Are Global Nomads The New Norm?

Megan Ng

Intersection.Global Nomads? This is not meant to be a preaching session of “Why you should be a global citizen”; instead, it is an op-ed piece intended to make you conscious of your surroundings and aware of the benefits that come with becoming a better global citizen. It pays to have some political and social acumen; after all, issues such as climate change, international trade, natural resource/energy governance and ‘civil’ wars, they all have international repercussions and affect individuals not only on an economic level but also on a humane scale.

So where do we start this conscious journey of awareness, let’s start with high school. I was in high school when I was first made aware of the awful, devastating, and incredibly irritating truth. It was at this time in my life that I discovered, possibly for the first time, that the world did not, and sadly still does not, revolve around me. Imagine my surprise! How could my future husband, father to my children, protector of my castle in the sky, not return my zealous affections?

Suffering from depression, wallowing in self-pity and lamenting over my bout of unrequited love, I felt the world owed me. If I was to wallow, the world was to mourn the loss of my inability to become Mrs. Hot Guy’s Wifey. I mean if things do not go your way, logically, the world and its daily affairs are supposed to come to a grinding halt. Right? Everyone knows that – common sense, duh.

The High School Class that Changed Me

Slightly embellished details of my pathetic young teenage life aside, the truth is, my life did forever change after my quest for Mr. Right. Don’t flatter yourself Mr. Hot Guy, it wasn’t because of you, but rather because of my first “Western Civilization” class. It was here that my teacher Mr. D would forever influence my view of the world, and my self. Goodbye castle in the sky.

Mr. D’s class empowered me in a very unique way. The class taught me about ancient Rome and Greece, Genghis Khan’s expansion into medieval Europe, Marco Polo’s adventures in the service of Kublai Khan and the age of Enlightenment which focused on great Western thinkers such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Isaac Newton. The class exposed me to the legacy of our ancestors and forbearers, but it also had me consider the bigger questions surrounding our existence – the who, what, where, when and why of our world. The class also sparked my curiosity on other non-Western thinkers and their history. For once, I was able to focus on events other than those involving myself, and to think, it all started when Mr. D blasted Billy Joel’s classic “We Didn’t Start the Fire”.

I remember walking out of class that day feeling like an entirely different girl, feeling hyperaware of the world around me. Billy Joel’s song listing worldwide headlines of political and social events that happened during 1949-1989 struck a chord, pun intended, within me that day. So why do I share this rambling anecdote? It is not because I am special or recognize a secret that the world does not know; instead, I hope this feature will spark within you what Billy Joel once sparked within me.

 Part Two of this feature.