I’ve had the luxury of time to think about this and I have, for a while now. I’ve been thinking about the sense of identity that people have for themselves, the part of them that make them intrinsic to their traditions, or culture, or race. The sense of belonging that people feel when being at family gatherings or function for example, being surrounded by people like them, with the same practices and moral based values – I think it’s something I lack.. right now.
If you ask me for my identity right now, I would say I have none.
Maybe it’s pride, but I’m quite torn between acceptance and pushing away. At times I feel like I accept my fate – being born into a Muslim family with muslim based values, and Malay as a tradition and culture. I accept that these set of growing conditions, along with my own set of experiences and opinions have been essential on my shaping. But when questioned, I usually do not bring these up. I am without religion now, and it just seems as though I’ve given up a huge piece of my identity without feeling a tinge of remorse.
This now leaves me with my other half of identity, race. I’m not exactly Malay but I’m similar in a sense that i’ve lived and breathed alongside it’s ethnic practices. Which one way or another groups me as one, and I’m quite fine with that. However if asked by people with no prior knowledge or background about me, I would usually try to conceal this half of my identity, maybe because I am embarrassed and fear being assumed and judged instantaneously by their presumed and generalized impression of the racial groups.
And for that, I would always make the conscious effort to dissociate my conversations, actions and just any interactions in general away from ethnicity.
Perhaps, if an identity is not necessarily limited to background, family, religion, and moral beliefs then I might already be constructing one for myself.
Western influence? I don’t think that’s the case for me.