Monday, September 25, 2006

Of Time and Of Perspective

And Of yes, those capital Os are certainly intentiOnal.

Whoa, where did the time go? I've been meaning to write for a while, and had a cute little piece in mind, but the whole coup in Thailand led me to think that having lived along those streets now lined with tanks meant that I would have something significant to say about it.

A week later, I find that that's not necessarily true. It's a Thai issue, not that of a Malaysian of such a minority (and I'm not entirely speaking racially here) that his perspective is somewhat foreign in his own homeland. Of course, Western governments - whose economies are ironically strongly supported by the manufacture of such things as tanks - are quick to judge such an event, barely lined with the doubt of having 80% of the local population welcoming the soldiers. If there's one thing that I've gained from two years in Thailand, it's to know when to criticise and when to try to think beyond one's own platform. It's a learning experience, and I'm just a freshman in this class, but one who knows he signed up for the right course.

Over the past few years this sense of perspective has become more evident to me. The story goes of this staunch anti-war protester who went to Iraq right before the war to directly oppose the invading American (and, yeah sure, "coalition" - hey, I told you I'm a freshman) troops. Upon the arrival of the soldiers he felt remarkably out of place when the locals around him cheered for those in uniform. Rings a bell, with flowers attached, methinks. On the other hand, I was a strong supporter of the war when it began and found myself lost in a philosophical desert not when no WMDs were found but rather that well, that wasn't exactly a surprise in inner intelligence circles.

So where does that leave one? To sit on the sidelines on every issue in what seems to be a generation no less full of demanding issues? I would like to think not, having not altered one of my mottos, "Fence sitters tend to have worn rumps". Especially now when as a volunteer in a university publication that seems to slant to the right, my views as a reader insist on being voiced, even if not listened. There are indeed times when one has to stand up and be counted. But there are times when it is good to first let a week ferment the grapes, and another week will certainly go before I go, again, "WhOa, where did the time gO?

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