Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Rethink

I thought about what I thought about the other day. (Well, yes, that's me, I think a lot). Soon after I wrote the previous post I felt I maybe I didn't get it quite right. Not that what I said was untrue, but that I was seeing it from the wrong perspective. And aren't so many things dependent on perspective?

When I dug deeper beyond the first layers of shock and discomfort, I looked at what I was angry about and why I was angry. Yes, I am angry, and yes, I am angry about many, many things, and because of many, many things, and yes it makes me uncomfortable. But upon reflection, I think that for the most part, I am angry about the right things. I am not frustrated that I misplaced my keys or that I spilt ketchup on my favourite shirt. I am not angry that someone said something mean to me, or that I was overcharged for a drink at a café.

Instead, I am angry at many circumstances that I wish were different, and I am frustrated that there is little I can do to change things. I am angry about certain things happening in my country (as well as in the world at large). I am incensed at the bigotry and racism I hear around me. I am frustrated to have to admit that sometimes it's idiots who say these things that encourage authoritarianism and racialism amongst our leaders. I am angry at our leaders.

I am disappointed that some of my countrymen are worked up about the wrong things, and are misplacing their energy. I am angry at how much corruption and abuse or power is prevalent. I am tired of excuses. "This is Malaysia la" is not a reason, it's an excuse. A cheap way to say "I can't do anything" or a fast way to say "I don't care". I bitch about people who are inept and ignorant and apathetic and inconsiderate.

I rant about the injustice my peers and I face. I am outraged that the very people who perpetrate this injustice deny it exists. I am angry that I have so few options and so few recourses but so many, many obstacles. I am angry that we ALL face the same. I am angry that while I try to hold on to my principles and ideals and dreams, so many others want to burst my bubble and impose their ideas of what is right on me. As if they know better. I am tired and sick of having to justify myself, of being judged. I am angry at people pretending to be nice. I am also angry at people not pretending to be nice, actually. I am tired of invisible walls and unmentionable barricades. I am tired of being told what I should do.

I am not saying that I am only angry at worthwhile things. I definitely get angry at stupid things, too: that McDonald's raised their prices and shrunk their portions (have you seen the McFlurry cup?), that the jams in town are maddening, that people cut me in queues. But that kind of anger and frustration comes and goes. Yes, I rant about it too, but with no more fervour or frequency than I would usually do. I don't think it's those things that cause my current pessimism and bitterness.

It's those 'bigger' things that make me boil. It's those things, swimming in my head, that make me patronising and sarcastic and bitchy and obnoxious and hapless and helpless. Of course, since I realise this, I have to start keep everything in check, in perspective, balanced. I can't let my anger define my attitude and turn me ugly. I can't let it overwhelm me or impair my civility. I don't want to be someone people avoid, someone constantly fulminating.

I have to learn to calm down, or rather, cool down. I have to give people space and listen, to return to the person I once was proud to be. At the same time, I don't want to throw in the towel and not care anymore, I don't want to embrace the apathy I despise. I don't want to be indifferent to the things that I should be angry about, just because I don't like to be hot under the collar. Sure, it isn't nice to be pissed-off, even if it's about the right things, but it's far, far worse not to be.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

fascinating how we are powerless to sort things out. My believe is that we should rant. We should be active if we can. I tried it on a student stage. Man, even then it was an uphill struggle. we are starting to see that all those things that we are angry about are manifesting itself in younger generations at a younger age. What can we do? We cant do a thing. The only thing, in my opinion, is to climb higher and change it when we are on top!

Vcky

Algernon said...

Well, I don't think we are powerless. I think we are just apathetic and defeatist. We quit before lifting a finger. Of course it's an uphill struggle, but if it's worth it, it's worth that struggle.
We can't wait to be at the top to change things. We will have no energy or would have lost our desire to change things when we reach the top, IF we reach the top. The people at the top made promises, but look where we are now. Change has to come from the bottom up, it has to be a grassroots type of change to last. It has to begin with us. We have to understand this.
You may notice some young people getting up and going, but unfortunately, I notice many of my peers don't care, or worse, are as bigoted or ignorant as our elders. I am angry and I am losing hope in my country.

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