Every day is a comforting day, at least, in the cyberspace. Facebook probably tells you how people are worrying their personal routines, sharing their personal concerns, while some positive, energized individuals will talk about personal development, quoting motivating quotes from high profile entrepreneurs. That’s pretty much my environment in the cyberspace and I thought. That’s it? That’s my concern. It seems that we are so comfortable in our own cyberspace, captivated in an environment that engineered us to think that life is good and everyone is fine. No, not everyone on this planet is fine.
The only thing I wish on FB that can do for me is to allow me to connect with all walks of lives around the very same home we share and knowing things are just, Not Right. Not just sharing some sad stories around and getting “thumbs up” and looking at the number of shares, and probably thinking that would translate into Action. Nope. While many people would perceive life in the 21st century is getting better, James Martin would probably prove you wrong. I had read his book and would never hesitate to read it again. He reveals “The Meaning of the 21st Century” and I am very sure that this century is the decision for mankind’s survival.
I personally believe that we have many personal obligations to fulfill, a lot of responsibilities that most people would probably just cross their hands and say it has nothing to do with them. Our personal point of view would tell us so, but if you look at how the world has changed across the centuries with globalization, you could agree that we have victimized the very same species of ourselves. Just read Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs & Steel” you’d grab the picture.
HOW I DISCOVER THIS?
Travelling is the main thing that exposed me to this. I have traveled mostly SEA countries, China, India, and some first world countries such as Germany and Japan. And my principle of traveling most of the time is to stick to the agenda and route that would show me the real scene. Manila is one great example of hardcore rich and hardcore poor, all it takes is just a walk from the slump area north of Intramuros and towards Makati City. When I went to India for a climate change conference, I see global warming is real. I made a visit to a village south of Delhi which is out of the electricity grid and see how much they appreciate the yield from the solar panels we placed there. I’ve learned on appreciating what I have around and how one should really stand up for social justice, regardless of position in society, as long you are part of mankind.
WHAT IS WRONG?
It’s obvious it may seem. Social Issues, Environmental Issues & a lot of other things, I think we need to stand up to fulfill the obligation to play our part.
There are refugee issues going on, we complain and say immigrants are here to take our jobs and to cause social problems and cause a decrease in our property value, and we expect UNHCR to take action, while we do not even try to understand the refugee situation and label them as a criminal at first sight.
There are poor and needy around sitting by the corner begging for a cent or two, some of us expect our government to do something about this and we start talking about politics and hardly relate to the physical help in the end, and if we tried to help, then we would be asked by our friends why do we do?
Sex trafficking is real, and Malaysia is part of the ASEAN market, girls are being kidnapped and turn into sex slaves, deported to other countries and gotten abused badly, same goes to others coming to Malaysia. While for the guys, limbs are chopped off and thrown into the roadside beggars and all these are trap within social injustice. And it’s waiting for people like me and you to do something about it.
There are so many of another example to mention, but I think a lot of people would just say “Ahhh, just let the relevant parties do the job, police.. or human rights NGOs. We are Busy”. This is going Wrong.
I think most of you would know very conveniently, but to urge yourself to do some action requires some inconvenient experience. Some people have asked me as well so why I am trying to do something for Environmental Sustainability issue? I say Global Warming is real and it’s happening and Malaysia hasn’t face it yet as hard as India or Pakistan. I personally heard ministers in conference pressing on the issue and requesting for serious help as the massive population is losing water due to the melting Himalaya glaciers. Simply also because I have been to events and hear a lot of inconvenient justice towards the environment, more than just hearing from the press. Things are just too real for me to ignore.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Honestly, there are times I wish I can just detach from the big crowd of the human population, find some like minded people, get deep into the mountains and start a community there, a community that depends so much on each other and also barter system. But, yes there is no avoiding can be done when there’s an inconvenient truth understood, if not I would be betraying myself. No, I couldn’t live up to the life of being materialistic and hitting the clubs, it’s just not right for me when this money can be done for something else.
So this is what I tell myself, to fulfill my personal obligation in this civil society. I don’t dare to look forward to big shot careers or future personal development until I get this right for myself being. First is to play our part as an active citizenship in this civil society, lodge all the necessary complaints to the relevant parties and address it effectively. Understand more about human rights, it doesn’t take your time as if you are going to study a Ph.D. on human rights seriously. You don’t need to enroll into NGO to press on this issue either, educating yourself is already sufficient to get you on the move to do something about it.
Another great obligation we have as mankind is towards mother nature then. Now this is a huge scope that I can write another separate post perhaps! But really what I know so many of us are ignorant about how our lifestyle affects others and also mother nature. Generally, a significant portion of the waste of US is exported back to China to be recycled, and that’s how it has changed the industry demographic and also throwing one country’s rubbish to the other. You can read it more at The Story of Stuff which can give you a great visualization on the ‘stuff’ that we are using and what’s happening to their product cycle actually. I think a lot of us know the basic rule of thumbs for “going Green”, I think most of us do not know where our waste really go to, we assume once it has left our houses, it’s not our problem anymore. Most of us haven’t seen landfills and not thinking that the waste will remain there and take up space our future generation needs. As for myself, I am trying to save the consumption of water, electricity and minimize my waste, as simple as that, just cut down my carbon footprint. I would bring reusable utensils and bag wherever I go. That’s the very least I could do, for myself. Basic personal obligation.
“To Giving is more than To Receive”. I would agree to this as well. And I strongly encourage one to Giving NOT because he has started earning money. To Giving doesn’t mean financially all the time, it could mean more meaningful things, like time, to educate those underprivileged etc. And through my own experience, I am certain that I have received so many blessings by giving, particularly when it’s anonymously. It just feels like you have played your part in the realm of blessing.
WHAT IS STOPPING US?
But what is hard actually? It’s actually the system that is in placed that we are not really certain if we can make a change? That’s the ultimate fight most NGOs are doing. It’s all about the economy and government governance that engineered how social or industry norms are done for the past few centuries. And to fulfill one’s personal obligation, such as complaining about any civil issues, one has to go through all the difficulties in the process and even through legislation means to get it right. Put it another example is, I recycle as many things as I could, but I just, do not know if it will really end up being recycled. There are many industry and social norms that we just need to work through and break it by living up to our personal obligation, if Not? Who else would?
But I think the ultimate barrier is people around us. The moment we start to live up to these obligations and do something about it. Most people would see it as a useless effort, generally, that is what most people would see. The family would be the first barrier sometimes when you put so much effort to do this obligation and they would think why do you want to care things that are ‘not important’. Then the same message over and over again, ‘you are unable to make the change’ or ‘what change can you actually bring’?
WHAT IS AFFIRMING ME?
I get that, a lot of times. Questions from people if what I do has an impact. It’s good, it’s reality check and I appreciate it. But what affirms me the most is that i live up my life to fulfill the personal obligation I have as a part of mankind, and if I do not, I would be betraying myself. There’s a quote from I heart revolution, the video above, which I really adore. “It’s the moment you forsake others, you have forsaken yourself”.
For now, I just keep on thinking of how to live myself as a responsible citizen and also for the justice of mankind and environment. And I know, people gets together with this eventually. Sometimes I think the quote “Be the Change you want to see” by Gandhi is over used. but well that’s the most well representing here.
Living up my obligations.