My Gay Lifestyle (the Debunking of)


It is perhaps a shame that my reaction to anger, to provocation, is to turn away.

To tell myself to ignore it, to tell myself that I shouldn’t waste my energy getting worked up over other people’s ridiculous ideas.

It is also perhaps a shame that my reaction to scandals and things blown out of proportion is to shut up. Because I always feel that adding my own two cents to the already saturated pile of self-important opinions can’t possibly add any value to the discussion. Besides, anything I wanted to say has surely been put across more succinctly and in a more powerful manner by someone else with better writing skills, someone else who has lived though more reality than I have.

Yet there are some thing worth getting angry about.
There are some things worth shouting about.
There are some things worth repeating.

I “came out” on facebook today. Well, no, not exactly. I’d define coming out on facebook as posting a status or notes essentially saying just this, “Hi guys, I’m gay. kthanxbai.” While I’ve considered that before, the thought (after it’s initial flippancy) usually fills me with enough fear and apprehension for me to change my mind.

Perhaps a better description would be that I was “dragged out”, in the course of a ‘discussion’ with a friend.

I posted something, and she and another friend made some comments which I didn’t get involved with.

Then, she made this comment, “In any case, I’ve heard a lot about the LGBT lifestyle, and I don’t like what I’m hearing. They claim they are a peaceful group, but I don’t see that…”

That really got me mad. I couldn’t let it go. What the fuck is a LGBT lifestyle?

Last time I checked, I am a part of the LGBT community because I am female and I’m attracted to females. By definition, then I must lead this mysterious gay lifestyle. Well, this is my “lifestyle”, on average:

Wake up. wash up. go to work. Survive work. Head for home. Perhaps meet with friends for dinner. Surf the net/facebook. Read news articles, read science articles, read human rights articles, read funny articles. Watch some videos. Write some blog entries. Read a book. Pack my room. Time to sleep, good night.

Call it a monotonous lifestyle, call it boring, call it sedentary, call it antisocial, but please, highlight for me exactly which part of that can be considered as an “LGBT lifestyle”??

If you have a problem with, say, a clubbing lifestyle, then please fucking say so.
If you have a problem with, say, a promiscuous lifestyle, then please fucking say so.
If you have a problem with, say, a drugs and booze lifestyle, then please fucking say so.
If you have a problem with, say, a sex-obsessed lifestyle, then please fucking say so.

But none of those are synonymous, exclusive or inherently linked to LGBT. All of these can be found in any and all kinds of people across time, cultures, genders and sexualities.

This friend is an incredibly nice person. Yet, even having known her general stand on the matter, her reply to my question shocked me– things about promiscuity, pedophilia; it being a choice and proven as unnatural; proven that it can be walked away from; violence, death threats, militant-like behaviour and arrogance from the LGBT camp…

You can honestly say those things about promiscuously and pedophilia to my face? And the rest– do we even live in the same reality? Another friend commented, wow, the amount of propaganda they receive…

The other friend who was also commenting started going on a comment posting rampage on Lawrence Khong’s facebook page— a Pastor of a mega church in Singapore (in)famous for his vocally anti-gay stands (2:36 -onwards). The most recent incident has to do with the Singapore’s Health Promotion Board’s surprisingly pro-gay FAQs on sexuality. LK started a petition for the FAQs to be removes– albeit anonymously under the name ‘Aaron’. Then, he evidently circulated a guide amongst his flock on how to make their voices heard without revealing their Christian identity.

I try to read his page but I can’t quite do it, and I can’t find any motivation to want to reply comments there. It’s not merely about being offended of depressed about comments which flat out contradict my beliefs and reality, it’s also all the typically ugly internet comments– why do people always stoop to personal insults and sarcasm? Why do adults sound like immature kids?

More than that, it’s that I can’t shake my own fatalistic feelings about such discussions– while I rationally acknowledge that they can help or that it’s better than nothing, I can’t stop feeling that it’s just pointless. No one is going to change their minds. The people I’m ‘arguing’ with are faceless and can walk away or ignore what I’m saying anytime. They’re not going to listen to me.

Replying my friend was different though– she’s real. She might not change her mind, but hopefully what I say, because I am more real to her too, will give her pause and thought.

I consider writing a piece of my own– just putting my opinion out there. But I don’t know where to start. There can be so much to say. What do I focus on, what should I assume of my readers? Opinions and backgrounds are too varied.

Replying to accusations thus makes it easier to focus your argument– there’s to much to say otherwise. Although at the same time, because I’m focussing on convincing this one person, what I say doesn’t necessarily reflect my personal views exactly. I’m trying to look at things from her perspective and using what I think will be the most comprehensible to her. I mean, no point in differentiating the nuances between gender expression, sexual orientation and physical sex or sexual orientations besides gay and bi or even the gay and trans and so on when I’m just trying to convince her that none of these are inherently immoral. And of course I wouldn’t mention that I think polygamous relationships could be permissible and healthy in certain situations– that would just cause her to stop listening to me entirely.

Throughout the discussion I have to wonder– is there a point?

It there a point in me writing all this stuff to her?
Is there a point in my friend’s commenting on LK’s facebook page?
Is there a point if I write a blog entry about my beliefs and send it out into the net?

Does it change anything?

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Only as handicapped as the society you’re in


If you had to lose one of your senses, which would you rather lose? Which would you loathe to lose?

That was one of many ‘would you rather / what if’ games we used to play as kids. My answer to that one was always the same: I couldn’t imagine losing my sight. Where would I be if I couldn’t see? All the colours? The skies and the clouds and the seas and the trees… all this beauty? Painting and drawing and art and photography would all be meaningless. To be shrouded in darkness. I didn’t think I could bear it.

A week ago, the school brought all of us to Ngee Ann Poly to take part in Dialogue in the Dark, a short session for you to have a brief experience of what is it like to be blind. In a nutshell, Dialogue in the Dark “is essentially a walking tour of various simulated environments in complete darkness, led by visually-impaired guides.” We took a stroll in a park, a boat ride down the river, walked in the city streets, identified a parked vehicle, crossed a road and even ordered some snacks at a cafe, all in pitch darkness.

It was a good experience. Can you identify a statue by feeling the wordings on the wall? What do you appreciate on a boat ride if you can’t see? What’s the number plate, colour and model of this car? How about grocery shopping without sight (everything feels potato-ish)? Do you think you can figure out how to share ice-cream with a friend when you can’t see the ice-cream, your friend or even your own hands?

As an activity that’s obviously meant to have a larger impact than just testing your listening and touching skills or putting you out of your comfort zone for a short while, I thought there is still room for improvement. I confessed that my mentality while in the darkness instinctively took on a playful, competitive edge rather than a sombre, contemplative one. What I mean is, I saw it as a game, as a challenge– to see how much of my environment I could discern without my sight, to see how confidently and quickly I could move and orientate myself. I had to remind myself that it may possibly be a fun ‘game’ for that half hour to an hour, but how fun is it when this is you life, all the time?

We went in as a group of 9, which meant we were in a line and clinging to each other all the time, the train of people seldom broken. We must have looked hilarious, all huddled together. The guide was also constantly giving us instructions (follow the wall on the left, everyone found the wall? move slowly, slowly, found it? okay good, now just follow and go straight!) so we never really had to navigate on our own. I thought it would be a much more powerful experience if you were left to on your own, deposited in the ‘park’ and told to find the bench with no more help other than to know it exists. How much more vulnerable you would feel, with no one to cling on to, no one to feed you directions? That’s their reality.

I was sweeping my hands all over any and every surface I could find and swinging my cane as far out as it would go, trying to paint as clear as picture in my head of my surroundings. That must have looked hilarious too– no blind person would have the luxury of doing that in real life, at least not in public. You can’t go around molesting everything within reach.

Your sense of touch and hearing can actually feed you a whole wealth of details– but it’s so limiting compared to sight. Like I said, you can’t feel up everything. And while I felt I could get a lot of detail, it took too long. And you can only discern things spatially close to you.

When we got out of the darkness and into the open again, I couldn’t help but notice just HOW MUCH information I was taking in with just a casual sweeping glance. The layout of the metal chairs on the wooden floor (and their shapes, sizes, occupancy, even estimated weight); the number of motorbikes parked further down and their models and colours; the trees and plants in the distance; the light, time of day, weather…. and so much more. From a split second glance that wasn’t deliberate, that I didn’t even give any thought to.

Today as I was at the bus stop waiting for my bus, a white-haired uncle with a cane came inching slowly towards the bus stop. I stared at him worriedly. Did he know where he was, where he was going? Does he need help? Oh no, is he going to crash into the pole–okay, no. Is he going too near the edge of the road? Should I help him?

Slowly, he positioned himself by the pole/barrier at the edge of the pavement at the bus stop. I saw him lift the cover off his watch to look at the time. Excuse me, I mean to feel for the time. Should I help him? I wondered. How should I help him? Does he need my help? How does he know what busses are coming?

As a bus pulled in, I tensed up–should I help him? what should I do?— but I did nothing as I watched him shuffle towards the front of the bus stop — that’s way too slow…— and I realized he intended to ask the bus driver. At the moment, one of the other people at the bus stop passed near to him and he spoke out, asking the guy what bus it was. It wasn’t the uncle’s bus, so he stood back at his spot.

As the bus pulled out and the background traffic noises continued, I suddenly noticed how full of people the bus stop was. Not packed, but a significant number. And all of them silent. Invisible, out of reach. I was back in the dark room, where you couldn’t tell if there was someone right in front of you or not, not unless you reached out, not unless they spoke out. When everyone fell silent, when you kept your hands to yourself, you lose all sense of orientation and scale, you can’t tell… You may know there are people there, somewhere, but you can’t reach out to them because they are invisible to you. The power is in their hands to reach out to you

I thought of a typical scene in an MRT carriage in Singapore. Packed but silent. Each individual in their own bubble and none reaching out.

No one was reaching out at the bus stop. The suffocating darkness further stifled by the silence of our society. It would be so easy for someone to go up to him and offer assistance, to make their presence felt, rather than leave that more than physical gulf of detachment between all those seated and the man with the cane at the edge.

It would be so easy… Go on. Just go tap him on the should and ask him what bus he is waiting for. C’mon. 

I pictured it in my mind, and again, trying to push myself out of my bubble, to overcome the inertia of a Keep Quiet and Mind My Own Business Singaporean.  Why is it that difficult?

Another bus pulled into the bus stop and the uncle started moving again. I quickly stepped forward. Did I touch his shoulder? I should have but I don’t think I did. My Personal Space bubble is even harder to get past. Imagine a voice that suddenly appears by your ear, then vanishes again– how do you know if it’s still there or not? I should have touched his shoulder, or elbow, or something.

“It’s bus 14. Bus 14.”  I say.
“Oh I’m waiting for 961. So the bus is not here yet?”
“What bus? 196?”
“No, 961.”
“Oh, no, not here yet.”

Another bus is behind this one.

“The next bus is 147.” I tell him.
I suddenly realize this is my bus. Feeling a little confused, I head towards the bus then quickly doubled back to the uncle.

“147 is my bus.” I tell him.
He says something like, “Oh okay, then go, go.”

And so I left. Thinking about how much easier life could be for him if people around just acted a little differently, took a little more initiative, cared a little more. If, in our society, it becomes a given that someone will go to his side to be his eyes just for that short while. And if when that person boards a bus, someone else would automatically step up to take their place to help. Such a small thing for us, such a big difference for them.

Why so much inhibition to perform such a simple act that can make someone else’s life so much simpler? Practice makes perfect. I hope I will  help more readily the next time.

Child – Adult Dichotomy


It occurred to me recently that I seem to still be on the ‘wrong’ side of the child-adult  dichotomy.

Just beside my block of flats, there’s this huge, open longkang (drain). As I was walking out from my block one, I was just in time to see a wet soccer ball being rolled pass some children, as a small sized boy climbed over the green railing, coming out from the longkang after having retrieved the ball.

What I imagine a typical (Singaporean) adult would think; oh dear, how dangerous. and go on to imagine a million ways in which the scenario could have gone horribly wrong for the child, and a million ways to ‘rectify’ the problem like covering up the longkang, building more appropriate play/soccer areas, banning playing of balls at inappropriate areas etc.

What I thought, instead, was awww how fun and had fuzzy, nostalgic thoughts about the past, being in tuned with and a part of your environment, and how play should be unrestricted and unscripted. In contrast to the overprotective and sterile play environments of today…

Not to far from that longkang, just across the small street and in front of the supermart ShengSiong, there’s a huge raintree, growing out from a hole in the tiled ground. I love rain trees, I love looking up at its branches from underneath, I love the texture of its bark and the inevitable army of bird’s nest ferns adorning it. And I love that they’ve saved the tree, building around it instead of chopping it down.

More recently however, a circular metal bar has been built around it. A barrier, a separation. This is nature (it’s dangerous, don’t get too close) and this is civilisation. At least, that’s what it seemed to say to me.

I lamented to a friend– just imagine in our parents and grandparents days, kids played by running through fields of grass as tall as them; by climbing trees and any other structures they could climb; by catching spiders and making toy guns and catapults out of whatever they could find lying around.

If they step on a nail while running barefoot through the field, that was their own fault; of course if you’re going to be barefoot you have to watch where you put your feet! If branches or things fell from trees onto them then that was their fault too– well, also the tree’s, I guess, but what’s the use in blaming the tree? branches have to fall sometimes, it’s natural.

Whereas nowadays? People would demand that the management protect them from trees! from insects! from monkeys! It is the management’s fault when these things happen. No wonder the management has to cover their own asses and fence up trees… if a silly person climbs up the tree and gets hurt, it’s their fault. Why take the risk for the sake of caring about ideals and abstractions?

Then again, do I really disagree with that? Safety first, after all. If someone is killed by a falling branch, you wouldn’t dare to say to his family, ‘Branches fall, it’s natural! It’s no one’s fault, get over it.’

It’s hard to pin point exactly where necessary precaution transforms into suffocating over-protection. I thought our culture and education has been trying its best to move away from rigidity and sterility towards creativity and vibrancy…

True creativity and vibrancy can’t be categorized and classified– this is the time to be creative, when I say so during certain lessons, and these are all the other times you have to obey my rules exactly. Really? Think about it!

There’s this small playground in my school where each station is accompanied by a write ups with a science/physic slant. It’s usually filled with kids each recess, but of course, the kids ignore these write ups and ignore the ‘proper’ ways of playing.

The seesaw, meant for just two, is usually piled with kids–two groups challenging each other to see who can force the other group into the air. Otherwise, they will try to get off the seesaw as quickly and suddenly as possible to cause the friend(s) on the other end to come crashing down with a bang.

A ‘clown’s nose’– a red hemisphere surrounded by a ring on which you can sit– is meant for maximum four. You’re to lean your weight a certain way, and you can spin yourself. Instead, kids pile up again, with one or two trying to spin their friends as fast as possible, seeing who can last the longest without giving up or falling off.

Maybe something more serious happened one day than the usual harmless falls to the padded ground. Or maybe their children’s debatably rough play just came to the attention of the wrong (or right) person. Either way, one day a briefing was given to the entire school about the proper use of the stations in the play ground.

ONLY two on the seesaw, and DON’T bang your friend down. ONLY four on the clown’s nose and NO ONE should be pushing. THIS is the EXACT way and ONLY way you should be playing with these, and nothing else. Oh, one last thing, you are ONLY allowed there during recess WHEN THERE IS A TEACHER WATCHING AT ALL TIMES.

The next time I walked by the playground, it was practically empty and the few kids that were there looked pretty bored. I guess they’re ‘safe’ but that empty playground look for the world to be the saddest, least creative and least vibrant thing.

Can you blame the management, though? If something were to happen to the kid in school, how much noise (and blame) would the parents make…

Full Accountablility


Close an eye or
Turn one blind
Filter out and summarize
Normal natural inevitable
Like the way vision and attention works
Like the way neurons refresh and
Some information gets left behind.

Conveniently forget.
Let it go.

In the big scheme of things
It’s easier to say, ‘Well, it doesn’t really matter.’
‘Don’t sweat the small stuff.’
‘No one will know.’
‘No one will remember by tomorrow.’
And just breeze by
Imaginary blinders on
Carelessly skipping, knocking, stepping
While carefully avoiding eye contact.

Live in the moment, in the present, what’s past is past.
There’s that twinge of guilt, which you crush, and say
I can’t be devoting all my timemoneyeffort to that
Even if I think it’s a good cause or is the right thing to do
It’s a small thing
It doesn’t make a difference
I have other commitments.

Besides
Everyone else does what I’m doing
This is socially acceptable.
I’m doing fine.
It’s not me
Not my job
Not my problem
Not my responsibility
I’ll mind my own business
Do my own thing.

“If you know it’s wrong, why do you still do it?”
I demand of those in my charge.
“If you know this is what you should do,
and you know why you should do it,
why don’t you do it?”
Easy questions, not so easy answers.
Easy to say, easy to think, less easy to do.

But why?
Perhaps it’s just a habit, living carelessly.
Carelessly, thoughtlessly, lazily.
Just a habit.
Perhaps we can break that habit.

It’s kind of true that in the larger scheme of things
A lot of it doesn’t seem to matter
People forget, don’t notice
No one really knows or cares or remembers
You can get by with doing the minimum.
Work smart, ignore the inconsequential.
Relax; y so serious?

Yet every action has its reaction
And every reaction a subsequent reaction
Chain reactions
And every word you say and thing you do
Has the potential
To uplift or cut someone else down
To help make the world a better place
Or not.

Your lack of action seems inconsequential
Only because you neglect
To compare it with
what it could be.

Religion’s got the right idea;
You’re always, all the time
Everywhere and everywhen
Fully accountable to god.
Fully. Accountable.
To someone who will notice and will and can call you out on it.

Let’s be fully accountable to ourselves.
Break that habit.

Let’s go.

What if money didn’t matter?


How would you really enjoy spending your life?

If you say that getting the money is the most important thing… you’ll be doing things you don’t like doing, in order to go on living, that is, to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid!

Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.

I really like this video.

Really like it.

And yet real life isn’t that simple, is it. These chase-your-dreams sentiments all paint a one-sided, black-and-white picture; if you’re not chasing your dreams,  you’ve betrayed yourself and succumbed to society’s expectation.

Of course that’s part of the story. Too often we’re too afraid to do what we’d really love because we’re afraid of, or have been convinced by, what society says to us.  Too often we erect unnecessary barriers.

But that’s just part of the story. Here’s the other part: we make personal sacrifices for the things we think are worth it. We make personal sacrifices in our life choices for the people around us.

Sure, I can spend my life riding horses or writing poems and that would make me happy. But riding horses or writing poems may not give me the money to buy a laptop or internet access or books or music or a camera or a motorbike or the luxury of travelling overseas.  And all those are things that would make me happy too.

More importantly. Riding horses or writing poems may not give me the money to… help pay for my sister’s education. Help take care of my parents in their old age. Pay for my parents’ medical fees. Riding horses or writing poems may not give me the money to… support my partner, buy my own home, start a family and give my children the best upbringing I can. And these are the things that, if I can’t do, would make me really upset with myself and take away all the pleasure from riding horses or writing poems. It’s difficult to enjoy even the thing you enjoy most if you’re worrying about where your next meal is going to come from, or worse, your loved ones’ next meal. Or whether your mum is going to live another few years or not, because you can’t afford treatment. Money may not be the most important, but it sure can buy a lot, including security and a peace of mind.

So make the call; where along the spectrum are you willing to stand, how much sacrifice are you willing to make? Opportunity costs between your day to day personal dreams and enjoyment and the other things that money can buy. Just make sure you’re not sacrificing the wrong things for the things that aren’t worth it.

If money didn’t matter?
Wildlife photographer, please. 

A Million Points of Light


Walking up the stairs, a gaze across space. Glance up, a nod and a smile.
Sitting at a desk; hurries by, a wave and a ‘hi!’.

And there it stops.

It’s mind boggling, the possibilities. At every instant, you’re faced with a choice. It branches off ad infinitum, a never-ending number of parallel universes, containing every single possibility.

It’s like being in a library with a million books in front of you; A million books, a million view points, a million worlds. Astounding! The possibilities! At your finger tips! Each book you open brings you somewhere new, gives you something new, changes you in some way. The possibilities, they’re endless.

It’s like the internet; each site you visit opens up another ten links and each of those another ten and… it’s exponential!

You’re like a little frog, looking up at the vast, never-ending sky. There’s an entire world waiting to be conquered, to be explored, to be seen. The possibilities, endless.

And yet, there is stops.

You’re a frog… in a well. Or are you a frog that’s been conditioned to think there’s a well? No…I think the well’s real. Or have I merely been well conditioned?

You can’t read all of the books in the library. It’s all there, at your fingertips, but at the same time out of reach.

Every single person you walk past has their own story, a story that could fill ten novels, fill ten movies. Each and every single person you walk past has a name, a family, a history, a point of view, a personality. Their own lives, their own worlds, their own universe.

Imagine the possibilities?

They could have something in common with you. They probably do. What about that guy over there? Maybe you’d hit it off, really click. Maybe they share some of your strongest convictions. Maybe they could introduce you to a whole new world. Maybe they have the potential become your bosom buddy, if given half the chance. Maybe… one of them is The One?

Every. Single. Person. You pass by. Is as real as you are.

And yet, there it stops.

At least for me. I see the possibilities, but I don’t know how to make the connection. I don’t know how to move it past just that smile and a ‘hi’.

It’s like all of life; You could buy a plane ticket on a whim and be in Japan, or Scotland, or Italy tomorrow. Every moment opens endless possibilities. Yet… it doesn’t and yet you can’t.

All these characters, just secondary characters and calefare in the movie of my life- flat, 2D and boring. I know it’s not true! How do I give them main character statuses? More character development and… heck, give them their own spin-offs! I want to see all the possibilities. I want to see them!

It’s like a million points of lights. Each one you touch bursts into a million more points of light. Fireworks of possibilities. Never-ending ripples. Touch, touch, touch.

It must be nice to be god. The view must be mesmerizing  To be able to see all the possibilities unhidden. All the hyperlinks, all the braches and intricate patterns of interaction, all the points of light exploding and expanding outwards before you. Heck, you don’t need to be god; I can’t see it and already the mere idea mesmerizes me.

At your fingertips and beyond your reach.

Two one-way streets


To know and be known
To forgive and be forgiven
To love and be loved

When music is played but not heard
When music is heard but not played
Music (and colour, and sound and more) are mere perceptions;
They take place only in your head?
When a tree falls but no one is around
You know that one.

Can you forgive, if none wants to be forgiven?
Can you love, if none receives your love?
Can you be forgiven, if no one forgives?
Can you be loved, if no one loves?

What if; lost in translation? miscommunication? lack of a medium?
One loves but the disgruntled husband does not feel it.
A love-struck teenager interprets love when no such love exists.

Three parts to every communication: the source (the production), the transmission (the medium) and the recipient (the perceiver). What’s one without the others? Sufficient but not necessary? Necessary but not sufficient  Two out of three?

Blogging can be like shouting into an abyss. Sometimes you pretend there’s a receiver, and that’s enough to satisfy. Other times you yearn for a connection that’s more real…

We think of many things as two way streets.
It takes two hands to clap, we take turns to give and receive and we meet each other half way.
In truth perhaps they are merely two one way streets
With an illusion of connection.

We are necessarily alone in our own heads. Nothing we know or can know that doesn’t pass through the murky filter of perception and our limited understanding.

Consensus. We agree that they meet, so we can act like they meet, and for all purposes they do. Until your perspective changes (and all the misunderstandings crawl out of the woodwork) and you realize it was an illusion all along.

Previous posts where similar ideas were explored that possibly led to this post:
Forgiveness
Sending and Receiving the Message of Love

Introspection on introversion


They say that introverts have their energy sapped by social interaction and recharge with time spent alone.

It’s strange– there’s both a sense of ‘taking in’ lots of outside stimulus, and a sense of ‘putting out’ a lot of attention. I guess they amount to the same thing; in order to take in all the external stimulus, you have to give them a lot of attention.

It feels like I’m a sponge– it’s very easy to be passive and just soak in all the information, everything that is happening around. It’s much harder to ‘give out’ anything– to say or show or express. Hard to get stuff from inside to the external. Whereas for other people it happens effortlessly– every time they speak they show a little of their personality, a little of themselves. Some don’t even have to speak.

It feels like I’m a mirror– I try to reflect back what I see, what I ‘took in’. Playable catgut, pliable clay. Chameleon boy. A friend said, recently: I’m water, I take the shape of the container.

When I have all my attention on you – general you, plural you– I feel like I’m not in my own head. All my focus is on you, on you, on you. Trying to empathise, understand, see what you see, put myself in your shoes, on alert for any cues and clues for me to take in, wondering what you’re wondering, wondering how I appear to you. All that attention expanded is exhausting. What’s more, while that’s happening, there’s no one left in my head to think my thoughts. It’s hard to be me– when you ask me what I think, I think first about the answer from your point of view, and try to modulate. Of course, everyone does this to an extent (you’d describe your faith differently to a non-believer vs a believer; you’d talk about gay rights differently to a homophobe vs an activist) but is the difference normally so stark?

Things happen fast in the real world– there’s no time to think, to contemplate, to ponder, to ruminate. You just react. React. React.

When you don’t think– or when I don’t think– there’s no ‘I’. There’s no me thinking about what I’m thinking and why I’m thinking. There’s no metacognition. The me that is usually here talking to myself in my head doesn’t have time to be activated. It’s just… react, react, react. That… feels less like me.

It’s only when the activity stops, and I’m alone again, do I then feel like I’ve finally come back home, into my head, and I can think about the day and what has happened. Like the gears and thoughts and ‘me’ that have been on hold all day to concentrate on you, you, you can start moving again. Like you went out into the field to collect data — react, react, react– and now, with the day’s spoils in hand, you return, tired out, to your lab– your home ground, your headquarters– to examine and make sense of all the new data you now possess.

Which parts are acceptable and which parts should I aim to change? It can’t be good to be a chameleon boy, it can’t be good to be morning pipe smoke, playable catgut, pliable clay.

Of course, everything’s an exaggeration to an extent. Everyone has their own opinions, even if that opinion is pretty apathetic and easily influenced….

No. I’ve been moving away from that. There are things I feel strongly about, and I’m sure of those views. I won’t compromise on those and I will disagree with you.

But standing firm in your own head, on your own blog is so different from projecting your convictions in real life. If you attack, I’ll fight back but why remain lifeless unless provoked?

A never ending journey. I’m game. Next step.

The right to kill? I’d rather the right to die.


This is old news, but my sister recently watched the video; Collateral Murder, released by wikileaks showing US soldiers opening fire on some men in Baghdad in 2007 from Apache helicopters.

Two war correspondents from Reuters were in the group and their cameras were mistaken for weapons. Wikipedia as an entry on the incident.

Some quotes from this news article:

In the video, which Reuters has been asking to see since 2007, crew members can be heard celebrating their kills.

“Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards,” says one crewman after multiple rounds of 30mm cannon fire left nearly a dozen bodies littering the street.

A crewman begs for permission to open fire on the van and its occupants, even though it has done nothing but stop to help the wounded: “Come on, let us shoot!”

Two crewmen share a laugh when a Bradley fighting vehicle runs over one of the corpses.

And after soldiers on the ground find two small children shot and bleeding in the van, one crewman can be heard saying: “Well, it’s their fault bringing their kids to a battle.”

I watched the video and it’s pretty horrifying and depressing how the soldiers are eager to open fire; how nonchalant they are about the bodies on the ground (and being the cause of them) or even about having opened fire on children. And yet… why were people outraged, why was this a big deal? Only because of the cover up, the fact that the men were reporters and the fact that there were children, right? What if the men hadn’t been war correspondents, what if there were no children? Then… ‘Meh, it’s a war. What do you expect?’?

Exactly. What do you expect?
You give soliders deadly weapons and you train them to kill; then fault them for not having compassion? You train them to do a job and then fault them for taking pride in executing a nice shot, fault them from wanting to finish the job, fault them for taking deaths in their stride?

When we see the footage with the knowledge of what happened and imagine things from the point of view of those on the ground… imagine carrying your camera walking down the street in a group. No conflict or battle in sight, you’re just making your way from one place to another. Suddenly, bullets rain from the sky. Your friends or colleagues drop like flies around you, you try to run. But the shooting doesn’t stop until everyone is dead on the ground. Nothing you could have done, no where you could have hid. Sitting ducks. Over in seconds. Imagine you’re the driver of the van, with your kids with you. You see wounded people on the floor. If you don’t help, they’re sure to die. So you stop, and pay for it with your life.

Try it from the soldiers point of view; can you really blame them? We’re in a war. Our job is to spot threats. We see weapons, we see trouble, we shoot. When you see men on the street, you don’t stop to wonder who they are or if they have kids or if they miss home like you do. You’re not suppose to empathize with people you’re might have to kill!

I think what’s more horrifying than this ‘scandal’ itself is the fact that if the casualties had not included war correspondents or children, this would be no big deal at all. Just a day in the life of. What is horrifying is how people are not outraged or horrified by routine killing, just because of the context that ‘It’s a war.’

So men in wars aren’t human? Men in war don’t have wives, families, children? They don’t have lives? They don’t have feeling and emotions? If you’re in a war, life isn’t precious? Somehow ‘war’ makes all this violence okay and acceptable?

It makes me think of Gandhi and the Gandhi movie I watched a several months back. (Read about that here.) While I really admire him and his philosophy, I couldn’t help but feel that maybe it really wasn’t the smartest or best way to do things, as noble as it sounds. The scene where they just walked up in neat rows to be struck down by the guards again and again and again, especially.

I saw some discussion among friends about national service, and among the conversation this comment stood out to me: “i’m a strong believer in having a strong national army to defend our sovereignty.” With the above video fresh in my mind, and Gandhi’s example at the back of my mind though, I find myself thinking, “If defending my nation and my safety means having people kill and take lives on my behalf then… I think I’d rather let myself be killed.”

You can make being in a army and fighting for your country sound as glorious and noble as you like. Use words like duty and honour; bravery and sacrifice. But at the heart of it, weapons are tools made to destroy and kill. And armed forces consist of men trained to effectively wield those tools. A killing machine.

Something a little more current: It’s apparently World Peace Day in 3 days time, on the 21s of September, and that’s being celebrated here in Singapore at Fort Canning from 4-8pm on the 22nd of September.

I’m all for peace but I’m just wondering how much of this is lip service and abstract, feel-good, vague support. I hope people who support and attend think about what they mean by peace in more a more concrete sense– it’s easy to say you support peace over violence– who doesn’t?

But what exactly do you mean by it? When is violence acceptable?
Is this a case of:
I support peace… EXCEPT for criminals on the death sentence?
I support peace… EXCEPT when in a war?
I support peace… EXCEPT when my religion is attacked? (In light of the recent riots around the world)
I support peace… EXCEPT in self-defense?

Or a truly Gandhi-type peace, where violence is NEVER okay?
My idea of peace:

no heaven, no hell. no countries, no religion. no possessions, no greed, no hunger. 

People champion the right to kill for honour, duty, safety and other ‘greater goods’. What about the right to die for peace?

Rambling thoughts on the insufficiency of God’s love


You don’t care*. No, don’t deny it, it’s true; but I understand. Humans have a limited capacity to care, limited time and attention to give. You have yourself and your family and so many other closer friends to care about first- there’s not much space left for a once a year friend except maybe once a year.

Humans have a limited capacity to care- limited time and attention. That’s one reason they invented god (or the modern concept of god, anyway). God, who has unlimited capacity to love all and everyone, and does it better then any human ever could. Because that’s what most people want most in life- to love and be loved. To feel cared for. To feel like they matter.

And yet some people would take that away from others– forbid them to love and be loved. (I’m referring to homophobic sentiments, of course.)  Why do you and how can you deny people such a fundamental need of their emotional well-being?

And this god– supposedly his love is all you need, his perfec love. The love that quenches your thirst eternally while every other leaves you wanting. And yet people who feel his love, who bask in his love are not satisfied– god is not enough (what blasphemy!) and they still need the love and support if their community, the love and support of their family, the love and support of their friends, and the love and support of a significant other. Why can’t you subsist on god’s love alone?

All men have a god shaped hole in their hearts, they say. Yet even when you’ve filled that hole with god, there’s still some hole left. How can it be that god’s not enough?

One of the favourite ‘trump cards’: the fall. We live in a fallen world. Our relationship with god now on earth is not as it’s supposed to be. It’s been tainted with sin, restricted by sin.
But even in paradise, even before sin and the fall, god wasn’t enough. Man was made to worship god, but worshipping god didn’t fulfill man enough, didn’t make man satisfied. God wasn’t enough, and god said so himself: it is not good that man should be alone. But he wasn’t alone, he was in PARADISE, with god, in his intended, untainted state, with all the incredible wonders of creation at his beck and call. And… It still wasn’t enough.

How can it get better than that? As Adam, the first man, in paradise, knowing god? Isn’t that what Christians claim is god’s original, intended plan? Trump card ‘the fall’ is out of commission; it hasn’t happened yet. Isn’t that the thing that is separating us from god, and isn’t separation the thing that is keeping us dissatisfied? Apparently not. Adam had it all, and still it was ‘not good’.

Apparently you still need AT LEAST a mate (in addition to all of paradise and being on one-on-one speaking terms with god) to be satisfied and fulfilled.

As little sense as this makes, it makes even less sense to believe all that and still deny some people the right to love another**. God himself said that even with everything else absolutely perfect, it’s still ‘not good’ to be alone.

*Is there a difference between actively not caring and not actively caring? If there is, I mean thelatter.
**I guess this refers specifically to people who admit that homosexuality natural and beyond an individuals control but insist that they should abstain from being an ‘active’ homosexual.