Monday, June 28, 2010

Glorious and Free?

I'd just like to take a moment, a serious moment to discuss the recent happenings in Toronto at the G20 Summit. For those of you who live in Canada but are unaware of the current situation I direct you to the news and/or Youtube. This is a matter concerning a threat to our democratic rights and freedoms as well as your responsibility as a free agent.To be honest, before yesterday I was not even aware of the G20 Summit. After being shocked and baffled by what I briefly saw on the news yesterday morning, I knew that it was a big deal or else people wouldn't be protesting and the protests wouldn't turn into violence. As I learned more about this global meeting and what it stood for and why people in Toronto were so furious with it, I started to get a real sense of just what is at stake. I'm not going to comment on the social reasons behind the oppositions to the G20 Summit because that would take up a whole other post. Instead, I want to talk about the government's response to the protests and the injustices and atrocities that turned the peaceful demonstrators into militant activists.
According to Naava Smolash's account on the recent G20 protest in Toronto and Olympic protest in Vancouver, just prior to the G20 Summit, the government of Toronto past a new which granted the police the right to randomly conduct body searches on and demand I.D. from whomever they fancy. This law was passed unbeknown to Toronto citizens and it is because of this "new rule", random by-standers who my not even be necessarily involved with the protest were stopped and questioned by the police around the G20 Summit convention perimeter. Aside from the unjustifiable authority to violate citizens' privacy, as many videos and journalists documented, the Toronto police also made illegal arrests and attacked peaceful protesters and journalists throughout the day. But perhaps the most perverse thing of it all is that many mainstream media sources have twisted the story and framed the report and referred to the protesters who chose to deliver their message by smashing symbolic and inanimate objects (the most poignant example is of the burning police car with the phrase "to serve and protect" clearly seen in photograph) as "thugs and hooligans". Many people criticize these people as "violent", but my question remains, how is smashing non-living, materialistic property violent while pepper-spraying and striking people with batons "lawful", "just" and "non-violent"?Ten years ago, I immigrated from China to Canada and never in a million years did I expect a violation of human rights would happen here in a country which takes pride in its progressiveness and civil rights. How ironic is this: by exercising democratic principles (namely the right to peaceful assembly and the right from unreasonable search and seizure), the citizens of Toronto were subjected to harassment and arrests? Yesterday's events were almost reminiscent of a history of bloodshed in my home country where thousands died, fighting for democracy and freedom. And twenty-one years later, in a democratic country I see the same type of police-state control, oppression and unjust violation perpetrated against its people. Except in this case the hypocrisy makes it even more disturbing and unforgivable.

I am going to be away until next Monday, so no posts for a bit.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Make Sex, Not Gender

I'd like to take the opportunity and devote some time to discuss the relationship of "Sex and the City" and feminism. But first, I would like to apologize for coming off as being cynical all the time seeing that how almost all of my posts had been criticisms of one thing or another. But I think my opinions are more than just pointless rants because I always try my hardest to establish an introspective conclusion within my writing. Therefore, if you would like to challenge any of my arguments, please do so. I welcome friendly debates.
Back to "Sex and the City". As a female, I have always enjoyed the show. I love the fashion, the "girl chats" and even the character relationship dynamics. However, as a feminist I've always felt somewhat conflicted for liking a show that pretty much perpetuates and glamorizes every single gender stereotype. I mean, this show made a lot of contemporary feminists lose their shit over arguing who's right. Because the themes and indications of gender stereotype in it was a little more complicated than just say, a blatantly sexist rap music video. Within the feminist realm, lots of women are against the show for its obvious sexist portrayal of contemporary single women. But some very progressive feminists think the show is empowering because it was not only relevant but also portrayed women as independent characters in control of their lives. I stand somewhere between those two extremes because what I've recently realized is that the show itself, as much as it is controversial, really isn't intentionally trying to endorse gender stereotypes. And for the longest time I thought it was precisely this unconscious mental set that has caused the biggest problem in this male-centered society. Because how can you get rid of acts of sexism when we're not even aware of committing it? I mean even the most feminist-minded, and self-aware woman sometimes can't clearly distinguish between what is empowering and what is oppressive. Most gender issues these days seem to always start out with people unknowingly making gender based assumptions and ending up offending someone. And I think I have come to realize that gender, is really a social construct and as long as we are cognitive beings who tend to rely on social constructs to understand the world, we are going to inadvertently harbor certain beliefs that are not necessarily true . So, it really boils down to simple "guilty, not guilty" question: can people really be held accountable for committing acts of sexism without an intent?

This outfit was so comfortable. It's a very prepubescent look but I was nostalgic for that stage of life where boys and girls didn't try to exaggerate their genders and sex was still somewhat ambiguous due to lack of secondary sexual characteristics.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


For the nth time today, someone called me "small" and "cute" but this time it was different because usually those words would annoy me to no end. But today, instead of cringing immediately following the echoic impression of those adjectives, I simply responded to them with a mental "whatdiyagonnado" shrug. And that in itself seemed a tad strange to me. I couldn't help but wonder if this new found indifference was a result of me getting used to being labeled that all the time or simply a classic case of "learned helplessness" where I've pretty much lost all hope in trying to get people to see me as more than that. Either way, both options indicate defeat. I think I'm a classic case of someone who has deep-seated inferiority complex and being constantly referred to as "small", "cute", "petite" or sometimes just plain" awwwwww" are just the type reinforcements for sustaining this underlying anxiety.
Seeing how some women out there are obsessed with "sizing-down" they would probably want to shoot me for complaining about having a small stature. However, I would just like to justify my annoyance with the fact that being called "small" may seem like flattery in today's "fat-prejudice" society, the truth is I (along with my fellow "tiny" people) do not feel complimented. In fact, I feel somewhat insulted whenever people comment on my size. It makes me feel patronized, belittled and de-individualized. More importantly, when and why did people start considering "small" as a positive trait to characterize someone? Moreover, the worst part of it is that whenever I would speak up against those "sizeist" comments, I get weird looks like I'm crazy for not wanting to be perceived as "small". As if I'm oblivious or simply stupid for not recognizing that they have just given me a praise. In in that sense, I think "small" people are at a disadvantage because while "bigger" people can rant and express their offense, us small folks are not only "not allowed" to protest, we are also sometimes expected to simply accept or even thank those who "awarded" us with those labels. I think there should be a new category of prejudice called "sizeism" and it should apply not only to those who are over-weight but also those who are smaller than the average population.
(I put the words "small" and "big" in quotations because I don't endorse their connotations or their over-usage in describing people whom we really don't know anything about.)

This outfit was inspired by a someone on lookbook. To compensate for my lack of height, I wore high-waisted pants and a crop top, but regardless of my attempt at achieving a few "visual inches", I was still called "small".

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Big Bad Wolf

I went to see Toy Story 3 today and was absolutely blown away by how good it is. Seriously, considering how good the first two movies are, I thought the third one would just be another Disney "filler" movie (like Shrek 4) created strictly for the purpose to bamboozle money from hopeful nostalgic fans and over-indulgent parents. But the movie was awesome and was ever bit as charming as the original one. I don't often recommend Disney movies (or anything Disney for that matter) but this one is definitely worth watching.
In other news, I just wanted to share some of my D.I.Y. recording with you all because as I was going through my old posts I realize just how little I mention my love for music. I hope you enjoy my cheesy cover songs.I'm glad I finally figured out how to make this AA scarf look good on me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A hard on don't mean you're in love

I'm going to keep this one short because I got to go back to studying.
I meant to post a link to my Behind Sapphire article in The Peak last week but kept forgetting to, so here it is. Consider this as today's blog post if you will since I'm not writing much. I hope you all like it.Super girlie-girl outfit, no glasses and with hair tied up. I don't even know myself anymore

My favorite necklace. Oh so granny.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Is it Chemically Derived?

Recently, I started a vegetable garden in my back yard so gardening has become a new hobby of mine. I spent the whole afternoon today watering my precious, organic vegetables and it's been very serene and rewarding watching them grow and flourish. But my main motive for growing a vegetable garden started with me wanting to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Ever since I became a vegetarian five years ago I've been looking for ways to substitute meat-eating with more sustainable alternatives. However, as I became more committed to my vegetarianism and sustainable living, I began to get dissatisfied even with vegetables. I'm always suspicious of where my food came from because I really had no choice but to scrutinize everything I buy in order to be a responsible vegetarian. But vegetables had never been a target of my incessant inspection until I saw the documentary "Our Daily Bread and realized just how foreign (literally) our food has become.
My first realization of this detachment occurred at Save-On-Foods when I saw pineapples on the shelves in mid January. I knew that we couldn't grow tropical fruits here in Canada even without it being the middle of the winter so I my suspicion told me to read the label. So after I found out that it was imported from the U.S. I went around the entire produce section and examined every item. And almost all of them were imported from somewhere outside the country. Having learned that I was instantly disillusioned and realized just how "unsustainable" our food is. I mean, a copious amount of resources must have already been utilized to grow all those out-of season pineapples. So on top of all that, lots of fuels were also used to transport all of them thousands of kilometers away. And it might just be a fruit to a consumer, but it itself is a commodity -- possessing an economic value yet the labor behind it is completely overlooked and its existence is taken for granted. Therefore, ever since then I have been trying to avoid buying imported and out of season food. And since I can't always afford organic and locally grown vegetables, I figured I can just plant them. After all, food is food and they bear social significance to us because they keep us alive. Therefore, they should be easily attainable, natural and I think it is important that always know what we're eating and how they got on our plates.

I guess I was trying to channel my inner farmer with these rompers but my favorite part of this whole outfit was the shoes matched the bag perfectly

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"You're not your job"

I've been unemployed for over a year now and have been living off my student loan ever since I left my previous job. Regardless of being constantly broke, being jobless had never really bothered me until recently. As I've mentioned in the past, I graduate at the end June and as that day draws near, I am slowly feeling the pressure of one day becoming completely idle. This discomfort, I think, originates not only from the fact that I am about to lose my identity as a student but also facing the inevitable reality that I am about to become a "contributing member of the society". And as far as I'm concerned (and many less than "pro-social" cultural theorists), the "society" is nothing more than a spectacle of false representations , consumerism and alienation. Perhaps the most scary part of it all is that the loss of my student identity (which I value so much over any other alter egos) is ultimately going to be filled in by another persona when I enter into the work force. So unless I truly enjoy my future job and feel like I am at least in some ways making the world a better place, my identity is going to be completely meaningless to me if I just settle for anything just so I can make ends meet. I guess that's why so many people are unhappy with their jobs because the pressure of the society and all the financial responsibilities make it nearly impossible to make time and seek out alternative opportunities they might be passionate about. And this not only dampens people's hopes , it also creates a vicious cycle because they slowly become detached with their desires which in turn causes detachment from their true potentials and further exacerbate the confusion and reluctance to seek improvement. I refuse to become full of contempt for my job and eventually my life because I truly and honestly believe that people's lives and their true selves shouldn't be defined by their jobs. Instead, what they do (in this case, it could be a job) should define their lives and reflect who they really are. As a part of the human race and all of its glory, I think the world is meant to be better than this and we have yet actualized ourselves. I say fuck the social norms and what society has to offer, we are better than this! I am better than this. So until I find a line of work where I can proudly say I was a part of, I'm not going to settle for just anything because that's what the society deems necessary. I'd much rather be poor and happy, than surviving and joyless.

You can really get a feel of just how poor I am with those holey tights. Kidding, I made those on purpose. Ironic much?

This is the best feline shirt ever because it has every single possible majors species on there AND they're on both front and back so you get double the "cat-action". Mreowwwwww...

Monday, June 7, 2010

How Sweet It Is

This past weekend had been one of my busiest (fun-wise) ever. I attended a show every night since Friday and am feeling very musically inspired. So when I logged in this morning and saw that my dear fellow blogger Mimi from Soyconfessions had given me an award for being her muse, I felt even more inspirational! Thank you Mimi, I am very flattered by this and here are my answers to your questions

1) Why do you blog? For you, or for others?
To be honest, I had never really thought about blogging until two years ago when I stumbled upon Hipster Musings? and was very impressed by Isabel's blog. Ever since then, I started reading her blog religiously and started writing myself. I originally wanted my blog to reflect my new found passion in D.I.Y. and vintage fashion and I just wanted to share my looks with people on the web. However, as my blog gained more readership and I got more comfortable posting my writings for the world to see, I knew that my initial simple intent wasn't going to suffice in fulfilling my outspoken nature. So lately, my posts have been more personal and based on my interpretations and observations of various social phenomena and cultural quirks. So I guess you can say that I blog for both my readers; for I want to share my anecdotes with the world as well as myself; because I simply love to talk.

2) Do you like telling a story with words or pictures?
Hard to say, but I am partial to words. They say that "a picture is worth a thousand words" but I say that ten thousand words worth of writing can say way more than a picture, wouldn't you agree? I was actually quite the painter when I was a child, but as I aged and my imaginations stopped running wild, I'm finding it more and more easy to write and harder and harder to paint. Which kind of make me think that in order to be a good artist, you kind of need to be a man-child. But I still draw weird things once in a blue moon or so though my skills aren't what they used to be so I always find ways to work words or dialogues in there and make it into a illustrated cartoon. For example, I drew a picture for my boyfriend a while ago and in the picture, there is a boy holding his eye balls in his hands and presenting them to a girl who is looking longingly into his empty eye sockets. And on the bottom of the picture, it was the phrase "I only have eyes for you". Cheesy eh?

3) What is the meaning of life?
Wow,what a loaded question. But I'm going to have to say, cats. Because my life revolves around my cats. Everyday, I'm thinking about them and worrying about them. I'm sure when I'm laying on my death bed I'll still be thinking about whether they've been fed or if their litter had been cleaned. And yes, I do believe my cats will outlive me.

4) Cheese + Banana = ?
Earth-shatteringly catastrophic

5) Halloweenies. Discuss this word.
The word itself is very boring. Double "L" signifies denotes "loser"/"loner" and the double "E" are just annoying because it can remind one of the sound of mosquitoes. However, if you were to dissect this word semantically then it becomes something much more interesting. Because it could mean a variety of things. For example, a Halloweenie could very well be a beauty pageant for "unorthodox looking" children. They will judged based on how naturally frightening they are. It could also be a new subculture popular amongst tweens wherein a "halloweenie" is a person who enjoys wearing dark make-up and dark clothes because they want to dress how their souls feel. However, at the same time these folks also enjoy conglomerate and substance-less things like the Twilight movies (but not the books because they don't enjoy reading), hanging out at McDonalds and music by bands such as Mariana's Trench, Hedley and Three Days Grace. So I guess, the meaning isn't much better than the word itself.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Technology-1, Humans-0

Remember when people weren't completely helpless without technology? When everyone were still able to carry on with their days and accomplished tasks without things like iphones, the internet or even electricity for that matter? Sure, things were harder back then but I think the conveniences of the modern industrialized societies have made us completely helpless. And I, along with my one hundred and fifty or so classmates, experienced a perfect illustration of this utter confinement to our technological luxury when our exam was unfortunately (or fortunately for some) rescheduled to a later date due to a power outage on campus. But the final decision to cancel our exam for today wasn't just because we didn't have lights to write in (because the power actually came back on after 15 minutes of panic) but a series of other events necessary for an exam to carry out also came to a screeching halt when technology decided to crap out. Because the photocopier died during the duplication of the exam papers. And when the power came back temporarily our professor couldn't project the exam as a power point because he didn't bring a connector for his laptop. But at that point, it didn't matter anyway because we were going to be out of power again as the emergency message informed us. So for a good half hour everybody literally sat and waited for their fate as they watched our professor fumble around and made attempts to salvage the situation then have them nullified in the end when he learned that the power was going to go out once again. Thus the epic battle between man and technology was lost and as a spectator and a defeated, I have never felt so powerless (no pun intended).

Here I am, taking my electrical gadget for granted not realizing that I would soon have a new found perspective or even a slight disdain for all things powered by electricity.
All things considered, this skirt is tight as hell but totally worth the "gut numbness".