It is not about Linux or other geeky stuff nor it is a political writing.
It was a day in the end of March 2007. I was just landed at the Franz Josef Strauss Munich Airport
around 10 AM in the morning. I had 5 days free time from my work in Astrium. At that time I was contracted by EADS Astrium
(now become Airbus Defense and Space) to work with them in Toulouse
. I worked for one of their project. I flew from Toulouse where I worked to visit my brother family in Munich. Just after I picked up my luggage from the conveyor, three guys without uniform approaching me and asked me in English what i'm doing in Munich. I asked them if I did anything wrong. One of them told me that it was a random checked.
"Who are you guys? Sorry sir if it is a random check, why do you choose me instead of other?" I reply to their answer.
One of them said they're from the Munich immigration, and at the same time showing a gun behind his jacket. For my itinerary Munich was not the Schengen
gate. Besides, I already did the interview in Netherlands and also in France embassy in Jakarta three months before so it is not a regular procedure. I never experienced a random check interview. Being someone with Asian look, Indonesian passport and with the name start with the Moslem name, I was fully aware at that time that my condition in Europe might be facing some unpleasant conditions.
I had to show them not only my passport and visa but all of my documents, including a letter from France Embassy in Jakarta stated that I'm working for French project and also a letter from EADS Astrium said that I'm working with them.
Luckily they know a bit about Astrium in Toulouse.
Astrium is an European consortium satellite maker. They also knew that Toulouse is a place where the Airbus aircraft will get the final assembly. Seems a bit surprise for them knowing that I worked for EADS Astrium. They asked me, "How did you apply and get the job in Astrium Toulouse?"
"I'm not apply, they found me! They came to Jakarta and picked me up from there." I reply.
"What is your purpose to visit Munich?" The biggest guy asked me again.
"I want to visit my brother, he works in one of Airbus facility in Augsburg" I said.
After several minutes the situation changed, they became nice to me knowing that I work for one of European high-tech industry. If people communicate and talk, understand the position of each other, and try to see each other on the same position without prejudice everything will be much more better in this world.
In the end they said "The documents seems legitimate. Enjoy Muenchen and Bavaria".
Lab where i worked
A GSM BTS and an access point
I also have other uncomfortable experience in several places. Even in the south east asian countries.
On the contrary, in several cases where I should go abroad where my employer was from the developed country and the place where I worked was a developing country the situation turned opposite. I experienced this when I should worked in Myanmar for USAID
project for example. They treat me very well (actually it was too much) in Nay Pyi Taw
I never have any problem visiting Japan. A nice country, they are very modern and at the same time they still respect their tradition and culture. Besides the train with alcohol smell up in the air on the Friday night, and many people get drunk in certain places, Japanese are nice and polite people. I visited Kyoto one time, while I was walking on the side walk on that night there was a person who got drunk and seems disturbing passersby, less than a minute later a policeman riding a bicycle swiftly arrested him before he made any harm. On another visit to Tokyo my friend left his bag on the train. We contact the train office, told them that we lost a bag on our route. The officer on the phone asked us to visit one of the train station on 8 PM that night. We went there and the bag returned. Imagine if it happens in Jakarta Commuter Line :-)
From my experience there are problems on how the people in this world interact with each others, whether from the citizenship point of view or race point of view. In the connected world now it is very sad that prejudice and privilege still exist in the human mind.
When I visited Nuremberg in 2019, I found German are very open minded, very different with what I found in 2007. The immigration process was very fast, the officer was very warm welcome. I met a lot of people came from all over the world. One of a German friend said to me that Germany welcome people from around the world because they need immigrant to build the country.
Is the situation different now, 15 years after my experience in Munich? Maybe, maybe not, there are some effort but seems not enough. Some countries like Germany make very good progress, but other maybe need to be improved. There are several reasons, but for me as Indonesian citizen there are two main reasons:
- human mindset
- the state's efforts to improve the dignity of the nation
This is something that everyone can take a part to make the world to be a better place for live.
As a human, we need a security. People tend to protect themselves. They feel someone from other countries or race will become the threat of their security and their opportunity, disturb their privilege status quo. This condition exist because insecure mind, maybe they have some background that support it, or just a superiority complex, or maybe a racist point of view. In the capitalistic society where everything is about the wealth and money, the illusion of Weber social class
(power, prestige/status, property/class) seems works well in the mind of most of the people. The higher the power, prestige and property/wealth/income, the higher opportunity for education, health, and job. People with the privilege will have better future. Actually this is not only happen in secular and capitalistic society, it happens everywhere regardless of people believes and religion. There are cases when people difficult to find a job, to get education or getting married because of their citizenship or race or social status or wealth.
Does it wrong? It is what it is, there is no absolute answer. In this world sometimes we cannot say it is right or wrong. Everyone can have their own view. For me it is wrong, I believe that everyone who lives in our world should have the same opportunity and right. You can disagree with someone but don't generalize based on race or nation or where someone come from. We cannot choose where and when we are born, what race we are, who our parents, what race and citizenship they are, it is given.
Charles Mills, a Jamaican philosopher proposes to develop a non-ideal theory to explain and expose the inequities of the actual non-ideal policy and to help us see through the theories and moral justifications offered in defense of them. Using it as a central concept, the notion of a Racial Contract might be more revealing of the real character of the world we are living in, and the corresponding historical deficiencies of its normative theories and practices, than the race-less notions currently dominant in political theory. He mention his theory in his book The Racial Contract.
In commenting this book, Dr. Yassir Morsi
, a lecturer in Gender, Sexuality & Diversity Studies at La Trobe University Melbourne Australia, said a daring statement. As a son of immigrant and grew up in Australia he understand very well about Mills statement and he said .... and the rest of us are trying to be white when we're trying to be human
The state's efforts to improve the dignity of the nation
It is something that we can ask to our government to improve the situation. We may cannot directly involve on how they make the policy, but at least we can speak, give input to policy maker, support all decision and effort to increase nation competency and on the contrary speak loud if we found something useless on the government policy or policy implementation.
As a country move to the better direction, other countries will see that as a progress. Usually people will give a good impression if a country has a good implementation about democracy, human right, free of speech, law, no corruption, education, infrastructure development. Take your part to improve the thing that you believe you can do, every small contribution count!
I have many friends and colleagues from all over the world with diverse background. I'm very grateful that all of them are very open mind and treat everyone in equal. We are friend because we are in the same neighborhood, school, community, hobby, work relation, or just a friend. Sometimes I met people who think their country, or race or citizenship is better than me, it is what it is. I just introspect and be grateful that I'm not one of them.
To my gentle reader from Indonesia or other developing countries no worry. Never think that you are the lower class in this world. Try to improve yourself, make yourself useful for your family and community, learn and do your best in your work or study, and contribute back to society. If someone despise you or look down on you, move on, think positive, you're not as bad as they think. You don't have to proof anything.
World is a beautiful place, just make it to be more wonderful :-)