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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Terrorism

As I become more "professionalised" within particular political and public spheres, I sense in myself a swelling of sadness; The so-called "real world", in its current Australian form in the unfinished business of racist settler colonialism, and the myopic pathologies of either modernist materialism or religious fundamentalism, all burdened by the whims of global capital, can bludgeon the warrior in me, can tie a knot in my heart, can stifle the will to truth-telling.

Security, of course, is not itself the problem: It is more in that any will to security begets a concurrent arising and creation of the Other, from whom I must keep myself and all my material comforts protected, "secure". The Other, of course, the embarrassing Other, will constantly change their guise, in tandem with my changing Selfhood, the "Me" whom I keep aloof, detached, arrogantly removed, and "gated" from an Other, in order to preserve the status quo of any of my assimilationist dreams.

In all of this, an addiction to the pursuit of security will put a lid on the effervescence still in me, who chooses art and dreams transformative justice.

I know I might become too comfortable...
That I, like too many others, will become habitually afraid.
This is what terrorism is.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Memory

Multiple generations globally diasporic,
I learn the stories of my family and extended kin, Chinese men and women, not too long ago, who have suffered and continue to suffer unconscionable poverty, hunger, and all correlated heartache...
...I think about the wealth I have grown up with,
the comfort I have known from security,
the many material luxuries I regularly take for granted,
yet I am so often melancholy, in my solitude.

I can admire their perseverance, tenacity, resilience,
all this too, a privileged envy, even as
sadness still continues to beat
ceaselessly in my heart,
swollen with unresolved ancestral memory.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Resilience

One typical exhortation from a conservative political mentality is to both acknowledge the reality of social ills, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, while at the same time suggesting that the best way to deal with these social ills is not through government investment in institutions that promote cultural reform (e.g. affirmative action at universities, funding indigenous media, etc.), but rather through a promotion of individual resilience.

More cynically and simply put,
"Life sucks. Get over it."

On the other end, a more "progressive" or left wing response tends to push for cultural and social reform, rather than individual heroism, in the response to and eradication of these very social ills (e.g. racism/sexism/homophobia). One unfortunate tendency of this, however, may be that, in order to maintain this very sort of response as it is chained to the whims of American-hegemony and global capitalism, is to unwittingly search for the very ills that we stand against, so that we can galvanise, legislate, or fund the appropriate response.

In both these extremes, I present my cynicism as a reaction to the excesses and blindspots of either approach. To encourage only resilience without social reform is to subtly bully those who are more vulnerable, who are not "tough enough" to weather the storms of everyday life; not to mention that this can well give full license to the bullies, who are never held accountable by this politik. At the same time, to encourage only social reform without an occasional nudge toward a "realpolitik" of encouraging one another to recognise our very strengths, our resilient tendencies, may be to unwittingly mire those of us who are oppressed in the very terms of our victimisation. That we may never "get over it" until someone else, or something external to us changes.

That is a lot of power to give away.

As a middle path, I am interested in the model of social groups and peer support in which both political forms are explored, where people can role model resilience for one another, while collectively agitating for political and social change. Where, aside from role modeling, this agitation for political change is itself an expression of that very resilience, because it is contingent on a scaffolding of collective support and coalition, not only on individual heroism.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Financial Goals

My goal is to make more money, and spend less per day.
In order to attain the former, I intend to apply for more/other jobs
and in order to do the latter, my goal is to spend not more than $10 a day for the month of August (except on bills and groceries).

Health

Under colonial capitalism
in which I see myself primarily as a cog in a machine or as a perpetual migrant in need of being proven worthy of all the privileges of colonial citizenship,
I take a day off of work so I can go to the doctor
and this feels like an act of indignant protest. 
How lucky!
how pathetic 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Everyday after the Revolution is Samsara

Even upon the triumph of anticolonial struggle,
Each day is still Samsara. The winners of this war are as human as the losers were, that is,
with all the capacity for oppression (and redemption) that this humanity implies.

The oppressed become the oppressors
And there is no time to be in the least bit surprised.

This, of course, does not mean that I abandon my will to justice,
My will to nudge and edge toward this sort of revolutionary cultural change that is the rightful work of any ethically engaged person...
I tread carefully.

Only that this work itself is foolhardy if it imagines its completion as the summit of all human endeavour. We are tracing a dangerous precipice, not only climbing a mountain.

There is a deep and horrid wellspring of loneliness amidst the hypnotic meaning making of the progressive Left, whose espoused values I mostly share... This loneliness, of course, is not strictly the province of the Left, but it strikes me as part of the poverty of relationship that seems concurrent both with secular multiculturalism and its ethnocentric, parochially conservative counterparts.

This poverty of relationship is not easily remediable either by simply being in the company of others nor by my journaling about it, as if being so identified and named, it might wistfully take its leave of our era.

Solo meditation too, in the highly individualistic models of the imported Buddhism, while deeply nourishing, will not suffice.

For a young and heroic Left, I sense that our hearts must neither harden, nor indeed that we remain only tender and soft to witnessing suffering.
No, I am exploring that we must be collectively heart broken.
Our hearts must break, open.
We must grieve with the people who are not us, who may never be like us.
We must grieve as if all the lost loved ones in the world were our own lost, loved ones.
Grieve, not only in outraged sentimentality, but also as if we have lost our lover to betrayal and deceit.
Grieve and hurt and be hurt and be wounded and broken open to the fullest ache of abandonment and the loss of faith in our future or in any possibility for an alternative...

For when we are so fully defeated, in this sense, we will become stronger again. Wiser. We will be cautious, of course, yet we will love again. We will love again. We will remember our past foibles with fondness! As global citizens, we will cease to either sentimentalise violence or forget the good that was always present among history's oppressive and tragic victors, that we were never "written out of the story", but were simply listening.

We have been listening.
We are still listening.

a day of reckoning

Oh life...
May I not be addicted to miracles,
that every stupendous achievement may become so quickly mundane,
and that the ordinary, once miraculous
will continue to inspire my humility,
as if I were simply
washing my bowls on the very moon to which I once pointed.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Paracetamol Rant

What of poverty or of wealth?
To be made humble in the face of the changing face of the perpetrator or the victim, whose gender or colour continue to morph wildly in a sickening preservation of privilege, power and pain, whose triumph or destruction on begets more of the same, an endless cycle of birth and death and rebirth of a gulf between peoples, greed breeding envy breeding hatred breeding violence.

A hermit prays in silence, a cave for shelter,
Or an inherited condominium ruined by alienated citizenship and class guilt.
A child whose limbs are bombed off by violent and paranoid settlers,
Whose parents are burned alive, with only a journalist left to bury the dead.
So many cities and civilizations risen and then razed by ambition and parochialism,
Lands swollen with latent forests bursting out of fertile Earth, disregarding any memorialisation of human impact.
Stone Age temples whose walls continue to be dusty with the salt of the dried sweat of slaves,
long dead,
Whose walls still echo ancient holy chants, multiple generations of monks and kings whose fervent faith and footsteps continue to reverberate through the temple halls.

No history is lost or discovered, only written and reconstructed.
Heritage is a choice; patterns and lineage can be illuminated in so many ways... Slightly more essential than arbitrary, yet way more deliberative than deterministic.
Today, I choose among my heritages, China, Malaysia, Singapore, America, Australia.
I choose, among my heritages, Peranakan, Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, and Pink Dot.
I choose, among my heritages, faggot grief and assimilationist defeat.
I choose, among my heritages, larrikin hope, and all the unfinished business of a world in constant change.

There is no tipping point... Revolutions are like the bursting forth of a collective will to cum, after the tension of preceding processions has become too much to hold or bear. Brief, jubilant relief... And still there is always that undertold story of the aftermath of orgasmic revolution... Not all cigarettes and starlight, not all smiles and deep sleep.
As the grandeur of people power subsides, the dawn may bring crumbled memories of a yesteryear no longer here,
Or worse still
That impending recreation of all the chronic ills that plagued us prior to revolution.
We are separated from one another, once again.
The beatings continue, among ourselves.

To revolve, revolve, revolve... Cycles and cycles of possibility and despair
A quiet evening, on a comfortable chair,
Sipping coffee,
Homesick for a culture that does not exist or has not arrived,
Building, brick by brick, a new world to house a childhood that was never quite as innocent as my memory might cherrypick.

The future is brightest at noon.

Pain Ramble

There is something lonely about harbouring chronic pain... While there may be others who have been through analogous ills, whether psychic or somatic, our own pains are humble reminders of our vulnerable separateness... Others can share interpretative tools to these pains, giving us perspective, convincing us of their relative inconsequentiality or impermanence (say, by offering imminent cures), or even by suggesting that we are not the first to have experienced anything quite as dire, but we are ourselves left to consent or not to consent to these interventions, nursing the sensations that course through our bodies and mind ourselves... Our any words, sounds, or convulsions but meek translations of an otherwise very private ordeal.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Impatient

I am feeling impatience around the ethical incompetence of bureaucrats in relationship building and community accountability.

Where does the money come from?
Where does the money go?

So much of this feels extraordinarily abysmal and heartbreaking and soul-destroying
at the same time that I cannot blame her and her and him,
nor will I overindulge in that exhausting spiritual gimmick (however relevant) of fixating on my own complicity...

I simply want to remain here
Yelling.
While everybody, including the gentler side of my own conscience,
simply shuts the fuck up
and listens.

Thoughts on Education

Some reflections...

One of the things I love most about moving through this period of my life is about my capacity to educate.

It is not that I necessarily wish to over-identify with the role of "teacher" or even of "educator", though they may be expediently and contextually pleasurable identities to loosely hold; rather, I am interested in how I am called into being a conduit between various schools of knowledge.

There is the Subject (which will be taught), the Teacher (who teaches the subject), and the Student (who is taught).

The Teacher teaches the Subject to the Student.

This, of course, is a conventional approach to education, and one which works perfectly well as a framework under many circumstances.

What I am interested in, in that process of transmission, where the Teacher is taught as much on the Subject as the Student is, through the process of Teaching.

It may be a cliche, but the best way to learn really is to teach!
Students ask provocative questions, questions that the Teacher cannot always answer... In that sense, the role of the Teacher is not necessarily the person who IS the repository of knowledge, but rather, is the conduit between a privileged access to knowledge and the Students who await, search for, or who are indeed, active co-participants in this transmission.

A learning community then.