I’m not a racist. But I must admit I used to be a country-ist. And what’s that? According to the urban dictionary: A countryist is someone who hates people from a certain country or countries.

Hate is a strong word for me. I don’t actually hate people. I hate driving but that’s a totally different story. For me, it is that I used to kinda judge people based on the country they come from.

Yes, horrible past me.

The thing is that I am not alone. I have met many people like my past me who judge people based on their country where they originate from or currently based in. And I think it is unfair to judge anyone before you even know them as a person. But I do understand (coming from where I am) that such behaviors and mindset stem from unfamiliarity or fear of others from the particular country you are biased with.

Media doesn’t help when they continuously pass on bias information and leaning towards categorizing people from different countries. Well, there might be some truth that we are ingrained in the culture and environment we grew up in but to categorizing the entire population of one country is just silly. And unfair to individuals too.

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We grow closer to one another as internet removing a lot of the boundaries, airfares are affordable and there are more migrants. We all need to open up our eyes and mind to truly embrace the individual for who he or she is and not where they come from.

I used to be wary of the Chinese from China. Funny because I am a Chinese and I do speak the language, grew up in the same cultural upbringing but I pride myself (a bit too much) that I originate from Singapore and in fact, I used to get all riled up when someone innocently associates me with the Chinese population in China.

Someone from above must have known that and thought it would be funny to throw someone like me to live in China for two years. And you know what? I ended up falling in love with China so much that I wouldn’t have left if not for a greater cause (marriage).

Now I get all riled up when I hear people bashing others with

“She so uncivilized must have come from China.”

“Such arrogance! That guy must be a French.”

“You don’t have to be on time. Malaysians are always late.”

“Only Singaporeans fear of losing out to others.”

“So rude! Got to be Americans.”

Case in point, just last week, I was introduced to some new people from all over South East Asia. When they realized that I’m from Singapore, their initial reaction is that I must be rich. I may have come from a first world country amidst of the slower economic neighboring countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand but that doesn’t automatically make me a wealthy person (unless you count what’s in my head then I have a wealth of ideas or in my heart, I have a wealth of love).

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I smiled weakly at their remarks and explained to them that I’m not rich and if I were rich, I wouldn’t be living in another country and not my own, would I? The funny thing is that we are so quick to judge others so much so that it is almost alright to just assume that the person is the same as why we read in the media and lump them together just because they came from that country.

So yes, we are so wrong.

China isn’t filled with cunning scumbags who steal copyrights, spit/ pee/ poop on the streets. I have met really nice and loyal Chinese whom I still kept in touch after 3 years away from the country.

Not all French people are arrogant. I have a wonderful true blue friend who is both French and humble. And through her, I have met a lot of nice and friendly French folks who offer me friendships.

Living in Malaysia, I have plenty of locals who will be on time and chided those who are late.

I had worked in an American company in my last corporate job and I have the most amazing Texan boss and awesome American colleagues who care about me.

And as for my fellow Singaporeans, not everyone has the fear of losing out, we are pretty chill when we want to and no, I’m sorry, not all of us are rich. Only in my dreams.

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What are your thoughts on this? Have you been bashed before for being who you are or from the country you came from? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

For more posts that relate my experiences in China:

I am Chinese but I am not from China
China is a Beautiful Country except..


Can’t get enough of MiddleMe? You can find me sharing my thoughts here as well: 
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LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/kallytay

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30 replies on “I Used To Be Countryist

  1. Getting bashed or being judged from where we are is a trait that can be traced back as far as pre-historic age. Local’s will show inconvenient stare, words and actions if he felt threatened with your presence., sounds familiar right. Fast forward, the people of today were unwillingly connected by the power of the social media. Some utilizing it to expressed their thoughts, opinions and real feelings to a certain issues and sadly people. But wait a minute, isn’t it the same idea that these same inter-connections are made of? to learn cultures, society and peoples remarkable diversity. To understand well take times but to respect it is a must. The present generation were inter-connectedly-divided when it comes to respect, and it such a sad note to learn that racism, discrimination and how you may to call it still exist and in the halls of respected government, corporation and society. I am for the total eradication of this trait and i hope if not now in our generation but ti the future ones… people will embrace to respect each culture, society and race with the widest grin and open arms.
    Good article you have here Kally! Keep it up.. till the next one.
    – Paquito

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have found that a person can be a country-ist in general terms but that all evaporates when you find a friend who comes from one of the countries you “dislike”. The country-ist attitude can still persist but it turns into a sort of well meaning joke with your friend from that country, on both sides. There are people who have never traveled and they have no experience, other than what they pick up on from the TV, etc. People do have their cultural differences and that can’t be denied but cultural differences are not important as long as people respect them, on both sides.
      The media are champions at manipulating stereotypes and this is where the country-ist attitude is fostered. Travel and experience is the only way to form your opinions, as you said.

      Like

  2. Okay, I’ll answer.

    I’ve been running my blog for five years now, and yes – I am a “countryist” as you put it. But how did I become one? Even that is unclear to me but I assure you, it does not happen overnight.

    See, the thing is – I write for a primarily Filipino and Southeast Asian audience. However, for some weird reason or another – I attract readers that aren’t my target audience. Shallow Caucasian girls, a few Indians or two, the usual bot-run blogs, and more. Despite my repeated posts that I don’t welcome people outside of Southeast Asia, I still get these annoying followers that only care about their blog views and stats.

    In addition, I get meaningful conversations from Filipinos and other Southeast Asians (ID, SG, MY, TH, VN and other countries in the region) in any blog. Westerners? Other nationalities? Ha! I only get the most shallow crap from them. This also applies on Instagram, where I promote my blog most of the time. I get an automated bot response with none of the meaningful substance, and this prompted me to set my Instagram on private.

    Thus, if I’m countryist because I find meaningful conversations and engagement with nationalities in my immediate circle – then so be it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t use labels here, I appraise a creature by its words and deeds… you are what you are ad everyone is special in their own way, a individual piece of the puzzle called “life”…

    “Maybe I’m not so different from everyone else after all. It’s like somebody gave me a puzzle, but I don’t have the box with the picture on it. So I don’t know what the final thing is supposed to look like. I’m not even sure if I have all the pieces.” Sharon M. Draper

    Liked by 2 people

  4. AWESOME!

    Back in my senior year of High school USA {about 55 years} ago; the State of Michigan would have a state wide contest for Seniors; then choose the “Best ” and publish a booklet called “Young Horizons.” …. My entry one one one of the Sate Wide chosen. The title of my entry was “THE PROBLEMS WITH THE AMERICAN BLACKBERRY”; it was parody of the senselessness of Bigotry….

    Through the grace of God I was able to discern that WE don’t choose our own RACE, so where then is the logic for blaming anyone because they are Irish, Black, Chinese or WHATEVER? … SUCH prejudice expressed is an effort to make the belittler feel GOOD about themselves. And How very SMALL that makes THEM.

    GREAT Post my friend,
    Patrick

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was pretty interesting. I am one that has never judged someone based on where they are from, the color of their skin, sexual preference, religion and so on. I guess it is safe to say I only judge people on their actions because they have control over that. People do not choose where they are from or the color of their skin, so they shouldn’t be judged on that. To be completely honest, I do judge people based on who they choose to support politically because sometimes who they choose is only causing more issues and it isn’t right. I do not know if that makes me a bad person or not, but they are the only people I continue to judge.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your post reminds me of the years when I lived in Singapore, and some of my Chinese friends would express extreme distaste to those who are from China and would look down upon them. I always wondered why, and when I later moved to Australia for university, some of my closest friends were those from China. So many of us are quick to go along with stereotypes perhaps that’s all we know and that makes us comfortable within our own bubble. But when we live in our own bubble, we can only learn so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Perceptive article. I was labelled in a negative way because I’m from South Korea vs from Japan. There’s a sad history between the countries due to Japanese imperialism and denial of past atrocities. A parallel would be Jewish holocaust survivors and German nazi supporters. I’ve experienced country-ism often by Japanese people and it’s made me feel unsafe to say I’m Korean to a Japanese. Sadly I’ve become country-ist because of this although I used to like Japanese anime and films.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thanks for sharing this personal experience with us. I know personally that Japanese, in general, prefer to mix and work with their own to the point, sometimes they do tend to isolate others but I don’t know that it is until the extend of making you feel unsafe to say you’re a Korean to a Japanese!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think there’s a unacknowledged past that is noticeable with older generation Japanese and Koreans. The younger generation is more neutral but the historical animosity remains because it was never addressed. It’s a similar tragedy like the Holocaust in Germany or Slavery in America. Time moves forward but resentments remain because of the buried truth of atrocities. Real amends and forgiveness/healing is only possible when truth is acknowledged in my opinion. Part of old school Asian culture was in stoicism, not revealing shameful secrets but that doesn’t make the pain go away, it just creates denial.

        Like

  8. We all judge, to me that is normal. What we shouldn’t do, is condemning one and another based on nationality, gender, etc.
    I also feel ‘we’ keep differences alive. Yes, we all grew up in our own culture, belief-systems are passed on to us. That doesn’t mean it is the only ‘truth’. I learned, we are unique individuals who can choose which belief-systems sounds good, fair, honest to us and live by it. We can also choose to learn from the cultures, be open-minded and accept each other for who we are. That’s why I love you, dear Kally. For being open-minded, inspiring, empathic.
    https://dreampack.org/2018/09/05/beautiful-soul-kally/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww… you lovely Patty! You shouldn’t have but I’m absolutely thrilled you did! And you see the goodness and the sunshine of every single little thing. And that’s why I love you and more!!! For you being you, the quirky, cheerful, generous and loving soul.

      Liked by 1 person

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