April 2013


*After university I didn’t know what to do with myself.  So I wandered round SEAsia for a few years.  You know: one way ticket, wander till I ‘find myself,’ blah, blah, blah… 

Sometimes I get sentimental about those days, in hindsight it all seemed so effortless.  But I kept journals.  And I wrote (and kept) emails.  So despite what my stupid mind today might think, my stupid mind from yesterday is there to remind me.  It’s interesting to look back though, so though I have already posted some old writings (like here and here), in the next little while I think I will post a few more. 

So if you’d care to join me, here are some words from young me, just as stupid as current me, just in a slightly different way…

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This photo was taken as we pushed off, still at a very calm and peaceful part of the river. After it started to get a little choppy (not yet white water), the guy in front asked to switch places with me. I agreed.  And then this happened…

– Java, Indonesia. 2002 –

<”LEGS FORWARD!!! LEGS FORWARD!!!”> roared the rafting guides in Indonesian.

Despite the raging torrents of water rushing around me I could hear the panic in their voices.  In the fleeting moments of visibility granted by the rushing river I had fallen into I could see the yellow raft and the desperate gaze of my fellow white-water rafters.

It dawned on me as I was uncontrollably dragged down river, or perhaps it was when I struck a boulder violently with my right shoulder, that perhaps falling into rapids at the top of rocky, fast moving, white water might not be in the best interest of my health. (more…)

[*this is a follow up article to “Anti-Racism/Sexism & Individualism” where I liken postmodern politics to a modern form of divide and conquer.]

0_todel_boston_drones

A bomb in Boston:
   – Outcry! Terrorism! Bad!
   – What terrorism? The US is the real terrorist!
   – Why are they blaming brown people! That’s racist! Racism is bad!

A school shooting in America:
     – Tragedy!  Ban guns!  Guns are bad!
     – Arm the teachers; bad guys are bad!
     – I hope it’s not a shooter of colour.  [see: “Racism is bad.”]

Here’s the thing.  I’m equal parts sympathetic, and confused and saddened, by this standard Western outcry.

I’m confused because of the gap between the reaction and the root causes.  And I’m sympathetic because it’s a fully understandable reaction—if not for accidents of personal history I would most likely be of similar mind.

Looking at media (mainstream and social) after moments like these, it seems to me that we in the West live with a cough syrup political mentality.

Millions of people swear by cold medicines, good people, friends and family even.  They feel a cold coming on and they pop the pills, or gulp down the syrups.

And yet–
–they don’t work. (more…)

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Oh. I wish someone had told me earlier they were just waiting on me… sorry all!

I was in the car and in slow traffic, the DVP (the major highway leading to downtown Toronto) was closed for the weekend and the local streets were jammed.

Along the way I was listening to talk radio on a college station.  It was playing a lecture by a black feminist from the States (I came in late so I don’t know her name).  She was your standard post-modern, identity politics, POC scholar.

The lecture was about the problems of racism and sexism.  The issue basically boiled down to individuals not having done the personal political work to liberate their minds from patriarchy and white power (with passing mention to intersections with class).

I didn’t agree with much of the lecture.  In fact it mostly saddened me.  I saw it as divisive and supportive of the current power structures that use racism and sexism as tools of oppression.

But of course I did listen.  It was like an aural car wreck, and as one is wont while driving, I was transfixed. (more…)