Wednesday Links

Interesting people:

Ellen Page: ‘Why are people so reluctant to say they’re feminists?’ | Film | The Guardian .

Ibrahim el-Salahi: from Sudanese prison to Tate Modern show | Art and design | The Guardian .

I’ve been thinking a lot about post-colonialism and Singapore, and how we really haven’t developed a post-colonial discourse in South East Asia. It’s almost like we’ve given everything up for the sake of moving forward, including looking critically back at our own past. But now, I’m looking at things and really really questioning if it isn’t really because of the past that we have the inequalities, the rifts, the cracks in our societies today. The British moulded our society to their benefit, and we’ve never really looked at that and been like, okay, this is what we need to do now to actually try and make it an even playing field. Because it’s still the Malay, the Chinese dialect, the South Indian people who are supposedly doing worse in schools, who can’t seem to be as employable, as wanted, as Singaporean as the Baba, the English-speaking, the culturally more Western segments of our society.

Hunger for justice

This Ramadan, I will pray for the men of Guantanamo Bay.

Guantánamo hunger strike: US to force-feed detainees during Ramadan | World news | .

Obama urged to halt Ramadan force-feeding at Guantánamo | World news | The Guardian .

When Yasiin Bey was force-fed Guantánamo Bay-style – eyewitness account | World news | The Guardian .

The above video of Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) being forcefed is really awful, just a warning.

Why we are hunger-striking in solidarity with Guantánamo’s detainees | Clive Stafford Smith | Comment is free | .

(Also, Wednesday is sorry, again.)

I have lost a country to images, it is as simple as that.

Excuse me, are you Singaporean?

I did like the bit about the guy who seemed genuinely torn between having to decide between his American nationality and his Singaporean one, and the Ghanian/Chinese Singaporean kid seemed pretty funny.

But really, seriously, I hated a lot of what this article chose to be.

First, there was the vapid, messy equation “ethnicity = nationality”. ER, HELLO…..

The amount of facepalm cannot be measured…

Then, there was the cherry picked nationalities. Why was it necessary to have 3 Chinese + white families? The interviews with the families that weren’t Chinese + white were also lot more negative. Although, to be honest, I can see that being genuinely the case. Most Singaporeans still have the idea that white = better looking, and trust me when I say that racism is alive and well in Singapore. I had a classmate who was Singaporean/Australian ChIndian and who had a Chinese boyfriend. Because she looked Indian, she got a lot of racial abuse in Singapore (mainly in Mandarin, because they didn’t think she spoke Mandarin. But she does.) basically around the theme of “Damn dirty Indian girl stealing a nice Chinese boy”. And you know, this isn’t that uncommon. Chinese people who mainly have Chinese friends (whole other topic) think it’s uncommon, sure, but minorities in Singapore? It’s a regular thing. Which might also be why Chinese Singaporeans (like white Americans… Also a whole other topic) are a lot more shocked by racism overseas. It’s totally outside their world view. Whereas for minorities, we’re pretty used to it. I’ve even heard some people (minority Singaporean in Australia) prefer the racism THERE instead of HERE. Because at least there, they understand that they are different, they don’t fit in, they are foreign, but here… there is the emptiness of acceptance without the possibility of understanding or reprieve.

Back to the topic.

Also, there were no Singaporean Indians or Eurasians represented. Seriously, lazy-ass reporter, what the heck… I mean, come ON, Eurasians are the original mixed families in Singapore, okay.

And you know what? How about this, instead. How about actually asking mixed Singaporean families about what THEY think about ethnicity in Singapore? Chinese/Indian, Indian/ Malay, Malay/Chinese? Was this considered too controversial? Because, oh you know, we do want perfect babies here…

SG, I am done with all this “regardless of race/language/religion” crap. I still love you, okay, in a totally toxic, desperate way, but even the fact, this fact that I feel I have to reassure you is totally not cool. You need to get your act together and stop lying to yourself. Fix it, okay, or if you can’t fix it, at least talk about it. That’s all I’m asking.

“Singapore I am on trial.
These are the whites of my eyes and the reds of my wrists.
These are the deranged stars of my schizophrenia.
This is the milk latex gummy moon of my sedated smile.
I have lost a country to images, it is as simple as that.
Singapore you have a name on a map but no maps to your
This will not do; we must stand aside and let the Lion
crash through a madness of cymbals back to that dark
jungle heart
when eyes were still embers waiting for a crownless
Prince of Palembang.”

– Excerpt from “Singapore You Are Not My Country”, Alfian Sa’at, One Fierce Hour, 1998