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...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

to be young and stupid again..., goodbyes & intellectual freedom

Perusing another blogger's post over a large cup of joe's (24 fl. oz. !!!) suddenly made me nostalgic. Today is a gorgeous day. A perfect day to take the targa off and drive southbound along the coast. I remember blasting down along Highway 1, at 120 mph, Moby over the speakers, someone special, cute and blonde, with her golden strands floating, flying, in the roaring wind, in my passenger seat, yelling, giggling, "split ends! split ends! Slow down!" as we head towards Carmel for lunch and a siesta, and later, dinner at a restaurant on the top of a sea cliff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, watching the sun go down. Ah, memories...

(NB: If anyone sends me racist hatemail regarding the paragraph above, I am going to bitchslap your CCC ass back to China.)

Life is a series of good byes. From the moment we leave our mother's womb, we are saying goodbye. We say goodbye to physiological dependence on our mothers. Then we say good bye to our parents as we are dropped off at the nursery. Then we say good bye to the nursery as we move on to kindergarten. Before we know it, we are saying good bye to our parents as we leave for foreign shores to be further educated, to be interpellated, never to be the same individual ever again. We say good bye to dead, dying, or dysfunctional romantic relationships. Some of us say good bye to companies when we get headhunted (good) or fired (bad). So, do we look at these inevitable events as a process of loss? Or is it growth? You wouldn't be achieving much if you remained in the nursery, with your every need catered to, till the day you die, would you? What is "moving on"? And what does it mean when people speak of the security that comes from a state of permanence in this world? As much as many people envision an exciting life of constant change, I suspect that a few years of a nomadic lifestyle would send them running back into a stable environment, where they come home everyday to the same bed, the same pillow, the same stained coffee pot and mug in the morning, the same toaster with blackened crumbs at the bottom, the same sullen commuters on the train, the same loser colleagues, the same braindead boss, the same lecher in the office, etc.

Why do we write? For some of us, it is to leave behind something. Something that says, "I was here. I existed once. Here are my thoughts. Me. Mine. Something that will (hopefully) exist beyond my mortality." That is why I write. Gravestones ultimately weather away, scion die childless or before their time, but words once published, will persist into (near) eternity.

Or so we like to think, until we get "invited to tea" by certain draconian and fascist authorities. For what it is worth, the phrase, "invited to tea," being used as a euphemism for interrogation, harassment, and sometimes, even beatings and state-sanctioned murder, is common in the postcolonial nations in Africa. The corrupt postcolonial government in Kenya used "tea drinking sessions" to coerce and extract oaths of obedience to the government. Without mentioning any specific names, I think some of my readers know what I am getting at.

The best censorship is self-censorship, for it is invisible. The mechanism of fear is invisible. "Oh, gee, so-and-so got sued, invited to tea, for speaking his mind. I guess I will just stick to safe topics like describing my bikini wax routine instead of querying the heavy-handed paternalistic manner of administration by the government. It is so much safer. After all, everyone fucks. Not everyone dissents, or has the courage to." In a country where, from cradle to grave, the populace is told what they can think, say, watch, write, debate about, where and when to debate it, when to fuck bareback and have children, when not to and use protection, it must be easy to implement such a mechanism of control. When university professors are prohibited from articulating their political views by the government, you know you have an intellectual crisis in your hands. If freedom to think, posit, critique and examine do not exist within academia, what does it portend for the rest of society? If you think that having a few novelty shops that sells condoms and dildos equates a mature and open society, then you must be either the happiest frog in the well, or the dumbest one on the planet. Then again, if you never leave the relative safety of your well, you would never be cognizant of the second possibility. Ignorance is bliss, I'd suppose.

When you are a nation of sheep, anyone with a rod becomes your shepherd. (So how do you like your new shepherd?)

Keep your head down now, you really shouldn't stick your neck out. In fact, you shouldn't even be reading this blog. Go indulge in "safer" activities, like queuing up for free anti-dandruff shampoo...


Blogger Linda Chia said...

Thanks for linking me.

Of the acidflask issue, I'm pretty sure quite a few bloggers feel the indignation of the situation. But as usual, apart from ranting in the blogosphere, what else can we do without causing damage to ourselves?

At first glance, this appears to be yet another 'murdering one to warn a hundred' high-handed tactic which we have seen since God wore diapers. It's just the same story told by a different voice, that's all.

I suspect however, that a certain person could be reacting out of an emotional outrage (hence sending repeated demanding emails within 3 days and threatening this or that) without realising the impact the blogosphere has on the world.

It's a very thin line - what can we write from now? When are we crossing the OB markers? Self-censorship needs guidelines too, and did we all read law to understand the "defamation" stance the courts will hold should our fingers itch and tempers rise and blog out of line?

Maybe I'm idealistic, but stifling our voices doesn't mean we have no voice.

Forcing our opinions into the quiet does not mean we do not have an opinion.

If you ask me, I think bloggers are the most opinionated bunch, as this is a medium which is not profit-oriented like the mainstream ones, and hence, our angle do not have to slant to those who can threaten our bottomline and rice bowl.

It also gives some shroud of anonymity, hence the more we can blog honestly.

My blog, for example, is my outlet for vents and rants. I entertain myself with it, and I hope the readers are entertained too. It's not built as a movement to change the system, which I believe will be pretty pointless until those in power croaks off (which I'm waiting to see what will happen after)

7:05 PM  
Blogger paul said...

Why do we write?

I do it because I've never quite figured out what I'm thinking until its out in words...

Don't think you wanted an answer to that, but hope you enjoyed hearing from a reader anyway :)

11:00 PM  
Blogger -ben said...

Thank you, Linda & Paul.

It is always a pleasure to read responses.

Stay forever young & free now.

11:41 PM  

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