Who are ‘me’?

So here’s the story about an old man who still young in his spirits who happened to sit on 8A, next to me on MH 764 to Siam Reap.

If you think you little lost in the story here, kindly refer to the earlier part.

Here it goes.

The last part of yesterday’s record on journey was whether or not you going to talk to the person next to you. The answer is, depends, for a lot of people.

You see, we do have a strong tendency to “figure” something out of a person, draw a conclusion, give a verdict on what people look like just because we need to make distinction on who we really are. In a lot easier way, we need to look in the mirror to figure out who we are. However, in many situations, we often do it by negating someone else’s projection. We define ourselves as the opposite of that. And, in so doing, we unconsciously choose the good things for ourselves and therefore hand away the negative to other people.

For small steppers, avoiding the tendency to judge people is manifested through isolating oneself in comfort. How many did we see people now closing their ears in the public with a long playlist in the mp3 player, iPod, cell phones, and other personal devices.  In fact, I did sometimes too. It is actually comfortable.

Rationally thinking, since we’re now living global information technology age, we now better about our goals, who we’d like to meet, what will we do when we meet someone important, and the list goes on and on nowhere but toward strengthening the sense of individualism. I am not saying it’s not good. I am offering other perspective where from there we see that the world has shrunk in the definition of globalization but it’s seems that the current world has no place for communalism; it’s too small, or at least it’s showing a inclination to.

That’s rather too long for introductory paragraphs.

To make a long story short, the man I was sitting next to on the plane from Kuala Lumpur to Siam Reap asked me about nothing but me. His questions ranging from my background, what I did, what I can do, and what will I become.  I used to only figured who I don’t want to become, what I don’t want; just like the negative identification of self people used to do. I said to him I am interested in international relations and becoming a lecturer in that field or perhaps, by and large, involve in policy making, criticizing, and consulting. I never did have intention to become secretive about this since it was proven contributive for self-contemplation.

He then asked, “What can you actually do with these?” while moving his fingers. Straight to the point question. Easy for some, but rather hard for me. Choosing writing something as my skill did not satisfied his question.

I knew where he was going with this.

He’s the type of man who keen to actually produce something. He has the spirit of Robinson Crusoe who subsistent himself in a remote and isolated island after his wrecked ship failed to take his wealth back to Spain. Thus, to large extent I agreed with him.

Nowadays, people buy things instead of laboring to make it and the mindset goes more in astray by simplifying the way of labor. If we make much money, everything will be a lot easier. I am not a member of the old punk movement, but depend on money for everything is just not healthy. At least, not for me.

He then mentioned the kind of approval people actually driving themselves for, as painful as it would become. Imagine what it felt like when your parents, supervisor, lecturer or even friends tapping your shoulder when you finish making something. The energy of that old fashion approval could actually prevail over work stress.

The point he made was ever convincing consider his experiences interacting with people worldwide. As United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s (I did use the official name on purpose) citizen, he has stayed in Turkey for the past ten years while making trips here and there worldwide. Graduated from Electrical Engineering, he chose absolutely different career path. He, who mentioned his name as Tim, chose to develop career and live from business; the longest professional work of human after farmer and hunter.

Considering his background as businessman, he seems to travel lightly. He practically burden-less from my subjective view.  Perhaps, money is not a problem for him.

He is a firm believer that person’s life would determine by whatever thing he made. He insisted on physical being, like a machine or tool. Perhaps it has to do with his background which makes a lot of sense. He also is in the opposition of profession that doesn’t physically produce one thing. On that regard, I am not in the same page with him. I defend my background by saying that knowledge transfer is essential to civilization. It is the education that alleviates poverty, direct or indirectly. Bottom line, I agreed to disagree with him as he did to me, in fact we both are.

In spite of his perspective, I am grateful that during the two hours flight I didn’t shut myself in the middle of pretending to be busy and not talking to the person next to me. From the here and there story without clear pattern, I know that by knowing people, it assist us in knowing ourselves. I, then, can accept who I want to be by allowing comments from other perspective. Therefore, I take a stand outside of my comfort zone, outside my box since it gives the opportunity to see me from the outside.

Finally, I can answer the question “Who am I?” And the answer is not “I’m Spiderman”.The Hermit


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