anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,
anotherlongshot
anotherlongshot

Bias.

First, the good news: My forehand hadn't completely died after all. It was a miracle! I hit more than 4 proper ones throughout the whole two hours!

When I got tired I started taking a lot of liberties with the stroke and didn't follow-through properly. Oh well, at least the forehand's back.

Thx U played considerably better than Saturday morning, and I lost most of the rallies. I lost the damn point when he decided to slice. See, I know the slice is coming because I know what the stroke looks like - and precisely because I know it's coming, mentally I'm all, "Oh shit where do I position myself OH SHIT I STILL DON'T KNOW." Repeated Death by the Slice - but this one time, I killed the slice. Got to the ball in time to hit a clean cross-court winner off, guess what, the backhand side.

Tennis was fun. Great stress-reliever. In terms of, well, pretty much everything, not just work. And I didn't play that badly tonight.

Too bad I was fucking bloated and my stomach started hurting towards the end of the second hour.

*

On another note, I was rather amused by an incident while taking the MRT home today. I was walking down the escalator on the right side (as I always do - rushing, as always, to the nothing that I have to get to) but was blocked by some idiot in front who apparently was physically incapable of moving to the left side. I had to stop midway, and I stopped next to some middle-aged woman. I didn't notice her at first until she tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Those people - so uncultured, blocking the way."

I said, "Yeah, it's really annoying."

Then she totally pulled a fast one on me by saying, "Maybe they're from China."

Well, not gonna lie - that gave me the lulz. To be fair, though, the culprit looked decidedly Singaporean, judging from the colour and texture of her hair. And to be absolutely fair, Singaporeans are every bit as uncultured (to borrow the woman's word) and rude and inconsiderate and lacking in civic consciousness as the Chinese.

Then again, maybe I can't make that assertion with full confidence. The only time I've been to China was in 1998 and it was some packaged tour with the school so I didn't get to experience every day life as it was. I haven't been to China since then, due largely to the fact that China, along with Korea and Japan, is on the bottom of the list of countries that I want to visit (it's pretty much the whole world lah).

But I think I'd visit Korea and Japan first before I'd visit China. I'd visit Afghanistan and Iraq first before China. I don't have many biases against people based on silly things like their nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation; but I have a bias against China. By extension, I have a bias against its people.

I can count on one finger the number of good experiences I've had with PRC Chinese off the top of my head - the drinks stall guy in BTC who remembered everyone's orders. He always remembered mine. And he was really nice - gave my mom the student discount on some drink she bought when she was obviously not a student.

That's not to say, of course, that the exchange students I encountered in my electives were raging barbarics; they were not. They were also very nice, and they spoke as good English as any ang moh (save for the accent, but that's unavoidable and I don't care about that).

But my problem with the People's Republic of China as a political entity, and unfortunately, the vast majority of its citizens, was underscored in those classes in which we talked about the right to self-determination. More specifically, in Human Rights in Asia class, self-determination in the context of Tibet and Xinjiang; and in International Law and Asia class, in the context of Taiwan.

This rabid nationalism is something that I'd never understand. They keep saying it's an internal problem, that human rights is a Western concept that's inapplicable to China (ASEAN leaders say this too - stupid "Asian values" bullshit), and when well-educated law students are sprouting the same crap, it makes me even more confused. It makes me even less inclined to understand them, to understand the PRC, to put aside my bias and see things from another point of view.

Is it really as simple as a matter of differing opinions? Is it really all about how Western journalists and academics are biased against China? I don't think so. Some facts are incontrovertible and speak for themselves. Even if assimilation was done with good intentions (I highly doubt this), the negative effects cannot be argued with. And let's not confine this discussion to Tibet/Xinjiang; let's not forget that we're talking about a country that executed two people over the milk powder scandal. Seriously?

See, I fundamentally reject the idea that human rights are culturally-relative. I believe they are universal. People are people the whole world over; a person in America doesn't care about his house more than a person in China just because he's in America. A miner in China doesn't deserve less protection than one in another part of the world just because he's in China. This stupid argument makes fuck-all sense to me and the mere suggestion that people in Asia can be detained at the whim and fancy of the government, that they can have their liberties taken away JUST LIKE THAT, on some stupid, false basis that they are somehow less worthy human beings because of where they are, it's utter bullshit. And the other side of the argument pisses me off as well - that, somehow, Western countries care less about their national security. Bullshit. You don't wield these excuses around and say that omg, because the country is in danger, you can't have your rights. Bullshit. You work around them. You work through the problem. You work through the issues, because it's your job.

But anyway, I digress. My problem with China includes its inexplicable stance on Tibet/Xinjiang, its lousy human rights record, and of course, the fact that it is the sole reason Taiwan doesn't have the independence that it obviously has, which only needs to be legalised. I've said this before; I'll say it again. It's impossible to understand where I'm coming from unless you're from a separatist region. It's precisely because of Taiwan that I find myself sympathising with separatist movements (not their means, though). I talked about this after the State Building class on self-determination and separatist regions, about how the clinical, legal approach to the issues didn't resonate with me because it's more than what's written in international treaties; it's more than the elements of self-determination, whether it's external or internal. It's about the aspirations of a people, their knowledge that they are separate from the entity that tries to stake its claim on them, and the reluctance - refusal - that they feel to continue to be a part of the larger entity.

In the context of Taiwan, it will be lost if it ever becomes a part of China formally. And it even has one up on other separatist regions because it's a functioning country in fact - it has everything that a country needs to survive. It's doing even better than de jure countries. It's, in fact, doing fucking well. And everytime I'm reminded that it's not a country in the legal sense, it makes me really sad. And then I'm reminded of the possibility that it's never going to be independent...well.

(Maybe it's not my battle; but I feel like it is. So there.)

I'd be surprised if a PRCer showed up in front of me and told me that he/she thought Taiwan should be independent, because I haven't come across a single one that holds that view. Have I met many PRCers in my lifetime? No, I haven't. But the ones that I have met haven't inspired much confidence in me.

Should I therefore extend this dislike and bias to all of them? Of course not. And the bias wasn't so intense, for want of a better word, until they started invading my country (Singapore, I mean). But I've talked about this before so I won't go into it again.

Suffice it to say, though, that Singapore belongs to Singaporeans, not foreigners. This applies to the Chinese, the other Asians, the ang mohs. It pisses me off that the stupid Esplanade was designed by some British architect when we have our own bloody architects; it pisses me off that the huge Singapore projects and cases are undertaken by ang mohs and not our own talent. It also pisses me off that our stupid Olympic medal(s? Forgot, don't care) was/were won by PRCers; this apparently applies to some of the SEA Games medals, which...yeah, is just tragic.

Fundamentally, though, I think this can't be argued with: If you want to be Singaporean, you better make sure you can speak basic English. I don't care that it's broken, that it's not perfect, that I'm automatically correcting your grammar in my head when I talk to you, because god knows the majority of Singaporeans can't speak proper English. But you have to speak basic English. And you have to stop speaking Mandarin to Singaporeans that are obviously not Chinese.

I think the Escalator Woman was being really mean with her comment (she didn't mean it in jest), considering a bloody lot of Singaporeans can't move their fat asses to the left of the escalator either. But this bias in the average Singaporean who doesn't care about Taiwan comes from somewhere - and I'm willing to wager that it's the perception that there are too many of them here. As a result, Singapore is starting to slip away from us.

*

I have to wonder though: Do I really care? I guess I have to, if I can spend so much time writing about this.

Anyway, like I told myself a few moments ago, this bias exists, it sucks, but until I care enough to do something about it - which is not now - it'll just be like this. To my credit, it's a rebuttable bias. If I get to know you and I like you, I probably wouldn't care that you're from China. Do I hate all PRCers on sight? No, I don't. Dislike? Yeah, to some extent. But that's why it's called a bias.

Tags: commentary, current affairs, playing tennis, singapore
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