yodge (yodge) wrote,

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A Rather Long Rant

Sometimes I get the feeling that my world is too small. This little island, here, I mean. Maybe it's because I grew up in an international community in an international school where everyone was from everywhere and nowhere and we all liked finding out about other cultures and we all got along great, but here... argh, I dunno, maybe there are people like this all over the world and it's got nothing to do with This Island.

So here are two things that have been bugging me like crazy recently (and by crazy I mean that it's something that I go over and over and over in my head while I'm brushing my teeth)...

1: Christians who are offended by the way "Christians" are portrayed in movies like Saved and even Kingdom Of Heaven. We discussed this earlier today over dinner, but this issue has been going around for some time now, and I can't believe the silliness of it. I mean, look -- just because you call yourself a "Christian" doesn't mean you can't be a complete raving lunatic. There are plenty of crazy and, well, evil (gasp) "Christians" around. There are! There are plenty of Christians around who ignore the teachings they are supposed to adhere to. There are people who call themselves "Christians" who lie and cheat on their wives and kick puppies and murder strangers and do all sorts of horrible and/or stupid things and then act like it's OKAY simply because they claim to be "Christians". PLENTY. Movies that expose these people are neither blasphemous nor wicked. They portray plenty of truth that Christians, as a body, should stop whining defensively about and actually address.

2: People who have no idea about the difference between religion, culture, and ethnicity. There is a certain person I know who I can't bear to watch American Idol with, for no other reason other than the fact that this exchange nearly always occurs:
Ryan Seacrest: ...and say hi to Paula Abdul.
Person: Abdul! Is she Malay?
Me: Um, no...
Person: So why is she called Abdul?
Me: It's her surname. She probably has some Middle Eastern ancestry.
Person: Oh, so is she Muslim?
Me: Can't be sure. Maybe, maybe not.
Person: But her name is Abdul!

And see, this would only happen on This Island, where the government has royally twisted the definitions and boundaries of ethnicity and culture and religion. Here, unlike in Indonesia, this equation is accurate 99.9% of the time: "Ethnic Malay = Muslim". However, not all Muslims are Malay, and not all people listed as "Malay" even consider themselves Malay, but many non-Malays and non-Muslims have no idea because they only swallow what the government has been telling everyone, which is the simple equation of "Malay = Muslim", "Muslim = Malay". So we get Chinese people who do not understand that Malays are not always Muslim, and others who don't understand that not all Muslims are Malay. I don't know why, but it drives me bonkers. I have half a mind to name my firstborn Yusuf or Noor just to mess with the registration system.

Another thing happened while we were watching Kingdom Of Heaven that I still can't get out of my head:
Movie Muslim: Salaam alaikum
Movie Christian: Alaikum salaam

Friend: *gasp* He said an Islamic greeting! That's not very Christian!
Me: *stares at Friend in utter disbelief*

Do we not know that "Salaam alaikum - Alaikum salaam" is exactly the same as "The Peace" ("Peace be with you" etc.) in the Christian liturgy? Can we not separate religion from a cultural nicety? Or language?! Later on...
Movie Muslim: Salaam alaikum
Friend: Are they speaking Malay?


I hate the way This Island has tried (and more or less succeeded) in distorting the lines around culture, ethnicity, and religion. It frustrates me when I come face to face with the ignorance and shallowness that it has spawned. Then again, maybe this happens all over the world, and you can never get away from people who will always have distorted views of reality due to misinformation. On one hand I hope this is true, and on the other I really really don't.

Rant over.

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