When I was in Form two, I realized that people around us tend to put us into boxes – you are clever, you are naughty, you are stupid, etc. It is not just the description of behavior, it goes beyond that – they mean it as YOUR characteristic. It is like you are boxed into one category and you are treated as such irregardless of whether you change or not. It was a major challenge for me to ensure that “negative categorization” of me does not impede my progress. If you do not understand what I am saying try to look back to your schooldays – you have the “bully”, you have the boy/girl ho is always “to be bullied”, you have the “smart ones”, you have the “dumb ones”. We label them and then act accordingly to them. I coined the term “victims of categorization” so that I can analyse it in my mind and make sense of the world.
Today, I realize that what happened in school is in fact a normal phenomenon in life. Let’s take politics, for example. You could just be an ordinary member in DAP, probably not even active at all apart from attending some of their ceramahs. The fact that you are in DAP will cause you to carry all the stigma that DAP may have. If DAP is perceived as a Chinese chauvinistic party, you will be categorized as such even though you are a non-Chinese! Likewise, if you are in UMNO, you will carry its stigma too. Even though you are a married to a Chinese and your entire family is multi-racial, you will be categorized as Malay chauvinist and corrupt! This example can be applied to all the other parties. Ordinary members are not spared from being categorized by the other ordinary citizens.
Of course there are die-hard DAP or UMNO or PKR or PAS, etc members. That’s different. I am talking of citizens who want to belong to a particular political party because they feel comfortable with it and find it ONE way to participate in the political development of the country. These good intention people become unnecessarily victims of categorization such that it impedes their contribution to the larger objective of contributing nationally.
Ordinary members are “forced into a corner” into taking up positions they may not want to take due to VOC phenomenon. What do ordinary party members get anyway compared to their political masters? A kiss of their master’s hands? Such a phenomenon is not good for political development and growth of political maturity among the ordinary citizens who are ordinary party members.
I always encourage anyone to join any party so long as the objective is to serve the Nation. I also encourage some of my friends not to join any political party because life is not completely about politics. We need Raperas in every area of life.
This mindless behaviour of boxing people generally into boxes and then limiting their potential and their role to the relevant box does not augur well for the Nation as a whole. To me, this VOC phenomenon is yet another example of the failure of our education and value system. It seems to me, in this sense, that our entire thinking process needs to be reformed!
“VOC phenomenon tends to cause blinkers in the mind and if you do this, you are guilty of “pressuring” ordinary people into becoming pawns of their politicians. Raperas on the other hand are not infected by the VOC virus as they are aware of its operation and effects.
As I said, politics was just an example I used to demonstrate the operation of the VOC phenomenon. VOC phenomenon, however, operates in many spheres of our lives, including in the family. We unthinkingly label a family member as such and such and after that, for the rest of his/her life we treat and perceive her/him according to the categorization that we have put them in. From my informal research and observations over the years, I have seen such VOC inhibit people’s potential for growth.
Think about it.