Monday, January 30, 2017


When no place is homogeneously composed of its original people, is exclusivity possible?
There’s a message doing the rounds on social media for the past few days. It says:
‘Standing on an Ikea (Swedish) podium, behind bullet proof Saint Gobain Glass (French), smiling at a 4K Sony (Japanese) video camera, speaking into a Dolby Sennheiser (German) microphone, with vigorous hand gestures giving a glimpse of a Rolex (Swiss) watch under the cuff, he patriotically said: “Buy American, Hire American, Stop Immigrants” – standing beside a Slovenian wife’.
And that begs the question. Is it possible, in today’s world, to stuff the genie back in the bottle, if the genie equals all things foreign?
Not all of anything is made in just the one country today. And why should it be, when there is such a wealth of talent all over the world? Every country has something to contribute to the whole and with modern communications facilitating that, what is to stop individual countries from making the most of what others have to offer, in terms of goods and services? Nothing, and if something tries to, it recoils upon the person(s) who does so.
If foreign doctors left the UK, for instance, the NHS – the National Health Service of Britain – would fold. A study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) quoted in The Independent indicates that a whopping 36 percent of doctors working for the NHS were born overseas. What’s more, more than 27 percent of nurses in the NHS were also born overseas. Working the other way around, the UK is second only to Germany in exporting doctors to other countries. 12,000 British medics, it seems, work abroad.
America imports in total more than 12 percent of global imports – and that includes electronics, machines, cars, oil, medications, medical equipment, furniture, gems, chemical, and plastics. If the world ceased its supplies to the US, it seems the US would fold. All the achievements made by the US – its medical advances, space travel, etc. – everything depends on these things, and, like a ripple-effect, many things around the world depend on American achievements.
If a country imports many things that does not mean that country is a failure. It is what the country does with those imports that matters. Are those items that are imported used to make some larger product? With developed countries that is generally the case. Such dependence is therefore not a ‘bad’ thing, and in the course of the natural progression of today’s world where nothing is static, and as a result no one is static, no place is homogenously composed of ‘orang asli’, the original people of a land.
Russia is probably one of the world’s most self-sufficient countries with much of its own oil, coal, gas, metals, and grain. Yet it imports many things – including medicines which are crucial to its population. Norway would rank next because it, too, has natural resources in abundance – which in turn seem to indicate that self-sufficiency is measured by natural resources. Not every country possesses abundant natural resources, and accessing natural resources requires technology, equipment, man-power – and here’s where the inter-dependence comes in again.
As time goes on civilisations become increasingly dependent on each other. It has always been the case. Better rail networks opened up entire countries, and areas that were uninhabited before became settled: the central parts of Australia, the more remote parts of North America, Africa, Russia and China. Better communications in wireless technology achieved the same. And now, when we have space travel within our grasp, and communication abilities like nothing seen before, how can anyone expect human movement to be restricted? When many countries contribute to the progress of one, when one nation potentially impacts on so many, how and why is it possible to keep the human element out of the equation? To expect it to be so is to restrict progress, not the other way around. It is also one way of reducing security.
To impose restrictions on travel has never led to amicable relationships, and non-amicable relationships are hardly the way to seek peace. There is something odd about those with malevolent intentions: isolation rather than proximity fans their ill-will, because they need to see and dwell upon what those they love to hate are doing. Like in every case, education is the way out of this violent mess. Nothing else will work.

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