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Maybe If We All Gave Each Other Little Chances

I don't watch the television much, and I'm not one to go for movies often, so I guess I am two years late to the party on the topic of Lana Wachowski's male-to-female transition. One of the most beautiful things I've read recently, was this transcript of her speech when she received the Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Awards. I was touched by the candour, humour and eloquence in her delivery, and marvelled at the courage it must have took to speak up on the topic in public, despite her natural inclination to be private about her personal life.

My mother comes from a very different culture and generation, one less educated and aware on these things, and she's always been rather homophobic, and I know she is often discomfited by my friends who don't quite fit the mould when it comes to genders and sexuality, but I guess in her own clumsy, confused way, she has been trying to understand, especially when it's only become apparent, over the years, that as unconventional as my those friends of mine appear to me, they are as human as the rest of us are, and vulnerable to the same emotions we are all susceptible to.

We live in interesting times, where there are vocal calls for the shift towards acceptance of the various aspects of human sexuality on one hand, and the staunch refusal to abolish views that are sex-negative and archaic on the other. Take the news of the Japanese artist arrested for selling 3D printing files of her vulva for one, ironically in a country that celebrates an annual penis festival... it frustrates me that these things aren't changing as quickly as I want them to.

On the other hand, there was this story that made the rounds a couple of days ago, the one about the fifty-one-year-old cross-dresser in Tokyo that dresses up as school-girl, and is nevertheless widely accepted as being an inspirational spokes-person for individuality. While quite heart-warming to read of, it was my mother who surprised me, by broaching the topic suddenly, after weeks, months, years of dispute with me about how unnatural these things were to her.

"I think you young people are more accepting. He said he is comfortable being himself. Maybe he is right."

I don't know if she realised how big a thing it was for me, to hear that for her. Previously, out of exasperation at her inability to absorb all this "New World" thinking, I'd written her off as being bigoted and judgemental, but maybe I was the judgemental one, by assuming that she wouldn't be able to change her perspective on things, without allowing her more time to process it.

So today I'm emailing to her the link to the transcript of this amazing speech that made me cry (it's the time of the month and my emotions are barely kept in check), and maybe, despite our differences, maybe she would at least, one day, be on the same page as me, at least on this topic.

An excerpt from the email, edited for clarity:

I suppose by now you would have realised that your daughter is a fervent (and very vocal) advocate for the acceptance of those who identify by genders and/or sexual orientations other than those that have been assigned to them biologically, and I figured that you might still not quite understand why.

I'm sharing with you the link of one of the most amazing things I've ever read in awhile, and I thought that if you read it too, maybe you could see from the perspective I do (no - I'm not gay or transgender, although those are all just labels - in case you've ever wondered, I just have this... inherent warped sense of social justice, and an over-active ability for empathy, that I have to struggle constantly to distance myself from).

And I hope, maybe, even if you and I were to never get along, maybe you could learn to empathise with these people I call my friends... and look beyond the shell that their spirits inhabit. I am lucky that I can pass as "normal", despite my unconventional attitudes and outward expressions of individuaity, but I know for a fact these people I love will never be quite accepted the same way I am, with the prevalence of current attitudes. 


In an ideal world, I think, we'd just learn to look at our similarities, instead of dwelling on the disparities, and not keep trying to impose those pre-conceived notions of normalcy onto others.






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Memento

She stumbled upon a wide-eyed acolyte coming down the rabbit hole, feeling his way along in the darkness, seeking out the forbidden.

He asked her to display her fangs for proof, still disbelieving of his apparent good luck. She laughed at all his boldness borne of innocence, and then cheerfully obliged.

"So since you're a vampire, what do you suck on?"

"Stories. Sometimes... I lie with people for their stories."

"Stories?"

"Yes. I taste their lives, I look into their minds, even if just for those brief moments."

"Whoa. Good answer."

"And that's really the truth."

She smiled disarmingly at him, and braced herself for the inevitable, as she watched him fall under the curse of that unintended spell.



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Glow

When I was a child, my dad would catch fireflies for me, then put them in the clear canisters that the film for his cameras came in, before presenting them to me. I would bring them to bed with me - the soft glow was comforting, because I was afraid of the dark... back then, it was much darker, because there weren't as many street-lights to illuminate the night sky.

There are no more fireflies to be found around most of the residential areas around Kuching, these days, and the sky is too bright for me, even at night.

And the little girl who was afraid of the dark... I guess she grew up to become the woman who secretly craves being able to disappear into the inky darkness of the days gone by.

On some days she can be found wandering the streets late at night alone. The air smells cold and fresh and dangerous. There's a reckless heart-breaking solitude in all of this.

I miss the fireflies nonetheless. Some of the magic went out of the night, when they went away.


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Achievement Unlocked! Creep Level +100



Been contemplating about posting this, but couldn't do it yesterday because I was just not the right state of mind to do much except try really hard to remain somewhat sane and come to terms with things. But now I am past all that, and I am just angry, and I need to vent here.

I was out on Saturday night, and had a bit too much drink. The friend I came with got drunk too, and for some reason, just wandered off and somehow went home on his own, with my car-keys. Obviously driving myself back was out of the question, so another friend there offered to take me home.

Anyway, the bunch of them decided to go for supper, which was fine by me, because it meant I could throw up and then sleep off the over-inebriation in the car a little, before I had go home.

And this is where things got a bit weird. Woke up in the dark, because someone was touching me rather inappropriately. Not going to go into details, but it got rather invasive. I was disoriented, and earlier on I was hanging out with a lover (which wouldn't have been cool either but at least not as bad), so it took me quite a few moments to figure out that it was my friend who was taking advantage of the fact I was passed out to cop a few feels, and then some.

Whilst I was trying to process these thoughts, he tried to wake me up. I suppose he thought I was too out of it, and would not remember it, but I remember things in perfect detail, and I have times and the phone-calls I made there and then to support the fact it wasn't some drunk girl hallucination.

Long story short: I managed to get the fuck out of his car, which was parked outside my house, and got into the house somehow despite not having my house keys (doubt I've ever climbed the house fence as quickly even when sober).

The gravity of the situation finally struck when I got inside... and plenty of tears ensued.

The more chauvinistic ones of you (including said friend), would ask me, what would a girl who holds such liberal attitudes towards sex mind so much? Well this: IT WAS NOT CONSENSUAL. I'm a big proponent of being comfortable with the whole sex issue, as long as it is healthy, and done willingly with partners of one's choice. This was not it, not at all.

More importantly, this friend of mine, is someone I used to trust, and have given many, many chances despite the fact he has betrayed that trust, in various ways, over the past year.

Dude, if you do read this, I was there for you over and over again when you were grappling with your break-up, and your struggles with your self-esteem issues and self-identity. I actually cared, up till a point you were taking out your shit on me. And that is where I backed off and started maintaining a little distance between the both of us.

Also, you know, I know, and so does the rest of the world know how you breached my privacy by accessing my shit when I was fucking planning your birthday gift, after you effing used me as a psychological punching bag, for the umpteenth time. Right now I'm not even sure why I cared enough to do so at the time.

I guess you've been harbouring an attraction to me, which really isn't wrong, but I've always been VERY clear on how I prefer my friendships most of my closest male friends to be platonic, and that I'm not interested in you anyway, and I've never encouraged you to think otherwise, so that was seriously crossing plenty of very defined lines.

So maybe you've always thought I was slutty. I think you do, based on the jibes you make at my expense, how you advertise my sexuality. Must get pretty frustrating if you always thought I was an easy lay, and yet never as much as got a willing hug from me (I have an aversion to being touched by most people, you know this shit, you seem to invade my personal space all the time despite).

Remember the story you told me about that friend of yours, who got sexually assaulted by yet another pervy friend, whilst drunk? Yeah, guess you've stooped to that same level.

Going around covering your arse hours before I decided on what to do by claiming you have no memory of the night before (despite being able to message me at 9.54am about my keys) is such a bullshit thing to do. It's alright, you can claim lack of culpability by virtue of not remembering, but we all know that it's selective memory loss, not anterograde amnesia.

I'm posting this, because I don't see a particular need to ever contact you anymore, not face-to-face, or over Whatsapp, or even Facebook message, because I know you'll be lying and denying all over again, and more so than the fact you lie so much, is the fact you are so bad at it, it insults my intelligence when I have to sit there and listen to discrepancy after discrepancy in your stories.

You obviously have no respect for me, and whatever positives I used to see in you, have been diminished and overshadowed by this incident. As someone who has been struggling to deal with rape and sexual abuse for most part of her adult life, this is pretty much as terrible a betrayal as it gets, for me. I guess we're no longer friends, and honestly, it's a fucking relief.

The best thing that came out of all this - I haven't lost my faith in men, even if you did somehow end up fitting the stereotype that all men are pervy potential rapists. In the past twenty-four hours, I've had the loveliest male friends coming over, or checking up on me, just to ensure I would be OK. A few counselled bashing your head in, or ripping your face off, but that was just outraged angry talk, so I suppose you'll get out of this relatively unmolested, so to speak.

Not going to name and shame here, but you know who you are, and I'm pretty damn sure many will soon find out for themselves, what a creep you really are, without me having to say much... heck, you're already cultivating that reputation for yourself anyway.

Pro-tip here, boy: being sexually liberated doesn't mean you go around being pervy and predatory, least of all on young girls who don't know enough to protect themselves from you. For fuck's sakes you have a younger sister, who obviously disapproves of some of this shit, in case you're too blind to notice. Wanting to have sex with women doesn't mean you treat them with any less respect. Persistence, when they've already expressed discomfort with that approach, is blatant proof of not respecting personal boundaries.

My word-smith might be a debauched and hedonistic individual, but he has always treated me with the utmost care and kindness, before and after we went to bed together. No woman is obliged to grant you any sexual favours unless they feel like it, and you treat them right even before you know that they're going to, even if they are unwilling to, and even more so after they've let you.

Grow up and learn to be a proper man deserving of respect, one who knows how to keep his shit together, and keep those fingers to yourself in the future. That was not cool at all, and I could've pressed criminal charges and had your sorry arse hauled into the police station if I were a little bit more spiteful.

Oh well. You made your own bed, you sleep in it. Good luck.

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Refracted

I like the wrong things, the flawed things, the broken things.

I like the seemingly-worthless piece of crystal with the crack running through it. Nobody seems to appreciate or care about the pretty rainbow patterns it reflects back onto the world... Which is a shame, because all anyone had to do was to wait until the light struck it just right.

At least it never aspired to be polished and pretentious.



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Destination

You are apples and cinnamon and the smell of fresh, crusty bread. I suppose those might be the same aromas you remember your mother's kitchen for, I think, but now those are the scents that remind me of you.

You are iced black coffee without sugar, to me. All this began with meeting you up at a cafe I was horrified to even set foot into, for all its hipster chic; and so it felt apt that I bought the same cold brew for you, from the same place I met you at, on the last day I saw you.

You are trippy David Lynch movies, and a surprisingly good singing voice, as you held my wrists down above my head to prevent me from hitting you in retaliation for tickling me, and tormented me with your rendition of Blue Velvet; laughing at my horror at how bizarre everything - both on-screen and off- was.

You are... laughter. So much laughter at my expense. So much laughter shared. I wouldn't have guessed, on that first meeting, when I stared at you, and got even more intimidated by that intense unflinching gaze, that we would mellow into this comfortable arrangement of trading banter and easy chuckles.

And there's nudging you, asking you repeatedly, "Are you OK? Why do you look so angry? Why are you SO angry?" because I know that's precisely the opposite of the emotion you're actually feeling, and I enjoy getting a rise out of you, as irritation creeps into your voice as you try to explain your resting bitch face. Haha.

You are the occasional French words and phrases in the conversations I so enjoy because they are so concisely-stated, almost-formal in your preciseness, your ideas always so beautifully expressed.

You are in turns aloof and preoccupied for most part of a busy day, and then uncaring and cruel in the evening, and then smothering affection the morning after; and there's the unexpected kindness of you carefully checking me for injury, especially for the wounds that cut deeper, into the heart.

"I hope I did not freak you out too much, last night."

No, you didn't. I like you most when you think yourself most detrimental to my safety. We both know that it was all the dark things and the ugly inside of you that drew me to you. They complement my desires.

You are nothing I expected, and everything I've ever wanted, even the things I never thought I would care for.

I still don't think this is love, but I'm feeling emotions I never thought I would experience again, and I was almost a little bit afraid, last month, when I left you standing there - staunchly refusing to look back at you, because you were leaving forever.

Yet I somehow know, I will see you again.

And even if I don't, word-smith, I got precisely what I wished for.

You wrote me into not one, not two, but quite a few of your stories.

Thank you, old man. =)

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Havaianas Sandals on Zalora

Most of my friends know how much I’ve always loved wearing flip-flops (we call them “kasut selipar” or “slippers” here), especially in hot, humid Kuching. Covered shoes feel like mini-saunas on my feet – I could never quite understand how people could wear sneakers 24/7 in this weather.

Also, I can’t really think of any other foot-wear that transitions as easily for use on the beach as flip-flops do… and since I am pretty much a city girl who’s a part-time beach-bum over weekends, flip-flops are an essential item to have.

They also pack easily into luggage for travel, should I require something more casual (and water-proof), and because of this, I find them invaluable and incredibly versatile... I've had flip-flops that have accompanied me for a short hike and swim at Kuang Xi waterfalls in Laos in the day-time, and then functioned equally well for dancing at a merry little local pub later on that same night.

I also always keep a spare pair in my car, even when I go for functions requiring high-heels or court shoes, because it’s always such a relief to swap those for a pair of comfortable, ventilated flip-flops after that.


Anyway, I’ve had a particular fondness for the Havaianas brand since years ago, when my cousin introduced  it to me, and was rather excited when I was contacted by Zalora to write about them. This is a sponsored post, yes, but I only post positively about the things I love and there are so many good things I could say about my favourite flip-flop brand.

Founded in the year 1962, the first shoes for Havaianas were inspired by the typical Japanese sandal, Zori, which was made from fabric straps and rice straw soles. Thus, Havaianas foot-bed shoe feature sports the same the rice-patterned texture in all its products, as a bit of a homage to its humble beginnings. The brand offers a wide selection of trendy designs, for men, women, and children, so there's something for everyone to pick.



Think flip-flops are too casual for anything outside of beach-wear? They’re actually great for shopping and just chilling out at cafes. And it’s not impossible to make that laid-bck style look fashionable – these celebrities managed to pull off the look:



That’s Hilary Duff and Zac Efron, and they’re both wearing Havaianas flip flops and totally rocking them. If you want to achieve that effortlessly stylish look without having to fuss over which shoes to wear, Havaianas flip flop sandals are a pretty awesome solution, especially in this tropical weather we live in.

And here’s some even better news: back when I first started on my Havie obsession it was a lot easier to ask friends and family to purchase them on trips out to Singapore and Australia than find them here. Right now, they're already made available at Zalora, which makes shopping for Havaianas so much easier and more convenient. There’s a rather wide range of creative designs from their collection on the site, and just a few clicks later, your purchase will be delivered to you within only three days!

So much easier than those days of begging, cajoling and bribing people just so they would bring back a new pair of my favourite casual foot-wear for me.

Go look for yourself, and check out Havaianas on Zalora now.