Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Speaking of uni, there is one thing that always bewilders me. Often i saw students with 'coloured skin' playing around with computers in the study room. They were checking their facebook profile, chatting in YM or MSN or browsing anything that is entirely not for the study purposes. I asked myself, is it always like this? Do they know that these computers are provided for academic purposes? Soon i was aware that there is a racial undertone in my thought. No doubt, students with dominant colour, which is white, were also pissfarting around with computers. But why did i pick up the coloured ones?
After pondering this issue, i came to the conclusion that the more dominant a certain race is, the more invisible it becomes. As opposed to the invisibility of white skin, the coloured skin becomes so visible. Whatever these coloured skin people do, it is always noticeable. Every time i see them doing something 'unusual', i began to be annoyed. Of course, i also complain if there are people with white skin doing something similar to the coloured ones. But what fascinates me more is the fact that i am not white but i am picking up more coloured skin. This is perhaps because i perceive the whole whiteness including culture and colour as something unquestionably dominant. So i am passing as white: acting and thinking like them as a way of accepting the 'truth' of white power, more importantly, in order to be seen invisible.
But taking this further, this is not all about who is right and who is wrong. Coloured skin people is also contributing to the invisibility of white. For instance, coloured skin people are proud of having such exotic cultures and to large extent believe that white has no culture. However their ideas of uniqueness and exoticness of their cultures are built upon the perception that white has no culture. By accepting this, the invisibility of white becomes more pronounced as much as the visibility of skin colour.
Of course, it is absolutely bollocks if we say that white has no culture. White has cultures as much as others races do. But in the past, there was an exoticisation of other races and cultures through colonisation which made non-whiteness exotic and different. Wacko scientists such as anthropologists travelled across the continent from the metropole and went back home, bringing stories of these exotic people. When in the end, people moved from the colonies to the metropole, to large extent, people are seeing other cultures with the exotic paradigm deriving from colonial construct. Meanwhile, these 'exotic people' soon start to enjoy being the object of gaze but at the same time begin to act like white and learn the advantage of being invisible.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
About five years ago I had a theory about penis and males’ domination. Generally, some blokes in the corner of the street will probably think that men are more powerful than women. Their belief comes from the distinctively different features that men and women have. You all have known that this sort of crazy idea prevailed in the past. All great thinkers even thought the same way. Daniel Defoe once wrote about the difference in gender role between men and women and was seen it as something natural.
My theory was that the shape of penis and its function in the sexual intercourse made men aware of their social position. Let me elaborate this further. During intercourse, penis will penetrate vagina. This activity reflects on how men are exercising their power of penetrating women’s territories. Vagina, on the other hand, has a role as receiver, opening itself up to be penetrated by penis. No matter what kind of position that couples have, penetration is the key. So the shape of penis which is long and fits the role of penetration and this role is manifesting at social and cultural realm.
I am fully aware that the flaw of this theory is in the over emphasis on the heterosexual relation. It also begs the question of when do men begin to be conscious about the shape of their penises and their perception on males’ social and cultural roles. I am not an expert of psychoanalysis but somehow when I thought of this, the image of Freud might have come into my mind.
While the shape of penis and its impact on subjectivity isn’t appeal
Same sex relationships, to some extent, exist to contest the hegemonic idea of heterosexuality. And if their relationships mean to challenge heterosexual relationship then can it be said that penetration in same-sex relationship could arguably mean as nothing as perpetuating heterosexual culture. Should there be creativity in defining the role of a hole than something penetrable? And for a pole, it could be more challenging to use it without thrusting it into a hole, whatever hole it might be. The role of dildo in lesbian sex, for example, is puzzling but also interesting. Although the fake penis implies the presence of man in lesbian sex, its presence is pretty much controlled and defined by two women. The penis belongs to no men but them and this means disempowered. Despite the absence of a real man in lesbian relationship, penetration using the dildo does not challenge the seemingly natural role of a hole and pole.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Speaking of wine, i fail to understand how people become a wine aficionado. It requires a highly sensitive palate to be such an expert who is able to describe the structure of wine. These days many people in my generation have been grown up with packaged foods such as fish fingers and take away. Surely, preservative and flavour enhancers we have consumed can cause calluses on our tongue. When i stopped at the winery and saw people testing the wine, i wasn't impressed at all. About four people surrounded the table and each had a glass of wine in their hands. They sniffed, looked at the colour, and swirled the glass before take a good sip. You can blame my philistine tongue for my failure to tell the difference between Merlot and Cabaret Sauvignon. To me these people are no more than glorified pissheads. As internet connection become more accessible, it probably takes few hours for people to bluff about their expertise on wine. Just perusing wikipedia before testing it, and careful but excessive use of adjectives, it will give people under impression that you are such a connoisseur.
The use of adjective words when describing wine is apparently very crucial. If you check the label on the bottle, at least four or five adjective words are used. When i was in this cafe at a little vineyard located in Mount Beauty, i counted how many adjective that they use in every type of wine. There is one particular type, either red or white wine i can't recall, that uses twelve adjective words! Twelve adjective in more or less than 50 words is excessive. It's like reading 14 years old's love poetry. Yet, you can't call it cheesy with wine. I thought flowery words might be a trick to persuade people to buy them. However, i was gobsmacked to notice the style of writing in the book The Science and Art of Wine that i found on the studio. It's full of adjective: vibrant, elegant, smooth, silky, refreshing, intense, supple and so on.
I haven't had a long chat with these connoisseurs but would love to take the piss out of them. There was one moment i remembered but it wasn't about wine but an expert in general. A girl came to cafe where i work and asked the flavour of muffin that we sell at that time. She told me that she is a bit picky about her muffin. In my response, "So you seem to be a muffin connoisseur, why don't you write up a muffin review in a culinary mag?". This poor girl took it seriously and went on about what good muffin should be like and liked the idea of writing up a muffin review. I was laughing my head off after she disappeared from my sight. Her response to my taking-the-piss-question has a lingering finish, nevertheless.
Trees recovering from bushfire at Mt Bufallo
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Usually i often get asked by people about my life when i told them that this year is my last year at uni. Mostly they are surprised when i told them that i am studying history and then throwing a question of what sort of job that i am going to do after this? My response will normally be beginning with 'mmmm, uh, ummm, well'. Maybe a writer, or journalist, research assistant, or could do anything different to my field. It's hard to answer this sort of question as it relates to my big plan in life and ultimately links to my being. Sometimes i wish i could say to them: Thank you very much for being concerned with my life, i was happy before you asked me 'what sort of job that i am gonna do'!
Some people suggested that i could be a teacher. I thought this idea is good but then i realised that i am interested more in the history of sexuality, which makes the idea of being teacher is bad. I can't imagine if some parents will be happy to hear from their children about what they've learnt at history class.
What did you learn today darling? Well, i learnt about fellatio in England during late 19th century mum! And guess what? Buggery was common amongst sailors but they didn't call that homosexual! Mum! Mum! Are you alright?
Most international students in Australia are seldom doing Arts degree. Engineering, commerce, science, or even hospitality are sort of majors that they are doing. Maybe i am a stupid migrant because i just follow what i like without thinking about the available opportunity in the future. Sometimes i think that i should have chosen commerce or accounting or something similar and would have been working in a big office in the city, having 9-5 routine and wearing nice suits everyday.
I really don't know what happens next. The plan is to do honours degree next year and after that i will find a job. If i am not that lucky, you might see me selling Big Issues magazine or roasted chestnut. Or i might call your home during your leisure time and offer a fantastic deal of holiday plan, or ask you random question about particular products.
Friday, May 30, 2008
5. If you like reading while you are in the toilet and can spend more than 20 minutes a day, how many jumper/sweater can you knit within three months?
6. Why people always respond "bless you" when you are sneezing but rarely say anything when you are coughing (sometimes they ask: are you alright?)?
Anyway winter is coming and it means soup time. I love making soup and potato and leek is the champion in my view. Surely, pumpkin is still an old-fave but not mine.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
My former boss is an arrogant prick! He likes doing everything his way no matter what the consequence might follow from doing it his way. His coffee is utterly shite but insisted on working behind the coffee machine. Fast is the key, forget about quality. Well, dumb arse will easily see the difference between crappuccino and cappuccino, won't they?
His social intelligence is far from excellence by any standard. Three marriage failure can prove this 'thesis' on his social skill.
I've never been a huge fan of him. I always see my former boss, or any boss in general, as business partner. Some of my friends who trusted him so much were baffled. How could he do that? asked them. I really don't know. Shouldn't they know better than me given good relationship that they have, in which personal judgement can be made about his personality?
Last week i wasn't given enough shift, so i have little to lose. But some of my workmates heavily rely on last week paid to pay their life expenses. I told them that i would not call myself 'lucky' in this situation as it is inappropriate. I don't think the hierarchy of luckiness can be applied in this kind of situation. It's messy! Fuckin messy!
I have been looking for a new job as i can't work with some of my workmates. It is not because i am socially appalling or like to bitch. Rather i have huge doubt in their quality as team player. Yet at work, tension often comes from people inability to differentiate personal judgement on work quality and personal attitude. I will be happy to hear someone saying to me: ''you are such a lovely person and i like to hang out with you, but as a team player it's absolutely hopeless".
Anyway it's all over!
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Some of you might have been familiar with the quoted line above. Who can't forget Tony Vernelli who bragged about her sacrifice of maternal need for the environment. Who can't hold their cringe when a Brit whose apperance on the news once may have made you choked on your dinner or spil your hot chocolate on the couch, or shattered your date plan and replaced it with a raging debate on baby and environment.
I know that her story is not new anymore. Yet, the controversy that she threw is something that really hard for people to get over it, at least for a year. Delving into her thinking, there is a benign idea laying underneath her inarticulate words. It's all about our planet. No one can deny that our poor planet needs to be taken care of. And solutions should be quickly found in order to save our planet and maintain the sustainability. I definitely concur!
I will express no objection to those who like to start from themselves. I commend people who like having veggie patch than buy them at supermarket. I am very much respect for those who are carefully using water. Shoppers who hate plastic bag are greatly appreciated.
But not having babies due to caring for environment? Forgive me if i fail to recognise the correllation between sterilization and environment. If couples chose not to have babies because they are afraid of not being able to afford it or it is because of health or something else, i can accept that. If you sterilise yourself only because you think the increasing population will lead to environment hazard, i would then suggest you to sit down and have a thought about your logic.
What is the point if you sterilise yourself but still continue to use menstrual pads, even the recycle cotton one? Many women living in developing countries are still using washable cloth instead of disposable ones. How about you stop using toilet paper? I am pretty sure that forest in the UK is not enough to provide toilet paper. Again, washable clothes are good idea for cleaning up your bottom. Do you think that is too traditional for your 'modern' thought?
Have you ditched your food processor and replace it with mortal and pestle? How well do you understand about environmental hazard? Have you been to Papua where Freeport dumps their waste in the river where local people heavily rely on? Or instead of having exotic holiday in Africa, why don't you visit Banaba island where British company removed the whole population after they discovered large amount of phosphate?
After you have done all of these, let sit down and calculate whether small population of Banaba or Papuan will threaten our poor planet more than mining companies?
Toni darling, your idea is benign but it is only packed with the wrong gift wrap. There is an inextricable link between environmental hazard and development. This is evident in developing countries. For example, the Green Revolution might have been able to boost up agricultural development in developing countries but heavy reliant on chemical fertilizers had a serious impact on the soil.
We shall return to the link between babies and environment. We can't blame mothers who live in shanty towns but insist on having babies. Having babies are just not about maintaining genetic line but it relates to cultural practices that underpins their understanding of their existences. Don't call them selfish either if later on you see their kids on television suffer from malnutrition or die from bird flu. Although the stories of these kids might have justified your decision. I can imagine yourself having cuddle on your comfy couch with your husband and watching news from developing countries and say something like this "Oh i am so glad darling that i've chosen to sterilise myself. It is completely immoral for me to have babies and ends up suffering from malnutrition like them".
I should find a way how to celebrate the demise of humanity!!!
Monday, April 21, 2008
If we ask 100 women the question above, surely it doesn't give us a clue as to whether satisfaction can depend on the physical aspect of genital. Hypothetically, 40 women will say yes for sex with forskinned penis and the rest will say no. It is hard to justify the claim that sexual satisfaction is way much better with the skinned based on that statistic. It is like me asking 10 people to answer this question: do i look like Brad Pitt? If 7 of them nodded, i am still doubting myself if i look like him.
There is exchange of idea regarding this issue. Rachel, a writer of sexblog posted a short article under the title 'Circumcised Guys Do it Better' which gets more than thirty comments. For Rachel, uncut penis' don't look sexual or arousing as it makes her want to "pat them and tuck them back where they came from". Differing argument comes from Esther Goldberg who argues that uncircumcised men are sensitive and see foreskin akin to clitoral hood.
According to a study of urologists, there is no dissimilarity of sexual satisfaction between foreskinned and not. Both can equally enjoy sexual satisfaction. This study was conducted in Uganda, using 4500 men as samples. Half of them have their foreskin removed and the other half get them circumcised 24 months later.
There are various reasons why people want to remove or restore their foreskin. Culture is one of reason why people are wanting to get it done. A story of England-born David who migrated to USA exemplifies how does culture drives people to do it.
As an uncircumcised young man, he says, he felt awkward in gym class. "I read that being circumcised makes the penis easier to clean and less susceptible to sexually transmitted disease. I had friends in medical school telling me, 'Dude, you should do this.' " So he did. But hygiene was not the chief motivation. "I wanted to fit into American culture. When you're circumcised, there's less rejection from women," he says.
Some might have thought of hygiene as the underlying factor. It is generally accepted that there is a link between circumcision and hygiene. The removal of foreskin will look cleaner and is considered less susceptible to sexual disease. I am not sure if you go bareback and are still less susceptible. Perhaps, the helmet-look-like in the circumcised penis head suggests that it has the same function as protective helmet for bikes.
In one of largest Islam adherents country, Indonesia circumcision is very common. It might be because of the dominant religious value which rules the foreskin business. Yet this does not mean that uncircumcised men are difficult to find. There are number of people in Indonesia who don't circumcise their penises due to different cultural value. To some extent, they might see circumcision is associated with Islam. So if people get their foreskin cut because religious belief, for what reason do non-Islamic people get their skin cut? Health is one of the reason. It's been evident anywhere that discourse on sexuality and health is dominated by science and culture. So has been in Indonesia, circumcision is placed in both health reason or what their religion ask them to do.
I haven't heard anyone in Indonesia saying that circumcision could enhance male sexual performance. What i heard most is that they did it because it's for health or being a moslem. But there might be a different reason that drives kids to get their foreskin removed. Presents! Normally after being circumcised, the family will celebrate it. It's a serious feast with a proper invitation. All guest are expected to give presents to the boy who sits in the lounge with his sarong. If the boy family is wealthy enough, Play Station 3 may be sitting together in the presents corner as one of his uncle thought he deserves one. On the other hand, if his father is a pedicab driver, new un-branded shoes might be the most expensive gift he would have. But these days, i heard people giving money instead of goods. Both goods and money work fine for kids, i suppose.
Anyway i found a study on circumcision in Indonesia and it can be found here.
Back to circumcision and sex, do girls really think it matters? I haven't done a survey on this but will try to find out from my own circle first.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Sydney Uni has been experiencing a lot of changes. Construction fences are everywhere. The new law faculty building has not finished. Last time I was there, they were demolishing the old building. Now I can see the progress happening through three floors car park. As part of this reconstruction, the new pedestrian path on
In general it feels weird to go back to the places where you build your existence upon it. I like to have an expectation of changes taking place there as I believe that changes signify life. But at the same time there is a slight fear of dea
Apart from the nostalgic journey, I managed to explore another landscape of
I think I remembered how it was to be in
The pace of
All and all, I had a great time in
View from Wottamolla National Park
Jamison Look Out-Blue Mountain
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
If Australians were asked one thing about the link between Australia and Sweden, we might have IKEA as an answer. Not really surprising if this Sweden gigantic furniture company is the most likely answer as many Aussies may have IKEA products in their houses and would like to spend their weekends to do window shopping at IKEA.
If they are told that there is a connection between Aborigin and Sweden, they may scoff this information or make a good laugh at it. The link between Aborigin and Brits are very logical as the relationship between them made this country came into being. But with Sweden? I think I have to give them a kilogram of weed to eventually make people believe what I say.
One connection between Sweden and Aborigin people in Australia lies in one scientist called Eric Mjöberg. With several colleagues, he led an expedition to Australia in the early 1900s. Initially, Mjöberg and his friends were interested in collecting insects, plants and other animals. Their encounters with indigenous people in Kimberly, Western Australia, have shifted their objectives away from collecting animals and plants to indigenous people. At that time, virus of Darwinism had spread out endemically and Mjöberg was no immune from this. He thought that Aborigine in Australia was an answer to the missing link.
What happened next was rather disturbingly interesting. Mjöberg began to collect Aboriginal remains and might have hoped that these remains would be useful for scientific reason.
More than 90 years later, these remains were returned to Australia by the museum in Sweden that has been keeping the collection of Mjöberg’s remains. Apparently, these bones haven’t been studied and once Mjöberg had to sell them out when he went bankrupt.
Here I am not merely telling the connection between Sweden and Australia. The crux of this posting lies on the function of science for human beings. Since Enlightenment, science has been enjoying a great victory over any other way of gaining knowledge and discovering the truth. Yet, what is more interesting in this story was the link between science and racial superiority. Through science Europeans tried to prove themselves that they are more superior than other people in the planet. Science in this sense contributed to a constructed system of belief upon which Europeans laid their existence.
It is hard to look at this story with our modern ethical codes. For whatever reasons our modern ethics will see what Mjöberg and his friends have done is unethical. If we imagined ourselves living in the same period as Mjöberg, and worked as anthropologist, we may have the same view as him. Even though we disagreed with Darwin theory, the dominant discourse in the realm of science might have influenced the way we see others.
Having talked about this, it brought me to the moment where I was discussing representation, science, race during colonial period. In the class, one archaeology student said that she said it is ethically right to ask dig up the indigenous remains after permission is granted. If we don’t get permission, we won’t force our will. She added that it’s better if scientists digged up the remains and studied them then returned them after they’ve finished. Otherwise, these remains might end up in a black market. Her view reflects clearly how scientists work according to ethical conducts and most importantly how sciences is perceived to be the ultimate way of obtaining the truth.
Yet, what is the benefit for the indigenous people after their ancestors’ bones were studied? Let says, if recent study concluded that one tribe did not belong to certain family, what impact does it have to their existence? Will they have an identity crisis?