However arbitrary or significant the 31st of December is to you, it seems fitting nonetheless to do a bit of reflection. For me, 2017 has been a year of change, of new experiences, and of new knowledge. 2017 makes me think of the world we live in, how volatile, but how resilient. At the same time, I am more aware of how little I know, how small I am.
Yesterday I went to see Human Flow by Ai Wei Wei, a documentary about the refugee crisis and mass migration that is taking place in all corners of the world. Couple of things that shocked me:
- The scale of the crisis. The number of people being displaced because of war, various forms of persecution, and climate change is unprecedented.
- Not okay for animals but okay for humans? There is a scene where a displaced tiger appears stranded in one of the refugee camps. Like many others, this camp was dilapidated, unhygienic, and over crowded. Authorities deemed this place unsuitable and unhealthy for the tiger, and it was swiftly removed from the camp after gaining permission from multiple government departments.
- Why are people still migrating? Why does the root problem still exist? More reflection, less snap decisions. More thought and consideration is needed.
- They are just like us. It is important to remind ourselves that a lot of these refugees used to be middle-class city dwellers with the most up-to-date technology and high education qualifications. Imagine what it would be like if you get thrown into a situation where you had to camp outdoors indefinitely, trek unforgiving landscapes because your country was being bombed, and despite all that, still face constant rejection that makes you question humanity itself?
- Climate change is making places on earth literally unliveable. People are having to abandon their all to move somewhere they can survive. Climate change is real and we need to acknowledge that.
2017 has taught me what it takes to treat another like a human. It also taught me the importance of self-reflection. Why are things the way they are? Why am I thinking or feeling the way I am? What can I do about it? Why does it keep happening?
In 2018, I hope we learn to listen more and speak less. I hope we find more similarities amongst us than differences. Lastly, I hope more people, including myself, can be part of the solution, not the problem.
Happy new year.