Seeing train commuters in this pose tells me that it's Monday again.
Monday morning in the office lift, a colleague pulled a face and swore: "...and I just paid for my tickets to Bali on Saturday!"
I didn't say anything, just a little surprised perhaps. What could I have said? Encouraged her to go ahead with her holiday there? Because her tourist rupiah matter to those who must still go on working and living on that island?
The ex-Malaysian PM in his recent speech at the Suhakam's Human Rights Conference got his hobbyhorse, actually, two hobbyhorses. The first being the hypocrisy of European and American international policing efforts; the second, globalisation. Both he links up in this one statement: "The globalisation of concern for the poor and the oppressed is sheer hypocrisy."
That got me thing. Except that globalisation in his speech takes on this one particular colour:
The map of the world today shows the effect of globalisation, as interpreted by the ethnic Europeans in history...Before the Europeans, there were Arab, Indian, Chinese and Turkic traders. There was no conquest or colonisation when these people sailed the seas to trade. Only when the Europeans carried out world trade were countries invaded, human rights abused, genocide committed, empires built and new ethnic European nations created on land belonging to others.
I am not sure if "the Arab, Indian, Chinese and Turkish traders" were the kind, benevolent folks suggested here! Surely, greed, theft, murder and cruelty are not traits unique to a particular ethnicity. Unfortunately, in protesting against the moral hypocrisy and hegemony of Europe and America and their abuses of power, the speech's sweeping condemnation and the fiery sentiments raised inadvertantly mirror what the subjects of his criticism use in justifying their abuses, incursions and violence.
Whether globalisation is a new idea or just a new-ish name, we are all, at least in Singapore, complicit as consumers of information, goods, culture and leisure. Once a year, we all pack our bags and pick a destination on the world map - first, second, third world, no need to be so discriminate as long as there is no war or viral outbreak. Global citizens? Global hypocrites? Nah, just call us tourists.
J and I are therefore planning to go visit this "renegade province" at the end of the month, and satisfy all our repressed rebelliousness by being in a country whose most-televised news image is of parliamentarians exchanging punches. Though, paradoxically, I'm hoping Mr President Bian will not be waving the independence flag too openly in the coming month. Otherwise the very kind and benevolent Chinese might go against their ethnic predisposition and get real nasty and violent on that green isle. Soon those nosey imperialist Americans may just step in and display some more hypocrisy. Then, me? I won't get no chance to be a tourist.