Live Without Labels

Christine Anggi Sidjabat – 016201200122

For some people you are where you come from; you are your nationality. Those who grade themselves by nationality (or other identity) will also do the same thing to the others.

The problem occurs once they underestimate friends from other countries, just because they think that those countries are (perhaps) less developed.

I ever felt this kind of experience while me and my college friends were attending a Model United Nations (MUN) conference in Japan. All of Indonesian students had been so active in leading each committees we were assigned.

I myself was leading my ‘hunger and poor nutrition’ committee at ‘improve quality of learning’ priority. After writing our draft resolution, we were obligated to give our working paper to the faculty advisers (the faculty advisers were coming from English Speaking countries)  for grammar checking.

They found several mistakes on our draft resolution. One of the mistakes was about the active and passive form of the sentence. The faculty adviser pointed the sentence and asked my Japanese friend to fix it. Then, my friend asked me how to fix it (because apparently she didn’t understand how to do it). So i just rearrange the sentence, by moving the passive object to the beginning of the sentence and transform it into verb one.

The faculty adviser seems so amazed by what i had been done. It’s like finding a newborn baby can use a vending machine. He said with his post-shocked expression ‘Wow you are so smart!’

I mean…

It’s not that difficult at all, sir. It’s a simple English that has been taught by our teachers since in middle school!! Why should be so amazed?

Is ‘Oh this Indonesian girl can transform a passive form into an active form’ equal with ‘Oh this monkey can read a newspaper while juggling three fireballs in one hand’?

He may perceive that all Indonesian cannot use English properly, all education system in Indonesia is so flawed, that the students were so lagging behind. Hey dude, let’s have a visit to our beloved University, there you can find those ‘monkey which can read a newspaper while juggling three fireballs in one hand’!

juggling monkey

you should be ashamed with this monkey.

Racism can be found even to the people that does not intend to offend others. I do understand that the faculty adviser was not mean to hurt my feeling, but he just did. From his point of view, all Asian people especially those who are coming from developing countries are having trouble with using English. All of his reactions were natural and coming from his point of view.

So lesson to learn by this experience: the individual is the most important thing, and their background and identities are only additional decorations. They may come from the country where the literacy rate was so low, but who knows that he was a genius who only can be born once a millennium?

Without we recognize it, we are living in this world carrying along our labels, they are tagged since we were born. There are so many labels; religion, social class, nationality, race,etc. People will see you right on your labels, will know you by the labels, and certainly they will treat you by your labels. It is not like a sin that everybody can prevent and avoid, it is given and natural.

You certainly can do something! You can start by yourself to see people despite their labels! Maybe you cannot remove those labels, but you can just ignore it, and start your live without worrying about labels.


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