Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Oh, my...

So there is a cool party this weekend at San Francisco. How quaint. To mingle with some of the cybermasters of satire and burlesque? Tempting... Parking in the city is a pain though. And the tow trucks will find the most minor of reasons to tow your vehicle. Hmm... It could turn out to be one expensive party indeed.

Cake was playing here 4 days ago, and I didn't find out until yesterday morning. #$#%$^!!!!!

Several friends hate Cake and Violent Femmes like I detest gangster rap. I believe their sentiments were, "Even karaoke is better because they at least try to sing. Cake just tries to be a post-modern beatnik minus the drugs, minus the creativity, minus the coolness."

I'm like, whatever, man...

Hmm, if Eve thinks I'm an old fogey, she is closer to the truth than she thinks. In addition to classical music and soundtracks, my CD collection also includes medieval and renaissance music, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th century canticles, and--get this--funeral marches and requiems. Bahaha! I do have a few mindless CDs though. E.g. Aqua.

Going on a trip down memory lane, Mr. E. might remember "Rent" by Pet Shop Boys. Man, I still want to play UItima IV again, with "Rent" playing in the background. Who could ever forget "King's Cross" while fighting Reapers in the dungeons? Maybe when I retire. I bet it will never be ported to the mac platform.

Eve asks "what does classic stuff do?" Well, it augments or might even serve as an impetus to emotion: during your graduation, I am sure they didn't play gangster rap; I hope you are not going to play gangster rap instead of the wedding march (then again, you will probably surprise me. Heh!). I am sure that gangster rap can be made to serve the same purpose as well, but in my very humble opinion, it is like a surgeon using a chain saw instead of a scapel at the operating table. That said, I could be wrong though. I am always ready to learn. And learning is always good. You never know what undiscovered talents lie hidden in you. For example, I am a master with the bong, babe. I can suck oil out of coal. (kidding...)

I hope no one is taking this personally. Like I previously mentioned, you are my friends, so the opinions expressed here in no way changes my feelings/love for you. I rant against gangster rap like I rant against liberals--as a general group. If it makes you feel any better, I have Run DMC in my collection, and might purchase 8 Mile in future. For what it is worth, I prefer to rant against gangster rap lovers than liberals, for the primarily reason that liberals tend to whine so much. I might hurt their tender feelings and then they will be camping out outside the local ACLU office to file a lawsuit for emotional distress against me.

So, lately I spent some time inside a Ford Focus. I was dismayed to find a function called "Compression" in the factory-in-dash-CD-changer/radio. As the name suggests, it compresses the music. I.e. make the bass slightly louder, the treble slightly louder, so that the music material is more "even" in its sound pressure (level). That is beyond blasphemous, IMHO. Has the phrase "dynamic range" totally disappeared? The beauty of an "unplugged" concert, or a sextet recital, a solo piano recital, or even a full orchestra is the dynamic range. One moment, the artist/music instruments are performing at barely a whisper that you have to strain to hear; so quiet that you can hear every piece of clothing rustle in the audience; the telltale wheeze of an asthmatic; the rhythmic pounding of your heart. The next, a thunderous crescendo (or a soul-piercing wail) as the percussion, bass and larger wind instruments launch in an all-out sonic assault on not only your ears, but your body as well. That is dynamic range. Remember, it doesn't even need to be classical music. Try "The Doors."

With regards to the continual topic of "Asian Pride," well, I believe I have said my piece about it being empty symbolism and misdirected jingoism. I look at those around here and observe the inconsistency: on one hand, they are chanting "Asian Pride," and then, a few moments later, they are putting each other down on the basis of race and nationality, and coming up with some kind of ad hoc social hierarchy. E.g. the ones from Taiwan and Hong Kong are "superior" to the ones from mainland China; the ones from Singapore are "superior" to the the ones from the Philippines and Vietnam; the Japanese at the top; the Koreans hate the Japanese; the Koreans get pissed off when the Chinese tell them that they were originally Chinese; the Hong Kongers label the Indonesians as examples of how wealth cannot purchase fashion/dress sense; the list goes on. For what it is worth, I have NEVER heard the derogatory term, "Flips," come from the mouth of a Caucasian. It almost exclusively come from the mouths of "fellow" Asians (usually Chinese) towards the Filipinos. Now, tell me, what Asian Pride? What solidarity? I think the entire Asian Pride thing arisen out of a bunch of 1st generation American-Born Asians (and some FOBs) who felt insecure in a new land and a new culture. I rank it on the same level as Calvin pretending he has Hobbes to talk to and play with, and have his own "gang."

Another thing to ponder, the Chinese in China do not even like Singaporeans anyways. In their eyes, Singaporeans are arrogant, snobbish, uncultured (in Chinese culture), etc. I think one thing the Chinese community has yet to recognize, let alone grapple with, is the diasporic state of their culture. Rather than covering over the tensions and differences under an empty banner of solidarity and unity, it will be more productive to acknowledge that we are not alike, will not become alike, and open channels of dialogue and understanding.

I mean, look at Singapore. Every July, the media is swamped with nationalistic and patriotic slogans. In August, they gather in the National Stadium, voluntarily (yeah, right) and coerced (NSmen, students, teachers), and sing about how they are "One Nation, One People, One Singapore," and how "We are Ji-Za-Pour!" And meanwhile, old Chinese Ah Mas will still hurriedly press the "Close Elevator Door" button when they spy an Indian lady walking towards the lift landing. Again, what solidarity?

As always, take these rants with a large grain of salt. I'm a whitewashed banana after all, always on the periphery of the Chinese community whilst growing up in Singapore. Anyone growing up in Singapore will be aware that there are 2 main camps in the Chinese community: the Chinese-educated, and the English-educated. In fact, the former group has even managed to pervert the actual meaning of the phrase, "mother tongue." "Mother tongue" is the language you grew up speaking. It is "the language learned by children and passed from one generation to the next." In my case (and for a substantial percentage number of the Chinese in Singapore--over 40% by now, I believe), it is English. But of course, the Chinese-educated camp insists that "mother tongue" be defined by race. If your skin is yellow, your mother tongue is Chinese. That is outright racism.

Also, consider for a moment how racist the Chinese are towards the issue of interracial marriage. What is this about "keeping our blood pure"? What are all these dialect invectives for children of interracial marriage? I see some of the Chinese coming over here, crying and bitching about racism from the whites, while at the same time, they practice the very same racism they accuse the dominant majority of. As you can see, the problem is not limited only to Singapore, but to the various Chinese diasporas around the globe.

And in case anyone is going to send me hate mail accusing me of being a turncoat, I have received my share of racist experiences at the hands of the Whites as well. But that does not mean I will seek easy comfort in what I perceive to be a fake (and equally racist) community of race. For what it's worth, I have received more shit at the hands of the Chinese-Culture-Chauvinists (CCC) in Singapore than from the Caucasians here. By the way, "turncoat" means "one who traitorously switches allegience." My allegience was never to the Chinese-educated community to begin with. Therefore, I'm not a turncoat. (Payback is a bitch, isn't it? You could have had an ally, fluent in the language of your (perceived) oppressor/competitor, on your side, instead, you end up with an individual (or a bunch of pissed-off individuals) with knowledge of your culture and tradition, but harboring a lifelong hatred against it. Good job, people! If the armies of the world were staffed by the likes of you, there would be no need for wars: they will simply self-destruct.) FWIW, I'd sooner turn Amish than stand with the CCC.

It has been a long day. Had insomnia last night, so I basically had no sleep. Still, it has been a good day. All right, that's it for tonight. I really need my sleep, sweet dreams or not. Ciao!


Blogger zeenie said...

Great post on racism within the ranks of the racists. Know exactly what you mean and how you feel. I hope your views remain steadfast in the face of such apathy!

8:38 PM  
Blogger -ben said...

Thank you, zeenie.

Stay well now.

12:04 AM  

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