Wednesday, June 29, 2022

HOW IT’S GOING

Many things have been happening for me on Haida Gwaii, work-wise. However, the most captivating thing to me, life-wise, is probably that I’m trying to be in an open relationship for the first time in my life. Just before I left for Haida Gwaii, whilst I was in Vancouver, Jeremy and I shared some very nice, tender moments together and we decided to give it another proper shot and got back together. For the first two weeks I was here, things were rather smooth-sailing as I hadn’t gotten to know my co-workers well yet and Jeremy and I were trying to reconnect with each other, after our breakup and makeup. The island is so remote that there’s no cellphone coverage at all and the wifi at the staff lodge where I work is extremely spotty, though, we only get it in the dining hall and not in our rooms. I also work one of the more intense shifts in terms of timing in the day, because I start at 3pm and end whenever our guests go to bed, which is usually late and drunken. So, with my working hours and his, Jeremy and I barely got to see or even hear each other much. 

And then I got to know Misi. Misi used to work the early morning shift as a dock hand, so when he ended work, he’d be one of the few human beings I’d be able to spend time and interact with, because everyone else in the staff pool would be working before I started my shift. Last Monday, I had a day off, Misi ended work at 2pm, and we went on a hike to Cox Beach. The words I would use to describe Misi are probably visceral and sensual. He got us to take off our boots, and we walked on soft moss and twigs in the forest. Misi says we should intermittently walk on soft earth and it feels good because it makes you feel like a child again, but having grown up in a concrete jungle like Singapore, I felt more like a child for the first time ever. We walked and walked, and spent six hours hiking and hanging and talking about what we thought were throwaways. At the end of the day, I realised I probably had to tell Jeremy I’d connected with someone on the island. Jeremy had been in an open relationship before I was ever in his life, so I felt a little safer about broaching the topic. I definitely brought it up a little out of left field, but Jeremy said he was okay, and we’ve been trying to navigate it through the weekend. 

Yesterday, Misi made a ridiculous joke that made me laugh an ugly, sincere, hearty laugh, so I said I wanted to post it on Instagram and he said, “no! Your boyfriend said he wanted to hear none of it unless he asked” so now I’m involved with two very considerate and kind men. The night before yesterday, Misi was walking me back to my room, and we saw a room of hodge-podge stuff. The light was on in the room, and it was midnight, so it was the most illuminated scene we could see from the dark in The Middle of Literally Nowhere, Canada. There was couch and broken lamps, wires and milk crates, and Misi said “I like this.” I ask, “what do you mean?” and he says, “grungy, you know, it’s a nice sight.” I ask if he has his phone to take a photo and he says “no, you wouldn’t be able to capture this, this is just for us.” I stand there, behold the sight, and think of how much more life has in store for me that I could never dream of nor foresee. 

Jeremy has asked me things, mostly about bedroom stuff, but they both feel like two really good friends I care about that I also want to kiss and do everything with. Last night, Jeremy talked about pursuing a crush from a music festival and I instinctively felt really jealous, and that he would feel less for me. I know my automatic reaction isn’t always the right one, though. I love Jeremy, I think he’s a lovely person and I want him to know that he’s inherently that person, even outside of myself, his primary partner, thinking it and appreciating him for it. I also know I love the attention I get from other people, and as his partner I’d like him to enjoy a similar form of attention too, even if it means he’s spending time with another woman for it. If either of us does feel less about the other, then it just signals that this isn’t the relationship that we want to nurture nor develop anymore. Tl;dr I’m doing something for the first time in my life and it feels slightly threatening but fun and also like it might help me to grow as a person.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

SAFE SPACES

I've spent about two weeks here. It's been some of the most glorious days of my life. We went on a hike through the woods down to a beach that so few people have been able to see in their lives. The lodge had a staff fishing derby, and I was on a boat with Geo, one of the chefs at the lodge's restaurant. He won the fishing derby, which made him and our guide, Austin, really happy. I had no interest in fishing, yet again, but the weather was beautiful so I blasted my music and sang and danced while the boat sailed. I really like this lodge, some of the other fishing lodges around us are still stuck in the old traditions, so there's pressure for their guests to catch the biggest fishes and kill them and bring them home. At the one I'm working at, West Coast Fishing Lodge, a lot of the guides are more inclined to letting the fish go. If our guests opt to let their fish go, depending on the size of the fish, the lodge also gifts them an Arc'teryx or The North Face jacket, or a prize to that effect. It truly is more about the experience, than of anything else here. I like it a lot. 

I feel safe in more than one way here. Sometimes the news is on in the staff recreational hall, and we see food shortages and mass shootings and increased rent prices everywhere, but during these three months, our rent and food is all covered for by the company, so we're all able to connect on a level that you usually wouldn't be able to, on the outside, while you're bogged down by the realities of life. It makes me think, this is how communes could and would and do function, if the people you work for cared enough for its employee community to pay for all the overheads, you don't have to do things for competition, and it would be a direct alternative to capitalism. If the people at the top share, there is enough wealth and resources for everyone in the world, many times over.

Two nights ago, while the derby was to give the fishing guides and dock hands a trial run in preparation for the guests' arrival, we also held a mock dinner service at the fancy restaurant that overlooks the most gorgeous sight of the horizon. This was to prepare the kitchen and serving staff for the guests as well. All the staff of the lodge dressed up, and it was a beautiful dinner. I'm in the serving team, so after we had cleaned up, we had a family dinner with the kitchen staff, and it was delicious and warm and cosy. At midnight, everyone changed and partied at the rec hall. Geo spilled half a can of beer on me, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

The season starts now and the guests start arriving on the helicopter today. Here's to a fantastic season ahead of us, and may we all dismantle capitalism, one way or another.

Monday, May 23, 2022

HANGTIME

I've been in Haida Gwaii since Friday. I've fed a wild deer (got lots of responses on Instagram!) and gone fishing once. The day we came into the island, I got a little queasy on the boat because I wasn't dressed well, it was cold and it had been a long day. Yesterday we went out fishing, and the guide put on loud music, I was dressed properly, and every time we caught a wave it felt like I could have been wakeboarding. My friend Dani caught a salmon, and I saw it from when it was alive and struggling, to it being fileted and sealed in a plastic package. Fishing, I can do without, but the boat rides, man, the boat rides make me feel like I'm living my best life. I'll be working at West Coast Fishing Club, and my long play is to get one of the guests to adopt me. If they can afford a 3-day vacation at 8K CAD, I don't think my tuition would be such a big issue for them, right? The whole lodge feels like it's working together, the guides with their songs and fishing knowledge, right down to us ladies serving at the restaurant. Today I helped my boss and formatted the menu for the restaurant that I'll be serving at. It sounds delicious, so I'm looking forward to tasting bits and pieces. The owner of the lodge brought his dogs down to the island, but I haven't seen them. Apparently the owner of Lush Canada will be here for a stay this season, and I love Lush, as a brand, still. She was here for a previous season and after she left, she sent lots of Lush products to the fishing lodge for our staff, so I hope she does it again this year. I LOVE LUSH PRODUCTS!!!!!!! Also, I'm a whore for free things, because I'm poor. When I get a rich person to adopt me, all I'll do is redistribute the money channelled to me, after paying for tuition. I cannot believe people have the money to drop on a three-day fishing vacation, that is also the cost of my one semester/three months of tuition. This world makes no sense to me. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

PRIMORDIAL POUCH

Sometimes you don’t learn a lesson unless and until it is too late. So you lay in bed, breathing slowly, through your mouth, because your nose is clogged with snot. It doesn’t get easier, but apparently you learn to handle things better. Apparently. You tell yourself, think of the worst thing that’s ever happened in your life. That’s easy, it was when I was pregnant and had a miscarriage and fell out with my mother and was depressed. I cried through an entire train journey in Singapore, bawled, wept, and a lady came up to me with an entire pack of tissue paper, telling me that whatever it was, I would get through it. I did. But it doesn’t get easier. Never will. The pain and hurt you go through, maybe it is proportional to the pain and hurt you have caused another to go through, so you sit with it, sit with the ache and emptiness in the lower part of your belly. Breathe into it, isn’t that what your meditation app tells you to do? So you breathe. You think of Taylor Swift. Why do you think of Taylor Swift? You don’t know, but you do. Why does it take forever to know what love is, and no time at all to lose it? On my birthday, I wished to ease my way in this capitalist world, but perhaps I should have wished for emotional maturity and peace instead. Maybe I do not know what I’m sorely lacking in. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

LOST FUR



WHY WASTE TIME SAY LOT WORD
WHEN FEW WORD DO TRICK

My sister is figuring out her finances and affording life in Singapore, so we both commiserated with each other for being peasants.


Peasants earning peanuts eating peanuts who turn out more peasants. If you don't get that, it's okay, neither does anyone else.

Friday, May 13, 2022

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE IMPOSSIBLY MESSY

Last week, I was in New York. I went with Jeremy, I used my flight credit to get us the flights there, and Tina was away for the first bit of our trip, and stayed at her boyfriend Cesar's place when she got back, so she let us stay in her apartment. Jeremy picked up the tab for all our other expenses.

New York City was... a trip. Because we had only one week there, I tried to cram as many things as I could for Jeremy's sake, who had never been. When we arrived, we had a boo-boo with unlocking Tina's apartment door, and so we had to call the locksmith at midnight. I have now learned that lesson for all future locks, for the rest of my lifetime.

However, when we finally got in, we found that Tina had prepared some stuff on the kitchen table. She had folded some origami, made some doodles of us, and given me a disposable camera for my trip.


Before we'd arrived, Tina kept saying she hoped I'd like her place. I hadn't been there before because she'd been living with her ex the last time I was in NYC, but the moment we got in, I knew that no matter what happened on the trip, I'd enjoy being in her apartment. It was just the right size of an apartment I'd like for myself, small but for a simple, contained life. It was decorated the way Tina would decorate it, and as she's one of my best friends, I clearly liked her aesthetic. There was a bit of romance, a lot of nerdy, some quirky. I felt her vibe in there and I felt at home.

Jeremy and I started our trip with a karaoke session at Sing Sing Avenue A, where our bartender Amy was the loveliest. It was the first time, when we asked for her favorite music, Jeremy and I had ever heard anyone say "I don't listen to music, I hate it," because Amy works at the karaoke place. I suppose it kinda made sense that she doesn't wanna listen to any version of music after spending major portions of her week having to listen to people butcher all the songs.

During most of the week, the weather was still rainy and cold, sometimes even colder than Vancouver because the wind was stronger there than in Vancouver for some reason. However, on one of the milder-weather days, we took a walk in Prospect Park and Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and I was treated to a vision of the pinkest cherry blossom trees. Jeremy is from Vancouver where they have the same thing, so it wasn't as much of a treat for him as it was for me.


The lady was telling her child that ducks have webbed feet, so I heard him repeating "webbed feet" very slowly and tentatively, it was so cute. I don't know that he even understood what webbed feet mean. It was such a precious moment for me to have witnessed, and I'm amazed that it happens all the time when you're raising a child! 




(the color contrast in photos is 'cos some were taken with our phones and some were developed with the disposable camera from Tina!)

I enjoyed that day very much. Jeremy got me snacking bacon from Dunkin Donuts, and at first I was like, why the fuck did you get me snacking bacon from Dunkin Donuts, of all things???? But lo and behold, it was the best bacon I'd ever had in my life??? It was moist and like a little bit sweet, like they'd seasoned it with honey or syrup or something, and had the right amount of salt and pepper, and it was from DUNKIN DONUTS, so maybe I was just hungry, and Jeremy knew it better than I did.

The next day, we were due to watch Hadestown, a musical that one of Jeremy's work friends had told us to watch. I was wearing a vintage dress and to match me, Jeremy had packed a suit. He didn't have comfortable dress shoes, though, so he'd planned to get them the morning of the musical before meeting me back at the apartment to set off from there. The bus back from the shoe store was delayed, so Jeremy was late.

On the way to the theatre, I was stewing in my anger on the train, because we were rushing for a musical, and I knew we would miss a little of it, and it wasn't the first time Jeremy's ADHD had messed up the day on our trip. When we got to the theatre, I was positively having a breakdown, and when Jeremy held the small of my back to calm me, I actually shrieked "don't touch me!" but it was during the second song of Hadestown, so no one else heard me, besides him and myself.

I have issues with emotional regulation and containing my anger, so that was definitely one of the lowest points on our trip. Whilst I got immersed in the first act of Hadestown, Jeremy was so taken aback he couldn't focus on the show. That was a terrible mistake, because Hadestown was amazing and one of my new favorite musicals (it's romantic AND about anti-capitalism, what in all fucks and HOW did I not write it????!!!!), and I wish I hadn't robbed Jeremy of the experience. 

When we talked about it later in the week, I asked Jeremy if he would take his medication whilst he spent time with me, so that he could be a little more functional, but he doesn't like them because apparently ADHD meds all cause stress on the heart, which means ageing faster. So it's a complete stalemate, because either Jeremy ages faster, or he lives with his ADHD symptoms and I'm constantly stressed, causing me to age faster. It also frustrates me that I know I have flaws with my emotional volatility and am seeking help for it with therapy, but he doesn't seem to do much for his ADHD.

He does the weirdest things like absolutely needing to buy dress shoes to match an outfit for one day, apparently ADHD causes you to prioritise things in ways I don't understand??? I had seven different outfits for the week, but I wore my low-cut sneakers with all of them, even the vintage dress, because style is what you make of it, and you don't have to be so rigid about it? Like, which stuck-up rich white person even made the rules and why do I have to follow them? Who says you need to wear dress shoes with a suit??? Even though I wore mismatched sneakers with all my outfits, I still got compliments on each of them??? Because I know I'm stylish????? 

Anyway. On one of the days, we went to The Met. I'd told Jeremy he would love the museum, and indeed he did. He took five hundred and thirty-something photos and videos, and he only stopped because his phone died. I don't have much in the way of photographic evidence to put up here, but they're all on my Instagram story highlights. Of the maybe five (lololol) museums I've been to, The Met is absolutely, undeniably my favorite. It's got such a fantastic collection.

On Thursday, we went to Harlem for the jazz museum. 



We went to a few jazz shows and jazz clubs because Jeremy is starting his degree in jazz this fall. I have videos of those, again on Instagram. I don't really get jazz, but I think it's lovely to see Jeremy enjoying it, and of course it's easy to appreciate talented musicians.

On Friday, we finally met Tina.


I always say I love the fact that I have two kinda elder sisters, Tina and my cousin, Hazwani. I call them both Kakak, which means elder sister in Malay. I'm kakak to so many, so it's nice when I'm the baby. Because I'm THE REAL BABY.

I had gotten tickets for Jeremy and I, and Tina and Cesar for a show at Caveat, and the show was done by Depths of Wikipedia.


On the way there, Jeremy was curious as to the nature of the show, which I didn't know, because I like to go in to things blind and be surprised. I was slightly worried the show would be a flop because I didn't know anything about it, but it was hilarious and fun and entertaining and engaging. Jeremy, Cesar and Tina all really got into it, and I'm so glad we got a good pick of a show! If you're ever in NYC, go to Caveat, and I hope you get a lovely game/show as well, though they usually do have an awesome selection.

My favorite parts of this trip were the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, watching Hadestown, staying in Tina's apartment, The Met, and Caveat.

When we got back, Jeremy and I had a serious conversation, and we broke up. It was funny (not haha funny, more like uncanny funny), it all happened in the lead-up to/through/after my birthday. Jeremy had gotten me a small strawberry shortcake to have myself, and I blew the candles on it, and through it all, we knew we might not be spending much more time together, so I was happy on my birthday, but I was also so sad.

I love Jeremy very much. Aside from the frustrating things that his ADHD causes in his behavior (being late/having strange priorities/missing bus and train stops/unnecessarily prolonging journeys/extreme messiness and forgetfulness), he's so kind and sweet. He wore a suit to pick me up from the ferry terminal in Vancouver one day, because I'd told him that I love seeing men in suits. When I went out with my gym colleagues for drinks, I woke up heavy-headed the next day, and he ordered pho to my place, to treat my hangover. One time, and this is the kind of thing all men should always do, I was taking a hot bath after getting out of the winter cold, he'd put the towel in the dryer so it was so warm when I dried myself. I'm going to miss him a lot. I will also miss him in the bed. He is 10/10 in bed, I don't know if he believes it about himself, but God, he's sexy. I love how he whispers in a low, sexy voice, when we're being sexy, and he's great with his mouth and hands, and 10/10 dick, every time!!!!!!! I love him, and I wish things were easier when we're together. I'm NOT CRYING YOU ARE.

but you keep my old scarf
from that very first week
'cos it reminds you of innocence
and it smells like me,
you can't get rid of it
'cos you remember it all too well

'cos there we are again 
when I loved you so

Anyway. Yesterday I was back in Nanaimo, and I met Marcus for lunch. He asked me out to lunch so we could have a send-off before I leave for my summer job in Haida Gwaii. We talked about Ukraine and Hong Kong, and his plans for school, and New York, and Hadestown, and I find that when I'm with Marcus, it's so easy and chill and comfortable. I always feel strange meeting Marcus, I clearly like him more than a friend, and I'm trying my best not to be that person who's like "I'll be friends with him until he likes me more," because clearly that's gross and creepy. I want to be friends with him, but I've always had trouble making the distinction between platonic and romantic, once I've crossed the line. 

Jeremy says he'd like to be friends in future, when I'm able to do so, but I obviously have had trouble with this all through my life. I told Jeremy I do the same thing even with Joey, and every man I've ever had romantic feelings for. I'm just a girl with trauma and am trying my best, and staying friends with people I like so much, confuses the hell out of me. I like Jeremy and Marcus and Joey and Ben and why do I have to choose?!?!! I like them all 'cos they all have different appeals, and I have all the feelings.

Send fucken help, man. I need all the help.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

ENTROPY

A lot more has happened since the last post, as it always goes. Devan, Marcus and I played Catan together, after which Marcus drove me home, and it was nice and smooth and fine. Today, we went for a picnic: Devan, Marcus, River and I. We then went to The Vault, which is perhaps my favorite place in Nanaimo, and I'm there so frequently I should probably just work for them, but I have enough on my plate, so nobody greenlight this idea, please. 

We played Cards Against Humanity, during which I tried not to look at Marcus' new haircut, which suits him very, very nicely. Then we went to Pipers Lagoon for the first time, and had a bit of a hike. It's a lovely park, and if you're in Nanaimo, you should go there on dates. The boys were telling me about crabs and anemones and looking at my feet while I made the treks up and down, to ensure that I wouldn't step on anything slippery and slip to my death. 


They feel like my Ron and Harry, which I think is befitting because I've always fancied myself to be Hermione. I'm clearly a know-it-all. When we all parted, I don't know if it's because Devan knows about my feelings for Marcus, but he said, because we were probably not gonna see each other for a while, we should give each other a hug, so I gave Marcus a hug. Marcus is probably transferring to another university in Vancouver after the summer, so that could have been the last time I ever see him. It probably is. I'm glad we had a good run of a semester.


Marcus folded this, then gave it to Devan, who then gave it to me, because: feelings. School is such a whirlwind, you meet and you click and you have feelings and then the year ends and people go away, and the feelings, the feelings will probably go away.

I'm happy. I've gotten out of the funk (possibly 'cos school ended so I'm not juggling two jobs and classes and assignment deadlines and exams), and I'm okay. The more people I meet, the more people are convinced that somehow I'm gonna start the revolution in Canada to dismantle capitalism??? So, okay, I suppose I will step into those shoes, gradually. I do like to fill some pretty big shoes. I'm reading a historical book about the French Revolution, so I'll be getting some pointers, because there will be a revolution in this century. Enter me, I say, not in parentheses.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

SHE USED TO BE MINE


I don't feel very well tonight. I haven't felt well in a while and a half. It's been three weeks since Marcus and I kinda stopped talking. I say kinda, because sometime in between then and now, I was at work at the supermarket, and he bought something and we chatted for a bit, and it felt alright. I miss him, as a friend. I think we were actually good friends, we were on a similar wavelength, and he would respond to my Instastories about books, and capitalism and lord even knows what, but he doesn't, not anymore. Before the thing three weeks ago, I had a hectic weekend slaving away at the supermarket, and he asked if I wanted to take a break, and I felt so cared for. I think you know I have a very good memory, so I remember silly things like Marcus' cat having a hernia, and the things we wrote down on our slips of paper while playing The Game of Things, and how Marcus and I would always have answers that were adjacent to each other's. My heart gets very attached to moments, I have to tell my fingers to pry themselves apart, to let go, Sarah, it's okay to let go of the way things were, so they can be what they'll be.

At times like this, whenever I feel overwhelmed or heavy, my respite is always to come here and write. I don't know why, but the moment I express it, it lightens a load. I think it helps that I've been given feedback in the last six months, from multiple professors, telling me I write beautifully, that I have a wonderful and expressive writing voice. I know exactly what I want to say, and it comes out the way I intend it to, and it feels much better and with much more direction than my feelings know what to do. I think the neurons that work to store memories of men and romantic relationships in my brain lump them together, because tonight I think about asking Joey, to tell me about space. I think about how six years (six! years!!!) ago, I asked Joey what he enjoyed about work, and he told me he likes when kids come in with curious questions. I think about Ben and his cat Tux, and him planting and growing his own food. Every time I go through a thing with a man, one (1) singular man, all the memories of men (multiple) come flooding back, indiscriminately. What a strange thing for my brain to do. 

One time, Jeremy had his hands down my jeans while I was doing the dishes, and his brother Aidan unexpectedly came into the kitchen, so Jeremy pulled away from me and did something else, in record time. Jeremy doesn't remember this happening, but I still laugh about it because I knew something like that would happen one day. The man cannot keep his hands off me (but really, can you blame him?). The ADHD really affects his memory very weirdly. I don't understand it very well. Today, as the women's rep I got allocated my office in the students' union building, and I am looking forward to decorating it. I'm gonna have to move my things and set it up soon, because I'm leaving in a month-ish to Haida Gwaii for my summer job. I have two papers left to go, and I really don't have the energy to even care about them anymore. My brain is saturated with information, and my heart, with emotions.

Monday, March 28, 2022

A SOLDIER WHO’S RETURNING
HALF HER WEIGHT

The week before last, I had a pretty decent week. A lovely week, if that. Jaysen and his girlfriend Sofeah were here for a holiday, so he brought a bag of things my family had packed for me. They were foodstuff I either can’t get here or are priced exorbitantly, and they also packed a bottle for making roti kirai, which I’ve never made myself, so that’ll be an adventure. I went to Budgies Burritos with them for lunch, and they were going for a hike in the higher parts of British Columbia, so I took them to shop at MEC in Vancouver. I had never met Sofeah, so it was fun to meet her then. If you remember, I used to have a crush on Jaysen, so I thought it’d be awkward, but Sofeah is a lovely person. I’d have loved hanging with her in Singapore, I think we’d be friends. 

That night, I came back to the island, and I played board games with my friends from philosophy class. Marcus brought the oslo kringle he’d baked for me, which raised some eyebrows at the table, and we played board games at River’s apartment, where she has a ferret and kitten, so it was chaos and made for an absolutely lovely night. We made up inside jokes upon inside jokes for the answers to The Game of Things, and it was hilarious and I look forward to playing games with the same group again. The next day, Marcus and I went to the cat café in Nanaimo, because I’d said on Instagram that I missed Mochi. That was the second day in a row I was spending time with cats, but then the very next day, Hannah took me on an unplanned hike up Mount Benson, with the kitten she was catsitting for Jayne and Dave. It was three days in a row I was with cats! 

Last week, I had a little thing happen with Marcus. His life is not for me to comment, but I felt unsettled and overwhelmed. As it was, last week was out of the ordinary, because VIU was hosting the national basketball championships for the top 8 women’s basketball teams of Canada. I worked a pretty long shift at the gym, and got to meet more people at once than I’d met in a long time. I also messed up my schedule so I had to miss my therapy appointment. I then went to Vancouver to meet Jeremy, and came away feeling more terrible than I can recall in a long time. When I’m with Jeremy, the good moments are great but sometimes we’re tired, and we meet once every two or three weeks, and it culminates in a crescendo of chaos, and not the good kind. I find myself saying things that make him feel small, and I hate myself for those moments. It’s impossible to break up with someone you love, and I do love Jeremy. He’s a really good person, and I hate that I cannot live with the effects of his ADHD, and that his mess is a thing I cannot accept as part of my life. He tries his best, and I know he tries his best, but sometimes, it doesn’t feel enough. And yet love him, I do. 

We’ve spent maybe four months together, and I don’t want to give up the times we listen to songs and sing in the bathtub, or when we’re walking along and he sings absolutely ridiculous lyrics to Taylor Swift songs, and I don’t want to miss him being soft with me when I really need it. But then sometimes I make my way to Vancouver, and I’ve already travelled three hours and I wonder why he doesn’t have a driving licence so he can pick me up from the ferry terminal, and I wonder why he can’t make his room presentable for me, and I wonder so many things, and it’s impossible. Sometimes I feel like I may have the emotional range of a teaspoon, because everything overwhelms me.

Monday, March 14, 2022

PROLETARIAT PROFILES

I wrote a TV show pitch for my TV module, and I thoroughly appreciated my professor's feedback. He really knows his TV, which I suppose is a great criterion for a media professor to fill. I'm definitely curious about the TV shows he mentions and recommended.

This is a pitch for a reality TV show about working-class people, and it will be called Proletariat Profiles. In the simplest way to conceive it, Proletariat Profiles would be like the layperson’s version of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, minus the millions of dollars. It would first launch on YouTube, financed by the producer’s (my) own savings or funds crowdsourced from a platform such as Kickstarter or similar. If it gains enough traction, it might get signed to a network television company or Netflix, but that will not be the main aim. The budget needed for the initial production would not be a big one. Unlike Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Proletariat Profiles will revolve around regular people with regular, actually relatable lives, for the average Joe and Jill, and everyone in between. 

It will be filmed over the course of a year, so that the audience can follow the “characters”/participants of the show through as many important or significant seasons in an ordinary person’s life. For example, over the course of a year, we will feature the different participants going through holidays such as Christmas, New Years’ celebrations, their respective birthdays, tax seasons, Valentine’s Day, each individual’s observed religious festivities, and so on. We will then release the episodes in the following year, coinciding with the themes of the episodes. For example, events filmed on Valentine’s Day will be released on the next Valentine’s Day. The entire year will be filmed before being released the following year so that the show will not affect, influence nor interfere with the lives of our participants, in any way, shape, nor form.

There are two options we will utilise for filming and producing the show. We will equip each of them with an iPhone or any smartphone with a camera that’s good enough to be used for vlogging (video logging). Occasionally, we will have a basic crew to film each participant, in either an interview-style, or tailing them on any event they would want to highlight, with their permission. It will be as no-frills in terms of production value and kept as close to lived reality and down-to-earth as possible for an Internet series, with no glamorous lights or sound, and no intention of making it look polished, primed nor curated. 

There will be a rotation of several “characters” or participants as part of this show. We will try to cast people who traditionally struggle more in a capitalist system. For example, we may have people in the service industry, working as waitstaff, bus drivers, cashiers and bartenders, sewage workers and janitors. We would have a sales worker who doesn’t really care about the things they are selling. One of the participants could be a college student working two jobs to afford tuition, another one a single parent supporting their kid, someone with a mental or physical disability. We would also incorporate people of color, a homeless person, someone who’s recently been incarcerated, a person struggling with substance addiction. Someone who has to sacrifice their creative side and “sells out” by having a corporate job, because it’s the only way they can survive in the economy. 

Every one of the participants would be working-class, with real bills to pay. Even while they work, they find themselves going further into debt. We will feature vulnerable moments such as having to wait for a bank transfer to go through before they can cash out their grocery purchases, among numerous other experiences most people would have gone through, yet each person feels cripplingly ashamed of. We will follow them as they take public transit, or struggle to keep up on car insurance payments. We can display the myriad of ways a capitalist system is violent toward many disenfranchised communities, who are trying their best but barely staying alive and dealing with issues such as food insecurity.

The message of this show is to directly contrast with the narrative that “if you work hard enough, you’ll make it” often used as propaganda for allowing status quo to continue. It will feature our participants working hard almost all of the time in their lives, but who still don’t make it, because the odds of capitalism are against many more people than they are for them succeeding. Proletariat Profiles aims to showcase the reality that most of us are closer to being homeless in any given year, than to becoming a millionaire or becoming rich enough to retire or live a life that’s not enslaved to capitalism. 

Traditional media (which is inherently capitalist) has not showcased people who are struggling because capitalists currently have control of society and want to maintain a facade or pretence that capitalism works well enough for everyone to prosper and make it, so as to maintain the control they have. Therefore, a subversive show like this is useful for showcasing that there are many who live below the poverty line, that those people then have nothing to be ashamed of, and that any failings that occur are inherently designed to happen within capitalism, and not somehow individual moral failings. 

While our participants are not to be blamed for individual failings, there are also not exactly any individual villains on the TV show. Throughout all our narratives and situations, a thread that connects all of them is that capitalism necessarily needs to monopolize on some people’s disadvantageous situations for anyone to come out on top. The enemy is not any single person, but the enemy is the system of capitalism itself. 

Another aim of the TV show is to highlight the humanity of our participants. Traditional media has by far shone a spotlight on the glamorous, unattainable lives of celebrities and people with “success stories” in life. People like waitstaff and janitors, cashiers and sales workers have never been portrayed as having personalities. They exist only to do their jobs of providing a service, and then suddenly they are no longer relevant in our lives. This show hopes that by featuring people in professions or communities that have been long ignored, we can bring them from an invisible sphere, into the visible. 

As an alternative to the bleakness of the plights of our participants, we will feature certain ways we can all start to back away from capitalism and form other ways of existing and being. For example, mutual aid is a way for sharing with the community so that the participants don’t rely on philanthropy, nor believe in any justification for people to be rich nor poor enough that philanthropy is required. We can also feature a few participants with more environmentally-friendly lifestyles, such as those who only make purchases in closed-loop economies or supply chains, promoting sustainability. 

The audience for this show would be people who are disillusioned or are starting to question capitalist society as it is, and who want to inspire change. To gather audiences, we would start from grassroots avenues, such as putting up posters in spaces that would support such a show. This includes socialist societies/groups in different provinces and countries, liberal arts colleges, working-class-populated bars, mom-and-pop stores, and locations frequented by people with such similar ideals. I believe the audience would be attracted to watch such a show if it were produced, for several reasons. 

First, it would be very different from any other show in production and circulation, and by virtue of novelty alone, it would be entertaining or enlightening. Secondly, as mentioned, our intended primary audience are people who are already disillusioned with capitalism, and therefore they would want to seek hope by watching similar people go through similar events in their lives, and relate more to them than anyone else they’ve ever seen on TV. Thirdly, the primary intended audience members may want to persuade their peers who don’t already hold such socialist beliefs, and having such a show in production and being broadcast, would greatly enhance the possibility of that happening, using real and unfiltered portrayals of working-class people trudging through life. 

To attract revenue, we would also appeal to the socially-involved natures of such audiences, and ask for a crowdsourcing of funds for the show to be perpetuated, such that it can reach wider circulations, and hopefully spread the message to bigger audiences. 


His feedback:

In many ways this show is exactly what you describe and would have a very hard time to get 'green lit', again for exactly the reasons you describe. Yet it is an important possibility to pursue along the lines that you outline toward the end. As far as a pitch goes, you need to reorganize a bit, particularly when it comes to the 'why' questions that you answer well toward the last page or so, but for the average person listening to this pitch - most are done orally first - there will be an immediate 'poverty porn' image that harkens back to 'Good Times' or 'Welcome Back Kotter' or 'Sanford and Sons' from the 60s and 70s, or even the 'Honeymooners' from the 50s. The alternative perspective from poverty porn positions it as a fresh take and for a defined audience who, though they aren't 'rich' or constantly consuming, are what many call 'the bottom billion' who are generally ignored and are yearning for something solid. 

The one thing that I think you did well was demonstrate and describe the class struggle focus. The one thing, from a North American perspective is the issues of race, gender, and geography, though I imagine a version of this occurs in many places along similar if different social divisions. This is important because the show seeks to address an imbalance but should be mindful of creating a new one; or worse, creating a new "Honey Boo Boo" who is a poor, rural girl from the Southern US who is both famous but seemingly unaware that her fame is because people are looking at her life from a classist-urban dismissive standpoint. That level of care is hard to balance when the subjects are needed but delicate. You should look up Norman Lear’s evaluation of the unintended impact of 'All in the Family' such as we discussed in class to help solidify this. Great idea, some room for a few more nuances. 80/100

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

BIG YEAR

I submitted this essay for my TV module and got a 78% for it. Apparently, I'm a solid 78% student across all my modules, so I'm trying to improve my writing to bring it to 91% (because Marcus got 91% for our philosophy paper, wtf, is he Socrates???). Anyway, I have been elected to be the women students' rep of the Students' Union, and my term starts in May. That's all, have a lovely week, I'm busy working to pay off my tuition, if you'd like to loan me a sum of money so I don't have to pay hundreds of dollars in interest to my Singapore bank monthly, I'd highly appreciate it, this is not a joke. 

    Thinking about this as a 'big year' for spending time with screens, make a list of your screen time attention - TV formatted 'shows' in particular (i.e. not quick YouTube experiences or one-off TikTok videos - but maybe recurring series, etc.). After thinking about your list, think about what it says about you ... if all viewing is, in a way 'connected' and 'productive;' what does your list say about you (both to you and to others who might read your list)?
Among the shows on my list, there are definitely certain ones that I would consider and call my absolute favorites. These are Avatar: The Last Airbender, Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act, Jeopardy, Queer Eye, Ted Lasso, and The Good Place. Everything else, I might have considered filler, to pass any free time I had while I was at home and having a meal, or just because there was nothing else interesting on Netflix. I will describe what each of my favorite series represents to me, and in this way, I will also aim to describe what it says about me.

When I started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, it was because my sister had watched it and she had stickers and decals of the characters on her laptop, as well as her phone screensaver, etc. I’d also heard, in general, that many people liked it and that it was a well-made show. I started watching it to be in the know, and to fit in with my sister, and other people who liked the show. It turns out that I did enjoy it and liked it, as well. What I think it says about me, is that I have a fear of missing out, slightly, and that I do yearn for connection with other people.

Beyond this, Avatar: The Last Airbender is about a heroic protagonist who is literally the only person who can save the world from the “bad guys”. Additionally, he manages to make a friend in his foil and antihero, a person called Zuko. Zuko has a misguided-villain-to-semi-hero redemption arc, and what I’d like to think this says about me is: I have a hopeful streak, and I do hope that in this society we live in, some heroes (with no supernatural powers) might band together to save the world from climate disaster.

I watched Ted Lasso because one of my good friends recommended it to me, and I became so very fond of it. Ted Lasso is a show about a football coach who’s perhaps the opposite of or very far off from the stereotypical football coach one might think of. The show is written around strong men and women. The strong men have sessions in which they talk about their feelings, without making a big deal of it. There are characters that display streaks of toxic masculinity, but they are few and it’s also portrayed as leading to unhealthy relationships and self-esteem issues.

The strong women lift each other and have real and proper girl friendships, without any of the usual bitchiness or cattiness or superficiality (although they do sometimes talk to each other about men). This is definitely one of the shows that appeal to me because of my feminism, and strong personality. I enjoy that the show tries, and mostly succeeds, to defy gender norms and restrictions.

It also deals with mental health and therapy in a rather comprehensive manner, that maybe will show viewers that i) therapy is for everyone, ii) it is okay to be scared of therapy if you haven’t been or if you haven’t had good experience with it yet, and iii) that it’s still possible to overcome or work through it and use it for the better.

I am a strong proponent of therapy and mental wellness, I go for free counselling in school as a student. I aim to publicise to as many people as possible that such resources are readily available to us. We as students should be taking advantage of it, because therapy and mental health facilities aren’t readily available in many places, and especially for free (although I think it should rightfully be free considering the exorbitant tuition I pay as an international student).

Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act has a special place in my heart because I’d been his fan for many years, since his first Netflix special, Homecoming King, in 2017. What I hope this says about me is that I’m loyal, what it might say about me is I could be a little obsessive. Patriot Act has been cancelled because he got into trouble with a few rich and powerful people (I think this was the reason), but it was a solid, informative, entertaining, and moving series. He would talk about important issues such as Black Lives Matter, unfair marijuana criminalization/profitization based on race, fast fashion, etc etc.

His points were hard-hitting, but somehow, Hasan Minhaj has a rare way of bringing emotion in without necessarily sensationalizing issues. Anyone can present facts and figures, but he did it in a way that resonated with you. At least, I might have felt more of it because he’s a person of color (still not a woman of color yet, but perhaps that’s for me to fill) introducing -or developing arguments about- issues to the world, on Netflix. All this to say, Hasan Minhaj to me is meaningful representation, and that’s something I stand strongly by, especially as I go to school in a predominantly white country and still see predominantly white faces in many classes.

Jeopardy is my absolute favorite game to watch and play. I grew up watching the late, great Alex Trebek, and always thought of him as the kindly white grandfather everyone should have. He was one of the people I wanted to meet in person (the others are Taylor Swift and Hasan Minhaj). What I want this show to say about me, or what I think it does, is that I’m always thirsty for knowledge, and I’m semi-autodidactic (if I were a complete autodidact I wouldn’t be in university).

If you haven’t seen a contestant called Austin Rogers, please watch the episodes with him. He’s one of the top winners of all time on Jeopardy, and he has one of the quirkiest personalities I’ve ever seen in anyone. I love how Jeopardy makes knowledge fun to attain, and when you watch these absolute shining personalities do well on the show, with their puns and snappy quips, it’s top-notch entertainment.

I don’t know what it says about me, but I think there’s a bit of predictability to my watching Jeopardy. When I was back home in Singapore, my six family members in the household knew I would always spend some time watching Jeopardy, before or after work, or on my off days from work. It felt safe to me, and perhaps it signified a certain safety to them, as well, that I am a creature of habit and I love my routine. I don’t know for sure. Sometimes, my sisters would also watch it with me, and I used it to bond with them a little, although I don’t think they ever really enjoyed the show as much as I did, because I never see them watching it if I’m not.

Of all the reality shows that exist, Queer Eye is one of the best, in my opinion. Again, what it says about me is possibly that I’m actually optimistic and romantic under all my cynicism. It’s nice to see people who are deserving receive a makeover that, more often than not, really improves their entire lives. I have a problem with the premise of Queer Eye, in that I am much too politically radical, to really actually buy into it. I think there are far more people in America that are struggling and that they cannot all be helped by Queer Eye, and it’s because the systems and infrastructures are making it that way. I think, to really help America, the country needs a systemic change, that doesn’t allow capitalism, racism, classism, nationalism and all the -isms to marginalise entire populations of people.

However, for that hour or so, it is nice to see that given the right amount of help (tens of thousands of dollars in the making), and the right kind of help, even people in the most dire of places can turn their lives around. Now, if only we could provide tens of thousands of dollars to everyone in America, by taking it from the ultra-rich. I would watch that show. Focusing on Queer Eye, though, I think it succeeds at what it sets out to do, which is to make a candidate feel good about themselves, and in turn, becomes a feel-good TV show for the audience.

The Good Place is my favorite TV show of all time. What I like about it is it introduces the viewers to the tiny, basic gists of philosophy and ethics, and that allows the audience to decide if they want to learn more. Generally, philosophy hasn’t been accessible to mass communities and has been gatekept by and for old, white men, so to see such information being included in an entertainment show, for anyone to watch, is heartening.

Even within the content of The Good Place, it acknowledges and contends with the fact that the world is extremely unjust and unbalanced, that results in it being impossible to judge anyone fairly. The ending of the show is a typically good and nicely-wrapped-up ending, and the two protagonists whom you’d naturally root for, end up together, for eternity. This, again, shows my romantic side. Apart from that, I do think what I’d like the show to say about me, is that I’m thoughtful, pensive, that I care about other people, and would like everyone to receive what they truly deserve.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

ART SPIEGELMAN

Hi. It's been a while. Three weeks, to be precise. Those three weeks have been eventful. I've created posters, traipsed all over the VIU campus to put up said posters. I'm a BA student so I've usually only hung out in the liberal arts/linguistics buildings. When I was putting up the posters, it took me three entire hours to go through all the buildings and faculties. It was an adventure, knowing the actual vastness of courses offered at VIU. There are trades like fisheries and forestries, and hatcheries. It was eye-opening, but also very, very tiring. There are two things a VIU student talks about: the fact that VIU is on a hill and therefore how tiring it is to traverse all the stairs, and on good days, we talk about how amazing our view of the scenery is, also courtesy of the fact that we're located on a hill. 

Speaking of trades, I met with Alessia in the last two weeks, and as I'm running for the position of women students' rep in the students' union, she told me of an issue they're facing as nursing students. Apparently while trades like electricians and automotive mechanics get paid for their practicums, nursing students are not. Nor are hairdressing nor baking students. The only difference? That the former are male-dominated industries and the latter, women-populated industries. It was intriguing to have such a thing highlighted to me, I don't know what I can do, but awareness is the first step to improvement, I suppose.

In the last week, I also played board games with my friends from philosophy class. We went bowling for our first outing, then it was board games, which definitely did nothing for my competitive nature. We were playing at the student pub, where there was a karaoke session being held, so Marcus and I went up to sing Mr Brightside. After the board game session, Marcus also taught me to drive in his car. I did the first U-turn of my life, lololol. Transit here is a pain in the fucking ass, and the weather sucks, so I definitely need to learn to drive. Also, I really like my friends from philosophy. Especially Marcus. I think we hit it off very easily, and it's comfortable to banter with him. 

I've been working at the school gym and I've also got some friends there. We had a gym staff pickleball tournament, it was my first time playing pickleball and they absolutely thrashed me at it. I've never played a sport and my bodily coordination does not exist, so I was an embarrassment to myself. I had fun though, it was nice getting to know them outside of work, and going for drinks after. I don't drink very much, because it sets off my seasonal depression, but I had a Burt Reynolds shot and I loved it. It's possibly the best-tasting shot I've had. I've also started work at Buy-Low, which is a grocery store near my place. I've only had one shift, and another one later this afternoon, but the people are also nice. I have to do it for the money, because YOUR GIRL IS POOR and IT SUCKS TO BE POOR.

Two days ago, I spent time with Hannah and Mary. We baked cookies for my campaign at Hannah's place, and then we ordered Mexican food and chatted about life and family and all that heavy stuff that happens. I feel like I've found my clan of women I want to hang with, in them, and I'm super glad for it. Mary also has a dog, Moby, who is the best boi I've ever known. He's really the goodest boi, and I so enjoyed his company. Anyway, the cookies that we baked turned out to be quite a hit, so perhaps we'll start an anti-capitalist bakery? We'll see. 

I had a therapy session this morning. We chatted about my aversion to boredom, as well as my emotional outbursts once every two weeks, seemingly because I contain my feelings instead of feeling them, whenever I'm going through an experience. I told my therapist that I usually have an outburst or mental breakdown, when I'm speaking to Jeremy, or when I'm physically with him, and it may have to do with feeling safe around him. We're (my therapist and I) trying to get me to feel and express my daily emotions better to avoid the buildup that leads to anger outbursts, etc. 

Today we also talked about how I'm attracted to exciting things. I told my therapist (actually, his name is Art, so I will refer to him by his name) that I've never been good with long-term relationships. Whether it's influenced by having seen my parents' relationships unfold or otherwise, I've always been attracted to big moments and big sparks. I like dating men with racecars, because I like stuff like rollercoasters and skydiving, I like grand gestures, and I've never been good with weathering the stable, healthy moments when they come. 

Jeremy and I have also talked about compatibility several times, I've never really thought about ADHD in another person, and I really dread messiness and a lack of organization, so it's still always coming up, again and again. We set each other off in unhealthy ways, sometimes, so I don't know. He is very sweet and stable, kind and patient, though. When I have my completely out-of-whack moments, in which two weeks of my life troubles boil and bubble over in a 45-minute rant about the transit and weather in Vancouver, he usually takes it as it comes and tells me it's okay that I have strong feelings stemming from unresolved trauma. What a good man.

Voting in the elections ends tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to see if I'll be engaged in meaningful work for the school, in that way. However, if I don't get the position, I can still look for other ways to be engaged in meaningful work, so. At the moment, I just hope someone can convince Putin to back off. Maybe the Russians who are against the invasion will convince him. Maybe not. I don't know. Life is tiring enough without war happening. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

PROTÉGÉ


Hello! To start, I would like to acknowledge and thank the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun and Tla’amin First Nations, on whose traditional lands we teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge. My name is Sarah Mei and I'm a first-year BA student from Singapore. I'm Malay by ethnicity and if you'd like to know more about my culture, I'd be happy to share. As a person, I'm genuine, open, thoughtful, and adaptable. I believe that my communicative and approachable demeanor will help to co-create a safe, collaborative, and welcoming environment for all.

Some of the values I believe in are meaningful representation, diversity, mental wellness, fair redistribution of resources, and gender and sexuality parity. I strongly advocate for elevating the voices and stories of marginalized communities, such as womxn, the trans community, students of color and Indigenous populations, as well as people with disabilities. My vision is for us to live in radical joy and possibility, so that together we can leave the world better than how we found it, and to first embody this in VIU. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

NO DROUGHT

We've been reading the Communist Manifesto for Liberal Studies and I feel like there is no better time than now, and there is no more important document than this to be read by the entire world, especially as we are in late-stage capitalist society. Communism has gotten a bad rap from the Soviet Union and China, etc, but honestly Communist ideas, at the onset, from the manifesto, are truly what might save this world from impending climate collapse. 

I always thought the manifesto would be like thick binders' worth of information but it's only a forty-page document. I've included some of it here, things that I highlighted, because I'll be doing a presentation on this text for class, but of course, I do hope you read the entire thing. Again, it is only forty pages long, and there's much more crucial information that I haven't included here, and please, if anything in the following is confusing, go back to its context. 


The bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry and of the world market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative State, exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

*

It has resolved personal worth into exchange value…

*

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage-labourers.

*

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society.

*

In these crises a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises there breaks out a social epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity – the epidemic of over-production.

*

The former lower strata of the middle estate – the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and rentiers, the handicraftsmen and peasants – all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialized skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production. Thus the proletariat is recruited from all classes of the population.

*

The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever-expanding union of the workers. This union is helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry and that place the workers of different localities in contact with one another. It was just this contact that was needed to centralize the numerous, all of the same character, into one national struggle between classes. But every class struggle is a political struggle. And that union, to attain which the burghers of the Middle Ages, with their miserable highways, required centuries, the modern proletarians, thanks to railways, achieve in a few years. The organization of the proletarians into a class, and consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves.

*

All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.

*

The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.

*

The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all the other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.

*

In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.

*

But does wage labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage labour, and which cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage labour for fresh exploitation.

*

Capital is a collective product, and only by the united action of many members, nay in the last resort, only by the united action of all members of society, can it be set in motion. Capital is, therefore, not a personal, it is a social power.

*

From the moment when labour can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolized, i.e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, from the moment, you say, individuality vanishes. You must, therefore, confess that by ‘individual’ you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way. Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriation. It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us. According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work, acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything, do not work. The whole of this objection is but another expression of the tautology: that there can no longer be any wage labour when there is no longer any capital.

*

Just as, to the bourgeois, the disappearance of class property is the disappearance of production itself, so the disappearance of class culture is to him identical with the disappearance of all culture.

*

The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parent and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labor.

*

National differences and antagonisms between peoples are daily more and more vanishing, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world market, to uniformity in the mode of production and in the conditions of life corresponding thereto.

*

In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another is put an end to, the exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to.

*

But whatever form they may have taken, one fact is common to all past ages, viz., the exploitation of one part of society by the other. No wonder, then, that the social consciousness of past ages, despite all the multiplicity and variety it displays, moves within certain common forms, in forms of consciousness which cannot completely vanish except with the total disappearance of class antagonisms.


The Communist Manifesto is also readily available to be downloaded online, because that was the vision of Marx and Engels, and all communists who believe that there are enough resources if we all just stopped being selfish and just share. There truly is enough.  

WHY DON'T WE?


oh, baby, I can feel the rush of adrenaline 
I'm not scared to jump if you want to 
let's just fall in love for the hell of it
maybe, we'll just keep fallin'

I can feel the rush of adrenaline
I'm not scared to jump, 'cause I want you 
let's just fall in love for the hell of it 
maybe, we'll just keep fallin'

Today in 2022, the world has gotten hooked on a word game called Wordle. Almost every day, Jeremy and I send each other our Wordle guesses, and then we also do Taylordle, which is the Taylor Swift version of Wordle. I don't know why he does it, he doesn't even like her, doesn't listen to her songs, so his guesses are always far out and make no sense. The latest one we're doing is Worldle, which is where you guess countries based on their silhouettes and how far your guesses are from the answer country (distance-wise). I have a therapy session tomorrow, and I look forward to it. A lot of things have been and are happening in my life, and I need a space to breathe. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

OLD SPORT

One of the guys I dated in New York is Adam. I got reminded by Instagram today that it was three years ago. How time moves, I'll never know. Anyway, Adam is in a band called Carrier, and they released an album late last year, called When New York Is Drowning.


Thanks to the reminder from Instagram, I went down the rabbit hole and listened to the album today. I quite like the sound, my favorite is Little Fish, but of course most of the people I've dated don't have similar music tastes as I do. I have not had the good fortune of dating a Swiftie.

I don't know why I'm here, I have so much work to do. Okay okay I'm out.

Monday, January 24, 2022

STELLAR PIZZA

Last Friday morning, I had a liberal studies class. Whilst the topics of discussion for last semester were Love and Friendship, this semester we've moved to Knowledge, Good, and Evil. In Friday's particular class, we discussed Susan Sontag's text An Argument About Beauty, but we didn't finish the discussion before we were due to move on to this week's text. After class ended, I asked Kaia for her thoughts and elaboration on Susan Sontag, thinking it would take perhaps ten minutes at most. 

After we had stayed in the classroom for half an hour after class had formally ended, Kaia had a jolt and said she was so dumb, which utterly perplexed me. She then said she was half an hour late for a meeting she was supposed to be at, so I told her to run for the meeting, whilst I packed her equipment (camera and microphone to engage with the online participants of our class) to return them to her office. I told her to tell her meeting attendants that she'd been caught helping me with a medical emergency.

All this to say, if you're in VIU and you haven't had a class with Kaia, you should try to be in her class for any one of your semesters, because she truly cares about her students and the stuff she teaches about, that she will forget about bureaucracy. 

That evening, I took a ferry to Vancouver to meet my partner, Jeremy. He lives on mainland Vancouver and it takes four hours for me to travel to see him (or vice versa) because neither of us drives. I tell him this means we are doing long-distance, but he doesn't quite agree. There is a sea between us, that I can only traverse according to ferry schedules, and still he doesn't think it's long-distance. How dare he minimise my pain!!!!!
    
On Saturday, we went to Lonsdale Quay with Tiffany, Jeremy's roommate.


(I also did a peace sign but it's hidden behind the plant.)

We looked like we were in a band.


Jeremy and I went to The Polygon Gallery to look at some art. Steven Shearer's works were on exhibit and I liked it because it's very colorful and I like colors. That is all.

When we got home, Tiffany did my tattoo for me. Tiffany is an artist in like eleven forms of media (I might exaggerate but it could also be true). She paints and the house is full of her paintings, and I love them, she paints so well. She also does tattoos, and makeup, and sometimes she plays music with Jeremy. I guess when you're artistic, you tend to be artistic in more than one aspect, which is so cool. I wish I were as talented. 


Anyway, here is my second tatt! It's a moon-shaped wave... It's more circular in real life when my arm is not bent. I'd been wanting a wave, because my sunflower tatt is supposed to correspond with the sun, whereas in contrast, a wave correlates to the moon. 

Jeremy and I made a budget for the year ahead. We also finally built a small Hello Kitty figure. He'd been wanting me to build it for ages, to get me introduced to the world of building. He has all sorts of robots and Pokemon figures, because he's a weeb (hahahah he hates when I call him this) but now I have my own Hello Kitty displayed in my room! It's cute, but no, I don't think I'll build anything else. 

It's funny, the man has ADHD so he's all over the place in life, but when it comes to building, he's so meticulous and careful. I snapped the pieces from the runners not very gently, so there were little snubs to be sanded, which I didn't care about, it didn't matter to me. He would sand them till they were smooth, and if he were building my Hello Kitty, he'd have painted it so that the grooves where you attach the separate parts wouldn't be seen or whatever, but I was like, IT'S DONE LEAVE MY HELLO KITTY ALONE.

School is getting into the groove of things, meaning I'm gonna have a ton of assignments due in the blink of an eye, he's going back to work this week, and I've also started my part-time job at the school gym, so we're probably not gonna be spending a lot of time in the near future, but that was a good weekend. I enjoyed my weekend.


In this morning's class, we talked about beauty, and evil according to Franz Kafka's text, In The Penal Colony. Hannah and I then went to have a snack at the cafeteria, where she bought a matcha cheesecake for us to share. 

I got home and found a surprise package! I think Jixuan had ordered me a planner, from a brand called The Happy Planner. It's super pretty and very useful for me, because I love planning (perhaps more so than I actually love doing anything - so this could be kinda unhealthy). Life is in a good groove now, and I wish you an inherently, innately, intrinsically beautiful time ahead. See you when I see you! :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

HOMELAND

There is a man who’s been a regular part of my life. He is one of the two people I was talking to on the dating apps, that I mentioned a couple months ago. The other one was a friend of Dhu’s, but he wasn’t in a good place, to be dating, so we dropped it. The man who’s been part of my life, his name is Jeremy. The first date I had with him was lovely, we had sushi and he got me a rose, etc etc. It hasn’t been all smooth-sailing since then. He builds gundam kits and his room is a mess by my standards, so when I first started going over it would give me a literal headache, because if you’ve seen my living situation, you’d know I’m very particular and I’m the kind of person who makes my bed everyday, without fail. We lead quite different lifestyles, he plays video games on literally every platform you can think of and he doesn’t sleep at regular timings, he has ADHD so his attention flickers from one thing to another. However, when my sisters were here, he helped me coordinate their visit, and he brought us to the Capilano Bridge as well as the Christmas market on another day. His mom knitted me a scarf for Christmas, and he got me a new tattoo (my first in years!!) as my gift. One day when we were walking back from a party at Hannah’s place, he asked “is Joey in love with you?” which made me literally guffaw. I told him, “no, he doesn’t, but I do think he likes me back, at least.” It was interesting, I think we can talk about things and I don’t feel the need to shy away from it. When I was getting together with Lucas, it was very fast and at that point I still thought there was a “happily ever after”, so I thought, okay, I will marry Lucas. At this point of time, I think I’m trying to reconcile between my Malay-Muslim-female upbringing of wanting/almost-needing to get married, and my own eventually-revealing desire of taking things as they are, in the moment. I do want to get married sometime in my life, I think, but Jeremy and I are navigating things very slowly and tentatively. I don’t know if you know, it may not be apparent through my writing (or it might, who knows), I can get overwhelmed by emotion that I lose sight of what’s real, that I think I am my feelings. Last week, even though my inclination is usually to give in to the peak of my emotional outbursts, I went against the instinct and felt safe enough to tell him what I was feeling, despite it probably sounding irrational as fuck. He consoled me and told me it was okay, and then we went to sleep. We watched the entirety of The Good Place together ‘cos he’d never seen it before, and we have plans to see Hamilton live together because he also loves theatre, and sometimes we sing Spring Awakening, and at other times, he picks up his guitar and plays and sings Taylor Swift for me, and I forgive him even though all the lyrics are wrong. I don’t know where it’s going, but I do know I like his company, so we’ll see. Your guess is as good as mine.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

1-877-KARS-4-KIDS

On the day my sisters arrived, we had shawarma and immediately upon being seated at a table to eat our food, they began telling me things and doing humor in Malay and I’d missed it so much I began laughing so hard I started tearing.



We went to Capilano Suspension Bridge. I’d told Aqilah that her Korean idols had been there because we’d watched an episode of a variety show together that featured the place but she didn’t believe me. It turns out, I was right and she found the episode and took the same photo they had. See, who says I don’t pay attention!!


Pre-Christmas, we went to the Christmas market. There was a lot of delicious food but as my sisters are Muslim, we were rather limited. We still had the best pretzels we had all ever had in our lives, though. It was so good, when my sister accidentally dropped some, we all felt bad and wanted to eat it. My youngest sister actually did eat the fallen piece, and she’s still alive.



We went to Grouse Mountain, where my sisters ice-skated and I watched them and looked after their things. I think we all wanted to try snowboarding or skiing but it would have been even more expensive on top of our entry tickets, and there are four of us, so we didn’t. It was still very fun, though. It’s a very pretty mountain.

Over the week, we did our usual things of cooking kimchi jjigae (that’s jei’s job) which tasted remarkably more inviting in the cold snowy weather. We watched Hamilton while making breakfast. We bickered and had drama and made fun of each other and it was a little bit stressful with a broken table, and an airbnb host who did not understand my sisters’ fear of dogs. But it was the family I grew up with, and I was so, so, so happy to have them close the year with me.

In the past week, I believe I may have caught Covid, or a particularly nasty cold that’s taken so long to shake off. I only had a bad fever and headache on the first day, but the congested lung passageway and nasal nasties have stayed the past six days. I’ve got two days to the start of the new semester, and have just completed a rewatch of The Good Place. I think this new year will be pretty good for me, watch as I attempt to be ever more communist and make it a better year for more than just myself alone. I wish you all the very best. May we all prosper so we start living our lives in the most wholesome ways for the world.