KD-ADS: Expanding Horizons

Cos thinking should never be stagnant...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Against My Own Sex

"Marriage is for women the commonest mode of livelihood, and the total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution."

Bertrand Russell
Marriage and Morals

The above quote may appear odd in light of my own entry today (NB: it should also be noted that the context of the quote is different from my entry but nevertheless, shares similiar assumptions). But there's a reason I have taken this quote to illustrate my point of view of the unruly and disappointing attitude of some members of my own sex. The background to my statement lies in the growing dissatisfaction men now have to deal with in the dating with the opposite sex. Due to the rising number of educated women, some men nowadays have turned to vilifying and demeaning the "characteristic" attitudes of "modern" women, especially in a modernistic affluent highly-educated society like Singapore, this ostentious "backlash" has produced some unimaginable social phenomena (e.g. more men marrying foreign brides, or going abroad to indulge in prostitution).

One particular thread has infuriated me. The incipient article is, first of all, a tabloid piece. Nobody should take it seriously, even if the women interviewed volunteered unfavourable comments on our fellow men. What seems undeniable unjustifiable are the following replies ("And I thought men and women are equal. If women can lose the ability to cook and clean, why can't we do the same with opening doors and carry bags.", "I agree, we should learn from our vietnamese counterpart and start smacking them womenfolk coz they think we're simply not tough enough"), in addition a picture that one can only say is the work of a misogynist and should be outrightly censured. There is something only so unspeakable about men who think or support such abject misconceptions about women that they deserve to be beaten for speaking up, even if what they say is unpleasurable to hear.

Men will do no better in listening to their own voices, and start refuting the absurb notions about women that conquer our struggle for traditional masculinity and patriarchy. Even if one were to accept the accounts about contemporary women challenging the traditional male dominated role in the family household, to only kick, whine and bicker about this "enmity" is a display of childishness and reckless derogation. If men were to wish to assuage their own fears, they can start by looking at themselves in the mirror and to question their unfounded beliefs about women today. That form of self-criticism will at least be a lot more constructive than applying deleterious labels on females in an attempt to allay their comments or pacify them altogether.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Special People

Yesterday, I was struck with the notion of defining a special person in our lives. It first started with a person online who had to grapple with the actions of her previous partner. She was worried that he had never considered her as a special person in his life, and that his current actions served to prove that she is currently nobody special. Later on, I was myself caught in a web of confusion and possibly deceit over someone special in my life as well. I was forced to confront what make this person in my life special too.

There are of course many different, and probably an infinity of ways we tell someone how special they are in our lives. These reasons span from similiar identification, common hobbies or interests, shared understanding, homogenous backgrounds, individual care and concern for the other, exceptional love or psychic connections. Sometimes we treat everyone as special and sometimes we only consider a very possible few to be truly special in our histories.

There is, of course, a paradox. Everyone is special. We all know each other to be different and idiosyncractic from everyone else. But why, I am interested to know, is it so important to be considered as a special entity in someone else's lives? Are we purely demanding such treatment from a competitive basis (i.e. I have to be more special than the other "special" people)? Are we truly seeking a spiritual and psychic-like connection with someone else in our lives, and if so, is that priviledge truly allocated to a selected few (or only one person, ala a soul mate)? What benefits do we gain from attaining such a status? To bask in our own individuality or to assert ourselves as human beings?

Even in very collectivistic cultures or societies, or even small tight social groups, I like to think the members still hope to be endowed some special recognition, despite trying their best to conform to the status quo. It is also, I think, a fundamental human aspect to not only seek a status of speciality but also find others who we like to call "special" in our lives. Though the standards and criteria varies among all of us, and as much as we aim to strive for the equality of treatment among all our peers, indeed some do exceed our barest expectations and require us to acknowledge them as different from the "rest".

For what it is worth, this fundamental element in our lives doesn't have to be competitive. We sometimes are not recognised for the special beings that we are, and thats perhaps a fact all of us have to handle in our lives. A special status in someone's lives can never be demanded and we are left to ponder about our own role in the lives of our peers, family members and significant others. A special status is merely the importance of your existence and, I would add, the freedom of expression (not merely verbal) attached to that importance. That right of expression of your character, desires and values comes to be accepted as a critical aspect of yourself which people should not deny and not just accept, but fully attempt to understand as well.

The special people in our lives (and I denote this term with no inverted commas), are the ones we have not only a common linkage with (I don't think this is prerogative though), but we come to truly accept and understand for all their complex and multifaceted nature. I like to think the special people I have in my life (however minimal they are), share a totally different sphere of experience not commonly found in others, made up by our own fastidious and compulsive exploration of each other and with our own potent recipe of emotional cocktail (mixed with love, hate, jealousy, frustration, joy, misery and compassion) that truly forces us to recognise the impact these people have in our lives.

The special people in our lives, we learn to cherish in our own ways.

Postscript: This post is dedicated to the one whom I always deem special, though the favour is not returned. And also to the one who started the search for me.

Monday, February 14, 2005


I am back in Australia. Though I am not flipping open sleeping bags in the streets, I am residing in the living room of my (previously, used-to-be) apartment. I had given my room to my new room mate and reduced myself to lodging my stuff and body in the living room, crashing in the small couch that I owned. On the night of my return, (arrived at 2am), I stared into the darkness of the four walls around me. My roommate's cat kept me company and I was appreciative of its silent presence.

I started to realise that not only was I "homeless", as in not having a house or room to call my own, but also homeless in that I was far away from some of the cherished elements of my life. My home was with my dogs, my niece and my family (in some sense). Being the unsentimental being I am at times, it struck me that I was missing the warm presence of my pets, my niece coming into my room and chasing them, and further the trips my sister and I would undertake with her. Where I was now, as comfortable as I could sink into later, can't truly compare with the little moments we had together.

As I am temporarily "homeless", in every sense of the word, I don't have ready access to all my stuff, which includes the internet and etc. Using the school internet, though delightful, won't provide me with all the materials I rely on to write competent blog entries or surf my daily favourite sites. As such, I will be disabled for a little while, as I move my stuff into a new home (thankfully, I found accomodation closer to school). I guess this truly shows how handicapped we all become when stripped of our earthy assets and a shelter that we arbitrarily call a "home".

On a small note, today is Valentine's Day. Though I don't particularly favour superficial traditions, or commercialized holidays, I have a couple of attached friends who are truly satisfied and blessed for what they have. So this would be my ridiculous "thumbs-up" support for their love in their relationships.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Of Marginality and Exclusion

Today I had a little reunion with some old classmates of mine. Although I have realised it the whole time, the small niche of companions I still kepp in touch were the same bunch of teenagers that were excluded and marginalized since our time in school. Although most of them have considerably advanced to form more close social bonds with the new friends and peers in their current lives, I still could not help but feel the sense of isolation we all may have shared. From a variety of social backgrounds, from the poor working class to the upper middle class, the dominant Chinese speaker to the dominant English speaker, from separate interests and fields, somehow we were all linked. There was however, one salient difference between us, which was that only I felt the marginalization. Perhaps this would imply that they weren't truly marginalized and that they simply had small social circles, but it struck me that only I was able to discriminate my status in mainstream society.

Marginality however, is not a trait or property I detest. So I could imagine that I may have developed a "fetish" to cling onto my individual status and that my insight and thoughts are constantly pushed by a perpetual urge or desire to be "different". It does also help that one of my greatest fears is to remain as an ordinary average joe, a label that strikes my heart with pangs of anxiety and despair. However, yet deep in my won heart, I know I serve a minute, close to nonexistent, role in this world.

Social exclusion, however, has not diminished my view of the importance of relationships and human lives. So there must be an extravenous factor that would explain what many would dub the murderous and deprived pathological loner to still bear kinship with human peers. To locate this factor, be it playing a causal or contributive or deductive function, is however too complex a task for one lone human to do. It is however, with great speculation that I propose that an intuitive search for trust and honesty in this world that will compel a person to find that factor. Whatever this factor serves to show, it is one that may be innate in us all.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Why should I cry for you?

(This post is intended to compensate for the lacklustre post below.)

I recalled hearing a statistic sometime ago that everyone of us is supposed to cry an estimated few hundred times in our lives. Its quite a surprising fact, being that the figure quoted is fairly high, and the second being that everyone of us would reach that number. So if you think you aren't shredding enough crocodile tears, who knows when they might be saved for another time.

But it also got me thinking about the kind of tears we don't burst out from the outside. What about the oft-quoted phrase "I'm crying inside"? What about tears that have flown from our eyes but we choose to deny? What about tears that we regret upon because we "don't think thats worth crying for"?

Instinctively we tend to juxtapose our tearful times with moments of sadness. Yet there has also been tears of happiness at our finest achievements, tears of anger at our loved ones for their "indolence" and "stupidity", tears of shame at our decisions in life we should have known better to act upon or the tears of silence when we realised we are at a loss of explaining ourselves in a critical situation. But one thing can be said of all of them. How controllable are we at these moments?

We like to think we are in control of our emotions. But our vulnerability to our own innateness, of our own human quality, to imagine, to think, to feel, to experience phenomeon that is beyond our physical senses is what we wish to escape from. It seems scary to imagine us as biological beings, still controlled by the biochemical processes that run our bodies, and scarier still to grasp a statistic fact that we can't control our own emotional reactions. Yet this should not belittle our own experiences. Motivated by our own environment, the multiplicity of contexts that invoke in us our own "humanness", I think the message cannot be clearer that we need to cry for our own human tragedy.

Postscript: I can tell my writing skill has deteoriated to a large degree.

Killing Life

Its a curious epiphany. After a long time of spending my time back in my home country, I had almost lost all sense of sympathy and empathy. Morality didn't matter to me. I wasn't concerned with pursuing my heartfelt interest in the complexity and contingencies of this world. Instead, I was infected with an aura of indifference and a pound of nonchalence. I was, to put it frank, contended living my own life in my own space, not bothered with the rest of the world. I couldn't even be bothered with the events happening in my own community, the next block of flats or the country I am in.

I have considered what possibly could be the reasons for my isolation. Had I become lazy? Had I let myself go? There were probably many reasons to account for the evanscence of my compassion but I could hint directly at possible causes: 1) I needed a break away from the world, 2) I have been busy with my own personal life and 3) There's something about this place that induces me to act indifferently.

I am not fearful of the first two reasons. I don't consider them as fair justifications for the moodiness I am supposed to be entitled to feel. What I fear is the third reason. Its inexplainable and yet irrevocably I ponder on this strange "drug effect" my own home country has on me. Initially, before my return, I had planned to transform my room into a cosey and reclusive study dungeon but that has been half-heartedly achieved. I consider myself as a pretty resistant outsider to this world, but it would seem strange that I am not able to protect myself from this overwhelming "stimulant". It's like a relaxer drug that tells you that this place is all you need to be concerned for. Your own status, your own wealth and your own health is all you need to care about. Nothing else matters.

Its almost like my own life was vanishing slowly. For the nth time. But I always come around.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

My Second Home (Blog)

I've spent some time creating a new blog. Instead of adding my entries about my home country in this blog, I will be directing them to my second home (The Police State). If you are interested in my interpretations of current events and the psyche of this nation state, please drop in and take a look. Meanwhile I will concentrate on filling in this blog with more personal entries.