September 22nd, 2008

Charah coffee

On China.

I met W@lter W00n last night and I was holding a light stick in my hands. I don't know whether to be relieved or not that we weren't introduced by our names, just our roles in the production of the musical.

The musical. Wasn't really that involved after the first few drafts of the script, but proud, nevertheless, of the Class of 2009 for pulling it off. I'm not one to get sentimental over such things and so I was completely unsurprised by my lack of feeling anything when the lights went on onstage behind the closed curtains and the audience started trickling out of the auditorium. But still, it was the only batch effort that I was involved in, however peripherally, and I'm not completely unfeeling despite my claims to the contrary; and so kudos to everyone involved, especially Aloysius for stepping up to the plate and doing what so many of us probably couldn't have done. I personally hate being on stage, even if it's just to take a bow, but the thought behind him lobbying to get the committee up for curtain call as a recognition of our efforts is much appreciated.

Post-production party reinforced every single reason why I ought to stop drinking completely. I thought it was just cocktails so I attempted to stay away from cocktails but of course couldn't resist those specialty cocktails with jellies in them. Then I had one and a half glasses of rum coke because who can resist free drinks, right? I came home and once again, my entire body was red. It was utterly disgusting. Thankfully my muscles didn't hurt as much as the previous time though there was still a slight throbbing sensation, but nothing too significant that I couldn't fall asleep. I slept like a baby and woke up at 12.30 the next day. Absolute decadence; I am ashamed of myself.

***

The scandal that's slowly trickling out of China regarding the "poisonous milk powder" only goes to prove my point about Chinese nationalism. I recognise that it's much more than that, but I couldn't help but think, once again, how ridiculous and irrational it is when the Chinese insist on defending their country when it is being legitimately criticised. A comment by a professor in class, a throwaway one at that that had nothing to do with the discussion on hand, about China's high pollution rates saw a Chinese student raising his hand to defend his country and point out that other countries have high pollution rates too. A lighthearted joke about China's malfunctioning products by a student during a presentation also saw a Chinese student trying to defend her country, but doing so incoherently because she was too riddled with emotions to express herself properly.

Seriously, just stop it already. I'm not even going to pretend to be politically correct about this, because the truth is, I am disgusted. Nationalism is one thing; excessive nationalism, the same kind that blinds you to your country's flaws, the same kind that is responsible for The Cultural Revolution, is quite another altogether. Chinese nationalism seems to belong in a class of its own, a world by itself. I have honestly yet to meet a single Chinese person who is willing to criticise his country, not flippantly, but legitimately, and neither have I come across a single Chinese person who is willing to be open-minded about the accusations that are largely coming from the West against its human rights record (or lack thereof). Show me one Chinese person who can discuss Taiwan and Tibet and all the problems that China is facing without resorting to blind nationalism, and I will show you a fucking empty set. If the world is on your back about something, maybe the appropriate response is to take notice and logically weigh the legitimacy of its accusation instead of going on the defensive and bang on about how great China is.

Nobody gives a shit about how great China is; everyone only cares about the potential dangers of consuming made-in-China products that have dairy by-products in them. If you want to trumpet your country as the greatest nation on earth, make sure that there is an actual basis for you to do so. Because the way I see it? Taiwan, Tibet, this milk powder thing, Tiananmen, all the human rights issue that arose from the Olympics (not to mention the suspiciously underage-looking female gymnasts on the Chinese team), and the rabid and completely irrational and illogical nationalism that seems to plague every single Chinese person - give me one good reason not to side with the West on this. And I am someone who is extremely proud to be ethnically Chinese and actually didn't see the opening ceremony of the Olympics as nationalistic at all (because Chinese history is my history too; it's not exclusively PRC).

For once in my life, I can actually understand why a lot of Taiwanese refuse to be called Chinese. While reading some tennis forum, a person commented that Andy Murray was ousted by an "unknown Chinese player" at the first round of the Olympics (I can't remember his name, but he's Asia's #1 apparently). My immediate response? "Um, hello, he's Taiwanese, not Chinese." Even though he is ethnically Chinese. I've never really bothered with the distinction before because "Chinese" means more than just "you're from the PRC". But now, any mistaken association with the PRC by the usage of the word "Chinese" has to be corrected because there is, to me, a clear distinction to be made. Taiwan is not China, I'm not PRC Chinese but racially Chinese, and there's a huge difference. And I no longer feel any racially-inspired sentimentality for China that I used to feel four years ago. Four years ago, I was pleased that China was on the rise as an economic power because they're Chinese and I'm Chinese and I took pride in China's rise as a result of that flimsy connection; but now? I take it all back. Simply put, China is not on the same page as the rest of the world. It doesn't understand a lot of principles and ideas that have been widely accepted as norms. Of course, the argument can always be made that human rights aren't universal just because the United Nations declared them to be; but I don't think the argument can ever be seriously made that it's not desirable for some rights to be fundamental to all, even if it's purely on a theoretical level.

China doesn't seem to understand this. I find it hard to take seriously any arguments put forth by the Chinese students in my classes that negate the importance and legitimacy of rights as a basic premise on which to advance their arguments. I honestly don't think the distinction between East and West is legitimate anymore, and whatever arguments against rights and democracy based on the rubbish that it's from the West and therefore it doesn't apply to us is just bullshit that I can't listen to. Why else do I think I will die inside if Taiwan is ever formally a part of China? Why else do so many Taiwanese people not want to associate themselves with China?

I really wish I didn't feel this way, but China is just an inexplicable entity to me. And Chinese nationalism? It takes the fucking cake. The only thing that would surprise me about the whole milk powder scandal is if a Chinese person actually doesn't defend its country when he faces criticism from an outsider. Somehow, and call me biased if you must, I just can't see that happening.

***

Along a similar vein, I told my dad about my class participation in last week's UN Law class in which I named Taiwan as a country that isn't a part of the UN, and he thinks that I should've argued with the Chinese dude about Taiwan. And you know, I would have, except it's completely pointless and it'd just be a waste of everyone's time. No one is interested.

Still, the last I checked, PRC does not equal ROC. ROC is still Taiwan's official name. What the fuck is China doing on Taiwan's seat? Either the UN needs to change China's name on the Security Council, or it should bring back the true and legitimate occupier of that seat.

BLAH BLAH BLAH. I realise that I am utterly biased on this issue, but yeah, go ahead and sue me. I am quite disgusted by world politics and the way it so easily pushes a smaller country aside just to placate a larger, more influential one. Does the world care that Turkey doesn't recognise Cyprus? No, because Turkey isn't as influential as China is. And that's the only reason why no one dares to recognise Taiwan as a legitimate, de facto independent country.

Okay, rant over. Time for dinner.

***

Because I can't write an entry without mentioning his name, I'd like to state for the record how happy I am that I just downloaded the first two sets of Roger's match against Djokovic in last year's US Open final, and that I'm downloading the final set. YAY! I love Roger. He takes away all my troubles and blues.

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Charah coffee

OMGOMGOMG. *flails*

LYRICS TO DAVID'S NEW FUCKING SINGLE.

Light On

Never really said too much
Afraid it wouldn't be enough
Just try to keep my spirits up
When there's no point in grieving
Doesn't matter anyway
Words could never make me stay
Words will never take my place
When you know I'm leaving

Try to leave a light on when I'm gone
Something I rely on to get home
One I can feel at night
A naked light, a fire to keep me warm
Try to leave a light on when I'm gone
Even in the daylight, shine on
And when it's late at night you can look inside
You won't feel so alone

You know we've been down that road
What seems a thousand times before
My back to a closing door and my eyes to the seasons
That roll out underneath my heels
And you don't know how bad it feels
To leave the only one that I have ever believed in

Try to leave a light on when I'm gone
Something I rely on to get home
One I can feel at night
A naked light, a fire to keep me warm
Try to leave a light on when I'm gone
Even in the daylight, shine on
And when it's late at night you can look inside
You won't feel so alone

Sometimes it feels like we've run out of luck
When the signal keeps on breaking up
When the wires cross in my brain
You'll start my heart again
When I come along

Try to leave a light on when I'm gone
Something I rely on to get home
One I can feel at night
A naked light, a fire to keep me warm
Try to leave a light on when I'm gone
Even in the daylight, shine on
And when it's late at night you can look inside
You won't feel so alone

Okay, I don't actually know if he wrote it, but since he wrote all the songs on his indie album, I'll just assume he did.

And yeah, so it's not exactly a masterpiece, but the earnestness is unmistakable. I'm glad he's still retained that honesty in his song-writing which was something I noticed and really loved about his Analog Heart songs. And as a whole, I think it's pretty well-written, albeit a bit too straight-forward. But it's a song lyric, not a poem, so I'm not too picky.

CAN'T. WAIT. TO. HEAR. THE. SONG. CAN'T. WAIT.

***

In other words, and this is completely unprecedented (and not just because it's my first tennis racquet ever), I have decided to name my yellow Wilson tennis racquet Rogi after the great, incomparable Roger Federer.

Yeahhhhh like that really needed to be pointed out.

I'm also extremely regretful to say that I literally have not done a single iota of work since school started. We're at mid-sem break now, which means we're at the middle of the semester, and I've done absolutely fuck-all. NEED TO START READING LAW, GOVERNANCE AND DEVELOPMENT IN ASIA ARTICLES. I can't believe I've read nothing.

Oh my gad I'm gonna die.

I wanna watch the 2007 US Open final leh. I've downloaded all three sets! So excited, omg, and Roger looks soooo hot in all black, though red is my favourite colour on him. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that this year's US Open is the first time ever I've followed him, and so his wearing red has a special significance in my heart. He also wore red for Beijing (well, duh; Switzerland has the same national colours as Singapore).

My Set 2 of the Stepanek USO match is taking FUCKING FOREVER to download. My internet connection is slower at night; no idea why. It's crawling at 13 kb/s! ARGHHHH.

Also, I finished the thing I was writing, but I've decided that it's an absolute, utter piece of shit. PIECE OF SHIT. I can't even begin to say how disgusted I am at its utter inadequacy. Have I mentioned shit? Because it's shit. SHIT.