The Color-coded

Life, folks, should never be color-coded.

As an outsider, it's always amusing for me to watch how issues that started off as general issues (rights, income, children) tend to be dissected, shredded, and chopped - then one issue above all else would be touted out from said issue: color.

My parents:

Mom & Dad


Mom and her oldest sister: 

My aunt with her granddaughters - the ones sandwiching her are sisters:

Colorful, yes? And I'm not talking about the outfits. Sure, none of us has green or blue eyes (although some has hazel/golden eyes), nor blonde hair - unless aunty decided to dye her silver hair yellow.  

Granted, some of the largest countries in the world are homogenous (either that, or their ancestors had eradicated the different-colored indigenous people). Fortunately (or UNfortunately, depending on which racist spectrum you're standing on), technology has made it possible for people to travel beyond the large expanses of water that - in the distant past - was the only effective method to prevent people from traveling out of their respective strip of land. 

Thenceforth, for those whose land they are residing on was not the land their prehistoric ancestors had not born at, came another problem: racism.

Indonesia, however, was blessed with naught the problem. The country itself encompassed multitude of race, culture, and faith. The forefathers decided that the diversity ought to be the uniting factor, and the people followed. At least until politic happened. But that's another story. 

My country's motto was Unity in Diversity. The viewpoint of the motto focuses on the cultural diversity - not superficial matters like skin color. Should they focused on skin-color, however, like the 'large' countries have showed, they would've shredded the country to tiny little pieces.

Take the example of my parents. My mom was light as day where my dad was dark as night. However, they came from the same ethnic culture. They can actually trace their respective ancestors to a common one - some 11 generations prior of their respective parents. I am light, whilst my late brother was dark. We shared the same parents. When we walked side-by-side, people paid more heed to our difference in size (he was tall, I am not) rather than our color. Neither of our parents has non-Asian (read: Indonesian) gene - none that I could find within (mother's side of the family) the 11 levels of ancestors, nor (father's side) 22 levels of ancestors. 

We are collectively aware of our ethnic differences. I can tell a West Sumatran - my ethnic - from a North Sumatran. We know the notoriety of each ethnic (West Sumatran = stingy, North=loud-mouthed, Central Java=quiet and docile, East Java=the other way around), and the virtues - as well as the general meals of each and every one of the 20+ major ethnic groups. While I would not be so arrogant as to claim I know them all by heart, I get the major gist of it. It's required when you want to get out to the world - even at kindergarten level - that you know which ethnic group you belong to. 

Does it matter? 

None at all. Until your kindergarten/playgroup wants the children to wear national costumes. There is no way on Earth I would wear a non-West-Sumatran costume. Ever. I know I'm a West Sumatran. And I so embrace my culture. With a steel vice.

I have strong beliefs that when people are focusing on the skin color, they missed the point of 'diversity.' Thus I believe that the 'unity' those other countries have been parading until they're blue in the face are crap. If you can't even tell which part of the world a certain person came from, how can you learn enough to tolerate him/her? Some things that are okay in one part of Asia are considered as blasphemy in others! e.g. If you pointed your toe to someone in Thailand, you might as well amputate said toe yourself. But in Malaysia? Nobody gives a damn. But if you burp loudly in Malaysia, you can kiss that next dinner invitation goodnye. Yet in Aceh? If you don't burp, they'll keep feeding you until you do.  

I take due offense if someone refers to me as 'Asian'. Which part? Half of the world is Asia. Half of the world's population are 'Asian'. Which part of Asia are you referring me as? China? Japan? Korea? India? New Guinea? Thailand? Vietnam? --Hell, I'm neither. I'm an Indonesian. For the record, my country houses the 250 million people out of the 6 billion humans that occupy Earth. So if people can refer to someone as a Japanese - which only has half the population, I would demand people to call me an Indonesian. Not 'Asian'.

By the way, the girl on the far right with my aunt; her granddaughter from her oldest son -- her great-grandfather was a German. White as they come.  


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