony is that society can only handle change when it is convenient – take the best, leave the rest. Republicans, on the other hand, do not account for variable change because (as stated above) pressure for change, in a republican government, come from below or even outside the circle of rule. Republicanism is built on fundamentally traditional values, thus it is pragmatic and realistic, but hypocritical and inconsiderate.

Democracy may appeal to society, because on paper the ideas and incentives revolve around its People. The People make the change, the People determine the system. At the end of the day, it’s an idealistic and utopian system of government, popular by demand and appeal, but impossible to satisfy (especially in highly populated regions like the US). Perhaps democracy isn’t all that it was set out to be, but on a smaller scale (small countries) it might turn out more efficient and effective, simply because fewer people means fewer demands; fewer demands means fewer changes; fewer changes means fewer adjustments; fewer adjustments means fewer complaints.

Thus, the upcoming US elections are likely to be taken over by Republicans, simply because of it’s “unwavering values.” These values are “convenient” and ancient, but have existed long enough for society to incorporate the institutions into everyday life: the institutions of the Republicans are legitimised by social compliance, and though society will realise sooner or later that the amount of control and influence each individual once had is slowly slipping away, stability will improve simply because the foundations are firmer and stronger.

Until then, this hypothesis will remain a conjecture until proven (or disproven) in the next few years.

You want me to come over but I got an excuse
Might be holding your hand but I’m holding it loose
~Example~