Showing posts from August, 2009

Steampunking: Hello From the "Mysterious Orient"

To my esteemed peers, the children of Victoriana,

Whilst I deeply appreciate how the Industrial Revolution has greatly affected your knowledge of lands beyond your little island on the western side of the European continent, I must object to your calling of the lands of my origins as "the Mysterious Orient".

To be perfectly frank, I have never understood this term as being applicable once your empire began to colonize the Orient. In fact, it was never truly applicable as your various East India Companies (in the plural, for the British East India Company was never the only East India Company in existance) had been trading with us in the Orient since the 1700s - earlier, even. I can hardly fathom how we were so mysterious to you if you had already been visiting our lands since then.

However, I can forgive this slight - if we were still travelling between continents by great ships and using paper for communiques.

In this day and age, with the advent of the Internet with which we u…

Colourblind's Problematics: A Response to Keisha

A while back on my post "Colourblind", I got a very interesting comment:

1) What do you think defines a chinese or any other race? If one was American-Chinese but disconnected from Chinese culture, does that make the person more chinese, less chinese or not chinese at all? How does such a person identify himself?

Therein lies the crux of the problem. Labeling, stereotyping and then racism.

We need to start appreciating the differences at the individual level not by accepting human constructs of what is "chinese".Now, I appreciate where Keisha is coming from here. Like many others, I resisted the idea of labelling, because the whole thing about race is that it divvies up people.

In my archives, there is a series called "Quintessentially Chinese?" in which I ask her question: what defines a Chinese person?

As for the question of whether an Asian-American is more or less Asian than an Asian sourcelander (thanks, oyceter for the term!), that is really up to the in…

Review: Secret Identities

I first heard about Secret Identities from angry asian man, who is made of win. I tracked down a couple of the previews on Youtube where comic panels had been voiced over. The whole list can be found here.

In fact, Secret Identities was so well-marketed that even though I pre-ordered it through a local bookstore, I couldn't get my grubby little mitts on it until a month after it had come out, because the shippers kept running out of copies! To me, it was a very good sign, and I was hopeful that it was worth the wait.

Was it?

Oh yes.

Every page was worth the whole month.

When I first heard of the idea - an Asian-American Superhero Anthology - I was intrigued. I don't really like how these things center around America. I understand that the Asian diaspora reaches across and is most acknowledged in America, but Asians don't only live in America. There is a piece which is set in the Phillipines, with a set of siblings who share the same father. I have a strong feeling that the fath…

Re: Your Open House

So this is not going to be a very good metaphor, but it is a decent metaphor from my standpoint anyway. It combines two concepts, each of which I encountered in different places. But anyway.

We live in the same neighbourhood. For as long as our families have lived in this neighbourhood, your family generally is very... protective of the big house, the larger garden, the fruit tree. We regularly regale each other with stories of how the patriarch of your house would shoot people who got too close that he didn't invite or just plain didn't like. The shotgun the patriarchs have used through time sits grandly above the mantle opposite the front door for easy reach.

But now, you are having an open house. You are inviting as many people from our neighbourhood as possible to just come in, to the beer garden you've set up. To show your good faith, you leave the front door wide open so anybody can just come in.

I must admit, you are not a good host, because when we come to the door, y…

Two Thousand Years

Two thousand years ago, the subjugation of women was just about complete. The patriarchal religions were quite firmly entrenched. There were a few women rebels, but on the whole, women... stopped having power over their own lives. Women no longer made history as a collective. Women were erased, too.

Two hundred years ago, women started writing again. This was only a few women, and in response to troubles usually caused and perpetuated by a few men which affected everyone. But two hundred years ago, women began writing and began to find their voices again.

Two generations ago, we finally found some semblance of equality between men and women, at least, in certain places. We could go to school and we could work. It was not true equality. It still isn't true equality. But it resembles it, and gives us a foundation to build on.

It's been a hard journey, but now we can speak about -isms and acknowledge the problems within society, even though there are hateful screeds trying to silenc…

"Quintessentially Chinese"?: "China Doll" Edition

So my dad said the other day, "you could do better than the stereotypical China Doll makeup, but I know that's not your usual style."

This was in reference to a shoot I did a while back. (Yes, I model, but that's neither here nor there.) The theme of the shoot was "light fetish / pinup" and I was made up according to a reference picture of a retro pinup - plenty of blush, fake lashes, dark eyebrows, and red lipstick.

So, think about that combination for a moment. They're not exactly typical "China doll" makeup things, not in my mind. When I hear "China doll", I personally think "porcelain skin, large eyes".

So I had a look at the pictures, and I went, "huh. I guess I kinda do look China doll-like, especially from certain people's perspective."

It's the red lips, I figured. The red lips and red cheeks are reminiscent of Chinese opera.

My friend, the excellent Katherine o'Kelly, said that it had to do with my…

The More I See

I was reading a blog post on white privilege and general suspicion towards white people's examination of privilege without actually acting upon it. I was about ready to say, "at least they're thinking about it. Give them a chance" except she went on to discuss the plain fact that part of privilege means being able to remove oneself from the non-privileged situation.

For example, I can afford to live in a decent neighbourhood. Given the choice between a neighbourhood that has a high level of crime and a decent neighbourhood, I can choose to live in the latter neighbourhood. I can't run away from the fact that at the end of the day, I have this choice.

I do what little I can to mitigate other people's lack thereof. I can, for a brief period of time, extend what I experience every day to someone less privileged. There's much more I can be doing, I'm sure, and I surely don't have the power to do it all, but I can share a little bit of privilege, even if…

Welcome to the 3rd Asian Women Blog Carnival!

When I was in a car with my parents one day, and my mum was nagging me about getting a boyfriend, social networking so I could find one, so on so forth, and make sure it got done before I was "on the shelf," I pointed out that she'd never nagged my brother the same way. She said, "you're a girl. Things are different for girls."

Now, mind you, this comes from a strong-minded woman who married and had kids in her late 20's/early 30's, and I thought, "so kuno." ("Kuno" means "old-fashioned". Like, seriously old-fashioned. Like, previous civilization's old-fashioned.)

It wasn't the first example of sexism in my life, and not the last. But when I think of how sexism manifested in my culture, I think of that moment. Malaysian women I've read in the papers have claimed that feminism isn't applicable to what goes on in our country. Because, of course, we all know that women are human in Malaysia.

Except, of course,…


I am back! Somewhat. Posting will be slightly less daily than before. And watch this space for the 3rd Asian Women Blog Carnival!!!