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.
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).
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.
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:
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