Friday, 17 August 2007



This morning a friend sent me an email "whack on the side of the head" for lacking self-confidence. He was partly right - partly because this time I actually had done a U-turn and gone back and reclaimed my rights.

We all back down at times - from humility, martyrdom, lack of self-confidence, or self preservation. The spotlight is both desirable and dangerous. Being visible makes you strong, but also vulnerable. I do tend to prefer the shadows to leaping into the spotlight. It is easier to slip along in the long grass with the cats than risk your skin by joining the lions roaring on the hilltop.. where the hunters can see you.

It got me thinking about something I wrote about a year ago, about rights. I went and hunted it out, gave it a dust off and edit..

this is for "YOU":

This morning a thought dawned on me - one way or the other, my whole life,
people have been telling me I "had no right".

I had no right to believe I was important in God's eyes because I didn't do "this" or believe "that"...

I had no right to my country of birth because it wasn't my ancestral homeland.

I had no right to my ancestral homelands because none of them are my place of birth.

I had no right to say what I thought on certain topics because
I didn't have the "right" qualifications.

I had no right to speak or be in some places because I was the wrong age,
colour, gender, religion..

I had no rights...


..and eventually you start believing them.

You start buying into this narrow little world where only those with "the right" can have an opinion, have that job, live in that place or be themselves.

(*insert stronger word of

You are YOU because God/Goddess/Creator made you that way.
You are meant to be YOU.
You have the right to be YOU,
and speak YOU,
and think YOU.

No-one has "the right" to ever take YOU away from you.

Just be YOU,

rejoice in YOU,

and enjoy sharing the wonder of discovering the unique and different versions of YOU in everyone around you.

ok, getting off soapbox now..


  1. bravo!!! michelle... bravo!!! how many times for what eve reasons have we all wanted to say,, or think,, or feel,, or believe... just that... thank you for putting it into words!!!1

  2. LOVE it!!! Such a POWERFUL post!!!

    I was also born in Indo and there were times when I felt I was considered an outsider by some fanatic native Indonesians...there were riots back in 1998 where some fanatic native Indo ransacked those houses they considered as Chinese and raped the girls/women. Heard that they used a broom sometimes to do that. HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE.

    Some of my rich friends were sent abroad by their parents (I was still at the uni back then). It angered me and made me think, "So what the hell do you want? Even though all of the Chinese living in Indo immigrate to China, THEY wouldn't accept us as THEIR people. Especially since most of us don't even speak the language."

    Ah...sad memories indeed.

    But since moving here, I've just started learning how much God's love is truly is...and that no matter what, no matter how everything changes, He's still the same. He still loves me and in His eyes, I'm wonderfully made. :-))))

  3. Btw, but I LOVE Indonesia!!!!!!! I'd been there all my life and I AM an Indonesian...hopefully there wouldn't be any other riots there (at least none so far).

  4. Epi and Paisley

    Thank you, both. :-)

    I never knew any of this about Indo. It feels so familiar (in a very sad way) too. :-( Growing up white in Africa can be just as mixed a feeling. You love your home, but are constantly told it isn't really yours to love.

    And no matter what happens, or what new country you learn to love.. you will always love your first "home".


  5. Stay up on that soapbox, Michelle!

    Your voice needs to be heard!

    Great post, this!!

  6. Yes, VERY true, M...we'll always love our first "home" no matter what...I knew you'd understand he he he...

    When it comes to Chinese Indo and native goes A LONG WAY BACK...Let me just quote what I wrote once in my comment to one of Vic's posts.

    Quote: Indonesia was occupied for 350 YEARS by the Dutch. During the years, they caused rifts between ethnicity as they provided a higher level of education for the Dutch and other white-colored people. They also provided a middle level of education for the Chinese, Indian, and such. However, the natives only received a small amount of education (except some few who had connections with the Dutch officials or who were born as the "blue-blooded" group of people).

    The Chinese were allowed to be merchants and thus they could reap more money than the natives. So over the years the natives envied the Chinese as they thought all Chinese in Indo were rich. And some of the Chinese were also slimy as they bribed here and there to gain access to more wealth and trades.

    I'm glad that nowadays that's not the case, but there was a period of time in my childhood when I felt sad that I was born a Chinese, a minority in Indo. I was also afraid of some fanatics who still held grudges against Chinese (we were advised not to wear jewellery for fear of being robbed in the streets and so on).

    The fact is there ARE LOTS of poor Chinese in Indo as well, even though I have to admit that there are also some VERY rich ones there.

    I remember one time in the past...when I was in High School and there would soon be a Presidential election...there were lots of people campaigning in the streets. I went home by public transit that day and got stuck amidst this HUGE mass of people yelling and screaming, "Kill the Chinese men! Rape the Chinese girls!" I was the ONLY Chinese in that public transit. You can imagine how scared I was back then. I prayed in my heart so that nothing bad would happen. Nothing happened, actually, though they kept on yelling those words.

    The last election I experienced went well, though. GLADLY!!! I think nowadays more and more natives get higher education (at least in big cities), so now they're more open-minded. ;-D I can say that nowadays there are less and less old-fashioned people in Indo, even though there are still a few Chinese haters there he he he...(End quote)

    All in all, there've been MAJOR improvements. Starting a few years ago, Chinese New Year has been legalised as one of the national holidays.

    When it comes to the 1998 tragedy, if you're curious you can try to Google "May 1998 Tragedy or Riots in Indonesia".

  7. Brilliant Michelle! Thank you - I'm so with you on this - word for word. Years ago a friend of mine often used to say, as a reminder:"F... Forget the people!! (those who judge or try to restrict) WE ARE the People!!"

  8. Twilight and Jacques

    Thank you! :-) You both say such nice things, I'll be getting a big head.. then I will fall off the soapbox. ;-)


    Thank you for this. I never realised what was going on in your part of the world. You certainly have been through some VERY stressful times. :-O



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