To be or not to be
One miserable person condemned me being an Asian who discarded the Asianness just because I can integrate myself in European society. With outmost arrogance and narrow mindedness polished with identity articulation, she claimed to be a superior Asian than me, a shallow Asian leaving in Europe, because she thinks to be prouder of her region as she chooses not to live elsewhere. For this self-proclaimed-true-Asian, a person like me has mental problem of identity denial in embracing European norms and enjoying my life in Europe.
To cap it all, this “supposedly-intelectual” conclusion was drawn after 15 minutes talk during the rush to bus ride!
Complete rubbish! I am not threatened by European norms, belief, or culture like she is, so who has the identity crisis?
Is there any such thing as sanctity of identity? Is there any essentials of one identity? The one that guide them all, the one that rules them all? Is identity inevitably in clash with one another?
A societal inferiority complex, is, ironically strengthened by its own members. A premature and immature defensive mode, preparing oneself to defend a superiority discourse by the “other”, is based, first of all, by a perception on the others’ belief of superior and inferior relation. Doesn’t this “I defend myself first, before the other attack me” strategy remind you of preventive intervention?
To move from this packaging-oriented abstraction, I give you other comments that doubt my identity. It is from my own parents, who are very concern seeing how much I love my life in Geneva. For them, even a story of how good the infrastructure in Geneva was taken as an offense to their own pride. They suddenly felt the need to scold me and to “remind” me of the grandeur part of Indonesia. Being a woman and having a civic discussion with others made my mother complain on how I have become “European” and less “Indonesian”. When I reminded her that I still, kiss my parents hands, respectful to elders and neighbors, visit and talk to my old friends, help my mother to clean the house and to do laundry by hands, serve my dad and family, go to traditional market with sendal jepit as I always used to, she was dumbfounded and couldn’t really sure of the “Europeanness” label that she just gave me. Even a simple moving away from expected women-theme discussion and articulation of idea has potentially invited a suspicion of identity-transformation.
I am not psychologist and will not pretend to be one, but I have a shrewd idea about this reaction. It is, probably, my too-well-integration in a new society that disconserted them. To enjoy my life in this society probably perceived as a regret or rejection of my life back home. To love one oblige hating the other?
Maybe people wish to hear my tearful story of how I miss home and how I want to go back home as a prove of my identity and love for Indonesia. How sad! I refuse to enter this zero-sum-logic. I refuse to contemplate on how good life back home and how sad my present and future life must be. I choose to love Geneva and to make it my second home. I choose to enjoy both life and will be enriched by it.
I do feel sorry for those who cannot understand what having two homes means.