Category Archives: Uncategorized

Young and Foolish

I have returned, the prodigal daughter. It really is amusing to see how I felt and what I wrote back in 2014. I had a lot of feelings! And opinions! Still do, but I feel that my entire being is slightly muted now. I’m not jaded or anything, but I certainly am slightly more composed. Which could be a good or bad thing.

I do want to get back in the habit of writing here. I like writing and I want to write, but I find that the fear of not being eloquent enough holds me back a lot of the time. And I don’t think I can get more eloquent if I don’t write. Hence the return, despite the mountain (mountain) of work I have undone/overdue.

I was talking to Lydia for a long time last night about the world and Singapore and SOTA and came to the realisation that we are extremely idealistic. I don’t think that should be conflated with naivety- we know things aren’t easy, but there remains a cautious optimism that change is possible, whether it’s in arts regulation in Singapore or racism in America. And I’m really excited to grow even more with everyone else in our batch (and our school) and see the change we make in the world, because I really do think SOTA kids will create a heck of a lot of change.

I don’t mean this in an elitist sense, but I do find that SOTA kids generally have trouble ‘integrating’ with the rest of Singaporean society.

Lydia and I came to the conclusion that we have been greatly shaped by our exposure to Western culture. Not just the media or pop culture, but in our academics as well. Academia is very Western. What we learn, the essays we write, are undoubtedly drawing on Western influences that distinguish us from most Singaporeans. I quickly realised this in my Youth Corps experience, through which I have made great friends who I don’t think I can fully relate to because there is just a part of us, our understanding of the world, that is irrevocably different.

We experience a very different Singapore. And I can’t help but wonder how we will reconcile these differences once we’re out of the bubble and thrown into the depths of the workforce. Time will tell, I guess. Cautious optimism.

 

innocence

The back corridor of the year 4 classrooms face out to Prinsep Street where the new NTUC Income building has been built and they have a kindergarten there for the children whose parents work in NTUC Income and they have a little rooftop garden playground. Sometimes they play there and they’re so loud and happy you can hear them from outside class. They’re not even playing a proper game, just running around. And earlier today I went out during math to escape Sim Kan Chong’s voice (he is a good teacher and he tries but I have math every single day I cannot take it anymore) and me and some people watched those children. Playing. Colouring. And I came to a bitter realisation that I will never be as happy as when I was a child. Ignorance is bliss and I cannot get back my innocence. And it will only get worse. It’s not that I’m sad, not being ignorant means knowing about many many good things and (in my opinion) they far outweigh the bad stuff in this world it’s just that that knowledge and school and life and responsibilities that other people put on me and I put on myself is just such a mental load. 

I need a holiday. 

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stupid guy is ignorant

I read this really stupid article and it made me angry so I blog about it/practice for ARC critiques with it (jk this is very disorganised I would do badly if this were an ARC critique)

‘Why persecuting homosexuals is all the rage in the developing world’ by Damian Thompson

Could it be colonialism and it’s oppressive laws and religious impacts? Could it be the spread of the evangelical movement by Americans with burning homophobia? No, it MUST be that they are jealous of the developed West. (I’m talking mainly about the SE Asian side of things because that’s all I know)

Apparently this guy hates getting accused of racism when he argues about gay rights in Asian and Middle Eastern countries and says this is why people feel more comfortable arguing for gay rights in Russia. I’m so sorry you feel uncomfortable sticking up for people’s rights. But you know, getting accused of racism is hard, we should all just ignore people being oppressed. This guy gave a quick passing mention of the influence of the conservative West on the persecution of homosexuals but moved on to his main point which is that the MAIN reason, which HE would know of course, is that developing countries are jealous of the rich West and need something else to go against it. He notes that the only anti-gay country that isn’t economically stagnant is India. The ONLY. ‘Note that China, preoccupied by money, can’t be bothered to climb aboard the anti-gay bandwagon.’ Yes, because what other reasons do Asians have to not be homophobic? Surely the only reason is money. He says they need something else to unite against the West because anti colonialism is struggling. He is partially right on that, it is struggling. Because many of these countries accepting COLONIAL laws. Progressive gay rights in the West (which is EXTREMELY divided okay so go talk about yourself) are NOT a ‘neo-imperialist assault on their ancient way of life’ (a ridiculous assumption-like this guy even knows about ‘their ancient way of life’). A lot of anti gay laws came from colonial times and evangelical influence. (Read How American evangelicals made life unbearable for gays in Uganda ) Oftentimes their ‘ancient way of life’ was a lot more accepting than yours. Obviously I am not advocating these laws, or completely shifting the blame to the West. But the ignorance in his article was astounding and annoying and I was annoyed about it so I had to write this. 

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Stupid Politicians & White After Labour Day

-Before I actually start my rant, a side note about the ‘no white after Labour Day rule’. I was thinking about this because the Legally Blonde musical has been stuck in my head for two weeks now and at one point Elle mentions it. Then I realised I actually have no idea where this strange rule came from and I googled it. Basically, after the American Civil War, rich women found that more people were getting rich and wanted to separate the young money from the snobby old money. So they created many ridiculous fashion rules to tell them apart, one of which was this rule. Somehow from a couple hundred of them, it trickled down to everyone. Those snobby ladies would be horrified. Upon further reflection I have realised the PAP don’t follow this rule! Haha-

Okay, so for real. Recently the HPB updated their FAQ page to include parts about sexuality.  I was actually super moved when I read it because it is SO GOOD it was actual information that didn’t say homosexuality was abnormal or anything I did not expect this from the HPB at all.

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Look so amazing! Anyway everyone was like ‘yay’! At least the ‘everyone’ I know but I stupidly decided to read the inSing article on it and read what some stupid people said and it made me so angry. Very stupid Facebook user “Serene Ho” wrote: “I am aghast to see this webpage that seems to support homosexuality on the Health Promotion Board website. Pardon my ignorance but I cannot understand how this webpage can help Singapore to build stable families which consist of a man and a woman as parents for our young children.” SHE JUST SAID SHE WAS IGNORANT. SHE KNOWS THAT IS IS IGNORANT. What even. Read that annoying Pastor Lawrence Khong’s post on it if you like more ignorant things ugh . I don’t understand why these people are so obsessed with nuclear families. 

AND THEN my MP (I’m pretty sure he’s my MP) Lim Biow Chuan said some stupid things. 
“Mr Lim also felt that some of the answers in the FAQ seemed to present opinions as facts. He cited the answer provided to the question “Can homosexuals have long-lasting relationships?”, which was: “Yes, homosexuals can certainly have long-lasting relationships. A homosexual relationship, like any other relationship, is based on values like trust, love, commitment and support.” Mr Lim said there were no conclusive studies supporting this statement and added that it could have captured the diverse views on the issue. “From what I have read, there are really diverse opinions to it, so when there are diverse opinions, you have to honest about it- that some people feel this way, some people feel it the other way- and let readers judge for themselves,” he said.”
OKAY 1) how articulate 2) So a heterosexual couple’s relationship is automatically based on values like trust, love, commitment and support?

All of this is ridiculous because all that FAQ provides are FACTS. They aren’t opinions. They’re telling to HPB to take down FACTS? And they harp on about being ‘pro-family’ but would probably reject their children if they were gay. These people can have whatever bigoted OPINIONS they want but to use their political platforms to push their religious agenda (Lim Biow Chuan is a church leader) -which seeks to discriminate and deny people their rights- they CANNOT do. Singapore is a SECULAR country? I really do not understand why our ministers seem to only represent the middle class Chinese, Christian Singaporeans (Christians make up only 18% of our population, a surprising statistic. I really thought they were like 60%)

And then (okay this is the part I wanted to talk about in the first place wow this has taken quite a while wow I’m quite annoyed right now) Baey Yam Keng said that the FAQs lacked “Asian values of family”. OKAY. I read a book about this in the holidays it’s called What Your Teacher Didn’t Tell You, which sounds like a crappy sensationalist book with dumb facts but it’s actually just a very badly titled collection of lectures by Malaysian academic Farish A. Noor, who happens to be gay. Anyway, I was unaware about this before because we NEVER learn about in school, but South East Asia had a very very colourful history. But all that changed when the Fire Nation attacked. I mean, when the British colonised. Before Islam (which actually only showed up here in the 18th Century I think? So much earlier than I thought), the people here were all extremely Indian influenced and were more chill about sexuality and stuff (tell that to some of my relatives and the Indian government who brought back the stupid colonial ban on gay sex). It’s 1am and I have to wake up early tomorrow so I won’t bother to go check it but there was something about a prince/princess with an extremely fluid gender identity (omg we are not even talking about trans* rights in Singapore) and girls and guys were attracted to her/him and everyone was cool with it. Something along those lines but much longer and more cheem. Anyway so don’t give me that Asian values crap. Don’t blame your bigotry on a nonexistent tradition and admit that it is because your religion and/or ignorance and has no basis in a secular country. 

There is so much more I can say, but basically all of this arguing is pointless. Gay rights are not an ‘opinion’ someone has, that is like saying racial equality is an ‘opinion’. They are called rights for a reason and I’m disgusted that the ignorant people who lead our community, who can profess to want to build a ‘democratic society, based on justice and equality’, deprive people of just that. Especially in the light of what is happening in Russia recently, and in so many other places in the world where being gay can get you raped or killed or beaten up, this is reflective of the intolerance of our politicians and society, and is a reason why no matter how many new buildings they build, or how much they try to expand the arts scene with their weird social engineering, we are simply not a first world country. To end on a positive note, views in Singapore are changing. A few years ago the HPB didn’t even TALK about this let alone make an amazing FAQ. Also outside of the government, more and more Singaporeans are trying to create social change themselves. 

(okay not ending yet) All this said though, today I was in Chingay and played ukelele with old people from community centres all around Singapore. The whole thing is super PAP but it was fun and the getai float was in front of us and it sounded great and seeing all the performers and talking to the cute old people (one old lady said Chingay was ‘lame’ she had white hair and she used the world lame) makes me remember the nice parts of Singapore. And all the ministers were watching and as I walked past I thought ‘assholes’ and that gave me so much satisfaction. (okay done)

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CNY Procrastination Movies

CNY holidays just passed and I got a little bit of money (I need to sneak into Chinese homes and receive more money) Anyway I did no visiting and had four whole days to catch up on work, so of course I did just that! Just kidding, I did the opposite of that and did zero work! (That’s not the complete truth I started catching up on my Theatre journal and stopped… half… way.) My mother was just in my room giving me the daily lecture how I have to focus on my work, IB is next year blah blah and she said stuff about how I can focus on my work first and then watch tv shows/ tumblr/ waste my life later. That sounds deceptively easy. I WANT to do that but I just cannot bring myself to? It’s a serious problem I don’t know why I cannot just will myself to do work this has been going on forever and over time I haven’t gotten better at managing time I’ve gotten better at doing last minute work this is HORRIBLE habit but I cannot stop it is an actual problem and it’s not just me I have many friends who have the same exact problem? I read some article about how procrastinators procrastinate because they’re just really scared to do work because it might not be good enough. That sounds nice but how do I stop this? Really please help. Anyway this is procrastination and here are some of my opinions on two movies I watched during the CNY holidays. 

                                                                                              Steel Magnolias

This movie is the 1989 one (they did a 2012 remake with black people instead, Queen Latifah was in it but I didn’t watch that one). This one had a lot of super cool people in it like baby Julia Roberts, Sally Fields, and Dolly Parton! I did not know this but Dolly Parton was really pretty before she got that plastic surgery. Anyway this movie is about a group of ladies going through LIFE in the SOUTH. The title kind of explains it they’re supposed to be frail Southern ladies so magnolias but they go through lots of stuff and they’re strong like steel. Sally Fields is Julia Roberts mother and Dolly Parton is a hairdresser and she has this other assistant and they have to other old lady friends and they just go through life. The movie isn’t a story about an event it just goes to different events in their lives.  The tone of the whole movie was really nice and it has super good complementary music. I guess this could be described as a chick flick? But not the girl gets guy kind more like the kind you would watch with your mother and cry together about. I did cry in the movie it was really really sad at one part. But it balances out with the laughter and friendship part. It was a really good movie. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 67% but I give it 74% because it was nice. 

From Up On Poppy Hill

This is a Studio Ghibli movie! I LOVE Studio Ghibli and I love this movie but it is not the epic fantasies they usually put out like Princess Mononoke (my favourite!!) or Spirited Away (Grave of The Fireflies is not an epic fantasy but quite drama so I’m including it) This one’s set in Japan after the war before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. It’s bit more low key and directed by the younger Miyazaki. It’s about a girl named Umi whose father was a captain of a ship but his ship sank during the Korean war but his body was never found and her mother is studying in America and she lives in a boarding house with her siblings and raises flags every day facing the docks, hoping that her father will see them and answer her. So (according to the movie I don’t know these things) at that time Japan was trying to push back the past and move to modernity with the Olympics and in Umis school there are some boys who have this weird old house which houses all the academic CCAs but only for boys? and it’s under threat of being demolished. And there is a super cute boy there really he is very very cute and they kind of have a crush on each other and she helps out there. Then there is a PLOT TWIST but I cannot tell you it would ruin it. When I realised the plot twist I screamed ‘WHAT’ a lot it was really a shock and had the potential to be handled terribly but it was handled okay and I really liked the movie it was sweet and nostalgic and I really like the tone of the whole thing. Rotten Tomatoes gives this 83% and I give it the same it was pretty good not fantastic but still very enjoyable. 

Anyway in between writing this I did all the work I have due tomorrow I really have to figure out this procrastination thing and these movies are nice and you should watch them

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Questions

So we had a discussion in school about arts as a livelihood in school today and I still have some questions that I really have NO ANSWER to 

1) Does Mediacorp realise it sucks? I have yet to get through any Channel 5 or 8 show without cringing every few minutes. Do people approve the scripts? WHO is writing there? (He Lao hahaha)

2) Theoretically our government should be our representatives why are they more like kinda friendly dictators? What happened??

3) Do these people making the renaissance plan seriously expect a thriving arts scene with them breathing down people’s necks censoring things and not funding struggling artists enough? (Actually I do have an answer for that, they’ve half given up and focus on importing our art. like MBS’ Lightseeker, whatever that is, like they import our athletes)

4)How can they go on about increasing acceptance and appreciation for the arts when the principal of an ARTS SCHOOL says only half of the graduating cohort (who did very well) got ‘quality grades’ (okay this point is just because I need to say that that was TERRIBLE word choice and reflective of her attitudes towards what constitutes success) 

 

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feminist

It sounds like a swear word when I used to say it. Like it referred to a group of people I didn’t understand, that I laughed at when they were made fun of on sites like 9gag along with the 12 year old boys making those jokes. I nodded my head when a guy made an offhanded remark that he didn’t believe in feminists because men should have rights as well. Didn’t blink when a friend commented that a girl we saw on the street’s skirt was so short it was like she was asking to get raped. I viewed feminists as a weird group of undatable lesbians who were crazy and burned bras and hated men. What do you mean we need feminism? Of course women have equal rights, we can vote!

But that was before people on Tumblr evolved from making those same 9gag jokes in 2011 to where text posts and fandoms became a huge thing. And there, people showed that it was possible to critique those shows and fandoms and still enjoy them, where people were feminists and still pretty and had boyfriends who were feminists and could still enjoy problematic media and have fun and not be a bummer and at the same time pointed out the stereotype of feminists were ugly lesbians who hated men was because people want to view them as unable to get men, which is what our society views as the Most Important Thing. I realised all feminism meant was equal rights for men and women. And feminism isn’t against men, but the patriarchy, which includes men and women. And men’s rights are part of feminism as well, because the patriarchal ideals of masculinity are very very damaging to boys.

Learning all of these things and more, I see why feminism in needed every day. When I see the wage gap between men and women and studies and how blind auditions are needed for orchestras to eliminate gender bias (http://gu.com/p/3jen2/tw). When I tweet a video about harmful tropes in video games and a guy I though was cool replied with a video reply from a condescending brony wearing a fedora picking the girl in the video apart and saying she doesn’t really understand video games, completely missing the point of her video and saying feminists are all destroying the world (He really said that! Feminism is not an organisation??). When ‘Men’s Rights Activists’ (not really) on Reddit frequently send rape threats to women. When my brother is told he can’t like a certain toy because ‘it’s for girls’.

I read more about it and I see there is not one right way to be ‘feminist’ and it is an ongoing discussion,with people contradicting each other all the time. (See: ‘feminist’ criticism of Tauriel’s storyline in The Hobbit, because she went back to save Killi. a)He was dying and she was his only shot at living, why would she be like NAH I don’t need a man therefore I won’t save this guy’s life. b)I think it is very feminist to subvert the damsel in distress trope and also see that needing to be saved is not an inherently weak position.) and it is such a broad scope and there are so many things to factor in (race, gender) and it affects different people on so many different levels (eg a woman in a third world country worried about if she can go to school and a woman in a first world country worrying about whether she can break the glass ceiling at work).

I see that is is getting better, with that infographic of women in media floating around a lot more, with Hollywood movies that passed the Bechdel test (A test that simply asks if a movie has two or more women in it that talk to each other about something other than a man) earned way more than movies that didn’t- not a big surprise considering women make up a large percentage of the population and not seeing yourself represented at all on film can be off putting (However, Hollywood listens to money so that should convince them), with Beyoncé putting out a song featuring African writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s TED speech on feminism. But then I go back to the real world and see that maybe it isn’t, when a guy asked me if I wanted to be nurse since my dad is a doctor and I see the shock register on his face when he hears my mother is a doctor as well. When people throw around the words slut and whore and bitch and use the words cunt and pussy and girl are what we consider to be most demeaning things we can call each other. 

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I see that sometimes I am part of the problem, and sometimes people I love are part of the problem. And that the patriarchy is ingrained in our society. And that I can recognise that and I can point it out. And that sometimes I’m scared to do that because people would think I’m a bummer if I ever bring up the dreaded f-word (feminist). And that I shouldn’t be scared, because that friend who said the girl who was wearing a short skirt was asking to be raped could be a lawyer someday defending a rapist and that is what’s really scary.

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Why Does Everyone Care So Much About Miley Cyrus

WHY

disclaimer this is just a rant and not very organised

1) I can see the whole argument people make where she is appropriating black culture. The way she is coming from a position of privilege makes her appropriation seem condescending. All the black women performing with her in the VMAs seemed to be more like props and her twerking is terrible and not twerking. And all of this has thrust this part of the culture into the faces of ignorant old people who judge it and immediately brush it off as trashy. BUT I think she knows that she is shocking these people as this completely flips their view of her as the ‘innocent white girl’ and confuses them. Also yes cultural appropriation sucks but the whole 1920s flapper thing  and Elvis Presley’s music was all taken from black culture and warped.`

2)But what about the children??? This is really dumb like there are so many things way more provocative than Miley Cyrus if you don’t like them so much shield your own child stop being so lazy and blaming people. And yeah she was Hannah Montana but it’s not like Disney is still touting her as a role model seriously Hannah Montana has been off for so long what stupid child still watches it and looks up to her there are so many more current things they look up to.

3)Her music is terrible and meaningless and she cannot sing. THANKS FOR YOUR SUPREME JUDGEMENT NOW THAT YOU HAVE PASSED THE VERDICT OF GOOD OR BAD WE CAN FINALLY KNOW WHETHER OR NOT TO RESPECT MILEY CYRUS THANKS. And her music is meaningful listen to her album!! We Can’t Stop OBVIOUSLY is talking about how nobody can judge her and make her do what they want! And who says music has to be super meaningful? Tell me what Lionel Richie’s Dancing on The Ceiling means! And listen to her backyard covers SHE SINGS GOOD.

4)She is such a SLUT! Um have you paid attention to any of the other people at the VMAs? Or even Madonna? They have all done way more provocative things years ago, Miley isn’t doing anything new. It just shocks people because she has only been known as Billy Ray Cyrus’s Disney child star daughter and suddenly she is sexualised, unlike these other people whose childhoods we have not seen.

I think Miley KNOWS what she is doing and she is using it to her advantage to shock people. You could ask yourself why she would want to build up this kind of image for herself, but she has spent her entire life in a world where image is just that- an image, an exterior that can be changed.

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A Scientific Case Against Rape Jokes

Raj Sivaraman

Imagine you are offered the opportunity to run a business.  You are welcome to sell whatever you want, so you think to yourself, “What do I want to sell?”  You notice that a lot of businesses are selling matches and gasoline, so you think, “I’ll open up a Match and Gasoline store!” and business does really well (better than those other idiots who decided to open up cupcake shops).  You’re making lots of money selling matches and gasoline, but over time, people start mentioning to you that some people who shop at your store burn down buildings.

You say, “That’s not really my problem.”

They say, “But you supply them with matches and gasoline. You are complicit in their arson!”

You say, “I AM A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER! YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO! THIS IS AMERICA!”

They say, “We’re just trying to inform you that your actions might…

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