Nothing new in that, my friends would say.
Although I’m a Brit abroad I would class myself as a citizen of the world. I abhor racism and jingoism in all its many forms yet find myself metaphorically putting folks in boxes based on their speech patterns and body language. For example, it seems relatively easy to tell Javanese and Bataks apart.
Yet, I can’t agree with ‘er indoors who regrets the Golkar choice of Wiranto as their Presidential candidate because, in not choosing Akbar Tanjung, there won’t now be any candidates from Sumatra. Being proud of one’s heritage is one thing. Being jingoistic is its polarity.
Unless you are a soccer fan with a satellite TV dish, you won’t have heard what Ron Atkinson
said about the Chelsea captain, Marcel Desailly, "He is what is known in some schools as a f***ing lazy, thick n****r." Big Ron is now a social pariah. He may not be a racist per se
but as a pundit he has pandered to those who are.
Reference to skin colour is offensive, however it’s expressed. It’s why I bridle at the “Hello misters" and being described as a bulé
(whitey); I am identified and, presumably stereo-typed, by my skin colour.
Many TV ads exhort Indonesian lasses to use skin whitener lotions. The payoff is generally a handsome hunk of mixed parentage, by which I refer to his having one Caucasian parent. The unspoken message is of ‘class’; if you’ve got a dark skin, then you’re poor, a peasant farmer perhaps. Is success in life, however it’s defined, really only skin deep?
Back in Ye Jolly Olde England, “Morris men, mummers and people dressed in chainmail fighting dragons will be out in force on ….. village greens today.” It’s St. George’s Day
. Here in Jakarta, the Eastern Promise Pub/Restaurant is offering a special fare of Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding or Roast Pork with Crackling. Or a curry buffet, which I suspect, and hope, more aptly reflects the multi-culturalism of Britain today.
Finally, I was sufficiently intrigued by an advertisement in today’s Jakarta Post
for a Teacher Training Coordinator to check out the website of the Foundation for Excellence in Education
which “believe(s) that an effective educational environment is inclusive. (The Foundation) promotes equality across race, gender, religion and ethnic groups. Differences are encouraged and appreciated.”
So, I beg to differ from my fellow Englanders. After all, it was St. Michael who supposedly slew the dragon
~ see Revelation 12:7-10 or a nice picture here
Still, today is a special day. As it's William Shakespeare’s birthday, and just to add to my confusion, I’ll sign off with a couple of quotes by the immortal bard from Richard II.
“This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.”
“That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.”