Tag Archives: malaysia

#3 Patriotism

21 Jul

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.

– George Bernard Shaw

Over the course of the last ten years, Canadians have increasingly adopted the rather repugnant behavioural patterns of the Flag Waver.  Before I get into this, however, I wanted to first point out the greatest inherent hypocrisy in Canadians being obsessive Flag Wavers.

For as long as I can recall, one of the biggest complaints that Canadians have maintained against Americans (that is, people from the USA), is that as a nation, Americans are far too patriotic and the biggest Flag Wavers of all.  How funny then, that Canadians would begin to completely emulate this behaviour.  I wonder exactly why it is that Canadians feel that it’s perfectly alright to hang the Canadian flag from their apartment window or attach one of those stupid fucking car flags to the window of their car, but Americans are “overly patriotic” when they do the exact same thing.  In fact, these days in Canada it’s becoming increasingly difficult to go anywhere where the Canadian flag isn’t being waved to excess.  This ridiculous increase in meaningless allegiance isn’t something I’m imagining either.  According to this study, Canada is the sixth most patriotic country in the world.

Things only got worse once the winter Olympics came to Vancouver in 2010.  The flag waving and false sense of egotistical pride that goes hand in hand with patriotism was at an all time high.  Perhaps that’s to be expected given that the Olympics are an event in which national pride is pushed to the extreme.  The thing is, that level of national pride didn’t dissipate after the games ended, nor did the flag waving.  Suddenly, hanging a Canadian flag from your balcony became the norm.  As far as I’m concerned, there are few gestures that are both as empty and as obnoxious as is flag waving.

Don’t get me wrong here – there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your country.  Yet at the same time, it’s necessary to understand several things.  For starters, being born in Canada isn’t a skill.  I don’t care who you are, being born is nothing to brag about.  Second, your country isn’t the greatest in the world for the simple fact that no such thing exists.  To insist upon as much makes one come off as uncultured, untraveled and absolutely miniscule minded.

The thing about Canadians that not too many people outside of Canada know is that a very strong sense of insecurity exists here.  Constantly portrayed as the USA’s little brother, Canadians are desperate to prove that they’re a big deal.  The lack of a unifying national culture is the thorn in the Canadian side, and Canadians will do anything and everything to distract themselves from the glaring reality of that fact.

Certainly there are other countries out there that are far more patriotic than Canada.  Take for example, Malaysia.  Malaysians are some of the kindest, most sincere people that I have ever had the pleasure to meet in all my life.  Their country is amazing and I have returned there on several occasions simply because it is so damn great.  But holy shit, do Malaysians love to wave a flag.  If you can go five seconds in Malaysia without seeing at least a dozen Malaysian flags on display, then you must be staring at the ground the entire time.  Why I’m a little more sympathetic to this fanatical nationalism is that Malaysians actually have something to celebrate.  Their country has only been in their hands for 53 years now.  Before that, the British ruled the roost.

And so it’s the same with so many other countries that have seen the suffocating grip of a colonial power strip them of their national culture.  The Philippines, India, Mexico, Cuba, South Africa – even the United States of America.  These countries are steeped in history and people whose emancipation from a foreign ruler actually meant something.  Canada is nowhere near in the same league and as such, doesn’t have any reason whatsoever to be so goddamned flamboyantly patriotic.

It also strikes me that whenever I see overtly patriotic people here in Canada, they always come off as redneck, blue collar morons whose inherent ugliness is only amplified by their stubborn, shallow desire to scream about Canada being the greatest place on earth.  If these people had actually ever left Canada, hell, had actually ever left North America, they would have something to compare their beloved Canada to.  And what they would quickly realize – if they were honest and true enough to do such a thing – is that while Canada may be a large landmass with lots of beautiful mountains and streams and hardly any population to speak of; screaming about these things in any sort of proprietorial sense is the sum total of an vacant, obnoxious pride that serves only to make them look ridiculous and small.

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