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.
Shane Fischman L’19, President of Penn Law Students for Israel and Penn Law Global Affairs Blog Editor & Rachel Chiger L ’19, President of the Penn Law Chapter of the Louis B. Brandeis Society
In the aftermath of this attack, CNN reported: “Dismay, horror, and disbelief were feelings shared by many in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.” Similar headlines blazed the front pages of international dailies, such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, and The Guardian. While the international community certainly reacted to the shooting with dismay and horror, disbelief was not among the emotions that registered in the Jewish community.
November 6By: James Albrecht L’19I am currently a visiting student at King’s College London, set right on the Thames River in the heart of London. Seeking to take advantage of everything London has to offer both in the city and in the classroom, I have decided to embark on a comparative analysis of the law which I have studied so far at Penn Law. Because I will be working in a corporate firm when I graduate, for a majority of my courses I chose a corporate concentration and I have enrolled in Competition law, the Law of the Company, and Public International Law. Though these classes are seemingly typical, it is for that reason that I chose to enroll in them here: the chance to study these topics in the EU and UK context is a privilege I would not have had at home, and it is an opportunity to compare the distinctions between the US and UK, which are both common law countries.
October 22By: Shane Fischman, JD’19 and Global Affairs Blog EditorThrough the normalization and unanimous acceptance of treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), history has proven that despite our cultural differences, diverging political and economic systems, and unique social norms, the world can agree that certain actions are unquestionably immoral. On the one hand, it, therefore, appears that the world has conceded that there are certain moral absolutes. On the other hand, however, the belief that there are rights and wrongs relative to our own moral convictions abounds. Saudi Arabia is a case in point.