Monday, December 8, 2008

"Please show your passport sir"

Who am I? 

Warning 1: Not a post about a geeky internet start up.
Warning 2: Not a film review about Jason Bourne. Common, everyone loves Mr. Bourne

I sometimes realize and question myself who exactly am I? Am I an Indian? A Singaporean? A Swede? Nah, and none of them seem to be right. I am practically a mix of a lot of different cultures and thoughts that I sometimes feel that I do not typify a community and hence, I have no identity as such. In short, do I associate myself as an Indian? Or as an individual with Indian roots but Western thinking?

Let me dwell a bit deep into the phenomenon of identity. When you gain an international perspective, you tend to mimic a lot of different things (both good and bad) from different cultures and ways of thinking, that you question your beliefs on which you were raised. You realize there are lot of places where Indian beliefs and culture is ahead compared to the Western society, and vice versa. However, I do not think there is anything wrong in being international, on the contrary, I think in this globalized society, its awesome to be international, be more tolerant and open as opposed to being stuck in 1 culture and 1 mind set. However, on looking back on how I have shaped and changed in the last 3 - 4 years, I realize that I am slowly losing my Indianess and going towards being more international. Mind you, India as a country is globalizing like crazy and the affluent Indians are more westernized than you can imagine. However, when you generalize the nation as such (with the aam admi ie. the commoners), the average Indian is still considered to be very religious, not very tolerant to other beliefs , strict dogma rules his life and is more often than not trapped in his / her own mind set. However, this is slowly changing and Indians are slowly but surely gaining an international perspective on how different cultures can bring in a lot of good.

And in a country like Singapore thats practically an amalgamation of different ethnicities, there is always this question of "what" is a Singaporean. As Singaporeans, do you think you suffer from an identity loss - especially when you come from a family with parents representing different ethnicities? Also do you think you can probably go and live your ethnic country although you have been born and raised here? 

On a personal note, quoting my boss / mentor Ola, he keeps telling me that I am a little bit too western to be an Indian; I know for sure I am not very Singaporean and neither am I very Swedish ( i am not nice as they are for starters, hello?) and so who am I? And if I go back to India say five years from now, god knows how much more Indianess I would have lost. So the question is will I gel into the culture? Will it be a welcome change to go back to India, settle down and make my own life there or have I moved so much away from the nation and its culture, that I would probably feel awkward, or worse, alien to my own nation that I will have to find my own identity outside India? Hmph, that is quite strange to think about but I think only time will tell.

What do you think? And oh being Jason Bourne in Part I of the triology is not as good as it sounds. :)

P.S. You might want to read more of this and this
P.P.S. I am sure how this relates to SOC, but I guess its an Universal issue :) 

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