fickle: (asian pride)
Today, I had yet another guy try to pick me up with the opening salvo of "Namaste".

The fact that we were in a crowded shopping mall is probably what saved him from being viciously savaged by an angry Sri Lankan girl who is absolutely sick of having people greet her with that.

If you see a white person, any white person, are you going to assume they're German and start a conversation with "Guten Tag"? Or French and say "Bonjour!" to them? No. So why see nothing except my skin color and think that I'll appreciate 'Namaste' as being your token proof of 'knowing my culture'?

Namaste is a Sanskrit term, used most commonly by Hindus and Nepalese for as a greeting. Sanskrit is a root language, like Latin.

How many of you go around greeting all white people with a Latin phrase or word?

India's huge. India has a lot more than just Hindus in it. So even if someone is from India, there's no reason to assume that 'Namaste' is the right greeting to use -- Muslims, for example, have their own greeting, which goes along the lines of 'salaam alaykum'.

I am Sri Lankan. Sri Lanka is an entirely different country to India, and we have very few Hindus. The majority of the country is Buddhist, and I have never ever heard anyone in Sri Lanka use 'Namaste'. Sri Lankans say "Ayubowan" (pronounced 'eye-oh-bo-wung', with wung rhyming with lung)

Cultural appropriation is one of those complicated things I haven't sorted out my feelings about, but I know exactly what I feel when people try to apply other people's culture to me, assuming based off nothing more than my looks that I am belong with that group.

So here's something that I can't believe I have to state explicitly: Not all brown-skinned people are Indian Hindus or from Nepal. Though I doubt that people associate 'namaste' with Nepal. However, if you're greeting them with Namaste, you're implying you believe they belong to that particular social caste/class and will therefore understand it, and give you brownie points for having tried to speak their language.

Here's a quick geography lesson for you. Asia is a huge continent. Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka all fall under what I'm talking about when I say South Asian. East Asian, for me, is usually China, Taiwan, Japan, Tibet, North Korea and South Korea. And South East Asian is Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore. Russia's a whole different story. That's a lot of countries already and I know I'm missing some.

Unless you actually know where someone is from, don't assume they're from whichever country is most in the news. Playing the odds is a great way to offend people and quite frankly, it's unnecessary. A friend of mine said: "It's like greeting everyone you've been told isn't a black American with 'What's up mon' as if all other Blacks are automatically Jamaican. Or automatically African."

Next time you see an East Asian or South East Asian person and want to spew "kawaii desu arigato!!!!" at them, or think you've spotted an Indian whom you can show off to with "Namaste!", don't. Just don't.

Go start up a movement to promote Klingon being taught in public schools instead. Or Vulcan. Or Bajoran. Or Romulan. Whatever floats your boat.

Just please, please, PLEASE stop it with the cultural misappropriation.

~Fickle, who is still brown but still not Indian.
fickle: (smallville: pure luthor)
Governor Palin has a Down's syndrome kid.

I know, I know, that doesn't seem like a reason for me to hate her. After all, I grew up with a handicapped sister, taught special ed kids, and am generally highly in favor of rights for disabled people.

But the thing is, Palin doesn't just have a Down's kid. She chose to have one. Early screening meant that she was warned that her baby had Down's syndrome but due to her stance on abortion, she decided to go ahead and have the child anyway.

STUPID. Stupid, stupid, stupid and selfish. So you're pro-life and refuse to abort this kid on principle? Congratulations, you've doomed him to a lifetime of suffering. A short lifetime, mind you, because most Down's kids have shorter lifespans and are highly susceptible to anything going around, but it's still pretty much a given that they're going to suffer for as long as they live. They won't be able to keep up with the other kids, they'll be developmentally stunted both physically and mentally and it's all your fault for having brought said kid into the world, knowing what he'd have to face.

In the class I taught, one girl called Sandy had Down's syndrome and about a month after I finished with her class, she died of pneumonia. Before that, she had to wear diapers all the time, and the aides had to take her into the bathroom to change her and wipe her ass, because she couldn't even manage that on her own. She couldn't talk normally, she was short and highly obese and even in the classroom full of special needs kids, she stuck out as even more hopeless than most. Sandy was 22 when she died, but she was about at the developmental stage of a 2-year-old, if that.

And this is the sort of child that Governor Palin thinks is a gift from God. This is the sort of life that she's going to cause the boy to lead, because she's too selfish to put aside her own views and think about what's honestly best for the child.

Apart from which, you know what? She has no business running for VP if she has a disabled kid.

Nobody with a disabled kid should be taking on a public office job that has a huge time commitment, because there's no way that they can do that and take care of their child at the same time. My parents both worked full-time, had a live-in nurse, a live-in maid and an older daughter who took care of herself (me), and even they worked themselves to the bone to take care of my sister. I refuse to believe that Palin can juggle four kids, a Down's syndrome kid, and the job of being VP all at once; there's no way she can manage it and still give her kids the attention they need, especially the disabled one.

Obama's choice of VP is 'meh', because for a guy who talks about CHANGE all the time, he went with a really traditional Old White Male choice.

McCain's choice? Thoroughly despicable. Even putting aside the anti-abortion, anti-contraception (wtf, has she never heard of AIDS?) issues, I have no respect for anyone who would deliberately bring a child into the world, knowing that child's life will be filled with nothing but suffering. No respect AT ALL.

Edit: If you want to know more about the political stances that Palin has, check out [livejournal.com profile] ilyena_sylph's post here where she lays out on the line all the reasons why no liberal female should think that Palin's likely to be on their side.
fickle: (smallville: pure luthor)
Heard of the Open Source Boobie Project?

If you haven't, you should probably know straight off the bat that the name's a misnomer. Open Source has nothing to do with this because breasts are not publicly shareable bits of property. Breasts belong to the person they are attached to. They do not belong to anyone else -- not the doctor, not the plastic surgeon, not the boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other of the moment and not the hungry baby. My breasts, my uterus, my vagina, my body.

And if you try to act otherwise, I will most likely oppose your viewpoint either firmly or violently depending on your level of stupidity.

That said, what exactly am I so snarly about this? Multiple reasons.


  1. For a moment, everything that was awkward about high school would fade away and you could just say what was on your mind. It was as though parts of me were being healed whenever I did it, and I touched at least fifteen sets of boobs at Penguicon. It never got old, surprisingly. Women are not responsible for your sexual healing. If you had a hard time picking up girls in high school or getting to touch their breasts, dressing up wanting to touch a lot of breasts at a con as 'sexual healing' does not make it look less sleazy. Like someone else said, my breasts do not have magical healing powers.

  2. Like [livejournal.com profile] brown_betty said, "apparently there is a deeply felt conviction among some subset of men that the problem with today's society is that they do not have enough access to women's bodies."

    Of all the things that are wrong with society, I really don't think that's one of them.

    Four more reasons under the cut. )

    More reactions, many much more articulate, can be found here.
fickle: (asian pride)
Tamil Tigers celebrate 20 years of suicide bombing.

Okay, first of all, suicide bombing is nothing to celebrate.

Forget dying for a cause. Forget being a martyr. Forget all the propaganda and think about what it means for a little, huh?

Suicide bombing involves being blown up into bits of gristle and bone and flesh; it is not pretty, it is not a heroic death and it's definitely not something to celebrate. Suicide bombing means that you are deciminating your own ranks; it means you think so little of your soldiers and your soldiers' families that you are willing to send them out on missions that have absolutely no chance of them returning. It means you think people are so blinded by the cause that they'll keep following you even after the disregard you've shown for their lives.

Suicide bombing is imprecise. Civilians are caught in the explosion, but that doesn't matter, does it? If you're willing to sacrifice your own soldiers, after all, it doesn't matter if people who have absolutely nothing to do with the military are blown up. They probably hate you anyway. You're the reason that the government is camped out in their backgardens; you are the ones who are keeping this war going.

Suicide bombing is absolutely nothing to celebrate. Twenty years of desperate, stupid people blowing themselves up in attempts to kill other people? Also nothing to celebrate. Families left behind, 70,000 people killed overall? Again, not a cause of celebration.

Celebrations are meant for good things. Twenty years of people killing themselves for a stalemated, publicly-not-happening-war is not a good thing, and as far as I'm concerned, there's nothing to celebrate.

Stupid. The idea of celebrating stupidity on the suicide bombing scale is just so fucking stupid.

I am not a patriot but I am a person, and I say now that this war must end.
fickle: (mai: damsel in distress)
While discussing Obama vs. Clinton the other day with a guy, the man in question came forth with this pearl of wisdom:

"Women make laws when they can't make quiche."


Unsurprisingly, that infuriated me.

Politics is not something that women do because they're not good at cooking, or domestic arts. Running the country is in no way a consolation prize for being a bad cook or housewife!

If you want to get into politics, it means that you want to have a say in the direction that the country heads in. It means you want to influence the social system of the country, the international opinion of the country and the financial situation of the country.

If you're running a country like America, it means that you're affecting the whole damn world. The reprecussions of your decisions will be felt by countries so far across the globe that they're going to sleep when you're having lunch, or waking up when you're eating quiche for dinner.

Going into politics means that you have power.

Baking a quiche isn't especially empowering (unless you poison it, I suppose).

Being involved in American politics -- running for President, running for Senate, canvassing house-to-house, putting up posters, and hell, even just showing up voting -- means that you can change the world.

I think that's better than baking one lousy quiche.
fickle: (freedom)
If your flist hasn't already exploded about lj's spree of deleting journals based on their interests, go take a look over here.

There's also protest-meme going around where you remove all your interests and replace them with simply 'freedom' or 'freedom of speech' in addition to signing the petition linked to in that entry.

The whole mess has even made it onto Fandom Wank.

Personally, I'm curious. Do people with Paid Accounts get refunds on their remaining time if their journals are deleted/suspended for completely ridiculous reasons? I don't think that I have anything triggering in my interests, but if mine goes under, you can bet that I'm going to inquire about the logistics of this.
fickle: (asian pride)
You who wear my skin so carelessly/I am not the girl you were afraid to become.


I had a convo with Savior the other day about why I'm not attracted to Sri Lankan guys and basically, it came down to the fact that I'm not fond of the Sri Lankan culture. I don't like the way that girls are treated (we might be the first country to have a female Prime Minister but the guys are still arrogant assholes), and I don't like the double standards concerning female purity versus male purity at all.

If you tell me you know a nice Sri Lankan guy, my first assumption is going to be that he's either a traditionalist on the lookout for a girl he can show off to his parents as the femme he's going to marry, or that he thinks that Westernized Sri Lankan girls are easy, shameless whores. That's rather unfair of me because really, they could be Western-raised as well and not culturally Sri Lankan, but guys get doted on so much in Sri Lankan society that I don't think they have the same impetus to distance themselves from it as girls do.

See, if you're a girl, you're supposed to wear nice clothes that don't show flesh, be polite to your elders, not swear, get good grades and never, ever disgrace the family. Boys can mess up and all that's going to happen is that people will tut, shake their heads and say that boys will boys, ane, what's a mother to do? (Ane, incidentally, is an exclaimation that can mean nearly anything since it is basically just a space-filler, but usually signifies despair. Sinhala is great for space fillers.)

Being a girl in a traditional Sinhalese family sucks. It means that when I go to Sri Lanka and stay with my father's side of the family, they take all my shorts, put them to be washed, and don't give them back until I'm about to leave. That forces me to wear long skirts in the meantime, when I hate skirts, and especially hate the cheap polyster, pleated type that's appropriate for girls of my age. If I have to wear skirts, I want them to be flouncy and playful and cotton! And preferably make my legs look good instead of covering them up.

But at the same time, being in Sri Lanka for me means that guys will stare at me. All the time. It's not like 'Oh, she's so pretty, I want to check her out' but rather, just staring like they have every right to and I'm not even human. It feels invasive and what I actually tend to be wearing is a pair of jeans that go down to my ankles and a sleeveless top. Only skin that's exposed are my arms and my face and some of my neck. It really doesn't warrant the kind of attention that I tend to get.

I tried talking to my mother and father about it in the car one day, and my father said I was just imagining it or that they were staring at me because I look Western-rich and fair (fair in the sense of lighter skin color than people who actually live in Sri Lanka and are exposed to constant sunshine). My mother agreed with me, surprisingly, and said that the daughter of a friend of hers had said something similar about Sri Lankan men making her feel threatened just by looking at her.

I really hate that.

It's my body. Sri Lanka is my country too. I have the right to walk down the streets or sit in a van without getting stared at by every passing male. I have the right to sit in a car without guys trying to talk to me from buses, and yes, a guy actually did lean out of a bus window and shout at me while I was in a car, trying to get my attention. And I was only thirteen or something at the time!

...I was even younger, maybe seven, when my mother tried to get me to go out with her in the dark so that she could buy something for her mother. I was terrified of the dark, but she said that she needed me to come with her so that she'd be safe. I went with her, but I remember clinging to her hand all the while and wondering what exactly I was supposed to do if we were attacked. I was seven and tiny. These days, I could pull out kickass self-defense skills but back then, all she did was scare me by saying that even the neighbourhood we lived in wasn't safe for a woman to walk during the night on her own.

Nothing happened, thankfully, but I still remember very clearly how I felt -- it was a combination of fear, helplessness and anger that I was directing at my mother just because I didn't know enough back then to understand that her fears were justified and that it really did help to have a small child who could at least be a witness or scream for help. I understand it now, but that's at least partly because an aunt of mine was recently attacked in broad daylight while walking home from the grocery store.

A man assaulted her, tried to pull off her gold chains and this happened right outside her house. Her family was in the house, and she was screaming, but they didn't hear her because they had the TV on. Some guys who worked as mechanics a few houses down heard the screaming and came to rescue her, chasing the guy off and then following him. A crowd of people apparently swarmed him as the two guys were yelling 'THIEF THIEF', and then they beat him up, and took him to the police station where he got beat up some more, with my aunt being told to not say she got the chain back because the police wanted to get heavy charges laid against the guy because this wasn't his first offense.

She ended up in hospital and needed surgery. She couldn't talk for ages; he had knocked her unconscious to stop her screaming and her head was bleeding.

This happened right outside her house.

The thought of ever going back to Sri Lanka terrifies me sometimes.

The district of Colombo that my father's side of the family lives in isn't as good as the distract my mother's side of the family inhabits (my father's from a lower-caste, oh noes!), but it really just re-emphasized the fact that Sri Lanka is not a good country in which to be a woman. And although there are good guys, like the two men that saved her, Sri Lankan men, overall, do nothing for me between the sexism and distrust of Westernized women.

I feel like a bad patriot. Or more accurate, I feel like a bad Asian chick but honestly, all those complaints (usually from Asian guys) about why Asian chicks prefer white guys? They're not necessarily trading up or trying to get rich quick, thanks. They might just like guys raised in a Western culture that they empathize with better than they like guys raised in a straitlaced society that they are trying to escape.

Is it possible to love your country without loving its culture? Captain America got blasted in the Civil War comics for not knowing what MySpace is, but I don't think that I need to love MySpace to love the ideals of America, even if I don't like seeing them be ignored. Sri Lankans are supposed to love cricket just because we won the World Cup back in '96, but I refused to watch it and read instead. As for Austria, I hated taking German classes and I still don't like the language.

They called it being a global citizen at the international high school that I attended but mostly, it feels like I don't belong anywhere.

My identity is fluid/I am a citizen of the Net.
fickle: (technology: mac x vista)
China takes 'Net addiction very seriously.

The part that killed me was:

Addiction to the Internet is blamed for most juvenile crime in China, a number of suicides, and deaths from exhaustion by players unable to tear themselves away from marathon game sessions.

In 2005, a Shanghai court handed a life sentence to an online game player who stabbed a competitor to death for stealing his cyber-sword -- a virtual prize earned during game-play.


SUICIDES. DEATH FROM EXHAUSTION. Holy fuck, guys. I mean, I've stayed up for 40+ hours from insomnia but that's not the same as not being able to tear myself off the Net. I stay on the Net because I'm awake, not stay awake to be on the Net.

And apart from which, boot camp? BOOT CAMP? Some of my closest friends are people who I know because of the Net. How does that equal sociopathy due to not enough interaction with other humans? Gah. Who gets sent to boot fucking camp to cure Net addiction?

Not to mention that I'm exhausted enough to picture a camp full of shoes, pumpin' it to the max. High heels working that spine, sneakers flapping their tongues, laces really testing how much weight they can take, etc. It's a rather amusing mental image, though it does absolutely nothing to alleviate the absolute horror of being sent off to BOOT CAMP for Net addiction.

Really. BOOT CAMP. And in case you haven't got the point already, BOOT CAMP. Boot freakin' camp, man.

Edot: Okay, so this has nothing to do with Internet addiction at all, but for all the short, gorgeous girls on my flist who hate their height, here's an interesting little snippet about heights and celebs.

Christina Aguilera (5'2")
Eva Longoria (5'2")
Rachel Bilson (5'1")
Hillary Duff (5'2")
Britney Spears (5'4")
Kate Bush (5')
Jessica Simpson (5′4")
Jada Pinkett Smith (5′)


I'm the same height as Britney Spears and have better hair. Cool.
fickle: (fickle: classics never die)
[livejournal.com profile] mirrored_echo is currently over and the two of us are watching-slash-snarking Troy, which is riddled with historial inaccuracies that are barely compensated for by pretty boys in skirts. Also, I'm spelling Akhilles with the k because I got told ages ago that's how it meant to be spelt, and it kind of stuck with me.

Would you like some historical accuracy with your whining? )

Laptop died. Snark picks up again at the battle where Patroclus dresss up like his gay lover.

Damn this for making me lose track of my numbering system. )

[livejournal.com profile] mirrored_echo just had to leave to make sure she got to class tomorrow so the rest of it is done on my own.

Epic whining. )

First time I saw the movie in a theatre, I counted 34 errors on my own through the entire movie. Now, only snarking maybe half of it, I managed to rack up 37 errors with [livejournal.com profile] mirrored_echo snarking all except the last 35 minutes with me.

Amazing.
fickle: (sorry our president)
She's pro-choice and pro-sex ed.

Or, to lump it into one reason instead of two, she's pro-reproductive rights.

I found that out thanks to an article in this month's Time magazine where they were talking about the 'pregnancy crisis centers' that give you misleading information about abortions in order to try to stop you from having one. They also use emotional manipulation -- try taking a test there to see if you're pregnant and they'll hand you a pair of hand-knit, baby blue booties with the announcement, "Congratulations, you're going to be a mother."

According to the article, some states have more of those than they have actual abortion clinics.

Fantastic.

Anyway, in the article, Hillary was paraphased as saying that she supports reproductive rights, including proper education about prevention and sex so as to decrease the need for abortions.

THANK YOU.

Something that drives me absolutely insane to read about is the apparent horror America has of sex education. Every time I see an article about how some parent complained to a school that oh noes, their child is being told how babies are made, I end up wondering what the hell is wrong with people.

The odds are that your child is eventually going to have sex. Assuming you don't want them taught about sex ed because you're scared it'll encourage them to have pre-marital sex, what about after they get married? What if they don't want to have babies straight away because it'll derail their career or because they can't afford a baby or because they just think that they're too young? For some reason, I seriously doubt that there are courses on sex ed offered for 'Young Yuppies Not Prepared For Pregnancy', and it's not exactly like they can just go back to a school that does provide that sort of information.

Of course, there's always the Internet but anyone who'd trust the Internet to teach their kid how sex happens is an absolute idiot and shouldn't be having sex in the first place. There are probably great guides out there on how to please your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/android fucktoy. They're just buried under all the really, really, really bad smut and porn. And porn is definitely not something anyone should be taking tips from, especially if it's the issue of long fingernails in girl/girl sex. Ow. Seriously.

Conclusion? Sex education is good. In fact, people in general being informed is good. If you're not informed, you can't make informed choices and while guessing blindly might be a working tactic for, say, playing Minesweeper (does anyone out there still play it or is that a dated culture reference?), it's a little less practical if you're risking your life because nobody told you how STDs are transmitted, to take a random example.

Sex ed isn't just about not getting pregnant. It's about not getting diseases, about not going through unnecessary pain, about knowing what's happening to your body during sex -- sex ed is basically supposed to set you up so that when you do have sex, you have a smaller chance of anything bad happen and a better chance of you enjoying it.

Since I'm asexual, I ended up ducking out of a lot of the school sex ed courses, including hiding in the changing room to avoid watching the tapes, but I'm still glad that they were offered. I think abstinence-only sex ed is an incredibly bad idea and just setting teens up to be unable to even have a responsible adult figure to question about their worries, as well as make them feel more guilt-ridden if they do have sex and personally, the chances of me voting for Hillary went waaaaaaay up when I read that she openly supports sex ed.

Go Hillary!

...Maybe I'll even make an icon in her favor.
fickle: (seto: pissing me off)
Some days, I really, really hate people.

Elie Wiesel, for those of you who don't know, wrote a very famous book called Night about his experiences of the Nazi death camps. It's an incredibly moving and emotionally honest book. I grew up in Austria, I grew up knowing of the concentration camps and death camps and the atrocities committed, but absolutely nothing brought it home like the way that book did.

It horrifies me to think that even now, so many years after the Holocaust and probably when Wiesel thought he was safe, someone would target him for anti-Semitic reasons. Hasn't he suffered enough already? Attacking anyone based on such a stupid reason is awful but to go after someone that's had to live through an experience like that is the kind of thing that makes me want to scream -- there should be a level of pain that if you endure, you will not have to suffer more.

Argh. Breathing is ridiculously difficult when I'm this outraged.
fickle: (all your base credit unknown genius)
Elitism, or why certain people aren't wanted at the RP barbeque and why we don't give a damn if that means we need to lace our sauce with arsenic to keep them away.

Best part of her rant?

to everyone else: stop being so nice. Stop it. Seriously. BE a little more elitist. It's NOT TOO MUCH to expect your players to not only punctuate and use pretty words, but to be considerate of other players, or even, you know, funny, or awesome. Expect more. Look for more. You yourself will not become a better RPer surrounded by morons. You learn more and have more fun when you're surrounded by good, intelligent, witty RPers. I consider myself very lucky to have the group of RP-friends that I have now.

Read it, and rethink your own use of the word "elitist".

And on a more serious note, Kime talks about the JROTC, and is interested in hearing other people's opinions. Don't know what that is? Click the link. I haven't commented there yet, but that's because I'm trying to multitask at the moment since Savior named me his shopping guru.

That entry is currently f-locked. Apologies, everyone, I'll remove the strikes once it's open again. Instead of that, read about a horrific sexual assault case in Toronto. The OP claims that race is a factor, but what's getting to me more is the fact the victim-blaming being flung around, especially considering how long the abuse apparently lasted for.

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