Coming from a South East Asian country with my high school history curriculum not stating anything about the war and disputes in the Eastern Europe region, the word Slovakia itself has always been foreign to me. However, joining the Global Citizenship program has truly opened my eyes. From learning about the geographical location of each country and how they are dependent on the danube to the different races co-existing in a country, it is amazing to learn the different lifestyles and their way of life.
The documentary and the lecture about the Romani and how they face adversity and poverty caught my eyes in particular. This is due to the fact that they can be compared to the current crisis happening between the Rohingya’s and Burma. The Rohingya are the Muslims minority living in the border between Burma (Myanmar) and Bangladesh but a dispute between these 2 countries causes them to not be recognized by both the country. As a result, they are unwanted and hated by both Bangladesh and Burma. To make matters worse, a small minority of extremist Buddhists are conducting ethnic cleansing towards these Rohingya and are killing the young and innocent for being a Muslim. This is once again similar with the people in Eastern Europe during the war in the late 19th century.
There is also many similarities between EU and ASEAN in a sense that both act as a governing party which tries to build up poorer and developing nations and requires a unanimous vote from all countries to change a specific policy. The only major difference between these two are the fact that ASEAN practices a no interfering policy and they cannot interfere with any current affairs happening within a country unless it might cause harm both economically and physically to other countries.
Lastly, learning Slovak is also very exciting and interesting to me. The fact that an English word can be ‘Slovak-i-fied’ by adding a certain endings is once again similar to what we do for the Malay language.
In a nutshell, attending the Global Citizenship has been a great journey and I have managed to learn a lot of new knowledge and I’m able to relate the similarities and differences between 2 regions ( Eastern Europe and South East Asia) which are on the opposite side of the world.
By Billy Hue