Saturday, November 12, 2005

Trying to make sense of USA

Although I certainly do not agree with all the foreign policies and strategies of the United States, my trips to Washington D.C as well as my observations of the country from afar since my childhood years do make me think that, generally, it is a country where people are more open-minded, outgoing, cheerful, humourous and straightforward in their exchanges of ideas.

However, I also often tell my American friends that, while these characteristics are inherently good and psychologically liberating, they must also try to understand other nations' and peoples' problems, especially psychological ones, which are often unspoken in the public domain for fear of domestic repression. Sometimes, they have no choice but to be subtler and more nuanced.

They have to open up more channels of communication and feedback and not just listen to the ruling elites and their propagandists who are often opportunistically pro-Americans for their own selfish purposes of personal preservation or regime stability.

On my part, after I came back from the US trips, I began to interest myself in learning more about the system of governance and political decision-making process in the United States so that I can make sense of the ' organised chaos' in that country's politics. Later, I was honoured and privileged enough to be accepted into the membership roll of the Malaysian Association for American Studies (MAAS) and I have been elected as its vice-president for the last four years without interruption.