Culture Series: Choice, Exposure and Religion
Hafidzi Razali, LLM ’18
Before Malaysia’s independence and during the period of colonization, our social classes weren’t as varied. We had the aristocrats (mainly members of the Royal family) on one hand, and a large majority of the working class and the poor.
The concentration of power and wealth of the aristocrats gave them access to Western values, mainly through their exposure to education abroad & close interaction with colonial leaders. This became a tradition for several generations – and created a divide between the two distinct social classes. The cultures of the aristocrats are also different due to their royal tradition that stems from the ancient demi-god mythology.
Post-independence, the distinction isn’t as obvious. ‘Western lifestyle’ was no more exclusively associated to the aristocrats, but subjected to economic class & demographic. Our transition to democracy also means that the aristocrats became more integrated to ‘normalized’ lifestyles.
As our country sought to find its own identity, the earlier days’ exposure to colonialism meant that the options were on the table for anyone to be both Western and cultural.
This intersected with the role of religion, as religious values are also embedded in our culture long before the period of colonization. Slowly, cultural practices that are ‘conflicted’ with religious values are gradually shunned. The combination of a growing sense of religiosity and rapidly development of economy means that there are more rooms for cultural diversity.
Save for the remaining few that are holding symbolic yet official Royal positions, our cultures are no more as influenced by social class, but by choice, exposure and religion. There’s a high likelihood that the rich, middle class and poor have similar outlook on culture, unless if they chose not to.
January 9By: Sarah Paoletti, Professor of Practice and Director of the Transnational Legal ClinicIn 2017, the UN and its members, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental agencies, committed themselves through regional and international dialogue to developing a new framework to address the challenges confronted in and by migration. As the world recognized the need for greater international collaboration, the Trump Administration moved the United States towards a more isolationist approach while implementing restrictive and enforcement-oriented policies and practices, in a notable shift from prior administrations. As we head into 2018, the United Nations and its members have set out to draft and agree upon an international cooperative framework for managing migration, while also ensuring that the rights of migrants are respected, protected and fulfilled. 2018 will be the year to see whether the political resolve exists to meet this goal, with or without the United States’ participation.
November 3By: Austin Gassen, JD ’19Part IV in a Series that discusses, debates, and explores the idea of culture – beginning with its definition to how it intertwines with other social constructs and trends such as class, gender, sexuality, populism, and activism.
November 2By: Hamza El Mouahid, LLM ’18Part III in a Series that discusses, debates, and explores the idea of culture – beginning with its definition to how it intertwines with other social constructs and trends such as class, gender, sexuality, populism, and activism.