Friday, February 20, 2009

The world of zelda

I was watching my brother play legend of zela on the wii, and I thought the Faron forest especially the Southern part looked absolutely beautiful. I wonder, is there any place on earth that still looks like that? Untouched, unraped? Soon, the rest of the Bornean forest will be gone. Its thick beautiful wild jungles will be lost forever, for what? For a measly few hundred thousand dollars that once you spend will be gone in a second. MNCs and the super extreme billionaires are standing on the corpses of our nature. Sure, they give and support charity, but the amount that has made them wealthy is not equivalent to what they have done to the environment, I am sure at some level they understand and know what they are doing to the earth. I think us 'small' people are able to change the world, we don't need to play by their rules, we are the majority, don't let yourself be bought.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the white standard of beauty

So I was tralalaing with my two weeks previous extreme food poisoning, the assault at the parking lot, don't worry my husband and I immediately called the police, then now I'm dealing with a flu I caught from my colleague (well using classmate didn't seem appropriate at this university level...), which in turn spread to my kids and my kid's nanny and my siblings. Aside from all these things I had a good rest and I could read blogs! Yayy!

So I want you people to check out this

Before I begin I have to say that blogging has become a new forefront for appropriate academic research especially through articles and human experiences, some I might add reflect a reality not showcased enough within academic research even.

Let me explain one thing before I continue, I have a sister who is 7 years younger than me, this year she's turning 18 and I'm turning 24. Ever since we were children I was always overweight and my sister, even for my mother was alarmingly thin. Honestly, both of us eat about the same amount, we don't eat much, but I think she eats more than me but I this is because she's growing or her metabolism is faster. We both have the same genetic information, we are after all sisters. We have the same body typeface (nice use of the word haa?) A thicker skin on our back (if there was more it would look like a hump :)), we're the same height, my breasts are bigger than hers, twice bigger, I'm a D and she's a B, we both do not possess curvy bottoms, some malay women actually do possess this, my daughter has this but from my mothers side we dont have this, so it would seem buttockless. There is a tendency to worship fairer skinned malay girls, with chinese eyes but more often than not Malay men do not often date chinese women, they prefer Malay girls with Chinese features or extremely fair skin, knowing that the Chinese in Brunei especially local Chinese hail from the Southern part of China they're more tanned than the Malays in Brunei (the Malay category in Brunei is different from Malaysian Malays and Indonesian Malays, Bruneian Malays have a tendency to be lightskinned). Now the remaining question is this, because of the emulation of thin girls, from Chinese light skin worship, thin girls are considered beautiful, but because of things like female stetophygia or as Malays call it, jubur tunggi, or bottom that looks like a duck's bottom, how will the other Malays who are darker skinned (which is also equally common), with female stetophygia, are bigger in body fare in this society? I would also like to point out that some Malay men do have a thing for bigger women though, and yes I think big men and big women are the world over so that does not matter, but are we represented well?

I made this research a while ago, there is a lesser tendency for black women and asian men to be represented in Western media as being sexually attractive. I aint talking about those half white half black ladies who look a lot like white to me like Mariah Carey, may I add Beyonce, and Halle Berry who has a white parent, I'm talking about real dark-skinned women, and real Asian men, not your run of the mill may I say it cos I'm quarter Chinese? 'chingchong' chinaman, but Asian men who are bereft of glasses, with tall statures, they exist you know, I wonder if you've seen them! oh yeah before I go on, I wonder where Indians are in the picture, you know as models in the international arena? They're the right size, the 'right looks', where are they? Honestly, there is a standard for beauty and that standard is white. White women do not realize this, even in feminist discourses, they are at the top of the food chain, while the rest of us are at the bottom of the barrel, barely scraping, we do not need men to justify our existence and we do not need men to justify our sexuality, it should not be them who decide whether or not we are beautiful.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The theory of religion - Freud's Totems and Taboo

Despite the fact that I suspect a lot of people find my columns boring or difficult (I have to add, I find Michel Foucault difficult, I find the language of philosophers tedious, I understand), nevertheless I need to talk about something, I scribbled fast and furiously just as my lecturer was talking. I could not help at that moment to present my criticisms against Sigmund Freud's Totems and Taboo. To begin with, he's a humanist evolutionist, I have nothing against humanism nor evolutionism per se, but it becomes problematic when you label an Australian Aborigine then during the late 19th century as being a backward peoples. First and foremost is the injunction of labelling aboriginal or pre-literate societies/communities and placing them on the evolutionary scale. What basis do you have of placing communities as part of the evolutionary process then proclaiming that Westernized science is at the end of that scale? This is just the same problem as those idiots who say that they don't live on trees in Borneo, sure no community on this island live on trees, people do squid fish using technology either simple or complex, I have never heard of an 'Orang Ulu' [sic] of ever living on a tree. This is just the comparison of placing man, a homo sapien sapien man with that of an ape or a monkey, not that apes or monkeys do not deserve any respect either. But the problem here alongside this group of Borneans who say they do not live on trees is the fact that there exists this 'looking down' this 'condescending' of other communities and cultures. There is no justification for placing communities within the evolutionary scale, culture cannot be explained through science. Leave culture to trained social anthropologists and sociologists, let not so-called scientists who are not even trained properly with even proper terminology let alone biased ideas of ethnocentrism be giving comments and leaving after their dead, their theories to be 'scientific' and the 'truth'. Haven't you people learned? Science, is changeable, its malleable, everyday new facts are unearthed to replace older ones, they do not stay static. It is continuously challenged and tested.

The other thing you psychologists must explain to me is the idea of the 'Primordial father', one cannot ignore the idea that Freud's original analaysis of the mind is definitely sexist in agenda. Why do I have penis envy? Sure I am hostile to my mother at times but I am also as equally as hostile to my father at times, I do not envy the penis! You think that I envy the penis, but the truth remains hidden, womanhood is a conception created within one's own community and society, there exist other conceptions of womanhood of different societies who treat sexuality differently. If that is so how is it conceivable to place them within that evolutionary scale? Of 'blablabla at the beginning...backward tribes worship the Mother Goddess..', then according to evolutionists..'where then they ascribe anthropomorphic images of the Primordial Father, the Mother Goddess becomes obsolete and only practiced by backward peoples...' then and now, 'religion becomes obsolete as man will no longer aspire to need a God/Goddess/Deity/Whatever, and will come to depend on themselves for spiritual fulfilment..'.

The explanations of why people need God and religion vary, some say because of hard times that need explaining, some say because of the original ancestor worship, others like Freud say it is a necessary tool to keep the chaos within ourselves in an ordered fashion. I do not agree nor disagree with any of these propositions, what becomes disagreeable however, is the sexist agenda that is apparent in Freud's conception of womenhood. It is as if women are but passive players in this world built by men, when in reality this is far from the truth. Religious history such as that by the time of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, are patterned with lives of women and men who help shape religion, religion was not the work by one agent, Muhammad, but rather multiple agents such as Aisyah and the 'Affair of the Necklace', Khadijah, the prophet's first wife played an important role in the conception of Islam, in a conjectural analysis of religion as played out by patriarchal ideas, like the one displayed by Sigmund Freud assumes that women do not play a role at all. We are but passive observers to be passed on from man to man, how does he know this?

What I wish to see in the realm of the trained intelligentsia, instead of feminists bickering with one another, is their powerful deconstruction of all this patriarchal agenda that is oh so apparent and being used as 'normal academia'. Deconstruction was the hallmark of feminism, where is it now? It should pervade not only Women and Gender studies but rather the whole picture of academia.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Arrivals - A review

As a training sociologist/anthropologist, it is not my job to value religion or philosophy, that is the work of the theologian and the work of the philosopher, most of the time my job is to see how changes in the world (that is constantly changing anyway) affect people. In this instance, the work done by these two guys, noreagaa and achernahr had produced a few series that although on one side is actually highly heavy with conspiracy theory, on the other hand was, thankfully, and fortunately very much in line with what I believe in. I have been talking about these issues for a long long time now, the double standard that is and has always been very apparent in regard to trade relationships, treaties and protocols have been one-sided. In guise they appear to benefit all, but this is not the case, they only benefit those within the system that champion one side of the argument. I have always talked about this, development is not a crime, but a development that is handled in a way where only ONE type of development is allowed is not freedom. The freedom that they talk of is THEIR freedom and not freedom of the rest of the world. The series depicted by noreagaa and achernahr are appealing because they are looking for a way to set the world of chaos in to right, they are opening minds in which scholars will have difficulty in trying to open up and try. They talk of materialism as being the bane of desire,excessive materialism IS the bane of existence, they are the poison in which distorts the reality in which we live in. Scholars and trained intelligentsia have long tried to expose these discrepancies, Sahlins wrote Stone Age Economics, there exists societies outside of globalization. This is the truth, activists have been talking about this and protesting, we do NOT NEED their money, as Zimbabwe has shown. If need be, and the times dire, we can make our own money, set up our own system, systems are not necessary patented, they exist to help society not control or oppress it. What I am proud of the producers is their ability to show that Islam is not the only light, in fact Islam has long been infiltrated (see part 39 on the 12 Imams, watch it first don't judge it yet), whatever that we are practicing today, our blatant disregard for the environment, our abuse of women and the violent images that are being depicted about Muslims in general have to some extent stereotyped us, influenced us, we have become mad by our own hands. We have lost our way, definitely, even writers like Reza Aslan has talked of this, Islam has a multitude of problems, it has become sectarian and we have built as Aslan puts it, 'churches of Islam'. It is not united, it is divided, each one claiming to have a 'better', 'purer' Islam than the other. We concentrate on the small issues, ignoring 'faith' or 'love', 'familyhood', 'unity'. We should not learn to become ethnocentric, we should stand just as the Jews Against Israel, we are a small voice of Islam against terrorism, Islam against Violence. But do they hear us? Do they put us on the media? Do they listen? They do NOT, the rest of us has become ignorant. I am not a fan of conspiracy theories myself, but as a feminist, and to quote the most popular, we are being 'bombarded' by the images in the media of what a WOMAN SHOULD BE, of WHAT MEN SHOULD BE, and WHAT LIFE SHOULD BE. There is no right and wrong, what is right and is wrong is subjective to the culture affected, what the West considers bestial, and inappropriate, is not the same with what the East considers. Overcontrolling parents, overcontrol because they love, anyone can walk out of their situation, if they choose so, if they are old enough, if they could. But some of them do not want to, why? Because they love their family too. Universal rights and laws do not help, they become the gray areas in which many things become so bad for the 'greater good'. One lecturer once said to us, the problems that the world is having is because they think that it is 'for your own good'. It sounds exactly as Bush points it out, 'for your own good'. 'Good' is subjective, they change from time to time and from place to place. It is time we should accept all forms of life, all walks of it, from the deepest jungle, we should be humble with whatever they could teach us. From the highest mountains, where they have secluded themselves from the rest of the world. Manifestations of beauty should not be accepted at face value, question everything you see and hear, question yourself. And as Kent Brockman says in season 18 episode 22, 'Buy Nothing, Hug Your Children and Love the One You're With.'