Thursday, March 30, 2006

Across the stars

There was this restaurant we used to go to, me and my parents that is. It was a cozy small family restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Once in a while we'll just drive down and have some family time. Of course it usually involved my mom discussing lottery and soccer pools while my dad happily made good use of her distraction to indulge in some good old army rum. Being the restless kid that I was, I'd usually run out the shop and rest myself neatly on the trunk of my dad's beloved honda accord, it was a really cool car. I used to look up into the nightsky and gaze away the time, occassionally imagining myself gliding amidst those white candles. I could have done that for hours, I really could. Guess you could call it my choice of what i call "solitary shell". That's where I usually felt most comfortable.

I had a momentary revisitation to such an instance last night. I wasn't sure why I looked up at the sky but I'm glad to have done so. I don't need a big party you see. Sure I would love one but you can't have rainbows everyday can you? Sometimes I guess one just realizes that he's past the stage of longing for things he can't possibily afford at the moment and sink himself into resentment for not being in the capacity to do so. Or worse, when god gives you a theme park to just take it away from you the next day (watch Cartmanland).

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that, I trive on simple moments. Probably because that's all I can have right now. That's why I hate it when someone takes it from me, since it leaves me with less than nothing. The only sad part is that I think i'm the only one who finds joy in simplicity.

This post is jaded i know, and probably doesn't make much of a point nor maintains coherence with the choice of words. Then again it's always been that way when i attempt to discuss the topic I'm trying to. I guess that's because the odds are against me and deep inside i know that it's probably a game i can't possibily win, yet i can't learn to quit. Heh I feel like Ralph Nadar.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Black Friday Once More

I ain't known for practising reactionary measures, be it positive or negative, even though I'll admit I hold grudges to a number of people dating back to as young as my primary school days. Yet I'm really quite grateful for what people around me does for me, be it emotional support, welfare programmes or... with respects to my latest episode, bailing me out of deportation. Unfortunately my network is tainted with perceptions of "taking sides" and "threats to one's position". My feelings towards all this? I believe Ahmed's comment is the one true word that captures my every emotion. I'm upset, I really am. But I'm still alright to smile. Why? you ask and i answer, I'm amused as much as i'm upset.

To me it's the same story. Same characters. Similar stimulus. Same climax and resolution. The only difference is time and the role I played. Last year, I took action on what I felt was the right thing to do. The end result was a nasty one, and something that went unnoticed except for a handful of people. In the process of trying to commit to a set of beliefs I subscribed to then, I ended up questioning the character of the one person i knew best. I hurt that person of course, and I truly never forgave myself for doing so. For those of you who has an idea of what I am referring to, 'yes' I to this very moment feel things went out of control and I regret having contributed to it. What was meant to be discourse and reconciliation plummetted into a, well what one might call it "character assasination". It's no secret and I've alway resonated that in the public domain, lest i get accused of being a sly, cunning backstabber. I must add that such a character only exist when one percieves the existance of a division in a group of people or "sides" as it has been popularaly dubbed lately. I ain't one of those who subscribe to it.

The reason I would bring up such an old ascapade is not because I live in the past but merely because it was the position I tried my level best to avoid yet failed miserably. This time it wasn't a Friday but a Tuesday. My efforts at attempting to broker a fair middle ground went futile despite what seemed to had been a satisfactory end to the day. Not more than six hours later, I had been labeled to be an ungrateful, arrogant and backstabbing person filled from head to toe with intent of malice with no considerations for the well being of my club no more worthy to be compared to anything but a,my personal favourite insult, poodle. Some people went on to even describe my actions as "disservice to the club", well of course it doesn't really matter because it didn't come from none of the members.

This whole transition, i guess is what makes me upset yet puts a smile across my face. Quite evidently nobody heard me out. They heard only what they wanted to hear, ignored what they wished to ignore, misrepresented the message I intended to put across and exaggerated my every blunder, or in some cases the lack of opinion. My words and position somehow incited a chain of doubt... actually I'd really rather not use that word, I've got a phobia... a chain of thoughts which questioned my core character. In short, they downplayed my merits and overplayed my flaws. Sure I'll admit, I chose to not disclose certain information which might not contribute to the dialogue, I chose to not go against certain beliefs that people probably didn't like to hear and gave certain opinions regarding the consequences of having two characters that command attention in the club. Perhaps the only thing that warrented a level of anger would be my opinion that some actions committed by certain individuals, including myself, in the past had propagated a level of predjudice towards the people in question that day. This really isn't something I say behind people's back is it? I've raised it before and I have always tried to actively remove such prejudice and bridge the distance that had been established in the past. I witnessed this emotion handicapping and victimising the defendents on Tuesday and merely tried to draw away the situation from turning out to what one might say... "The Nuremberg Trials". That's how it turned out last year, wouldn't you agree?

What really amazes me is how whatever described in the last paragraph was translated by a few emotionally charged and highly biased individuals into actions worthy of description as betrayal at best and treason at worst. This automatic assumption, as that of AUDC and announcements translated into "malicious lies", that because I merely believed that certain aspects of their case should be defended, I am out to get the very person I'm assisting to train the club's Asians squad. That somehow I am labeled as "one of those arrogant fucks". Nobody really bothered to hear my side of the story and those who did chose to rather believe the version coming from the evidently confused. Heh I kinda reminds me about my first encounter with a a catholic church a couple of weeks ago, care to elaborate Kelvin? Now yeah I agree to a few lines I read from another blog. Learn from it and stop being insecure. Stop fucking seeing each other as threats and stop fucking imposing this idea of "sides" into your heads.

I don't blame anyone really. As much as it would be easier to simply pinpoint a few people and say "you damaged people, incapable of rational dialogue, misrepresented my every word.", I truly believe I'm the one to blame. People judge one's current action based on those in the past and interpretations have been made. I don't quite see a point in asking them to change what they already percieve of my character. All i care about now is what the club feels about me and if they still adamantly resent my actions on Tuesday last, I'll be happy do whatever you ask of me. And if the coach wishes me to stay away from training, I'll willingly do so even if such sentiments stems from his better half.

This club is nobody's baby. No one member owns it more than another. We all own it together and when that ownership was threatened... well I really had a heavy heart and genuine concern for those being threatened yesterday. I will defend anyone on the accused end as long as i don't see any intent against the squad.

Qian Hui said yesterday, "you can't take that away from us". I don't think it meant her pride and ego. It was simply a cry that probably meant "You can't take the club away from us.". Each of us have done our role and if anyone wishes question another's very involvement in their club, I plead you guys, do it without victimising them, and those that attempt to defend their ground. Prejudice spreads so easily don't it?

And those of you going around thinking it's cool to say "how much of a punch do you pack?"

Feel free to stand before me or STFU already. I'm sure my terrorist friend would resonate my "bold statement".

Well feel free to despise me. Call me what you wish and spread the word. I have resigned to my fate of being enlisted in the blacklist of people's personal records and probably certain organisations. But don't ever fuckin take away the club from me, or anyone who's played a role in its history. If there ever is a time I turn my back on the years of commitment I had put it, I'll walk away from it myself. I give you my word that I won't "overstay my welcome".

On another note, it's about time i made a disclaimer that whatever posted on this blog, hereby referred to as "Wallmart"... appearantly... doesn't represent anyone's views but mine alone.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Karma- chameleon

If there is joy, there will be sorrow

If there is sorrow, there will be joy

If there is despair, there will be fuckin hope

I never truly understood where karma begins and ends but i've had a first hand experience on it in the last couple of days. When everything finally seemed to be going fine, something simply had to screw up. God bless the "holy trinity" whose grace had saved my sorry ass. If i may add I'm quite flattered to be dubbed the term "holy trinity". For those who question its existence and how it implicates lives of those in particular interest groups, I must admit that we do not intend any harm.

We don't exist in a vacum you see. We are not merely bound by success, arrogance and certain bitter defeats. It is the laughter and, consistantly in my case, tears that truly bind our trio. The selflessness and will to help one another in times of need when all hope seem to have diminished. I am grateful, I really am. God is kind to have blessed me with such amazing, and forgiving, souls to carry me across the hurdles of life. I pray things don't get worse. I finally have hope in life and to an extent faith in God, and there's just one ingredient missing. I can't help but wish that life will bend its rules and grant me with an extra chance. But that is a story only time can tell.

We don't stick together to piss people off. We stick together because we're family. Thanks guys for being there, despite the occassional irritations you inject into my mind.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Blasphemy!

Now that's a word we hear all the time. I've been contemplating on making a post about this for quite some time but

1) I needed to gather more information regarding it

2) I don't want ISD knocking on my front door

I've decided to give it a shot at making a case on why EU does have a point in backing up cartoonists, before I go on to evaluate the legitimicy of newspapers to print the materials in question. Should a liberal government intervene? The answer would be an astounding NO.

Blasphemy and democracy

The tricky clash of principles in this area is that while the freedom of expression and opinion is regarded as an inalienable right(dubbed underpinning of democracy), we also have to note that the right to hold on to a certain belief without fear of discrimination or prejudice also commands much attention. Thus the concept of hate speeches comes into picture. The only intent behind any laws curtailing the freedom of speech should be to protect our citizens from potential harm. We have to be very clear on the difference between blasphemy laws and laws that protect religious groups. Blasphemy laws protect beliefs, not citizens and thus enforces the idea that one particular set of beliefs is the "correct" model of governence. It is evidently undemocratic as it nullifies the entire concept of equal representation and that every individual has a right to his own beliefs. Blasphemy laws are also theocracy's favourite tool to clamp down on well... "heritics" like the opposition party, human rights movements, women's right movement, the oppostion, the opposition and the opposition.

So if any government were to pass media laws to disallow the depiction of the prophet mohammed in print, it will have to do so by building up a case that such material endangers a group of people and incites hatred towards that particular group. Let's evaluate this rationally. So far the muslim community around the world had been "offended" due to the sacriledge that the western infidels are making a cartoon of the prophet. Quite clearly every expression has the perpensity to usually offend someone be it politicians, hippies, green activists, fat kids or black men who wants to be white. The problem is that being offended is far from being threatend by KKK out in the streets. One will have to prove that these cartoons had had a malicious intent of targeting hate crimes towards muslims, you know like hardcore evidence of journalist going out in the streets and giving out "Exterminate the Arab infidels!" posters, or American red necks offering reward money for anyone who kills the filthy non-republicans who burn flags. Now that's something that incite hatred.

Does it qualify as a "hate crime"?

That of course puts us in a very gray area of whether the prophet in a turban shaped like a bomb would incite reigious intolerance towards muslims. I'lll still go with NO. The message attached to such a script at the most extreme level of interpretation will read, "Muslims are terrorists". That's not really an idea the journalists are trying to instill into the public but one instilled by the duet of National Security Laws and Hollywood blockbusters. Sure stereotypes are offensive but that doesn't mean we can prove that it will lead to a hate crime. For decades our papers been flooded with propagation of stereotypes such as Chinese have small eyes, Filipinoes are maids and hispanics are drug dealers. The bottom line is that the paper merely articulate the presence of stereotypes, not condamn that particular group.

Is there any value in these cartoons?

Responsible media communicates certain values contributing to political dialogue. Even if there is no value attached to a certain publication, it merely means that the press in question is irresponsiblie, NOT illegitimante. Quite interestingly, we must note that while muslims across the world were busy rallying and stepping on the Danish flag, certain arabic publications had attempted to reprint the "blasphemeous figures". Presshouses in Yemen, Jordan and very surprsingly Saudi Arabia's "Shams", had reprinted the materials just to be shut down the next day. It's a dim suggestion of moderate muslims who share a similar with Jyllands-Posten perspective on exploring the limits of dialogue. I've always been a supporter of the "evolving docterine" ideology and I truely respect the "Shams" for their attempt to articulate a the potential message behind the cartoons. The newspaper published along with the "offensive material", opinions from influential clerics saying information which is offensive to Muslims can still be printed if it helps acquaint them with an issue.

Nobody usually challenges a religion and win, and those who do either become saints or sinners. I'm in no position to question the workings of a religion but I'm very comfortable to say that if someone does wish to challenge institutional docterine, he has every right to do so without predjudice or prosecution. Hey, our beliefs is what makes us human isn't it?