Saturday, November 19, 2005
  I Will Not Be Intimidated!!
The sounding words from every nationalist's mouth. And also the underlying message that got America into a war that's left them knee-deep in debt, fallen soldiers and a very very unpopular national image amongst other things, that have coagulated into very thick shit indeed.
I often pondered if nationalism should be viewed the same way as racism. Globalisation seems to blur the borders of the world today and I wonder if there is any real need to proclaim how great one's country is considering that everyone's patriotism and loyalty soley depends on the soil on which they were born. But ultimately, I believe the world would be a severely uninteresting place without pride of such individualities, and perhaps like everything else, nationalism should be used in moderation. The line is crossed when supremacy is claimed in the realms of nationality, race, gender, etc.
nationalism (
n 1: love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it [syn:
patriotism] 2: the doctrine that your national culture and interests are superior to any other [ant: multiculturalism, internationalism] 3: the aspiration for national independence felt by people under foreign domination 4: the doctrine that nations should act independently (rather than collectively) to attain their goals
It is evident from the example of the Iraq war that such self-proclaimed patriots of America will easily heed to immediate retaliations against foreign aggression and only leave them as blind followers and softer targets for support of Bush's ultimate agenda. Like the analogy mentioned in my previous post, a blind man will go out fighting and everything and anything without knowing what it is exactly he's fighting for. Nationalism brings with it arrogance and ignorance. Disregard for public opinion in spite of mass protests on a global scale, disapproval by the UN and even when weapons inspections showed nothing. To say the least, nationalists, just like racists, can never be persuaded by any amount to think otherwise.

And in the wake of Van Nguyen's set date for execution, an Australian drug trafficker arrested in Singapore, the similar stench of nationalism fills the air. The dissent by Australian media and campaigners has incited and brought forth chest-thumping ape-like nationalists hollering "I will not be intimidated!" It's a reflex action of such types of course. Similar to the renaming of 'french fries' to 'freedom fries' amongst other French put-downs by Americans when the French did not show military support for the war. Ultimately, I wonder if Singaporeans will face retribution in Australia. When the world is kicking up political awareness and the Nguyen case in Singapore, only silence is heard from the student societies (and indeed ambassadors of their country). Are the future leaders of the country earning an overseas education lacking spirit to defend their country's name or campaign against it? Or is it more worrying that they are quite comfortable sitting on the fence? The lack of opinion or ability to engage such issues when foreigners clearly have one only seems to highlight an embarassing level of apathy.
Now with calls for boycotts of several Singaporean industries within Australia, there is a mounting tension. Australians are dead serious about the death penalty (no pun intended) enacted on a man who cooperated 100% and even leaked information to authorities. While Singaporeans still seem oblivious. Silent by apathy. Silent for fear of retribution. Life goes on. Only time will tell if boycotts will amount to anything more than a dent in the economy. And if it should snowball such that Singaporeans overseas will face the consequence of their past silence, then you cannot complain except to start stitching the Malaysian flag onto your bagpack.
"Some say better early than sorry. I say better late than never."
In general, student associations are considered social clubs. They do not tend to make any kind of political comments.
Sorry, i don't quite follow your logic. You said that nationalism brought forth arrogance and ignorance and could have undesirable consequences, so shouldn't you be advising the Aussies to rein in their swelling nationalism instead of chiding Singaporeans for their apathy?
Beach-yi: Unfortunately that is the case. But student associations are not limited to social activities only. I have personally seen others use their academic institutes as a platform for voicing protest and other camapaigns that include charity themes, Anti-Bush/Blair/War etc. These people on the streets were ALL students. Asian students in western countries have this liberty at their disposal if only they choose to use it.

locky2ky: I'm not seeing where you derive an Aussie sense of "nationalism". Are you relating to their protests against Singapore's death penalty, their calls for boycotts on S'porean businesses etc? Protesting, even boycotting, is a liberty that should be a fundamental right of any citizen, and I wouldn't view it as 'arrogance' or 'ignorance'. Quite the contrary actually...
yes agree, protesting, even boycotting, is a liberty that should be a fundamental right of any citizen but when it is linked to nationalism it can go overboard easily. i suspect the Aussie PM's advice to the trade union not to call for boycott could be due to this reason.
Actually, John Howard's decision not to enact boycotts on business despite public pressure is a logical and predictable one. No sane leader would sacrifice economic relations that are benficial to the country over the hanging of one drug trafficker.

Protests and boycotts don't stem from the firm believe in one's country being superior to another but rather from moral values, in the case of Nguyen's hanging anyway. Hence it's not possible to deduce a protester as being nationalist. On the other hand, a pro-death Singaporean would gladly turn a deaf ear to facts presented by activists (ignorance) and justify the death penalty by trying to place Australia on a lower moral ground. There have sadly been few who will try to argue facts and prefer instead to bask in their own self-righteousness telling foreigners to mind their own business.
I'm a bit of an outsider with some of these issues, but I thought I'd interject anyway. I'm sorry this one didn't go your way. But I heard the protests against the death penalty afterwards certainly gathered pace. That's how the British press framed it (incidentally, the only reason the British press gave a damn about this one was because in Brit media-speak an Australian is one of "us"), and that's one tiny positive point. The government might find each death sentence harder to carry out if they all received such a strong and international protest.
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