November 18, 2015

Rebel

I’ve always questioned things growing up. Whether it was religion, traditions or social norms.  I had the ‘but why’ phrase for many years.  Does God mind Hindu’s eating meat or does society?  What does God think about the caste system? Does religion empower women or oppress them?  Why must women stay at home and be house wives? Why is it more acceptable for men to drink but not for women? Why is it, despite the Equal Pay Act, women continue to earn less?  These are amongst the few questions I raised to my parents and others. I never stopped asking questions or challenging social norms.  I couldn’t just accept things or follow social norms. I need a good enough reason, explanation but also the option of disagreeing. 

I’m not black or white, I’m every shade of the rainbow. For some issues, I sit on the fence as both sides of the arguments are compelling.  For other issues such as equal rights, equal pay, freedom of speech, democracy, I’m a true supporter and a firm believer. I don’t believe any individual should be judged on their gender, race, religion or sexuality. I don’t agree with racial profiling or trying to predict behaviours. I sway more to arts then science.  My background in humanities has essentially meant, there is no right or wrong answer.  History is about demonstrating analytic skills unlike science where you are required to prove or apply a theory.  Mathematics is a black and white subject, either you calculate the right answer or you don’t. There is no grey area, sure you get marks for showing your calculations but if your end answer is incorrect then of course you don’t get the full marks. I enjoy discussing different theoretical perspectives and applying them to modern day issues.  For instance, discussing anti social behaviour by analysing government policies and incorporating Michael Foucault’s ideas, social constructionalism and the discourse theory. In such cases, the strength of the argument is important and how well you articulate it. The context or the facts more so are not the focal point, more how they can or have been interpreted by others and why is.

I respect people’s opinions and am open to have my ideas challenged. I’m also happy to agree to disagree. I was recently asked what tips me over the edge? What makes my blood boil?  In one word, injustice. Any kind of injustice, anywhere makes me angry. Having learnt and visited cities such as Saigon, Phnom Penh, Santiago, Asunción and Kigali, I don’t understand how such horrific tragedies ever took place.  What’s more, I don’t understand how they continue even today. I can’t comprehend how as people, we justify and rage war on innocent civilians. We as humans let humanity down, we are our own worst enemy.  I also don’t see what is glorious about war.  Having studied history, watched and analysed so many documentaries, I have yet to see how any war can be justified.  Some fought against communism others for oil.  None however, justify the death of millions of innocent civilians’.  Nothing will bring them back or their destroyed communities.  It breaks my heart how powerful leaders take action and rally up million’s of soldiers and civilians in turn to take part in a war which will effectively result in them or their loves ones dying. How ordinary people are brain washed and used as a muse to fight, to conquer and wipe out cities, is terrifying.  There are so many traumatic outcomes of war that affect soldiers such as post traumatic stress disorder and some never recover.  So for me, there is nothing glorious or gained from war.  Rather, we all lose, we lose cities’, civilians and all the beautiful moments that could have been.

Missing the last train home, losing some money or dropping my phone doesn’t make me angry.  These thing’s are small in comparison to all the injustices and struggles other people experience on a day to day bases. Slow internet connection, bad weather or dusty roads don’t make my blood boil.  Narrow mindedness and ignorance however, doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t know everything, I’m not perfect and I will be the first to put my hands up to this and accept this.  I don’t take to people acting like they know everything or thinking that their opinion is golden. Also, I don’t appreciate people peaching what they don’t practice. Furthermore, I don’t believe someone’s knowledge is determined by how old they are.

Consequently, the above means I don’t quite fit into the ideal, accepted social norms and values set up. I’m not a sheep, I don’t just follow blindly because everyone else is or because I was told to. It would be ideal for my parents if I was or if I was more like my sisters. Truthfully though, I’m more of a rebel, standing up for what I believe in and doing what I want, no matter how hard it is or how guilty I feel.  I moved out twice, I have three tattoos and a eyebrow piercing, I drink and I travel independently around the world. All of things and more are frowned upon by my parents and the Indian community at large.  Now had I been a guy, I very much doubt the above would be a deal breaker.  That said, I have met very few Indian male solo backpackers in these last two years’. Sure I have met some but they have been on holiday or travelling as part of work. I have yet to meet a Indian man, travelling around the world, wanderlust, chasing the dream.