"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Soiree on the Moon

I feel like a balloon on the ceiling
Privy to, but not part of

And I am not free
Not free to rendezvous in the clouds
Or to burst into the heavens

Are you afraid
That the sun will catch my eye?

I an not a planet in orbit
You are not the centre of any universe
And certainly not mine

There is a soiree on the moon tonight
Let me be there

I am tired of smoke and spilled drinks
Tired of noise and broken vows

Let me fly away from here


Friday, May 08, 2015

This is Not a Love Letter

I don’t particularly want to wax lyrical
Over a boy who grows mould in his sink
But I should elucidate, I think

The great affection I have for you.

I have not yet had the time, or the words, to tell you
My friend;
How grateful I am for your constancy; how

Despite time and distance
Come hell or high water
Your sincerity never fades or falters

I know you will not slander my good name, or yours
By misunderstanding my intentions
My affection for you exists on a purer plane
Than the rabble can imagine

And the things in my heart that I explain to you once
I never have to say again.

(There are too many people, my dear
Who see Cupid lurking in every shadow;
I cannot tell you how glad I am that you don’t)

I wanted to say, old friend
That I am thankful for your solidarity
And your smile

It is a hard world to not have big arms around you
And I am glad of yours, when you are mine.

for Brady. 

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Here's to the Sun Streaming Through Your Second-Floor Window

I remember, tangled on the dance floor
Meeting a rather confident boy

And I remember, tangled in the bed sheets
You made me swear to be your friend

Well, my dear
I am still here.

I must confess, my friend
There is a lot I object to
About you

But your easy generosity
And your deadly smile

Is not a thing any woman can resist

Believe me when I say
I cannot love you

And believe me when I say
I always will.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I'm writing up a lesson for my student just like the ones my teachers wrote up for me; and I remember the great debt I owe them for teaching me all that I know, and for giving me the courage to pass that knowledge on.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Comfort Women

Brethren!
Remember-
You are the daughters of comfort women

Perhaps not.
Perhaps not all.
Perhaps some of us
Are the daughters of happy wives

Perhaps some of the grenade martyrs died
With bile in their mouths
And ‘Mother’ on their lips

That is your story, little white boy
Clutching poppies and rosemary at dawn

This is mine.

Perhaps some of my conquerors
Died scraped-knee, grass-stained boys
Without the scent of a woman on their skin

But-
Some of them went home
To make comfort women of their unhappy wives
Making love to a memory
Of guns, germs, steel
And the stench of death

Making love with our blood on their hands

Our lost childhoods
And our dead babies in the river
Are lost to the history books

But blood is thicker than water
And sticks to the conscience like mud

Lest we forget.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Old Friend

What a grand thing it is, old friend
That I can finally be myself around you
You have turned out exactly as I expected

You realized too late
How ardently I cared for you
In our rose thorn, sun baked,
Thistle and beer bottle childhood

But I am all woman now
And what a man you have become

It has not yet been a decade
But it feels like an eternity
Since our childhood escapades

First love, golden boy

And though your apologies come
Years too late, I do not mind
But don’t step any closer, old friend

You and I both know, I think
It is now my turn
To be too good for you.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Anglo, bitch.

I am what they call a ‘second generation immigrant’.

Actually, I am what I call a ‘second generation immigrant’, because, you know, I’m doing an English degree and happen to know my shit. You wouldn’t believe how many fights I’ve gotten into with white people saying that I am a first generation immigrant, because apparently my parents don’t exist.

Anyway.

People also often fail to wrap their heads around the fact that I am bi-cultural; biracial they can understand, probably because of the colour difference, but in general too many hyphens and country names in a person’s ethnicity tends to confuse people. My mother is Singaporean. My dad is Korean. My mother didn’t even know where Korea was on the map before she met dad. They don’t have the same mother tongue or anything in common.

So I am, like a lot of Asian Australians, caught between three worlds. I am not Korean. I am not Singaporean. And my passport claims I am Australian but my fellow Australians beg to differ.

I am also very Anglicized; and a lot of Asian Australians, especially bicultural or biracial Asian Australians and second-generation Asian Australians, are quite Anglicized. I am monolingual. I don’t fit any stereotypes. The cultures of the lands that gave me the colour of my skin are as foreign and uncomfortable to me as WASP culture. It’s double alienation and it is a deeply uncomfortable identity. People read my existence as an act of rebellion, an awkward slice of post-colonialism that doesn’t really fit anywhere into their Great Man narrative.

Constantly being cast as ‘the Asian’ is endlessly frustrating, because I am not. If you know me, as a person, you’ll know that I very rarely do anything out of character. But if you see me as an Asian, everything I do is random and weird and cause for discussion and criticism. I can’t science to save my life. I’m not particularly skinny or waifish. I don’t really like K-Pop. I can’t speak another language. I’m an arts student. This is not ‘Asian’; but I’m not Asian. I’m me.

Australians are a deeply patriotic people; patriotic to the point of bigoted, sometimes. So are Koreans. Singaporeans treat their nationality more as an elite club than as a nation, but whatever goes. And I have been routinely rejected by these people over, and over, and over again; since before I was born, when my parents casually caused a ruckus by casually eloping and producing Mudblood children. You may take patriotism with a pinch of salt, but I cannot begin to tell you what it feels like to know that you don’t have your own people; you don’t have your own team, and there’s nobody rooting for you.

And I don’t need the criticism. I can’t cook anything more Korean than instant noodles. Shoot me. I’m monolingual – but so are you; my parents, like your parents, only have English as a common tongue. I was rejected by the Asian community for being a wild, loud child and now for being a wild, loud slut; but they still rage when I don’t date their sons. I don’t need to be criticized for my lack of Asianness. The Asians don’t want me.

Let me own my Anglicization. It’s not an act; it’s not an aspiration to be white. It’s what I am. And as the child of three cultures, and the pariah of all of them, this is all I have.

Savages.

There is a man who loves me
Because I speak for his woman

But I am afraid to say
That when I was her champion
I was also her murderer's friend

There are words I cannot say
Things we cannot acknowledge
Apologies that are a silent shout into the void

But I will say them, once,
Just here.

I am more sorry than I can say.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lazarus

Now Playing: Kristy, Are You Doing Okay? by The Offspring (your eyes told a tale of an act of betrayal I knew that somebody did)

I love clubbing. I don't go out much, but when I do, I love it. I love the night. I love the thrill. I love wining and dining with my friends and dancing the night away.

And yes, I hook up. As is my right; I'm single, I don't have a child to care for or a partner to consider or a family to bring home the bacon to. There are some things, as my mother says, that you can only do when you're nineteen.

But these experiences - these beautiful, breathtaking, dizzying, heartbreaking experiences of growing up, of falling in love with strangers, of dancing the night away, of nights with clothes strewn across the floor, are marred by fear. Fear that I can't go out, be young, and be myself without being hurt.

The recent conviction of Luke Lazarus hit a raw nerve, for me; because I remember, so vividly, my eighteenth birthday. It was a few days after I turned eighteen and I was nervous and excited about going out for the first time. I was with a small group of friends I trusted but, for the briefest second, I was separated from the group and had to brush off a few creepy strangers.

I could have been that girl that Luke Lazarus raped in an alleyway. So many of us could have.

I am angry at Luke Lazarus; not only because he thought himself entitled to someone's body and to ruin someone's life, but I am angry that it is men like him that force women like us, in this day and age, to be afraid. To feel guilty when we are not doing anything wrong. And we are not doing anything wrong.

I adore the few male friends that I have. I love their fearlessness and confidence. But I worry about them endlessly, too, because most of them are young and stupid and far too fond of their liquor. But I have come to admire their lives of affairs and excitement and curious, wandering hands and I am so angry that I cannot have this life for myself.

Girls, believe it or not, need outlets just as much as men. Girls, believe it or not, want to, and are allowed to, go out, get drunk, and have fun. We do not deserve to be raped for living the lives our men are encouraged, and sometimes obligated, to lead.

But I am most angry at the people who have flocked to defend Luke Lazarus, calling his conviction 'completely unreasonable' and saying that he is a 'good, upstanding young man with a bright future'. Fuck you. You are the people who are responsible for the rape culture that has made me walk the streets with keys weaved through my fingers.

Women are not ignorant to the dangers of living in women's bodies; we are so hyperaware that we come off as crazy, overreacting, irrational, even stuck-up - more than once I've been told 'you'd be lucky if I raped you'. But we are, however, much more well informed than geriatrics bemoaning that women can't keep their legs shut and so get what's coming for them. I know that I can be assaulted in my home, by a partner, by a relative, in broad daylight, by a friend, in public or private spaces. Nowhere is safe, and nothing I do will change the fact that I am treated like a walking target. Don't tell me not to go out. It's not a crime to go out. It's a crime to rape, and nothing will change that.

We also have to stop seeing women as the weakest link; the people most likely to fix this problem, the people we can talk to, unlike those psychopathic monsters who lurk in the dead of the night like a vampire or a werewolf in a children's fairytale. Luke Lazarus is someone's son. He is someone's brother. He is your colleague, your friend, your rugby team member. He is someone you could have talked to. He is someone you failed to talk to. We are failing women, but we are also failing men by treating them like the rapists that some of them become. We tell women to be responsible for crimes committed against them but we don't tell men to be responsible for the crimes that rape culture and a lifetime of entitlement will lead some of them to commit. That is the failure here; not that a woman's skirt was too short, or that conviction will dash a young man's dreams. The failure is that we don't talk about rape, and when we do, all fingers point to the sluts who should stay behind locked doors, as if that will keep them safe.

I don't need some old tottering mayor to tell me that my behaviour is risky and that I am putting myself in danger.I don't need a bunch of idiots to tell me that men who prey on girls just like me are decent human beings. I don't need to be told to feel sorry for convicted rapists. I don't need people to moan about how rape convictions ruin young men's dreams of being sportstars and CEOs. I don't need anyone to tell me that I am the problem; that by having a female body that I have done anything wrong.

Luke Lazarus raped a teenage girl in an alley behind his father's nightclub. Luke Lazarus. Remember that name. Keep looking at his face. He deserves his humiliation; his victim does not deserve hers. She does not deserve to be told that she is the problem. We women deserve better than this.

And all of us deserve to live our lives without this threat of violation hanging over us like the sword of Damocles.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stars

I have lived in this town so long
That I forgot that there are stars in the sky

My life is city smog and suburban drawl
Of vipers that creep through the sun-baked thistles

I got lost on never ending roads to nowhere
Gum-tacked pavement, cheap nasty coffee
And cold night air

I forgot that there are stars in the sky
Up above the world so high