You might have already gotten the vibe from my blog that I’m an international woman – I like to travel, go global and get the fuck out to see the corners of the big wide world whenever I get the chance.
‘Why’, some have asked.
‘Because I can’, I tend to say.
And until there’s a way to cross multiple borders and time-zones to arrive in an alternate reality without taking a shitload of LSD then I’ll continue to jet fucking set. I’ve been told of suspicions I’m frequently smuggling shipment across borders up my butt for the local Chinese triads. This is offensive as everyone knows that preserved abalone & pickled rhino penis doesn’t keep well up that passage. That line was so wrong, even coming from me. No, I travel as much as I can because I have a demonic curiosity to know what the fuck is going on outside of the small box that I live in – because that’s a core way to have a relationship with the outside world, to prevent tunnel vision and narrow mindedness. Because if you have the financial means, physical strength and freedom to step out bearing witness to the truth with the power of language to report back on what you’ve found – then doing so becomes not only a mad time away but also in my opinion, a kind of responsibility.
I haven’t been everywhere but I have covered some extensive distance: took a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, sailed past waving at the Statue of Liberty, ate ham & cheese under the Eifel tower, skipped along in tight pants past the Colosseum (heaps of hot men in Italy, so must wear tight everything), numbed my cheeks sitting on cobblestones in the city square of Prague, and most recently, imagined myself having a turbo shower staring at Niagara Falls. Oh and then there was the freaky sight of what appeared to be millions of identical versions of one person huddled together in one place – this may have been either China or a certain ‘all you can eat’ buffet restaurant at the Crown Casino.
Remember also: travel isn’t just about place, it’s also about people and the more space you cover the more you realise that you’re not limited to the people working in the same office or living on the same street in order to have a genuine connection with another human being. I decided that I Never Will be Still when it hit me that someone who is usually sleeping while I’m awake, in summer when I’m in winter can be frustrated by the same bullshit as me, have enough insight to argue against my harsher judgements of me, and to just simply find the same shit funny as me. I’m not trying to make a ‘we are many, yet we are all one’ etc community announcement – I’m just saying that everyone at some point or another will feel a disconnect with the situation and people they find themselves with amongst their immediate reality, and for those times when you feel somehow so far ‘out’, travelling outside where you are is what can pull you way back in.
It’s a jungle out there man – heaps of sneaky traps making you look like a fucking idiot, giving the world many opportunities to mock you, ridicule you, point at you. What more, there are cunning clowns who exist playing innocent to your face always waiting in the wings to sell your arse out, making you the joke. I know a group of people like this – they’re called My Fucking Family. No, My Fucking Family isn’t the name of some nut-case quirky comedy act or performing circus group (well at least not intentionally), they are literally My Fucking Family. People I am related to (well at least not intentionally).
It was a stinking hot summer and I was 5 (picture me now but with smaller hands & feet but same height). We had these public pools near our house and EVERYONE from the area went there – families that lived on our street, kids who went to my school, teenagers from the local high school, drug dealers who dropped out of the local high school, business owners in the suburb, crims who robbed the business owners in the suburb etc. Mum was still at work and so it was up to dad to take me. But he faced a Bic Pob-Blum (Big Problem) – he didn’t know where mum kept my swim suit. So he patiently went through the drawers in my room to look for them knowing wisely he would eventually come across what I needed. BullShit– this never happened, instead he just grabbed a tea towel from the kitchen (presumably he also didn’t know where mum kept the bath towels) & we jumped into the car & headed to the pools – yes, the PUBLIC pools where I was forced to walk around in front of the entire population of our hood in my Cabbage Patch Kid undies and nothing on top – carrying a frayed & stained kitchen tea towel looking like some kind of child slave forced to work back-burning bamboo crops in peasant China. I learnt the meaning of humiliation that day people. And the crowd was not kind.
But let’s break it down more: this was the 80’s in Australia, fewer Asian migrant families in the area than now. So I already copped a big daily serving of ‘you ching-chong’ (fingers used to pull up eyes at the corners) shit at school & on the streets (Yo, if you’re reading this now & you were one of those redneck fucks, be watching your back son – my memory is deep & Facebook is one fucker of a big database). Add to this my lego people style bowl/helmet haircut and the fact that my dad thought the best way for me to learn to swim was to just throw me into the deep end of the pool while yelling and clapping alongside the edge (you get put in jail for shit like that these days) and you get one fucking big Disturbing Situation turned Disturbing Memory.
They say the best way to overcome your demons is to face them. And that’s what I’ve done. As I’ve grown into my adult years I’ve risen above and embraced this disturbing experience: I now walk around topless in my underwear every opportunity I get (visitors who ever came to the Elwood apartment know it’s true). Can’t wait for ‘Casual Friday’ to be brought back to work. And My Fucking Family have nobody to blame but themselves.
If you’re reading this right now and you don’t like rap – remain calm and don’t leave. This post isn’t about rap. It’s about relationships and perhaps a little bit more. Am out in Toronto right now and I’ve read some bad press here re Eminem’s song with Rihanna, ‘Love the Way You Lie’. The word is that the song and video clip are evil in glorifying domestic violence and promoting abuse. As though the soul destroying experience of a violent relationship – often arising out of intensely complex emotional politics, internal power struggles & fluctuating dynamics between 2 people can be so easily packaged and summarised as being ‘promoted’. And this is based on little more than 4 minutes of lyrics and images of a man and a woman so entangled in each other that neither seems able to simply leave the self-destructive ruins of their union: ‘Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that’s alright because I like the way it hurts. Just gonna stand there and hear me cry, but that’s alright because I love the way you lie…’
Since when are long-term relationships (and even friendships) so one dimensional and simple? He hurts you, you leave. You walk out the door just like that – as though there is no internal dialogue to fight against, no pull of the past – theirs or yours, no fear of surviving without the other person, no having to painfully retreat from co-dependence … This isn’t about whether the person should leave or not, it’s about the fact that in real life it all just isn’t so simple. And that’s all the song really intends to do – be a snapshot of real life – 2 people so entangled in and consumed with each other they just keep on hurting each other around in circles – until one or both of them breaks … If I wanted a clear cut linear moral or instructional message about how to conduct a relationship, I’d find a text book espousing the mechanics of building a manageable partnership or find some 14 chapter self-help manual.
I haven’t been in many relationships. But nor do I live in my own micro-cosmos unscathed from the emotional angst or damage that can characterise even a short period or small part of the most solid relationships around me – if I’m not in one, I’m always the witness of one, in fact I live everyday being the product of one. Listen to the song. This isn’t called glorifying domestic violence – this is called a man lyrically conveying the raw experiences of parts of his life. Music is an artistic expression thru which the artist tells a story. And often as is the achievement of a great artist, his or her story tells wholly or in part the story of somebody else – you, me, that person and the other.
Yeah that’s right – the title to the left is a rap and I rapped it as I typed it. For a girl who grew up in some of the shittiest suburbs of Melbourne (you know, the areas where tracksuit pants are considered as formal evening wear), I was hooked on hip hop and obsessed with rap before my folks got me hooked on rice for breakfast (you’d think we’d be the fattest fucks in the world the way we consume rice – my mum had her first Big Mac with a side of rice all consumed with chinga brand chilli sauce & a pair of chopsticks). I could relate to the themes of the hip hop genre with its talk of struggle and marginalisation. Many Chinese elders in the community I knew also had gold teeth so I felt an affinity with the rap artists as well. And when I think of the home of both hip hop and one of my fave rappers (Biggy Smalls) my thighs vibrate, I go crazy shaky and then I get all warm, sticky and moist (on my forehead) – I hit New York City for the 3rd time a few weeks ago and as usual the summer vibe there was rocking red hot and on smoky fire! I didn’t just walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, baby I was dancing over it doing the ‘runnin’ man’ forwards, backwards and on the side with arms waving. I looked like a smacked up Japanese tourist slash go-go-go dancer on fertile heat. I love you New York! And some fine buff bodied looking brothers of the city walking over that bridge too I found – made me go all warm, sticky and moist (on my forehead).
Just an unanswered question from EmpressEv’s ‘Book of Why?’ that still puzzles me even after my triple visit to the States: Why has a snack food titled ‘Cheesy Nips’ been permitted to continue trade under this particularly ambiguous name? And how has it done so without instigating racial rioting? Because when I think ‘Cheesy Nips’ I don’t think of a conveniently tasty & crunchy snack in a box, I think more of an image of some whacky Asian chick doing the ‘runnin’ man’ dancin’, skippin’ & gyratin’ over the Brooklyn Bridge…..
No I wasn’t sent to serve time in prison nor was I shipped overseas in a container as a mail order bride (nobody’s been making any orders – hurtful). I know, it’s been a very long time my friends since the last high level literary feature on this site – but as was said in the song ‘Changes’ of the late and great Tupac Shakur: ‘That’s just the way it is’.
I’ve received many enquiries from the peoples out there re when I’ll be back in the game – so thank you. Thank you for visiting and thank you for not being easily perturbed. Not wanting to be a dirty blog teaser, I’ll be regaining a sense of frequency with my entries from this point. So I’ll take the chance here to say: Feel free to comment – as in if something strikes you then put it out there. I can’t see you so I’m unable to laugh in your face. Ok seriously, there aren’t many forums where some of us can express views unedited or outside the backdrop of professions, community expectations etc (I can assume you all know the well worn internet spiel re comments not being racist, vile etc so no need to go there). Not everything I put on here is heavy tho not everything is light either. In fact some posts go thru many shades in only a few lines. But that’s real life and not all situations and observations neatly maintain uniform moods, colours and emotions. So that’s how I write cos that’s how I see life and so long as I stay sincere I’ll write whatever the fuck I want – silence is boring so feel free to join the conversation.
Here‘s some shit that I’ve done but I’m telling you now – it’s just Not Recommended:
Take expired medication. Unlike with some brands of cereal and cookies, the expiry date on prescription medication is actually stricter than the ‘best before’ standard of quality of some other consumable products. I know this because I took some expired sleeping tablets during my first night in a share house in London. I woke up in the morning wearing a sparkly silver cardigan that was not mine. I also have vague recollections of negligently using the lavatory in the middle of the night with the door wide open – no big deal you may say? Well at the time I was wearing neither any pants nor that sparkly silver cardigan. However, all this would have been a good way to break the ice with the new housemates.
Fix a pair of sunglasses with a toothpick. The right side of my sunglasses fell off. I’m Chinese. Chinese people have access to commercial quantities of toothpicks. We could build the 4th fucking little piggy house with them if we wanted to. I took one, broke an end off and used it as a ‘screw’ to re-attach the handle. Why – Because I thought I could. Outcome – I couldn’t. I was driving, then I was pumping out heavy bass hip hop tunes from my car speakers, then I was beating my head to my tunes, then I was feeling gangsta, then I was suddenly blinded by sunlight but only on one side of my face, then I was seeing a toothpick piece down my top, then I was seeing a broken handle of plastic on my lap, then I was seeing a damn fool in the reflection of the rear view mirror…
Eat potato chips in bed. I did this while reading with the lights on. And then it was bed time so I lay down in the dark, but while doing so my hand brushed against a stray potato chip. It had fallen out of the packet onto my mattress. So not wanting to waste it, I popped the tasty chip into my mouth and started to chew. It was not a fallen potato chip. It was a dead moth. The reasonable person would understand how easily such an error was made. Both a chip and a dead moth are flat, crispy and flaky – however would you believe that both these things actually taste exceptionally different?
Take the Mexi-Coach to Tijuana alone. This was no venga bus people. Perhaps I got on at the wrong time because the other passengers heading over the border with me from the USA didn’t look like they were heading into Mexico for donkey Piñatas, giant Sombreros or a mini Ukulele. They looked like (and overtly announced) that they were heading over to appropriate and purchase heavy duty quantities of prescription medicines … yet nobody seemed to have a prescription… Funnily enough there is a linkage with this last paragraph and the first – see if you can work it out.
Nobody wants to be a stupid mofo. We all want to think that we can handle our shit and process what’s right and wrong – but the mind is tricky, ego can be a bitch and hectic emotions usually fuck up our good judgement and blur the line between what we should and shouldn’t put up with. This isn’t just what happens when you smoke cheap easy street crack, this is just what happens:
You have the ongoing friend who always finds the bad in your good situation. You get a promotion and they keep on highlighting the extra stress, you get a hot new dress and they make out it looks like a shapeless caftan, you get a new guy and they claim to suspect he’s an ex prisoner on the run etc. Everybody has or has had one – the bullshit friend, the bootleg version of someone you should trust but they’re as fake, cheap and nasty as that canned soya bean cube shit the Chinese grocery shops try to pass off as duck meat. And each time their mouths shoot the shit out, you cringe because you know it’s not true honesty but poison resentment. But their number’s still stored in your phone. Why? Because you feel there’s too much history between you, the way out is not easy, the social ecosystem of your friendship network risks collapse if this tie is severed.
Another Example: You have the relationship that has you questioning why you chose him – as in, why the fuck you chose him over a colourful sturdy vibrator instead (boys, this is from the female perspective, but if you can still relate then great – no judgement). Yes, relationships take work and you need to compromise. But when you put up with someone who is always possessive, jealous, neglectful, abusive, needy, hypocritical, lazy, hopeless, immature, cheating, threatened by your strength and independence etc then you ain’t doing what’s called ‘compromise’, you’re doing what’s called ‘selling out’. But you stay with this person even though they’re the human version of a pack of instant noodles with that shady sachet of MSG flavouring – no inherent nutritional value but it’s convenient and you’re willing to keep on having it simply because … it’s there.
We all do it – see black and white in our mind’s eye but rationalise the bullshit away with our other body parts to why certain situations or people are allowed to continuously cross ‘the line’. Those close to me say my line is pretty damn solid and uncross-able, maybe too uncross-able and I cut people out too easily and quickly. But I’ve had my fair share of Live And Not Learn and I suppose I’ve made the call on the above situations that I’m done. There’s no shame in being burnt. And then burnt again and another 400 fucking times over until finally getting it. But at one point you just have to get it – that the other person in the ‘relationship’ or ‘friendship’ is fucked up, pointless and just not worth it. Some say, ‘But you never know when you might need them’ and ‘But they’ll always be there for me when I have nobody’. I say, Live And Learn – as though the devil is the one who will save you from hell.