Quite a number of my Asian friends have recounted their awful experiences of discrimination while they were in some Western countries. The worst case that I have ever heard was when my Thai friend was called a “yellow monkey” in a public vehicle.
Such experiences briefly mentioned above reflect an attitude of a society intoxicated with centuries of power. Most people probably see it as a story of success, but it is in fact just a chapter of success in what is to ultimately be a tragic story of failure.
For a long while, Asia had been lagging behind the West in technological development. Having stayed at the pinnacle of growth for a few centuries, success went into the head of countries such as the British Empire and in the contemporary times, the United States of America.
Intoxicated with power, the US began to develop a culture of arrogant superiority, exclusivity, snobbery and condescension to the point of coming up with political ideas such as “the manifest destiny” where the US essentially felt it to be their duty to colonize the world and teach them.
This kind of delusional thinking paved the way for self-destructive unilateral stances such as the “if you are not with us then you are against us” statement of former president Bush when he was shadow boxing with terrorists and their weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
US preference for monologue over dialogue has desensitized the US to the needs of other nations around the world and has unnecessarily alienated itself from otherwise good allies.
Rise of the “Yellow Monkeys”
The US’ desire to believe that they are superior to others, and their desire to bask in the glory of being the “sole Super Power” of the world had caused them to contract a fatal dose of narcissism as evidenced by most Americans not knowing any other language but English and not knowing about any other place on earth but the United States of America.
In their folly of judging others’ worth by the American society’s mostly trivial standards like in many instances, by their ability to speak English, the US had failed to engage others in genuine dialogue of mutual respect costing them to see the intrinsic value of every culture which would otherwise have been so obvious in Asian cultures.
In their haste to either dictate or exploit the Asian countries, the US failed to see the values of solidarity and industry in many Asian countries. Many Asian cultures such as China’s, India’s, Japan’s Korea’s, Indonesia’s and Philippines’ among others are different but converge in their cultures, have given their people the tenacity to survive and even prosper through troubled times.
President Barack Obama’s meeting with the ASEAN leaders last month and his most recent visit to Asia is not only a strong affirmation of the region’s rise but an indicator of the US’ public desire for networking with the Asian countries.
History and Geopolitics had made Japan, India, South Korea, and the Philippines allies of the US in Asia, whether or not the US will keep their allegiance will depend on the US’ attitude in the present and the near future.
The US’ addiction to monologue and unilateralism had put deep scars in human society, its decision to embrace dialogue and multilateral cooperation will have profound contributions to making the world a better place.
At the end of the day, the US has no choice but to give everyone an equitable voice or lose its own voice.