Showing posts from 2010

#talkaboutit Rough Sex, Boundary Pushing, Expectations

This has been retweeted in #talkaboutit for a bit, it's Louis C.K. doing standup. Transcript and thoughts below the cut.

#talkaboutit No Word for "Let's Fuck" for Nice Girls

[Trigger Warning for description of rape]

When I was about 11, my family was watching a Chinese serial about Temujin, or Genghis Khan.

Bradley Manning and Where Assange Supporters Are Getting It All Wrong

So ya'll, I am so sick of talking debating with rape apologists right now on Twitter. If these mofos were even paying attention to capable folks like Kate Harding and Sady Doyle in the first fucking place, we wouldn't even have to engage with why what Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann did was so problematic. So, no, I don't even want to talk about Assange, because frankly, the man sounds like a fucking prick

I want to talk about Bradley Manning instead. Glenn Greenwald at has a very good article about Bradley Manning and the details of Manning's incarceration. At the moment, Manning "has been held in intensive solitary confinement.  For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell.  Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he's barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions" despite being "a model detainee, wi…

This Is A "What About The Men?" Post

Today is the anniversary of the murder of the 14 women at l'Ècole Polytechnique Montreal, 1989. On this day 21 years ago, Marc Lèpine purposefully went into a classroom of engineering students, separated the men from the women, made the men leave, shot the women, then wandered the school finding more women to shoot at. In 45 minutes, he had killed 14 women, with the rationale, "I hate feminists."

Random Story Time

When I was in Morocco, we had a tour guide called Mizouri Abdul. "Like the American state?" my aunt asked. "Yes," he replied. He tried to pronounce her name, but couldn't, and said, "I call you Mississippi!"

He was an incredibly funny man, and the first thing he taught us was how to say "UN-BE-LIE-VABLE!" in his very specific, overexcited way. (He also taught us how to say Shukran.) He also had the habit of stopping with a grandiose wave of his arm to indicate some sight with a proclamation, "wherever Mizouri stop, is a beautiful picture to take!"

One day on the bus my aunt called "Mizouri!" He barely turned around to response, "Yes, Mississippi!"

He regaled us with stories of his wedding night and was very frank about his love life, told us about the hard work his monarch did for the country, was very firm in his opinion that Saddam was a hero, and since he had to take care of us, he had to mutter his prayers e…

A Metaphor For the Left

In a lot of discussions in school, there're a lot of questions which basically have the theme of "Why can't the Left unite the way the Right has?" There're plenty of answers, from my outsider's perspective: the Right groups unite because they're willing to put aside certain concerns, while the Left values these concerns. The Right doesn't care about people being thrown under the bus; the Left is comprised of a large base of people who keep getting thrown under the bus.

The most infuriating answer I see is the one that places blame on identity politics and the divisiveness that comes about as a result of disagreement of tactics and the like. There's this Kumbaya "why can't we just get along" hand-wringing nonsense. So I've been having some severe disagreements with classmates. But after that we can get along just fine.
Here's my metaphor: we live in different houses. Each house has its own rules and household culture. Maybe I li…

A Picspam of the Kobo

Today I bought myself the classic Kobo eReader, which is the 1st gen device that is going out of the way to make way for the 2nd gen device. The main difference between the two is this: the 2nd gen device has WiFi, so you can download ebooks directly into the eReader, and it's a smidgen faster. 

I'd been holding out on getting an eReader, mainly waiting for the tech to boom so I could find a device that suited me best, but as it is? There are a ton of books being released in ebook formats right now that I want, great online magazines that release their stuff in eReader formats, and when I last moved from Nova Scotia to Ontario, I was miserable at the book culling I had to commit (and my dad wasn't pleased with the four banana boxes of books either). 
But with the Kobo classic going out, the local Coles was selling it for $128. I visited it a couple of times, asking completely different sales assistants each time if I could have a look, admiring it, wondering what colours I c…

Response to: "Trauma Time: A Still Life"

Stewart, Kathleen. "Trauma Time: A Still Life." Histories of the Future. Eds. David Rosenberg and Susan Harding. Duke University Press, 2005, pp 321 - 338.

Just when I thought I couldn't top the obnoxious theorizing that I was reading about intellectualism earlier today, I just read something that did. The article: Trauma Time, by one Kathleen Stewart.

Malaysia Day

So before I run out of Malaysia Day, I should say something about it.

Body Issues: Conversations My Body Has

"We really should eat something before we go out," one half of the reasonable brain said, as we set out on our evening walk. "I know it's early, and by the time we get back it'll be dinner, but we really should eat." We'll call it Less-Conscious Brain, or LCB for short.
"We'll be fine," said the other half of the reasonable brain, the one actually in charge. We'll call it Conscious Brain, or CB for short.
"Peckish," said the stomach. 
"But not too hungry?" CB asked.
"Not yet," the stomach replied.
"Good, off we go then."
About 200 meters into running, everybody was complaining. 
"It's too hot in this sweater!" said the shoulders.
"I can't handle the burning!" cried the chest.
"Our knee pistons are knocking!" the legs complained. "It's been too long since we ran."
"We ran just a month ago," CB groused, but slowed down and we walked. We meant to h…

Malaysiana: Independence Day, or Lack Thereof

While in Canada, I tend to miss celebrations that I should be aware of, like the Lunar New Year, or Adilfitri, or Hungry Ghost Month (which is happening now, should be ending soon). August 31st was Merdeka Day, or Malaya's Independence Day. It's the day when the British left Malayan leadership roles after dicking around with us for a few hundred years. 

At the last Steampunk World's Fair, I kept referring to how the British colonizers left our shores, but left their mark behind. (Moniquill rightly put me in my place by reminding me that "the colonizers never left ours".) The thing is, I was being simplistic. After the British left, we had their parliament system, their education system. We were and are still dependent on business from the West. We still use the economic success of the West as a yardstick against which we measure our own growth. (Seriously, what is there to grow? In the West Peninsula we are a small small land, and hell no are we going to destroy t…

Magic Dolphin: "First Kiss", No Boundaries

This is a new series I'm starting and updating whenever I feel like fan-squeeing. In this series, I will share and analyse songs by Alexander Rybak, a Norwegian pop idol, with a folk-classical background, best known for winning Eurovision 2009 with a landslide victory. You can also find this series on my Tumblr, under the tag "Alexander Rybak is a magic dolphin from outer space". 


Deep in your heart
There's a small hidden room
And you know that I hold the key
You're gonna travel all over the world
Places where I'll never be

Someday you'll marry the man of your dreams
And I will be crying all night
But there is a secret that both of us know
That's why I'm feeling alright
Yes, there is a secret that both of us know
And that's why I'm feeling alright

There may be
Smart guys and tall guys - whose stronger than me
Ten times the charmer than I'll ever be
But one thing, Maria, I sure didn't miss
Your very first kiss

Need I say more?

In case you were wondering-

I'm in the midst of changing my template and overall blog design using Blogger's Template Designer. It's not the greatest, but the best I can do. Commentary is welcome. Unless you read this through a feed, in which case it probably doesn't affect you anyway. But comments would still be nice.

I Write: Loving Relationships

So recently the video by Rihanna and Eminem went big and caused a lot of discussion all over the blogosphere, but browmfemipower's post is the most compelling and is the one I would highly recommend anyone to read. It's challenging to read, because it doesn't speak to me. It's painful to read, because in a way, I'm one of the people she's pushing back against. But these are reasons why it is absolutely necessary I and everybody else have to read it. She doesn't want people linking to it because she gets shit from people who just can't grok with what she writes, because if you want an alternative perspective, she will give it to you, and it will be shoved into your mouth without benefit of the silver spoon that you're probably used to.

To Comfort the Disturbed, and Vice Versa

This is my third guest post at Jeff Vandermeer's Ecstatic Days. Which was supposed to be my second but it took a long time to write it. Original post here.

A few years ago, when I was a wee one in the social justice blogosphere (ok, who am I kidding, I still am), I read a quote that went, “Read six disturbing things a day.” A little after this, I ran across a saying, a kind of motto, that ran thusly: “Comfort the disturbed, disturb the comfortable.” 
The motto is a modified version of a longer saying about newspapers, “Th newspaper does ivrything f’r us. It runs th’ polis foorce an’ th’ banks, commands th’ milishy, controls th’ ligislachure, baptizes th’ young, marries th’ foolish, comforts th’ afflicted, afflicts th’ comfortable, buries th’ dead an’ roasts thim aftherward” credited to one Finley Peter Dunne.
What I really like about fiction in general is that it does both. The SF/F genre has even more potential for comforting and disturbing, because of the slightly-beyond-reality el…

On Enthusiastic Consent

This was originally written for Jeff Vandermeer's Ecstatic Days. I can't remember what the impetus was, but I'm pretty sure it had something to do with Feministe. It's been linked all over - Jim Hines linked to it too! Original post here.

Sometime back my brother went for holiday in Phuket (not so extraordinary, I’m afraid, since Thailand’s right next door to Malaysia), and he told me he was hoping to put the moves on a woman he found attractive.
“You got condoms?” I asked.
“Don’t forget to get consent.”
“Of course!” said he, indignant that I could think otherwise.
“Enthusiastic consent.”
“Oh yes yes yes,” he replied eagerly.
“Actually, one-up that: enthusiastic participation.”
“Hmmmm…” he turned thoughtful, as if it was a whole new level. Which it is, and a step further from what I want to talk about today.
(I got the concept of enthusiastic participation from Hugo Schwyzer a few years back.) The concept of enthusiastic consent has also been expounded at length in the wo…

A Quick Introduction to Malaysian SF/F

This post was originally posted at Jeff Vandermeer's blog, Ecstatic Days, at which he very kindly asked me to guestblog for a bit! See the original post plus comments here.

We Are A Sick Sick World

Okay. Kek sei. Seems like every time I want to wind down in preparation for something stressful, something pops up that I just cannot ignore.

Recently,Hiroshima held its annual memorial ceremony to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb, and for the first time, the U.S.A. sent a delegation to the ceremony. But Japan is angry! Because U.S.A. has offered no apology for the bombing. Over 250,000 people, civilians, died as a result, from the bombing itself, or from the radiation aftereffects.

There are some people who actually believe that just because Japan committed many war crimes itself during WWII, that Japan deserves no apology for the heinous death toll inflicted upon its civilians[1]. Still others believe that because Japan refuses to acknowledge its warcrimes, such as theRape of Nankingand theBataan Death March, because there is no outrage over this silence from Japan, that there is no reason to honour Japan's dead.

OK look.

Japan has fucking issues. I have issues…

A Brief Response to Recent Insensitivities

I already said my piece over in the offending LJ but I can't let this go. This bothers me so much. For the longest while, I was just all ":O IDE" but I've been sitting on this, just getting more and more angry, so if I don't get it out, I think I might burst.

Writing a book is in no way anything like a deathmarch. If you think writing a book is anything like a horrible event in which actual people have been forced to suffer and still feel the historical ramifications of, you may want to check your ego.

And if someone tells you that the term is deeply loaded with haunting histories and shouldn't be trivialized to describe something like writing a book of fiction, maybe you should just say sorry and never use the word ever again, instead of defending the use with ridiculous excuses like "mythologizing language".

I know it is incredibly difficult to drop certain words entrenched in our vocabularies (I still sometimes substitute Judeo-Christian exclamat…

On Spaces for Kids

While I was taking in my mom's blanket from the clothesrack outside, I noticed the kids playing on the porch of the semi-detached house on the corner of the street diagonally across from my family's house. It'd been so long since I saw children playing there, I was a bit startled in the back of my mind. The first owner had been Encik Kamaruddin, who I remember most because he owned rabbits (back then, the brick wall was a wire fence, so we could peer across the drain at the rabbit enclosure). The house has always been owned by Malays, although for a while, it was rented out to factory workers. 

Subang Jaya, old Subang Jaya especially, was built for raising families. Most of the houses here are built to suit lower-to-rising middle-class families, and growing up, I knew a lot of nuclear families.

Language Disconnect: Poetry, Culture, Points of Reference

On Tumblr, whatwillsuffice shared a beautiful poem called "HAVING A COKE WITH YOU" by Frank O'Hara. I have never heard of Frank O'Hara before this, nor the poem, but it is absolutely lovely, because it talks about the experience of being in love. Let me show it to you:

HAVING A COKE WITH YOU is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a…

Musings on Art and Duty

Larry Rivers, who I previously had no knowledge of until the other day, did a film series in which he filmed the breast development of his daughters, asking personal, sexually-charged questions like, "have boys started noticing yet?" From the article in the New York Times, one daughter made it clear that this made her uncomfortable, and that she was pressured to participate. The film series affected her adversely, leading to psychological problems during her teens. She wants the film removed from the archives of the New York University. NYU responded by saying they would keep the film out of public consumption for the duration of the daughters' lives. The Rivers Foundation's director, David Joel, is quoted as saying, "I can't be the person who says this stays or goes. My job is to protect the material."

Well, that's great, I guess. Yay for folks who are doing their job, and in this case, to preserve material. 
Okay, um, why?
Let's look at the facts…

The Meaning of Everyday Things: Shoes

So people, while I was doing a bit of Rybak fangirling and thinking about how things aren't just things (contrary to what one might think, these two things do not always clash, and in the case of my Rybak fangirling, always match like happy bonobos), that most things we have and do have some meaning of some sort, I was thinking of examples of how to explain this concept: that some thought goes into actions we choose and decisions we make. And I thought, even our shoes have meaning. 

And they do, okay! 
I will explain why. And be aware, Moff's Law is in effect.


I've been remiss on writing these days. It's not from lack of ideas, or even lack of inspiration. It's mostly from lack of energy, and the weather.

Quick Rant: Websites for Women

Forbes just released a Top 100 Websites for Women. Feministe, Feministing and Jezebel are on it. But... that's it. The rest of it? Lifestyle blogs, work, mothering, all very important, yes!

But, where is Shakesville, which covers all sorts of feminist issues, providing insight on how media and culture affect women's lives? Where is Love Isn't Enough, a blog about parenting and how to raise non-racist children? Where is the Pursuit of Harpyness, which discusses self-esteem, academia, pop culture, and other such issues relevant to women? Geek Feminism, resource and discussion for and about women in the still-male-dominated IT industry, HELLO? Racialicious may have more focus on race and pop culture, but they still lean towards questions of gender, they just don't limit themselves to that! Feminists with Disabilities too! Oh wait, disability isn't a women's issue, okay.

Malaysiana: Cheering for Cheer 2010

Sometimes, I like to take note when boys are doing the smashing of the gender binary. 

There is a national cheerleading competition every year here in Malaysia, which got its start several/a few years ago (depending on how you calculate time - I know its first year was before I left for Canada, so that's quite a long time from my perspective). I've never actually seen it in person, but there's always one splash page in the newspaper, featuring the teams in some sort of cheerleader-y pose, with the name of the team and what school they're presenting. 
The first year this happened, I noticed that there was an all-boys team, and I thought, that is so awesome! Good for the boys. I hope they do their best. And from what I read later on, they certainly did. 
There are a lot of gender stereotypes floating around, many of them stemming from the West, about how men should act and what women should (not) do. I've noticed that some of them just don't have any roots here, lik…

Ally Issues: On Juneteenth vs. Helen Keller Blogswarm Days

Helen Keller Blogswarm Day came and went, and since I knew about it beforehand, I'd already made a promise to write something for it. This, despite not being Helen Keller's birthday, or even the day of her death. 

At the same time, Juneteenth came and went, an actual day of celebration. 
And from here on out, this post is going to be All About Me. Even though I know it ain't about me.

Happy Helen Keller Mythbusting Blogswarm Day!

June 19 is the designated day for Helen Keller Mythbusting

I first learnt about Helen Keller through a calendar book of sorts in which each day was marked with something of significance to the date. The item was illustrated by a blond girl at a waterpump, one hand pumping, the other hand under the rush of water. Her eyes were wide and looked rather bewildered and lost (she was also blonde and blue-eyed). I learned that she was blind and deaf, until her teacher taught her how to read and write through impressions on her hands. 

I did not know her teacher was also deaf blind until much later.
I only caught snippets about Helen Keller later, and saw a picture of the first story she typed up; I think it was a re-telling of Cinderella, but I can't say for sure now - I only know it was a famous fairytale. I remember being impressed that she could do that deaf and blind. I also saw a movie in which she was a character, touching a soldier's lips to hear him. 
Here's the thing, thoug…

Malaysiana: Rumination on May 13

Some context for non-Malaysians
On May 13, 1969, riots broke out on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. These were racialized riots, between the majority Malay and minority-but-still-sizeable Chinese factions, a result of racial and religious fractioning between political parties of the people. Malaysia was still a very young country at the time, and had not really had much time yet to grow used to its multi-cultural identity now that the overwhelming British influence was gone. I would still argue that the Malaysian identity is still in flux; cultures take a long time to change and syncretize with each other. 

Since then, May 13 has become a force under which we have all rallied to do away with race-based politics, with a certain degree of success. We recognize now that we are Malaysians - born, bred, raised in similar environments and contexts, with a shared history (that can also be called propaganda), in a particular cultural context that is similar but not quite exactly the same with nei…

May 13 Blogswarm Links Post

This is where all Malaysians and residents of Malaysia are welcome to leave links to their participation in the May 13 Blogswarm. For more information, check out LiveJournal and Facebook.

Comments Policy:  Please note that moderation is turned on for comments older than 7 days. I try to check in regularly, but this may be hard as I will be traveling.
Do not use this place to debate what others have said. If you do and you crash my site in due process, I'll get very irritated at you. That shit is rude. Don't do it.

I Write: A Response to Diana Gabaldon

A friend of mine directed me to this post by Diana Gabaldon, who I understand is a successful authoress, about her objection to fanfiction. Her main points boil down to the following: it's illegal, it takes control of the material from the original author, and omg-ew-yuck-what-are-you-doing-to-my-characters.

Fanfiction is not my first choice for entertainment. I find it incredibly difficult to sift though fanfics to find stuff I really enjoy, and I imagine it's like an editor's slush pile. (So, I let other more dedicated people than I do my work for me.) I'm also a fan of reading an authour for their own personal writing style, not just what was written, but how. I've got no guarantee this same experience will be reproduced when I read fanfic. I've written fanfic before, and while it's a pleasant exercise, I don't do it often for reasons of my own I'll explain later.

Malaysiana: Three Stories on Disability for BADD

Sometime when I was home earlier this year, my dad and I noticed this Indian man struggling with a walker in our housing area. He wasn't very old, and we'd seen him, walking, sort of tottering, past our road, along the football field, down a road which has several road bumps, because it's a one-way street passing through several.

Blog Against Disablism Day 2010: My Invisible Disability

I've recently started saying that I have an invisible disability. It's not easy to do, for several reasons.

Writing My Own

Much has been said about writing the Other. It was one of the keystones of RaceFail, and has been the cause of much angst on the part of predominantly-privileged writers who would like to write marginalized cultures without being attacked for it. For a long time, marginalized cultures have been represented by the descendants of colonizers, who benefit from the imperialism of the past and continue to be so: their writings are taken more seriously than that of a marginalized person's, they are more likely to receive a larger platform, they are more often lauded.

Body Issues: A Brief Rumination on my own Butt

I'm going through my clothes right now and giving a way a lot of my old t-shirts. They're actually really awesome (if you guys want, I will take pictures, and if you like anything you see, I will send it to you) but they're a) black and b) mostly too big for me to tuck into my jeans comfortably. Yes, I know, baggy t-shirts never go out of style, and believe me, I'm keeping a couple of them, but on the whole I do not wear them as much anymore, so I see no reason to keep them. I'm phasing the black out of my wardrobe, ya'll.

So, I've also got a ton of shorts, and I refuse to keep those that are too tight to wear comfortably in the near future, so I'm trying them on. Yes, a few really don't fit. I may not agree with What Not To Wear's shaming tactics, but Stacy and Clint were right in one thing: don't buy stuff that don't fit with the secret promise you'll get slim enough to fit.

I'm wearing a pair right now, which is kinda tight, b…

SAAM: "Baby It's Cold Outside" and Not Family-Friendly, Either

The other day, I browsed Youtube for Alexander Rybak videos and songs. I have a liking for the songs he composes, because they tend to be simple, carefree, and non-jarring - just like light'n'easy pop should be. He has some sad songs, some very emo songs, and most of them are all sentimental with a taste of frivolity. Essentially, fluff, but good fluff.

But I was squicked out to find that he covered Frank Loesser's Baby, It's Cold Outside. Now, I understand why he would - it's a pop standard, and has lasted since the 40's. His voice suits that song perfectly, and much of his fanbase is in the Northern Hemisphere, who would understand the song.

The rest of this doesn't have much to do with Rybak, but the song itself and the fact that it is April.

One Year!

One year ago, I started this blog because I noticed that I was posting a lot of non-personal and non-academic  stuff on LiveJournal. I had so much more to say, but I didn't want to flood my f-list with a lot of meanderings on topics which probably interested only me. I noted that Blogger had a scheduling feature, which meant I could write several posts at once, and not overwhelm my readers too much.
Since then, I've moved from focusing on gender issues only, to including issues about race, to touch on LGBT and other such items that do not directly affect my life. I've also started a new blog, Silver Goggles. I've renamed this blog, from Rebellious Jezebel Blogging to Intersectionality Dreaming, because the more I wrote, the more I figured stuff out about myself. 
My thing with this blog has always been about consistent content. It unfortunately trumps the quality of my writing a lot, even though I try to develop the discipline of writing regularly. My writing has always …