How Culture has been shaping me to be more humane!
It is often said that culture shapes us to become more humane. Now, what does it mean by being more humane? I guess, it refers to being more kind, compassionate and understanding towards anything and everything in life. For instance, being a Bangladeshi girl,studying in a foreign land full of diverse culture, tradition, norms and forms, and with various nationalities, has it made me more humane?
If I am being honest, at first, I felt suffocated! I felt, I do not belong here at all! Everything and every situation seemed to get under my skin. My eyebrows used to frown upon everyone's actions and behaviors toward me. But as times passed by, I realized, I wouldn't have been like this with every situation if it were in Bangladesh and it led me to think about how I or we perceive things when we are in our community and when we are in a mixed community!
I have passed my first year in Malaysia; the hub of almost all the Asian and Middle-Eastern nationalities starting from- Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Japan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran etc. This one year taught me a lot of different aspects of living, that textbooks never did! I have learnt that you can smile at people while passing by as a kind gesture. I have learnt, no matter how busy you are on a weekday, 12pm-2pm is your lunch and prayer time. I have seen various nations that are always in festive and welcoming mood with open arms and delicious foods, I have experienced the rigidity and strictness of some cultures regarding their behaviors, I have been warmly welcomed in Pooja Celebrations,Christmas Celebrations, and Malaysian Weddings, I have befriended Malaysians and learnt about work ethics and punctuality and lastly, every day I experience, how a country can be developed, peaceful and a live within harmony with different nations, vibrant cultures, wonderful beliefs and values!
These experiences have taught me slowly and steadily about the importance of being open minded, being respectful towards one another and loving your country at your best! Whenever any new situation I find myself in, I usually think of how I would have handled it in my country and how I should not think that it is going to be the same here. I have been capable of building this level of understanding in myself not because I was told to but because I had to, as a rational human being, to survive and sustain!
As the student of Master of Science and the Director of Arts & Culture of Universiti Putra Malaysia Students' Association, I still feel I do not belong here. To be real, I do not. I belong to Bangladesh, in my culture, roots and tradition with my friends and families. But if you want to live a life, you must go full circle, fall, get up, learn, make mistakes, put Bangladesh strongly in the map and come back to your roots to rest!
The writer is a post graduate student at University of Putra Malaysia