Saturday, November 14, 2009

What it takes to live in a foreign land?


When citizenship and nationalism started to be an open border, more and more people found themselves in a dilemma on figuring out who they really are. If one is born to parents of Asian race for example, and yet raised in the West, he identifies himself as one of the Westerners but with a package of Asian cultures and characteristics that are fixed in him if not taught by parents.

A friend of mine is in peculiar situation. He was born in India to Indian parents but was raised in Brunei until young adulthood. He identifies himself more as a Bruneian and his loyalty is for the Brunei country given it is the nation that he had known more than anything else. However, the country couldn’t give him a citizenship because of some reasons such as; only children born to parents with Bruneian citizenship, either immigrant or native, can earn a Bruneian citizenship. Thus, this friend of mine, was forced to move to India when his parents decided it was time to go back home. Unfortunately, he found that he no longer belongs in his own country. He no longer could fit in. He moved abroad, working and finding ways to somehow, be able to move to Brunei which he calls “home”. It’s taking him quite a time, and until now, he is still working for this ultimate aim. He calls himself a "citizen of no country".

The boys that I molded into great debaters are Indians. But they were born or raised in this foreign country which is the home that they have known. Their features and cultures are very Indians but they speak this country’s local language. They are loyal to the country. Just very recently they again participated in the National High School debating championship with the aim of winning the tournament and getting the opportunity to go to World Debate to represent the country. This is the fourth local tournament that they had participated. They did very well, debating with all the wisdom and power of great gem debaters. Yet, they realized that no matter what they do, no matter how hard they work, they could not get into the final round. The highest round that they could reach is only semi-finals if not quarter finals. They always end up broken hearted and angry of racism and injustice that are too big for their minds to understand. Their coping mechanism is the phrase, “We’re getting used to it” amidst tears. It’s simple. If you are the owner of the house, you have a son, and you have a family guest with a son as old as yours. You held a competition with a wonderful toy as prize. To whom would you give the prize? To your son or to your guest?

These are just examples of the plights that the citizens of a foreign country endure. What are your thoughts about this?

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