Friday, October 1, 2010

I hate the dark, it makes me think about death, life and forever

I usually hate the dark, it makes me think too much. Now the question is sometimes I think, why anthropology? Why not something else to give meaning to my life? Why not philosophy? or Archaeology so I can muse on the questions of life or death and probably along the way see what it is actually like to exist. these things, these questions have been around since the dawn of time. How long ago that dawn of time, nobody actually knows. I saw recent photographs of bison drawings in a cave in France, and I thought, well, it is 32,000 years old and it looks perfectly new. The details and the colours on the bison, while I do not pretend to be an artist but an amateur enthusiast once in awhile, the drawings to me were perfect. The ones in the Niah Caves are only 1200 years old, 200 years after the death of the Moslem prophet Muhammad s.a.w., and those in Perak, Malaysia are 2000 years old, about the time of Christ. History, then, is duplicitous, indicating times and spaces that are so relatively different from one section of the world to another. At one point, the barbaric and the 'savage noblesse' of South East Asia 1200 years ago and another, the Angkor Wat built in and around the same time.

The thing that strikes me most about the passage of time is the fact that humans have existed, they will exist after this and they will exist maybe some more after that. They have, fro 32,000 years or more, if we could find the evidence for it anyway. How long have we been here? And how long more will we be here? Is there a God? And if there is, what happens to us after we die? Religion has been one of the most fundamental breakthroughs of man, giving them hope to advance, to be creative, to exist. Any religion, from the Mayans, to the Zoroastrians, to the old Celtic religions, from Islam, to Buddhism, to Christianity. Each with their own version of how to exist, when to exist, what to expect in life and what to expect in death and ironically no matter what, there is no proof for any either one of them to be completely true, and that is the anthropologists' explanation. The only way to do so is to take philosophy in one's own hands and leap as Kirkegaard commends. That faith and religion n actuality is irrational and there is no system of thought in the world that could justify faith and religion, it is a matter of irrationality. And now we have come into a new chapter of anthropology. One that requires leaping as well. We have come to exist on this planet and in a multitude and variety of ways we try to exist in it. The Chinese and the Indians making incense, to pray at sunset or sundown, to chase spirits from a house, to wrap a dead person with cloth, to pay homage to our ancestors, to worship our ancestors, to file our teeth, to scar our bodies, to tattoo our adventures, to participate in exchange, to trade, to make boats, to canoe, to travel between different islands, to be married, to fall in love, to be beautiful, to be young, to be old, to be wise, to purchase and buy, to be urban, to dress and style oneself, to cover our bodies, to expose our bodies, to heighten our bodies, to stretch to lie, to bury our dead, to burn our dead, to everything. And each and everyone of our actions, our beliefs, our thoughts, our cosmology, at one point or another might or might not matter because life on earth of man have been going on for thousands of years, perhaps millions. The only thing and benefit that we gain is the acquisition of wisdom and the knowing that when we die, life on earth continues as if we do not exist.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rationality and Irrationality

I wrote a very long letter/message in response to a very good friend of mine, I have a tendency to seriously forget things that I have put in my head and my system of thought and I thought the letter in it self is very good in trying to clarify whats in my head. I also have a tendency to not be able to think when I'm angry, kind of neanderthal in my part - I think after this post I would like to kick Levi Strauss' ass for being such a white Frenchman, just as much as I want to kick Xavier Sandner's ass for being such a white Frenchman.

Cap'n Liyana Tassim Septembarrr 14 roundabouts 11:07 in the evenin'
Okay one thing I admit, I don't work well under pressure buuut
let's start off with one thing, I also remembered that there was a concept that I was utilizing and it was far more useful than clear cut questions of 'What is kinship?', If kinship was not necessisated by blood and that to inherit or receive money/land/goods/etc. was by way of what? So the concept I used was Carsten's degrees of relatedness. That I thought was an excellent idea, for one, if I used degrees as the main theory compass to explain the process of how people received inheritance/rights/positions, therefore, there was more validity to and truthfulness to the concept than not. So there were as you say positions but such positions does not necessarily (or as you say, categories of positions) entail specific rights, negotiation yes, is by way of one - but, what is salient in this feature? Degrees of relatedness, investment for one is both (in)tangible and I have detailed or (ofcourse I need to iron) the course in which people CAN negotiate their positions this was the feature that demarcates from fixed patriarchal patrilineal matriarchal matrilineal societies, the existence of PREFERENCE. If for instance other societies these rules are set or fixed and there is no way to go about it in bilineal societies this is not the case, therefore other means or ways are needed to explain said phenomenon.

On the question of rationality and irrationality, now I remember, I wrote a paper when I was doing political sociology between the English legal system and the Islamic legal system, one was highly rational and the other considered to be irrational - however, rationality does not imply that it is a 'good' thing rather, the system was built in such a way that it is difficult for people to be judged, waiting years in line to be brought to the court of law, this is because the system is highly rational and highly bureaucratic, on the other hand the Kadi judicial system was irrational and was subject to case by case basis, ofcourse this is traced by historical junction ala Michel Foucault. Irrationality therefore as I have found out does not necessarily mean that the system is bad, au contraire, irrationality is in fact in this cultural system is more beneficial especially when we are dealing with numerous cases quickly and effectively. Therefore, I do not agree that rationality is completely and wholesomely the best way to go about in judging people or a cultural state of mind so to speak. Btw, how sick are you mi amor? This I think forms my system of thought, I suppose it is different for yours. Well, now I am thinking straight - adieu

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Now when I heard the latest controversy concerning the infamous talk show host, I thought, obviously nothing could justify her actions in this rain weather storm/shit. However, I also looked into several of her publications although nothing would induce me to read one and be appropriately gagged throughout. Ofcourse the advice she gives out is simple enough, you give in order to receive without needing to analyze the actual implications of those men's actions towards their wives. The examination ofcourse is done in part of the women whereby if they act a certain way, certain prescribed/proscribed ways that signifies what a 'REAL' woman is and therefore they will receive the amount of attention and affection that they want. But the question is, only as a devil's advocate because of course they have every right to receive the happiness that they wish to have and the kind of structure that they wish to present/portray/exist in their lives. But honestly, going far back and talking about the first season of Desperate Housewives, Gabriel goes back and realizes that what she wanted was all the wrong things that she really needed. Although the whole point was for her to have marital bliss and have a baby and all that. But what does a woman want? And why does society have to point it out what they want? Can it be examined further that what you want is not really what you REALLY REALLY want but a product of what you think you SHOULD want?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Congratulations Australia!

Here

Notice that they mention her marital status, well to be fair, male prime ministers and presidents who are not married are also criticized by right wingers, it makes no difference. However, as a politician one cannot help but have multiple skills in making everyone calm down. Sigh, the trials and tribulations of involving oneself in politics. But then, there you go, you're a politician the truth is you're landlocked and you have every worst obstacle about yourself in every way. In addition to that every other body part of your self is often scrutinized, whether your Hillary Clinton running for office, how ugly John Howard is, etc. Not everyone is as good looking as Barack Obama and get yourself hoodwinked. On other news...

A recent msn article by a certain idiot bio-sociologist, I couldn't find the article but apparently if you google 'taken men attractive' you'll find absolute loads. She argues that the reason why taken men seem attractive is because in the so-called period as neanderthals this would mean that our cave man/woman/insert here mentality would find that men who are taken are dependable etc. But honestly? It would seem like a tactic men might use as a means of screwing other women on the side. Apparently it also meant that they were great protectors yadda2, now my question is this, plain and simple. How the fuck does she know all this? I assume this is because she was recently unfrozen from a block of ice and ofcourse she automatically became an expert at cavemen mentality 'love'. The truth is ofcourse even bleaker than that, it has nothing to do with biology, what it does though is the fact that patriarchy enforces ideas on women that taken men are more sexually and emotionally viable than single men. Ofcourse, this also works vice versa with milfs and gilfs ahoy! It also works by the principle that the grass is greener on the other side...who after all does not want to imagine such things of what wonders that the forbidden fruit can offer?
Ironically...the forbidden fruit also brought suffering. Maybe, humans are sado-masochists, why not? La Douleur Exquise!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Another Rainy Day

Things have gone a bad turn for me, thankfully I'm getting off unscathed (I think). I'm getting divorced and I don't talk to my mother. I hope things go out well. Other than that, on other issues around the world, I haven't taken the time to talk about the recent fiasco with British Petroleum. So far at SeizeBP.org which I recommend everyone take the time to read, the oil spill is still ongoing. Obviously mentions by government filled newspapers and any other forms of media, the situation is supposedly 'under control' What with the things that are going around on earth right now, with the huge crack somewhere in South America, I would have hoped that people would change their actions and ways. I am still on a semi-carbon diet, I don't ask for plastic bags anymore, I vehemently refuse if someone tries to give me a plastic spoon or fork although I think I should take this a little bit further by taking my own stuff when I want to take away food, like a container or something. I can't live without my computer off, hmm, that doesn't sound so promising although I did set it off to low performance. What astounds me still in the Beunri media is that they only tell people to turn off their water heaters when it's not in use. Hell, are we Rockefellers or something?! Shit, even Rockefeller was an extremely stingy person, so much so he installed a public coin phone at home so that his family, friends and workers couldn't call as they liked. But really, what have they been doing? Leaving it on all day long? People take what? one or two showers a day? Why is that thing on the whole day?!I cannot conceive of the things that we constantly do. And all this fuel for what? I took part as a volunteer for a Green Debate in my university as a water carrier LOL. Interestingly although the whole issue was 'Green' water bottles were used everywhere, what's wrong with water jugs or tap water? Although the issues were there it was hardly green, God knows why. Obviously it was a gimmick in part of shell, I'm not saying it's a bad thing, in fact it could be a good thing. Or am I too extreme? We need some green advisers that's for sure.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cultural Hegemony?

looking back towards Antonio Gramsci's Cultural Hegemony made me wonder. There are loads of examples that support this theory and very much influences a lot of people. It has also been known that cultural hegemony has the ability to uproot localized cultures and deem them as 'bigoted', 'other', part of the 'lower' etc. when there is absolutely no evidence to support that 'their' way of doing things are better. For instance, protocol, often you see that you're giving loads of movements or even wasting a lot of materials - for what? For what exactly? Sure humans have the need to celebrate or worship/meet the queen but is it necessary to use much waste in the process? Doesn't things like this actually cost much more and difficult to boot? It's like going to the opera house, sure it's for culture, definitely I don't see the wrong in that however, I do see a problem when it utilizes much waste. Wastefulness indeed, like JLos watches or Beyonce's million dollars' worth of wigs. Gramsci has a serious point and I would like to say that I'm wrong but honestly in more ways than one, he's right. Buttress this claim against the French dude who says that certain people make it because of 'Cultural Capital'.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My dear stars

My dear stars,
where ever you are,
under the blanket of dark,
and your little pointy mark.

Fascinating me until I just stare and stare,
It's not like anyone cares,
But I'm okay I think,
I just want to wait and let it sink-
in

I'm kinda lost and my dreams get stranger and stranger,
I'm not in any real danger,
just dreaming again on and off on and off,
then I wake up wishing I was asleep again

The grass is close to my feet.
It's rather cold - no heat.
I wonder what you're doing there,
untouched by this dirty earth,
And all the blood that we didn't spare,
heaven and earth heaven and earth.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The trouble with packed foods

Now lately this has been bothering me and I rewatched The Story of Stuff again. Think about it, you want to eat some biscuits then you go buy some old-fashioned Khong Guan biscuits. The new Khong Guan biscuits now come individually packed while the old ones are only once packed, this time one pack has mini packs! You eat one or two mini packs then you throw it away in a few seconds...how is that fair? It comes with the package, I always refuse plastic spoons or forks for the plain reason that they get thrown away afterwards, for what? For a single use of a thing that biodegrades in 300 fucking years! Ditto for our sanitary pads and kids diapers. Why in the world is it so difficult to be sustainable? I need to go on a carbon diet.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I wonder if I'm a racist?








I wonder if I'm a racist when it comes to finding men who are attractive, if I am spot me out here's the list:-

Monday, February 22, 2010

How often do you see positive images of women in movies?

Granted that the most recent movie I watched with a positive image of a woman was Sigourney Weaver in Avatar (and she's not even the hero) a lot of movies I have watched seems just to limit women and womenhood in general. Sigourney Weaver is a good example of an actress who have jumped the boundaries and is able to become the hero (woohoo~!). Seriously how often do you that to be the exception and not the norm? My GOD!

You, Me and Dupree
- Kate Hudson is a schoolteacher

Bride Wars
- Kate Hudson is a successful lawyer but sort of breaks down in the middle of her meeting just because she has blue hair, and all because of something as 'frilly' as a wedding. Oh she's also portrayed as a 'bitchy' woman.
- Her bestfriend Anne Hathaway is ...gasp, a schoolteacher.

Glee
- I like Glee and the actress Jane Lynch was great in it...just sayin ha3

and the list goes on and on

successful women = bitchy = need love and affirmation of some hot hunk
middle class women who are teachers = smarmy and mousy ( I'm soo not against teachers even though I hated a lot of them during high school, the point is, one of them was a great teacher and she was a woman, never had a great male teacher, nuff said).

When is the next female character the hero again like Aliens? I haven't seen one in ages, when Sigourney Weaver (as a 9 year old kid I watching it) was carrying her large guns I have never felt that 'this looks wrong', au contraire, I was rooting for her, looking at her kill those effing aliens. When was there a positive image of a woman holding a gun looks so right? (not saying that I'm promoting violence either) Well, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one although not my favourite, but Xena was and she was my favourite (kick ass Xena! She was even wayyy better than that show Hercules she spawned out of).Where are the female heroines? Good God I think we need a fifth wave of feminism...

Monday, February 8, 2010

The fragmentation of Nationhood

I think as everyone might be aware of the comings and goings of Malaysi a similar trajectory can be seen with what is happening elsewhere around the world. The existence of minority communities. What we are truly living in at the moment is a post-nationalist world. The nationalist world while still in full effect elsewhere is becoming increasingly fragmented. Sure, Malaysia has had its problems and yes they have for these past few decades created racial riots severe enough to see that they cannot be together and they cannot be apart. It's like the Malay saying, 'Talan mati bapa, luah mati mama' (To swallow your father will die, to spit your mother will die). Malaysia definitely cannot exist if for instance it decides to fragment itself (which it would very improbably won't). The thought rose to me when I was reading Thomas Friedman's 'From Beirut to Jerusalem'. The Lebanese which saw the multiplying minority becoming a majority and like Malaysia too the Malays saw the extreme increasing number of the Chinese right before their eyes. Neither of these countries could exist without the other (well, that is their logic) but in a post-nationalist world where every country is fragmented in terms of race could be very well underhanded. These are wars of identity and ethnicity. Something in truth, very well historically engineered to exist. I wonder what is going on, honestly I am beginning to be suspicious that this is the work of creating non-fluid identities but a more marginalized ethnicity and country without regard to how much it forces people to become uniform. Whatever the arguments proposed for unity and sameness, I think could be summed up by the experiences of the untouchables of India and now I found out, the 'burakumin' of Japan.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

limited access to education

I just realized something painful about so-called 'wonder' stories about people dropping college and becoming the richest (or wealthiest) man in the world (Bill Gates) and every other 'beautiful' stories about people 'making it'. The only truest rags to riches story I believe would come from the entertainment industry. Now that's a hodge podge of some who were born to act and went to prestigious art schools for music or the stage, OR those who struggled relatively really struggled with poverty to become rich and famous. Oh, I also extend this rags to riches to those who do sports or modeling. The rest? Not so. Sure there are, it is impossible that there aren't considering that there are 6 billion people on this planet, the odds are mind-boggling of course. And out of this 6 billion many will, from the lowest rung of poverty 'make it' through working class, or middle class and hey if you're even luckier, upper class. But the majority of people aren't and I noticed that all of these reasons are simple. Access to education and knowledge. Sure, everyone says, there are public libraries, proponents of such and such would argue, they would go on to say that it is dependent upon their laziness that they do not wish or want to get above themselves. But what if you spent your life thinking that you're not able to read a single book? Too long? Too tiring? Not enough interest or imagination to pull it off? Hey, it's common here in Brunei, a majority of the middle and upper classes do get off books, they prey on it, but the rest? Fat chance, in this small country of 180 thousand locals and more than half made up of expatriates, the truth is there are only three actual living breathing working bookstores while the rest are actually magazine newsstands mimicking as bookstores or text book stores (which make a lot of money actually, a LOT). The access to knowledge is very limited, lack of transportation is a good way of citing it, then there is the fact that the children will grow up seeing that their parents do not read and therefore they don't read (although I have heard stories that the children do read and end up being the better for it), even parents who 'fear' their children reading due to superstition or local stigma. I have seen it before, it is regardless if you're Moslem, their only answer is that the Koran is the only one worth reading. Fair enough for those religious zealots out there, why not? The problem is this a majority who do read it don't understand a single thing about it! Amazing! Many scholars, anthropologists and sociologists have found out that this is quite strange especially among Southeast Asian Moslems. Why? If the Muslims in the West (including the Middle East) have managed to read it upside down inside out then interpreting it, understanding it and actually reading it!! (iqra bismirrabikalazi khalak)The Moslems in Southeast Asia rarely do understand what they are reading. It has in a certain way become so deified that they fear understanding it, that they would sin in understanding it without proper guidance (which they never bother to find in the first place). The Jews and the Christians, the Hindus and Buddhists have had a long intellectual history, even the Moslems. But often I see here is a stagnation that cannot marry both intellectual progress (which ever you wanna understand it, even in terms of Sahlins' the original affluent society) and religion at the same time. That, I think is their prerogative, I'm sorry to say despite the extreme oppression faced by Iranians on a daily basis they still do and have intellectual histories, the study of even fine arts (!!) and yes of course, the so-called Mr. Burnsesque nuclear power-plant.

This limited access to education ofcourse is consolidated with the idea of power and of course money. Limited means to gain education, I mean think about this, I started off with Bill Gates and I might as well end with a bitter note (not that bitter, people should, can and will try) he had a score of 1590 out of 1600 in his SATS, he was highly intelligent, comes from an UPPER MIDDLE CLASS family. Inherited 50,000 dollars to play with, a huge sum in those days, not that he didn't work hard, he did ofcourse. So did Warren Buffet who also came from a 'business' oriented family, they worked hard, they persevered, they didn't spend so much money. But it's easy to see that despite the fact that sociologists accuse the working class as being crass and 'immediately seeking gratification' squandering off their money for enjoyment. You have to understand, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates had lived and enjoyed since their childhood, they have never felt the pain of poverty and therefore were comfortable enough to not need 'immediate gratification' for their hard work.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Problems of Malaysia creating enmity elsewhere

Malaysia's problems were serious the first time around. It's depth began during the British administration, dividing the Malays, Chinese and Indians into different actual ethnicities, separating them and causing a very great divide. In addition to those problems are also religious and cultural (ironically Malay culture is derived from Indian culture whatever one wants to make of it and parts of Indian culture are transfused by thousands of years of contact with the Middle East, the West and everywhere else) religiously parts of Indians are also Muslims (not to mention Chinese too in China! Millions of em!). The problems became more apparent through the media after Mahathir Mohamed stepped down, sure enough there's a likelihood chance with political drama that the whole Anwar Ibrahim was a fiasco after all and to distract Malaysians from their growing enmity problems.

So here goes, I received an email whether doctored or not of an appeal letter from an Indian who goes and insults Malays and Islam at the same time. However, I would not take sides on this, clearly not all Malays are lazy (i.e. many of the entrepreneurs as well as the rich politicians are Malays after all) and clearly not all Indians and Chinese are successful they are all three equally the same (almost equally anyway considering population discrepancies). The thing is this Malays in the Malaysian media have had a history of making fun of Hinduism as well as other religions, something politically I think is inadvisable but potently espoused by the likes of American right wingers. Anyway, the email just incited this deep hatred towards Indians and Chinese in general. Honestly, being so-called nationality wise Bruneian and called Malay (which I disagree by the way I prefer to be called 'orang Brunei'), there's this deep xenophobia that is going on in Malaysia and they're definitely spreading elsewhere into Brunei. Bruneians citing themselves as Malay believe that Indians and Chinese are the root to their problems and of course they fear that they will usurp them (in a 'Malay' country) both politically and economically. The fears I think are at some point quite founded, both Chinese and Indians being immigrant forces are very likely more intellectually prominent or economically more sufficient the reason for this is because of their ability to take risk. In addition to that their exposure to knowledge is not far off in known history, if ever Malays were prominent historically it is definitely downgraded because of the inability to cite so-called 'great' backgrounds to appeal to the 'spirit' of Malay-ness (which ofcourse is socially constructed). I cite these reasons because at the root of it is people like me. My great grandfather travelled all the way from Madras to Brunei and married my Kampong Ayer great grandmother. Then incidentally some Portuguese guy decides to impregnate a Chinese Mukah lady whose my great great grandmother. On my father's side I'm Mukah Chinese, how am I supposed to survive when ethnically I'm bound 'Malay', look very Chinese and have some Indian blood?

The xenophobia that is created in Malaysia clearly is being reflected elsewhere around in Brunei and I suppose to some extent too in Indonesia (where Malaysia and Indonesia have been at it for years). Then recently there's that thing with the word Allah, a term meaning God which Christians and Jews in the Middle East use freely as well as the word obviously means nothing else but an Arabic word of God. I agree uneducated people in Malaysia and Brunei would definitely disagree with the word Allah being used by other religions even Christianity and Judaism (which is ironic considering that all three are semitic religions and belong to the same root)and those who are intellectually and academically rooted would definitely do not care either way knowing that the word after all has been used EVEN BEFORE Muslims themselves have used it. And yet, they are bickering over it like a group of children, as if one has exclusivity over the other? I suppose the meaning of the Koran citing not Muslim, Jews or Christians or other religions but actually begins with 'Orang-orang beriman' (or those who have faith) does not mean much to those fighting over the word. Or even more, xenophobia.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How easy their reply

The easiest reply that I have heard so far against feminism and feminist women are

'Because you're ugly that's why you're jealous'
- If I'm ugly and fat so what? What kind of an argument is that? We're pointing the obvious, sexism and the peddling of sexist and patriarchal agenda. What is so hard to chew on about that? What if we're not jealous? What if we honestly and truly mean what we say? Have you considered all these avenues? Why should we be jealous? What's the point? We're trying to protect womenhood from being controlled and oppressed.

- If a person who is disabled or coloured made the same argument for feminism and if they were male, would you tell them that they're jealous? Why not? A male could have aspirations to become beautiful too and if they're transgendered even more so.

'SHUT UP BITCH!'
- This is the dumbest reply, most likely made by some underaged/immature/ignorant person(s). Rather than argue back they retort violently without any meaning to their argument.

'Women know nothing'
- I rest my case.


Yours sincerely,
L.T.