BLOGGER



Youngest kid of six with an inferiority and black sheep complex, but determined that God saves not just his soul to heaven but the remainder of his manic-depressive life, so others won't say he became a Christian and remained a jerk.


MAIN THEMES

On identity
i won't be transparent before i'm opaque. and you'll get to know me starting from the small things: who my favourite bands are. what kind of movies i like. who are my heroes.

On Christianity
I’m convinced that when confronted with sincere, real love, the Jesus factor will become obvious. But let’s not plant the cross before we carry it. I’m not trying to con you.

On dreams
Some dreams are meant to be achieved. I know that. But maybe other dreams are meant to drive us, privately. Never known to anyone but ourselves.


OTHER THEMES

On melancholy
It is a sadness that, when choosing between crying and sighing, will choose sighing. I'd almost say that melancholy is being sad about sadness itself.

On memory and nostalgia
It saddens me when life moves forward and people decide that certain things are worth forgetting.

On language
I've learnt that the word irregardless is filed as a non-standard word in the English language. That's a lexicographer's way of saying it's not a real word.

On politics
Crowds are fickle things. So when we stand in the thousands and cry against the present government, do we know who we're actually crying for?

On society
People always want the best for themselves. But I want to sometimes take second or third or fourth best, just so that the loser down the road doesn't always have to come in last. It must feel like shit to always come in last.

On growing old
Leasehold property make me feel sad. It doesn't matter how old the family photos are that you put on your wall. It's your family but it's not really your wall.

On philosophy
I ask you, if God loves everyone, and if God is also incapable of loving evil, how can there be such a thing as an evil man?

On a daily basis
One line quips, like this.


CHAT





Monday, May 08, 2006
I ran into some stereotypes this weekend, and I didn’t like it.

As a whole, I don’t like meeting stereotypes. I fully understand that stereotypical perspectives are unhelpful in tearing down prejudices and unfair to those who do not fit the pattern. Yet, it is remarkably difficult to live completely unshackled from stereotypical perspectives. In fact, as much as stereotyping is not politically correct, we nonetheless observe hypocritical attitudes towards this phenomena: generic ideas of the studious Chinese student and the talkative American are met with a lot more kindness than equally racially prejudiced stereotypes like the greedy Chinese businessman and the cocky American. If it’s wrong to stereotype at all, much less along racial lines, then it should be wrong whether or not we are stereotyping someone positively or negatively.

There’s a common stereotype of the young Tamil Indian guy who goes in groups of other young Tamil Indian guys who drink a lot, go clubbing a lot, and make lots of noise and drive modified kancils. It’s a very unfair stereotype because I know guys who almost fit that mould but differentiate from it at crucial points, and these are GREAT guys. Yet, it happened that this weekend, I ran into some of these stereotypes: six of them to be precise.

It was 2.30am and I had just finished cleaning up apartment and was ready to sleep. My bedroom window was open and I could hear a group of men downstairs talking. X number of floors down (no, I am not revealing what floor I live on) sat six guys drinking out of bottles (come on, calculate the odds it was orange juice), and talking uncontrollably loudly, laughing occasionally, and breaking into roars regularly. I got annoyed, and so I responded as anyone in a TV show would: I shouted at them.

“Excuuuuuse me! Some of us are trying to sleeeep!”

To which came their most unsavoury reply.

“Ooooh really? Well, all the best! Bastard!”

The group roared and continued drinking and talking, but now their conversation was focused on heckling me. Fully pissed off now, I called the guard house and informed them of the troublemakers. After ten minutes of non-action, I made a second call. I was determined to ruin their Friday night. I was determined to ruin them, full stop.

The nerve! At 2.30am, they roar directly underneath a block of apartments, get chastised and they have the nerve to call me a bastard!

My determination to ruin their night came in the form of a security guy, who popped up, talked to them, during which they one by one took turns to speak to the security guy, and after what must have been more than five minutes of negotiation, the offending six left with what must now surely have been proven to be bottles of orange juice. With the security guard in tow, they still managed to heckle, going “Oi!” a few times, perhaps at me or maybe even at the guard. One way or another, I came this close – ie THIS CLOSE – to shouting back at them “All the best, bastards!”, which would now surely have pissed them off proper, but also have reduced me to being a dog like them.

And I’m glad I restrained myself.

I struggled with racism and stereotyping that night. I tossed in bed conflicted between my higher principles and my base desire to throw a brick down and crack one of their heads open so that he would suffer permanent brain damage and that his quadriplegic existence will serve as a monumental reminder to the other five to stop behaving like dogs. And it was a hard struggle, believe you me, because I’m called to love sinners and I’m called to be unracial, yet the only thing I was thinking of was that here was a group of guys who completely matched the stereotype I mentioned above: the troublemaking Tamil Indian group of guys who drank a lot and made a lot of noise. I don’t like meeting stereotypes because with every encounter, they make it a lot harder for me to look beyond stereotypes.

In my mind, I kept thinking that these guys actually want to be Tamil movie heroes (like vijay, pictured above) who fight a lot, are real tough, dance a lot, are strong but romantic and are generally real cool. They’ve got that model copied right down to the moustache and swagger. The only thing they don’t have is the courage of these heroes, and I guess the benevolence, and so they turn to drinking, making noise and modifying cars. There is no noble cause to fight for, so they pick on domestic types who just want to sleep in quiet. Like I said, no courage.

Now the last paragraph was an example of me thinking in terms of stereotypes. It is cruel, but I’m being honest with you that that’s how I felt about them. Their failure to behave and respond as reasonable adults made me reduce them to the status of animals instantly, and I didn’t care one bit if that night, they all died animalistic deaths. So the question I have on my mind now is this: who needs curing? Them or me?

Their wrong was obvious. My wrong was in generalising them and reinforcing my hatred towards a “type”. Is my perception wrong? Yes! I am utterly guilty and I am ultimately unhappy with myself, yet I stand by my response: I couldn’t respond in any other way. Try dealing with ten different stingy chinaman businessmen and tell me the stereotype of the stingy chinaman businessman is not ten times reinforced!

This then is my attitude towards stereotypes: I am resigned to it, and am reversing the onus of stereotype perceptions to the subject. It is really a game of percentages, and if 90% of young Chinese guys behave in a certain way, and I happen to fall into the 10% who don’t, I really can’t blame someone if they assume that I behave the way the 90% do. My life is harder, and the onus is on me to establish departure from the stereotype – not on them to see that I am different. Life just sucks that way, but I gotta deal with it.

And if 90% of young Tamil Indian guys move around in groups, drink a lot, display no ability to balance their emotional responses with cerebral ones, are notoriously noisy wherever they go, regardless of time, then to the 10% who are not like that, I can only say I’m sorry, but you got brothers out there making your life a living hell – please don’t blame me or anyone if we accidentally typecast you wrongly.

Because it’s impossible to perceive without stereotypes. I have too many things to worry about for me to attempt considering those six guys as three-dimensional individuals with unique experiences, backgrounds, personalities and hopes, fears, and dreams. Bugger that: if you bugger me at 2.30am, I don’t have the time to think of you as a fully formed homosapien, much less a sympathetic multi-layered personality.

We don’t have time to look beyond stereotypes. If you wanna break the stereotype, break it. I’ll have plenty of time for you. But if all you can be is the basic traits of a lousy age-old typecast, then I feel utterly sorry for you. And if you’re ever typecasted wrongly, don’t blame the typecaster – the true offenders are those idiots who ruined the reputation of your demography.

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Genusfrog [ 9:19 am ]

3 Comments:

  • "...young Tamil Indian guys who drink a lot, go clubbing a lot, and make lots of noise and drive modified kancils."

    err...they don't go clubbing la. Liquor too expensive there. 7-11 cheaper! :P

    To really understand Indian ppl, just watch Astro's indian channel. Practically a guidebook to Indian ppl who want to be identified as true Indians.

    I am stereotyping because ppl want to be stereotyped. If you look at me and say that I'm a typical Indian guy who likes to behave as stated in ur posting, I would disagree. This is not because I dislike being stereotyped; it is because I believe I belong to a different group of Indians. Bottom line is we all want to be stereotyped because we want to belong...

    By Anonymous spaceman, at 2:50 pm  

  • Actually, when i said "I stand by my response: I couldn’t respond in any other way", i was wrong. i can think of these guys like this: they are actually nicely socialised polite young men who are fruitful contributors to society, but they have a demon. and this demon turns them into rude and useless trash surplus population, and all the while, they are crying out from the depths of their souls, going "don't condemn me, i really am a nice guy inside!".

    haigh. damn them all.

    spaceman: vaanavil or sun tv? i can't stand vaanavil, every time i turn, it's vanakam thamizagham and it's piss boring.

    By Anonymous GCB, at 3:05 pm  

  • i have no idea. i don't watch these channels. can't understand the language (THANK GOD!).

    By Anonymous spaceman, at 9:47 am  

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